Category Archives: Interrogation

Floor plans for Schoolhouse in Gong Mee Village, China

Yee Tom Wing Schoolhouse F
“Floor plan for Schoolhouse in China, Exhibit F” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ton Wing case file, Seattle Box 805,file 7030/12842.

This file contains nine floor plans for the schoolhouse and family home in Gong Mee Village, China and an affidavit with photos of Yee Ton Wing and his father, Yee Gim Cheow. Yee Ton Wing was coming to live with his father in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Additional information: 11/17/2018
Yee Ton Wing was 16 years old when he arrived in the Port of Seattle with his 12- year old brother, Yee Ton Yow, on 2 February 1940. They were students joining their father in Ohio. The transcript of Yee Ton Wing’s first interrogation was nine single-spaced typed pages long. (Eventually there were almost fifty pages of questioning.) Most of the inquiry pertained to his extended family and their village. He correctly identified photographs of his alleged father, grandfather, and uncles. He was asked things like: Where does your mother keep the rice that she cooked for your family? Who lives in the house on the first lot in the 4th row in your village? What are that person’s occupation, age, and the names of his children?
There were five diagrams of the floor plan of the schoolhouse in Gong Mee Village. They were made by the applicant, his younger brother, their grandfather, Yee Bock; their paternal uncle, Yee Gim Gin (Gane); and Yee Gim Cheow, a witness. The witness’ diagram looked considerably different than the other four. There were four diagrams of the floor plan of the 1st and 2nd floors of the family home. They were all in agreement.

Yee Ton Wing House Diagam I
“Floor plan of family home in China, Exhibit I” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ton Wing case file, Seattle Box 805,file 7030/12842.

Yee Ton Wing and his brother Yee Ton Yow were interrogated on 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 March 1940 and finally admitted to the United States on 25 April 1940 as citizens and as the sons of Yee Gim Cheow, a citizen.
The reference sheet in the file contains the file numbers, names, and relationships for Yee Ton Wing’s bother, grandfather, four uncles, aunt-in-law, cousin, and his mother.

Chin Shik Kuey (James) – Yakima, Washington

Chin Shik Kuey photo, age 3
“Photo of Chin Shik Kuey, Form M143,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Shik Kuey case file, Seattle Box 807, 7030/12930.

[It must have been very cold the day his photo was taken. James is wearing a big heavy coat and he doesn’t look very happy.]
[Researched by Lily Eng, Data Entry Volunteer, for the Chinese Exclusion Act files. Chin Shik Kuey is her uncle.]

Chin On 陳安 made a trip to China in November 1935 and upon his return in June 1937 he claimed his son, (James) Chin Shik Kuey, was born on 2 January 1937 at Wah Lok village, Hoy San, China.
In November 1939 Chin On swore in an affidavit that he was born in Seattle, resided in Yakima, and was in the restaurant business. He had made six trips to China since 1893. His intention was to bring his son, Chin Shik Kuey, to live with him in Yakima. The affidavit contained photos of Chin On and his son. He was seeking admission for his son with the status of son of an American citizen which would make him an American citizen in his own right under Section 1993 of the Revised Statues of the United States.

1939 Affidavit Photos of Chin On and Chin Shik Kuey,
“Affidavit Photos of Chin On and Chin Shik Kuey,” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Shik Kuey case file, Seattle Box 807, 7030/12930.

At the age of three, Chin made the trip from his village to Hong Kong with his father’s Yakima business partner, Ng Mon Wai, and his wife. From there they boarded the (Empress of Asia) Princess Charlotte and arrived at the Port of Seattle on 13 April 1940. Chin was admitted three days later as the son of Chin On, a citizen. Since James was so young the interrogators only asked him his name and then quizzed his father. Chin On, marriage name Dee Bon, was 52 years old and born in Seattle. He was the cashier and buyer for the Golden Wheel Restaurant in Yakima, Washington. He had four sons with his first wife. They were Chin See Wing, married and living in Ellensburg; Chin See Chong, married and living in Yakima; Chin Fon Yung, married and attending school in Yakima; and Chin Moy On, age 11, attending school in Ellensburg. The wives and children of his three older sons were living in China. Chin On claimed the mother of Chin Shik Kuey died in 1939. Chin On planned to take his son, who he now called James, to Yakima and hire a nurse to take care of him until he was old enough to go to school.

Ng Mon Wai, marriage name See Suey, was a witness for James Chin Shik Kuey. Ng was a merchant and manager of the Golden Wheel Restaurant. He and his wife brought the boy on the ship from China to Seattle. Ng Mon Wai’s wife, Chan Yuen Mui, also testified. Her status for entering the U.S. was as the wife of a merchant. She was not interested in caring for a three-year old child and did not interact with James on their voyage to Seattle.
Chin Shik Kuey was admitted to the United States as a U. S. citizen, son of Chin On, a native. The notice of his admittance into the United States was signed on 16 April 1940 by Marie A. Proctor, District Commissioner of Immigration, Seattle District. Chin Shik Kuey’s finger prints were included in the file with this cautionary note.

cautionary note
“Form M-490,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Shik Kuey case file, Seattle Box 807, 7030/12930.

Lee Kim Hoy – rejected, appealed, admitted – Canton, Ohio

1924 Family Portrait of Lee Kim Hoy
“Lee Kim (Gim) Hoy family portrait,” 1924, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Kim (Gim) Hoy case file, Seattle Box 768, 7030/11374.
1924 Family Portrait of Lee Kim Hoy, his mother, Hom Shee; his maternal uncle, Hom Jik; and his father, Lee Ben (Charley)
[This is a thick file.] Lee Kim Hoy, age 19, arrived in Seattle on 22 August 1938 on his way to join his father, Lee Ben, in Canton, Ohio. His status was listed as the son of U. S. citizen. He was denied entry on 14 October and finally admitted on 29 December more than four months after his date of arrival. The file contains two floor plans of the family home in Bow Ngin (Bo Yuen) Village, Hoy Ping District, China—one of the first floor and one of the second floor, an affidavit with photos of Lee Kim Hoy and his father, several witness statements and a family portrait. The immigration commissioner also reviewed three Seattle files and four San Francisco files of other family members.
When Lee Kim Hoy was first interrogated he was reminded that the burden of proof was on him to prove that he was not subject to exclusion under any provision of the immigration or Chinese exclusion laws. His father and brother testified on his behalf.
On day two of Lee Kim Hoy’s interrogation he was asked to describe his house in detail. Here is part of his answer:
“First floor contains four bedrooms, two parlors, two kitchens and a court; entire first floor paved with tile; court paved with cement and edge of stone; two outside doors, large door faces West; as you enter large door you go into kitchen, beyond kitchen is the court.”
He was asked to describe the windows in great detail—how many, what they are made of, and what direction they faced. Next he was asked about the bedrooms—who sleeps where, then to describe his school experience and his brother’s; to describe the village—the number of houses in each row and where the public buildings were located. He was asked about specific houses–“who lives in house on the 3rd lot, 2nd house and row from the head?”
There were many more questions; this interrogation was seven pages long. His father’s interrogation was six pages long and his brother’s was four pages. Lee Kim Hoy and his father, Lee Ben, were recalled for more questioning. They were asked about several discrepancies. The most serious one was that Lee Ben told them twice that he was single when he returned from China in 1918. In his 1938 interview he said that his son, Lee Kim Hoy, was born 3 May 1919. Lee Ben’s interrogators did not believe that Lee Kim Hoy was his son.
The conclusions of H. Z. Smith, the chairman of the inquiry, were three pages long. He noted that Lee Kim Hoy’s correct name was Lee Gim Hoy. His alleged father, Lee Ben (Charley), was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on 14 January 1902 and his birth certificate was included in his San Francisco file 17555/10-5. Lee Ben testified on two different occasions in 1918 that he had never been married. The chairman did not believe that the relationship between Lee Ben and Lee Kim Hoy had been satisfactorily established. Lee Kim Hoy was denied admission into the U.S. in October 1938 but given the option to appeal.
The application was reviewed by Immigration & Naturalization Service in Washington, D.C. Lee Gim Hoy’s attorneys were Edwards E. Merges of Seattle and Parker & Parker of Washington, D.C. A transcript of the appeal is not included in the file. Lee Kim Hoy was admitted on 29 December 1938.
Lee Kim (Gim) Hoy and Lee Ben affidavit photos
“Lee Kim (Gim) Hoy and Lee Ben affidavit photos,” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Kim (Gim) Hoy case file, Seattle Box 768, 7030/11374.

[The similarities between the father and son in the 1924 portrait and the 1938 affidavit photos may have helped in the appeal.]