Tag Archives: Chicago

William K. Lai – Vaudeville performer & vocal soloist from Portland, OR

William Lai 1913
“Lai Man Kim (William K. Lai), Form 430 photo,” 1913, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lai Man Kim case file, Portland Box 23, 3282.

Lai Man Kim whose American name was William K. Lai was born on 5 September 1887 in Portland Oregon, the son of Lai Fong and Foong Ho. He had no siblings. His father died when he was about four years old and his mother went to live in China in 1906. Lai Kim obtained a certificate of residence in 1894 when he was seven years old. On his 1913 pre-investigation of citizenship status he listed several witnesses: Mr. Sanborn of Van Schuyver & Co., and several prominent Chinese: Lee Mee Gin, Seid Back, Moy Back Hin, Seid Back, Jr. (Said Gain) and Moy Bow Wing. Lai Kim was a charter member of the American Born Chinese Association in Portland and held certificate number 21. After his mother left Portland he lived with the Moy Bow Wing family. He listed his occupation as vocal soloist at the Majestic Theatre in Portland. Lai Kim was a student at Chinese and English schools in Portland before attending the University of Oregon at Eugene, Oregon. Lai Wai, Lai Kim’s cousin and godfather, help support him and his mother after his father’s death.
Lai Man Kim’s application was approved by the Seattle Immigration Office but he didn’t leave the country at that time. About a year later, in 1914, Martin Beck, General Manager of the Orpheum Circuit in Chicago wrote to Immigration Service in Portland to tell them that Lai Man Kim would be leaving Chicago for Canada, then returning to Seattle from Vancouver, B.C. There is no more information in the file.
Information not included in the file:
[These entries are from my 2009 blog on the Chinese at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle. The newspaper articles tell a little bit more about William Lai’s earlier musical career.]
Portland student at AYPE and Harry Ding and William Lai Perform

Charley Dea Laundry Price Ticket – 1916 Chicago area

Chinese Laundry Ticket 1916
“Charley Dea Light-Grade Hand Laundry Price List,” ca. 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Chung Hing case file, Box RS 285, RS 34366.

In 1916 Lee Chung Hing, a laborer, applied to leave the United States from his home in Chicago, Illinois for a visit to China. His application for a laborer’s return certificate was rejected because he could not prove that he was a lawful resident of the United States. He had lived in the U.S. for about 36 years but did not have the required certificate of residence. When he originally entered the U.S. he was classified as a merchant. He presented his original merchant identification paper in 1916. It was not accepted.

John G. Sullivan, Immigration Inspector in Boston, interviewed those who Lee Chung Hing listed as his business partners at Quong Suey Lung Company in Boston in the 1890s. Chin Sing had been a partner of the firm for over thirty years but did not remember Lee Chung Hing. He had heard that Lee was a member of the firm but didn’t know him. Lee Chung Hing’s Caucasian witnesses, Luther Gaddis and William K. Jones, were both deceased by 1916. According to the inspector both witnesses had signed hundreds of affidavits for Boston Chinese years ago. They were not the most credible witnesses.

Lee Chung Hing was sixteen years old in 1880 when he first came to the United States. It was two years before the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. He lived in San Francisco as a merchant until about 1892, Boston for seven years, then Chicago where he was a laborer working in a laundry. Lee had a hard time getting the proper paper work for his return certificate. There was a lot of confusion about what documents were needed when the Act was first passed; Lee switched from being a merchant to a laborer; and different documents were required for each classification. Over thirty years had passed since he first arrived in the U.S. His witnesses couldn’t remember him and two had died.

On Lee’s application for a return certificate he claimed his friend of over twenty years, Dea Poon Suey borrowed $1050 from him to buy a laundry in Aurora, Illinois. In fact, the loan was only for $500. [The Scott Act 1888 severely restricted Chinese laborers who were already residing here from returning to China for visits. They could not reenter unless they owned property or held a business investment of $1,000 or more.1] The amount of his loan wasn’t enough to satisfy the law’s requirements. He did not have enough evidence to obtain a return certificate and was denied because lawful residence in the country had not been shown. He was giving the right to appeal. There is no indication that he appealed.

1 John Jung, Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain (Yin & Yang Press), 2007, 31.

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.

Pauline Poy Ling Senn – Missionary & Teacher

Senn Pauline Poy Ling
“Photo of Senn Pauline Poy Ling,” 1918, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Senn Pauline Poy Ling case file, Seattle, Box 394, 7028/978.

Miss Senn was born on 21 March 1882 in Shin Hing, China. She first came to the United States in 1896 as a young student. She attended various schools including Baptist Mission Training School in Chicago, Illinois; Home Mission Society in Portland, Oregon; McMinnville School, McMinnville, Oregon; Adelphi College in Seattle, Washington; and Lewis Institute in Chicago. She obtained her B. S. degree from Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois in 1916. When she wasn’t going to school, she taught at mission schools.
Senn returned to China in 1918 and was a missionary/teacher at the Girls’ School for the South China Mission. Miss Senn’s witnesses on her 1918 application were Shailer Matthews, Dean of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and Miss Nellie G. Prescott, Foreign Secretary Woman’s American Baptist Foreign Mission Society of Boston, Massachusetts.
Senn came back to the U.S. in 1924 and received her M. A. degree from Boston University in 1926. She left again for China to continue her work as a missionary/teacher. In 1937 she returned to study theology at Biblical Seminary in New York City. She had a scholarship covering one-half the tuition, room and board. Mrs. W. H. Dietz of Chicago was helping her pay the other half of her expenses.
Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, there is a “Certificate of Admission of Alien” form in the file dated 25 May 1948. It states that Senn’s status was “changed from Section 4-e student to student returning to relinquished domicile in June 1924, under which status she was entitled to permanent residence.”
[Information not included in the files: Pauline Poy Ling Senn was naturalized on 14 February 1955 in Massachusetts1. She died 4 June 1979, age 97, in Alameda, California2.]

1. U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995, “Index to Naturalization Petitions and Records of the U.S. District Court, 1906-1966, and the U.S. Circuit Court, 1906-1911, for the District of Massachusetts,” database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 15 Mar 2017).
2. California, Death Index,” California Death Index, 1940-1997,” database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 15 Mar 2017).

Pang Hong – jailed in Portal, North Dakota

Pang Hong 1904 Passport
“Pang Hong’s Passport,” 1904, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Pang Hong file, Seattle, Box 1333, Case 39924/6-16.

In November 1904 Pang Hong applied to Immigration to visit his family in China. His uncle, Pang Wah Tip, testified for him. His return trip in September 1905 was through Portal, North Dakota and his destination was Frankfort, Indiana. He was detained in jail in Portal for almost a month. On 2 October W. J. Palmer, his lawyer wrote to the immigration office explaining that he and Rev. T. H. Kuhn had filed the necessary application and affidavits for Pang Hong, a U. S. citizen, and had even obtained a U. S. passport. Twelve days later, on 14 October, Pang Hong was still in jail. Thirty-two members of the Christian Church in Frankfort signed a letter testifying that Pang Hong was a “truthful honest person, a citizen of integrity, and has taken a constant interest in the church.” The signers were: Thomas N. Lucas, Quincy A. Kennedy, E. A. Spray, A. M. Kern, M.S. Canfield, M.D. (Elder); J. H. Comley, Elmer Detwiler, Deacon; E. H. Whitake, Deacon; C. E. Bickley, C. H. Gillis, David S. Kern, J. A. Lucas, N. T. Rice, C. T. Keller, A. Michael, M.D.; H. C. Eldridge, Ellis D. Mines, Rev. W. J. Russell, J. C. Caron, M.D.; Ed Ross, Emma Ross, Mrs. T. N. Lucas, Katharine Lucas, Sarah E. Lucas, Mrs. G. A. Smith, Namie Haller, T. R. Spray, L. C. Brooke, C. H. Doctor, Marry Merrill, James McClomrock, and Mrs. C. E. Boulder.
This unidentified newspaper article dated 18 October [1905] was included in the file.

Pang Hong 1905 Newspaper article
Unidentified newspaper article dated 18 October [1905] Pang Hong file, Seattle, Box 1333, Case 39924/6-16.
When Pang Hong applied to leave in 1921, Immigration Inspector Brekke in Chicago approved his application reluctantly because of discrepancies in the file. He said it was very doubtful that the applicant was American-born but the applicant was found to be an American citizen by the department on appeal in 1905 and in 1912 so it would have been difficult for them to re-open his file.
Pang Hong was 41 in 1921. He was testifying about events that happened when he was 12 years old. Some of the discrepancies were concerning the exact address of his father’s cigar factory in San Francisco, which floor they were living on, how many floors the building, the names of the other families living in the building and other minor differences.

[One wonders how much time and money was spent trying to deport Pang Hong for no apparent reason.]

Mrs. Charles Tigard’s Witness Statement for Mark T. Lee

Mark T. Lee photo
“Lee Tong Wing, M143 photo” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Tong Wing (Mark T. Lee) file, Seattle, Box 468, Case 7030/1769.

Lee Tong Wing (Mark T. Lee) was the son of Lee Loy and Chuey June Ho of Tigard. Lee Loy was a well-known Chinese hop grower in Greenburg, Washington County, Oregon. Mrs. Charles Tigard a former neighbor of the Lees testified favorably for them. The Tigards had been living in their home for 55 years, her husband owned a grocery store, and the area was named after them. Mrs. Tigard identified photos of the Lee parents and several of their eight children, including Mark Lee. The Lee children went to school with the Tigard’s daughter. E. A. Dueber, Immigrant Inspector in Portland believed Mrs. Tigard to be reliable and trustworthy.
Lee Tong Wing’s American name was Mark Lee. He was born at Guild’s Lake, Portland on 8 December 1893 before birth certificates were required. He obtained a delayed certificate in 1931. Over the years the family lived in Guild’s Lake, Tigard, and Graham’s Ferry before settling in Portland in 1905. Mark Lee graduated from Portland Trade School in 1915. Mark Lee registered for the draft [for World War I] when the family was living on a farm between Butteville and Champoeg, Oregon.
He went back east several times and worked as a mechanic at Northway Motor and Manufacturing Company in Detroit and was a head waiter at several Chinese restaurants in Chicago. He returned to Portland in 1930. He was applying to leave the U.S. for his first trip to China.
Mark Lee’s parents and his sister, Yettai Lee Young, were interviewed. A family photo was shown to the interrogator but it is not included in the file. The information given by the three family members was compared and it all agreed.

Mark Lee’s father, Lee Loy, marriage name Lee Wun Ung, was 86 in 1931. He was born in Pok Gai Shan village, Sun Ning district, China and came to the U.S. in T.G. 11. He had only been back to China once. Mark Lee’s mother, Chuey June Ho was born in San Francisco about 1858. She and her husband married in Portland in 1879.
Mark Lee application was approved and he received his certificate of identity. By that time he was a restaurant manager in Portland. After he was approved he went to China, married, and returned to Portland alone, as was the tradition, and was admitted on 8 March 1932.

[Charles F. Tigard (1862-1942), for whom the town of Tigard (originally Tigardville), Oregon was named, operated its first store and post office and was later president of its First National Bank.]1

(1) Charles F. Tigard papers, 1888-1926, Finding Aid, 2012, Archives West, Orbis Cascade Alliance, (http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv52230 : accessed 23 December 2016.)

Eng Se Tong – Section 6 Student Exemption at Whitman College

Whitman College brochure1922
“The Success of Whitman College” brochure, 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Shue Tong (Eng/Ng Se Tong) file, Seattle, Box 1327, Case 39540/3-1

Eng Se Tong, age 20, was coming to the United State in 1922 to finish his education on a scholarship at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He could speak a little English. His deceased father was Ng Joon Sam. His brother, Soon En, was living in Chicago.
Ng Shue Tong was advised, “You should not become a laborer as you are to be admitted as a member of the exempt class and under your admission as a section six student you are not to become a common laborer, and if you do you are subject to arrest and deportation to China.”
Ng Shue Tong’s application was endorsed by the American Consular General at Canton, China in 1921 under the rules set forth at that time.
Ng Shue Tong had hookworm when he arrived so he was rejected. He applied for hospital treatment, was cured, and admitted at Seattle and from there went to Walla Walla.
A 16-page brochure, “The Success of Whitman College,” is included in the file.