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Wong Ming Bow – 1897, arrested, held two months, tried, declared U.S. citizen, released

Wong Ming Bow 1897 Discharge papers
“Discharge Papers – Wong Ming Bow,” 1897, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ming Bow case file, Seattle, Box 577, 7030/4947.

Wong Ming Bow was born in San Francisco about 1876. His parents took him back to China when he was four years old. In 1882 while the family was in China the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Wong Ming Bow returned to the United States in 1897 when he was 21 years old. He entered at Malone, New York and was immediately arrested. He did not have the proper papers and could not prove he was a United States citizen. Wong and about nine or ten other Chinese were held in a three-story brick building for about two months. Wong was finally issued his discharge papers by U. S. Commissioner William P. Badger at Malone on 27 July 1897. Unlike most discharge papers, his did not include his photograph. This document was the only proof he had of his citizenship. It was very precious—without it he could be deported.
Wong made trips back to China from Buffalo, New York in 1907 and 1911. Each time his discharge papers were reviewed. The “discharge certificate was sent to Inspector George W. Ketchum at Malone who compared it with the docket and found it genuine. Commissioner Badger identified the signature on the certificate as his own.”
In an interview with Wong on 7 July 1911 he said his father came to get him when he was arrested in 1897. This is the only detail given about the 1897 arrest and it does not mention what documents his father used to prove the Wong was born in San Francisco and a citizen of the United States. Evidently it was enough for the commissioner to issue the discharge papers.
There were several correspondences between Buffalo, Boston and Vancouver, B.C. immigration offices trying to locate the necessary paper work in Wong’s file. On 10 July 1911, the commissioner in Boston wrote to the Inspector in Vancouver, B. C. saying, “the papers in this case can be easily located, no doubt, by reference to the large books entitled “Record of arrivals and disposition of Chinese Persons,” at Malone, which were packed in the box marked M 6, from which the serial number can be ascertained. Inasmuch as the card index at Malone was not started until January 1, 1909, this case cannot be found by reference to that.” [It is not known who underlined these passages.]
In 1913 Wong Ming Bow was issued a certificate of identity No. 10150. It was a sturdy document and much easier and safer to carry around than his discharge papers. Wong’s certificate is not included in the file but to see an example see (Chin) Lin Hing’s certificate .
[There is much more information on Wong Ming Bow and his family in the files. Get more details on next week’s entry.]

Seid Juck Family Portrait – The Dalles, Oregon

Seid Juck Family Portrait
“Seid Juck Family Portrait,” ca. 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seid Quay Fong (Foon) and Fung Shee case file, Portland, Box 31, 4242.

[This undated, unidentified family portrait was included in the file. The people in the photograph are almost identical to other photos in the file: Fung Shee (mother), Seid Quay Foon (daughter), Sher Lun (adopted son), Seid Juck (father), and baby (probably born in 1916-17; not mentioned in the file). The photo was taken about 1917.]
Fung Shee and her daughter, Seid Quay Fong (or Foon), arrived at the port of Seattle, Washington on 3 June 1915 and were admitted four days later. Fung Shee’s husband, Seid Juck, was a merchant and manager of the Wing Yuen Company at 208 First Street in The Dalles, Oregon.
The file tells a complicated story. Seid Juck and his first wife adopted a son, Sher Lun. After Seid Juck’s wife died, his first cousin, Seid Dai, who was visiting in China from The Dalles, arranged for Fung Shee, a widow without children, to live in Seid Juck’s home and take care of Sher Lun. Seid Dai (sometimes referred to as Seid Ah Dai) was a fruit rancher and contractor for laborers for the Seufert Cannery in The Dalles, Oregon.
Fung Shee was thirty-one years old in 1915 and had bound feet. W. F. Watkins, Chinese and Immigrant Inspector in Portland, Oregon, explained the marriage situation in his report to J. H. Barbour, Inspector in Charge. Watkins said that Seid Juck and Fung Shee’s marriage was arranged by Seid Ah Dai and was “consummated by the bride coming to Seid Juck’s home to live.” “… according to Chinese custom, nothing additional in the way of ceremony is necessary when the bride is a widow.” Seid Juck arrived in China in October 1912 about a year after the marriage to Fung Shee took place. He returned to The Dalles in May 1913 with his son Sher Lun. His daughter, Quay Foon, was born four month later in China. Seid Sher Lun, age 11 in 1915, was attending school in The Dalles in Grade 2A in Miss Sebring’s class.
Seid Juck’s marriage name was Seid Sing Gee. He was 52 years old in 1915. Other members of the Wing Yuen Company were Seid Wah My, salesman and buyer; Seid Lup, silent partner; Seid Wah Yim, bookkeeper and salesman; Seid Sui, silent partner; and Seid Sing, silent partner. The company’s annual sales were $5,000.
F. A. Seufert, Jr. was a witness for Seid Juck’s 1912 trip to China. Seufert had known Seid Juck for about 12 or 14 years. He swore that Seid Juck was a bonafide merchant and performed no manual labor except that was necessary in the conduct of his business at the Wing Yuen Company.
Arthur Seufert, age 37, was born in San Francisco and lived in The Dalles, Oregon for 35 years. He was a member of his family’s salmon cannery, Seufert Brothers Company, and swore he knew Seid Juck and his partner, Seid Wah Yim, for several years. The brothers both gave favorable and positive statements for Seid Juck.

There is no information about Fung Shee in the file after 1915. In 1926, a letter in the file states that their daughter, Seid Quay Foon, age 14, applied for and received a Certificate of Identity.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother's Dad Telegram ad
“Telegram Ad for Mother’s Day,” May 14, 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Louie Kin Hong case file, Seattle, Box 960, 2301.

[This is a copy of an ad on a telegram in Louie Kin Hong’s file. The telegram was notifying the immigration office that he had arrived in the port.]

[Mother’s Day in 1922 just happened to be the same date as Mother’s Day in 2017.]

Letterhead for Wa Chong Co. Importers, Seattle, WA

Letterhead Wa Chong Co.
“Wa Chong Co. Importers, letterhead” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Woo Back (Bak) Sue(y) case file, Seattle, Box 756, 7030/10966.

Woo Bak Sue – Released after paying detention costs $25.05 in 1899
Woo Bak Sue was born on 10 August 1884 in Seattle, Washington Territory, just two years after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed and five years before Washington Territory became a state. His parents, Woo Tai Gap and Chew See, took Bak Sue to China when he was about five years old. Bak Sue came back to the United States through Port Townsend in the summer of 1899 when he was fifteen years old. When he arrived he was arrested, put in detention and given a hearing. A writ of habeas corpus was issued stating that he had been detained without authority of law and that he was entitled to be released on the grounds that he was a native born citizen. The order of discharge was made by Judge C. H. Hanford of the U.S. District Court, Northern Division, District of Washington. Woo Bak Sue was released after paying for the costs of his detention amounting to $25.05. He asked that his photograph be attached to his discharge papers and that the papers be certified and sent to him.
He made three trips to China after 1899—1904 to 1905, 1910 to 1911, and 1915 to May 1938. When Woo Bak Sue applied to leave for China in 1903 his Caucasian witnesses were J. F. McGee and D. G. Rinehart. They both swore that they were residents and citizens of Seattle for the last twenty years and were well acquainted with Bak Sue and his parents. Woo Gen of the Wa Chong Co. sent a letter on company stationery to Thomas M. Fisher, Chinese Inspector, Office of the Collector of Customs in Port Townsend saying he would be a witness for Bak Sue if requested.
When Bak Sue was returning in 1911, the immigration inspector asked him if he knew any of the Chinese at the detention house. He said he knew Woo Bing Gee. There were no followup questions asked.
Woo Bak Sue’s son, Woo Sze Hong, arrived in Seattle in September 1938. His Seattle file number is 7030/11336. In October 1938 Woo Bak Sue was applying to return to China because he wasn’t feeling well. His application was approved. Bak Sue’s marriage name was Woo Gun Lum. He had a wife and six sons and two daughters in Nom On Village, Hoy San District. The village had 26 houses in three rows, facing south. He and his family lived in the 6th house, 6th lot, 2nd row. He had a grocery business there called Ow San Market.
[The file contains photos of Woo Bak Sue from 1903, 1910, 1912, 1915 and 1938.]

Virginia Wong – buried at National Cemetery of the Air Force at Nanking, China

Wong Virginia photo 1933
“Virginia Wong, Form 430 photo,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Quai Yin (Virginia Wong) case file, Portland, Box 96, 5017/723.

“Wong Quai Yin, alias Virginia Wong, dies while serving as a commissioned lieutenant in the National Commission of Aeronautical Affairs.”

In 1930 Virginia applied to Immigration to visit Vancouver, B.C. as a member of a theatrical troupe. She had two brothers, George (Wong Gong Ho) and Gordon; and four sisters, Betty, Margaret, Alice, and Myrtle. They were all born in Portland. George was a witness for his sister. Nancie D. Singleton, a teacher at Atkinson Public School in Portland, swore in an affidavit that she taught George, Virginia and Gordon Wong and had a general acquaintance with the entire family.
On 9 February 1933 Wong Quai Yin (Virginia Wong), age 21 years, of Portland, Oregon, applied to visit China. She was born on 15 November 1911 to Wong Chock Way and Jung Shee. She had just finished her preliminary training as an aviator. [She was not asked anything about this training.]
A copy of a 3 June 1935 letter to the editor of the Oregonian newspaper was added to the file. Elizabeth Wong, Virginia’s sister, was correcting an error in a 12 May 1935 Oregonian article, “Portland-Trained Chinese Flying to Oriental Fame.” [article not included in the case file] The original article stated that “Miss Wong died in Canton from malaria before the start of a campaign to exploit the air corps through these two women fliers” (Virginia Wong and Hazel Lee). Elizabeth explained that her sister Virginia died in the fall of 1934 at Nanchang while serving as a Commissioned Lieutenant in the National Commission on Aeronautical Affairs and was buried at the National Cemetery of the Air Force at Nanking.

[In the next few weeks there will be more information on the blog about the Al Greenwood flying school for Chinese, where Virginia trained, and other Chinese who trained there. It is surprising that the interviewer did not ask Virginia more about her flight training.]

The website, Disciples of Flight, has an article about the school and the aviators, “World War 2 Flying Ace Arthur Chin’s story is an incredible story of courage and survival during wartime” World War 2 Flying Ace Arthur Chin’s story is an incredible story of courage and survival during wartime” by Andy Chan, John Gong and Michael Little. It tells about flight training at Al Greenwood flying school in Portland and its connection to the “Flying Tigers.”
The articles has footnotes and a list of sources—books, articles, and websites.

Leong Gain – Positive testimony given by Caucasian Witnesses

Leong Gain 1932 photo
“Leong Gain, Form 430 photo,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong Gain case file, Portland, Box 96, 5017/705.

Leong Gain, son of Leong Poy and Lee Shee, was born on Oak Street in Portland, Oregon on 24 September 1893. When Leong Gain was about five or six years old, his mother returned to China with his baby sister.
Leong Gain visited his family in China in 1912. He received his Certificate of Identity in San Francisco, California upon his re-admission to the United States as a native-born citizen in 1914.
Leong Gain’s most challenging application came in 1917 with his interview for re-entry into the United States. He stated that Mr. Frasier and Billy Fook knew about his birth. The examining inspector, W. F. Watkins, questioned Leong Gain’s honesty because Leong did not mention his sister when he was interviewed in 1912. The 1917 interview went on and on. Recorded on page 3 of the interview, Watkins said, “You mean to say now, do you, that the first knowledge you received of your having a sister was when you returned to China in 1912…?” Leong Gain answered, “That’s correct.” The inspector wanted to know if Gain’s sister was born in Portland or China. Although he thought his sister was born in Portland, Gain explained that he just too young to know the details of his sister’s birth. He would have been 5 or 6 when she and his mother returned to China. (It was probably traumatic to be motherless at that young age.)
Later in the interview, the point of the questioning finally becomes apparent. Watkins said, “Isn’t it true and you and your sister were both born in China?”
The next nine pages of the interview involve witnesses testifying that Leong Gain was born in Portland.
Haw Ah Fook, also known as Billy Fook, was about 64 years old in 1917, when he testified that Leong Gain was born in Portland. He didn’t know Leong Gain as a small child but knew his father, Gong Poy. As far as he knew, Gong Poy lived on the east side of Portland and had a wife and son there. When Watkins pressed him for more information, he said, “Mr. Watkins, I can’t remember those things. I attend to my business and I don’t keep track of the Chinese. I can’t remember those things.” On the third page of Billy Fook’s interview, Watkins asked him if Leong Gain ever told him if he had a brother or sister. Fook replied, “No, never said a dam’ word to me.”
Charles R. Frasier, a merchant at Crescent Paper Company, testified that he had known Leong Gain all his life, since he was born. He was a week or two old when Frasier saw him for the first time. Frasier said he and his parents took an interest in the family. He saw the family frequently until he went away to college. After he got married and opened his own business, Leong Gain and his father would visit his business every few months. At Christmas they would bring Chinese nuts; they never forgot the family on Christmas. Mr. Watkins asked Frasier over and over if he was certain that Leong Gain was born in Portland. Frazier said, “I would gamble my last dollar on it.”
George J. Kadderly worked in the hardware business in Portland. He easily recognized Leong Gain from his photograph. He remembered “this little chap was around in swaddling clothes around on the sidewalk.” He saw Leong Gain off and on over the years on the street or in Chinatown. Whenever he ran into Leong Gain he always said, “Hello, George.”

Because Frasier and Kadderly were well-known, respected White witnesses and their statements were clear cut and positive in Leong Gain’s favor, Inspector Watkins approved the application in spite of some inconsistencies.
Leong Gain made another trip to China in 1923; returning in 1926. During his 1923 interview he presented his Portland draft registration card dated 5 June 1917. He was classified as 1-A but was not called for active military duty because he was under weight.
In October 1932 Leong Gain was applying for his fourth visit to China and was approved. Each time he traveled outside of the United States he went through the whole process of being interviewed and photographed.
There is no more information in the file.

Lee Doo – U. S. Naval Reserve

Lee Doo - U.S. Navy Discharge
“Seal of the War Department, United States of America, Lee Doo,” 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Doo case file, Seattle, Box 1391, 41410/13-17.

Lee Doo, born in San Francisco on 11 November 1892, was the only child of Lee Jing and Ng Shee. His father was in the Chinese drug business. His parents went back to China in 1899 and sent Lee Doo to Chicago to live with his grandfather, Lee Sing Yin. Four years later his grandfather went back to China and Lee Doo went to live at Wa Chung Sing Company with his grandfather’s brother, Lee King.
Lee Doo registered for the draft in Chicago on 5 June 1917. He received classification certificate order #4155, serial #4469 and was classified as 1-a. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force as a ward room cook. He did his training at Great Lakes, Illinois then served on the ship Yantic. He went to France twice, once on the ship Lancaster. After he was honorably discharged in 1920 he moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he worked at the Mandarin Café. His father’s brother, Lee Thou (Lee Woon Fat) was living there. In February 1922 he was applying to visit his mother in China. When he returned in May 1923 he was married and had a son.
There is no more information in his file.