Category Archives: Newspaper article

Dong Ah Lon – Deported after almost two years in detention

Dong Ah Lon ST article 1940
“Newspaper article, Dong Ah Lon,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Dong Ah Lon case file, Seattle Box 766, 7030/11310.
[Continued from 9 October 2017]
There were other discrepancies in the testimony given by Dong Ah Lon and her two alleged brothers. The court dismissed the appeal and then reopened it. Testimony was given by another brother, Dong Yum, and Lee Lin (Jung). Dong Hong had arranged for his sister to married Lee Lin, a widower from San Mateo, California. According to L. Paul Winings, Chairman of review committee, “The witness Lee Len [Lin] is shown by a communication from the City Clerk of San Mateo, California, to be a man of good reputation and his testimony regarding his desire to have the applicant become his wife in order to care for his seven motherless children removes any possibility of suspicion of an immoral intent in the attempt to have the applicant enter the United States.”
Dong Hong and Dong Yum attended Lee Lin’s wife’s funeral in 1937 and asked Lee if he wanted to remarry. They told him about their sister, Dong Ah Lon. Lee Lin had seven young children at home and was interested.
Mr. L. M. Burr of Oakland Laundry Machinery Company wrote that Mr. Lee was a law abiding citizen who needs a mother for his seven small children. Adding that Lee’s wife had died the previous year and he was financially able to take a new wife.
E. C. Alber, manager of Geo. W. Sneider & Co, funeral directors, stated that he had conducted the funeral services for Mah Shee Lee, the late wife of Lee Ling. Alber wrote that he had known Mr. Lee for over twenty years and that he was dependable and honest. Alber was of the opinion that Mr. Lee was well able to support a wife and needed one to take care of his home and family. He sent a copy of Mah Shee Lee’s 1937 death certificate with his letter. E. M. Pollock and Betton Rhodes, employed by the City of San Mateo, had known Mr. Lee Ling for fifteen years and vouched for his financial standing and fine character. George A. Kertell, a retired municipal judge and resident of San Mateo for forty-seven years, affirmed that Lee Ling was of good moral character and a successful business man.
The file contains the attorney’s copy of testimony, death certificate of Mah Shee Lee (Mr. Lee’s wife), letters of reference of E.M. Pollock, B. Rhodes, E.C. Alber, and L.M. Burr; and San Francisco exclusion files for Dong Ah Lon’s brothers Dong Ball, Dong Yuen, Dong Hong, Dong Loon, and Dong Yum and her father Dong Toy.
There are thirty more pages of testimony and analysis of the discrepancies in May and June 1939.
In a letter dated 9 May 1939 to Dong Ah Lon from Lee Ling (Jung) he says, “I suppose that since you cannot come to my home, you wish to return to China; however, at this particular time, Sino-Japanese hostilities have made it impossible for you to return safely…” He had credit at the Yick Fung Co., in Seattle and suggested she try to obtain new clothes from them. He also sent her a money order for $20.
Dong Ah Lon was not deported until 17 May 1940. There is nothing in her file from 9 November 1939 until 12 March 1940 when Marie A. Proctor, Seattle District Commissioner, wrote to Karl P. Heideman, Dong Ah Lon’s attorney, telling him that the funds for Dong’s maintenance would soon be exhausted and asking him to make a further deposit to cover at least sixty days at the rate of 95 cents per day.
[This file was researched by Hao-Jan Chang, NARA CEA files volunteer.]

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Walter Jesse Way – Survivor of 1906 SF Earthquake & Fire, World War I Vet & Statistician at Chrysler

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.”

Newspaper article 1906
“Newspaper Articles on Charlie Way Family,” 1906, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Way Walter Jesse case file, Seattle Box 773, 7030/11561.

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.

Princess Der Ling visits Seattle

Mrs White and family
“Mrs. T. C. White, newspaper article,” 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. T. C. White case file, Seattle RS Box 285, RS 34,283.

Undated newspaper article included in the file: “Princess is Here, has Shopping Fad”
“Princess Der Ling, who is shown with her husband, Thaddeus Raymond White and little son, Thaddeus, Jr., during stay of family in Seattle.”
[Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington, 10 April 1917, p.22] [See complete article below.]
Mrs. Thaddeus C. White entered the United States with her husband and son, Thaddeus Raymond White, on 20 October 1916. Mrs. White was also known as Elizabeth Antoinette Der Ling or Princess Der Ling, former lady-in-waiting to China’s Dowager Empress, Tzu-hai. Mrs. White was born in Tientsin, China; her husband, a Caucasian, was a U.S. citizen and businessman in China. The caption under the photo in 1917 newspaper article: “Daughter of Manchurian Prince declares that department stores of Seattle furnish never ending round of wonder and desire to buy.”
A letter in the file states that In April 1917 Mr. White complained to the Commissioner-General of Immigration in Washington, D.C. about the way he and Mrs. Konigsberg were treated by Inspector Thomson on their arrived in Seattle in October 1916. The Commissioner was satisfied that Mr. Thomson had no intention of being discourteous although he may have seemed “rather abrupt.” [The file doesn’t give any details about Mr. Thomson’s behavior or give the identity of Mrs. Konigsberg .]
Another note in the file says that Mrs. White was Princess Der Ling and had lived in U.S. about one year in 1888.
Mrs. White, her husband, and son traveled from Vancouver, B.C. via Seattle, Washington in August 1922 to New York City and were admitted as U.S. citizens. They traveled again in 1927 and were admitted.
A final memo in the file dated 28 November 1944 says, “Our attention has been called to the accidental death of this person as reported in the San Francisco newspaper Call Bulletin, on November 22, 1944.
[Mrs. White died from injuries in Berkeley, California after being struck by a truck. She had been teaching Chinese in the language War Program at the University of California. More information about Princess Der Ling can be found on Google and Findagrave.com.]


1917 White family article
Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington, 10 April 1917, p.22

Pang Hong – jailed in Portal, North Dakota

Pang Hong 1904 Passport
“Pang Hong’s Passport,” 1904, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Pang Hong file, Seattle, Box 1333, Case 39924/6-16.

In November 1904 Pang Hong applied to Immigration to visit his family in China. His uncle, Pang Wah Tip, testified for him. His return trip in September 1905 was through Portal, North Dakota and his destination was Frankfort, Indiana. He was detained in jail in Portal for almost a month. On 2 October W. J. Palmer, his lawyer wrote to the immigration office explaining that he and Rev. T. H. Kuhn had filed the necessary application and affidavits for Pang Hong, a U. S. citizen, and had even obtained a U. S. passport. Twelve days later, on 14 October, Pang Hong was still in jail. Thirty-two members of the Christian Church in Frankfort signed a letter testifying that Pang Hong was a “truthful honest person, a citizen of integrity, and has taken a constant interest in the church.” The signers were: Thomas N. Lucas, Quincy A. Kennedy, E. A. Spray, A. M. Kern, M.S. Canfield, M.D. (Elder); J. H. Comley, Elmer Detwiler, Deacon; E. H. Whitake, Deacon; C. E. Bickley, C. H. Gillis, David S. Kern, J. A. Lucas, N. T. Rice, C. T. Keller, A. Michael, M.D.; H. C. Eldridge, Ellis D. Mines, Rev. W. J. Russell, J. C. Caron, M.D.; Ed Ross, Emma Ross, Mrs. T. N. Lucas, Katharine Lucas, Sarah E. Lucas, Mrs. G. A. Smith, Namie Haller, T. R. Spray, L. C. Brooke, C. H. Doctor, Marry Merrill, James McClomrock, and Mrs. C. E. Boulder.
This unidentified newspaper article dated 18 October [1905] was included in the file.

Pang Hong 1905 Newspaper article
Unidentified newspaper article dated 18 October [1905] Pang Hong file, Seattle, Box 1333, Case 39924/6-16.
When Pang Hong applied to leave in 1921, Immigration Inspector Brekke in Chicago approved his application reluctantly because of discrepancies in the file. He said it was very doubtful that the applicant was American-born but the applicant was found to be an American citizen by the department on appeal in 1905 and in 1912 so it would have been difficult for them to re-open his file.
Pang Hong was 41 in 1921. He was testifying about events that happened when he was 12 years old. Some of the discrepancies were concerning the exact address of his father’s cigar factory in San Francisco, which floor they were living on, how many floors the building, the names of the other families living in the building and other minor differences.

[One wonders how much time and money was spent trying to deport Pang Hong for no apparent reason.]

Mark Ten Suie – “A Story of Silk”

A Story of Silk
“A Story of Silk,” 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mark Ten Suie file, Seattle, Box 1298, Case 38377/3-5.

This is the cover and back page of a 16-page booklet, “A Story of Silk,” included in Mark Ten Suie’s file. Besides the sericulture of the silkworm it contains a list of the stockholders of the American-Chinese Silk Manufacturing Company. Other subscribers are capitalists, physicians, merchants, salesmen, attorneys, teachers, a detective, bankers and a variety of other people. The head office was located at 316, 317, and 318 Boston Block in Seattle. Mark Ten Suie was being sent to China to secure a site for a silk factory and promote his silk business. Twenty acres on the Honan River within the city limits of Canton were pledged for the factory. Plans were drawn up for an office, a store room and a building to accommodate one hundred looms. Officers, trustees, and a detailed business plan are listed.
Also in the file are business cards for Mark Ten Suie Co. and Mak Chin Sui, an undated article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer with a photo of Mark Ten Suie, and another unidentified article with the headlines, “Chinese Mission Arrives in City, Silk Merchants on Way to International Exposition at New York, Local Business Sought, Delegation from Canton Expresses Hope for Friendly American Dealing.”

Choy Ling Hee Troupe – hair-raising and daring feats

Choy Ling Hee Troupe photo
“Choy Ling Hee Troupe newspaper article, photo, and ad, 1919” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chow You Chun file, Seattle, Box1260, Case 36171/1-1.

Choy Ling Hee Troupe articleChoy Ling Hee Troupe Ad
[Many Chinese actors and performers entered the U.S. in the late 1880s through the early 1920s under the Section 6 Traveler section of the Chinese Exclusion Act. They were usually performing in theatres, circuses and world fairs and were allowed to stay up to one year. The manager of the troupe would obtain a bond typically for $500 for each member. If a troupe member did not return to China on the expected date the bond amount was forfeited.]
The Choy Ling Hee Troupe was under contract with the Ringling Brothers Circus for five years. The five members of the troupe were Chou You Chun, Mon Gow, Choy Ten, Yah Ching and Choy Wan. The Choy Ling Hee Troupe of Chinese jugglers and magicians was an exception to the usual procedure. Their bonds were renewed annually.
When the circus wasn’t active the troupe worked on the Hippodrome Circuit and played in theatres throughout California, Kansas and other places. The troupe got in trouble because they left the U.S. without notifying immigration authorities. In January 1919 Mr. Edward B. Kellie, manager of the Hippodrome Circuit, told the troupe and the eight white members to go to Vancouver, British Columbia for a performance at the Columbia Theatre, so the troupe went. They didn’t realize that they had to notify the local Immigration authorities before they could travel between the U.S. and Canada. After a brief interrogation their re-entry into Seattle was approved.
[The article, ad, and photo from The Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Sunday edition, 5 January 1919, page 7 are included in the file.]

Yee Ho Lee – Barred by Ears, Saved by Lips

Yee Ho Lee baby photo
Yee Ho Lee Photo, 1918, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ho Lee file, Box 585, Case 7030/5241.
Yee Ho Lee Ears
Yee Ho Lee Photos, 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ho Lee file, Box 585, Case 7030/5241.

American-born Yee Ho Lee left the United States for China with her family in 1918 when she was almost four years old. When she returned fifteen years later as the bride of Wong Shew Leung, a Boston merchant, the immigration inspectors did not think she was the person she claimed to be. They wanted her deported. She looked younger than her stated age; her ears did to not match the ears of the child in the photo. According to experts ears of a certain type do not change as one gets older. It was noted that the child had large flat lobes sticking out from the checks but the young woman did not have a distinct earlobe and the ear tapered “gradually from the top to the bottom and coming to a point at the cheek.” They also thought there was a difference in the eyes, the lower lip, the eyebrows and the nose.
Included in the files are exhibits of photographs, her birth certificate, and witness statements from twenty-two Chinese, many of them siblings of Yee Ho Lee. A summary of the case is five pages long.
Chinese Immigration Inspector Ira L. Hazleton was called before the review board. He considered himself an expert in Bertillon work and had about fifteen years’ experience in identification of photographs regarding questioned documents. [See Edward J. “Ed” Steenberg, Saint Paul Police Historical Society, The Bertillon System of Identification”] According to the website,

“Bertillon System was an improvement of identification over simple mug shots and basic physical measurements, and was a forerunner to fingerprinting. It was developed by French criminologist Alphonse Bertillon in the early 1880s to increase the accuracy of criminal identification by measuring certain bony portions of the body, including the skull, foot, cubit, trunk and left middle finger. This identification method spread throughout Europe and was introduced into the United States in 1887.”

Yee Ho Lee arrived in Seattle on 21 March 1933 and was held in the Immigration Detention Center on Seattle Boulevard [1933 address]. She was denied admittance on 25 April. It was appealed. There were “Page 1” articles in the Seattle Times about the case on 22 April, 26 April and 16 May 1933 and other unidentified articles in the file. At the bottom of two of the articles there was an ad- –Buy American!— [Oh, irony!]

An appeal was made by Fred H. Lysons, attorney for Yee Ho Lee’s husband and the decision was reversed. The contours of the lips of the young woman were compared to those of the child and it was decided that they belonged to the same person. Yee Ho Lee was finally admitted on 13 May 1933.