Wong Laine Heung (Helen Wong) – Post Card & a Murder

1930 Post Card of Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
“Post Card of Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver, B.C., Canada,” 1930, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Laine Heung (Helen Laine Louis) case file, Portland, Box 93, Case 5017/554.

Written of the back: “July 8, 1930
Dear Mr. Norene,
This is just a few lines to thank you and Mr. Lowe for your prompt attention on my matter.
With kindest personal regards,
Helen Wong”
[This post card is included in the file for Helen Wong.]
In June 1930, Wong Laine Heung (Helen Laine Louis), also known as Helen Wong, applied to leave Portland, Oregon for a short visit to Vancouver, B.C. with the Orpheum Circuit. Helen was a musician and played the piano. She was interrogated by Roy J. Norene, Immigrant Inspector. The Chinese Interpreter was Herman Lowe. Helen stated that she was born in San Luis Obispo, California on 14 April 1905. Her father, Ah Lui, also known as Wong On or Wong Ok Fon was a wealthy merchant. Her mother, Gon Ying Lui, died when Helen was six or seven years old. Helen went to Court Grammar School and California Polytechnic School and had five brothers and two sisters. They were all born at 800 Palm Avenue in San Luis Obispo. Helen’s brother, George (Wong Him), was also an actor.
Helen’s brother, Wong Jung Sing, was a witness for her. His birth certificate lists his name as Walter Wong Louis; his school name and business name was Wong Sing Louis. The Immigrant Inspector, H. F. Duff, asked Walter why the family name was “Louis” and sometimes “Wong.” Walter said that his father was known as “Louis” in the mines. Walter was a jeweler at Tin We Jewelry Store in San Francisco.
Included in the file is a telegram from the Signal Corps, United States Army to Immigration Service in Portland. It alerts Immigration that Helen’s brother murdered his mother or stepmother and was hanged for the crime. Mr. Norene at Immigration ignored the telegram and approved Helen Wong’s Form 430 enabling her to go to Canada. [The murder had nothing to do with Helen’s immigration status.]
[Information not in the file but found on GenealogyBank.com: San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram has many articles on the murder which took place in September 1909. Willie Louis had several reprieves but was finally hanged at San Quentin state prison on 6 December 1912 for the murder of his stepmother. ]

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One thought on “Wong Laine Heung (Helen Wong) – Post Card & a Murder

  1. A fascinating connection of Helen and her brother Willie Louis, hung for murdering his step mother!
    Ah Louis, their father was a wealthy San Luis Obispo merchant and labor contractor and his store still stands as one of the last remaining buildings of Chinatown.

    Liked by 1 person

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