In 1917 Wong F. Pershing’s father, Wong Chun Wah, applied to Immigration for pre-investigation as a merchant intending to visit China. The examining inspector believed that the place Wong was working, W. J. London Company, was involved in gambling. The inspector did not believe Wong qualified as a merchant according to the exclusion law. Wong abandoned his connection with this employer and became a merchant for the Quan Yuen Chong Company, a legitimate and bona fide mercantile concern. His status as a merchant was reinstated.
Wong Chun Wah again applied to take his wife and three sons, Raymond, Pershing and Chester, to China with him in 1921. Wong showed Immigration Inspector B. A. Hunter the Seattle birth certificates for his children.
On 14 February 1942 Pershing F. Wong was applying to visit Vancouver, British Columbia by bus via Blaine, Washington. His Chinese name was Wong Gok Way. He was born on 27 October 1919 in Seattle, the son of Wong Chun Wah (Wah Fat) and Ann Quan Gee. His mother died in Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle in 1930. Pershing had five brothers and one sister. He attended Garfield high school and was a seaman on the U.S. S. Explorer, Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship. Ensign John Guthrie of the Explorer verified that Pershing F. Wong was the correct name for W. F. Pershing Wah, the name Pershing used on his original application.
The last document in Pershing Wong’s file shows the he was admitted at Blaine, Washington. The Reference Sheet list the file numbers for his father, mother, two brothers, and sister.
Additional information not included in the file:
A newspaper article from the 6 February 1945 issue of the Seattle Daily Times, states that Pershing Wong was the only Chinese deck officer sailing out of Seattle in the American merchant marines; he was a member of the Masters, Mates & Pilots’ Association; and joined the merchant marines in 1941. Wong had just spent 110 days in the Pacific combat area. It was a turbulent time, besides the heavy WW II bombing, three navy craft were sunk by a typhoon.
According to Pershing F. ‘Perky’ Wong’s obituary in the 14 July 1999, Oregonian newspaper, he retired as a captain in 1985.
This file contains documents and photos of Lee Quong On from 1901 to 1941. Lee was born in San Francisco on or about 20 June 1879. He and his parents returned to his parents’ village in China when Lee was about seven years old. In 1898 Lee married Wong She in Chu Ging village, Sun Ning district. They had one child, a son, Lee Or Yuen, born in 1900.
In early 1901 Lee Quong On left China. He arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; then took a train to Montreal, Quebec and made his way to Burke, Franklin County, New York. He was immediately arrested. On 15 March 1901, he was brought before Hon. William V. S. Woodward, U.S. Commissioner of Plattsburgh, N. Y. and charged with unlawfully being in the U.S. A trial was held. He and three witness: Chin Sing, Chin Dan and Tsao Dong, testified in his favor. The evidence was considered, the charges were cleared, and Lee was released. He received his discharge certificate with his photograph attached in August 1901 at Port Henry, New York from Fred W. Dudley, a United States Commissioner, Northern District of New York.
When Lee Quong On applied to go to China in 1908, he swore in an affidavit that he was born in the United States to Chinese parents, went to China with his parents at a young age, and returned in 1901. He told how he was arrested at Rouse’s Point, New York in 1901 and taken to jail at Plattsburgh, New York but eventually was released and given his discharge certificate. His 1908 departure was approved, and a current photograph of him was attached to his affidavit. He left for China through the Port of Richford, Vermont.
Lee returned through Vancouver, British Columbia in August 1911. He was 32 years old, marriage name of Lee Doon Po, a laundryman, and living in Boston, Massachusetts. Lee exchanged is discharge certificate for a certificate of identity.
Lee’s next visit to China was in 1916. By this time, he was a merchant but still living in Boston. Charles V. Slane was a witness for him. Lee was issued United States passport #2220 before he left the U.S.
In 1940, Lee wanted to return to the United States. He was a merchant at the Ow Sang Market but because of the war with Japan, the market was being disturbed by the Japanese bombers. He felt it was dangerous to stay there. His Boston attorney, John G. Sullivan, wrote to the Director of Immigration in Seattle to make sure Lee’s papers were in order. Lee’s passport had expired many years ago. Chin Hong Ark, also known as Chin Ming, swore in an affidavit, that Lee Quong On, aged 60 years, was a U.S. citizen. Photos of Chin Hong Ark and Lee Quong On were attached to his affidavit. When Lee left for China in 1916 he left his discharge papers and his certificate of identity at the Seattle Immigration office. They were both in his file.
Lee Quong On was admitted to the United States at Seattle on 3 February 1941.
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Chin Yick Thlew, 陳溢秀, age 15, took the long journey from China alone on the Princess Marguerite, arriving at the Port of Seattle on 11 January 1941. She would be living with her parents, Chin Yock Can 陳煜芹 and Dong Shee, at 1211 Cornwell Avenue, Bellingham, Washington. Her father was the son of Chin Tong, an American born citizen. Their older son was living in Lung Hing Village, Look Toon Section, Hoy San District, China, with his grandparents. Their son, Chin Yick Goon, and daughter, Fee Lon, and two younger children were living with them in Bellingham.
Yick Thlew’s file contains a long letter she wrote to her parents. The original letter is in Chinese and a translation is included. She wanted her parents to know that she missed them; that her education was extremely important to her; she told them several time she was not ready to get married; and she wanted to join them in the United States. She signed her letter, “I am, your little daughter.” (The translation was made by the Young China Morning Newspaper in San Francisco.)
Chin Yick Thlew was admitted in spite of the District Director of Seattle Immigration, R. P. Bonham’s claim that there was some unsatisfactory testimony. Several of the family members changed their interview answers so that everyone’s story agreed. Their attorney, Henry A. Monroe, explained that the parents were afraid that if their testimony did not agree completely with their daughter’s, she would be sent back to China. Chin Yick Thlew was held in detention for almost five weeks. She mis-identified a family member in one of the photographs presented during the interrogation. Everyone involved was questioned over and over. The parents were distraught and decided that whatever their daughter said they would agree with it in their testimony. Finally, Monroe who had been working with Chinese immigrants for thirty-five years, stepped in. He got everyone to tell the truth and straightened out all the misunderstandings. There were over thirty pages of interrogations from Chin Yick Thlew, her father, mother, and her brother, Chin Yick Guoon/Goon. Files for her father, mother, grandfather, two great uncles, three uncles, a brother and a sister were reviewed.
Yung Gung-Jork (Harold Poe) Article, Chicago Daily Journal, 17 March 1921
Chin Fong Wing and his wife Lill Wing adopted Howard Poe, a Caucasian boy, fifteen months old, in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois in March 1921. They gave him the Chinese name of Yung Gung-Jork 翁公爵. Howard’s biological mother, Josephine B. Poe of Buffalo, New York, gave her consent in writing. The file contains a newspaper article about the adoption and a photo of Harold from the 17 March 1921 issue of Chicago Daily Journal.
Also in the file are Harold Poe’s adoption papers and birth certificate. He was born in Detroit, Michigan on 18 December 1919 at 12 o’clock noon. His father was unknown; his mother was 19 years old; German/Chinese. Another document lists his grandfather as George H. Poe. His adoptive mother took him to China in February 1927. They lived in Hong Hen village, Meow Ben, Toy San, Canton, China and Yung attended school there. After his mother died in 1937, Yung applied to returned to Chicago to be with his father, a secretary at the On Leong Merchants’ Society. The file contains another Chicago Daily Times newspaper article from 4 May 1938, titled “Life of Wonder Awaits White Boy Reared in Heart of China,” and includes two photos of Yung Ging-Jork–when he left for China in 1927 and upon his return in 1938.
“Newspaper Articles & Photos of Yung Gung-Jork/Harold Poe,“ 1921, 1927, 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yung Gung Jork (al. Harold Poe) case file, Seattle Box 756, file 7030/10968.
Yung Ging-Jork was admitted at the Port of Seattle two days after his arrival on 2 May 1938.