Woo Sing Family Portait – Registering Proof of Birth in Richmond, VA

Chas Wm Sing 1898 Fam photo sm 1070_8787_13 8
“Woo Sing family portrait,” 1898, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charles William Sing file, Seattle, Box 1070, Case 8787/3-8.

This photo was taken in Richmond, Virginia about 1898 of the Woo Sing, his wife Sue King, their son Charles William, and their daughter.
Charles William Sing, born 16 November 1895, was said to be the first Chinese baby born in Richmond, Virginia. [In 1908, the Acting Chinese Inspector stated that the Department of Health did not records birth in the City of Richmond during the years 1888 to 1900.] Woo Sing, knowing that his son nativity might be questioned in future years and his rights under the Constitution may be endangered, had several affidavits recorded in Chancery Court. Woo Sing stated that he was born in China and came to the United States in 1875 at the age of nine, married Sue King, of Chinese descent, but born in San Francisco. They were married there according to the laws of the State of California. They moved to Richmond about 1894 and lived at 2 South 7th Street. He set down the date of his son birth in Chinese and that statement was attached to the affidavits of the attending midwife and two persons who knew him personally. His affidavit was signed 28 April 1898. He paid $1.75 in filing fees. Minetree Folkes, a Notary Public for the City of Richmond, certified Woo Sing’s document.
Walter Christian, Clerk of the Hustings Court of the City of Richmond, certified Folkes’ qualifications.
Caroline Claton, a colored woman, swore in an affidavit that she was a midwife, resided at No. 4 Jackson Street, Richmond, and that on 16 November 1895; she attended to Woo Sing’s wife in the birth of a male child afterwards called Charles William.
Jefferson Wallace swore that he had his linen washed at the laundry of Woo Sing, sometimes called Hop Sing, He knew Woo Sing four or five years, knew that his wife bore a male child in the autumn of 1895 and the child was named Charles William Sing.
Bettie T. Hayes, residing at 817 Floyd Avenue, Richmond, swore the Woo Sing was her tenant and that she has no doubts about the time and place of the birth of Charles William Sing and that his mother brought him to her house on numerous occasions.
These statements were admitted to record on 8 August 1899 by Charles O. Saville, Clerk of the Court of Chancery. The documents were recorded in Deed Book 166 “B”, page 63.
In early September 1908, Woo Sing’s attorney asked the immigration authorities to do a pre-investigation on Charles William Sing to assure that he would not have any problems re-entering the United States. John H. Sargent, Inspector in Charge, in Seattle, complied. On 25 September 1908 John C. Williams, Acting Chinese Inspector, Norfolk, Virginia reported that he had done a thorough check of records and reported that “all the evidence produced and the people interviewed would seem to indicate that there is no doubt of the birth of a Chinese child at #2 So. 7th St., Richmond, Va. about the time set forth in the father’s affidavit.”
On 19 April 1911 Woo Sing, also know at Woo Yip, testified that he was 46 years old, a cook, and living at 655 West Highland Drive, Seattle. His wife and son and daughter were living in China. His statement was in reference to his son, Charles William Sing, coming to Seattle to live with him. Charles, age 16, arrived in Seattle on 15 April 1911 and was admitted. He went back to China in 1913 and 1927 for visits. The final document in his file shows that he was re-admitted on 23 April 1928. He was married. His married name was Woo Gong Jim; his Chinese name was Woo Gong Foon. He had seven children—four sons and three daughters, age 8 to 2. The oldest was born in China and he was staying in Seattle. The others, all born at 1023 King Street, Seattle were going back to China to attend school and return later. He had birth certificates for the children born in Seattle.
Other information not included in the file obtained from Library of Virginia :
The Richmond Dispatch, a Richmond, Virginia newspaper published an article, “Woo Sing Has a Son. He paid $1.75 Yesterday to Certify to this Fact. An [sic] Unique Paper Filed in Court” on 9 August 1899.
[There must have been a problem with Charles William Woo’s return in 1908 because these articles were in the local Richmond, Virginia newspapers.]
“Richmond-Born Chinaman is Denied Re-Admission,” The Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia 24 September 1908, p.10, col 1.
“American Chinaman Barred,” Appomattox and Buckingham Times, Volume 16, Number 48, 30 September 1908, p7, col. 2.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s