Twelve basketball players from China were admitted at the Port of Seattle on 31 January 1929 as temporary visitors for five months each with a $1,000 bond. Two of them had Section 6 certificates; student status and could remain one year. The Office of the Governor General of Manila, Philippine Islands recommended that his office grant temporary visas to twelve members of the basketball team composed of Chinese students from Manila. The captain of the team, Domingo Rufino Choa, was a full blood Chinse from the Philippines.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service, Luther Weedin, Commissioner of Immigration in Seattle said, “All members of this party are of a superior type of
Northern Chinese, and most of them speak English
fluently. A Souvenir booklet describing the basket ball
team is enclosed.”
[They were not from Northern China. Most of them were from southeastern China, studying in the Philippines, and several were born in the Philippines. Unfortunately the souvenir booklet titled “Souvenirs China & Japan Tour, Chinese Basket Ball Team,” published by C. C. Lim of Manila, P.I., was not included in the file.]
[Most files for Section 3 (2), temporary visitors, do not contain much information. Usually a photograph is not included.]
Chen Ping-Huang [10360/1-1] had attended St. John’s University and Kwang Hu University. His father was a well-to-do export merchant at Changehow near Amoy, Fukien, China (According to Wikipedia: a sub-provincial city in southeastern Fujian, China, beside the Taiwan Strait). His property was valued at $150,000 Mexican. His reference was Tang Chin-Yun of the University of Washington.
Wee Guan Chuan stayed on as a student; graduated from the University of Louisville, Kentucky; and married Mary Virginia Payne (a Caucasian woman of Irish, German and English descent), of Evansville, Indiana. Their son George Richard Wee was born on 19 October 1931 in Louisville, Kentucky. They left the U.S. via Seattle on 15 July 1932 destined for the Philippine islands where Wee would be practicing medicine.
In October 1938 Look Yuen 陸元 swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States who was admitted at the Port of San Francisco in October 1922 and granted Certificate of Identity 40415. His son Look Fee wanted to come to the United States to live with him. Photos of father and son were attached to the affidavit.
Look Fee 陸惠 arrived in the Port of Seattle on 23 August 1939 on the SS Princess Marguerite with the status of a son of a citizen. He was admitted to the U.S. almost two months later. He was a student, age 18 years Chinese reckoning; 16 years 9 months per American calculation. He would be joining his father, Look Yuen, in Columbus, Ohio. Look Fee was born in Sun Chong City, Toy Shan District, China on 4 January 1923. His family lived there one year and then moved to Sam Gong in Hoy Ping. His father was born in Look Bin village and had six brothers and one sister. During his interview Look Fee enumerated all of his father’s siblings, the names of their spouses and children and where they were living. He described his paternal grandfather and gave the names of his paternal great grandparents. His mother, Lee Shee, was the daughter and only child of Lee Wah and Chin Shee. Her parents both died prior to 1939. Look Fee was questioned about the village, the location of his neighbors’ houses and details about their extended families.
Some of the questions during the interview were: Who lives in the 8th lot, 3rd row from the east? What is his occupation? Who lives with him? What are their ages? Where do you get the water which you use for household purposes? Is there any space between the houses in the rows other than the cross alleys? Do you cross any streams or bridges going to the market? Which way does the door in the ancestral hall open? His interrogation was over seven pages long.
Look Fee’s father, Look Yuen, (marriage name Look Wing Bing) waited in Seattle almost two months for his son to be admitted. Look Yuen testified that he was a part owner of the Nan King restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. He first arrived in the U.S. though San Francisco in 1922 three months before Look Fee was born. He made one trip back to China in May 1929, returning to Ohio in September 1930. His other son, Look Wee, was born in March 1930 and was presently attending school in their home village. Look Yuen was asked many of the same questions as his son but in more detail about his siblings. Look Fee was called back to clear up some discrepancies. Although his father had left China sixteen years previously and had only spent one year there, six years prior to this interrogation, the interviewers expected their testimony to agree in most aspects.
Look Yuen gave the interrogators this photo of Look Fee and his brother Look Wee which was taken about 1934 or 1935. They wondered why Look Fee had a tennis racket and Look Wee had a basketball. Look Fee explained that their mother had a photographer at the Shung Sar Market take the photo. The props were just for fun.
After the interrogations the chairman of the immigration committee concluded that the relationship between the alleged father and his son was satisfactorily established. They were impressed that the father came from Ohio to testify for his son and stayed so long. They discounted the minor discrepancies because it had been so long since the father had been in China. They were satisfied that Look Fee knew when and where the photo of him and his brother was taken. Look Fee was admitted into the United States as a U.S. citizen.
In October 1908 May Sophie Lee, age ten, her mother and brother were preparing to leave the United States on the SS Siberia through San Francisco for a trip to China. The Immigration inspector examined May Sophie’s passport no. 64231, two affidavits with photos and a certified copy of her birth certificate. The birth certificate states that she is white.
Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s marriage certificate was examined, authenticated and returned to the Lees. Seven white residents from Philadelphia swore in an affidavit that they were not Chinese; they were well acquainted with Lee Toy, a merchant at Chong Woh Company; May Sophie Lee was his lawful daughter, and that she was born in Philadelphia. The signers of the affidavit were:
Peter Hackett, 50 So. 4th Street
Frederic Poole, Chinese Mission, 918 Race St.
William Gallagher, 1231 Arch Street
Thomas W. Cunningham, 2112 Cherry Street
Katharine A. Lacy, Principal John Agnus School
Florence B. Scott, First Baptist Church, 17th & Samson St.
Neida S. Gilman, teacher in John Agnus School
While in China May Sophie attended school until she was 21 then attended medical school in Canton City and received a medical degree. She practiced as a physician in Shanghai for over a year before returning to the U.S.
May Sophie Lee was admitted to the United States at the Port of Seattle on 15 December 1924 as a returning citizen. She was 27 years old and was on her way to the Chung Wah & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with plans to continue her medical career.
Yee Shee, age 27, arrived at the port of Seattle on the Princess Marguerite on 28 September 1929. Her admittance status was “wife of merchant.” She was accompanied by her husband, Chan Sheung 陳相, and daughter, Chan Git Oy, age three. Yee Shee’s paper work consisted of a U.S. Consular certificate, an affidavit with photos of her, her husband and daughter, signed by her husband and sworn by a Washington State notary public; a Declaration of Non-Immigrant Alien sworn by Kenneth C. Krentz, Vice-Consul of the U.S. at Hong Kong; and Visa No. 118.
Yee Shee was born in 1902 in Lung Tin village, Toysan District and lived there until she married Chan Sheung in November 1920. After marrying she moved about 3 or 4 lis [about a mile or a mile and a third] to Sam Gong, her husband’s village, Hoy Ping district. Her father, Yee Won Jung, died when she was young and her mother, So Ho Shee, raised her with money he had left them. Now Ngon, a marriage go-between, arranged Yee Shee and Chan Sheung’s marriage; they were married under the new customs. They did not see each other until their marriage day. Yee Shee’s dowry was a dresser table, dining table, two chairs, leather trunk, wooden trunk, clothes cabinet, and a wash-stand. Chan Sheung gave her a gold ring after they were married. Their wedding ceremony consisted of worshiping her husband’s ancestors and serving him a cup of liquor. Their red marriage paper shows three generations of Yee Shee’s family. [mentioned but not included in the file]
Yee Shee’s interrogation describes her family, her husband’s family, their village and home—six pages in all. When Chan Sheung returned to China from the U.S. in May 1929 he brought with him an American trunk, suitcase, sea bag, one box of laundry soap and some eatables.
Their first son died shortly after his birth. A woman doctor, Dr. Look Ooh, attended Yee Shee for the birth of her second child. Their daughter, Chan Git Oy, born 17 June 1926 was accompanying them to the U.S.
Yee Shee described their trip to the United States: they left the village about 7 a.m. and walked to the landing, took a row boat to Chung Sar market, transferred to another boat to Bok Gai, then boarded a steamer to Hong Kong. They were in Hong Kong a little more than two weeks at the Ung Nom Hotel, room number 13 before sailing for the U.S. While in Hong Kong they went to see a Chinese show and made several trips to the American consul to get the necessary forms and photographs.
The testimony of Chan Sheung (marriage name Chan Leung Park) was also six pages long. He stated that he was 31 years old, a salesman and member of the Wing Wah Chong Company in Cleveland, Ohio. He first came to the U.S. at San Francisco in July 1912. He had made three trips to China since then; once as a student, then as a laborer, and currently as a merchant. Chan Sheung described his family in great detail.
The village of Sam Gong had nine houses and one lantern house. Their home, which he inherited from his father, was “a regular five-room brick building; tile floor in every room; court is paved with cement; two outside windows in each bedroom with five iron bars, wooden shutters and glass door in each window.” There was an alarm clock on the table in the bedroom and several photographs hanging on the west side wall of the sitting room. The village had a brick wall about six feet high at both ends with bamboo trees in the back. A granite stone road ran in front of the village. Beyond the road was a stream where they obtained their household water.
After lengthy interviews of Yee Shee and Chan Sheung there were only a few minor discrepancies—the exact houses their neighbors Chin Yoon Ying and Chan Wee Lee lived in the village; the number of suitcases they had when they left their village; and Yee Shee forgot that her husband bought her a brown purse in Hong Kong. The inspectors asked Yee Shee about these inconsistencies and her new testimony agreed with her husband’s statements. They were admitted to the United States.
“Yee Shee Visa Application” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Shee case file, Seattle Box 1155, 11627/3-3.
Edwin Mah Lee, (李孟賢) the mayor of San Francisco, died unexpectedly on 12 December 2017. He was born on 5 May 1952 in Seattle, Washington, the son of Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching).
[See the many tributes to Edwin Mah Lee on the Internet and in newspapers. The following is a brief summary of some of documents in Chinese Exclusion Act case files for his father, grandfather and great grandfather.]
Lee Gok Suey (Edwin Mah Lee’s father) In August 1937 Lee Ling Hung swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States and the holder of Certificate of Identity No. 34552 issued when he entered the Port of Seattle on 9 February 1921. He was applying to bring his son, Lee Gok Suey, into the United States.
Lee Gok Suey arrived in Seattle, Washington on 20 December 1937 on the Princess Marguerite and was admitted four months later after a difficult but successful appeal. He was 17 years old, a student and the son of Lee Ling Hung, a United States citizen and Luey Shee. He was born on 9 May 1921 in Taw Long village, Suey Low Section, Hoy San District, China. Originally Lee Gok Suey was denied admission by a board of special inquiry because he was not able to prove to their satisfaction his relationship to his father.
Seattle’s Inspector-in Charge, Joseph H. Gee, re-opened Lee’s case so additional evidence could be obtained. Affidavits from his father, uncle and grandfather were submitted to the board for their review. The applicant’s attorney filed a letter and an affidavit of the applicant’s alleged grandfather, Lee Share Young, and included a photograph with a satisfactory resemblance to Lee Gok Suey. Because of several discrepancies in the witnesses’ testimony the board voted unanimously that Lee not be admitted. His attorney argued that it had been fifteen years since the grandfather had been to China so it was not unusual that his testimony might not completely agree with his two sons who had been to China recently. After more than four months, Lee Gok Suey’s arrival was approved.
Lee Ling Hung (Lee Gok Suey’s father; Edwin Mah Lee’s grandfather)
Lee Ling Hung first arrived in the United States at Seattle on 21 January 1921 and was admitted as a citizen son of a native. He visited China in 1926 and returned in 1928. During his pre-investigation examination before leaving in 1926 he stated he had one son, Lee Gok Sui, born in 1921. On his return he claimed a second son born while on that trip, Lee Gok Foo. In an application for another trip to China in 1930 he claimed that his second son’s name was Lee Gok Gong and his third son was Lee Gok Foo. Because Lee Ling Hung’s father, Lee Share Young (sometimes spelled Lee Shere Yung)’s citizenship had been granted in 1888 through U. S. District Court discharge papers, Immigrant Inspector Roy M. Porter recommended that Lee Ling Hung’s application for pre-investigation of status be approved. [The confusion over the names of the second and third sons and their dates of birth caused the inspectors to distrust Lee Ling Hung’s testimony and combined with other discrepancies made Lee Gok Suey’s arrival approval so complicated in 1937.]
Before moving to Seattle Lee Ling Hung lived in Portland, Oregon for about six years and he was a baker for Coffman’s Candy Shop at 152 Broadway.
Lee Share Young (Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather; Edwin Mah Lee’s great grandfather)
In March 1938 Lee Share Young (You Yuey, marriage name) testified that he was a bookkeeper at the Quong Tuck Company in Seattle. He was the father of Lee Gim Jeow and Lee Ling Hung and the grandfather of Lee Gok Suey. He was re-examined regarding some of the questions where there was some confusion—were there twelve rows of houses in his village or thirteen? Lee Share Young said, “There are thirteen rows but the first row at the head is not a regular row because there is only a small house and some toilets there.” [It is easy to see how this trivial fact could be confusing.] Lee Share Young’s son sent him a photo of Gok Suey Lee in 1932. The interrogator asked how he could identify his grandson since he had not seen him since he was two years old. He replied, “I have to trust my son who sent me the picture.” There were other discrepancies about the extended family and deceased ancestors, the location of neighbors’ houses in their home village, and the applicant’s school experience. Eventually the board of special inquiry decided that there was enough information where the all the witnesses agreed and they admitted Lee Gok Suey. There were over fifty pages of interrogation. The witnesses were asked about the village, the location of roads, paths, hedges, ponds, shrines, the school, cemetery, stores, and many other minor details. They gave detailed descriptions of the houses, buildings and the people who lived in them. [There were over one hundred houses in their village so this could not have been easy.]
In 1920 Lee Share Young swore in an affidavit that he wanted to bring his son Lee Ling Hung over to the United States. At that time he was a merchant for the Quong Sang Wo Kee Company in Portland, Oregon. He produced his 1888 discharge papers for the interrogators inspection.
When Lee Shere [Share] Yung left for a visit to China in 1900 he obtained an affidavit with his photo attached to assure his reentry into the United States. He swore that he was a member of the Wau Yune Lung Kee Company, dealers in Chinese merchandise and provisions doing business at 739 Commercial Street in San Francisco. He had four witnesses: Chas. E. Harris, O. R. Beal, Frank B. Hoyt and Edgar A. Greenblatt. Lee returned on 2 May 1902.
Lee Share Young, Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather, was born in San Francisco, California on 7 December 1871 to Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee. His marriage name was Lee Yeow You and he was sometimes known as Lee Yung. He married Toy Shee and they had two sons, Lee Gim, born 14 February 1889 and Lee Ling Hung, born 28 November 1901. Lee Share Yung’s paternal grandparents were Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee. He had an older brother, Lee Seah Fook, living in California. The parents of his wife, Toy Shee, were Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee.
The family of Edwin Mah Lee found in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files: Parents:
Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching) Grandparents:
Lee Ling Hung and Luey Shee Great Grandparents:
Lee Share Young and Toy Shee G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s parents)
Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee G G Grandparents: (Toy Shee’s parents)
Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee G G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s grandparents)
Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee
The Reference Sheets in the files also contains Seattle file numbers for Lee Gok Suey’s cousin, Lee Gwok Ying (7030/13310); uncle, Lee Gim Jeow (7030/4521); Lee Gwock Ying, Lee Gim Jeow’s son, (7030/13310).
In 1912 Gin Mon Louie was applying to visit China. His witness, Willard A. Norse, testified that he was 50 years old and living at 1902 Yesler Way and was in the hotel business. He owned two hotels– at 114-1/2 2nd South and 122 2nd South in Seattle. For the past five years M. Hee Woo (He Wo), a Chinese doctor, rented five rooms at the hotel on 122 2nd South. Dr. Woo was Gin Mon Louie’s employer and when Woo visited China in early 1912, Gin Mon Louie took over the business for him until his return. Then it was Gin Mon Louie’s turn to visit China.
F. T. Carlton, a druggist, age 52, living a 1942 10th Avenue West in Seattle, also testified for Gin Mon Louie in 1912. They were both druggists in the same building and saw each other four or five times a day. Carlton knew that Gin Mon Louie was going to China to get married.
Gin Mon Louie application was approved. He visited China, married, returned in September 1913 and received his Certificate of Identity #12747.
When Gin Mon Louie applied to visit China in 1921 his witnesses were Dr. J. E. Godfrey and Axel Hedberg. Godfrey was a physician and surgeon residing at 103 Second Avenue South. He had lived in Seattle since 1914. He knew about a couple dozen Chinese and named Dr. Louie, Quon Foy, Chin Him and Tom Leong as examples. He stated that Gin Mon Louie was a Chinese herb doctor, not a regular licensed physician, but a sanipractor [drugless-healer/naturopathic doctor]. Dr. Lamb was his partner. Godfrey and Gin Mon Louie were friends and saw each other about once a month.
Gin Mon Louie’s other witness, Alex Hedberg, was the newspaper publisher for the Swedish Tribune and lived at 44 Rose Avenue in Sunnyside. Hedberg did not know many Chinese but was acquainted with Gin Mon Louie because Louie advertised in his newspaper. He went to Gin Mon Louie’s office monthly to collect the five dollars owed him for the ads.
Charles E. Keagy, Immigrant Inspector, visited Dr. Louie at his office and obtained a copy of M. Hee Wo (Hee Woo) Company’s income tax report for 1920. He recommended that Gin Mon Louie’s application to visit China and return as a merchant be approved.
In 1924 Gin Mon Louie made another trip to China. Godfrey and Hedberg were his witnesses again.
Gin Mon Louie visited China again in 1934 and returned in 1937. The interrogators asked him about his interactions in China with Chinese who were residents of the United States: Did he visit with anyone in his village that was from the U.S? Did he attend a wedding of anyone from the U.S.? Did he arrange to appear as a witness for a prospective applicant for admission to the U.S.? Louie answered no to all these questions and there were not follow-up questions.
The Examining Inspector, Roy C. Matterson, reviewed information from when Gin Mon Louie originally came into the United States. He was first admitted at San Francisco as a student in 1904 and was sometimes known as Jin Mon Yuey. Immigration listed him as Chan Man Yai but Gin Mon Louie thought it was either misspelled or mispronounced. Matterson updated Gin Mon Louie’s family information. His marriage name was Jin Lip Moon. He was married to Yee Shee and they had two sons, Jin Ok Jung and Jin Hing Lok; all living in China.
Bruce Lee (Lee Jun Fon) was born on 27 November 1940 in San Francisco, California. In order to establish his son’s right to his United States citizenship and before the family returned to China in April 1941, his father, Lee Hoi Chuen, filed a Citizen’s Return Certificate on his son’s behalf. This would document his son’s birth, his American citizenship and enable him to return to reside in the United States at a later date. His father was an actor at the Mandarin Theatre in San Francisco; he was 27 years old and was born in Fat San City, Nom Hoy, China. He testified that he and his wife, Ho Oi Yee, were married ten years and had four living children—one son died in Hong Kong and one daughter was adopted. Ho Oi Yee’s mother was English. Lee Jun Fon (Bruce Lee) was the only child born in the United States. The doctor gave Bruce Lee his American name. His father couldn’t pronounce it but went along with it.
A copy of Bruce Lee’s birth certificate and a corrected copy are included in the file. In the original document, Item 3B stated that his mother’s usual residence was China. This was corrected to say that she had been a resident of California for one year, two months.
[Bruce Lee returned to the United States at age 18 and attended the University of Washington in Seattle for three years. He became a celebrated actor and martial artist. Lee died of a brain edema on 20 July 20 1973 in Hong Kong and buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle, WA.]