“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.]
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.
[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.
[Most Section 6-Travelers files for Chinese actors do not contain a photo of the individual or an interrogation. This file is unique because it includes an 8 x 10” group photograph of the troupe. Some of the names on the photo are slightly different than the names listed in the correspondence in the file. Instead of individual files the troupe is all in one file. ]
Photo: Sun Shing/Sun Fong Ching (brother), Choy Dsee Show/Choy Dsee Poo (cousin), Sun Fong Lin (manager), Sun Fong Cling/Sun Fong Lin (brother), Mrs. Sun Fong Lin (manager’s wife), Chang Ding Poo/Chong Den Foo (cousin).
The troupe was on the Pantages Theatre Circuit. They played in Minneapolis, Minnesota then went to Canada for engagements in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary. They re-entered the United States at Sweet Grass, Montana about 19 January 1919 en route to Great Falls, Montana.
According to Sun Fong Lin, the manager, all six performers were born in China. Three of them arrived in New York in 1914 and the other three landed at San Francisco in 1917. They were originally working for Barnum & Bailey Circus.
On 1 March 1919 Charles W. Seaman, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service in Minnesota, frustrated by a lack of guidelines, wrote a letter to the Commissioner in Washington, D.C. in behalf of the inspector in Sweet Grass saying they had no official instructions for the handling of Chinese performers leaving the country temporarily for engagements in Canada. He asked for specific instructions for handling all future cases involving Chinese performers crossing the border to Canada.
The Troupe was re-admitted to the U.S. on 2 March 1919 and by 5 August 1919 all the proper paperwork was in the file.
[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.]
Exhibit A, ca. 1901
Back row: Mrs. Gong Woo (Law Ho) , Law King (died before 1921), Law Gun, Law Lai (William Law)
Middle row: Leong Soon (mother), Law San Charlie (father), Law Ning (Fred Law), Law Toy (Jeffry Toy Law)
Front row: Law Haw Hong (died before 1921), Helen (Law Hing).
Law Lai made an affidavit in 1901 to prove the he was a citizen of the United States; had the right to reside in the United States without a certificate of registration and he included a photo of himself for the purpose of identity.
In 1922 Law Lai and three of his brothers applied to visit China. His application was approved.
Law Lai, also known as William Lai Law, was born on 13 March 1888 at 2nd between Alder and Washington Street, Portland, Oregon, son of Law San, a tailor. Later on his father went into the cigar business and then owned the King Joy Grille in Vancouver, Washington until his death on 7 March 1921 in Portland. He is buried at Mt. Scott Cemetery in the Chinese section. Law Lai’s mother. Leong Soon, had bound feet. Law Lei had five brothers and three sisters. One brother and one sister died before 1922. They were all born in the United States except the oldest daughter, Law Ho.
William Lai Law and his siblings had a private Chinese teacher, Fung Yin. William also went to Atkinson School, Portland Trade School, known as Benson Polytechnical School in 1922, and finally Lincoln High School.
William registered for the draft in Chatham, Alaska on 1 September 1917. He was discharged at Ft. McDowell, California on 10 July 1918.
In 1921 a white witness, Fred Gullette, physician and surgeon, testified that he had lived in Portland since 1897. He took care of the Law daughter who died of diphtheria and later the father who died of Brights’ disease about 1918. Dr. Locke attended to the birth of the children born in Portland.
Another white witness was Michael Joseph Driscoll who lived in Portland since 1891 and was a neighbor of the Law family for many years.
Fong Mon Hoy was a merchant and member of Hong Fook Tong Co., 142 Second Street, Portland, Oregon.
Although Fong was planning a trip to China since May 1905, he did not apply to John H. Sargent, the Chinese Inspector in Charge at Port Townsend early enough to get the proper duplicate certificates before he and his family left for China on 24 June 1905 from Port Townsend. J. H. Barbour, Inspector in Charge at Portland, Oregon asked Sargent to send the paperwork to Fong at his Hong Kong address.
Fong’s file contained an affidavit from G. Rosenblatt, in the insurance business at the Sherlock Building in Portland, stating that he had known Fong for fifteen years, he was manager of a drug business called Hong Fook Tong, and that Fong had not performed any manual labor in the last year.
James Manner, in the fire insurance business at 131Third Street in Portland, swore that he had known Fong for about ten years. His statement agreed with Mr. Rosenblatt’s information. Manner had been living in Portland for twenty-one years.
Fong was traveling with his wife, Jay Yee Leu, his sons Fong Wong and Fong Choy Sing, and his daughters Fong Kam Gee, Fong May, Fong Lung, and Fong Ha. All the children were born in the United States and had the necessary papers.
Although the family planned on returning there is no information in the file to indicate that they did return.