Tag Archives: Columbus

Look Fee – Columbus, Ohio

Look Fee Look Yuen Affidavit 1938
“Look Fee and Look Yuen, affidavit photos” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Fee case file, Seattle Box 794, 7030/12331.

In October 1938 Look Yuen 陸元 swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States who was admitted at the Port of San Francisco in October 1922 and granted Certificate of Identity 40415. His son Look Fee wanted to come to the United States to live with him. Photos of father and son were attached to the affidavit.

Look Fee 陸惠 arrived in the Port of Seattle on 23 August 1939 on the SS Princess Marguerite with the status of a son of a citizen. He was admitted to the U.S. almost two months later. He was a student, age 18 years Chinese reckoning; 16 years 9 months per American calculation. He would be joining his father, Look Yuen, in Columbus, Ohio. Look Fee was born in Sun Chong City, Toy Shan District, China on 4 January 1923. His family lived there one year and then moved to Sam Gong in Hoy Ping. His father was born in Look Bin village and had six brothers and one sister. During his interview Look Fee enumerated all of his father’s siblings, the names of their spouses and children and where they were living. He described his paternal grandfather and gave the names of his paternal great grandparents. His mother, Lee Shee, was the daughter and only child of Lee Wah and Chin Shee. Her parents both died prior to 1939. Look Fee was questioned about the village, the location of his neighbors’ houses and details about their extended families.

Some of the questions during the interview were: Who lives in the 8th lot, 3rd row from the east? What is his occupation? Who lives with him? What are their ages? Where do you get the water which you use for household purposes? Is there any space between the houses in the rows other than the cross alleys? Do you cross any streams or bridges going to the market? Which way does the door in the ancestral hall open? His interrogation was over seven pages long.

Look Fee’s father, Look Yuen, (marriage name Look Wing Bing) waited in Seattle almost two months for his son to be admitted. Look Yuen testified that he was a part owner of the Nan King restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. He first arrived in the U.S. though San Francisco in 1922 three months before Look Fee was born. He made one trip back to China in May 1929, returning to Ohio in September 1930. His other son, Look Wee, was born in March 1930 and was presently attending school in their home village. Look Yuen was asked many of the same questions as his son but in more detail about his siblings. Look Fee was called back to clear up some discrepancies. Although his father had left China sixteen years previously and had only spent one year there, six years prior to this interrogation, the interviewers expected their testimony to agree in most aspects.

Look Fee and Look Wee
“Look Fee and Look Wee photo” ca. 1934, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Fee case file, Seattle Box 794, 7030/12331.

Look Yuen gave the interrogators this photo of Look Fee and his brother Look Wee which was taken about 1934 or 1935. They wondered why Look Fee had a tennis racket and Look Wee had a basketball. Look Fee explained that their mother had a photographer at the Shung Sar Market take the photo. The props were just for fun.

After the interrogations the chairman of the immigration committee concluded that the relationship between the alleged father and his son was satisfactorily established. They were impressed that the father came from Ohio to testify for his son and stayed so long. They discounted the minor discrepancies because it had been so long since the father had been in China. They were satisfied that Look Fee knew when and where the photo of him and his brother was taken. Look Fee was admitted into the United States as a U.S. citizen.

Cleo Barnes & Ben J. Miller – Witnesses for Yee Jung Sam

Photo of Cleo Barnes
Photo of Cleo Barnes, 1926, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Yook Poy file, Seattle, Box 1019, Case 7060/17-19.
Photo Ben J. Miller
Photo Ben J. Miller, 1926, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Yook Poy file, Seattle, Box 1019, Case 7060/17-19.

It is unusual for affidavits in these files to include photos of witnesses. It is rare to see a photo of a woman included with her affidavit and it is extremely rare to have an affidavit from an African-American and have his photograph included. The affiants were swearing that they were personally acquainted with Yee Jung Sam, the father of Yee Yook Poy, the subject of this file. Yee Jung Sam had a Sec. 6 certificate as a merchant and was trying to get approval for his son to enter the U.S. as the minor son of a merchant.
Mrs. Cleo Barnes, age 40, a stenographer and saleslady, residing at 67 S. Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, had known Yee Jung Sam since 1924. He was a tea merchant at 148 East State Street in Columbus.
Ben J. Miller, age 30, a porter who cleaned the floors and washed the windows of the business was residing at 1400 Hawthorne Avenue, Columbus, Ohio.
Other affiants (photos not included):
Charles S. Boyd, Superintendent of the Capital City Laundry and Dry Cleaning company, residing at 75 Whitethorne Avenue, Columbus.
Thomas B. Johnson, engaged in the fish business at 116-118 S. Fourth Street, residing at 340 Northridge Road, Columbus, Ohio.
Yee Que Jock, also known as Yee San, was manager of Yee San Company.
The mercantile status of Yee San Company was investigated by Thomas Thomas, District Director, Immigration Service, Cincinnati, Ohio and found to be a bona fide mercantile establishment. Thomas was impressed by the reputable and creditable witnesses and recommended that the application be granted yet Yee Yook Pay’s was denied admission and was placed on board the S.S. President McKinley on 5 December 1927 for return to China.