George Washington Lee and his brother Raymond Lee were pugilists (boxers). Their primary home was in Sacramento, California but they were being promoted to box all over the world—United States, Canada, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, France and British Isles. In 1922 they were returning from their first trip out of the U.S.– a boxing match in Vancouver, B.C. Their manager was Ancil Hoffman and James J. Corbett created a promotional biography for George Lee. He called him the “yellow peril” and said he held his own with Bud Ridley, Young Farrell, Al Walker and Felix Villamore, know on the West Coast as the “Big Four.”
This is a condensed family biography gathered from Form 430, witnesses, letters, interviews and the promotional material in the file:
The progenitor of the family was Lee Moy, who was born in China, and his wife, Neevis Paderas, born in California of Mexican descent. They had seven children, four boys and three girls: George, Raymond, Elwin, Daniel, Emma, Dora and Irene. The mother died in Sacramento in 1917. (Moy and Neevis’s 1899 marriage certificate and Neevis’s death certificate were reviewed by the inspectors and returned to the family.) Their son Daniel died in 1918. George and Raymond were born in San Francisco before the earthquake and fire. (Raymond’s birth certificate is included in the file.)
Lee Moy serviced in the U.S. Army as a mess attendant on the U.S.S. Pinta and was receiving a pension for his military service. He worked as a cook after his stint in the army.
In 1921 George Lee applied for and obtained a U.S. passport from the Department of State. (included in the file)
Ira M. Conran, Chief of Police, Sacramento, Mr. Tharpe, a detective, and Ted N. Koening, a policeman, all testified that they knew George Lee since he was a child. A copy of a torn family portrait was included in the file.
The inspectors were satisfied with the applications and they were accepted.
[See 15 December 2015 entry for Yee Yook Poy for background information.]
Immigration Inspector Thomas Thomas, District Director, Immigration Service, Cincinnati, Ohio had found the Yee San Company to be a bona fide mercantile establishment and he was impressed by the reputable and creditable witnesses. He recommended that Yee Yook Poy’s application be granted but in spite of this, Yee Yook Poy was denied admission and sent back to China. Why??
Yee Yook Poy’s file mentions several anonymous letters and cross reference’s Chin Hung’s file. The two young men arrived together in Seattle on 6 June 1927 and were deported 5 December 1827. Yoo Yook Poy’s alleged father was original admitted as a merchant [this was questioned in the testimony] and the father-son relationship was not established to the satisfaction to the Commissioner of Immigration. Chin Hung was the alleged son of Chin Woo, alleged merchant. The credibility of Cleo Barnes and Ben J. Miller as witnesses was in question because they were employees of Yee Jung Sam.
The file contains over 100 pages of pro and con testimony but the most damning information seems to be the controversy regarding the merchant status of Yee Yook Poy’s father and it mentions three anonymous letters. One signed letter written in Chinese was translated is included in the file.
It is not known how this letter affected the career of Immigration Inspector Thomas Thomas.
Other white witnesses were Charles E. Nixon, William W. Wheaton, Emmet Leist, A. L. Dunbar, B. H. Latham, Ensign Gadt, C. F. Croezinger, Mrs. John Frey, Louis Miller, Charles Davis, and Chinese witnesses, Yee San and Yee Jung Sam, all of Columbus, Ohio.
Leong Yuen and Leong Hoey at Leong & Co. store, 230 1/2 Third St., Portland, Oregon
According to a newspaper article included in the file [Oregon Journal, Portland, Oregon, Nov, 11, 1923, p. 1, col. 1] a gang robbed the store and shot, Leong Hoey, the proprietor, early in November. Judge Stapleton sentenced C. H. Jackson, leader of a gang, to ten years in the penitentiary and Vito Dellino received a 2-1/2 year sentence.
In October 1932 Leong Hoey [sometimes spelled Huey or Houie] applied for a laborer’s return certificate. He owned a $1000 Fourth Liberty Loan Bond, worked in a fish cannery, was married, and had a son, See Gok, who was 8 years old. Leong Hoey arrived in the U.S. in 1910 and was admitted as the minor son of a merchant.
His file also contained a letter from his brother, Leong Yuen, answering a charge by the city Attorney that the store at 230 1/2 had been used for gambling. He explained that the rear of the building had been leased to a Chinese society to be used as a meeting place.
Leong Hoey’s application was denied. He appealed and it was approved. He left for China from Seattle on 7 October 1932 and returned the following year.
[More about the robbery and the gambling charge next time…]
Mrs. Lum Sue (Wong Fong How) of Astoria, Oregon was born in Redland, California about 1898. When she married Lum Sue, a Chinese native, on 27 April 1914 in Los Angeles, she lost her American citizenship. In 1926 they were living in Astoria, Oregon with their three children, Anna, 11 years; Flora, 10 years; and John, 8 years. The children were all born in Astoria. Lum Sue was manager of the Lum Quing grocery store.
This letter is from Wong Fook’s employer. Wong Fook lost his original certificate of residence about 1901 or 2. He reapplied about three years later and received a duplicate certificate. That certificate was destroyed in a fire on 12th April 1909.
In the above letter Mr. Seufert states “…and Seid Beck can tell more about them then I can, he suplys [sic] the help here.”
Seid Beck (sometimes spelled Back) was a merchant and labor broker in Portland.
The 1924 United States immigration act specifically exempted from quota restriction professors and ministers of any religion as well as their wives and minor children.
Section 4(d) An immigrant who continuously for at least two years immediately preceding the time of his application for admission to the United States has been, and who seeks to enter the United States solely for the purpose of, carrying on the vocation of minister of any religious denomination, or professor of a college, academy, seminary, or university; and his wife, and his unmarried children under 18 years of age, if accompanying or following to join him…