Category Archives: Documents

Documents in the file

Wong Ming Bow – 1897, arrested, held two months, tried, declared U.S. citizen, released

Wong Ming Bow 1897 Discharge papers
“Discharge Papers – Wong Ming Bow,” 1897, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ming Bow case file, Seattle, Box 577, 7030/4947.

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.]

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Dong Suey Heong (Rose Dong) of Sacramento

Photo of Miss Rose Dong (Dong Suey Heong)
“Dong Suey Heong (Rose Dong) statement photo,” 1936, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Dong Suey Heong file, Seattle, Box 700, Case 7030/8867.

Miss Rose Dong (Dong Suey Heong) left Sacramento, California for Canton, China in June 1936 with her American teacher, Miss Hartley. She left before her application for her Form 430, Native’s Return Certificate, was completed and approved. Her mother, Quan Shee, died in Sacramento on 15 November 1934 and her father, Dong Haw, was unable to help her with her paper work before she left. Donaldina Cameron, Special Director Chinese Case Work at Presbyterian Mission Home in San Francisco, a friend of Miss Dong’s late mother helped with the necessary forms, certificates and affidavits so Miss Dong could get back into the United States. Miss Cameron was well known on the West Coast for her work with the Chinese. She wrote letters to Mr. Raphael P. Bonham of the Seattle Immigration office and Mr. Philipps Jones of Angel Island Immigration Service. Rose Dong was only gone one month and needed to get back on time to start the autumn semester for the Junior College at Sacramento. Miss Cameron testified that Rose had three younger sisters: Ella, Laura and Evelyn, and a younger brother, Richard; that she had been friends with Rose’s mother for many years and first met Rose about five years previously.
Rose Wong’s father Dong Hoo (Dong Haw), a merchant and manager of Yick Chong Company in Sacramento swore in an affidavit that Rose Wong was his lawful blood daughter, born 24 March 1916 in Sacramento. Immigration authorities requested affidavits of supporting witnesses willing to give testimony in Rose’s behalf and a copy of her mother’s death certificate. A copy of Rose’s birth certificate is also in the file.
Rose returned through San Francisco on 19 August 1936 and was admitted six days later. She was paroled to Miss Cameron. Rose’s paper work was completed and approved with the assistance of Donaldina Cameron.

Lee Shee – Red Marriage paper

Lee Shee Red Marriage Paper
“Red Marriage Paper for Lee Shee and Gum On,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Shee file, Seattle, Box 154, Case 2150/10-3.

Lee Shee, wife of Gum On of 937 Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, arrived in Seattle on 20 July 1924 with their two sons, Yue Dok, age 16; and Yue Bun, age 10 years. The sons were admitted to the United States as sons of a U.S. citizen but Lee Shee was detained at the Immigration Quarters in Seattle for six months. In December she was nine months pregnant and Immigration allowed her to land temporarily. A bond for $1,000 was taken out to assure that she left at the required deadline. Eventually the bond was extended until July 1929. Lee Shee, her husband, and children returned to China in April 1929.
During the interrogation the immigration inspectors asked Gum On if he could provide any evidence to show that he was married. Gum On gave them his Red Marriage Paper. It stated that he was married to Lee Shee and listed four generations of his family–his parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great, great grandparents. A translation of the document is not included in the file and the inspectors did not comment on it.

[Hao-Jan Chang, a volunteer who works with the Chinese Exclusion Act case files at NARA-Seattle, reads and writes Chinese. He translated the Red Marriage Paper and verified that it contained the marriage information for Gum On and Lee Shee.]

Yung Hin Lun – Chinese Prince Visits Seattle

Yung Hin Lun Certificate of Identity
“Yung Hin Lun, Certificate of Identity, #22775” 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yung Hin Lun file, Seattle, Box1211, Case 35100/1731.

Yung Hin Lun was admitted to the United States as a Section Six student at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut in 1918. He made several trips back to China and returned again in 1920 with a merchant status. Henry M. White, U.S. Commissioner of Immigration in Seattle said that although Yung Hin Lun was not in the U.S. long enough to obtain merchant status “there appears to be absolutely no question that Yung Hin Lun is in no sense a laborer but is on the contrary a Chinese of unusually high class…”
Yung Hin Lun was an electrical engineer for China Metals and Welding Company with offices in Hong Kong and New York. His white witnesses were Mr. L. Fowle and Mr. Merle Walker, Guarantee Trust Company, New York City. Fowle said Yung Hin Lun’s family owned a large bank in China with a branch on Wall Street.
A Seattle Times article on 2 September 1919 had this headline, “Chinese Prince Visits Seattle, Acts as Secretary to Mission, Scion of Imperial Kwang Hsu, Family Perturbed Because identity is Discovered. Spends 2 Years in U. S.” With the article are photos of Prince Hin Lun and B.M. Chan.
Yung Hin Lun served in a secretarial capacity for Dr. T. Hsieh, representative of the Chinese Merchants’ Guilds, who was in the U.S.to promote Chinese diplomatic and commercial interest. They were accompanied by B. M. Chan, a multi-millionaire banker from Havana, Cuba.

Dr. Ying Tak Chan – Granted Permanent Residence by Private Law

Chan Ying Tak H 1689
“Dr. Ying Tak Chan,” Committed to the Committee of the Whole House…, 82 Congress, 2d Session, Serial Set Vol. No. 11576, House of Representatives Report No. 1689 (http://genealogybank.com : accessed 9 Mar 2016).

[This information is not included in Dr. Ying Tak Chan’s Chinese Exclusion Act case file (Case 7031/503) but it highlights the extremely low immigration quota for the Chinese until 1965.]

Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed by President Roosevelt in December 1943, there was still a severely restrictive quota which only allowed about 105 Chinese to immigrate to the U.S. each year. (Remember, China was our ally during WW II.) This was an ethnicity quota—not just for Chinese from China but Chinese from anywhere in the world. Congress finally did away with the National Origins quota system in 1965.1

Dr. Chan went to China in 1933 to visit family but stayed to practice and teach at the Kwong Wah Medical College in Canton. She moved to Hong Kong when the Sino-Japanese War started in 1937. During World War II she was a contract surgeon with the U.S. Army Air Force in China. She returned to the United States when the Chinese Communists took over mainland China.2

According to Private Law 638, Chapter 307, on 17 May 1952, enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, Dr. Ying Tak Chan was lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence and upon payment of the required visa fee and head tax. The Secretary of State notified the quota-control officer to deduct one number from the appropriate available quota.3

Dr. Chan, age 62, died on 26 November 1968, after cardiovascular surgery at Georgetown University Hospital.4

Sources:
1. “Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, 1943,” U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, (https://history.state.gov/milestones/1937-1945/chinese-exclusion-act-repeal : accessed 11 Mar 2016).
2. “Dr. Ying Tak Chan, 62, Ex-School Physician in D. C.,” Evening Star, Washington, District of Columbia, 27 Nov 1958, p. 24 (http://genealogybank.com : accessed 9 Mar 2016).
3. “An Act for the relief of Doctor Ying Tak Chan,” Private Law 638, Chapter 307, S. 853, Superintendent of Documents, United States Printing Office, (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-66/pdf/STATUTE-66-PgA71.pdf : 9 Mar 2016).
4. “Dr. Ying Tak Chan,” Evening Star.

Cleo Barnes & Ben J. Miller – Witnesses for Yee Jung Sam

Photo of Cleo Barnes
Photo of Cleo Barnes, 1926, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Yook Poy file, Seattle, Box 1019, Case 7060/17-19.
Photo Ben J. Miller
Photo Ben J. Miller, 1926, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Yook Poy file, Seattle, Box 1019, Case 7060/17-19.

It is unusual for affidavits in these files to include photos of witnesses. It is rare to see a photo of a woman included with her affidavit and it is extremely rare to have an affidavit from an African-American and have his photograph included. The affiants were swearing that they were personally acquainted with Yee Jung Sam, the father of Yee Yook Poy, the subject of this file. Yee Jung Sam had a Sec. 6 certificate as a merchant and was trying to get approval for his son to enter the U.S. as the minor son of a merchant.
Mrs. Cleo Barnes, age 40, a stenographer and saleslady, residing at 67 S. Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, had known Yee Jung Sam since 1924. He was a tea merchant at 148 East State Street in Columbus.
Ben J. Miller, age 30, a porter who cleaned the floors and washed the windows of the business was residing at 1400 Hawthorne Avenue, Columbus, Ohio.
Other affiants (photos not included):
Charles S. Boyd, Superintendent of the Capital City Laundry and Dry Cleaning company, residing at 75 Whitethorne Avenue, Columbus.
Thomas B. Johnson, engaged in the fish business at 116-118 S. Fourth Street, residing at 340 Northridge Road, Columbus, Ohio.
Yee Que Jock, also known as Yee San, was manager of Yee San Company.
The mercantile status of Yee San Company was investigated by Thomas Thomas, District Director, Immigration Service, Cincinnati, Ohio and found to be a bona fide mercantile establishment. Thomas was impressed by the reputable and creditable witnesses and recommended that the application be granted yet Yee Yook Pay’s was denied admission and was placed on board the S.S. President McKinley on 5 December 1927 for return to China.