Category Archives: Section 6 Student

Wong Yook Yee in 1913 – Engineer Graduate from MIT in 1925

“Photo of Wong Yook Yee, consular number 21/1913,” 1913, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Yook Yee case file, Seattle Box 73, file 32-3614.

In 1913 Wong Yook Yee 黃玉瑜 was a student applying for a Section 6 certificate to allow him to come to United States through Seattle, Washington. He was eleven years old, born in Chung Hen Lee village, Hoy Ping district, China. His father, Wong Lon Seong, died in China in 1910. His mother, Jew Shee, was living in their native village. He had a younger brother, Nook Nay, and two younger sisters, Chuey Cit and Fong Gay. Wong Yook Yee attended school in his village for five years before going to Hong Kong for two months to study English. He planned to attend Ng Lee school in Oakland, California. His cousin, Ngong Suey, a merchant at Kwong Yuen Co. in Hong Kong, would be paying his expenses. Ngong gave Miss Ida K. Greenlee five hundred dollars in gold to cover the cost of school expenditures. Wong’s local contact was Know Ong Sow, a merchant at Chung Lung Co. in San Francisco. Wong was cautioned that if he did any manual labor during his stay in the United States he could be returned to China. Wong was admitted and started attending school at Pierpont School in Boston, Massachusetts. [change of schools explained in 1929 testimony] He was directed to confirm his school attendance to Mr. Monroe at the Seattle Immigration office via a post card signed by his teacher every three months.

Wong wrote to Mr. Monroe at Seattle Immigration and asked him to help get his Certificate of Identity. He adopted the Christian name of Perry Wong.



In 1929 Wong Yook Yee applied for a return certificate as a laborer. He was 29 years old and a draftsman in Boston. He married Lee Sue Doy (Boston file No. 2500/7819) on 11 March 1929 in Boston. During his interview there was some confusion about the place Wong was born. His family moved when he was three years old.
Wong testified that after he arrived in Seattle in 1913 he went to Ng Lee School in Oakland for six months then about six months in San Francisco before moving to Boston to attend Quincy School until 1917. He went to Northeastern Preparatory School for one years, then served one year in the U.S. Army at Camp Eustis in Virginia. He worked at an architectural firm and attended Tufts College in structural engineering, then Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1925. He then went back to work at Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott (called Coolidge & Shattuck when he worked for them previously)

In March 1929 Wong Yook Yee was granted his laborer’s return certificate. There is no more information in his file.

Alex Jay’s maternal step-grandfather was  Wong Yook Yee.  Alex has a blog, Chinese American Eyes about visual and performing artists. It includes links about Wong.

Some of the other articles about Yook Yee Wong on Alex Jay’s blog are:
Y.Y. Wong and S. Howard Jee’s Entry in the Capital Plan for Nanjing, China

Yook Yee Wong in the Journal of the Lingnan Engineering Association

Yook Yee Wong and Sun Yat-sen University

Yook Yee Wong’s / Huang Yu-yu’s Daughters Visit China 黄瑜瑜的女儿们访问中国

Other links provided by Alex Jay:
China Comes to MIT Bringing “Tech” to China
Early Chinese MIT: Wong Yook Yee

Benjamin Chi’s long fight to stay in the United States

Chi Benjamin 1941 photo
“Photo of Benjamin Chi, Precis of Investigation,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chi Po Shen (Benjamin Exner Chi) case file, Seattle Box 365, file #7027/1110.
See blog entry for 3 December 2018 for information on Emily Green Exner Chi and her children Benjamin, Sylvia, and Vernon Chi who arrived at the Port of Seattle on 13 February 1941. Emily, Sylvia and Vernon were admitted as U.S. citizens; Benjamin was not. Benjamin’s case is complicated and this blog entry will explain what happened.

The Citizenship Act of 1934 was signed by President Roosevelt on 24 May 1934. The Act allowed any child born outside the limits of the United States, whose father or mother at the time of the birth was a citizen of the United States, to be a citizen of the United States.1 Benjamin was born in 1933. His siblings were born after 24 May 1934. Their mother was a U.S. citizen and they were all born in China. His siblings were considered U.S. citizen; Benjamin was not.

Benjamin Ch’i or Chi, Chinese name Po-Shen Ch’i, was born in Tientsin, China on 18 June 1933. He was issued Section Six Certificate #901 on 5 December 1940 by the Bureau of Police at Tientsin where he was attending Chiu Chen Primary School. When he entered the U.S. at Seattle in February 1941 he was classified as a temporary visitor under Section 3(2) of the Immigration Act of 1924.

Benjamin’s temporary visa was renewed several times. If his visa could not be renewed he could be deported. His mother and younger brother and sister were considered U.S. citizen and wanted to stay in the U.S. because of distressing conditions in China [World War II]. Benjamin was 12 years old; he could not be sent back to China on his own. If he was deported his mother and siblings would need to leave too.

In February 1946, Benjamin’s mother wrote to Immigration. She was trying, once again, to renew her son’s temporary visa. In December she had sent his Chinese passport to the Consulate in China to renew it. Three months later she still had not received the renewed passport and now she did not have the necessary papers to renewal his U.S. temporary visa.

Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, there was now an extremely restrictive quota—only 105 Chinese were allowed into the U.S. Letters between Mrs. Chi and Immigration went back and forth and a warrant of arrest was issued for twelve-year old Benjamin in May 1946. The deportation order was suspended four months later. In February 1947 the Central Office of Immigration informed the Seattle office that the alien was no longer a quota immigrant chargeable to the quota of China. Benjamin Chi was allowed to stay in the United States. The long struggle was finally over.

1. Orfield, Lester B. (1934)”The Citizenship Act of 1934,” University of Chicago Law Review: Vol. 2 : Iss. 1 , Article 7. http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclrev/vol2/iss1/7

Fannie Seto More – resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; family in Seattle


Seto More Fannie, family photos 1921, 1924, 1927, 1933

“Portraits of Seto More Fannie and family” 1921, 1924, 1927, 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seto More Fannie (alias Lew Tue Fannie) case file, Seattle Box 787,file 7030/12060.

Fannie Seto More (Lew Tue or Lew York Lue) was born on 9 July 1890 in Olympia, Washington. In 1913 she married Seto More; a Canadian citizen and a Canadian Pacific Railways passenger agent.  Because Fannie married a Canadian citizen she lost her U.S. citizenship. When she traveled to the U.S. from her home in Vancouver, B. C. her classification under the Chinese exclusion laws was “traveler.” Her two children, Wilfred and Maysien were both born in Vancouver. Wilfred Bientang Seto was born 21 August 1915 and Maysien Geraldine Seto was born 30 April 1918. The three traveled from Vancouver to Blaine, Washington via train many times, had Canadian certificates of identity, and became well known to immigration officials.

Fannie’s file starts in 1909 and covers her many trips between Vancouver, B. C. and Seattle, WA until 1940. The following is some of the information gleaned from her file.  Her parents were Lew King and Lee Shee. She had three brothers and one sister; Lew Geate Kay, Lew Get Soon, Lew Get Don, and Lew York Lon, (Mrs. Tom Shue Wing). Lew King, a member of Jong King Company and Wah Hing Company in Seattle, died in August 1908. Her mother, Lee Shee, was born in Kin Ham village, Sunning district. She was admitted to the U.S. in 1873 as the wife of a merchant about seven months after she married Lew King. She died in Seattle in 1914.

In 1909 Fannie was traveling from Seattle with student status. Her mother, Lee Shee, and brother, Lew York Lon, were witnesses for her. Lee Shee testified that she and her husband moved to Seattle in 1883. Seven months after they arrived, someone set fire to their store on old Third Avenue South. They moved nearby to the apartment above Hong Yee Chung Company store and stayed there until the Great Fire of Seattle in 1889. After the fire they lived in Olympia for a few years until they returned to Seattle.

S. L. Crawford was a Caucasian witness for Fannie Seto More in 1909. He testified that he had been living in Seattle for thirty-four years [since 1875]. Crawford was a reporter for the Post Intelligencer during the Chinese riots in 1886 and city editor for many years. He had frequent dealings with Lew King and knew him intimately. Lew King had been a Chinese interpreter for the court when Judge Lind was on the bench. [Judge Lind was a Thurston County judge in the early 1900s] Crawford identified photos of Lew King’s children including the applicant.

Witness Louie Kay, also known as Yin Lim and Hong Po, testified that he was a member of the Lew family but not related to Lew King. He came to Seattle in 1879; was away for the riots; and came back about two months after the 1889 fire.  He was questioned about many things concerning the extended Lew family but most of the information did not pertain to Fannie.

Fannie’s mother underwent a serious operation in Seattle in 1913 but because Fannie had lost her U.S. citizenship she was unable to secure a Section 6 certificate so she could cross the border to visit her.  The consul at Victoria refused to approve her certificate on the grounds that she was not a Canadian citizen even though her husband was a member of the exempt class in Canada. Her brother, Lew Gate Kay, of the Chinese Consulate in Seattle, made an appeal to the immigration authorities and Fannie was allowed to land without a Section 6 certificate. Commissioner White informed the Commissioner-General of Immigration in Washington, D.C. about what had happened. His letter of explanation is in Fannie’s file. [It never hurts to know the right people and pull a few strings.]

A 1921 letter from Frederick M. Ryan of the American Consular Service in Vancouver, B.C. confirmed that Mrs. Fannie Seto More acquired British citizenship through the naturalization of her husband.

Seto More Fannie Red Ribbon Fam 1927

“Seto More Fannie passport visa” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seto More Fannie (alias Lew Tue Fannie) case file, Seattle Box 787,file 7030/12060.

In 1921 Fannie and her children were issued Section 6 certificates by the Controller of Chinese Immigration in Vancouver, B.C. John J. Forester, of Vancouver, swore in a 1927 affidavit that he knew Fannie Seto More and her children and could identify them.

By 1933 Mr. Seto More was manager of the Chinese Department of the Canadian Pacific Railways in Vancouver.

In 1938 Fannie was traveling to visit her brother, Lew G. Kay, a staff member of the Chinese Consulate in Seattle, and stopover in Oakland, California to see her sister.

“Seto More Fannie Form 430 photo, Consular photo,  Admittance photo” 1909, 1914, 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seto More Fannie (alias Lew Tue Fannie) case file, Seattle Box 787,file 7030/12060.

The file ends with Fannie’s and her daughter’s visit to Seattle in February 1939.

[Tamia Duggan, CEA volunteer at NARA-Seattle, indexed this file and brought it to my attention.]

 

Chinese Basketball Team touring the U.S. in 1929

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.]

Chinese Basketball Team 1929
“Photo of Chen Ping-Huang,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chen Ping-Huang  case file, Seattle Box 1119, 10360/1-1

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.

Lim Chu Cong
Lim Chu Cong (C. C. Lim), [10360/1-2] born 4 October 1902, Amoy, China; two years in Manila as merchant
A. Chua Ciong,
A. Chua Ciong, [10360/2-1] born 1 April 1894, Manila, P. I.

 

Choa Domingo Rufino
Choa Domingo Rufino, (Itsan Choa),[10360/2-2] born P. I.
Co Yong
Co Yong, [10360/2-3] born 8 June 1907, Amoy, China; student Manila, P. I.
Wee Guan Chuan
Wee C. G. (Wee Guan Chuan), [10360/2-10] born 3 March 1906, Amoy, China; student Manila, P. I.
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.

 

Lu Alice Catherine – U. S. Citizen born in Shanghai, China

Rose Wong, daughter of Gee “George” Wong and Minnie Lee Wong, was born 3 June 1906 at Reinbeck, Iowa. She married Andrew Kuei Lu on 18 March 1933 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lu was a Chinese citizen in the United States with a Section 6 student exemption.

Kuei Lu and Rose Wong Lu returned to China in February 1934. Their son Thomas Laurence was born three months later on 20 May 1934 in Shanghai.  Alice Catherine Lu was born the next year on 4 August 1935.

In April 1939 Rose and her two children returned to the U.S. through Seattle. They were here to visit Rose’s parents in Minneapolis and would return to China sometime after Christmas. Rose obtained her certificate of identity 79613 when she landed in Seattle.

Thomas was considered a temporary visitor when he entered the U.S. His stay could not exceed one year. He was born four days before the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 24 May 1934 went into effect. The Act would have allowed him to be considered a U.S. citizen if he had been born after 24 May 1934. He missed being considered a citizen by four days. His mother and little sister were citizens.

Tydings-McDuffie Act of 24 May 1934
“Excerpt of Tydings-McDuffie Act of 24 May 1934 printed on the Report of Birth issued by the American Consulate at Shanghai”

Mrs. Rose Wong Lu obtained a Report of Birth for Lu Alice Catherine issued by the American Consulate at Shanghai and presented it to Immigration upon their arrival in 1939.

Lu Alice Catherine, Report of Birth
“Lu Alice Catherine, Report of Birth, Shanghai, China,” 1935, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lu Alice Catherine case file, Seattle Box 784, 7030/11928.

When the family arrived In April 1939, Alice Catherine Lu was reminded that “under the law you will cease to be a citizen if you fail to reside in the United States for at least five years continuously immediately previous to your eighteen birthday and fail to take an oath of allegiance to the United States of American within six months after your twenty-first birthday.”

Lu Alice Catherine photo 1940
“Lu Alice Catherine, Form 430 photo,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lu Alice Catherine case file, Seattle Box 784, 7030/11928.

O. B. Holton, District Director of the St. Paul District Immigration Service noted that the signatures in Chinese on Forms 430 were omitted because Rose Wong Lu, the applicant’s mother, was unable to write Chinese.

Rose Wong Lu, her daughter Alice Catherine Lu; and her son, Hou Chi Thomas Lawrence Lu (Seattle file 7027/819), visited with family in Minneapolis and were approved to leave the United States in April 1940. They left for China from Vancouver, B.C., via Seattle, on the Empress of Asia on 20 April 1940.

Gee G. Baine (Gee Quock Bin) – law student at Suffolk Law School, Boston

Photo of Gee G. Baine
“Photo of Gee G. Baine from Form 431,“ 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gee G. Baine (Gee Quock Bin) case file, Seattle Box RS 285, RS 34,340.

Gee G. Baine was studying law at Suffolk Law School, Boston, Massachusetts in 1916 when he applied for pre-investigation of status so he could visit China.
After a careful investigation Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration in Boston approved Gee’s application. White agreed with Inspector McCabe saying that the application “requires a liberal interpretation of the law to approve this application…”

“The applicant was lawfully admitted to the country and so far as developed has maintained an exempt status during the last past year. He thus has met the requirement of rule 15. True, in years gone by, he was a laborer within the meaning of the law, and at times might have been arrested on the charge of being unlawfully with the United States. It is doubted, however, that because of his doings at that time he should now be denied the right to visit his home county.”

Gee G. Baine originally entered the U.S. under the name Gee Quock Bin in San Francisco in June 1896. He lived with his uncle Dr. Gee in New York City, before moving to New Brunswick, New Jersey where he was tutored by a private teacher. He attended several schools over the years: the Thirteenth Street School In New York City, School #11 in Brooklyn, Horace Mann School in Newtonville, Massachusetts; a public school in New York City, and Berkeley Preparatory School in Boston. He was sick with pneumonia one winter then went to Boston where he worked for Mr. Monerly as a chauffeur. When his uncle Dr. Gee returned to China he gave Gee a partnership interest in the Royal Restaurant in Boston. Before Gee was accepted to law school he sometimes worked at the restaurant.

Gleason L. Archer, an attorney, the Dean and founder of the Suffolk Law School in Boston, swore in a statement that Gee Baine had been a student since August 1915 and attended classes three evening a week. He had a good attendance record and good grades having completed courses in contracts, criminal law, torts, agency, legal ethics, and real property. His personal history record showed that his references were Joseph F. O’Connell and Dr. C. H. Thomas of Cambridge.

Edgar S. Monroe, an optometrist in Boston, testified that he had known Gee about twelve years and he had seen him studying law for the last year or two. Monroe did not have personal knowledge that Gee had not worked as a laborer in a restaurant or laundry in the last year but he felt that Gee was worthy and always a gentleman—one that he would not feel ashamed to associate with in any society.

George A. Douglas, an attorney and instructor at Suffolk Law School, attested that he had known Gee since 1915 as a student in his classes in criminal law and agency. Gee attended classes faithfully. Although Douglas could not swear that Gee had not done any manual labor in the last year he knew that his attendance at school and the time needed for studying must have kept Gee extremely busy.
Gee testified that he arrived in 1896 when he was twelve years old and was admitted as a section 6 student. In the past year his only work for the Royal Restaurant was as an interpreter for the business.
In Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration’s letter approving Gee’s application he refers to Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 of the Chinese Exclusion Act. See Rule 15 (b)1 below:

Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 (b)
Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 of the Chinese Exclusion Act. See Rule 15 (b)

[The interviewers overlooked the fact that over the years Gee had sometimes found it necessary to work as a laborer. Because he was in the U.S. as a student he could have been deported if this became known to the authorities. The interviewers decided to concentrate on Gee’s previous year. It appeared that he was a full time student and was only associated with the restaurant in a managerial capacity.]
[Although Gee’s application was approved there is no indication in the file that he ever left the country.]

1. Chinese rules : treaty, laws, and regulations governing the admission of Chinese. [Electronic resource] https://u95007.eos-intl.net/U95007/OPAC/Details/Record.aspx?BibCode=8745586; Media #6, (1911 January 10) approved April 18, 1910, edition of January 10, 1911; ChiLR 1911.1