All posts by Trish Hackett Nicola

Gee G. Baine (Gee Quock Bin) – law student at Suffolk Law School, Boston

Photo of Gee G. Baine
“Photo of Gee G. Baine from Form 431,“ 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gee G. Baine (Gee Quock Bin) case file, Seattle Box RS 285, RS 34,340.

Gee G. Baine was studying law at Suffolk Law School, Boston, Massachusetts in 1916 when he applied for pre-investigation of status so he could visit China.
After a careful investigation Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration in Boston approved Gee’s application. White agreed with Inspector McCabe saying that the application “requires a liberal interpretation of the law to approve this application…”

“The applicant was lawfully admitted to the country and so far as developed has maintained an exempt status during the last past year. He thus has met the requirement of rule 15. True, in years gone by, he was a laborer within the meaning of the law, and at times might have been arrested on the charge of being unlawfully with the United States. It is doubted, however, that because of his doings at that time he should now be denied the right to visit his home county.”

Gee G. Baine originally entered the U.S. under the name Gee Quock Bin in San Francisco in June 1896. He lived with his uncle Dr. Gee in New York City, before moving to New Brunswick, New Jersey where he was tutored by a private teacher. He attended several schools over the years: the Thirteenth Street School In New York City, School #11 in Brooklyn, Horace Mann School in Newtonville, Massachusetts; a public school in New York City, and Berkeley Preparatory School in Boston. He was sick with pneumonia one winter then went to Boston where he worked for Mr. Monerly as a chauffeur. When his uncle Dr. Gee returned to China he gave Gee a partnership interest in the Royal Restaurant in Boston. Before Gee was accepted to law school he sometimes worked at the restaurant.

Gleason L. Archer, an attorney, the Dean and founder of the Suffolk Law School in Boston, swore in a statement that Gee Baine had been a student since August 1915 and attended classes three evening a week. He had a good attendance record and good grades having completed courses in contracts, criminal law, torts, agency, legal ethics, and real property. His personal history record showed that his references were Joseph F. O’Connell and Dr. C. H. Thomas of Cambridge.

Edgar S. Monroe, an optometrist in Boston, testified that he had known Gee about twelve years and he had seen him studying law for the last year or two. Monroe did not have personal knowledge that Gee had not worked as a laborer in a restaurant or laundry in the last year but he felt that Gee was worthy and always a gentleman—one that he would not feel ashamed to associate with in any society.

George A. Douglas, an attorney and instructor at Suffolk Law School, attested that he had known Gee since 1915 as a student in his classes in criminal law and agency. Gee attended classes faithfully. Although Douglas could not swear that Gee had not done any manual labor in the last year he knew that his attendance at school and the time needed for studying must have kept Gee extremely busy.
Gee testified that he arrived in 1896 when he was twelve years old and was admitted as a section 6 student. In the past year his only work for the Royal Restaurant was as an interpreter for the business.
In Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration’s letter approving Gee’s application he refers to Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 of the Chinese Exclusion Act. See Rule 15 (b)1 below:

Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 (b)
Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 of the Chinese Exclusion Act. See Rule 15 (b)

[The interviewers overlooked the fact that over the years Gee had sometimes found it necessary to work as a laborer. Because he was in the U.S. as a student he could have been deported if this became known to the authorities. The interviewers decided to concentrate on Gee’s previous year. It appeared that he was a full time student and was only associated with the restaurant in a managerial capacity.]
[Although Gee’s application was approved there is no indication in the file that he ever left the country.]

1. Chinese rules : treaty, laws, and regulations governing the admission of Chinese. [Electronic resource] https://u95007.eos-intl.net/U95007/OPAC/Details/Record.aspx?BibCode=8745586; Media #6, (1911 January 10) approved April 18, 1910, edition of January 10, 1911; ChiLR 1911.1

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Ng Yat Chin Family Portrait

Ng Yat Chin Portrait 1938
“Portrait of Ng Yat Chin family,“ 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Yat Chin case file, Seattle Box 782, 7030/11868.
Front: Ng Yat Mon, 6; Soon Shee (Ng Yat Chin’s stepmother); Ng Yat Leung, 8; Ng Yat Ming, 10
Back: Ng Sin Fun, 12 (their sister); Ng Yat Sing, 13; Ng Yat Chin, 18; Ng Yat Nom, 16; Ng Yat Hen, 15 (children of Soo Quon); Ng Yat Dong, 25 (not in photo) [ages per Chinese reckoning]
Ng Yat Chin was 16 years old when he arrived at the Port of Seattle on 11 February 1939. He was a student and admitted as a U.S. citizen, the son of a native Ng Ah Wo. His father was a Hawaiian-born U.S. citizen whose file #359-G was sent to Immigration in Seattle for their review. As the interrogation started Ng Yat Chin was reminded that it was his burden to prove that he was not subject to exclusion under any provision of the immigration and Chinese Exclusion laws, therefore having the right to enter the United States.
Ng Yat Chin was born on 12 June 1922 in Nom Chin, Lung Do section, Heung San district, China. Nom Chin was a large village with about 500 houses. Ng Yat Chin gave a very detailed description of the layout of the village and his family home. He was asked to describe his father’s double house and produce a diagram of the floor plan.
[At this point it was noted in the transcript of the interrogation that Interpreter Jick Chan replaced Interpreter Fung Ming.]
Ng Yat Chin’s father and brother also testified on his behalf. The interrogators compared a map of the house and courtyard drawn by Ng Yat Dong when he was admitted to the U.S. in November 1938 with the map Ng Yat Chin had drawn during his interrogation. The two brothers both belonged to the Boy Scouts when they lived in Nom Chin.
Ng Ah Wo was born in Hawaii and lived there until he moved to San Francisco in 1905. His citizenship status was accepted by Immigration Service on the many trips he made from the U.S. to China and back over the years.
Ng Yat Chin and his family moved to Hong Kong in 1938. His father operated Canton Noodle Company and the family lived on the third floor above the factory.
After thirty pages of interrogations and re-examinations of Ng Yat Chin, his father and brother, and in spite of minor discrepancies, Ng Yat Chin was admitted to enter the United States in March 1939.

Mable June Lee – Princess for 1939 Oregon Winter Sports Carnival

Photo of Mable June Lee
“Form 430 Photo of Lee Wun Jun (Mable June Lee),“ 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Wun Jun case file, Portland Box 100, 5017/891.

Mable June Lee, a princess for the 1939 Oregon Winter Sports Carnival, was applying to leave Portland to publicize Oregon and Mount Hood in Mexico. She and the royal court traveled to Nogales, Arizona, then spent five days in Mexico City and returned via El Paso, TX. The trip was made by train and would take three weeks.
Mable was 21 years old and born in Portland. She was a checker at the Orange Lantern Tea Room in Portland.
Mable’s brother, Lee Shear Nuey, also known as Louis Lee, was a witness for her. Their parents were both dead and were buried River View Cemetery in Portland. According to C. J. Wise, the examining inspector, Lee spoke English perfectly. Lee did not know much about his grandparents; they had all died in China many years ago. Besides Mable he had two sisters and three brothers: Lee Lin (Mrs. Chin Chow), Lee Tai Hai (died of the flu in Portland in 1919 and buried in the Lone Fir Cemetery), Lee Tommy Shear Gong (born on the boat crossing from China about 1914 on his parents’ one visit to China. He was now living in Stockton, CA), Lee Shear Gum, a chef at Green Mill in Portland and another brother living in Cuba.
Lee Lin, Mable’s older sister, was also a witness for her. Lee Lin was born in San Francisco in 1894. She was married to Chin Chow and they had seven children—two boys and five girls. Her daughter Dorothy Chin Kum was adopted out to Mrs. Sing Ho. She also had a daughter, Ah Me, who died of the flu.
Mable’s file includes a certified copy of her birth certificate and her itinerary for her trip to Mexico City.

Mabel June Lee birth certificate
“1917 Oregon Birth Certificate for Mabel [sic] June Lee & 1939 Itinerary for Oregon Winter Sports Association ,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Wun Jun case file, Portland Box 100, 5017/891.
Lee Wun Jun Mexico City Schedule

According to an article [not included in the file] in the Oregonian on 25 February 1939, the royal court consisted of Queen Fern Lorenzini, Crown Princess, Dorothy Olivera; and princesses: Norma Cowling, Maryanne Hill, Mable Jean Lee and June Long.

 

Chin On family file

Chin Jan Affidavid
“Chin Jan Affidavit with photos of Chin Jan and Chin On,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin On case file, Seattle Box 594, 7030/5510.

Guest blogger –Darby Li Po Price
This week’s blog entry is by Darby Li Po Price. He researched his family in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files at the National Archives-Seattle and found many family files. The following information is from a file on his great aunt, Chin On. It includes an affidavit and testimony by his great grandfather, Chin Jan; Chin On’s application for her certificate of identity and maps of the family home in China.

Chin On Application for Certificate of Identity
“Chin On Application for Certificate of Identity with photo,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin On case file, Seattle Box 594, 7030/5510.

The 1933 immigration application and photos were submitted by Jan Chin (great grandfather) for his daughter On Chin. She was detained three days. There are diagrams of their house in China which both drew as part of their interrogations. Jan had U.S. citizenship by native birth of immigrants.

Such documents of Chinese women are rare compared to those of men. Even though the subject of the file may be a woman most of the interrogations and affidavits are usually by the men of the family. It is also nice to see Chin On and her family together.

1933 photos of Chin Jan, and daughter Chin On, age 22, for On’s application for admission to the US. Jan requested “to have my said daughter, Chin On, come to America, so that I can give her the benefits of an American education.” Chin On had written her father the year before to ask to come to America. On arrived in Seattle via President Taft June 6, 1933, and was placed in detention.

The affidavit and application are accompanied by 30 pages of testimonies of On, Jan, and Jan’s sister Len Toy, drawings of their home in Sun Woy [Sun Wui], and detention release are in Seattle file no. 7030/5510. Interviews include extensive details on family members’ relations, lives, and homes in China and the U.S.
Jan, age 53, resided at 124 Ninth St., Portland, OR, and was a native U.S. citizen by birth from Joe Jew Chin and Dew Shee. Jan described his wife Hom Shee, age 47, and their sons in Sun Woy as Mon, age 30, Kway, 12, Wing, 7, Haw, 5; and Soon, 29, living in Chicago whose wife with their two sons lived in Sun Ning. Mon lived with his wife and two sons in another house. Mon was admitted to the U.S. in 1922; Soon in 1923. Len Toy was born in Portland, and spent a year and a half with the family in Sun Woy.

Interviews were translated between English and Chinese. The Chins spoke See Yip dialect. There were discrepancies regarding existence or placement of: a house number above the front door, ladders, stairways, doors, windows, a mirror, an alarm clock, Jan’s pocket and wrist watches, where two of On’s brother’s slept, and where Len slept. On did not remember a prior house Jan said they moved from when On was 11. On said Jan’s mother’s name was Yee Shee, Jan said Leung Shee.
On June 9, 1933 Roy Matterson, Chair of the Board of Special Inquiry concluded: “while there are a considerable number of discrepancies in the record that have not been cleared up, applicant testifies in a frank, unhesitating manner and seems to be testifying from facts and not from coached testimony and I am of the opinion that she has established her claim to being a daughter of CHIN JAN, and I therefore move to admit her to the United States as a citizen.” Admission was concurred by inspectors John Boyd and Earl Botts.

House diagrams
“Four house diagrams of house in Sun Woy City,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin On case file, Seattle Box 594, 7030/5510.


The Reference Sheet in Chin On’s case file contains the file numbers and names of her father, grandfather, three brothers, five uncles, an aunt, sister-in-law, two nephews, cousin, and a niece.
Darby will be telling us more about his family in the coming weeks.

Jeong Sing & Jeong Dong – damming evidence found in orange

Photo Jeong Kew Family
“Jeong Kew Family Portrait,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Jeong Sing and Jeong Dong case files, Seattle Box 774, 7030/11576 & 11575.

Photo: Daughter-in-law of Jeong Kew (wife of Jeong Wah), Jeong Sing (in her lap), wife of Jeong Kew, servant, Jeong Kew (father) holding Jeong Dong, and Jeong Wah (oldest son of Jeong Kew). [This portrait is 9 1/4″ by 15 1/2″ and was folded in half to fit into the file. It has been sent out for repairs.]

In a 1939 affidavit sworn by Park Johnston, an employee of the Michigan Trust Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, he stated that he had a long acquaintance with Jeong Kew, sometimes known as Charlie Chan, owner and operator of a restaurant at 347 Division Ave South in Grand Rapids. He knew that Jeong Kew was seeking admission to the United States for his two sons, Jeong Dong, age 18, and Jeong Sing, age 17. Since Park Johnston was not personally acquainted with the people in the photograph Jeong Kew identified them for him. Johnston swore to this in his affidavit. [He did not appear to be very well acquainted with the Jeong family.]

Jeong Sing and Jeong Dong arrived in Seattle on 17 October 1938. Their cases were denied, appealed and dismissed. They were deported on 4 August 1939. Their files contain two affidavits by acquaintances, two letters of recommendation, eight exhibits (maps, photographs, and letters) affidavits by Jeong Kew with photos of him and his sons, and information from three San Francisco files and two Seattle files. There are over 150 pages of interrogations.
The most damming information in the file was a “coaching letter” written in Chinese that a guard found stuffed into an orange and left in the guard’s office.

Jeong Dong Sing translation

E. S. Krause, Senior Guard, said this about finding the orange:

Letter from guard about the orange

Many pages of the interrogations were devoted to discrepancies in witness statements, such as: who was the older of the two brothers, location of toilets in their village, if they had ever slept in the school house, if there was a servant girl staying in the family home, the number of rooms and outside windows in the school house, where the school was located, the material the family store was built from, where the applicants got their hair cut, when the applicants quit school, if there was a photo of their father hanging in the family home, and if their brother Jeong Wah smoked cigarettes.
The coaching letter and the numerous discrepancies were enough to have Jeong Dong and Jeong Sing deported.

Dong Ah Lon – Deported after almost two years in detention

Dong Ah Lon ST article 1940
“Newspaper article, Dong Ah Lon,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Dong Ah Lon case file, Seattle Box 766, 7030/11310.
[Continued from 9 October 2017]
There were other discrepancies in the testimony given by Dong Ah Lon and her two alleged brothers. The court dismissed the appeal and then reopened it. Testimony was given by another brother, Dong Yum, and Lee Lin (Jung). Dong Hong had arranged for his sister to married Lee Lin, a widower from San Mateo, California. According to L. Paul Winings, Chairman of review committee, “The witness Lee Len [Lin] is shown by a communication from the City Clerk of San Mateo, California, to be a man of good reputation and his testimony regarding his desire to have the applicant become his wife in order to care for his seven motherless children removes any possibility of suspicion of an immoral intent in the attempt to have the applicant enter the United States.”
Dong Hong and Dong Yum attended Lee Lin’s wife’s funeral in 1937 and asked Lee if he wanted to remarry. They told him about their sister, Dong Ah Lon. Lee Lin had seven young children at home and was interested.
Mr. L. M. Burr of Oakland Laundry Machinery Company wrote that Mr. Lee was a law abiding citizen who needs a mother for his seven small children. Adding that Lee’s wife had died the previous year and he was financially able to take a new wife.
E. C. Alber, manager of Geo. W. Sneider & Co, funeral directors, stated that he had conducted the funeral services for Mah Shee Lee, the late wife of Lee Ling. Alber wrote that he had known Mr. Lee for over twenty years and that he was dependable and honest. Alber was of the opinion that Mr. Lee was well able to support a wife and needed one to take care of his home and family. He sent a copy of Mah Shee Lee’s 1937 death certificate with his letter. E. M. Pollock and Betton Rhodes, employed by the City of San Mateo, had known Mr. Lee Ling for fifteen years and vouched for his financial standing and fine character. George A. Kertell, a retired municipal judge and resident of San Mateo for forty-seven years, affirmed that Lee Ling was of good moral character and a successful business man.
The file contains the attorney’s copy of testimony, death certificate of Mah Shee Lee (Mr. Lee’s wife), letters of reference of E.M. Pollock, B. Rhodes, E.C. Alber, and L.M. Burr; and San Francisco exclusion files for Dong Ah Lon’s brothers Dong Ball, Dong Yuen, Dong Hong, Dong Loon, and Dong Yum and her father Dong Toy.
There are thirty more pages of testimony and analysis of the discrepancies in May and June 1939.
In a letter dated 9 May 1939 to Dong Ah Lon from Lee Ling (Jung) he says, “I suppose that since you cannot come to my home, you wish to return to China; however, at this particular time, Sino-Japanese hostilities have made it impossible for you to return safely…” He had credit at the Yick Fung Co., in Seattle and suggested she try to obtain new clothes from them. He also sent her a money order for $20.
Dong Ah Lon was not deported until 17 May 1940. There is nothing in her file from 9 November 1939 until 12 March 1940 when Marie A. Proctor, Seattle District Commissioner, wrote to Karl P. Heideman, Dong Ah Lon’s attorney, telling him that the funds for Dong’s maintenance would soon be exhausted and asking him to make a further deposit to cover at least sixty days at the rate of 95 cents per day.
[This file was researched by Hao-Jan Chang, NARA CEA files volunteer.]

“Chinese Temples in the Pacific Northwest”

“Chinese Temples in the Pacific Northwest,” Thursday, October 26, 7 – 9 pm, Seattle Pacific University, Ames Library, 3226 Sixth Avenue West, Seattle, 98119

Dr. Chuimei Ho and Dr. Bennet Bronson will discuss “What happened to Chinese temples in the Northwest?  In the 1910s, how did a formerly vital Daoist-Buddhist faith, central to the lives of tens of thousands of immigrants, vanish almost without a trace?  Was Christianity the cause?”
http://www.pnwhistorians.org/guild/index.php/event/chinese-temples-in-the-pacific-northwest/