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.

Chin King Jin – Kenneth Hazeyama, Japanese boy adopted by Chinese family

Chin King Jin (Kenneth Chin)
“Chin King Jin (Kenneth Chin) affidavit photo,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin King Jin case file, Seattle, Box 759, 7030/11066.

Chin King Jin, was the adopted son of Chin Ne Toy and his white wife, Gertrude Copeland (Kopelian–Chinese name Dong Shee) of Seattle. He attended Pacific Grammar School. He visited China when he was seven years old and returned when he was 12. He left again when he was 14 and was returning in 1938 at age 21.
During the time he was in the U.S., he made trips to Portland and New York with his father. He gave the following information in his 1938 interrogation: his father was Chin Toy, marriage name Chin Don Koon, and he did not know his birth mother’s name. The file contained a certified copy of Chin King Jin’s birth certificate which said both of his parents were Japanese. His name was listed as Kenneth Hazeyama; his father was Fumio Hazeyama, born in Japan; and his mother was Susie Hazeyama, born in “America.” [Her maiden name was not listed. Chin King Jin did not know he was adopted so this news must have been shocking.]
Chin King Jin married Yee Shee on 17 September 1936 in China. His marriage name was Chin Suey Beow. Their son, Jun King, was born 15 September 1937. Chin King Jin’s wife and son stayed in China and lived in Woy Pon Lee Village. Chin King Jin spoke in See Yip Hoy Ping dialect.
Chin King Jin’s adopted father, Chin Ne Toy, testified that he lived at Yee Chong Company in Seattle and he had an orange ranch in Bakersfield, California. He first saw Chin Kin Jin when he was about six years old. A Japanese acquaintance brought the boy to him and said he needed a home. Chin Ne Toy’s attorney, Mr. Lysons, obtained a birth certificate from the Board of Health for the child saying he was born on 2 November 1916 and drew up a certificate of adoption in the Superior Court in Seattle. The birth certificate lists the midwife for the birth as Tsuya Hirano. The interrogator thought Chin King Jin looked white, not Japanese, and that Chin Ne Toy could not legally adopt the child because his wife was not in the U.S. [There is no further mention of Gertrude/Dong Shee but she is listed as a stepmother on the file reference sheet.]
Chin King Jin and Chin Ne Toy were interrogated several times separately. Many questions about the family village were asked—How many houses in the village? The location of their house; direction it faced? What style? How many stories? The size of tiles on each floor? Where was the open stone court? Who lived in the house? Where is the nearest market?
In spite of many unanswered questions, since the applicant had been admitted to the United States on one previous occasion in 1929 as a U.S. citizen, the inspectors unanimously approved his application and he was admitted to the U.S. as a returning native-born American citizen.

Lou Yuck Ming – ¾ Chinese, ¼ African-American, Coahoma, Mississippi

Lou Yuck Ming
“Lou Yuck Ming, Form 430 Photo” 1918, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lou Yuck Ming case file, Seattle, Box 528, 7030/3445.

Lou Yuck Ming was the son of Lou Lin Dock (married named Lou Chow Suey, also known as C. E. Kong) and Bertha Lee. According to interviews in the file his mother was “half Chinese and half colored.” Bertha’s maiden name was Bertha Cue, but she was also known as Bertha Long. She was born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas. Lou Yuck Ming’s father was a merchant and member of Dock Lee & Company in Coahoma, Mississippi. In 1918 Lou Lin Dock was taking his two young sons, Lou Yuck Ming, age 2, and Leu Lou Yuck Hong, age 5, to China so they could learn Chinese. They would be living with his brother’s family in his home village of Tung How.
Lou Lin Dock’s statement gave his history in the United States. He was born in China, came to the U. S. in 1908, landed at San Francisco, and joined his brother, Lou Wing Yim, in business at Lou John Bros. in Lula, Mississippi. He came to Coahoma in 1910 and was a partner with Fong Lee & Co. In 1913 a fire destroyed their business and everything on the block. He reopened his business as Dock Lee & Co. in 1914.
The White witnesses for the application were C. Cohan, a merchant; and Joseph W. Montroy, a planter and merchant. The file contains a sworn statement by P. B. Caldwell a witness at the wedding of C.E. Kong and Bertha Long on 23 October 1912. Emily Guy Dawson, a midwife, swore that she attended Mrs. C. E. Kong at the birth of her two sons whom she identified Lou Yuck Hong and Lou Yuck Ming.
Lou Yuck Ming returned to the U.S. on 24 October 1927 at age eleven through the port of Seattle on the s.s. President Madison.
In 1932 Lou Yuck Ming applied to make another trip to China. He stated that he had three brother and two sisters in China and a brother and sister in Coahoma and that all of his siblings were born in the United States.
The cross reference sheet in the file contains file numbers for Lou Yuck Ming’s father, five brothers, two sisters, a sister-in-law, niece, and uncle. [This is extremely helpful information for anyone researching this family.]

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.

Wong Laine Heung (Helen Wong) – Post Card & a Murder

1930 Post Card of Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
“Post Card of Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver, B.C., Canada,” 1930, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Laine Heung (Helen Laine Louis) case file, Portland, Box 93, Case 5017/554.

Written of the back: “July 8, 1930
Dear Mr. Norene,
This is just a few lines to thank you and Mr. Lowe for your prompt attention on my matter.
With kindest personal regards,
Helen Wong”
[This post card is included in the file for Helen Wong.]
In June 1930, Wong Laine Heung (Helen Laine Louis), also known as Helen Wong, applied to leave Portland, Oregon for a short visit to Vancouver, B.C. with the Orpheum Circuit. Helen was a musician and played the piano. She was interrogated by Roy J. Norene, Immigrant Inspector. The Chinese Interpreter was Herman Lowe. Helen stated that she was born in San Luis Obispo, California on 14 April 1905. Her father, Ah Lui, also known as Wong On or Wong Ok Fon was a wealthy merchant. Her mother, Gon Ying Lui, died when Helen was six or seven years old. Helen went to Court Grammar School and California Polytechnic School and had five brothers and two sisters. They were all born at 800 Palm Avenue in San Luis Obispo. Helen’s brother, George (Wong Him), was also an actor.
Helen’s brother, Wong Jung Sing, was a witness for her. His birth certificate lists his name as Walter Wong Louis; his school name and business name was Wong Sing Louis. The Immigrant Inspector, H. F. Duff, asked Walter why the family name was “Louis” and sometimes “Wong.” Walter said that his father was known as “Louis” in the mines. Walter was a jeweler at Tin We Jewelry Store in San Francisco.
Included in the file is a telegram from the Signal Corps, United States Army to Immigration Service in Portland. It alerts Immigration that Helen’s brother murdered his mother or stepmother and was hanged for the crime. Mr. Norene at Immigration ignored the telegram and approved Helen Wong’s Form 430 enabling her to go to Canada. [The murder had nothing to do with Helen’s immigration status.]
[Information not in the file but found on GenealogyBank.com: San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram has many articles on the murder which took place in September 1909. Willie Louis had several reprieves but was finally hanged at San Quentin state prison on 6 December 1912 for the murder of his stepmother. ]