This is an example of an early case file admittance form. Early files did not require a formal interrogation but the form included the basic information—Tom You arrived in Seattle on the S.S. Olympia. He was a partner of the Wang Hong Low Company at 11 West Street, Butte, Montana. He was 30 years old, 5 feet 6 inches, and had no distinguishing marks. He did not speak English. On 2 December 1899 Tom You received a favorable report from the Chinese Inspector Hathaway. The report was signed by H. B. Spede.
Tom You’s case is more complicated than it appeared from his final admittance form. Other paperwork in his file shows that he arrived in Seattle on 3 October 1899 and was rejected. The case was appealed and the papers were sent to the Collector of Customs in Great Falls, Montana for investigation. More testimony was obtained to verify that Tom You was a merchant and not a laborer. Affidavits in his favor were filed in Silver Bow County, Montana by John E. McCormick, Charles W. Fisher, T. M. Hodgens, Jesse R. Wharton, and C. H. Harper. These reputable white males swore that Tom You sometimes known as Hum Yu was living as a merchant and did not in any way partake in manual labor on any kind.
[This is an example of an early file. There is no formal interrogation.]
Wong Youe was 39 years old, five feet five inches tall, and had a small scar between his eyes. He had been living in the United States for 23 years. As one of three partners in the Wah Chung Company in Ashland, Oregon, he had invested $1,000 in the store. One of the partners was living in China. Wong Youe could speak English well and was familiar with the United States.
On 13 February 1897, before Wong Youe left the United States, M.N. Long, P. W. Paulson, W.H. Brunk, and G. W. Vanpel signed a statement vouching for Wong Youe.
Wong Youe returned to Port Townsend, Washington on 21 February 1900 on the s. s. Victoria. Upon his return sworn affidavits were taken from G. W. Vanpel, a resident of Ashland for ten years; F. M. Drake, a resident in Ashland for twenty years; R. A. Minkler, a resident of Ashland for seven years; and M. N. Long, a resident of Oregon for seventeen years. They all testified that Wong Youe “is NOT a laborer but is an actual BONA FIDE merchant” for more than two years prior to his departure from the United States on 27th day of February 1897. They stated that he worked for the Wah Chung Company on Oak Street, Ashland, Oregon.
[In 1900 it was permissible for a merchant to “put up goods and wait on customers” but he was not allowed to ”perform any manual labor other than that herein specifically set forth.”]
It is unusual for affidavits in these files to include photos of witnesses. It is rare to see a photo of a woman included with her affidavit and it is extremely rare to have an affidavit from an African-American and have his photograph included. The affiants were swearing that they were personally acquainted with Yee Jung Sam, the father of Yee Yook Poy, the subject of this file. Yee Jung Sam had a Sec. 6 certificate as a merchant and was trying to get approval for his son to enter the U.S. as the minor son of a merchant.
Mrs. Cleo Barnes, age 40, a stenographer and saleslady, residing at 67 S. Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, had known Yee Jung Sam since 1924. He was a tea merchant at 148 East State Street in Columbus.
Ben J. Miller, age 30, a porter who cleaned the floors and washed the windows of the business was residing at 1400 Hawthorne Avenue, Columbus, Ohio.
Other affiants (photos not included):
Charles S. Boyd, Superintendent of the Capital City Laundry and Dry Cleaning company, residing at 75 Whitethorne Avenue, Columbus.
Thomas B. Johnson, engaged in the fish business at 116-118 S. Fourth Street, residing at 340 Northridge Road, Columbus, Ohio.
Yee Que Jock, also known as Yee San, was manager of Yee San Company.
The mercantile status of Yee San Company was investigated by Thomas Thomas, District Director, Immigration Service, Cincinnati, Ohio and found to be a bona fide mercantile establishment. Thomas was impressed by the reputable and creditable witnesses and recommended that the application be granted yet Yee Yook Pay’s was denied admission and was placed on board the S.S. President McKinley on 5 December 1927 for return to China.
Helen Low, age 4-1/2, arrived on the SS President Jefferson on 16 July 1923 and was accompanied by her mother Virginia Lew. Their destination was Pittsburgh, PA. This file also contains Helen’s 1918 Ohio birth certificate and lists her parents as Mary Chan and Lew Ling Chong. A 1921 photo shows Virginia Lew holding Helen and another younger child.
In 1940 Helen Low, age 21, was applying to leave the United States via auto through Blaine, Washington. She needed to obtain permission from the Canadian authorities before entering Canada. She gave her address as 172 10th Avenue, Seattle, WA, in care of Mrs. Chin Kee.