Category Archives: Interview

William Jue Poy, M.D., surgeon at David Gregg Hospital, Hackett Medical Center, Canton, China

William Jue Poy, photo 1932
“Photo of William Jue Poy,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, William Jue Poy (Jue Soo Kuen) case file, Portland, Box 99, 5017/872.

William Jue Poy, Chinese name Jue Soo Kuen, was born at 365 E. 12th Street, Portland, Oregon on 22 May 1904. His parents were Jue Poy and Choy Lain. William Poy attended local schools in Portland, University of Washington in Seattle and Northwestern University in Chicago; did his internship and residency and was an assistant surgeon before getting his medical license in Pennsylvania about 1932. He had two brothers and four sisters, all born in Portland. In 1932 his brother Clarence was in Russia working as a consulting mining engineer for the Russian government; and his brother Henry was in Berkeley, California working with McKee Radio Company. His sisters Frances, Alice and Dorothy were unmarried. His sister Helen was married to Andrew Y. Wu and they were living in San Francisco.

In 1932 William was applying to go to China to work as a professor of Anatomy, Associate Surgery in the Hackett Medical School in Canton, China. The school was established under the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and he had a five year contract. His application witnesses were his mother and Mrs. William S. (France A.) Holt. Choy Lain, William’s mother, was born in San Francisco about 1884 and had never been to China. Her husband, William’s father, died about three years previously. Mrs. Holt testified that she had known William Poy since he was a baby and that William’s father was the first Elder in their church. Mr. Holt married William’s parents.
In August 1937 William applied to leave the U.S. so he could accompany Dr. Loh Shau Wan to Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Wan had original planned to stay in the United States for six months but was returning early because of war conditions in China.
The Reference Sheet in William’s file lists three of his siblings: Jue So Ling (Clarence Poy), file 5017/452; Helen Poy Wu, file 5006/397; and Jue So King (Alice Jue Poy), file 5017/760 There is no more information about Dr. William Poy in his file after 1937.
[I am always curious when I come across my maiden name, Hackett, when I am doing research. Although I am not related to the founder of Hackett Medical College, here is a link to a very lengthy biography on Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916) that I found on FindAGrave.com.]
[Edward A. K. Hackett established the Hackett Medical College at Canton, China, and put his eldest daughter, Dr. Martha Hackett, in charge.]1,

1. Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 31 Mar 2017), memorial # 57707137, Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916), created by “JC”; citing Linderwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Allen Co.,IN.

Dr. Mae H. Cardwell – Portland, Oregon Physician for the Chinese

This is a summary of the 1904 & 1905 services provided by Dr. Mae H. Cardwell for the family of Louie Ling Heung, father of Louie Chouey. 

Witness Statement
“Dr. Mae H. Cardwell, witness statement, ” 1911, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Louie Chouey case file, Portland, Box 13, 2385.

Dr. Mae Cardwell delivered many Chinese babies and cared for their families in Portland, Oregon. She frequently was called on as a witness to verify the identity of her Chinese patients and confirm the details of births, illnesses, and deaths. She kept impeccable records and had a good memory for details.
On 6 May 1911 Inspector John B. Sawyer interviewed Dr. Cardwell about Louie Chouey, son of Louie Ling Heung.  Cardwell told the inspector that she had known Louie Chouey since he was a little child. She attended his mother when she was sick and delivered two of her younger children, a son and a daughter.  The little girl, Long Hoo, died in 1904.The mother died from tuberculosis in 1905.
During the May 1911 interview the inspector asked Dr. Cardwell four times if this Louie Chouey was the same person she knew six years ago. She answered a firm yes the first three times she was asked but the fourth time she said that she was “pretty sure.”
On 6 June 1911 Dr. Cardwell was sworn in again and gave the inspector a summary of her records pertaining to the Louie Ling Heung family from 1904 and 1905. She said since her first testimony her suspicions had been aroused about the identity of Louie Chouey. She was no longer certain that the applicant was who he claimed to be.  
[It is hard to know if the inspector’s repeated questioning planted a seed of doubt in Cardwell’s mind or if she had her own doubts.]

The inspector advised the applicant that he was not prepared to approve his application and that he had a right to appeal. There is no more information in the file. Louie Chouey did not file an appeal. [Was it because he wasn’t the person he claimed to be or did he just not have the ability to prove that he was Louie Chouey?]

[Dr. Mae Cardwell appears as a witness in many of the Portland case files. Her name generally does not appear in the index for the case files because the files are indexed by the subject of the file, not for incidental people. Since Dr. Cardwell was a witness many times her name caught the interest of the indexers. Most of those case files have a happier outcome.]
For a biography of Dr. Mae Harrington Cardwell’s impressive career go to National Library of Medicine.
None of her biographies mention her work with the Chinese community.

Mrs. Charles Tigard’s Witness Statement for Mark T. Lee

Mark T. Lee photo
“Lee Tong Wing, M143 photo” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Tong Wing (Mark T. Lee) file, Seattle, Box 468, Case 7030/1769.

Lee Tong Wing (Mark T. Lee) was the son of Lee Loy and Chuey June Ho of Tigard. Lee Loy was a well-known Chinese hop grower in Greenburg, Washington County, Oregon. Mrs. Charles Tigard a former neighbor of the Lees testified favorably for them. The Tigards had been living in their home for 55 years, her husband owned a grocery store, and the area was named after them. Mrs. Tigard identified photos of the Lee parents and several of their eight children, including Mark Lee. The Lee children went to school with the Tigard’s daughter. E. A. Dueber, Immigrant Inspector in Portland believed Mrs. Tigard to be reliable and trustworthy.
Lee Tong Wing’s American name was Mark Lee. He was born at Guild’s Lake, Portland on 8 December 1893 before birth certificates were required. He obtained a delayed certificate in 1931. Over the years the family lived in Guild’s Lake, Tigard, and Graham’s Ferry before settling in Portland in 1905. Mark Lee graduated from Portland Trade School in 1915. Mark Lee registered for the draft [for World War I] when the family was living on a farm between Butteville and Champoeg, Oregon.
He went back east several times and worked as a mechanic at Northway Motor and Manufacturing Company in Detroit and was a head waiter at several Chinese restaurants in Chicago. He returned to Portland in 1930. He was applying to leave the U.S. for his first trip to China.
Mark Lee’s parents and his sister, Yettai Lee Young, were interviewed. A family photo was shown to the interrogator but it is not included in the file. The information given by the three family members was compared and it all agreed.

Mark Lee’s father, Lee Loy, marriage name Lee Wun Ung, was 86 in 1931. He was born in Pok Gai Shan village, Sun Ning district, China and came to the U.S. in T.G. 11. He had only been back to China once. Mark Lee’s mother, Chuey June Ho was born in San Francisco about 1858. She and her husband married in Portland in 1879.
Mark Lee application was approved and he received his certificate of identity. By that time he was a restaurant manager in Portland. After he was approved he went to China, married, and returned to Portland alone, as was the tradition, and was admitted on 8 March 1932.

[Charles F. Tigard (1862-1942), for whom the town of Tigard (originally Tigardville), Oregon was named, operated its first store and post office and was later president of its First National Bank.]1

(1) Charles F. Tigard papers, 1888-1926, Finding Aid, 2012, Archives West, Orbis Cascade Alliance, (http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv52230 : accessed 23 December 2016.)

Little Dancie Wong and her mother Ng Dancie Yet

Photos
Photos of Little Dancie Wong and Ng Dancie Yet, affidavit, 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Little Dancie Wong file, Seattle, Box 742, Case 7030/10486.

Little Dancie Wong and her mother obtained an affidavit for the purpose of identification. They were applying to the U.S. Immigration authorities at Angel Island, California in 1933 for a Return Certificate, form 430, which would enable them to re-enter the U.S. after a trip to China.
Ng Dancie Yet, her husband, and several white witnesses were interrogated. Some of the information from the interrogation: Henry Wong, also known as H. Wong and Wong Ge Ye, was born in Gilroy, California on 22 Jan 1908. He and Ng Dancie Yet were married in Ft. Worth, Texas on 17 April 1925. He was a merchant at grocery and meat market called Wong Company in Rosedale, Mississippi.
One of their white witnesses was Dr. Charles W. Patterson, a practicing physician in Rosedale and a graduate of Tulane University. He delivered the Wongs’ three children: Pershing, born in 1926; Kellogg, born in 1928 and Little Dancie, born in 1931.
G. W. Heckert, the Immigration Inspector reviewed the Wongs’ marriage certificate and noted that it was recorded in the Ft. Worth, Texas 1925 marriage records, volume 58, page 242, number 59881. Heckert asked if they could keep the certificate in their permanent files. Ng Dancie Wong refused and the certificate was returned to her. She stated that she was born 18 January 1905 at Fort Worth, Texas.
[According to Heckert, they were trying to determine if H. Wong was Ng Dancie Yet’s first and only husband. They wanted to make sure she had not lost her U.S. citizenship by marriage to an alien ineligible to citizenship. ]
During Ng Dancie Wong’s interrogation she was asked if she was “an expectant mother.” She said that she was four or five months pregnant. Ng Dancie Yet was also known as Ng Yook Hong or Mrs. H. Wong.

Birth Certificate
Little Dancie Wong, Mississippi Birth Certificate, 26 September 1931, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Little Dancie Wong file, Seattle, Box 742, Case 7030/10486.

Ng Dancie Yet provided Little Dancie’s birth certificate. It says the Little Dancie’s father was born in Getlow, California instead of Gilroy. Ng Dancie said that the doctor “put it down Getlow because it sounds like that when we pronounce it.”
More about Little Dancie next week…

Low Yow Edwin – Seattle volunteer finds her father’s file

Low Yow Edwin
Low Yow Edwin, photo, Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seattle file Box 783, #7030/11920.

Rhonda, one of National Archives at Seattle’s volunteers, has been looking for documentation on her Chinese/Native American father for years hoping to prove his Native American heritage. While processing records from the Chinese Exclusion files, Rhonda came across a case labeled “Low Yow Edwin” and checked to see if it could possibly be about her father.
Her father, Edwin Law Yow, was a mechanic for the Flying Tigers during the World War II. Before he enlisted he applied for permission to travel abroad, and during the application process his stepmother, Mrs. Law Yow, and other witnesses were called to testify on his heritage. Listed below is his and his stepmother’s testimony where she speaks of her husband’s deathbed confession—just the information Rhonda had been seeking. The interrogation also references a birth certificate in Alaska.
The Seattle file also lists a National Archives at San Francisco file number. Rhonda quickly emailed a request for the search. John Seamans, Archive Technician, at the San Bruno facility found the file. It contained the birth certificate for Low Yow Edwin!

[The Chinese Exclusion Act case files frequently contain a variety of spellings for an individual’s name. Sometimes one of the names might be left out. The Chinese custom is to list the surname first before the other names. At different times an individual may have been referred to by another name–sometimes a school name, a married name, an alias, or an Americanized name.]

Application for citizen’s return certificate (1939),  Low Yow Edwin
Low Yow Edwin, Application for citizen’s return certificate (1939), Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seattle file 7030/11920.
Interview with Mrs. law Yow
Low Yow Edwin, Mrs. Law Yow (Chin Suie Heung) Interview (1939), Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seattle file 7030/11920.