Eng Se Tong, age 20, was coming to the United State in 1922 to finish his education on a scholarship at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He could speak a little English. His deceased father was Ng Joon Sam. His brother, Soon En, was living in Chicago.
Ng Shue Tong was advised, “You should not become a laborer as you are to be admitted as a member of the exempt class and under your admission as a section six student you are not to become a common laborer, and if you do you are subject to arrest and deportation to China.”
Ng Shue Tong’s application was endorsed by the American Consular General at Canton, China in 1921 under the rules set forth at that time.
Ng Shue Tong had hookworm when he arrived so he was rejected. He applied for hospital treatment, was cured, and admitted at Seattle and from there went to Walla Walla.
A 16-page brochure, “The Success of Whitman College,” is included in the file.
Jung John, a returning merchant, arrived in the port of Seattle on 31 January 1922. He was accompanied by his wife, Mok Shee. They were on their way to their home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their witnesses were Lee Ho, Dr. George C. Taggart and Peter Hackett. [Peter Hackett – no relation but fun to see in the files.]
Jung John was a salesman at the Chong Wah Company in Philadelphia. He was admitted as the son of a merchant. His father had worked at Chong Wah Company and when he died in 1916 he left his share in the company to his son. The average annual sales for the company were $50,000 to $60,000. They sold Chinese groceries, drugs, fancy goods and chinaware. For $87 a month they rented most of the building at 909 Race Street. They subleased out the second floor to Far East Restaurant and the third floor was used for sleeping quarters. There were twenty members in the firm.
Before leaving the U.S.in 1921, Jung John swore that for at least one year proceeding the date of his application he had not performed any manual labor other than was necessary in the conduct of the business. He was going back to China to visit his mother and get married.
Lee Ho, age 29, was the manager of Chong Wah Company. He and Jung John both came from Hok San district in China.
George C. Taggart, age 52, physician and druggist at the northeast corner of 9th & Race Streets and knew most of the Chinese in the area.
For the last 26 years, Peter Hackett, age 46, was a custom house broker with Vandegrift & Company at 400 Chestnut Street. He had seen Jung John at the funeral of his father and knew them both through Chong Wah Company. Jung John impressed Mr. Hackett as a clean-living young man of good habits.
Chin Hing’s marriage name was Chin Fook Hing but he also went by Hing Henry. He was born in Canton, China on 1 September 1875 at one a.m. [It is very unusual to see the time of birth listed in a file.] His father, Chin Suey, was born in San Francisco and his mother was Woo Shee was born in China. Family information was included in a bible and a generation book. His grandfather, Chin Yick, was one of the first Chinese to come to San Francisco. He was married to an Indian woman and worked in the gold mines and then a fruit orchard. After the grandfather’s wife died in 1874 he and his son, Chin Suey, went to China. Chin Suey married Woo Shee soon after he arrived and they had a son, Chin Hing. The family moved back to San Francisco about 1881. Years later they moved to Seattle and Chin Hing became a merchant at Kwong Wa Chong Company. In 1910 Chin Hing visited China and married Tah Soo Len who was born in Los Angeles. Their two children, Chin Hing Henry and Chin Josephine were born in Seattle. At the time of his interview in 1922, Chin Hing was a merchant and member of Chong Hing & Co., at 676 King Street in Seattle.
The interpreter explained to the interviewer that the generation book was a history of Chin Fook Hing’s family for eighteen generations and dated back over three hundred years.
Witnesses for Chin Hing:
Julius Schweigart, in the art and picture business, a resident of Seattle since 1906.
Otto Guthman, salesman at National Grocery Co., Seattle; resident of Seattle since 1905.
Woo Gen, merchant and member of Kwong Wa Chong Co., Wa Chong Co., and Washington Rice Mill Company; resident of Seattle 36 years.
Chin Hing (Chin Fook Hing) died in Seattle on 16 November 1941. A copy of his obituary from 22 November 1941 issue of the Seattle Times is included in the file.
Excerpts from the obituary:
“A German knitter befriended Mr. Chin and taught him the knitting business and in 1911, with no capital, Mr. Chin established the Chong Hing Knitting Company, 504 12th Ave. S. of which he was general manager until his death.”
“Mr. Chin was the first Chinese to serve as a juror in King County Superior Courts. He was past treasurer of the Seattle Chinese Patriotic League and the Seattle Chinese Nationalist Association.”
In December 1919 Charley Poon Wing was anxious to visit his sister in China before she died–she was very old, in ill health, and he had not seen her since they were children. Before he left The U.S. he applied to re-enter the country as a returning domiciled merchant. Although he was a laborer many years ago, he now considered himself a merchant. On his return trip Wing arrived in Seattle, Washington on 18 April 1921 on the S.S. Princess Alice but was denied admittance. His case was appealed and he was finally admitted on 6 June 1921. [He spent almost two months at a detention center waiting for the final decision.]
Wing first entered the U. S. at San Francisco in 1875 at the age of ten and remained here continuously until 1919. He was a citizen of South Dakota, owned property worth about $600, paid taxes, and was a registered voter. He voted until he was prohibited by the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1892. He had a certificate of residence No. 135,817, issued at Omaha, Nebraska in May 1894.
Charley Wing applied for readmission as a merchant but under the provision of the Exclusion Act he was deemed a laborer. Because the immigration authorities thought he was trying to enter fraudulently he was subject to deportation. An appeal was made and he was landed as a returning laborer issued nunc pro tunc. [Latin for “now for then,” this refers to changing back to an earlier date of an order, judgment or filing of a document. See Law.com]
Harry L. Gandy, a former member of the U. S. House of Representatives, and a friend of Charley’s, testified that he had known Wing many years and that he should be admitted as a citizen of the state of South Dakota. Gandy wrote a very convincing letter in Wing’s favor explaining that Wing was now an old man and if he was not admitted and forced to go back to China, he will probably die there, alone.
Mr. J. S. Gantz, testified that he had known Charley Wing over 30 years and that Wing had voted prior to 1889 when the Enabling Act [when South Dakota became a state] was passed. Wing was the manager and head cook at the Chicago Restaurant in Rapid City. [Because Wing also did manual labor as head cook, the immigration authorities considered him a laborer.]
According to the records of the Register of Deeds of Pennington County, Wing was the owner of lot 8, block 7, Feigel’s East Addition in Rapid City assessed at $400. Although Wing was the manager of the restaurant, Robert F. Davis, Immigrant inspector, did not think he qualified as a merchant.
Yee Sing Wah and Yee Wah Ong, partners at Chicago Café, testified that Charley Wing was a partner in the Cafe.
Louis W. Napier, the proprietor of a soft drink place in Rapid City, testified that he had known Charley Wing for 25 years. He said he wouldn’t classify him as a merchant but he was a businessman. His definition of a merchant was one who deals in merchandise although Wing was the proprietor of several restaurants over the years. “He always contributed to any cause, churches and civic movements, campaign finds, etc.”
George F. Schneider, president of Pennington County Bank, testified that he had known Charley Wing for over ten years. Schneider thought Wing was a merchant and in charge of supervision of his restaurant who also did manual labor as a cook so in the strict definition of the Act he was not a merchant.
Affidavits testifying to the good character of Charley Wing were filed by W. L. Gardner, a furniture dealer in Seattle; James B. Barber, a contractor and builder; Charles A. Whitson and Guy Wing, both workers at Wing’s Cafeteria; and Edmund Smith, a lawyer in Seattle.
In the five-page statement filed by Smith & Chester, Wing’s attorneys they reiterated all of Charley Wing’s qualities and point out the sad predicament he was in. They said Wing was denied re-admission because he stated he was a “restaurant man” when he left and a “merchant” when returned. They said, “The government does not mean for its functions to serve as a trap, nor to use this kind of a mistake as a snare for the unwary.” They ended their plea,
“Exercising the broad discretion given to the Secretary of Labor, we earnestly request that the decision of the local board be set aside and an order be entered nunc pro tunc, admitting appellant under his true status, if he cannot be admitted as a merchant.”
In May 1921, Tsang Gee Kay, alias Bennie One, was applying to travel from Oakland, California to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia for two weeks. He was an actor and was playing in a skit at the Pantages. His dog was not mentioned in the file so it is assumed that the dog was part of the skit. Tsang Gee Kay was 25 years old and born in San Francisco on 2 December 1895 according to his birth certificate. His father ran a Bizarre and Chinese restaurants in Frisco. He had a brother, Ernest, and two sisters. He had never been back to China but had been to Canada three times—crossing twice at Blackrock near Buffalo, New York, and a third time at Emerson, North Dakota. Tsang Gee Kay was married to Augusta. She was living at 102-West 90th Street, New York City. They had no children. He was re-admitted at Seattle on 12 June 1921.
[Chin Joe with Chin Gip, age 7; Chin Tall, age 4; and Chin Hoy, age 2 years. They were born in Portland.]
After attending the “Chinese Genealogy Seminar” in March 2016 at Oregon Historical Society Research Library in Portland, Darby Li Po Price of Berkeley, CA was inspired to search for his family’s exclusion files at the National Archives-Seattle. With the help of the staff he found six files including one with a beautiful 1903 photo of his great-great grandfather Joe Chin and three of his children which was part of an application to return to China to find a second wife after his first wife died. Joe’s file includes extensive interviews with descriptions of family life and residences in both China and Portland, as well as his original 1872 entry in San Francisco with his first wife (whose file Darby will search for at the National Archives-San Francisco-San Bruno).
Pictured in 1903 are Joe Chin and the three youngest of nine children from his wife Mon Du Shee whom had recently died. This is part of Joe’s application to go to China to find a wife to attend his children so he could manage his store. Upon returning the next month from China after marrying his second wife, his re-entry was denied. His store was suspected to be “the headquarters for gamblers and lottery dealers” and his identity suspect because his given name was “Chew” on his certificate of residence, “Joe” on other papers, and as “Jew” by a court interpreter (Joe said the differences were misspellings into English by officials). Moreover, he did not have documents for his initial entry in 1872 (not required prior to the Chinese Exclusion Act which went into effect in 1882). Two years later Joe was re-admitted after several white men testified on his behalf.
Chin Joe was formerly a member of the firm of Lun Chong & Company, 130-1/2 Second Street, Portland, Oregon. The name of the firm was changed to Bow, On & Company in 1902. They dealt with dry good and clothing. Currently he was a manager at Gum Wah & Company.
D. C. Lounsberry, a White witness for Chin Joe stated that he had known Chin Joe for about twenty years. Lounsberry was formerly the deputy sheriff for the city of Portland in charge taking a census in 1885 of all Chinese persons residing in the city for the purpose of collecting poll tax. He held this position for eleven or twelve years and got to know all the Chinese merchants. In 1903 Lounsberry was a watchman at the Burnside Street Bridge.
James B. Sinnott, age 35 and born in Portland, swore in an affidavit that he had known Chin Joe for about fifteen years. Sinnott worked in the Sheriff’s office from 1891 to 1896 and assisted in collecting the Chinese Poll taxes.
Robert Holman, an undertaker in Portland for the Edward Holman Undertaking Company, submitted a copy of the invoice for $116.00 for the burial of Doo She, Chin Joe’s deceased wife.
This is the cover and back page of a 16-page booklet, “A Story of Silk,” included in Mark Ten Suie’s file. Besides the sericulture of the silkworm it contains a list of the stockholders of the American-Chinese Silk Manufacturing Company. Other subscribers are capitalists, physicians, merchants, salesmen, attorneys, teachers, a detective, bankers and a variety of other people. The head office was located at 316, 317, and 318 Boston Block in Seattle. Mark Ten Suie was being sent to China to secure a site for a silk factory and promote his silk business. Twenty acres on the Honan River within the city limits of Canton were pledged for the factory. Plans were drawn up for an office, a store room and a building to accommodate one hundred looms. Officers, trustees, and a detailed business plan are listed.
Also in the file are business cards for Mark Ten Suie Co. and Mak Chin Sui, an undated article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer with a photo of Mark Ten Suie, and another unidentified article with the headlines, “Chinese Mission Arrives in City, Silk Merchants on Way to International Exposition at New York, Local Business Sought, Delegation from Canton Expresses Hope for Friendly American Dealing.”