[Riverfront Park is now located where Front Avenue/Street in Spokanes’s Chinatown was in the early 1900s]
In 1905 Yee Gim, age 46, was a merchant, a partner at Yee Yuen Hong Kee Company, at 516 Front Street, Spokane, Washington. He had been in the United States for twenty-seven years—19 years in Port Townsend at King Tai Company and eight years in Spokane. He was returning via Port Townsend from his third trip to China. His wife, three sons and three daughters were in China.
There were seven partners in his Spokane firm. They sold Chinese goods, nut oil, rice, sugar, and tobacco. Hock Geng was the manager; Yee Gim was the bookkeeper and in charge of buying and selling goods.
The interviewer asked to see Yee Gim’s “chak chi” [Certificate of Residence or Identity]. Yee Gim did not have his papers because he was in China at the time of registering.
A witness for Yee Gim was W. D. Vincent, cashier at the Old National Bank, who had known him for over eight years. He swore that Yee Gim never worked anywhere else except as a merchant and did personal and business with the bank.
Mose Oppenheiser, in the insurance business, swore that he had known Yee Gim for about four years, that he paid bills for the firm and he had never seen him behind the counter. [If he had been working behind the counter it would have been thought that he was a laborer.]
James McGougan signed an affidavit swearing that Yee Gim was “neither a huckster, peddler, laundryman or laborer…”
In spite of the fact that Yee Gim did not have his Certificate of Residence, the testimony of his witnesses was strong enough to allow him to be admitted by A. F. Richardson, Chinese Inspector at Port Townsend.
This is an excerpt of the Chinese Exclusion Act included in Yee Gim’s file pertaining to “creditable witnesses” and “not performing any manual labor.”
Chin King Jin, was the adopted son of Chin Ne Toy and his white wife, Gertrude Copeland (Kopelian–Chinese name Dong Shee) of Seattle. He attended Pacific Grammar School. He visited China when he was seven years old and returned when he was 12. He left again when he was 14 and was returning in 1938 at age 21.
During the time he was in the U.S., he made trips to Portland and New York with his father. He gave the following information in his 1938 interrogation: his father was Chin Toy, marriage name Chin Don Koon, and he did not know his birth mother’s name. The file contained a certified copy of Chin King Jin’s birth certificate which said both of his parents were Japanese. His name was listed as Kenneth Hazeyama; his father was Fumio Hazeyama, born in Japan; and his mother was Susie Hazeyama, born in “America.” [Her maiden name was not listed. Chin King Jin did not know he was adopted so this news must have been shocking.]
Chin King Jin married Yee Shee on 17 September 1936 in China. His marriage name was Chin Suey Beow. Their son, Jun King, was born 15 September 1937. Chin King Jin’s wife and son stayed in China and lived in Woy Pon Lee Village. Chin King Jin spoke in See Yip Hoy Ping dialect.
Chin King Jin’s adopted father, Chin Ne Toy, testified that he lived at Yee Chong Company in Seattle and he had an orange ranch in Bakersfield, California. He first saw Chin Kin Jin when he was about six years old. A Japanese acquaintance brought the boy to him and said he needed a home. Chin Ne Toy’s attorney, Mr. Lysons, obtained a birth certificate from the Board of Health for the child saying he was born on 2 November 1916 and drew up a certificate of adoption in the Superior Court in Seattle. The birth certificate lists the midwife for the birth as Tsuya Hirano. The interrogator thought Chin King Jin looked white, not Japanese, and that Chin Ne Toy could not legally adopt the child because his wife was not in the U.S. [There is no further mention of Gertrude/Dong Shee but she is listed as a stepmother on the file reference sheet.]
Chin King Jin and Chin Ne Toy were interrogated several times separately. Many questions about the family village were asked—How many houses in the village? The location of their house; direction it faced? What style? How many stories? The size of tiles on each floor? Where was the open stone court? Who lived in the house? Where is the nearest market?
In spite of many unanswered questions, since the applicant had been admitted to the United States on one previous occasion in 1929 as a U.S. citizen, the inspectors unanimously approved his application and he was admitted to the U.S. as a returning native-born American citizen.
Lou Yuck Ming was the son of Lou Lin Dock (married named Lou Chow Suey, also known as C. E. Kong) and Bertha Lee. According to interviews in the file his mother was “half Chinese and half colored.” Bertha’s maiden name was Bertha Cue, but she was also known as Bertha Long. She was born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas. Lou Yuck Ming’s father was a merchant and member of Dock Lee & Company in Coahoma, Mississippi. In 1918 Lou Lin Dock was taking his two young sons, Lou Yuck Ming, age 2, and Leu Lou Yuck Hong, age 5, to China so they could learn Chinese. They would be living with his brother’s family in his home village of Tung How.
Lou Lin Dock’s statement gave his history in the United States. He was born in China, came to the U. S. in 1908, landed at San Francisco, and joined his brother, Lou Wing Yim, in business at Lou John Bros. in Lula, Mississippi. He came to Coahoma in 1910 and was a partner with Fong Lee & Co. In 1913 a fire destroyed their business and everything on the block. He reopened his business as Dock Lee & Co. in 1914.
The White witnesses for the application were C. Cohan, a merchant; and Joseph W. Montroy, a planter and merchant. The file contains a sworn statement by P. B. Caldwell a witness at the wedding of C.E. Kong and Bertha Long on 23 October 1912. Emily Guy Dawson, a midwife, swore that she attended Mrs. C. E. Kong at the birth of her two sons whom she identified Lou Yuck Hong and Lou Yuck Ming.
Lou Yuck Ming returned to the U.S. on 24 October 1927 at age eleven through the port of Seattle on the s.s. President Madison.
In 1932 Lou Yuck Ming applied to make another trip to China. He stated that he had three brother and two sisters in China and a brother and sister in Coahoma and that all of his siblings were born in the United States.
The cross reference sheet in the file contains file numbers for Lou Yuck Ming’s father, five brothers, two sisters, a sister-in-law, niece, and uncle. [This is extremely helpful information for anyone researching this family.]
In November 1915, Wong Ling, alias Chew Kee, age 55, a merchant and member of the Chew [Chu] Kee Co., 214 Front Street (formerly 130 Front Street), The Dalles, Oregon, submitted papers seeking admission into the United States for his wife and son. Three white witnesses swore that Wong Ling was a merchant and met the mercantile status required by law by not engaging in prohibited manual labor. R. P. Bonham, Chinese Inspector, stated, “the case is either genuine or else has been concocted with greater cleverness and recited with far more guile than is usual with a case arising in a country town.”
During questioning, Mr. Bonham found that Wong Ling had been issued certificate of residence #43730 (issued in 1894 in Portland, Oregon) and certificate of identity #2562 (issued in Seattle in 1911). Since it was not Immigration’s policy to have two identification documents for one person, the certificate of identity was sent to Seattle for cancellation.
Wong Ling’s white witnesses were Edward H. French, a banker, president of French & Company and long-time resident of The Dalles; L. A. Schanne, a hardware and grocery merchant who had lived in The Dalles for 40 years; and Edward Kurtz, Chief of Police, a resident of The Dalles since 1894. They all had known Wong Ling for 15 to 20 years.
Wong Ling testified that his marriage name was Hong Gwoon (or spelled Hong Quin). He was born in Ging Bui Village, Sun Wui district, China and had made two trips to China. In K.S. 15 (1889) he left and returned the next year via San Francisco. In K.S. 32* (1906) he left from Sumas, Washington and returned at Seattle. He had been living in the United States about 32 years. He and his brother, Wong Cheong, were partners in Chew Kee Company.
Wong Ling’s first wife died in K.S. 32 (1906) when she was about 36 years old. They had two children. His son and his family were living “on the small door side” of Wong Ling’s house in China. His brother’s family lived in their father’s house “on the big door side.”
Wong Ling married his second wife, Chun Shee, about four months after his first wife died. A woman named Ngan Ho arranged the marriage. They were married on a market day, either the 18th or 22nd, 9th month, K.S. 32* (1906) and the feast lasted one day. Their son, Gwan Jing, was born one month after Wong Ling returned to the U.S. In 1915 his son was five years old and was about to meet his father for the first time.
Wong Ling’s Chinese witness was Liu Chung, marriage name Shung Nguen, who lived in San Francisco but visited The Dalles occasionally. He recognized Wong Ling’s wife, Chun Shee, from a photo. He had only seen her briefly when his visit to China coincided with Wong Ling’s visit. Even though he had a meal at their home in their village he said “…according to our custom, just as soon as a lady sees a man she withdraws and keeps away.”
Chun Shee was interviewed twice, on 22 October 1915 and on 5 November. She and her son Wong Gwan Jing, age 5, arrived in Seattle on the 22nd. She was 28 years old and had married at age 19. Her maiden name was Ah Gon. The interviewer asked about a servant girl, Chun Moy, who lived in the household for about four years. She was security for a debt and when her father paid off the loan, she left and was married. Chun Shee was asked the same questions her husband was asked. There were only minor discrepancies in their answers. After two weeks [most likely in detention] she and her son were admitted to the United States.
[The file gives a lot of information about the family, house and land holdings of Wong Ling in his village in China.]
[Usually each person would have a separate file. The information for Chun Shee and her son, Wong Gwan Jing, is all together in one file.]
*K.S. 32 is during the reign of Kang Shi, or about 1906.
On 2 July 1904 A.F. Learned, postmaster; William P. Wyckoff, Customs House official; and H. L. Tibbals, of Port Townsend, Jefferson County, Washington, swore in an affidavit they had been residents of Port Townsend for more than twenty years and were U.S. citizens. They proclaimed that Goon Fon was a bona fide merchant for more than twelve years, a member of the Wing Sing Company, the son of Goon Sam, and was now 22 years old.
Goon Fon was born at Hom Quon village, Sun Woi district, China on 14 January 1883. He came to the United States with his father and landed in San Francisco about 1894. His father returned to China in 1902 and died there. After his father left Goon Fon went to New York City and worked in the restaurant business. He came back to Seattle and worked in a cannery in Alaska for Goon Dip, then moved to Spokane, Washington.
In 1924 Goon Fon applied for a return certificate as a laborer. His only proof of his status was the 1904 affidavit. He obtained the required proof that debt was owed him—a $1,000 bond. His application was approved.
In 1937 Goon Fon was living at Noodles Café, 512 Main Street, Spokane. According to his application for his Return Certificate for Lawfully Domiciled Chinese Laborers, he had a $1,000 loan due from Hui Cheung, 126 ½ North Wall Street, Spokane. His application was approved.
The State of Nevada did not require birth certificates until 1911 so when Wong Goe Yok’s parents took him back to China in 1897, they obtained an affidavit by witnesses swearing that he was born about 1895 in American Canyon, Humboldt County, Nevada. His mother was Chun Lun and his father was Wong Ying. The affidavit was signed by John T. Reid, clerk; L. M. Donelin, Agent S. P. Co.; A. C. Brown, rancher; S. R Young, Notary Public; and George Young, Justice of the Peace. Although Humboldt County started requiring birth certificate in 1887, Wong Goe Yok’s birth was not recorded.
The affidavit was accepted as proof when Wong Goe Yok applied for admission to the United States as a native-born citizen on 11 July 1921.
Chin Ding, Chin Mon, alias Chin Mon Ding, age 54, was ordered deported by Department of Labor on 25 May 1926. He left on his own accord on 1 February 1927 from Seattle on s.s. President Jefferson. He paid his own expenses.
Before leaving he sold all of his interests in the United States. He stated that if he was not permitted to remain permanently he preferred to depart on his own. He did not want to use all of his money “here in idleness” when he would probably be deported eventually.
The Department of Labor suspected Inspector Charles E. Keagy of accepting and soliciting bribes. They wanted Chin Mon to testify against Keagy because of Chin Mon’s “ingenuous and frank manner.” Although Chin Mon decided not to testify, Keagy was fired by the Bureau of Immigration.
Testimony revealed that Charles Brotchie, a deputy sheriff and John W. L. Fort, a mail carrier, both of Seattle testified that Chin Mon was a merchant in Seattle when he was actually a gardener (a laborer) at Beaverton, Oregon.
A summary of the investigation said that Chin Mon testified that he paid $500 to Inspector Keagy in 1922 to obtain a merchant classification. The amount was transferred at the Kuong Tai Company in Seattle. Chin Mon wanted to get merchant’s papers so he could bring his adopted son to the United States. The son, Chin Woon or Foon (Seattle file 1545/13/15) did accompany his father to the U.S. in 1924 but was denied admission, appealed and was eventually admitted. (Inspector Keagy was not on the board denying admission.) Chin Woon worked with his father in the garden in Beaverton.
Chin Mon, alias Chin Ding, marriage name Mon Ing, was born about 1872 in Foong Nguen village, Sun Ning district and first entered the United States at Portland when he was 18 years old. He had a truck farm in Beaverton, Oregon. He had planned to leave the country as a laborer but was convinced by Inspector Keagy that it would be better for him if he declared that he was a merchant.
After reviewing all the testimony Immigrant Inspector W. F. Watkins stated in his recommendations: “Chin Mon is a Chinaman of high intelligence, is an old-time resident of this district, an exceedingly industrious and hard-working fellow who lives by the sweat of his brow, well-liked and trusted by his neighbors, and so far as known, with the exception of the present instance, is a law-abiding citizen.” “Chin Mon has equipment and investments in his garden which he values at from $3000 to $3500.” He spent $1500 on legal fees to get Chin Woon landed. Inspector Watkins recommended that the warrant proceedings against Chin Mon be cancelled but Chin Woon was deported and Chin Mon decided his case was hopeless and left at his own expense.
In Chin Mon’s testimony he told about his truck farm. He was in business with Lee Kay who was trying to find someone to purchase Chin Mon’s interest. They grew lettuce, beets, carrots, parsnips, spinach, peas, potatoes, horseradish, cabbage and potatoes. His farming equipment consisted of four plows, three horses, two harrows, four cultivators, two dozen hoes, rakes, and small farm implements, two wagons and one 2-1/2 ton truck, between three and four dozen chickens and $800 worth of hay.
1928 affidavits swearing that Chin Mon was reliable, honest, industrious and hardworking were from:
August Rossi, resident of Beaverton for 42 years and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) for eight years.
Doy Gray, cashier at State Bank of Beaverton and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) for eight years.
Joe F. Keller, Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Coast Automobile Underwriters Conference and own of a truck garden farm in Beaverton. and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) since 1919.
Chin Fong You, and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) for thirteen years.