William K. Lai – Vaudeville performer & vocal soloist from Portland, OR

William Lai 1913
“Lai Man Kim (William K. Lai), Form 430 photo,” 1913, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lai Man Kim case file, Portland Box 23, 3282.

Lai Man Kim whose American name was William K. Lai was born on 5 September 1887 in Portland Oregon, the son of Lai Fong and Foong Ho. He had no siblings. His father died when he was about four years old and his mother went to live in China in 1906. Lai Kim obtained a certificate of residence in 1894 when he was seven years old. On his 1913 pre-investigation of citizenship status he listed several witnesses: Mr. Sanborn of Van Schuyver & Co., and several prominent Chinese: Lee Mee Gin, Seid Back, Moy Back Hin, Seid Back, Jr. (Said Gain) and Moy Bow Wing. Lai Kim was a charter member of the American Born Chinese Association in Portland and held certificate number 21. After his mother left Portland he lived with the Moy Bow Wing family. He listed his occupation as vocal soloist at the Majestic Theatre in Portland. Lai Kim was a student at Chinese and English schools in Portland before attending the University of Oregon at Eugene, Oregon. Lai Wai, Lai Kim’s cousin and godfather, help support him and his mother after his father’s death.
Lai Man Kim’s application was approved by the Seattle Immigration Office but he didn’t leave the country at that time. About a year later, in 1914, Martin Beck, General Manager of the Orpheum Circuit in Chicago wrote to Immigration Service in Portland to tell them that Lai Man Kim would be leaving Chicago for Canada, then returning to Seattle from Vancouver, B.C. There is no more information in the file.
Information not included in the file:
[These entries are from my 2009 blog on the Chinese at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle. The newspaper articles tell a little bit more about William Lai’s earlier musical career.]
Portland student at AYPE and Harry Ding and William Lai Perform

Charley Dea Laundry Price Ticket – 1916 Chicago area

Chinese Laundry Ticket 1916
“Charley Dea Light-Grade Hand Laundry Price List,” ca. 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Chung Hing case file, Box RS 285, RS 34366.

In 1916 Lee Chung Hing, a laborer, applied to leave the United States from his home in Chicago, Illinois for a visit to China. His application for a laborer’s return certificate was rejected because he could not prove that he was a lawful resident of the United States. He had lived in the U.S. for about 36 years but did not have the required certificate of residence. When he originally entered the U.S. he was classified as a merchant. He presented his original merchant identification paper in 1916. It was not accepted.

John G. Sullivan, Immigration Inspector in Boston, interviewed those who Lee Chung Hing listed as his business partners at Quong Suey Lung Company in Boston in the 1890s. Chin Sing had been a partner of the firm for over thirty years but did not remember Lee Chung Hing. He had heard that Lee was a member of the firm but didn’t know him. Lee Chung Hing’s Caucasian witnesses, Luther Gaddis and William K. Jones, were both deceased by 1916. According to the inspector both witnesses had signed hundreds of affidavits for Boston Chinese years ago. They were not the most credible witnesses.

Lee Chung Hing was sixteen years old in 1880 when he first came to the United States. It was two years before the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. He lived in San Francisco as a merchant until about 1892, Boston for seven years, then Chicago where he was a laborer working in a laundry. Lee had a hard time getting the proper paper work for his return certificate. There was a lot of confusion about what documents were needed when the Act was first passed; Lee switched from being a merchant to a laborer; and different documents were required for each classification. Over thirty years had passed since he first arrived in the U.S. His witnesses couldn’t remember him and two had died.

On Lee’s application for a return certificate he claimed his friend of over twenty years, Dea Poon Suey borrowed $1050 from him to buy a laundry in Aurora, Illinois. In fact, the loan was only for $500. [The Scott Act 1888 severely restricted Chinese laborers who were already residing here from returning to China for visits. They could not reenter unless they owned property or held a business investment of $1,000 or more.1] The amount of his loan wasn’t enough to satisfy the law’s requirements. He did not have enough evidence to obtain a return certificate and was denied because lawful residence in the country had not been shown. He was giving the right to appeal. There is no indication that he appealed.

1 John Jung, Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain (Yin & Yang Press), 2007, 31.

Arthur Chin –Chinese-Japanese War Pilot and WW II Hero

Photo of Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin)
“Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin), Form 430 photo,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin) case file, Portland, Box 102, 1209/614.

[See CEA Blog entry for Virginia Wong on 1 May 2017 for more information on the World War II Chinese combat pilots who trained in Portland, Oregon.]

Arthur Chin (Chin Suey Tin) was born on 22 October 1913 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon, the son of Chin Fon and Eva Wong (Wong Gue Tai). In 1922 at age eight, he visited China with his family. They stayed fourteen months. He attended Atkinson Grammar School and Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland.
He applied to visit China in August 1932 to visit his sick grandmother. In his application he stated he had three sisters: Mildred, Dorothy and Evelyn, and two brothers; Harold and Norman. He left for China in August. A few months later, in November, he enlisted as a fighter pilot for the Chinese Air Force to fight in the Japanese-Chinese war. He became a war hero.
Although Arthur Chin was born in Portland, Oregon, he lost his U.S. citizenship when he joined the Chinese Air Force. He married in China and his two sons were born in Hong Kong. Because of his lost citizenship, his sons, Gilbert and Stephen, were not considered U.S. citizens.
His wife was killed in the war. Major Chin was injured with severe burns and was returned to the United States at Miami, Florida on 25 July 1942 as a war casualty. He was hospitalized for over two years. He was released from the service of the Chinese Air Force on 1 February 1945.
In 1944 his 1922 Certificate of Identification was returned to him. He was repatriated in July 1945 in the U.S. District Court, Portland, Oregon. According to his second wife, Frances, in 1945 Arthur Chin was flying for PanAm Airlines and based in Calcutta, India.
Arthur Chin’s 1945 naturalization #D-376 is mentioned in the file.
[ Much is written about Arthur Chin but his Chinese Exclusion Act case file usually is not mentioned.]

Charlotte Chang – lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a China native

Charlotte Chang Photo 1910
“Charlotte Chang Photo, Form 430,” 1910, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charlotte Chang case file, Seattle, Box RS 193, RS 29,101.

Charlotte Chang lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a China native.
Charlotte Ah Tye Chang, mother of Ora Chang [see June 19, 2017 blog entry] and Oliver Carrington Chang, was married to Hong Yen Chang, the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, British Columbia. When Mrs. Chang and her children applied to leave the United States in May 1910, the Commissioner of Immigration wrote,
“…I am not prepared to approve her application, as under section 3 of the act of March 2, 1907, in reference to the expatriation of citizens and their protection abroad it would seem that this woman is not now a citizen of the United States she having been married to an alien, and which marital relationship has not been terminated. Of course Mrs. Chang being the wife of a consular representative is permitted to accompany her husband into the country at any time.“
Charlotte Chang and her children were all born in California. Although Charlotte lost her citizenship when she married a Chinese native, she was allowed to leave the U.S. and return because of his position as the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, B.C.
In 1935 Charlotte Chang petitioned for the restoration of her American citizenship (Naturalization file No. 22 X 6304). In her statement she said that in January 1910, accompanied by her mother, Chan Shee, she gave testimony at Angel Island station, California to receive return certificates in order to proceed to Vancouver, B. C. The Chang family took a train from San Francisco to Seattle and then a steamer to Vancouver. Mrs. Chang claimed that she lived in Vancouver from 1910 to about January 1913.
[The file refers to Charlotte Chang’s San Francisco file #12041/62 and her citizenship restoration but doesn’t give any more information.]

Ora Ivy Chang – Berkeley Resident

Ora Chang photo
“Ora Chang Photo, Form 430,” 1910, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ora Chang (Chang Ora) case file, Seattle, Box RS 193, RS 29,102.

[What huge bows in Ora’s hair and fine detail on her dress.]
Ora Chang, the daughter of Hong Yen Chang, the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, British Columbia, was admitted to the United States at the Port of Seattle on 5 April 1912 with her mother Charlotte Chang They were making a brief trip from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle accompanied by Chin Keay of the Quong Tuck Company.
Ora Ivy Chang’s initial application to travel to China was in 1910. The family was living 2330 Fulton Street, in Berkeley at the time. Her birth certificate stating that she was born at Laporte, California on 8 November 1898 is included in the file. She was visiting China with her mother and brother Oliver Carrington Chang. The San Francisco Chinese Inspector interviewed Ora Chang, age 12; Charlotte Ahtye Chang, her mother; Chun Shee, her grandmother; Dr. Elizabeth Keys, the physician who attended at the birth of her brother Oliver; and D. R. Rose, another white witness who knew Mrs. Chang since 1884. Chun Shee, Ora’s grandmother, testified that she was 68 years old and the widow of Yee Ahtye. They had five children, all born in Laporte, California: a daughter Fook Yow living in Oakland; a son, Yee Jock Sam living in San Francisco; daughters Yee Ah Oy and Yee King Lan, living in Berkeley; and a son Yee Jock Wai (Dilly), living in San Francisco.
[This file gives lot of names and places of residence but doesn’t have a lot of other personal information.]

Compelling Letter of Support by Ruby Whang

Excerpt of 1941 letter from Ruby Whang:

Excerpt of letter from Ruby Whang
“Letter of Support by Ruby Whang,” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang, who was in his early 50s or 60s, was arrested in Portland, Oregon in May 1941—he was a Chinese-born laborer without papers. He arrived in the United States as a stowaway about 1918.
Ruby Whang, a 17-year old Korean girl from Gresham, Oregon sent a letter to E. P. Marsh at the U.S. Court House in Portland. The letter was forwarded to Marsh in Washington, D.C. He knew nothing about the case or how Whang got his name. He forwarded to Roy Norene at Immigration in Portland saying the letter “has a very appealing tone…”
There is no information in the file of how it was discovered the Chin was an illegal. He worked on a farm and there is no mention of him getting into trouble.
A letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation “fails to disclose prior arrests or criminal data…” [The letter is signed with the signature stamp of J. E. Hoover.]

J Edgar Hoover Letter
“Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Portland Director of Immigration, 1941” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang was deported.

Chin Ng Ten & Rosa Emma Pellebon marriage registration-1 March 1906, Louisiana, Parish of Orleans

Chin Ng Ten & Rosa Emma Pellebon marriage registration
“Marriage Registration, Louisiana, Orleans Parish,” 1906, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Ng Ten case file, Seattle, Box RS 195, RS 29,167.

In 1906 Chin Ng Ten was arrested in New Orleans under the Chinese Exclusion Acts for not possessing a proper legal certificate. He was acquitted when he furnished evidence showing that he had been arrested in St. Albans, Vermont in 1896 and the charge was discharged by Felix W. McGettrick, U. S . Commissioner for the District of Vermont. Immigration Services in Boston verified that McGettrick’s seal and signature were genuine. The discharge did not include Chin Ng Ten’s photograph. Henry Chiapella, U. S. Commissioner, Eastern District of Louisiana issued Chin Ng Ten another certificate with a photo.
[McGettrick was known for being a “sympathetic judge” but the authorities in New Orleans may not have known of his reputation.]
In 1912 Chin Ng Ten and his wife applied to visit China. Mrs. Chin Ng Ten was interviewed. She gave her maiden name as Rosa Emma Pellebon, daughter of Francois Pellebon and Annie Magloui, born in Santiago, Cuba. Rosa said her father was of the Spanish race. They submitted a copy of their 1906 marriage registration showing they were married by Judge T. F. Maher in New Orleans. Witnesses for the wedding were William McDuffy and John Schroeder.
Chin Ng Ten was thirty-two years old in 1912, born in San Francisco, and had been living in New Orleans since about 1903. Before that he lived in Baltimore for seven years.
Chin Ng Ten’s 1912 application was approved and he received a certificate of identity #9834. Their visit to China was short–they left in May and came back to New Orleans in December 1912. There is no file for Rosa since she was not Chinese.
[There is no more information in the file.]