Tag Archives: Charlie Chan

Dorothy S. Luke Lee – born in Seattle

“Dorothy S. Luke Lee, 1912 Certified copy of 1910 Birth Certificate,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, Record Group 85, NARA-Seattle, Dorothy S. Luke Dee (Mrs. Kaye Hong), Box 770, File #7030/11435.

Dorothy S. Luke Lee, daughter of Luke Lee and Down Cook, was born on 15 March 1910 in Seattle, Washington. She went to China with her family in 1912 and returned a year later.

When Dorothy and her family applied to go to China in 1912, Doctor Cora Smith (Eaton) King was a witness for the family. Dr. King, the family’s physician for the past five years, testified that Dorothy’s father, Luke Lee, was a merchant in Seattle. She knew that at least three of their children were born in the U.S. She was present at the birth of the two youngest, Dorothy and Edwin S. Luke Lee, and she assisted in obtaining a certified copy of the birth certificate of Eugene Luke Lee, who was also born in the U.S.

In 1912, Dorothy’s mother, Down Cook (Mrs. Luke Lee), testified that she was 30 years old, and born in Quong Chaw village, Sunning district, China. She came to the U.S. in July 1907 through Sumas, Washington. At that time her husband was a merchant and member of Sing Fork & Company in New Haven, Connecticut. Their son, Luke Thick Kaye, (Dorothy’s older brother) born in Yen On village, Sunning district, China, came with them.  

Luke Thick Kaye testified in 1912 that he was seven years old. He had been going to school for three years. His teacher at the Main Street school in Seattle was Miss Sadie E. Smith, and his present teacher at Colman School was Miss Rock.

Dorothy S. Luke Lee Certificate of Identity Application 9975 

Dorothy S. Luke Lee, age 3, received Certificate of Identity #9975 as a returning citizen in 1913.

 

“Mrs Kaye Hong, Form 430 photo,” 1938

On 13 September 1938 Mrs. Kaye Hong, (Dorothy S. Luke Lee), age 28, applied to leave the U.S. from the Port of Seattle. She listed her address as 725 Pine Street, San Francisco, California.  She testified that she married Kaye Hong (Hong Won Kee Kaye) on 7 September 1936.

Dorothy, her husband, and some of his family were making a short trip to Canada.  They returned the next day through Blaine, Washington and were admitted.

Additional information not in the file:
Keye Luke attended the University of Washington in Seattle and was an artist/illustrator before becoming an actor for films and television. He got his movie start playing Charlie Chan’s Number One Son, Lee Chan.

Information about Keye Luke’s art career:
“Mary Mallory; Hollywood Heights – Keye Luke,” The Daily Mirror, 20 June 2022;

More about Keye Luke’s acting career:
Vienna’s Classic Hollywood, Keye Luke: Actor, Artist

Chinese American Eyes blog has 19 posts on Keye Luke covering his art and acting careers. 

Keye Luke Biography, Posted 12 Jan 2021 by lindaje2000:

Edwin Luke, Keye Luke’s younger brother, was also an actor. See this short biography of Edwin Luke

FYI: The CEA volunteers are still not back at NARA-Seattle but when we were all working together Rhonda Farrar called my attention to this file. Thank you, Rhonda!

Jeong Sing & Jeong Dong – damning evidence found in orange

Photo Jeong Kew Family
“Jeong Kew Family Portrait,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Jeong Sing and Jeong Dong case files, Seattle Box 774, 7030/11576 & 11575.

Photo: Daughter-in-law of Jeong Kew (wife of Jeong Wah), Jeong Sing (in her lap), wife of Jeong Kew, servant, Jeong Kew (father) holding Jeong Dong, and Jeong Wah (oldest son of Jeong Kew). [This portrait is 9 1/4″ by 15 1/2″ and was folded in half to fit into the file. It has been sent out for repairs.]

In a 1939 affidavit sworn by Park Johnston, an employee of the Michigan Trust Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, he stated that he had a long acquaintance with Jeong Kew, sometimes known as Charlie Chan, owner and operator of a restaurant at 347 Division Ave South in Grand Rapids. He knew that Jeong Kew was seeking admission to the United States for his two sons, Jeong Dong, age 18, and Jeong Sing, age 17. Since Park Johnston was not personally acquainted with the people in the photograph Jeong Kew identified them for him. Johnston swore to this in his affidavit. [He did not appear to be very well acquainted with the Jeong family.]

Jeong Sing and Jeong Dong arrived in Seattle on 17 October 1938. Their cases were denied, appealed and dismissed. They were deported on 4 August 1939. Their files contain two affidavits by acquaintances, two letters of recommendation, eight exhibits (maps, photographs, and letters) affidavits by Jeong Kew with photos of him and his sons, and information from three San Francisco files and two Seattle files. There are over 150 pages of interrogations.
The most damning information in the file was a “coaching letter” written in Chinese that a guard found stuffed into an orange and left in the guard’s office.

Jeong Dong Sing translation

E. S. Krause, Senior Guard, said this about finding the orange:

Letter from guard about the orange

Many pages of the interrogations were devoted to discrepancies in witness statements, such as: who was the older of the two brothers, location of toilets in their village, if they had ever slept in the school house, if there was a servant girl staying in the family home, the number of rooms and outside windows in the school house, where the school was located, the material the family store was built from, where the applicants got their hair cut, when the applicants quit school, if there was a photo of their father hanging in the family home, and if their brother Jeong Wah smoked cigarettes.
The coaching letter and the numerous discrepancies were enough to have Jeong Dong and Jeong Sing deported.