[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopens. THN]
There is not much information in Long Tack Sam Company’s file. The cover sheet shows that the file contains information on actors who were members of the Long Tack Sam Company. They were admitted at Blain [sic], Wn. [Washington], ex G. N. train [Great Northern Railway], June 17, 1923. (See 10770/1-1 to 12). It was an inventory file. The subjects were listed as Long Tack Sam, Long Lieu (Lan Ludovika), Fang Ching Hai, Sih Qua Ling, Sang Chi Hwa, Wang Kuh Yong and Li Koy Dohien.
Page 1: 23 June 1920 letter from Pantages Theatre Company, Inc., Seattle, Washington to U.S. Immigration in Seattle, notifying them that Long Tack Sam Company of Chinese magicians would be returning to the port of Seattle on Sunday, 27 June at 9 p.m.
Page 2: 7 May 1923 letter on Long Tack Sam Company stationary to Seattle Immigration Service regarding Chang Chang Ching with an attached photo of Chang.
Photo of Chang Chang Ching
Page 3: photos 1-7 with names listed [not dated]
Page 4: five photos of nine actors with names listed [not dated]
Page 5: eight photos of eight actors with names listed [not dated]
“Long Tack Sam and members of the Long Tack Sam Co.” 1923, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Long Tack Sam Company case file, Seattle Box 1306, files 38772/1-1 to 1-9.
John Jung posed this video of Long Tack Sam on Facebook:
Here’s the promo for it:
“This feature documentary offers a whimsical tour through the history of Chinese magicians and performers in the Western world. Long Tack Sam was an internationally renowned Chinese acrobat and magician who overcame isolation, poverty, cultural and linguistic barriers, extreme racism and world wars to become one of the most successful acts of his time. Filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming travels the globe searching for the story of her great-grandfather, the cosmopolitan Long Tack Sam. A celebration of the spirit of Long Tack Sam’s magic and art, this richly textured first-person road movie is an exhilarating testament to his legacy and a prismatic tour through the 20th Century.”
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.
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 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.]