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
[See CEA Blog entry for Virginia Wong on 1 May 2017 for more information on the World War II Chinese combat pilots who trained in Portland, Oregon.]
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.]
[After an anonymous letter was received at the Immigration Office saying that there was a rumor that Pearl Y. Hom had married a Chinese citizen on her recent trip out of the country, an investigation was made and it was determined that the information was incorrect. [Her 1929 trip was to Vancouver, B.C. In 1909 Pearl and her family visited China.]
Transcript of the letter:
Portland, Oregon, April 10th, 1930
This is just to let you know that it has been said that Pearl Ham [sic], the woman who teaches Chinese in the Chinese School which is located on Davis street near 3rd street, was married to a Chinese before she returned to this country. She has told people that she is still a girl. She was born in the United States and is a citizen. But I should like to ask you to see if she is still a citizen, if she was married to a Chinese. It is up to you to investigate this matter. As far as I am concerned, I have nothing against such woman. But I just want to let you know if it is lawful for her to stay in our country, if she was married to a Chinese before she came back to the country where she was born. Of course, you know what to do about this case.
Yours very truly
No need to be mentioned
On 23 July 1929 Pearl Y. Hom (Mon Hom Ying) applied for a Native’s Return Certificate. She was born in Portland, was not married, and had been teaching at a Chinese public school in Portland for four years. She was living at the Baptist Mission on Broadway and Couch.
According to Pearl’s application she had four brothers and one sister: Thomas S. Hom (Hom Mon Sing), working in a cannery in Alaska and off-season living in Seattle; Charles C. Hom (Hom Mom Chow), Alice H. Hom (Hom Mom Hong), and Amos G. Hom (Hom Mon Gum) living in China; and George Hom (Hom Xow) living in Portland. [Sometimes “Mon” is spelled “Mom” but “Mon” seems to be correct.]
Pearl’s 1909 application included affidavits from C.R. Levy of Levy Spiegel & Co., Dr. C. E. Cline, Mrs. E. B. Kan, Yee Mow, and Rev. Moy Ling, all of Portland.
Helen Low, age 4-1/2, arrived on the SS President Jefferson on 16 July 1923 and was accompanied by her mother Virginia Lew. Their destination was Pittsburgh, PA. This file also contains Helen’s 1918 Ohio birth certificate and lists her parents as Mary Chan and Lew Ling Chong. A 1921 photo shows Virginia Lew holding Helen and another younger child.
In 1940 Helen Low, age 21, was applying to leave the United States via auto through Blaine, Washington. She needed to obtain permission from the Canadian authorities before entering Canada. She gave her address as 172 10th Avenue, Seattle, WA, in care of Mrs. Chin Kee.