In 1906 Chin Ng Ten was arrested in New Orleans under the Chinese Exclusion Acts for not possessing a proper legal certificate. He was acquitted when he furnished evidence showing that he had been arrested in St. Albans, Vermont in 1896 and the charge was discharged by Felix W. McGettrick, U. S . Commissioner for the District of Vermont. Immigration Services in Boston verified that McGettrick’s seal and signature were genuine. The discharge did not include Chin Ng Ten’s photograph. Henry Chiapella, U. S. Commissioner, Eastern District of Louisiana issued Chin Ng Ten another certificate with a photo.
[McGettrick was known for being a “sympathetic judge” but the authorities in New Orleans may not have known of his reputation.]
In 1912 Chin Ng Ten and his wife applied to visit China. Mrs. Chin Ng Ten was interviewed. She gave her maiden name as Rosa Emma Pellebon, daughter of Francois Pellebon and Annie Magloui, born in Santiago, Cuba. Rosa said her father was of the Spanish race. They submitted a copy of their 1906 marriage registration showing they were married by Judge T. F. Maher in New Orleans. Witnesses for the wedding were William McDuffy and John Schroeder.
Chin Ng Ten was thirty-two years old in 1912, born in San Francisco, and had been living in New Orleans since about 1903. Before that he lived in Baltimore for seven years.
Chin Ng Ten’s 1912 application was approved and he received a certificate of identity #9834. Their visit to China was short–they left in May and came back to New Orleans in December 1912. There is no file for Rosa since she was not Chinese.
[There is no more information in the file.]
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.]
Bow Tank was arrested on 4 April 1896 at Richford, Vermont. His hearing was held 24 October 1896 before Commissioner Felix W. McGettrick. He was issued a Certificate of Discharge. Witnesses: Moy Loy; E. S. Harris; Back Fook, Back Lee, New York.
The total cost for the hearing was $26.70. That included drawing the complaint, issuing the warrant of arrest, subpoena for two witnesses, etc.
Because Bow Tank had a McGettrick Discharge Certificate from 1896 the immigration authorities were suspicious of his credentials when he left the U.S. in 1916 and when he returned in 1919. Eventually his paperwork was approved. In 1919 he was a salesman for Quong Hing Lung Chong Kee and Company at 114 Park Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland.
[More about McGettrick Certificates in the next post.]