Category Archives: photos

You Choi – rejected, appealed, appeal dismissed

In 1910 Go Hip King applied for admission to the U.S. for his minor son Yao Chow or You Chow (You Choi).

You Choi Go Yao Chow Aff 1910
“Affidavit photos of Go Hip King and You Choi,” 1910, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, (Go) Yao Chow (alias Go You/Yow Choi) case file, Portland Box 7, file 1949.

Go Hip King’s interview did not go well. He admitted that two members of his firm were laborers not merchants; that he had attempted to have attorney Hemple bribe an immigration official; and that although there was an accusation that his rental property was being used as a place of ill repute he did not know what kind of people lived there. There were many discrepancies between the father’s and his alleged son’s testimony.

In his summary, Chinese Inspector in Seattle, Raphael P. Bonham wrote:

“The testimony given when applicant sought admission in 1910 is permeated with inconsistencies, contradictions, and falsehoods…”

“The witnesses, Go Leong and Go Quong, of Astoria, Oregon, are not believed to be in good faith or worthy of full credit.”

“Go Hip King has proved himself an unconscionable prevaricator, and now admits being a bribe-giver…”

“Yow Choi is the victim of the unscrupulous advice of Attorney Hemple, since decamped, whose motive must have been solely that of his fee.”

The 1910 application for admission under the name of Yao Chow and was rejected; he appealed but withdrew his appeal the next day.
You Choi (Yao Chow) tried again the following year. In June 1911 You Choi, age 19, married name Go Kum Lun, arrived in the Port of Seattle.
Transcripts of translated letters from Jue Shee, Go Hip King’s wife and from his sons, Yow Choi and Yow Lee, are included in the file.

Edward E. Gray, Go Kip King’s attorney in 1911 reviewed every item of contention in the 1910 case with the Immigration Commissioner trying to show his client in a good light. Gray said that Hemple, Go Hip King’s previous lawyer convinced Go that paying off an official was a necessary part of business.

Witness John C. Montgomery, who worked in a plumbing and tin shop, testified in July 1911, that he was born in Astoria and lived there forty years except for ten years when he was away. He had known Go Hip King for over six years, saw him on a regular basis as manager of his store, and didn’t think he ever worked as a laborer in a cannery.

Witness A. E. P. Parker, collector agent and hotel man leased to Go Hip King the Eagle Drug Store property on 51 & 57 Bond Street in Astoria in 1910; part of the property to be used for a restaurant and part for a grocery story with the upstairs rooms rented out. He knew Go Hip King as a merchant of the Wing Yuen Company and had not seen him doing manual labor. (Charles Verschueran was a witness on the 1910 affidavit but no more information on him is included in the file.)

Attorney Gray thought that You Choi was the innocent victim of his relatives and friends who mixed up the records so much that it was hard to ascertain the truth.

Once again, You Choi was rejected; his case was appealed, and the appeal was dismissed. He was sent back to China. There is no more information in the file.

Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) – Washington D.C.

Mei Lai Gay Agnes 1927 baby photo
Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) 1927 birth registration
“Mei Lai Gay (Agnes), Form 430 photo and birth registration” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) case file, Seattle Box 817,file 7030/13284.
The father of Mei Lai Gay (Agnes), Mei (Moy) Kong Kay (marriage name: Mei (Moy) Kung Sun) first came to the United States in 1908 and was admitted as a merchant at the Port of San Francisco. He was born in 1882 in Sai Yuen village, On Fun section, Hoy San district, China. He and his wife, Ng Shee, had six children; two sons living in China and four in D.C. where they had been living since 1923. Mei Kung Sun was a merchant at Hong High Company, 343 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

Agnes’ 1927 birth was registered by Dr. Mary Parsons. Dr. Parsons had been practicing medicine in D.C. for fifty-three years and had worked with the Chinese population for 31 years. It was thought that she officiated at the birth of the first Chinese baby born in the city.

The return certificates as American citizen applications for the parents, Agnes, her two brothers and sister were approved and they left Washington, D.C. for China in 1927.

In October 1940 Mei Lai Gay Agnes and her sister Mei Bow Ngook Ruby returned to the U.S. through the Port of Seattle. They were going to live with their brother, Mei (Moy) Bow Duen Earnest, in Washington, D.C. The interrogators questioned Ruby, age 16, then Agnes, age 13. Their father, Mei (Moy) Kung Sun, died in the U.S. in 1938. Their mother moved from her husband’s home village to Hong Kong after her husband’s death. The examining inspector had no questions about the identity of Ruby and noted after careful examination of the photograph of Lai Gay Agnes that “the left ear of this applicant shows outer and inner rim close together and a ridge in the center of the right ear.” [Evidently this scrutiny of her left ear agreed with her baby photo.] Their applications were approved and they were admitted into the U.S.

Mei Lai Gay Agnes 1940 photo
“Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) M143 photo,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) case file, Seattle Box 817,file 7030/13284.

The Reference Sheet in Mei Lai Gay (Agnes Mei)’s file includes the name, relationship and file number for Agnes’ parents, four brothers and her sister.

Floor plans for Schoolhouse in Gong Mee Village, China

Yee Tom Wing Schoolhouse F
“Floor plan for Schoolhouse in China, Exhibit F” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ton Wing case file, Seattle Box 805,file 7030/12842.

This file contains nine floor plans for the schoolhouse and family home in Gong Mee Village, China and an affidavit with photos of Yee Ton Wing and his father, Yee Gim Cheow. Yee Ton Wing was coming to live with his father in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Additional information: 11/17/2018
Yee Ton Wing was 16 years old when he arrived in the Port of Seattle with his 12- year old brother, Yee Ton Yow, on 2 February 1940. They were students joining their father in Ohio. The transcript of Yee Ton Wing’s first interrogation was nine single-spaced typed pages long. (Eventually there were almost fifty pages of questioning.) Most of the inquiry pertained to his extended family and their village. He correctly identified photographs of his alleged father, grandfather, and uncles. He was asked things like: Where does your mother keep the rice that she cooked for your family? Who lives in the house on the first lot in the 4th row in your village? What are that person’s occupation, age, and the names of his children?
There were five diagrams of the floor plan of the schoolhouse in Gong Mee Village. They were made by the applicant, his younger brother, their grandfather, Yee Bock; their paternal uncle, Yee Gim Gin (Gane); and Yee Gim Cheow, a witness. The witness’ diagram looked considerably different than the other four. There were four diagrams of the floor plan of the 1st and 2nd floors of the family home. They were all in agreement.

Yee Ton Wing House Diagam I
“Floor plan of family home in China, Exhibit I” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ton Wing case file, Seattle Box 805,file 7030/12842.

Yee Ton Wing and his brother Yee Ton Yow were interrogated on 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 March 1940 and finally admitted to the United States on 25 April 1940 as citizens and as the sons of Yee Gim Cheow, a citizen.
The reference sheet in the file contains the file numbers, names, and relationships for Yee Ton Wing’s bother, grandfather, four uncles, aunt-in-law, cousin, and his mother.

Pang Jin-Feng – Photo retake–ears not showing

Pang Jin-Feng ears covered

“Pang Jin-Feng Form 430 photos” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Pang Jin-Feng case file, Portland Box 100, file 5017/921.

The original photos of two-year old Pang Jin-Feng did not meet Immigration Services requirements regarding photos. Since the child would probably not be returning to the U.S. for many years, a photo showing her ears was needed for identification. She was traveling with her parents Tse Sun Pang and Pao Chi Hau of Corvallis, Oregon.

[This blog is on hiatus and will resume in November. More information about this file will appear then.]

Chin Wah Pon (Frank) – School teacher, Portland, Oregon

Chin Wah Pon Birth Certificate 1916“Chin Wah Pon birth certificate,” 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Wah Pon  (Frank) case file, Seattle Box 810,file 7030/13041.

In 1921, Wong Ah Look applied for a return certificate for her son, Chin Wah Pon 陳華泮. She presented his Oregon State birth certificate stating that he was born on 6 July 1916 in Portland. She was leaving for China with Chin Wah Pon and her other children, Chin Wah Ching (James), age 3; and Chin Oy Gim (Marguerite), age 2 months. It was alleged that her husband, Chin Ten/Ton, the father of the children, absconded with a large sum of money and his whereabouts were unknown. Wong Ah Look did not plan on returning to the U.S. so she gave the immigration office her Certificate of Identity to be cancelled. Chin Wah Pon 1921

“Chin Wah Pon Form 430 photo,” 1921, CEA case files, RG 85, NA-Seattle,  Chin Wah Pon  (Frank) case file, Seattle file 7030/13041.

Their applications were approved and they left for China on 15 October 1921.

James Chin and Marguerite Chin both returned to the U.S. in 1939; were married and living in Seattle, Washington. Chin Wah Pon, also known as Frank Chin, [marriage name Moon Sin] arrived in the United States via Seattle in June 1940. He was a school teacher in China and hoped to continue teaching in the U. S. He married Wong Shee and they had three sons. J. P. Sanderson, Immigration Inspector, asked the following questions about their sons:
“Is it your understanding that it is customary for American Citizen Chinese to claim that all their children are sons, until after five sons are born?” [Answer: “I don’t know about that.”]
“What are the names of your three alleged sons?”
“Do you expect that another son will be born to your wife in the near future?” [Answer: “No.”]
Chin Wah Pon was admitted to the U.S. at Seattle. The Immigration Chairman concluded that his birth certificate was legitimate; he had some of the same identification marks as the person in the 1921 application; and the ears in the 1921 photo appeared to be the same as those of the applicant in the 1940 photo.Chin Wah Pon 1940

“Chin Wah Pon Form M143 photo,” 1940, CEA Act case files, RG 85, NA-Seattle,  Chin Wah Pon  (Frank) case file, Seattle 7030/13041.

The reference sheet in his file includes the file numbers for his parents, three brothers and a sister.

Ho Shee (Ho Sue-Young) – Bonneville, WA

“Ho Shee (Ho Sue-Young), Precis of Investigation, 1940“
“Ho Shee (Ho Sue-Young), Photo, Precis of Investigation, 1940“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ho Shee case file, Seattle Box 1015, 7033/251.

Page 2 photos: Mon, 36, Sun-You (Johnny), 6, Fay-lun, 7, and another of Ho Shee

This week’s blog entry is by Darby Li Po Price. He researched his family in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files at the National Archives-Seattle and found many family files. This file is for his grandmother and her family.

Ho Shee (Ho Sue-Young)’s Precis of Investigation, issued in 1940 by the American Consulate in Hong Kong, permitted Ho to travel to Seattle with two children to reside with her husband Chin Mon in Bonneville, WA.

Ho’s Seattle file no. 7033/251 also includes Mon’s petition for Ho’s immigration visa, a Pre-Investigation of status of citizenship interview of Mon, interviews of Ho, Mon, Sun-You, and Fay-lun conducted in Seattle, Summary for admission, and Ho’s application for Certificate of Identity.

Interviews spanning 22 pages describe Ho, Mon, and other family in China and the U.S. Their marriage in Sun Wui Village (Xinhui) was arranged by their parents and a go-between woman in 1922. Ho and Mon did not meet until their marriage ceremony 1 June 1 1922. A few months later, Mon immigrated to North Bonneville, WA and became owner and operator of the Kong Chew Restaurant. Ho lived with Mon’s mother in China the next 16 years. Mon returned to Sun Wui November 1928-April 1930, and April 1932-May 1934, and bought a brick house at 32 Ng Ming Chung highway for Ho. Ho, Sun-You, and Fay-lun lived in Hong Kong from 1938 until their 1940 immigration. When they left Hong Kong, Japanese planes strafed their ship and they had to duck for cover. Sun-You (Johnny) was adopted by his godfather, Jack Lee, in Portland.

Ho was born 28 December 1904 in Sun Wui to her mother Lum Shee, and father Ho Hon Jone. Ho spoke the See Yip (Siyi) dialect of Sun Wui. Mon, despite growing up in Sun Wui, spoke Yip Wui Ping dialect because in the U.S. he had mixed with Hoi San and Hoi Ping speakers.

Mon, born 28 February 1904 in Sun Wui, lived with his mother, Tom (Hom) Shee, born 1880 Sun Wui, until entry to Seattle 1922 as the oldest son of Chin Jan (Yock Kong), a citizen by 1881 birth in Portland. In 1939, Jan was a cook at the New Cathay Cafe at 82nd and Division. Mon’s mother was Hom (Mock) Shee. Jan’s parents were Chew (Joe) Chin, and Leong Shee. Mon’s siblings were: Soon, On, Quay, Wing, Hoe, and Kin. Jan’s brothers were: Quong, Jip, Choe, Hoy, Hom; sisters: Sing Choy, and Lin Choy.

Ho and Mon claimed two other sons: Gok Hing (George), born 1923, entered Seattle 1934 with Mon, then lived with Wong On, owner of the Hung Far Low Restaurant, 112 NW 4th Ave., Portland. Gok Hing (George)’s mother (whom stayed in China) was the sister of Wong On’s first wife Yee Shee. Gim Foon (Kim), was born 1929 in Ark Hing Lai, Kwangting by Mon’s first wife, whom Mon left after an affair with and impregnating her younger sister, Ho. Gim was in the care of Mon’s cousin Chin Gong (Young Yuke Jee) owner of the Kwong Ching Chong store, Hong Kong until 1941, when due to Japanese invasion he was sent to Gow How, Hoy (Hoi) Ping District to reside with a friend until returning to Hong Kong 1948. He entered Seattle in 1951.

Ho Shee’s application for Certificate of Identity
Ho Shee’s application for Certificate of Identity

Charlie Stewart Cue – Mixed Race Child, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Charlie Stewart Cue, affidavit photo, 1901
“Charlie Stewart Cue, affidavit photo,” 1901, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charlie Stewart Cue case file, Portal Box 686, Por 641.
A 1908 statement by Modena Stewart Cue said she and Joe Que (Cue) were married at Greenwood, Mississippi by Rev. N. L. Lackey in March or April 1894. At that time Joe Que ran a general merchandise store at Clarksdale, Mississippi called Joe Que & Co. His partner, Ju Gong, sold his interest in the store to Joe Que about December 1894. Modena and Joe had three children. Charlie Stewart Cue was born 31 January 1895. A midwife called “Grandmother Oliver,” attended Modena during his’s birth. Modena’s daughter, Mabel Cue, was born 17 August 1896 in Webb, Mississippi; and Joe Lee Cue, was born 16 September 1898 in Bonham, Texas. Mabel died 18 December 1898 and was buried in Bonham. Modena left her husband in 1899 so she could live closer to her family in Mississippi. She married John Williams at Coahoma, Mississippi in 1904.

After Modena left Joe Que he moved to various places in Texas then went to Memphis, Tennessee. In December 1901 he decided to go back to China and take Charlie with him. James P. Newton, a photographer residing in Memphis, Tennessee and Modena Stewart Cue, the mother of Charlie Stewart Cue (周拃李), both swore that Charlie, age five, was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the son of Joe Que, a merchant; Charlie and his father were not classified as “a laborer, huckster or peddler.” [Charlie received his classification by “being of tender years.”]

Joe Que returned to Chicago, Illinois in 1903 without Charlie. He left him with his mother in Man How Dewey, Hoy Ping District so he could learn Chinese. E. Sutcliffe, a ticket agent at the Frisco Railway System in Memphis and Will Hays swore in an affidavit that “Joe Que or Joe Cue” was a peaceable, law-abiding merchant and member of the firm of Joe Jim & Co., Dublin, Mississippi. His entry into the United States was approved.

Joe Que affidavit photo 1903
“Joe Que (Cue), affidavit photo,” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charlie Stewart Cue case file, Portal Box 686, Por 641.

In 1907 Joe Que’s mother died and he went back to China to bring Charlie back.

Charlie Stewart Cue was twelve years old in September 1908 when he arrived at Portal, North Dakota seeking admission into the United States. His mother had given him her photograph before he left for China in 1902; it was attached to the lapel of his coat. He described her as an American who did not look like his father, shorter than his father, and medium built.

When Joe Que was interviewed he said that Modena was a mix of white and Mexican blood. Joe Que testified that he married a Chinese woman in China in 1907 because Modena would not live with him.

Originally Joe Que was denied admission by the Board of Special Inquiry because they were concerned that he was married to two women. A. W. Brough, Immigrant Inspector, went to Mississippi to investigate. He interviewed Jim Gow, a laundryman at Clarksdale. Gow said Joe Que was “a gambler, a bum.” Brough also interviewed Modena Stewart Cue and described her as “an unusually intelligent colored woman.”

The Board concluded that Charlie Stewart Cue was entitled to admission since he was a native born citizen. Joe Que’s entry was denied and his case was appealed. Modena’ Stewart Cue’s 1908 affidavit she said she was not sure if Joe Que ever married in China. This information must have satisfied the Board; Charlie’s father, Joe Que, was admitted two days after Charlie in September 1908. They listed their destination as Chicago.

[Joe Que said Modena was of white and Mexican blood; Immigrant Inspector Brough said she was a “colored woman;” and her son Charlie said she looked American. All we know is that Modena was not Chinese.]