Category Archives: Newspaper article

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.