Tag Archives: Ah Wah

Chin Wing You – Seattle history in Interrogations

Chin Wing You Affidavit 1907
“Chin Wing You Affidavit Photo,“ 1907, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Wing You case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13441.

Chin Wing You 陳榮耀 was born in Seattle, Washington in 1887. His parents Chin Gem (Jim) Wah and Me Wing Wah, had two older sons, Chin Wing Moy and Chin Ah Wing 陳阿榮 who were also born in Seattle. The family traveled to their family village Hing Lung Lay, Sun Ning district, China in 1888.
The father made several trips between China and Seattle between 1888 and 1907. His son Chin Ah Wing joined him at the Wa Chong Company in 1900. His son Chin Wing Moy died in in China in 1907.
Chin Wing You 陳榮耀 married Louie See in China in 1905 then prepared to join his father in Seattle in 1907. Since he was in China when the Exclusion Act was passed, he did not have a residence certificate. He did not have the required documentation to prove that he was born in the U.S. and was the son of a merchant, so he was required to have witnesses swear that he was the son of Chin Jim Wah and was born in Seattle.

Samuel L. Crawford, was a witness for Chin Wing You in 1907. His affidavit stated that he had been a resident of Seattle for thirty years; he knew Chin Wing You’s father, Chin Jim Wah, prior to 1887; Chin Jim Wah was a merchant, partner and bookkeeper for the Wa Chong Company; he and his wife lived in the store and had several small children. In Crawford’s interrogation he stated that he was in real estate business. From 1875 to 1888 he was in the newspaper profession with the Post Intelligencer. He knew and had dealings with all the Chinese businessmen. He was acquainted with Chin Ching Hock, Woo Gen, Wan Lee, Chin Gee Hee, and Ah Wah. Crawford saw Chin Jim Wah, Wa Chong Company’s bookkeeper, every month when he conducted business with the store. Crawford identified photos of Chin Jim Wah and Chin Ah Wing.

Chin Ah Wing, marriage name Chin Hui Quock, a U.S. Citizen and resident of Seattle, swore in a 1907 affidavit that he was born in Seattle on 1 October 1885 and his brother, Chin Wing You, was born at the Wa Chong Company store in Seattle on 10 May 1887. Chin Ah Wing left Seattle in 1888 and returned in 1900. He made another trip to China in 1904 and returned the next year through Port Townsend.

In George Harman’s 1907 affidavit he swore that he was a citizen of the United States and a resident of Seattle and Kitsap County for 56 years; that Chin Wing You was born in Seattle at the Wa Chong Company on the corner of South Third and Washington Streets where the Phoenix Hotel was standing in 1907; and that the family went to China in 1888 when Chin Wing You was about one year old. In Harman’s interrogation he testified that he had been in Washington state since 22 August 1866 when he “got paid off in the navy yard from the navy.” In 1907 he was living on a ranch about twelve miles south of Seattle. He was asked what he was doing in Seattle five years before the 1889 fire. He replied that he had been working in various places in the woods hauling out wood. He knew the Chinese at Wa Chong Company especially the manager, Chin Ching Hock, who at one time was a cook in a logging camp. Chin Ching Hock’s wife and Harman’s wife were sisters.
excerpt from George Harman 1907 interrogationExcerpt for George Harman’s 1907 interrogation

Chin Ching Hock’s second wife was Chinese, and their children were born in Seattle. When asked if he had been a witness for other Chinese, Harman said he was only a witness for his nephews, the sons of Chin Ching Hock and his sister-in-law. The interrogator disagreed and told him that he had affidavits showing that Harman had been a witness for Woo Ah Moy in 1901 and Chin Ah Wing in 1900.

After considering the evidence from the applicant and the witnesses, John H. Sargent, Immigration Inspector in Charge, ordered that Chin Wing You be admitted to the United States as a returning native-born American citizen on 19 November 1907.
Chin Wing You made another trip to China in 1912. When he returned, he had no proof of citizenship, so he produced a duplicate of his 1907 admittance into the Port of Seattle as an American-born Chinese. With this information he received his certificate of identity #45476. He made trips back to China in 1922, 1929 and 1941 and sired many children.

Ah Fook Family – Left Tacoma during Anti-Chinese Riots in 1885

Wong Ah One 1907

“Form 430 Photos of Ah One,” 1907, 1925,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ah One case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13432.

In 1907 (Wong) Ah One 黃穩 applied for admission to the U. S. as a native-born Chinese person. He was the son of Ah Fook and Lem Shee and was born in Tacoma, Washington. He went back to China with his parents and younger brother, Ah Wah, when he was about four or five years old, about 1888 or 1889. They lived in Chung Chi village then Hong Kong.

Ah Lung, a witness for Ah One, was a laundryman in Seattle and a good friend of Ah One’s father. He came to the U.S. about 1867. He lived in Tacoma for about 10 years and met Ah Fook there; they were friends but not related. At that time the Chinese businesses in Tacoma were all located near the sawmill. Al Lung remembered Ah Fook leaving Tacoma after the riots [November 1885] but a few months before the Chinese fire. Ah Fook went to Portland then came back to Tacoma briefly before moving to Seattle. He took his family to China about 1888 after he received reparations from the government for damage done to his property by the riot in Tacoma.

F. W. Southworth, a physician for most of the Chinese in Tacoma, lived there since about 1887 and testified that Ah One was born in Tacoma. In 1907 Dr. Southworth sworn that he was well acquainted with Ah One’s father, Ah Fook, a merchant. He believed that Ah One was his son.

S. J. Murphy was another witness for Ah One. He testified that he was a deputy sheriff and had been living in Tacoma for 31 years [since about 1876]. He was a teamster in 1885. He remembered that Ah Fook was the proprietor of Quong Yen Co., which was located “somewhere about where the Commercial Dock is now, or near the old Hatch sawmill.”
A. S. Fulton, the immigrant inspector questioning Murphy about what became of Ah Fook “after the so-called Chinese riots in Tacoma.” Murphy said Ah Fook and his family left the city immediately and may have gone to Portland but may have come back briefly. Ah Fook’s business was burned out during the Tacoma riots. Murphy said “Ah Fook was a friend of his in those early days and frequently used to invite him into his store and pass him a cigar and talk about his business and his boy Ah One.”

Immigration authorities considered the evidence and decided that Ah One was born in the U.S. and satisfactorily identified. Ah One was admitted to the U.S. in 1907.

Ah One made several more trips to China. In 1911 Ah One testified that he owned a tide-land lot in Tacoma. He bought the property from Mr. Harmon and had a contract at the Pacific National Bank of Tacoma. He showed the interrogator some of his payment receipts. He paid $705 for the lot. He also had a $650 interest in the Shanghai Café where he was the manager.

In 1912 Ah One testified that he was born near the old Flyer Dock in Tacoma (described by a witness as Second and Pacific Avenues, North). He learned to speak English at Sunday school. When asked if he paid his witnesses to testify for him, he denied it. He said they testified because they knew him and they were acquainted with his father. Ah One had saved about $600 for this trip to China. He was going back to China to get married.

In 1917 Ah One testified that his marriage name was Chun Wong. He had a brother Ah Wan. His parents, Ah Fook and Lum Shee, both died before 1917. He was married to Chin Shee and they had one son, Ah Him, born in 1913. They are living in Jung Sai, Sun Ning, China. Although Ah One entered the U.S. successfully on previous trips, this interrogator wanted more witnesses to prove Ah One was born in the U.S. and that he was the same person who left for China when he was 4 or 5 years old. This is part of the testimony:

Q. “Do you mean then that you are relying simply on your two former admissions at this port to prove your right to readmission on your return from China?”
A. “Yes, and I have a certificate of identity as a native.”
Q. “Have you ever voted in this county?”
A. “Yes, I voted for Mayor in Seattle, I voted for Hi Gill when he last ran.” [Hiram Gill was mayor of Seattle from 1911-1912.]

Ah One stated that he attended a mission school in Tacoma for a few months. After he returned from China when he was 23 he worked as a cook for four or five years, then worked as a foreman at the Deep Sea Salmon Cannery Co., in Alaska. Since September 1916 he as the foreman of the Chinese workers at a company at Richmond Beach.

In 1923 he was living at 1346 Broadway in Tacoma, Washington and was a merchant at the Kwong Fat Lung Company in Seattle. In 1928 (Wong) Ah One had a problem with his eyes and could not see to write. His final trip to China was in 1941. Although Ah One’s earlier trips required several witnesses, affidavits and testimony, his later re-entries into the U.S. went smoothly.

To learn more about the Tacoma Anti-Chinese riot in November 1885 go to: The Tacoma Method, Aftermath.
or  Tacoma expels the entire Chinese community on November 3, 1885