Category Archives: Photographs

photographs in the file

Fong Gum – Chinese Woman Merchant in Butte, MT

Photo of Fong Gum and Sam Chong
“Photo of Fong Gum and Sam Chong,” 1902, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. Wong Cue (Fong Gum) case file, Seattle, Box 43, 31-88.

Fong Gum was born in San Francisco, California about 1876 and moved to Spokane around 1898. According to a 1902 statement in the file Fong Gum and Sam Chong/Chung were married in Spokane County in September 1901. Sam Chung was a member of S. Chung and W. Ting firm at 127 Washington Street, Spokane, Washington.
There is nothing in the file that tells what happened to Sam Chong/Chung but Wong Cue, a merchant tailor, and Fong Gum were married in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho about 1907 or ’08. Their witnesses were Mrs. McDonald and her husband who was a street car conductor.
In 1923 Mrs. Wong Cue was the proprietress of Ladies’ Popular Garment Store, 317 South Main St., Butte, Montana. Her status with the U.S. Department of Labor Immigration Service was as a merchant independent of her husband. [This is very unusual and the only file I have seen where a woman is listed as a merchant.] Her business was in a building own by Mr. B. Marcello. He charged $30 rent per month. She paid all of her own expenses and netted about $35 to $40 each month. The store was about 30 by 80 feet and she lived in the back. For the last two years she and her husband had lived separately.
(According to Mrs. Wong Cue, her husband was living with another woman and they had two children together.)
Mrs. Wong Cue was planning a trip to China in 1923 and taking her adopted daughter, Po Lin and nephew, Lee Hoy, with her.
Mrs. Wong Cue told the immigration interviewer that she bought her merchandise stock from Hennessey’s, Symons, and sometimes O’Connell’s. She sold ladies garments. Sometimes she made her own garments and sometimes she bought them.
Her white witnesses were Mrs. Gordon Schermerhorn, Mrs. Jane Lammie and Mr. B. Marcello. Mrs. Lammie testified that she came from Scotland almost three years ago to join her husband, a baker at Rex Bakery, who had been in Butte since 1906. Mrs. Lammie said “Mrs. Wong [Cue] is an excellent little woman.” Mr. Marcello also testified that Mrs. Wong Cue paid her rent to him and that she made her own living. Mrs. Gordon Schermerhorn testified that she was 45 year old in 1924 and born in England. She had been living in Butte for about ten years. Mrs. Schermerhorn and Mrs. Lammie were neighbors and good friends of Mrs. Wong Cue. All three witnesses testified that they were confident that Mrs. Wong Cue lived separately from her husband.
Wong Cue said that he visited his wife three or four times a week and he slept with her “the night before last.” The examining inspector asked if he had any trouble with Mrs. Cue. Wong Cue said “sometimes she gets a little cranky.” [Wong Cue was being investigated for bringing a woman into the country for immoral purposes—the woman he was living with.]
Mrs. Wong Cue application was approved and she and her daughter and nephew left for China in September 1923.
Additional information per Jill Morelli’s questions:
The file ends with Mrs. Cue’s departure. There is no further information in the file. It was important that she made her own money because she did not want to depend on her husband to get back into the country. Since he was under investigation, his status could endanger her ability to return to the U.S. She needed to show that she made her own money and lived away from her husband so she could prove she was a merchant. Merchants were exempt from the Exclusion Act. If she had merchant status she could get back into the U.S. no matter what he did.

Hong Sun Jew – Family Portrait

Hong Sun Jew Family Portrait
“Hong Sun Jew Family Portrait,” ca. 1919, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Hong Sun Jew case file, Seattle, Box 239, 4775/8-1.

“Hong Sun Jew’s family portrait–Hong Hong Lee (son), Hong Hung Sen/Sing (son), Geng Shee (relationship not stated), Toy Shee (wife), Gin Sue (daughter)”
Hong Sun Jew (also spelled Hong Thling Jeow), whose marriage name was Hong Ming Keung, was born in San Francisco, California, on 8 August 1880. In 1919 Hong applied for his third trip to China. He had two sons, Hong Sen, age 15; and Hong Lai, age 7; and one daughter, Gin Sue, age 6. None of the children or his wife had been to the United States. Hong’s file contained the family portrait and his U.S. 1919 passport #4596C which allowed him to travel to China to visit family with a stop in Japan in route. He listed his occupation as cook in Pocatello, Idaho. Immigration in Seattle used his 1913 San Francisco file No. 12667/3-7 to support his claim to U.S. citizenship.
In 1924 Hong applied to make another trip to China. He used his 1913 San Francisco certificate of identity as proof of citizenship and Immigration approved his application also.

A 1940 letter in the file states that Hong Sun Jew died in Pocatello, Idaho on 1 August 1939 and his death certificate is in his brother’s Seattle file, Hong Hong You, 7030/13268.
[Additional information from Ancestry.com, not in the file: 1918 World War I draft registration and 1919 application for U.S. passport.]

Chun Shee and her son Wong Gwan Jing

Affidavit photos of Wong Ling, Wong Gwan Jing, and Chun Shee
“Affidavit photos of Wong Ling, Wong Gwan Jing and Chun Shee” 1915, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chun Shee and Wong Gwan Jing case file, Portland, Box 31, Case 4263.

In November 1915, Wong Ling, alias Chew Kee, age 55, a merchant and member of the Chew [Chu] Kee Co., 214 Front Street (formerly 130 Front Street), The Dalles, Oregon, submitted papers seeking admission into the United States for his wife and son. Three white witnesses swore that Wong Ling was a merchant and met the mercantile status required by law by not engaging in prohibited manual labor. R. P. Bonham, Chinese Inspector, stated, “the case is either genuine or else has been concocted with greater cleverness and recited with far more guile than is usual with a case arising in a country town.”
During questioning, Mr. Bonham found that Wong Ling had been issued certificate of residence #43730 (issued in 1894 in Portland, Oregon) and certificate of identity #2562 (issued in Seattle in 1911). Since it was not Immigration’s policy to have two identification documents for one person, the certificate of identity was sent to Seattle for cancellation.
Wong Ling’s white witnesses were Edward H. French, a banker, president of French & Company and long-time resident of The Dalles; L. A. Schanne, a hardware and grocery merchant who had lived in The Dalles for 40 years; and Edward Kurtz, Chief of Police, a resident of The Dalles since 1894. They all had known Wong Ling for 15 to 20 years.
Wong Ling testified that his marriage name was Hong Gwoon (or spelled Hong Quin). He was born in Ging Bui Village, Sun Wui district, China and had made two trips to China. In K.S. 15 (1889) he left and returned the next year via San Francisco. In K.S. 32* (1906) he left from Sumas, Washington and returned at Seattle. He had been living in the United States about 32 years. He and his brother, Wong Cheong, were partners in Chew Kee Company.
Wong Ling’s first wife died in K.S. 32 (1906) when she was about 36 years old. They had two children. His son and his family were living “on the small door side” of Wong Ling’s house in China. His brother’s family lived in their father’s house “on the big door side.”

Wong Ling married his second wife, Chun Shee, about four months after his first wife died. A woman named Ngan Ho arranged the marriage. They were married on a market day, either the 18th or 22nd, 9th month, K.S. 32* (1906) and the feast lasted one day. Their son, Gwan Jing, was born one month after Wong Ling returned to the U.S. In 1915 his son was five years old and was about to meet his father for the first time.
Wong Ling’s Chinese witness was Liu Chung, marriage name Shung Nguen, who lived in San Francisco but visited The Dalles occasionally. He recognized Wong Ling’s wife, Chun Shee, from a photo. He had only seen her briefly when his visit to China coincided with Wong Ling’s visit. Even though he had a meal at their home in their village he said “…according to our custom, just as soon as a lady sees a man she withdraws and keeps away.”
Chun Shee was interviewed twice, on 22 October 1915 and on 5 November. She and her son Wong Gwan Jing, age 5, arrived in Seattle on the 22nd. She was 28 years old and had married at age 19. Her maiden name was Ah Gon. The interviewer asked about a servant girl, Chun Moy, who lived in the household for about four years. She was security for a debt and when her father paid off the loan, she left and was married. Chun Shee was asked the same questions her husband was asked. There were only minor discrepancies in their answers. After two weeks [most likely in detention] she and her son were admitted to the United States.
[The file gives a lot of information about the family, house and land holdings of Wong Ling in his village in China.]
[Usually each person would have a separate file. The information for Chun Shee and her son, Wong Gwan Jing, is all together in one file.]
*K.S. 32 is during the reign of Kang Shi, or about 1906.

Maggie Lyle Jeu – Lost U.S. citizenship when married Chinese citizen

Photos of Maggie Jeu and Itoria Ding

ding-maggie-jeu-mrs-jeu-ding

“Photos of Maggie Jeu and Itoria Ding” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. Jeu Ding (Maggie Jeu) and Itoria Ding files, Seattle, Box 1395, Case 41560/4-6 & 41560/9-3.

[The file is listed as “Jeu” but the surname is frequently spelled “Jue” in the file. He signed his name as “Jeu.”]
Maggie Lyle Jeu was a Caucasian American who lost her U. S. citizenship when she married a Chinese citizen. She needed to apply to the Chinese Consul-General for a Chinese passport before she could travel to China with her husband and two children. Her husband Jeu Ding, a Chinese-born merchant of Osceola, Arkansas, was exempt from the Chinese Exclusion Act because of his merchant status. He had made two previous trips in China as a merchant while doing business in Inverness and Benoit, Mississippi. He was the sole owner of his grocery business. He used his marriage name, Cheu Wah or Cheu Wah & Co., in his business. Jeu Ding’s first wife died in China. On 10 January 1918 he married Maggie Lyle, in Memphis, Tennessee. A copy of their marriage certificate was reviewed by the interviewer and returned to the applicant. Jeu and Maggie Ding had two children, Mary Ding, age 22 months; and Iteria Ding, age 4 months.
The 1921 White witnesses for the family were V. M. Rives, age 39; and Fred G. Patterson, age 50, both residents of Osceola for many years. Patterson testified that Dr. Dunnavant attended the home births of both children.
[Mrs. Jeu Ding was not interviewed.]
[Out of curiosity, I checked Ancestry.com for additional information. This is a summary of the mostly undocumented information I found: Their daughter Mary died on the return trip from China in 1923. They had several more children. Jue [sic] Wah Ding died on 10 September 1929 in Arkansas. Maggie remarried William H. Bourne in 1931 in Tennessee. They had several children. William died in 1953 and Maggie died in 1990.]

Chung Hing Sou – Family Portrait

chung-hing-suo-portrait
“Portrait of Chung Hing Sou family,” ca. 1920, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chung Hing Sou (William) case file, Seattle, Box 1377, Case 41093/4-2.

Front row: Ah Jung (Chung Hing Jung b.1917), Hom Shee (mother, b. ca. 1872), Chung Don Poy (father, b. ca. 1850), Ah May (Chung Yut May b. 1913), Ah Joon (Chung Hing June b. ca. 1882), Chung Yut Sim (Rosie Chung b. 1900)
Back Row: Ah Lun (Chung Hing Lun b. 1909), Ah Ming (Chung Yoot Ming or Pansy b. 1902), Ah See (Chung Hing See b. 1907), Ah Hom (Chung Hing Hom b. 1904), Ah Fay (Chung Hing Fay b. 1895), Ah Sou (Chung Hing Sou b. 1893), Ah Ngo (Chung Sou Ngo or Violet Chung, b. 1897).
[Certified copies of Oregon birth certificates were presented for all the children except Ah Joon. They were all born in Portland.)
In 1922 Chung Hing Sou was applying for a Native’s Return Certificate. We wanted to visit China, get married, and bring his bride back to his home in Portland, Oregon.
Chung Hing Sou produced a certified copy of his Oregon birth certificate for proof of his citizenship. He was born on 16 August 1893 but the certificate was not filed until 13 October 1921 so he was required to show more evidence of his birth. His parents, several of his siblings and two Caucasian witnesses testified in his favor.

Hom Shee, Chung Hing Sou’s mother, age 50, testified that she came to Portland from China as a merchant’s wife when she was 20 years old. She and Chung Don Poy had eleven children together; ten were living.
Chung Don Poy testified that he had been married twice. Ah Joon (Chung Hing June) was his son from his first wife who died in China. Chung Don Poy was a merchant at Yuen Hop Company, Quon Yee Yick Company and the Gum On Wo Company before he retired.
Chung Hing Sou was known as William or Willie Chung to White people. As a child he attended Park School (later known as Ladd School). His teachers were Mrs. Sloane and Ella Ross. His report cards were used as proof of his attendance. He lived in Montana for a couple of years and registered for the draft in Flathead County in 1918. He and his brother Chung Fay were supporting the family so they were classified as Class 3B. He was a registered voter and voted in Montana once and two or three times in Portland.
William Chung’s half-brother, Chung Hing June, was a farmer in Cherryville, Clackamas County, Oregon.
(William or Willie) Chung Hing Sou’s Caucasian witnesses were George W. Wilson, a lawyer, and L. A. Pike. Wilson knew the Chung family for many years. He first met Willie about 1905 after the World’s Fair in Judge O’Day’s office. The family was purchasing a home on Lake Street. Although Willie Chung was a minor, the deed was taken out by him because he was an American citizen. About 1914 Wilson sold a house and lot at 527 Greenwood Avenue to the Chung family and William signed the deed.
The other Caucasian witness, L.A. Pike, was a Deputy Collector of Customs in Portland and worked for the Customs’ Service for thirty-one years. He was well acquainted with the parents in the family portrait and knew William and most of the other children.
H. W. Cunningham, Chinese and Immigrant Inspection recommended that Chung Hing Sou be adjudicated as a genuine native-born citizen of the United States and Chung’s application was favorable recommended by R. Bonham, Inspector in Charge.

Charley Wing – Merchant or Laborer?

Charley Wing photo 1894
“Photos of Charley Wing, 1894 & 1919,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charles Wing, alias Chin Poon Leong file, Seattle, Box 1301, Case 38575/8-2

Wing Charley 1919

In December 1919 Charley Poon Wing was anxious to visit his sister in China before she died–she was very old, in ill health, and he had not seen her since they were children. Before he left The U.S. he applied to re-enter the country as a returning domiciled merchant. Although he was a laborer many years ago, he now considered himself a merchant. On his return trip Wing arrived in Seattle, Washington on 18 April 1921 on the S.S. Princess Alice but was denied admittance. His case was appealed and he was finally admitted on 6 June 1921. [He spent almost two months at a detention center waiting for the final decision.]
Wing first entered the U. S. at San Francisco in 1875 at the age of ten and remained here continuously until 1919. He was a citizen of South Dakota, owned property worth about $600, paid taxes, and was a registered voter. He voted until he was prohibited by the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1892. He had a certificate of residence No. 135,817, issued at Omaha, Nebraska in May 1894.
Charley Wing applied for readmission as a merchant but under the provision of the Exclusion Act he was deemed a laborer. Because the immigration authorities thought he was trying to enter fraudulently he was subject to deportation. An appeal was made and he was landed as a returning laborer issued nunc pro tunc. [Latin for “now for then,” this refers to changing back to an earlier date of an order, judgment or filing of a document. See Law.com]
Harry L. Gandy, a former member of the U. S. House of Representatives, and a friend of Charley’s, testified that he had known Wing many years and that he should be admitted as a citizen of the state of South Dakota. Gandy wrote a very convincing letter in Wing’s favor explaining that Wing was now an old man and if he was not admitted and forced to go back to China, he will probably die there, alone.
Mr. J. S. Gantz, testified that he had known Charley Wing over 30 years and that Wing had voted prior to 1889 when the Enabling Act [when South Dakota became a state] was passed. Wing was the manager and head cook at the Chicago Restaurant in Rapid City. [Because Wing also did manual labor as head cook, the immigration authorities considered him a laborer.]
According to the records of the Register of Deeds of Pennington County, Wing was the owner of lot 8, block 7, Feigel’s East Addition in Rapid City assessed at $400. Although Wing was the manager of the restaurant, Robert F. Davis, Immigrant inspector, did not think he qualified as a merchant.
Yee Sing Wah and Yee Wah Ong, partners at Chicago Café, testified that Charley Wing was a partner in the Cafe.
Louis W. Napier, the proprietor of a soft drink place in Rapid City, testified that he had known Charley Wing for 25 years. He said he wouldn’t classify him as a merchant but he was a businessman. His definition of a merchant was one who deals in merchandise although Wing was the proprietor of several restaurants over the years. “He always contributed to any cause, churches and civic movements, campaign finds, etc.”
George F. Schneider, president of Pennington County Bank, testified that he had known Charley Wing for over ten years. Schneider thought Wing was a merchant and in charge of supervision of his restaurant who also did manual labor as a cook so in the strict definition of the Act he was not a merchant.
Affidavits testifying to the good character of Charley Wing were filed by W. L. Gardner, a furniture dealer in Seattle; James B. Barber, a contractor and builder; Charles A. Whitson and Guy Wing, both workers at Wing’s Cafeteria; and Edmund Smith, a lawyer in Seattle.
In the five-page statement filed by Smith & Chester, Wing’s attorneys they reiterated all of Charley Wing’s qualities and point out the sad predicament he was in. They said Wing was denied re-admission because he stated he was a “restaurant man” when he left and a “merchant” when returned. They said, “The government does not mean for its functions to serve as a trap, nor to use this kind of a mistake as a snare for the unwary.” They ended their plea,

“Exercising the broad discretion given to the Secretary of Labor, we earnestly request that the decision of the local board be set aside and an order be entered nunc pro tunc, admitting appellant under his true status, if he cannot be admitted as a merchant.”

Charley Wing was admitted on 6 June 1921.

Joe Chin – Portland Merchant

Chin Joe family
“Chin Joe family portrait,” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Joe file, Sumas, Box 14, Case 247.

[Chin Joe with Chin Gip, age 7; Chin Tall, age 4; and Chin Hoy, age 2 years. They were born in Portland.]

After attending the “Chinese Genealogy Seminar” in March 2016 at Oregon Historical Society Research Library in Portland, Darby Li Po Price of Berkeley, CA was inspired to search for his family’s exclusion files at the National Archives-Seattle. With the help of the staff he found six files including one with a beautiful 1903 photo of his great-great grandfather Joe Chin and three of his children which was part of an application to return to China to find a second wife after his first wife died. Joe’s file includes extensive interviews with descriptions of family life and residences in both China and Portland, as well as his original 1872 entry in San Francisco with his first wife (whose file Darby will search for at the National Archives-San Francisco-San Bruno).

Pictured in 1903 are Joe Chin and the three youngest of nine children from his wife Mon Du Shee whom had recently died. This is part of Joe’s application to go to China to find a wife to attend his children so he could manage his store. Upon returning the next month from China after marrying his second wife, his re-entry was denied. His store was suspected to be “the headquarters for gamblers and lottery dealers” and his identity suspect because his given name was “Chew” on his certificate of residence, “Joe” on other papers, and as “Jew” by a court interpreter (Joe said the differences were misspellings into English by officials). Moreover, he did not have documents for his initial entry in 1872 (not required prior to the Chinese Exclusion Act which went into effect in 1882). Two years later Joe was re-admitted after several white men testified on his behalf.
Chin Joe was formerly a member of the firm of Lun Chong & Company, 130-1/2 Second Street, Portland, Oregon. The name of the firm was changed to Bow, On & Company in 1902. They dealt with dry good and clothing. Currently he was a manager at Gum Wah & Company.

D. C. Lounsberry, a White witness for Chin Joe stated that he had known Chin Joe for about twenty years. Lounsberry was formerly the deputy sheriff for the city of Portland in charge taking a census in 1885 of all Chinese persons residing in the city for the purpose of collecting poll tax. He held this position for eleven or twelve years and got to know all the Chinese merchants. In 1903 Lounsberry was a watchman at the Burnside Street Bridge.
James B. Sinnott, age 35 and born in Portland, swore in an affidavit that he had known Chin Joe for about fifteen years. Sinnott worked in the Sheriff’s office from 1891 to 1896 and assisted in collecting the Chinese Poll taxes.
Robert Holman, an undertaker in Portland for the Edward Holman Undertaking Company, submitted a copy of the invoice for $116.00 for the burial of Doo She, Chin Joe’s deceased wife.