All posts by Trish Hackett Nicola

Chin Wong Kee -1901 Discharge Certificate

Chin Wong Kee 1901 Discharge Certificate
“Chin Wong Kee, Discharge Certificate” 1901, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Wong Kee case file, Seattle Box 1396, 41560/24-3.
Chin Wong Kee 陳黃記 was born in Watsonville, California in 1879. He was the son of Chin Din Ling and Wong She. About 1884 he went back to China with his parents and younger brother, Chin Loy Foo, to Bok Wut village. Chin Wong Kee (marriage name Chin Ai Goon) married before he and his brother returned to the United States in 1901. They landed at Vancouver, B.C., travelled to Montreal, then entered the United States at Rouses Point, New York. [south of Montreal]
They were immediately arrested. They were sent by train to jail in Plattsburg, NY. [about 24 miles south of Rouses Point]. They were in jail there for about four months. They received their discharge papers at Port Henry [about 54 miles south of Plattsburg] from Fred W. Dudley, U.S. Commissioner, Northern District of New York in August 1901. Their father’s younger brother, Chin Don Suey, was a witness for the brothers. The discharge papers enabled Chin Wong Kee to obtain his Certificate of Identity #20529.

His adult son, Chin You Dick, was admitted at the Port of Seattle in 1915 and was living and working in Mount Vernon, New York. Chin Wong Kee was working nearby in a restaurant as a waiter. His wife died in China in 1919.

Chin Wong Kee, Form 430 photo 1920;
Chin Wong Kee, Form 430 photo 1920; Seattle Box 1396, 41560/24-3.
Chin Wong Kee applied to return to China in 1920. His application was approved and he left via Boston, Massachusetts. Chin Wong Kee returned to the U.S. at the Port of Seattle on 21 June 1923 and was admitted.

Chinese Basketball Team touring the U.S. in 1929

Twelve basketball players from China were admitted at the Port of Seattle on 31 January 1929 as temporary visitors for five months each with a $1,000 bond. Two of them had Section 6 certificates; student status and could remain one year. The Office of the Governor General of Manila, Philippine Islands recommended that his office grant temporary visas to twelve members of the basketball team composed of Chinese students from Manila. The captain of the team, Domingo Rufino Choa, was a full blood Chinse from the Philippines.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service, Luther Weedin, Commissioner of Immigration in Seattle said,
               “All members of this party are of a superior type of
Northern Chinese, and most of them speak English
fluently. A Souvenir booklet describing the basket ball
team is enclosed.”

[They were not from Northern China. Most of them were from southeastern China, studying in the Philippines, and several were born in the Philippines. Unfortunately the souvenir booklet titled “Souvenirs China & Japan Tour, Chinese Basket Ball Team,” published by C. C. Lim of Manila, P.I., was not included in the file.]
[Most files for Section 3 (2), temporary visitors, do not contain much information. Usually a photograph is not included.]

Chinese Basketball Team 1929
“Photo of Chen Ping-Huang,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chen Ping-Huang  case file, Seattle Box 1119, 10360/1-1

Chen Ping-Huang [10360/1-1] had attended St. John’s University and Kwang Hu University. His father was a well-to-do export merchant at Changehow near Amoy, Fukien, China (According to Wikipedia: a sub-provincial city in southeastern Fujian, China, beside the Taiwan Strait). His property was valued at $150,000 Mexican. His reference was Tang Chin-Yun of the University of Washington.

Lim Chu Cong
Lim Chu Cong (C. C. Lim), [10360/1-2] born 4 October 1902, Amoy, China; two years in Manila as merchant
A. Chua Ciong,
A. Chua Ciong, [10360/2-1] born 1 April 1894, Manila, P. I.

 

Choa Domingo Rufino
Choa Domingo Rufino, (Itsan Choa),[10360/2-2] born P. I.
Co Yong
Co Yong, [10360/2-3] born 8 June 1907, Amoy, China; student Manila, P. I.
Wee Guan Chuan
Wee C. G. (Wee Guan Chuan), [10360/2-10] born 3 March 1906, Amoy, China; student Manila, P. I.
Wee Guan Chuan stayed on as a student; graduated from the University of Louisville, Kentucky; and married Mary Virginia Payne (a Caucasian woman of Irish, German and English descent), of Evansville, Indiana. Their son George Richard Wee was born on 19 October 1931 in Louisville, Kentucky. They left the U.S. via Seattle on 15 July 1932 destined for the Philippine islands where Wee would be practicing medicine.

 

George and James Mar – brothers of Roy Sing Mar and Ruby Mar Chow in Seattle

Mar Jim Sing M143 1933

Mar King Sing andMarJim Sing

“Photos of George and James Mar, Form 430,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mar King Sing (George King Sing) and Mar Jim Sing (James Mar) case files, Seattle Box 538, 7030/3747 and 7030/3748.

George and James Mar – brothers of Roy Sing Mar, DDS (1927-2018) and Ruby Mar Chow (1920-2008), owner of Ruby Chow Restaurant and first Asian American elected to Seattle King County Council in 1973.

Mar King Sing 馬日勝 (Chinese name Mar Yet Sing) was the eldest son of Mar June (Jim Sing) and Wong Shee黃氏; (黃)巧云 . They had ten children; all born in Seattle, WA: George Mar, Jim Sing Mar, William Mar, Ruby Mar, Mary Mar, Alice Mar, Henry Mar, Roy Mar, Edwin Mar, Coleman Mar.

Birth Certificate, 12788, George King Sing,.
1915 Seattle, WA Birth Certificate, 12788, George King Sing,. File 7030/3747

George Mar was born on 19 February 1915 but his birth certificate incorrectly states that he was born on 29 March 1915. He was applying for his citizen’s return certificate so he could be employed by the Dollar Steamship Line on their steamers to the Orient.

James Mar (Mar Jim Sing), George’s younger brother, was born 29 May 1916. He presented his Seattle birth certificate #12786 as evidence of his citizenship. He was applying for employment with American Mail Line and hoping to go to China with the company.

When they applied their father was visiting China and their mother, home in Seattle, was a witness for both of her sons. Their Form 430, Application of Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status, was approved. They visited their father in Hong Kong and returned to Seattle on the S.S. President Taft on 12 July 1932.

Additional information not in the file:
Their brother Roy S. Mar, DDS, died in Seattle on 14 March 2018. According to his obituary in the Seattle Times, 25 March 2018, page B4, Mar served in the U.S. Navy and became the first Chinese American to graduate from the University of Washington Dental School.
Obituary of Roy S. Mar

Their sister, Ruby married Edward Shue Ping Chow. They established the celebrated Ruby Chow’s restaurant in Seattle in 1948. Ruby helped create the Wing Luke Museum and became the first Asian American elected to the King County Council in 1973. She died in 2008.

See Seattletimes.com, seattlepi.com, HistoryLink.org, Wikipedia.org for more information on Ruby Chow.

 

Look Fee – Columbus, Ohio

Look Fee Look Yuen Affidavit 1938
“Look Fee and Look Yuen, affidavit photos” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Fee case file, Seattle Box 794, 7030/12331.

In October 1938 Look Yuen 陸元 swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States who was admitted at the Port of San Francisco in October 1922 and granted Certificate of Identity 40415. His son Look Fee wanted to come to the United States to live with him. Photos of father and son were attached to the affidavit.

Look Fee 陸惠 arrived in the Port of Seattle on 23 August 1939 on the SS Princess Marguerite with the status of a son of a citizen. He was admitted to the U.S. almost two months later. He was a student, age 18 years Chinese reckoning; 16 years 9 months per American calculation. He would be joining his father, Look Yuen, in Columbus, Ohio. Look Fee was born in Sun Chong City, Toy Shan District, China on 4 January 1923. His family lived there one year and then moved to Sam Gong in Hoy Ping. His father was born in Look Bin village and had six brothers and one sister. During his interview Look Fee enumerated all of his father’s siblings, the names of their spouses and children and where they were living. He described his paternal grandfather and gave the names of his paternal great grandparents. His mother, Lee Shee, was the daughter and only child of Lee Wah and Chin Shee. Her parents both died prior to 1939. Look Fee was questioned about the village, the location of his neighbors’ houses and details about their extended families.

Some of the questions during the interview were: Who lives in the 8th lot, 3rd row from the east? What is his occupation? Who lives with him? What are their ages? Where do you get the water which you use for household purposes? Is there any space between the houses in the rows other than the cross alleys? Do you cross any streams or bridges going to the market? Which way does the door in the ancestral hall open? His interrogation was over seven pages long.

Look Fee’s father, Look Yuen, (marriage name Look Wing Bing) waited in Seattle almost two months for his son to be admitted. Look Yuen testified that he was a part owner of the Nan King restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. He first arrived in the U.S. though San Francisco in 1922 three months before Look Fee was born. He made one trip back to China in May 1929, returning to Ohio in September 1930. His other son, Look Wee, was born in March 1930 and was presently attending school in their home village. Look Yuen was asked many of the same questions as his son but in more detail about his siblings. Look Fee was called back to clear up some discrepancies. Although his father had left China sixteen years previously and had only spent one year there, six years prior to this interrogation, the interviewers expected their testimony to agree in most aspects.

Look Fee and Look Wee
“Look Fee and Look Wee photo” ca. 1934, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Fee case file, Seattle Box 794, 7030/12331.

Look Yuen gave the interrogators this photo of Look Fee and his brother Look Wee which was taken about 1934 or 1935. They wondered why Look Fee had a tennis racket and Look Wee had a basketball. Look Fee explained that their mother had a photographer at the Shung Sar Market take the photo. The props were just for fun.

After the interrogations the chairman of the immigration committee concluded that the relationship between the alleged father and his son was satisfactorily established. They were impressed that the father came from Ohio to testify for his son and stayed so long. They discounted the minor discrepancies because it had been so long since the father had been in China. They were satisfied that Look Fee knew when and where the photo of him and his brother was taken. Look Fee was admitted into the United States as a U.S. citizen.

Hazel Ying Lee – Portland Female Aviator

Hazel Ying Lee – Portland Female Aviator
“Lee Yuet/Yut Ying (Hazel) Affidavit photo” 1937, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Yuet Ying (Hazel ) case file, Seattle Box 582, 7030/5149 & Box 710 7030/10411.

[The amazing thing about Hazel Lee’s file is that it does not mention that she was a member of the Chinese Flying Club of Portland and graduated from aviation school at Swan Island, Portland, Oregon in 1932. Hazel Ying Lee was one of the first female pilots in the United States. Her file ends in 1938. After she returned to the United States in 1938 she became one of the first Chinese-American female military pilots. See the links at the end of this article to find out more about her. The blog entry for Virginia Wong tells how the connection was made between Virginia Wong and Hazel Ying Lee, Arthur Chin and the other Chinese-American pilots.]
The file for Hazel Ying Lee (Lee Yut-Ying 李月英) tells us that she left for China on 4 March 1933 and returned on 12 December 1938. While she was visiting her father’s village in the Toyshan District, Kwangtung Province, she received word that her Form 430, Citizen Return Certificate, was destroyed in a fire in Hong Kong. When Lee wanted to return to Portland she went to the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong for help with her documentation of her U.S. citizenship. They advised her to obtain an affidavit with a current photo swearing to her citizenship.

Hazel Lee’ s brother [the file does not say which brother] went to the Immigration office in Portland to assure that the paper work was in proper order so that Hazel Lee would be admitted when she arrived in the Port of Seattle. The Portland immigration office had a copy of Hazel’s original approved 1933 Form 430 on file. When Hazel arrived in Seattle in 1938 the 1933 information was compared to the new affidavit prepared in Hong Kong and Hazel Lee was admitted to the United States.

Hazel’s 1933 interrogation stated that Hazel attended Atkinson school and High School of Commerce; she was employed at H. Liebes & Company doing stock work and elevator operation; her father, Lee Yet 李乙died in 1930; and her mother was living in Portland. Hazel had nine siblings: Harry Lee, Victor Lee, Howard Lee, Daniel Lee (Lee Wing Doong 李榮宗), Rose Lee, Florence Lee, Gladys Lee, Frances May Lee. Harry and Rose were born in China and the others were born in Portland. Hazel was going to Canton City to visit and study.
Hazel’s mother, Wong Shee, maiden name Wong Seu Lan, was a witness for her. Dr. Jessie M. McGavin, a Caucasian female physician, attended to Wong Shee for Hazel’s birth on 25 August 1912. Her birth certificate is included in the file. The reference sheet in Hazel’s file includes the name, relationship and file number for Hazel’s parents, four brothers and three sisters.
To find out more about Hazel Ying Lee go to:
1. Oregon Encyclopedia
2. First Chinese-American Woman to Fly for Military
3.Historical Amnesia
4. Wikipedia

May Sophie Lee – Physician from Philadelphia

May Sophie Lee 1924
“May Sophie Lee, Form M143 photo” 1924, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, May Sophie Lee case file, Seattle Box 178, 2850/6-2.May Sophie Lee 李美(Chinese name Lee Soon Wah) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 18 May 1898. Her parents were Lee Toy 李才and Chee Fung. She had a younger brother named John Paul Lee 李進普, born on 9 May 1900.

In October 1908 May Sophie Lee, age ten, her mother and brother were preparing to leave the United States on the SS Siberia through San Francisco for a trip to China. The Immigration inspector examined May Sophie’s passport no. 64231, two affidavits with photos and a certified copy of her birth certificate. The birth certificate states that she is white.

May Sophie Lee passport

May Sophie Lee passport seal
May Sophie Lee’s passport
1908 Affidavit with photos of Lee Toy and May Sophie Lee
1908 Affidavit with photos of Lee Toy and May Sophie Lee
May Sephie Lee's 1898 birth certificate
May Sephie Lee’s 1898 birth certificate

Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s marriage certificate was examined, authenticated and returned to the Lees.  Seven white residents from Philadelphia swore in an affidavit that they were not Chinese; they were well acquainted with Lee Toy, a merchant at Chong Woh Company;  May Sophie Lee was his lawful daughter, and that she was born in Philadelphia.  The signers of the affidavit were:

Signatures on Affidavit
Signatures on Affidavit

Peter Hackett, 50 So. 4th Street
Frederic Poole, Chinese Mission, 918 Race St.
William Gallagher, 1231 Arch Street
Thomas W. Cunningham, 2112 Cherry Street
Katharine A. Lacy, Principal John Agnus School
Florence B. Scott, First Baptist Church, 17th & Samson St.
Neida S. Gilman, teacher in John Agnus School

While in China May Sophie attended school until she was 21 then attended medical school in Canton City and received a medical degree. She practiced as a physician in Shanghai for over a year before returning to the U.S.

May Sophie Lee was admitted to the United States at the Port of Seattle on 15 December 1924 as a returning citizen. She was 27 years old and was on her way to the Chung Wah & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with plans to continue her medical career.

[There is no further information in the file.]

Yick May Gum (Katherine Lillie Shan) – Chinese and a wee bit of Irish

Yick May Gum Katherine Shan photo
“Yick May Gum (alias Katherine Lillie Shan) Form 430 photo” 1930, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yick May Gum (Katherine Shan) case file, Portland Box 92, 5017/552.
[There are only a few Chinese Exclusion Act files where one of the parents is Irish. Here is one of them in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.]
Katherine Lillie Shan applied for her Native’s Return Certificate on 19 June 1930 in Portland, Oregon. She was working for the Orpheum Theatre circuit and they were performing in Canada. She gave the interviewer her Chinese name as Yick May Gum and said she was the daughter of Yick Bing Shan and Gertrude [maiden name not listed]. Katherine was born at 108 third Avenue, New York City on 11 June 1912. Her mother was a white woman of Irish descent who was born in Denver, Colorado. Katherine attended P.S. No. 60 grade school in New York City and then went on to Norfield Seminary [possibly Northfield Mount Herman School]. Her father was a witness for her. Her mother was working in their restaurant on the day of the interview. Katherine had two older brothers back in China whom she had never met.
R. P Bonham, Immigration District Director in Portland sent a telegram to Immigration Service in New York City on June 19 requesting Yick May Gum’s Native Return Certificate but they could not find her file. He interrogated her the next day.
Katherine’s Application of Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status, Form 430, is included in the file with a note saying “Application withdrawn and birth certificate returned to applicant on June 24, 1930.” Signed: R. J. Norene

[There is no more information in the file. Some files do not tell us very much. This one leaves us with more questions than answers. A cross reference sheet was not included in the file so there is no reference to her father’s file and he wasn’t found in the Seattle index.]