The U.S. Mint began The American Women Quarters Program in 2022 and will feature five women each year until 2025. Anna May Wong, a Chinese American actress, was on the first coin introduced in October 2022.
Anna May Wong, was born in Los Angeles in 1905 to Chinese immigrants. Her birth name was Wong Liu Tsong. She appeared in over sixty movies and had the lead role as a Chinese detective on a U.S. TV show. Because of the discrimination she faced in the U.S., she also worked in European films. In 1960 she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In January 1938 Lee Yok Tin swore in an affidavit that he was the son of a native of the United States and was last admitted at the port of San Francisco. Photos of Lee Yok Tin and his son were attached to the affidavit. In September 1938 he was applying to have his son, Lee Gum Sing, who was a citizen through him, come to the U.S.
“Lee Yok Tin affidavit with photos of Lee Gum Sing and Lee Yok Tin,” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, Record Group 85, NARA-Seattle, Lee Gum Sing file, Seattle Box 769, 7030/11419.
Lee Gum Sing, age 5, the son of Lee Yok Tin, a U.S. citizen, arrived at the Port of Seattle on 6 September 1938 with his aunt, Lee Ah Yee, and his father. Their destination was San Francisco. Gum Sing had a scar on his forehead over his right eyebrow, a scar on the back of his right ear and another scar on the right side of his neck. [There was no explanation for the scars, and interrogators did not ask about them in the interviews. THN]
His file contains twenty-nine pages of interrogations. Most questions were directed at his father and aunt but there were four pages of interrogation and two pages of re-interrogation for five-year old Lee Gum Sing. The father and aunt, the son and daughter of Lee Lock, also have separate files.
Gum Sing’s aunt, Lee Ah Yee, was twenty years old when she arrived in Seattle. She had a large brown burn scar on the right side of forehead which she said was from a boil and that no one in the family had had smallpox. She was born on 11 March 1919 in Macao City, China and lived in Sheuk Kee city from the time she was two or three years old. Her citizenship status at her arrival was as the daughter of a native citizen. According to the Chinese Exclusion laws it was necessary for her to prove her right to enter the U.S. She told the interrogator that her father, Lee Lock, marriage name Poy Lum, died in July 1936 at the age of 58. Her father’s funeral was held at their home, but she did not attend it. Her mother, Wong Shee, age 52, had released feet and was still living in the family home in China. Japanese warplanes bombed the business section of their village but not the residential section. [In 1938 the Japanese launched several military campaigns in China.] Ah Yee’s brother brought her to the U.S. to take care of his son, Gum Sing, and told her she could go to school if she was interested.
Lee Gum Sing’s mother, Ow Young Shee, died in 1938. Gum Sing identified his mother’s photo from her San Francisco file #12033/7572 and his father’s photo from his Seattle file 7030/10699. Gum Sing was born in Jung San on 4 October 1933. He had two older brothers and a younger brother. After his mother died his father married again to Leung Shee.
The interrogators asked Gum Sing about his family, home, street, and neighborhood. Gum Sing spoke in a mixture of Heung San and Sam Yip dialect and told them that the family lived in a small house with no upstairs. It had three bedrooms and three parlors, a clock with a pendulum, red tile floors, no courtyard, a toilet near the kitchen, no outside windows, no framed pictures, one outside door in one of the parlors, and a skylight. There was a round wooden table in the kitchen and a clay stove. The house was lit with kerosene lamps at night. He described who slept where. His grandmother had small feet and walked slowly. His father smoked cigarettes. His father’s new wife, Leung Shee, had bobbed hair and wore earrings, rings and bracelets. On their way to Hong Kong to start their trip to the United States they traveled by autobus and boat. The interrogators asked the same questions and more to his father and aunt.
Gum Sing’s father, Lee Yok Tin, marriage name Jock Sang, testified that he was 32 years old and born in Shauck Kee city, Jung San district, China. He was first admitted to the United States at San Francisco in 1922. He lived in Rockport near Walnut Grove. Since then, he had made three trips to China through San Francisco and one through Seattle. His most recent address was at the Hai Goon Grocery Store, 740 Jackson Street, San Francisco. He worked as a truck driver for the store. Lee Yok Tin’s first wife, Ng Shee died in 1923. They had no children together. His second wife, Ow Young Shee died in early 1938. They had four sons and no daughters. Lee Yok Tin married Leung Shee, age 21, a few months after Ow Young Shee died.
Lee Yok Tin explained that his sister, Ah Yee, was not allowed to attend their father’s funeral in 1936 even though it was in the family sitting room, because she was a girl. [Ah Yee would have been about 18 at the time of her father’s death. It is not known If she could have attended if she was older or if she was not allowed to attend simply because she was female; her age may not have mattered. Does anyone know the customs for females attending funerals? TNH]
The interrogator asked Lee Yok Tin why he did not bring his two older sons to the U.S. Yok Tin said he wanted them to attend school in China. The interrogator was also troubled by some of the discrepancies between the family’s description of the neighborhood. The three agreed on most of the details about the house and neighborhood but did not agree on whether the building directly to the right of the family home was an ancestral hall or if a fruit stand and grocery store stood at that place. And they disagreed about how much space there was between the buildings.
When Lee Ah Yee was being reexamined about some of the discrepancies between her statements and her nephew’s, she said Gum Sing’s answers might be different because he was only five years old and probably too young to know the answers.
In the summary of the interrogations by Roy C. Matterson, chairman of the Board of Special Inquiry, he explained the citizenship of Lee Look, the father of Lee Ah Yee and paternal grandfather of Lee Gum Sing. Lee Look’s file stated that when he was leaving San Francisco for China in March 1906, he claimed he was born in San Francisco. An affidavit from his mother and another witness confirmed his birth. After an investigation he was admitted as a citizen. In May 1922 Lee Yok Tin, the son of Lee Look, applied for admittance as the son of a U.S. citizen and was admitted. They both had made several trips to China and were readmitted each time. Although there were several discrepancies in the testimonies for this trip, when all the evidence, testimony and records were reviewed the discrepancies were not enough to detain Lee Ah Yee and Lee Gum Sing. They were admitted to the U.S. on 24 October 1938. Lee Gum Sing received Certificate of Identity #78259. His application includes his photo at age 3.
“Lee Gum Sing, form M143,” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, Record Group 85, NARA-Seattle, Lee Gum Sing file, Seattle Box 769, 7030/11419.
The reference sheet in the file included file number 7030/12466 for Gum Sing’s older brother, Lee Mai Hing.
This is a continuation of the blog entry for !5 September 2022.
In October 1913 (Ng) Ah Yun filed an “Application of Alleged American-Born Chinese for Preinvestigation of Status” to visit China. His photograph was taken, and this description was listed as: age: 24; height: 5 ft. 6 in; occupation: cannery man; mole on chin below lower lip; left ear pierced; pit– right forehead. He said his correct name was Young, not Yun and that he lived at Wa Young Company store, 416 Eighth Avenue South, Seattle. [He was probably living above the store.] Ah Yun considered himself a general laborer. Although he worked in the cannery, he also worked as a cook and sometimes in laundries. [Even Chinese who were born in the U.S. had to go through this whole investigation process every time they left or re-entered the country.]
(Ng) Ah Yun returned from China on the Ex S.S. Ixion in April 1915. While there he married Wong She and they had a son, Bak Sing. Ah Yun was asked about his brother, Ah Don. He told the interviewer that Ah Don had married Lin She, who had natural feet. They had one son, age two.
Chinese were usually asked if their wife or mother had bound or natural feet. This was probably one of many questions asked to see if his answer was consistent each time he left or entered the U. S.]
In May 1915 (Ng) Ah Yun received his certificate of identity. This certificate contained his photo, was made of sturdy paper and, at 4-by-9 inches in size, fit into a durable storage sleeve; making it much easier and safer for him to carry than court discharge papers. He was required to carry the certificate with him at all times.
In June 1917, Ah Yun registered for the military draft in Hartford, Connecticut. His registration lists him as “Wah Young,” although he signed his name “Wu Ah Young” and he gave his date of birth as 29 October 1889, instead of 23 August 1889. The rest of the information agrees with previous facts about him. At that time, he was working as a waiter at a Cantonese Restaurant and living at 257 Asylum Street. The physical description of him says that he had lost a toe
[Note: The draft registration card is not included in his case file, but it is referred to in the file. Without this information in the file, it would be hard to know that he had registered for the draft. This is the only document that says he was living in Connecticut at that time. Because of the differences in the spelling of his name and in his date of birth, it would have been difficult to make the connection between Ah Yun and his draft registration. There is no additional information given about his missing toe.]
In November 1919 Ng Ah Yun again applied to leave the U.S. He went through an interrogation process similar to the interview he had had in 1913. New information revealed that his father, Yee Kong, had died in 1912 in Song Leung village; his mother’s brother, Si Chuck, who lived in Gow Ngok Won, had also died. Ng Ah Yun said he had married in 1913 and his son, Ng Bok Sen, was born in 1914. His marriage name was Ng See Tong. He stated that he was in poor health at that time.
Ah Yun was in New York City at the time he applied for his passport. James V. Storey, Customs Broker at William A. Brown & Co. was his identifying witness. Ah Yun paid a $2 application fee.
In December 1919 Ng Ah Yun received his passport so he could go to Hong Kong to visit his mother and family. The passport had a current photo, gave his age and a physical description.
Ng Ah Yun returned to the port of Seattle on the S.S. Bay State in May 1922. His life had changed. He had a second son, Ng Bok Chung (Teung), and his wife had died, probably in childbirth. He had remarried, to a woman named Chin She, who also had natural feet. She remained in China.
Ng Ah Yun applied for his third trip back to China in August 1926. His third son, Bok Wong, was born a few months after his return to Seattle in 1922, and he was probably anxious to see him. Ng Ah Yun returned to the United States through Seattle in July 1927, on the SS President McKinley.
At age forty-five, Ng Ah Yun once again went to visit his family in China. He was still living in New York City and working as a laundryman. His oldest son, Ng Bok Sing, had been living in the United States as well, but went back to China through Seattle in 1933. His other son (by his first wife), Bok Chung, was living in Song Lung village in China. Ng Ah Yun’s second wife had given birth to another son, Bok Teung, born in 1927 after her husband’s last visit. Bok Teung was almost seven years old before his father met him for the first time.
Ng Ah Yun returned to Seattle on the SS President Jackson in November 1936. He now had six children, all sons, and one son, Ng Bok Sing, was living in the United States.
Not all Chinese Exclusion Act case files give this much information, although some give even more. This case file provided information for a four-generation genealogy chart, contained six photos of Ah Yun from 1907 to 1934, a photo of his brother in 1907, addresses where Ah Yun had lived over the years, information about his extended family in China, and a 1919 passport. More family information could be obtained from Charley Quong’s case file and the files of his siblings who were born in the United States. The file refers to other documents easily obtained–passenger lists, World War I draft registration information, and the file of the son who was living in the United States. The file has a wealth of genealogical information and gives clues to finding much more information on the extended family.
This information was obtained from Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files ca. 1895-1943, Record Group 85; National Archives- Seattle, Ng Ah Yun, Case 7030/6363.The case study was originally published in the Seattle Genealogical Society Bulletin. The citation for the complete article is: Trish Hackett Nicola, CG, “Chinese and the Northwest,” SGS (Seattle) Bulletin, 64-1 (Winter 2014) 39-47.
United States, Selective Service System, “World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database on-line, National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, Ancestry.com (:accessed 22 August 2022), Wah Young, Hartford, Conn, No. 1597;citing FHL, Roll1561897; Draft Board 2.
 Ng Ah Yun, 1919 Passport Application #4551, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Passport Applications for Travel to China, 1906-1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 1244180 / MLR Number A1 540; Box#: 4448; Volume#: 35; Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007; accessed 22 August 2022.
Leung Man Hoi arrived in the Port of Seattle on 15 May 1915. He passed his medical exam. He did not have hookworm or trachoma.
He was interviewed by Immigration Inspector Henry A. Monroe. He testified that his marriage name was (Leung) Yum Gong, he was 30 years old, and born on 10 March 1886 in Kai Gock village, Moy Yuen District, China. He was married to Chin She and they had two sons, Sik Chee, age 6; and Sik Yuen, age 2. Leung was in the rice and wine business at Bo San Wo Co., Chung Sar Market, China. He had a friend, Wong Shu Tong, who was living at the King Chong Lung Co. Leung Man Hoi was admitted to Seattle on his day of arrival as a Section 6 Merchant and received his certificate of identity #20276. His destination was the King Chong Lung Company, 217 Washington Street, Seattle.
When questioned by Inspector Henry A. Monroe, Leung Man Hoi said that he was examined in China by a consular representative at Swatow. Leung did not know the interviewer’s name, but he said he answered his many questions truthfully. Leung did not have any relatives in the U.S., only a friend, Wong Shu Tong, who he had not seen in ten years. Wong worked for the King Cheng Lung Company. Leung only had $10 in cash with him and a bank draft for $1,000 in gold drawn on Wah Young Company issued in Hong Kong. Inspector Monroe concluded that it was not a bank draft but only an order for the Wah Young Company to extend credit to Leung.
Inspector Monroe asked Leung if he knew Chin Tan in China. Chin solicited men of means to secure Section 6 certificates so they could enter the United States [illegally]. Leung denied knowing Chin Tan. At the conclusion of the interrogation Monroe reminded Leung that under no circumstances could he work as a laborer, or he would be subject to arrest and deportation.
Leung Man Hoi applied to leave the U.S. in May 1920 from San Francisco. He filed his application for a return certificate as a merchant and it was approved on 12 June 1920 by the commissioner at Angel Island Station in San Francisco, California, but with some reservations. This is an excerpt from a letter to Immigration in San Francisco from the Seattle immigration office on May 28, 1920:
“Please note that Leung Man Hoi is a so-called Swatow Section 6 merchant. A couple of years ago this office established to the satisfaction of the Department at Washington and the U.S. Court here, on Writ of Habeas Corpus, that all Swatow cases were fraudulent, and the last twenty-two from that place holding papers were returned to China, after Judge Neterer of the District Court here had discharged a Writ of Habeas Corpus obtained in their behalf. Since that time no Chinese holding Swatow certificates have applied at this port for admission. Testimony of the applicant given May 15, 1915, in interest- ing reading, in view of the subsequent developments in Swatow cases.”
In spite of the letter from the Seattle office about their doubts of the validity of Section 6 merchant certificates issued in Swatow, Leung Man Hoi’s papers were approved.
If someone wants a project on the Chinese Exclusion Act case files, it would be interesting to find the files or the court cases on a 22 Chinese with Swatow papers who were returned to China. The CEA volunteers are still not back at NARA-Seattle but when we were all working together Rhonda Farrar called my attention to this file. Thank you Rhonda!
Loui See Fung 雷樹宏 arrived at the Port of Seattle on the s.s.Princess Marguerite on 11 January 1941. He was classified as the son of citizen, Loui Guee (Louie Gwee) (married name: Woon Jing). He was admitted exactly one month later and received his Certificate of Identity on 14 February. His destination was El Paso, Texas. He was nineteen years old, born on 20 September 1921 at Ai Lat Village, Hoy San District, China. According to Dr. Seth, the Medical Examiner of Aliens, the applicant appeared to be younger than he claimed. X-rays might give a more accurate assessment, but the immigration board decides that it was not necessary. The father presented a photo of the applicant when he was about five years old. There was a strong resemblance between the alleged father and the applicant.
Loui See Fung’s father, Loui Guee, originally arrived in the United States in October 1913 and was admitted as the son of a native, Loui Yim, who was subject to San Francisco file 10346/1433.
In Loui See Fung’s interrogation he testified that he spoke the See Yip Hoy San dialect and had never been in the United States before. His family moved to Ping On village when he was four or five years old. He last saw his father when he was about eight years old, but he readily identified him from a photograph because he remembered that his father had a scar on his forehead which showed in the photo. The interrogator asked many questions about his father’s extended family. Loui See Fung answered most of the questions correctly and was asked if he had been coached with the answers. It was a long interrogation with over five pages of testimony. He described his mother as Yee Shee, natural feet, some pock marks on her face, able to read and write, mother of four sons and no daughters. He told the names and ages of his brothers and where they went to school. He described his village and the nearby villages, the streams, a fishpond, markets, and school. Loui See Fung lived in a brick house with two bedrooms, a living room, two kitchens with a room over each kitchen, cement floors in all the rooms, all closed by glass and iron bars, no shutters, and two outside doors. They had a black dog but no pig. He was asked about specific houses in his village—”who lives opposite your door in the 3rd house, 2nd row?” and the names of the occupants, their ages, occupations, children’s names and ages, and where they went to school.
There was a lengthy interview of Loui’s father, Loui Guee. He stated that for the last ten years, he was a partner in a restaurant at Alamosa, Colorado. He was asked how he could identify his son if he had not seen him in about eleven years. He said, “I recognize him because he is my son. The photograph looks like him.” He chose the correct photo of his son out from more than ten photos. He testified that he had two brothers, Loui Fee in Oxnard, California, and Loui Wing in Ogden, Utah. He gave additional details about the family home. It had a stone court, a shrine on the second floor, and a balcony with a wood floor over each first-floor bedroom. They had three ancestral tablets.
Most of the testimony of the father and son agreed completely. Although Loui See Fung said his destination was El Paso, Texas, and his father lived in Alamosa, Colorado; the interrogator ignored this inconsistency. The other differences were minor. The doctor testified that the applicant appears to be younger than his stated age, but it was not enough to reject the applicant. Loui See Fung was admitted and received his Certificate of Identity.
[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before March 2020. thn]
Woo Quin Lock was born on 3 March 1920 at Kwong Tung, China. He was the son of a U.S. citizen. He arrived at the Port of Seattle on 2 February 1940 on the Princess Charlotte. He was denied admittance on 12 April 1940. His case was appealed on 10 May, and he was admitted on 10 August, more than eight months after his arrival. He received his Certificate of Identity No. 83265 two days later. The exhibits submitted in his case were an affidavit by his father, Woo Yen Tong, three letters written by the applicant to his father and their translations, a sample of the applicant’s handwriting, four Woo Seattle case files and eight San Francisco files for various Woos.
Woo Quin Lock’s father, Woo Yen Tong, swore in an affidavit that he was a United States citizen and that he had proved his citizenship to the Immigration Service after his arrival at the Port of San Francisco on 14 August 1911 and was issued a Certificate of Identity No. 4752. Three photos were attached to his affidavit.
“Woo Yen Tong, affidavit,” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Woo Quin Lock case file, Seattle Box 805, file 7030/12841.
During his 1940 testimony, Woo Quin Lock testified that his father sent him $1,200 in Hong Kong currency to cover his travel expenses. Chin Thick Gee a member of the Mow Fon Goon store in Hong Kong, purchased his ticket for him. His father owned two houses and a social hall in Wan Jew village. Overnight visitors stayed in the social hall which was the 8th house, 9th row, counting from the north. Gar Theung and Gar Thin, sons of his paternal uncle Get Tong were living in the building while they were guests of the family in 1938. The family owned an old house on the north side and a new house on the south side. The interrogator told Woo Quin Lock that his testimony about some of his uncles and cousins and the location of the houses did not agree with his father’s and brother’s testimony.
The case file contains more than sixty pages of documents and testimony. The following is an excerpt from the summary written by the Immigration Committee Chairman:
The alleged father, Woo Yen Tong, was originally admitted at San Francisco in 1909 as the foreign-born son of a native, Woo Gap.
Woo Yen Tong returned to China in 1919. He married Chen Shee and their son; Woo Quin Lock was born before he returned to the United States. He made several trips to China and four sons were born. Woo Quin Lock’s younger brother, Woo Quin Kwock arrived from China in 1939 and was admitted. He was a witness for Woo Quin Lock.
There were many discrepancies between the testimony of the applicant and his brother about their method and date of travel to Hong Kong, where they stayed on the way, and when they got there. The brothers did not agree on when and where their alleged younger brother attended school.
The interrogation committee decided that the relationship between Woo Quin Lock and his father and brother could not be established. They denied Lock admission to the United States, but he had the right to appeal. The case was reopened in April 1940 to reconsider the citizenship of the alleged father. Woo Yen Tong’s brother was called to testify. Woo Fong Tong (marriage name Sik Kew) presented his Certificate of Identity #10738 which was issued to him in San Francisco in 1913. He testified that he was forty-four, born (ca. 1894) in Wan Jew village, Toy San district, China. He was a laborer living in the Chicago Hotel in Spokane, Washington. He made two trips to China in 1921 and 1929 and returned through the port of San Francisco. He identified the photos that were attached to Fook Yen Tong’s affidavit and a photo of their father, Woo Gap, from his 1921 Certificate of Identify that was included in his San Francisco file. He correctly identified all the Woo photos from the Seattle and San Francisco files.
Woo Fong Tong described the burial ceremony for his father Woo Gap (the transcriber made a note that Gap was pronounced NGIP). Woo Gap died in 1929 and Woo Fong Tong took his remains, his whole body, not just his bones, back to China in a regular wooden casket which was placed in a wooden box lined with tin. After their arrival in Wan Jew village the shipping box was removed, and the casket was placed outside the village for a day for visitation by the family. Then the casket was opened briefly to give everyone one last look at the body. They had a regular burial procession with the whole family accompanying the casket to the burial place at Fong Ngow hill, about 2 lis (less than a mile) north of Wan Jew village. After Woo Gap was buried, the family worshipped at his grave.
Woo Gap was married three times and his father was married twice. There was much testimony in the case file about whether the Woo men were stepsons or half-brothers.
In May 1940, P. J. Hansen, wrote a reference letter for Woo Yen Tong, who he called Raymond Woo. Hansen stated that Woo had worked for him for nine years as cannery foreman and he considered him a conscientious and trustworthy employee. He offered his assistance in getting Woo’s son admitted to the United States.
The legal brief for the appeal on behalf of Woo Quin Lock conceded that Woo Quin Lock was a foreign-born son of Woo Yen Tong but left open the question of his father’s citizenship of the United States. Woo Yen Tong derived his citizenship through his father, Woo Gap. Woo Gap and his second wife Lee Shee were the parents of Woo Yen Tong. Woo Gap married Lee Shee before the death of his first wife which was legal under Chinese law and custom. Woo Gap’s first wife, Chow Shee, the mother of his four sons, was ill for many years and required constant care. Woo Gap’s second wife moved into the household and cared for Chow Shee and the children. Woo Yen Ton was the son of Woo Gap and Woo’s second wife, Lee Shee. He was born before Woo’s first wife died.
Woo Quin Lock’s attorney, Edward E. Merges, brought forward a May 1918 letter written by Philip B. Jones, Immigration Officer at San Francisco to the Commissioner of Immigration at Angel Island stating the merits Woo Gap’s status as a merchant (one of the exemptions to the Exclusion Act). Woo Gap was born in the United States, a merchant in Santa Cruz, California, and well-known by the community and the immigration station. He resided with his wife and their son Woo Yen Tong. They provided a home and schooling for their son which Immigration authorities thought was sufficient proof of their relationship. They were also impressed that Woo Gap was honest about his dual marriage. Woo Yen Tong’s case was submitted to the Central Immigration Office in Washington, D.C. and it was determined that Woo Gap was a citizen of the United States. His son, Woo Yen Tong, had been admitted as the son of a citizen. Finally, after an eight-month legal battle, Woo Quin Lock was admitted as the son a citizen on 20 August 1940. His new residence was 725 King Street, Seattle, Washington.
[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopens. THN]
Ng Wing Yin arrived at the Port of Seattle on 28 January 1929 was deported after almost two months in detention. He could not prove his relationship to his alleged father, Ng Wah Lai, a U.S. citizen.
His attorney, Hugh C. Todd, wrote to the Bureau of Immigration in Washington, D.C. regarding Ng’s appeal. Ng Wing Yin was first denied admission in January 1927. His 1929 entry was his second attempt to enter the U.S. Todd argued that no one except a father would try to bring his son into the country twice. Anyone else would have given up. This application included a photo taken in 1921 of the father and son when the son was ten years old. Todd pointed out the resemblance between the two—their posture, eyes, nose, ears and chin, even the curl of the mouth. The photograph was not included in the 1927 earlier entry application.
“Ng Wing Yin and Ng Wah Lai photo” 1921 , Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Wing Yin case file, Seattle Box 1118, file 10346/10-12.
[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopens. THN]
In 1929 Ng Wing Yin was seventeen years old and a student. He was born in Woy Lung Lee village, Sun Wei Ning District, China. He was attempting to enter the U.S. as the son of a native. His parents were Ng Wah Lai (marriage name Yuk Moon), and Mar Shee. He presented an affidavit with a photo of him with his father stating that his father was a United States citizen.
Ng Wing Yin was questioned about the first time he tried to enter the U.S. in 1926. He was denied, it was appealed, denied again, and he was deported. He was asked why he was trying to enter again since he was debarred the first time. He did not reply. His only witness was his father.
Ng Wah Lai testified that he was born in Riverside, California and that he had lived in Durango, Colorado for four years and planned to go back there. He was currently working at the Kwong Man Yuen store at 701 King Street in Seattle. He showed his certificate of identity #4188 issued at Boston, Massachusetts in 1911. The only proof he had that Ng Wing Yin was his son was the photo of them together. The immigration authorities agreed that the people in the photo were Ng Wah Lai and Ng Wing Yin but that did not prove their relationship. They had no new witnesses or evidence except for the photo taken of them together in 1921. They asked Ng Wah Lai why he was going through this process again when nothing had changed. Ng said, “He is my son and is anxious to come to the U.S.”
Ng Wing Yin was unable to prove that he was the blood son of Ng Wah Lai so he was denied entry into the U.S. Their attorney appealed, it was denied, and Ng Wing Yin was deported, again.
“Patricia Yuen, Form 430 photo,” 1943. Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yuen Patricia case file, Seattle Box 828, file 7030/13734.
Patricia Ann Yuen Too 曹淑琴 was ten years old in 1943 when she filed her form 430, Application of Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status. With the help of her parents, she applied to the Immigration Service at Sacramento and was approved by the San Francisco office. Her mother, Mrs. Emily L. Yuen, was planning a three-month visit to Vancouver, B.C. Canada for her daughter. They made special arrangements with the Vancouver, B.C. immigration office so Patricia could be admitted at White Rock, British Columbia opposite Blaine, Washington. Patricia was traveling with Emily’s friend, Mrs. Esther Fong, a Canadian citizen who was in San Francisco testifying as a witness in a criminal case. Mrs. Fong was a church worker and a music teacher.
“Robert Yuen photo, California Affidavit of Identification,” 1943. CEA case files, RG 85, NA-Seattle, Yuen Patricia case file, 828, 7030/13734.
In July 1943, Patricia’s father, Robert Yuen, also known as Robert Chew Too or Robert Chew Yuen, swore in an affidavit that he was born at Red Bluff, Tehama county, California on 8 November 1907 and that he had been a resident of Mt. Shasta, Siskiyou county, CA for the past seven years. His birth name was Robert Bo Do Hong. His father, Chew Yuen, was born in San Francisco and his mother was Too Shee Yuen. Robert Yuen married Emily L. Louis in Red Bluff, CA on 6 June 1929. Emily was born in Walnut Grove, CA. They were the parents of Patricia Ann Yuen Too. Robert was an herb doctor. He presented his certificate of Identity No. 13395 for inspection.
[A note of the affidavit says, “Witness Sacramento file 103/406 – 7-29-43; SF 12016/12452-OD.”]
A letter from Robert W. Pierce, Inspector in Charge in Sacramento confirmed that San Francisco files 28591/2-8, 9, and 11 were reviewed in the case.
San Francisco file 28591/2-8 for Emily L. Louis (Emily Yuen Too/Louie Guck Lin) identifies Emily as Patricia’s mother. Emily’s certificate of identity, No. 1800, was issued in San Francisco in 1910.The file of Patricia’s brother, Robert Chew Too, Jr. was examined also.
“Patricia Ann Yuen California birth Certificate,” 1933. CEA case files, RG 85, NA-Seattle, Yuen Patricia case file, 828, 7030/13734.
Patricia testified that she was born on 25 April 1933 in Red Bluff, California. She had three brother and one sister. Her brother Robert, Jr. was 14 and born in Canton, China. Stanford Curtis Yuen Too would be 13 years old in September 1943 and Theodore Stuart Yue Too would be four years old in August 1943. Her sister Linda Jean Yuen Too was about 1-1/2 years old. Stanford, Theodore, and Linda were born in California. Patricia’s mother was arranging the trip to Vancouver so Patricia she could study Chinese and music. Patricia thought the trip was so she would have a chance to play with girls. She told her interrogator, “I always play with boys at home because there are no girls.”
Mrs. Irene Neuffer, a family friend, served as a witness and claimed to have known the parents and the applicant since Patricia was about four years old. Mrs. Neuffer testified that she was born in Healdsburg, California and currently lived in North Sacramento. She lived across the street from Yuen family when they all lived in Mount Shasta. Mrs. Neuffer said Patricia’s mother thought if Patricia like Vancouver, she could stay a while.
Patricia’s original 1933 certificate of birth and a 1943 certified copy which agrees with the original certificate are included in the file.
Patricia’s documents were approved. She and Mrs. Fung [sometimes referred to as Miss Fung] left San Francisco for White Rock via the train in late August 1943.
Patricia Ann Yuen Too made her return trip to the United States and was admitted through Blaine, Washington on 10 November 1943. Her destination was her home in Mt. Shasta, California. There is no more information in the file. Perhaps 10-year-old Patricia missed her family—even her brothers.
[Since my formal name is Patricia Ann, I could not resist adding Patricia Ann Yuen Too’s file to the blog. THN]
Fred W. Taylor, Controller of Chinese Immigration for the Port of Vancouver, B. C. swore in an affidavit in the case of Loey King, also known as Lew King 雷權 or Loey Koon, that the document he reviewed was a true copy of Lew King’s application for admission to Canada.
[It is really highly unusual that a copy of Loey King (Lew King)’s 22-page Canadian file is included in his Seattle file.]
Lew King’s Canadian record was made in accordance with the laws of the Dominion of Canada, the Chinese Immigration Act of 1906, as amended by acts assented to July 20, 1908, and July 25, 1917. [A copy of the Act was included in the file.]
On 23 August 1920, Wong Wamfong [or Wam Fong] swore in an affidavit that he was manager of the Man Sing Lung Company at 92 Pender Street East, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The business, started in March 1919, was registered as a partnership. They dealt with groceries, general merchandise, and drugs. Lew King was a member of the partnership, a merchant, and was interested in coming to Vancouver from Hong Kong to become an active partner.
Louis Gar On swore in an affidavit in August 1920 that he was managing partner of the Man Sang Lung Company in Victoria, B.C. He claimed that Lew King had been a partner for several years of the company in Victoria and was also registered as a partner of Man Sing Lung Company in Vancouver. He believed that Lew King should be entitled to enter Canada exempt from the $500 capitulation tax.
In Lew King’s interrogation, he testified that he was a merchant for Man Sing Lung Co. in Vancouver, B.C. He arrived in Vancouver on 23 November 1920. This was reported in Vancouver file number 1316/1398. His exemption as a merchant was rejected and he was admitted after paying the $500 head tax. In his statement and declaration for registration he said that he was a salesman. He was born at Ing Gar Hong, Sin Ning district, China about 1892.
Lew King left Vancouver and was admitted at the Port of Seattle in August 1921 as a Section 6 Merchant. When Lew King applied for his laborer’s return certificate in 1935, the Seattle immigration office chose to verify Lew King’s original admission in Vancouver in 1921 even though he had made two trips to China since his admittance. The Vancouver office initially recommended that Lew King not be approved. Seattle asked Vancouver to reexamine their file. Roy M Porter, Immigrant Inspector in Seattle, reviewed their report. Porter did not think there was sufficient evidence to prove that Lew King admission to the Canada or the U.S. in 1921 was fraudulent. He reasoned that if the admittance was disapproved, Lew King’s appeal would probably be sustained so he recommended that his laborer’s return certificate be approved.
At the time of his interview to leave the U.S. on 5 April 1935, Lew King presented treasury bond No. 57451A for $1,000 as proof of his statutory right for a laborer’s return certificate. He left the bond with the Goon Dip Company at 415 7th Avenue South in Seattle. He was reminded by immigration authorities that the bond must be intact in the U.S. at the time of his return to be entitled to legal readmission.
Lew King (married name Doon Hen) was 42 years old and living at 214 Washington Street in Seattle. He left Seattle on 13 April 1935 on the S.S. President McKinley.
According to section 7 of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1888, as amend, Chinese laborers were required to return within one year. 1
There is no more information in Lew King’s file and nothing in the file to indicate why he did not return but in September 1937, Marie A. Proctor, district commissioner of the Seattle District Immigration Office, canceled the certificate of identity #56504 issued to Lew King as a laborer.
1. Green Haywood Hackworth. Digest of International Law: Chapters IX – XI., Volume 3, “Chapter XI, Aliens,” (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1942), 792. (books.google.com: accessed 12 May 2020.)
Hom Sit, the 24-year old son of U.S. citizen Hom Tin, arrived in Seattle on the SS Princess Marguerite on 22 August 1938. Although he was married (marriage name Soong Choo) he arrived alone and was going to live with his father in Butte, Montana. His testimony for his admittance was in his native dialect, See Yip. Fung Ming was the official government interpreter. Hom Sit was born on 7 September 1914 in Ung Sing Village, Chuck Hom Section of Hoy Ping District in China. He gave the following information about his father: Hom Tin (marriage name Gwong Ai) was 50 years old, born in San Francisco, California; living in Butte, Montana; and working in the restaurant business. Hom Tin visited them in Ung Sing when Hom Sit was eight years old and stayed for two years. That is the only time they spent together. The Hom ancestral village was Check Suey. Hom Sit’s father’s deceased father was Hom Goon Bow. He was buried at Bok Dook Hill, about a mile from their village. Hom Sit’s mother was Lee Shee, a native of Wing On village. His maternal grandfather, Lee Len Ock, had died but his grandmother, Ow Shee, was 70 years old, living in Wing On. Hom Sit had three brothers, one older and two younger. He was married to Dea Shee from Choo Heung village and they had one son, Hom Ngin, born in 1937.
Ung Sing Village faced east and had eight houses in five rows. Their house was the third house in the first row counting from the north. It was a brick house with five rooms, tile floors, a court paved with stone, had two outside doors with the large door was facing south. Each bedroom had an L-shaped loft along the outside walls and had two outside windows opening above a balcony. They were fitted with iron bars and glass panes with wooden shutters on the inside. The bedrooms and kitchen had skylights fitted with glass. There was a shrine in the parlor; a partitioned room in the parlor was made of wood.
Hom Sit described who lived in the other houses, their extended families, and where they worked. There was a bamboo hedge surrounding the village with a gateway on each end. A river about 200 feet wide was in front of the village and a dirt highway was nearby. The village did not have an ancestral hall or social hall. There weren’t any fruit trees near the village but there was a banyan tree. Hom Sit attended Gung Yee School in the village for twelve years. Won Wing Hop was the principal of the school and there were three other teachers.
Hom Sit said that his father sent $800 for his wedding expenses which included putting in the wooden partition in the parlor and erecting a pavilion for the wedding.
Jack Chan was the interpreter for interrogation of Hom Tin, the alleged father of Hom Sit. Hom testified that he was a partner at the Idaho Café in Butte, Montana at 799-1/2 Utah Avenue. He was born in San Francisco and had made three trips to China–in 1907, 1913, and 1921. He went through the Port of San Francisco each time. He presented his Certificate of Identity for inspection. He had a brother, Hom Foot, living somewhere in the U.S. They were separated during the San Francisco earthquake and fire and never heard from each other again.
Hom Tin said he did not bring his son over to the U.S. earlier because of the Depression but was bringing him over now to work in his restaurant. He was asked the same long list of questions that his son had been asked. His answers were consistent with his son’s testimony, but the interrogator ended the interview by saying, “Isn’t it a fact that the applicant is not your blood son?” [The interrogators frequently asked this question, even if it was obvious that there was a blood relationship.] Hom Tin stated that Hom Sit was his blood son and the interview ended.
The Board of Special Inquiry reviewed Hom Tin’s San Francisco file and recalled Hom Sit to question him about a few discrepancies in the interviews. They considered that the alleged father had not been in China for nearly fifteen years. They concluded that the alleged father and applicant both ”testified in a straightforward manner” and there was a physical resemblance between them. The board determined that the relationship had been established. Hom Sit was admitted to the U.S. as a United States Citizen, son of an American born Chinese, on 10 October 1938, one month and a half after his arrival.
“Form 143 photo of Hom Sit; Hom Tin Affidavit; map of village” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Hom Sit case file, Seattle Box 767, file 7030/11371.