In 1938 Walter Jesse Way submitted an application for Form 430, “Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status.” This document when approved would verify that he was a United States citizen and permit him “to reenter the United States unless pending such return it has been found that his claim is false.”
Walter Jesse Way (Gee Chew Suey), son of Charles Way and Susie Tong Way, was born in San Francisco on 19 March 1896. He had just turned ten when the San Francisco earthquake and fire occurred in April 1906. His father, a Chinese Interpreter, had recently taken a job in Toledo, Ohio, and the rest of the family hadn’t yet had a chance to join him there.
Transcripts of newspaper articles from the Toledo Blade from April and May 1906 are included in the file. They describe the aftermath of the earthquake and fire for Mrs. Way and her three children and the anxiety felt by husband until he found out his family was safe. The final article written after the family was reunited in Toledo states, “The Ways have the unique distinction of being the only Chinese family in Toledo.”
Since Walter’s birth certificate was destroyed in the earthquake and fire, he wanted to establish his U.S. citizenship. In 1930 his parents swore in an affidavit that Walter was born in 19 March 1896 in San Francisco. Walter also presented his United States army discharge papers. He served from 18 September 1917 to 15 February 1919, part of the time in France; service number 1936275, Company C, 329th Infantry, 83rd Division. His discharge was recorded in the Lucas County Court House, Toledo, Ohio. The Immigration Inspector, John W. Hazard, reviewed a letter signed by Captain Robert F. Callaway of American Expeditionary Forces stating that Walter was entitled to wear a single war service chevron. Walter also had a letter from the Veteran’s Administration showing that his life insurance had been reinstated.
Walter J. Way held various jobs until he started working for the Chrysler Corporation in 1926. In 1938 he was a technical statistician in the Experimental Department at Chrysler and living in Highland Park, Michigan with his wife, Ru Bee One. She was a singer and traveled with her job.
Walter’s Form 430 was approved. The most current document in the file is a 1939 letter saying Walter Jesse Way had not yet traveled outside the United States.
In July 1938, Nelson Wah Chan King, age 27, applied to the U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service on Form 430 for a two-day visit Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His application created much paperwork and eventually was approved by Tom L. Wychoff of the Spokane immigration office but never used. Nelson cancelled his trip to Canada because he was transferred from his job in Spokane, Washington to New York City. This is a list of the documents that were in his file:
Nelson Wah Chan King was born on 10 June 1911 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Harry N. King and Lily Dorothy Shem (maiden name: Shem Mowlan). His parents were both born in San Francisco. His father owned the Kwong Nom Low Restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah before moving to Los Angeles, California to become a merchant. Although Nelson’s grandparents were born in China, Nelson, his parents, and his brother had never been to China. Nelson’s only sibling, Paul Ming King, was born 21 January 1918 in Salt Lake City and by 1938 was a student at University of California in Los Angeles.
Nelson was working as a floor manager for the National Dollar Stores in Spokane, Washington, making $90 a month in 1938. His mother’s brother, Bruce Shem, was living in San Francisco with his wife and two sons. His father did not have siblings but he had four cousins in Salt Lake City– Walter G. King, a reporter for Salt Lake City Tribune; Ernest Q. King, M.D., a Reserve Flight Sergeant, U. S. Army and connected with a C.C. C. Camp; Raymond S. King, newspaper photographer; and Ruth King Chang, M.D. Nelson Wah Chan King’s paternal grandparents were Chan Mun Lok Way and Chan Lau Shee. His maternal grandfather was William C. Shem. Nelson could not remember his grandmother’s Chinese name—he just called her grandmother. She was living in San Francisco with her son Bruce Shem.
Nelson Wah Chan King graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1933.
Nelson’s mother, Lily S. King, testified that her father was Shem Yow Ching and her mother was Leang Shee.
In his sworn statement, Nelson’s father, Harry N. King, (Chinese name: Chan Hong), stated that he was an art dealer with the Tom Gubbins Company and his father’s name was Chan See Gern.
Anna C. Stevenson also testified in Nelson’s behalf in 1938. She was a 70-year-old widow who had lived in Salt Lake City for 35 years. She had owned the apartments on Vissing Court where the King family had lived. She stated that Nelson’s mother was brought up in a Methodist home in California. Anna had last seen Nelson in 1936 on her birthday, 6 August. He brought her a present from the King family.
On 23 August 1938 Nelson Wah Chan King notified the Immigration office in Seattle that because of his transfer to New York City he would not be making his trip to Canada. It is the last document in his file. [Although Nelson Wah Chan King and his parents were all born in the United States and never left the U.S., his grandparents were Chinese immigrants and therefore Nelson was subject to the Chinese Exclusion Act. On the positive side, there is a tremendous amount of family information in the file.]
Lai Man Kim whose American name was William K. Lai was born on 5 September 1887 in Portland Oregon, the son of Lai Fong and Foong Ho. He had no siblings. His father died when he was about four years old and his mother went to live in China in 1906. Lai Kim obtained a certificate of residence in 1894 when he was seven years old. On his 1913 pre-investigation of citizenship status he listed several witnesses: Mr. Sanborn of Van Schuyver & Co., and several prominent Chinese: Lee Mee Gin, Seid Back, Moy Back Hin, Seid Back, Jr. (Said Gain) and Moy Bow Wing. Lai Kim was a charter member of the American Born Chinese Association in Portland and held certificate number 21. After his mother left Portland he lived with the Moy Bow Wing family. He listed his occupation as vocal soloist at the Majestic Theatre in Portland. Lai Kim was a student at Chinese and English schools in Portland before attending the University of Oregon at Eugene, Oregon. Lai Wai, Lai Kim’s cousin and godfather, help support him and his mother after his father’s death.
Lai Man Kim’s application was approved by the Seattle Immigration Office but he didn’t leave the country at that time. About a year later, in 1914, Martin Beck, General Manager of the Orpheum Circuit in Chicago wrote to Immigration Service in Portland to tell them that Lai Man Kim would be leaving Chicago for Canada, then returning to Seattle from Vancouver, B.C. There is no more information in the file. Information not included in the file:
[These entries are from my 2009 blog on the Chinese at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle. The newspaper articles tell a little bit more about William Lai’s earlier musical career.] Portland student at AYPE and Harry Ding and William Lai Perform
Arthur Chin (Chin Suey Tin) was born on 22 October 1913 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon, the son of Chin Fon and Eva Wong (Wong Gue Tai). In 1922 at age eight, he visited China with his family. They stayed fourteen months. He attended Atkinson Grammar School and Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland.
He applied to visit China in August 1932 to visit his sick grandmother. In his application he stated he had three sisters: Mildred, Dorothy and Evelyn, and two brothers; Harold and Norman. He left for China in August. A few months later, in November, he enlisted as a fighter pilot for the Chinese Air Force to fight in the Japanese-Chinese war. He became a war hero.
Although Arthur Chin was born in Portland, Oregon, he lost his U.S. citizenship when he joined the Chinese Air Force. He married in China and his two sons were born in Hong Kong. Because of his lost citizenship, his sons, Gilbert and Stephen, were not considered U.S. citizens.
His wife was killed in the war. Major Chin was injured with severe burns and was returned to the United States at Miami, Florida on 25 July 1942 as a war casualty. He was hospitalized for over two years. He was released from the service of the Chinese Air Force on 1 February 1945.
In 1944 his 1922 Certificate of Identification was returned to him. He was repatriated in July 1945 in the U.S. District Court, Portland, Oregon. According to his second wife, Frances, in 1945 Arthur Chin was flying for PanAm Airlines and based in Calcutta, India.
Arthur Chin’s 1945 naturalization #D-376 is mentioned in the file.
[ Much is written about Arthur Chin but his Chinese Exclusion Act case file usually is not mentioned.]
Charlotte Chang lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a China native.
Charlotte Ah Tye Chang, mother of Ora Chang [see June 19, 2017 blog entry] and Oliver Carrington Chang, was married to Hong Yen Chang, the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, British Columbia. When Mrs. Chang and her children applied to leave the United States in May 1910, the Commissioner of Immigration wrote,
“…I am not prepared to approve her application, as under section 3 of the act of March 2, 1907, in reference to the expatriation of citizens and their protection abroad it would seem that this woman is not now a citizen of the United States she having been married to an alien, and which marital relationship has not been terminated. Of course Mrs. Chang being the wife of a consular representative is permitted to accompany her husband into the country at any time.“
Charlotte Chang and her children were all born in California. Although Charlotte lost her citizenship when she married a Chinese native, she was allowed to leave the U.S. and return because of his position as the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, B.C.
In 1935 Charlotte Chang petitioned for the restoration of her American citizenship (Naturalization file No. 22 X 6304). In her statement she said that in January 1910, accompanied by her mother, Chan Shee, she gave testimony at Angel Island station, California to receive return certificates in order to proceed to Vancouver, B. C. The Chang family took a train from San Francisco to Seattle and then a steamer to Vancouver. Mrs. Chang claimed that she lived in Vancouver from 1910 to about January 1913.
[The file refers to Charlotte Chang’s San Francisco file #12041/62 and her citizenship restoration but doesn’t give any more information.]
[What huge bows in Ora’s hair and fine detail on her dress.]
Ora Chang, the daughter of Hong Yen Chang, the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, British Columbia, was admitted to the United States at the Port of Seattle on 5 April 1912 with her mother Charlotte Chang They were making a brief trip from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle accompanied by Chin Keay of the Quong Tuck Company.
Ora Ivy Chang’s initial application to travel to China was in 1910. The family was living 2330 Fulton Street, in Berkeley at the time. Her birth certificate stating that she was born at Laporte, California on 8 November 1898 is included in the file. She was visiting China with her mother and brother Oliver Carrington Chang. The San Francisco Chinese Inspector interviewed Ora Chang, age 12; Charlotte Ahtye Chang, her mother; Chun Shee, her grandmother; Dr. Elizabeth Keys, the physician who attended at the birth of her brother Oliver; and D. R. Rose, another white witness who knew Mrs. Chang since 1884. Chun Shee, Ora’s grandmother, testified that she was 68 years old and the widow of Yee Ahtye. They had five children, all born in Laporte, California: a daughter Fook Yow living in Oakland; a son, Yee Jock Sam living in San Francisco; daughters Yee Ah Oy and Yee King Lan, living in Berkeley; and a son Yee Jock Wai (Dilly), living in San Francisco.
[This file gives lot of names and places of residence but doesn’t have a lot of other personal information.]
Lou Yuck Ming was the son of Lou Lin Dock (married named Lou Chow Suey, also known as C. E. Kong) and Bertha Lee. According to interviews in the file his mother was “half Chinese and half colored.” Bertha’s maiden name was Bertha Cue, but she was also known as Bertha Long. She was born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas. Lou Yuck Ming’s father was a merchant and member of Dock Lee & Company in Coahoma, Mississippi. In 1918 Lou Lin Dock was taking his two young sons, Lou Yuck Ming, age 2, and Leu Lou Yuck Hong, age 5, to China so they could learn Chinese. They would be living with his brother’s family in his home village of Tung How.
Lou Lin Dock’s statement gave his history in the United States. He was born in China, came to the U. S. in 1908, landed at San Francisco, and joined his brother, Lou Wing Yim, in business at Lou John Bros. in Lula, Mississippi. He came to Coahoma in 1910 and was a partner with Fong Lee & Co. In 1913 a fire destroyed their business and everything on the block. He reopened his business as Dock Lee & Co. in 1914.
The White witnesses for the application were C. Cohan, a merchant; and Joseph W. Montroy, a planter and merchant. The file contains a sworn statement by P. B. Caldwell a witness at the wedding of C.E. Kong and Bertha Long on 23 October 1912. Emily Guy Dawson, a midwife, swore that she attended Mrs. C. E. Kong at the birth of her two sons whom she identified Lou Yuck Hong and Lou Yuck Ming.
Lou Yuck Ming returned to the U.S. on 24 October 1927 at age eleven through the port of Seattle on the s.s. President Madison.
In 1932 Lou Yuck Ming applied to make another trip to China. He stated that he had three brother and two sisters in China and a brother and sister in Coahoma and that all of his siblings were born in the United States.
The cross reference sheet in the file contains file numbers for Lou Yuck Ming’s father, five brothers, two sisters, a sister-in-law, niece, and uncle. [This is extremely helpful information for anyone researching this family.]