Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Ancestors of Edwin Mah Lee, recently deceased mayor of San Francisco (1952-2017)

Edwin Mah Lee, (李孟賢) the mayor of San Francisco, died unexpectedly on 12 December 2017. He was born on 5 May 1952 in Seattle, Washington, the son of Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching).
[See the many tributes to Edwin Mah Lee on the Internet and in newspapers. The following is a brief summary of some of documents in Chinese Exclusion Act case files for his father, grandfather and great grandfather.]

Lee Gok Suey (Edwin Mah Lee’s father)
In August 1937 Lee Ling Hung swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States and the holder of Certificate of Identity No. 34552 issued when he entered the Port of Seattle on 9 February 1921. He was applying to bring his son, Lee Gok Suey, into the United States.

Lee Gok Suey Lee and Ling Hung AFF 1937
“Affidavit with photos of Lee Gok Suey and Lee Ling Hung,” 1937, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Gok Suey case file, Seattle Box 747, 7030/10684.

Lee Gok Suey arrived in Seattle, Washington on 20 December 1937 on the Princess Marguerite and was admitted four months later after a difficult but successful appeal. He was 17 years old, a student and the son of Lee Ling Hung, a United States citizen and Luey Shee. He was born on 9 May 1921 in Taw Long village, Suey Low Section, Hoy San District, China. Originally Lee Gok Suey was denied admission by a board of special inquiry because he was not able to prove to their satisfaction his relationship to his father.
Seattle’s Inspector-in Charge, Joseph H. Gee, re-opened Lee’s case so additional evidence could be obtained. Affidavits from his father, uncle and grandfather were submitted to the board for their review. The applicant’s attorney filed a letter and an affidavit of the applicant’s alleged grandfather, Lee Share Young, and included a photograph with a satisfactory resemblance to Lee Gok Suey. Because of several discrepancies in the witnesses’ testimony the board voted unanimously that Lee not be admitted. His attorney argued that it had been fifteen years since the grandfather had been to China so it was not unusual that his testimony might not completely agree with his two sons who had been to China recently. After more than four months, Lee Gok Suey’s arrival was approved.

Lee Ling Hung (Lee Gok Suey’s father; Edwin Mah Lee’s grandfather)

Lee Ling Hung CI App 1921
“Certificate of Identity Application, Lee Ling Hung,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Hing Hung case file, Seattle Box 433, 7030/719.

Lee Ling Hung first arrived in the United States at Seattle on 21 January 1921 and was admitted as a citizen son of a native. He visited China in 1926 and returned in 1928. During his pre-investigation examination before leaving in 1926 he stated he had one son, Lee Gok Sui, born in 1921. On his return he claimed a second son born while on that trip, Lee Gok Foo. In an application for another trip to China in 1930 he claimed that his second son’s name was Lee Gok Gong and his third son was Lee Gok Foo. Because Lee Ling Hung’s father, Lee Share Young (sometimes spelled Lee Shere Yung)’s citizenship had been granted in 1888 through U. S. District Court discharge papers, Immigrant Inspector Roy M. Porter recommended that Lee Ling Hung’s application for pre-investigation of status be approved. [The confusion over the names of the second and third sons and their dates of birth caused the inspectors to distrust Lee Ling Hung’s testimony and combined with other discrepancies made Lee Gok Suey’s arrival approval so complicated in 1937.]
Before moving to Seattle Lee Ling Hung lived in Portland, Oregon for about six years and he was a baker for Coffman’s Candy Shop at 152 Broadway.

Lee Share Young (Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather; Edwin Mah Lee’s great grandfather)

In March 1938 Lee Share Young (You Yuey, marriage name) testified that he was a bookkeeper at the Quong Tuck Company in Seattle. He was the father of Lee Gim Jeow and Lee Ling Hung and the grandfather of Lee Gok Suey. He was re-examined regarding some of the questions where there was some confusion—were there twelve rows of houses in his village or thirteen? Lee Share Young said, “There are thirteen rows but the first row at the head is not a regular row because there is only a small house and some toilets there.” [It is easy to see how this trivial fact could be confusing.] Lee Share Young’s son sent him a photo of Gok Suey Lee in 1932. The interrogator asked how he could identify his grandson since he had not seen him since he was two years old. He replied, “I have to trust my son who sent me the picture.” There were other discrepancies about the extended family and deceased ancestors, the location of neighbors’ houses in their home village, and the applicant’s school experience. Eventually the board of special inquiry decided that there was enough information where the all the witnesses agreed and they admitted Lee Gok Suey. There were over fifty pages of interrogation. The witnesses were asked about the village, the location of roads, paths, hedges, ponds, shrines, the school, cemetery, stores, and many other minor details. They gave detailed descriptions of the houses, buildings and the people who lived in them. [There were over one hundred houses in their village so this could not have been easy.]

In 1920 Lee Share Young swore in an affidavit that he wanted to bring his son Lee Ling Hung over to the United States. At that time he was a merchant for the Quong Sang Wo Kee Company in Portland, Oregon. He produced his 1888 discharge papers for the interrogators inspection.

Lee Share Yung 1920 Aff
“Lee Share Yung Affidavit with photos of Lee Share Yung and Lee Ling Hung,” 1920, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Yung case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.
Lee Share Yung 1902 Aff
“Lee Share Yung Affidavit,” 1902, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Yung case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.

When Lee Shere [Share] Yung left for a visit to China in 1900 he obtained an affidavit with his photo attached to assure his reentry into the United States. He swore that he was a member of the Wau Yune Lung Kee Company, dealers in Chinese merchandise and provisions doing business at 739 Commercial Street in San Francisco. He had four witnesses: Chas. E. Harris, O. R. Beal, Frank B. Hoyt and Edgar A. Greenblatt. Lee returned on 2 May 1902.

Lee Share Yung Habeas Corpus Petition 1888
“Lee Share Yung, Habeas Corpus Petition,” 1888, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Young case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.
Lee Share Yung Discharge 1888 photo
“Lee Share Yung, Habeas Corpus Judgment Roll, page 2,” 1888, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Young case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.

Lee Share Young, Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather, was born in San Francisco, California on 7 December 1871 to Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee. His marriage name was Lee Yeow You and he was sometimes known as Lee Yung. He married Toy Shee and they had two sons, Lee Gim, born 14 February 1889 and Lee Ling Hung, born 28 November 1901. Lee Share Yung’s paternal grandparents were Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee. He had an older brother, Lee Seah Fook, living in California. The parents of his wife, Toy Shee, were Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee.

The family of Edwin Mah Lee found in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files:
Parents:
Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching)
Grandparents:
Lee Ling Hung and Luey Shee
Great Grandparents:
Lee Share Young and Toy Shee
G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s parents)
Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee
G G Grandparents: (Toy Shee’s parents)
Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee
G G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s grandparents)
Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee

The Reference Sheets in the files also contains Seattle file numbers for Lee Gok Suey’s cousin, Lee Gwok Ying (7030/13310); uncle, Lee Gim Jeow (7030/4521); Lee Gwock Ying, Lee Gim Jeow’s son, (7030/13310).

For more information see:
Wikipedia
Seattle Times
New York Times

Advertisements

Gin Mon Louie – Chinese Herbalist in Seattle

Gin Mon Louie 1913

In 1912 Gin Mon Louie was applying to visit China. His witness, Willard A. Norse, testified that he was 50 years old and living at 1902 Yesler Way and was in the hotel business. He owned two hotels– at 114-1/2 2nd South and 122 2nd South in Seattle. For the past five years M. Hee Woo (He Wo), a Chinese doctor, rented five rooms at the hotel on 122 2nd South. Dr. Woo was Gin Mon Louie’s employer and when Woo visited China in early 1912, Gin Mon Louie took over the business for him until his return. Then it was Gin Mon Louie’s turn to visit China.
F. T. Carlton, a druggist, age 52, living a 1942 10th Avenue West in Seattle, also testified for Gin Mon Louie in 1912. They were both druggists in the same building and saw each other four or five times a day. Carlton knew that Gin Mon Louie was going to China to get married.
Gin Mon Louie application was approved. He visited China, married, returned in September 1913 and received his Certificate of Identity #12747.
When Gin Mon Louie applied to visit China in 1921 his witnesses were Dr. J. E. Godfrey and Axel Hedberg. Godfrey was a physician and surgeon residing at 103 Second Avenue South. He had lived in Seattle since 1914. He knew about a couple dozen Chinese and named Dr. Louie, Quon Foy, Chin Him and Tom Leong as examples. He stated that Gin Mon Louie was a Chinese herb doctor, not a regular licensed physician, but a sanipractor [drugless-healer/naturopathic doctor]. Dr. Lamb was his partner. Godfrey and Gin Mon Louie were friends and saw each other about once a month.
Gin Mon Louie’s other witness, Alex Hedberg, was the newspaper publisher for the Swedish Tribune and lived at 44 Rose Avenue in Sunnyside. Hedberg did not know many Chinese but was acquainted with Gin Mon Louie because Louie advertised in his newspaper. He went to Gin Mon Louie’s office monthly to collect the five dollars owed him for the ads.
Charles E. Keagy, Immigrant Inspector, visited Dr. Louie at his office and obtained a copy of M. Hee Wo (Hee Woo) Company’s income tax report for 1920. He recommended that Gin Mon Louie’s application to visit China and return as a merchant be approved.

 1920 Income report
“Seattle Correspondence: Inspector to Commissioner, 35100/27-10,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gin Mon Louie case file, Seattle Box 1003, 7032/3549.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1924 Gin Mon Louie made another trip to China. Godfrey and Hedberg were his witnesses again.
Gin Mon Louie visited China again in 1934 and returned in 1937. The interrogators asked him about his interactions in China with Chinese who were residents of the United States: Did he visit with anyone in his village that was from the U.S? Did he attend a wedding of anyone from the U.S.? Did he arrange to appear as a witness for a prospective applicant for admission to the U.S.? Louie answered no to all these questions and there were not follow-up questions.
The Examining Inspector, Roy C. Matterson, reviewed information from when Gin Mon Louie originally came into the United States. He was first admitted at San Francisco as a student in 1904 and was sometimes known as Jin Mon Yuey. Immigration listed him as Chan Man Yai but Gin Mon Louie thought it was either misspelled or mispronounced. Matterson updated Gin Mon Louie’s family information. His marriage name was Jin Lip Moon. He was married to Yee Shee and they had two sons, Jin Ok Jung and Jin Hing Lok; all living in China.

Gin Mon Louie, 1913 & 1937
“Photos of Gin Mon Louie,” 1913, 1937, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gin Mon Louie case file, Seattle Box 1003, 7032/3549.

Gin Mon Louie was admitted.

Florence Wong – a trip from Seattle to Canada

Wong Florence 1921
“Florence Wong, Form 430 photo,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Florence case file, Seattle Box 769, 7030/11401. [Also file 35100/3768 brought forward]

Florence Wong received her Certificate of Identity #49347 when she was seven year old. She and her family were returning to their home in Seattle from a trip to China on s.s. President Jefferson on 17 May 1923. They left Seattle in September 1921.
In 1938 her husband Chin Tsee Foo, marriage name Chin Mon Bing, American name Harold Chin, was applying to visit Canada for a few days. Florence’s brother, Wong Oak Wing, would be accompanying them in their drive to Canada. Harold was born in Chicago, Illinois on 6 January 1914 to Chin Kong Fong and Chin Woo See. He had two sisters Stella Chin (Chin Chuey Hai) and Georgia Chin (Chin Yin Hai). Harold was a student at Aeronautical University in Chicago. His family still lived in Chicago.
Harold and Florence were married in Seattle on 14 January 1935. They had a daughter, Rosalind Maye Chin (Chin Lai Goon) who was born in Chicago on 6 March 1936.
Florence Wong Chin, daughter of Wong Fook and his first wife Ong Shee, testified that she was born on 7 November 1916 in Seattle. A certified copy of her birth certificate is included in the file.
Wong Florence Birth Certificate 1916
“Florence Wong (Guto Wah Wong), 1916 Seattle, Washington Birth Certificate,” 1918, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Florence case file, Seattle Box 769, 7030/11401.
Florence was the eldest child in the family and had three brothers: Wong Oak Yen, Wong Oak Wing (Homer Wong), and Wong Oak Foo (Walter Wong). After their mother died her father married Soo Hoo Shee; they had four children together and lived in Seattle.

The files for Florence, her husband, daughter and brother were approved. They left for Canada by auto from Blaine, Washington on 5 September 1938 and returned on the 12th.
According to the Reference Sheet the files examined for the case were those of Florence Wong Chin’s husband, three brothers, mother, father, step-mother and daughter. Their file case numbers are listed.
[The next time you across the border into Canada, remember Florence Wong Chin and her family. This was a straight forward case with no hitches but because of the restrictive laws it still necessitated interrogations of several people, documents and an examination of many files.]

Look Gom Hong – Son of deceased American-born Chinese citizen who resided in Seattle

Undertaker’s Bill for Look Ah Pong
“Undertaker’s Bill for Look Ah Pong,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Gom Hong case file, Seattle Box 650, 7030/7291.

Look Ah Pong, an American-born Chinese citizen died on 7 January 1921 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Seattle, Washington on 10 January. His son, Look Gom Hong, born at Sing Shu Village, Fook Chung, Sun Ning, China, originally entered the United States through the Port of Seattle in 1923. He received his Certificate of Identity #50610 upon arrival. After his entry was approved he joined his older brother, Look Gim Yook (York), in New York City.

In 1935 Look Gom Hong filled out his Form 430, Application for Pre-investigation of Status, for his upcoming trip to China. He was 25 years old and a waiter at Li Chee Gardens Restaurant in New York City. In over five pages of interrogation Look Gom Hong described his father’s and mother’s siblings, his grandparents on both sides of the family, their extended families, and many details about their village.

Look Gim Yook (York) testified on behalf of his brother. He swore that he was with their father when he died at Hai Ping Fong in Seattle. He did not have his father’s death certificate but he gave the interrogator a bill addressed to the Hip Sing Company from Collins Brothers Undertaking Company for $125 for the burial of his father. He surrendered his father’s Certificate of Identity #2671 which was issued in 1911. The interrogators then asked Look Gim Yook (York) the same questions about the family and village as his brother. [His father’s Certificate of Identity was valuable proof of the family connection.]

Look Kim Fun who was admitted to the U.S. in 1922 was from their village and testified for Look Gom Hong. He was asked the same questions about the family and village and also stated that the village had thirteen houses and a watch house. [Since it was such a small village everyone knew each other’s families making Look Kim Fun a credible witness.]

The Inspectors reviewed the interrogations and decided that the testimony of the three witnesses agreed. Look Gom Hong made a favorable impression; the brothers resembled each other and they were prompt and frank in their testimony. Look Gom Hong’s application was approved.

Photos of Look Kim York and Look Gom Hong
“Photos of Look Kim York and Look Gom Hong, Affidavit,” 1923, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Gom Hong case file, Seattle Box 650, 7030/7291.
The Reference Sheet in the file includes the names, relationships and file numbers for Look Gom Hong’s father, brother, two nephews, two uncles, two cousins, and a “distant relative.”