Category Archives: Correspondence

Compelling Letter of Support by Ruby Whang

Excerpt of 1941 letter from Ruby Whang:

Excerpt of letter from Ruby Whang
“Letter of Support by Ruby Whang,” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang, who was in his early 50s or 60s, was arrested in Portland, Oregon in May 1941—he was a Chinese-born laborer without papers. He arrived in the United States as a stowaway about 1918.
Ruby Whang, a 17-year old Korean girl from Gresham, Oregon sent a letter to E. P. Marsh at the U.S. Court House in Portland. The letter was forwarded to Marsh in Washington, D.C. He knew nothing about the case or how Whang got his name. He forwarded to Roy Norene at Immigration in Portland saying the letter “has a very appealing tone…”
There is no information in the file of how it was discovered the Chin was an illegal. He worked on a farm and there is no mention of him getting into trouble.
A letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation “fails to disclose prior arrests or criminal data…” [The letter is signed with the signature stamp of J. E. Hoover.]

J Edgar Hoover Letter
“Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Portland Director of Immigration, 1941” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang was deported.

Georgie Lee – Chinese Champion Bantamweight of the World

Georgie Lee Letterhead
“Ancil Hoffman Letter regarding George Washington Lee,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, George Washington Lee & Raymond Lee case files, Seattle, Box 1349, Case 40233/1-1 & 40233/1-2.

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.

Chin Hung – Anonymous Letters

Chin Hung B1019 7060 17_28
Letter to the Seattle Immigration Inspectors, 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Hung file, Seattle, Box 1019, Case 7060/17-28.

[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.

photos
Chin Hung and Chin Woo photos, 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Hung file, Seattle, Box 1019, Case 7060/17-28.

Photos of Yee Jung Sam and Yee Yook Poy
Photos of Yee Jung Sam and Yee Yook Poy, Declaration of Non-Immigrant Alien 483, 1926, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Yook Poy file, Seattle, Box 1019, Case 7060/17-19.

Leong Hoey – Portland, Oregon Store Proprietor

Photo of Leong & Co. Store
Leong & Co. Store Photo, 1923, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong Hoey file, Seattle, Box 950, Case 7032/2037.

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 – lost her American citizenship

photo of Mrs. Lum Sue (Wong Fong How)
Mrs. Lum Sue (Wong Fong How), photo on Form 432, 1926, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. Lum Sue file, Portland, Box 68, Case 5010/411.
letter regarding Mrs. Lum Sue
Mrs. Lum Sue (Wong Fong How), Letter from U.S. Department of Labor to Commissioner of Immigration, Seattle, 1926, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. Lum Sue file, Portland, Box 68, Case 5010/411.

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.

 

Wong Fook – Reference letter fom Seufert Bros. Company

Letterhead for Suefert Bros. Co
Seufert Bros Company letter, 1909, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Fook file, Portland, Box 5, Case 1700.

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.

Rev. Kai Chong Yeung – Exempt Status

Exempt letter for Rev. K C Yeung
Exempt Status letter for Rev. Kai Chong Yeung, 1930, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Chan Wah file, Box 833, Case 7031/43.

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.[1]

 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[2]

[1] Roger Daniels, “Immigration,” Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, (http://www.americanforeignrelations.com/E-N/Immigration.html : accessed 14 August 2015).

[2] “Non-Quota Immigrants,” Public Laws of the Sixty-Eighth Congress of the United States. Sess. I, Chapter 190. 1924, p.155, (http://www.legisworks.org/congress/68/publaw-139.pdf : accessed 14 August 2015).