Happy Mother’s Day

Mother's Dad Telegram ad
“Telegram Ad for Mother’s Day,” May 14, 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Louie Kin Hong case file, Seattle, Box 960, 2301.

[This is a copy of an ad on a telegram in Louie Kin Hong’s file. The telegram was notifying the immigration office that he had arrived in the port.]

[Mother’s Day in 1922 just happened to be the same date as Mother’s Day in 2017.]

Letterhead for Wa Chong Co. Importers, Seattle, WA

Letterhead Wa Chong Co.
“Wa Chong Co. Importers, letterhead” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Woo Back (Bak) Sue(y) case file, Seattle, Box 756, 7030/10966.

Woo Bak Sue – Released after paying detention costs $25.05 in 1899
Woo Bak Sue was born on 10 August 1884 in Seattle, Washington Territory, just two years after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed and five years before Washington Territory became a state. His parents, Woo Tai Gap and Chew See, took Bak Sue to China when he was about five years old. Bak Sue came back to the United States through Port Townsend in the summer of 1899 when he was fifteen years old. When he arrived he was arrested, put in detention and given a hearing. A writ of habeas corpus was issued stating that he had been detained without authority of law and that he was entitled to be released on the grounds that he was a native born citizen. The order of discharge was made by Judge C. H. Hanford of the U.S. District Court, Northern Division, District of Washington. Woo Bak Sue was released after paying for the costs of his detention amounting to $25.05. He asked that his photograph be attached to his discharge papers and that the papers be certified and sent to him.
He made three trips to China after 1899—1904 to 1905, 1910 to 1911, and 1915 to May 1938. When Woo Bak Sue applied to leave for China in 1903 his Caucasian witnesses were J. F. McGee and D. G. Rinehart. They both swore that they were residents and citizens of Seattle for the last twenty years and were well acquainted with Bak Sue and his parents. Woo Gen of the Wa Chong Co. sent a letter on company stationery to Thomas M. Fisher, Chinese Inspector, Office of the Collector of Customs in Port Townsend saying he would be a witness for Bak Sue if requested.
When Bak Sue was returning in 1911, the immigration inspector asked him if he knew any of the Chinese at the detention house. He said he knew Woo Bing Gee. There were no followup questions asked.
Woo Bak Sue’s son, Woo Sze Hong, arrived in Seattle in September 1938. His Seattle file number is 7030/11336. In October 1938 Woo Bak Sue was applying to return to China because he wasn’t feeling well. His application was approved. Bak Sue’s marriage name was Woo Gun Lum. He had a wife and six sons and two daughters in Nom On Village, Hoy San District. The village had 26 houses in three rows, facing south. He and his family lived in the 6th house, 6th lot, 2nd row. He had a grocery business there called Ow San Market.
[The file contains photos of Woo Bak Sue from 1903, 1910, 1912, 1915 and 1938.]

Virginia Wong – buried at National Cemetery of the Air Force at Nanking, China

Wong Virginia photo 1933
“Virginia Wong, Form 430 photo,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Quai Yin (Virginia Wong) case file, Portland, Box 96, 5017/723.

“Wong Quai Yin, alias Virginia Wong, dies while serving as a commissioned lieutenant in the National Commission of Aeronautical Affairs.”

In 1930 Virginia applied to Immigration to visit Vancouver, B.C. as a member of a theatrical troupe. She had two brothers, George (Wong Gong Ho) and Gordon; and four sisters, Betty, Margaret, Alice, and Myrtle. They were all born in Portland. George was a witness for his sister. Nancie D. Singleton, a teacher at Atkinson Public School in Portland, swore in an affidavit that she taught George, Virginia and Gordon Wong and had a general acquaintance with the entire family.
On 9 February 1933 Wong Quai Yin (Virginia Wong), age 21 years, of Portland, Oregon, applied to visit China. She was born on 15 November 1911 to Wong Chock Way and Jung Shee. She had just finished her preliminary training as an aviator. [She was not asked anything about this training.]
A copy of a 3 June 1935 letter to the editor of the Oregonian newspaper was added to the file. Elizabeth Wong, Virginia’s sister, was correcting an error in a 12 May 1935 Oregonian article, “Portland-Trained Chinese Flying to Oriental Fame.” [article not included in the case file] The original article stated that “Miss Wong died in Canton from malaria before the start of a campaign to exploit the air corps through these two women fliers” (Virginia Wong and Hazel Lee). Elizabeth explained that her sister Virginia died in the fall of 1934 at Nanchang while serving as a Commissioned Lieutenant in the National Commission on Aeronautical Affairs and was buried at the National Cemetery of the Air Force at Nanking.

[In the next few weeks there will be more information on the blog about the Al Greenwood flying school for Chinese, where Virginia trained, and other Chinese who trained there. It is surprising that the interviewer did not ask Virginia more about her flight training.]

The website, Disciples of Flight, has an article about the school and the aviators, “World War 2 Flying Ace Arthur Chin’s story is an incredible story of courage and survival during wartime” World War 2 Flying Ace Arthur Chin’s story is an incredible story of courage and survival during wartime” by Andy Chan, John Gong and Michael Little. It tells about flight training at Al Greenwood flying school in Portland and its connection to the “Flying Tigers.”
The articles has footnotes and a list of sources—books, articles, and websites.

Leong Gain – Positive testimony given by Caucasian Witnesses

Leong Gain 1932 photo
“Leong Gain, Form 430 photo,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong Gain case file, Portland, Box 96, 5017/705.

Leong Gain, son of Leong Poy and Lee Shee, was born on Oak Street in Portland, Oregon on 24 September 1893. When Leong Gain was about five or six years old, his mother returned to China with his baby sister.
Leong Gain visited his family in China in 1912. He received his Certificate of Identity in San Francisco, California upon his re-admission to the United States as a native-born citizen in 1914.
Leong Gain’s most challenging application came in 1917 with his interview for re-entry into the United States. He stated that Mr. Frasier and Billy Fook knew about his birth. The examining inspector, W. F. Watkins, questioned Leong Gain’s honesty because Leong did not mention his sister when he was interviewed in 1912. The 1917 interview went on and on. Recorded on page 3 of the interview, Watkins said, “You mean to say now, do you, that the first knowledge you received of your having a sister was when you returned to China in 1912…?” Leong Gain answered, “That’s correct.” The inspector wanted to know if Gain’s sister was born in Portland or China. Although he thought his sister was born in Portland, Gain explained that he just too young to know the details of his sister’s birth. He would have been 5 or 6 when she and his mother returned to China. (It was probably traumatic to be motherless at that young age.)
Later in the interview, the point of the questioning finally becomes apparent. Watkins said, “Isn’t it true and you and your sister were both born in China?”
The next nine pages of the interview involve witnesses testifying that Leong Gain was born in Portland.
Haw Ah Fook, also known as Billy Fook, was about 64 years old in 1917, when he testified that Leong Gain was born in Portland. He didn’t know Leong Gain as a small child but knew his father, Gong Poy. As far as he knew, Gong Poy lived on the east side of Portland and had a wife and son there. When Watkins pressed him for more information, he said, “Mr. Watkins, I can’t remember those things. I attend to my business and I don’t keep track of the Chinese. I can’t remember those things.” On the third page of Billy Fook’s interview, Watkins asked him if Leong Gain ever told him if he had a brother or sister. Fook replied, “No, never said a dam’ word to me.”
Charles R. Frasier, a merchant at Crescent Paper Company, testified that he had known Leong Gain all his life, since he was born. He was a week or two old when Frasier saw him for the first time. Frasier said he and his parents took an interest in the family. He saw the family frequently until he went away to college. After he got married and opened his own business, Leong Gain and his father would visit his business every few months. At Christmas they would bring Chinese nuts; they never forgot the family on Christmas. Mr. Watkins asked Frasier over and over if he was certain that Leong Gain was born in Portland. Frazier said, “I would gamble my last dollar on it.”
George J. Kadderly worked in the hardware business in Portland. He easily recognized Leong Gain from his photograph. He remembered “this little chap was around in swaddling clothes around on the sidewalk.” He saw Leong Gain off and on over the years on the street or in Chinatown. Whenever he ran into Leong Gain he always said, “Hello, George.”

Because Frasier and Kadderly were well-known, respected White witnesses and their statements were clear cut and positive in Leong Gain’s favor, Inspector Watkins approved the application in spite of some inconsistencies.
Leong Gain made another trip to China in 1923; returning in 1926. During his 1923 interview he presented his Portland draft registration card dated 5 June 1917. He was classified as 1-A but was not called for active military duty because he was under weight.
In October 1932 Leong Gain was applying for his fourth visit to China and was approved. Each time he traveled outside of the United States he went through the whole process of being interviewed and photographed.
There is no more information in the file.

Lee Doo – U. S. Naval Reserve

Lee Doo - U.S. Navy Discharge
“Seal of the War Department, United States of America, Lee Doo,” 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Doo case file, Seattle, Box 1391, 41410/13-17.

Lee Doo, born in San Francisco on 11 November 1892, was the only child of Lee Jing and Ng Shee. His father was in the Chinese drug business. His parents went back to China in 1899 and sent Lee Doo to Chicago to live with his grandfather, Lee Sing Yin. Four years later his grandfather went back to China and Lee Doo went to live at Wa Chung Sing Company with his grandfather’s brother, Lee King.
Lee Doo registered for the draft in Chicago on 5 June 1917. He received classification certificate order #4155, serial #4469 and was classified as 1-a. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force as a ward room cook. He did his training at Great Lakes, Illinois then served on the ship Yantic. He went to France twice, once on the ship Lancaster. After he was honorably discharged in 1920 he moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he worked at the Mandarin Café. His father’s brother, Lee Thou (Lee Woon Fat) was living there. In February 1922 he was applying to visit his mother in China. When he returned in May 1923 he was married and had a son.
There is no more information in his file.

Yee Gim – 1905 Spokane Merchant

Yee Gim 1905 Portrait
“Photo of Yee Gim,” 1905, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Gim (Ah Tai) case file, Seattle, Box RS027, RS 939.

[Riverfront Park is now located where Front Avenue/Street in Spokanes’s Chinatown was in the early 1900s] 
In 1905 Yee Gim, age 46, was a merchant, a partner at Yee Yuen Hong Kee Company, at 516 Front Street, Spokane, Washington. He had been in the United States for twenty-seven years—19 years in Port Townsend at King Tai Company and eight years in Spokane. He was returning via Port Townsend from his third trip to China. His wife, three sons and three daughters were in China.
There were seven partners in his Spokane firm. They sold Chinese goods, nut oil, rice, sugar, and tobacco. Hock Geng was the manager; Yee Gim was the bookkeeper and in charge of buying and selling goods.
The interviewer asked to see Yee Gim’s “chak chi” [Certificate of Residence or Identity]. Yee Gim did not have his papers because he was in China at the time of registering.
A witness for Yee Gim was W. D. Vincent, cashier at the Old National Bank, who had known him for over eight years. He swore that Yee Gim never worked anywhere else except as a merchant and did personal and business with the bank.
Mose Oppenheiser, in the insurance business, swore that he had known Yee Gim for about four years, that he paid bills for the firm and he had never seen him behind the counter. [If he had been working behind the counter it would have been thought that he was a laborer.]
James McGougan signed an affidavit swearing that Yee Gim was “neither a huckster, peddler, laundryman or laborer…”
In spite of the fact that Yee Gim did not have his Certificate of Residence, the testimony of his witnesses was strong enough to allow him to be admitted by A. F. Richardson, Chinese Inspector at Port Townsend.
This is an excerpt of the Chinese Exclusion Act included in Yee Gim’s file pertaining to “creditable witnesses” and “not performing any manual labor.”

 

Yee Gim Affidavit
“Yee Gim Affidavit” 1905, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Gim (Ah Tai) case file, Seattle, Box RS027, RS 939.

William Jue Poy, M.D., surgeon at David Gregg Hospital, Hackett Medical Center, Canton, China

William Jue Poy, photo 1932
“Photo of William Jue Poy,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, William Jue Poy (Jue Soo Kuen) case file, Portland, Box 99, 5017/872.

William Jue Poy, Chinese name Jue Soo Kuen, was born at 365 E. 12th Street, Portland, Oregon on 22 May 1904. His parents were Jue Poy and Choy Lain. William Poy attended local schools in Portland, University of Washington in Seattle and Northwestern University in Chicago; did his internship and residency and was an assistant surgeon before getting his medical license in Pennsylvania about 1932. He had two brothers and four sisters, all born in Portland. In 1932 his brother Clarence was in Russia working as a consulting mining engineer for the Russian government; and his brother Henry was in Berkeley, California working with McKee Radio Company. His sisters Frances, Alice and Dorothy were unmarried. His sister Helen was married to Andrew Y. Wu and they were living in San Francisco.

In 1932 William was applying to go to China to work as a professor of Anatomy, Associate Surgery in the Hackett Medical School in Canton, China. The school was established under the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and he had a five year contract. His application witnesses were his mother and Mrs. William S. (France A.) Holt. Choy Lain, William’s mother, was born in San Francisco about 1884 and had never been to China. Her husband, William’s father, died about three years previously. Mrs. Holt testified that she had known William Poy since he was a baby and that William’s father was the first Elder in their church. Mr. Holt married William’s parents.
In August 1937 William applied to leave the U.S. so he could accompany Dr. Loh Shau Wan to Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Wan had original planned to stay in the United States for six months but was returning early because of war conditions in China.
The Reference Sheet in William’s file lists three of his siblings: Jue So Ling (Clarence Poy), file 5017/452; Helen Poy Wu, file 5006/397; and Jue So King (Alice Jue Poy), file 5017/760 There is no more information about Dr. William Poy in his file after 1937.
[I am always curious when I come across my maiden name, Hackett, when I am doing research. Although I am not related to the founder of Hackett Medical College, here is a link to a very lengthy biography on Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916) that I found on FindAGrave.com.]
[Edward A. K. Hackett established the Hackett Medical College at Canton, China, and put his eldest daughter, Dr. Martha Hackett, in charge.]1,

1. Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 31 Mar 2017), memorial # 57707137, Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916), created by “JC”; citing Linderwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Allen Co.,IN.