Tag Archives: Ellis DeBruler

Jay Boo Yum – Portland, OR

Heung Shee, Jay Boo Yum, Jay Yu Nom family portrait
“Heung Shee, Jay Boo Yum, Jay Yu Nom family portrait” 1894, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Jay Boo Yum case file, Portland Box 7,file 1900.

Photo by Thwaites, 167 Fourth St. bet. Morrison and Yamhill, Portland, OR
Jay Boo Yum, born in Portland, Oregon in 1892 was the son of Jay Yu Chong, a well-known jeweler and a member of Fook Sang & Company. Jay Yu Chong, also known as Jay Yu Nom, was born in China and first entered the U.S. at San Francisco in 1877.
Three Caucasian witnesses testified in their behalf– Gus Rosenblatt, M. Billings, and Dr. S. Lewis King when Jay Yu Chong and family left for China in 1894.
Jay Yu Chong had two wives—one in China and one in Portland. He married Heung Shee in San Francisco in 1890. They moved to Portland shortly after they were married. In 1894 Jay Yu Chong applied to visit China with Jay Heung Shee, his 2nd wife, and their two-year old son, Jay Boo Yum. They were going to his home village of Don Jo, in the Nom Hoy district. His first wife, Fung Shee, was living there with her two sons by Jay Yu Chong.
Jay Boo Yum was sick when his parents returned to Portland in 1895 so stayed in China with his extended family. They all lived within a few houses of each other in the center of the village called Gook Tong Fong. Jay Yu Chong regularly sent support money to them.

By 1909 Jay Yu Chong and his 2nd wife had seven children, all born in Portland; five were living. They made a trip to China in 1909 to bring back Jay Boo Yum, their oldest son. Immigration Inspector Barbour interviewed the same three witnesses who had been interviewed in 1894. Gus Rosenblatt swore that he had known Jay Yee Chung for 25 years and took friends to Fook Sang & Company to see the Chinese jewelry. M. Billings who had fire insurance business swore that he had known Jay Yu Chong since around 1890 and S. Lewis King, a physician and surgeon, swore that he delivered Jay Yu Chung’s son, Jay Boo Yum, in 1892.
Jay Yu Chong presented Jay Boo Yum’s Oregon birth certificate for inspection and it was returned to the family. A copy is not in the file.
There were a few discrepancies in the statements taken by Commissioner of Immigration Ellis DeBruler that needed to be cleared up. The applicant stated that his father had one wife but Jay Yu Chong had two wives. Jay Yu Chong explained that his son thought if he said his father had two wives his father may not have been able to enter the country. Jay Boo Chong also thought his father and his second wife only had three children instead of five. He had not been informed about the births of the last two children. J. H. Barbour, Immigration Inspector in Charge, did not think the discrepancies were important enough to exclude Jay Boo Yum because all the other paper work was valid. Jay Boo Yum was admitted to the United States.

Fong See – lonely and crying in detention

Fong See arrived at the Port of Seattle on the S.S. Iroquois on 22 May 1911. She was applying to be admitted to the United States as the lawful wife of Lee Yew, a merchant at On Lee Company in Portland, Oregon.  Ellis DeBruler, Immigration Commissioner, wanted to expedite her landing. She was forty-six years old with bound feet; the only Chinese woman in the detention house. She was suffering from extreme loneliness and cried a great deal.

Fong See & Lee Yew 1910 Affidavit photos
“Fong See & Lee Yew Affidavit Photos” 1910, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Fong See case file, Portland Box 13,file 2409.

On 10 September 1910 Lee Yew made an affidavit to establish his status as a Chinese merchant and that of his wife, Fong See, as the wife of a merchant so she could join him and his son in Portland.

E. Hussey, Acting Chinese Inspector in Seattle reported to J. H. Barbour, Inspector in Charge in Portland, that after inspecting the premises of the On Lee Company, reviewing its partnership list and interviewing two Caucasian witnesses, Thomas G. Farrell and John B. Coffey, he was satisfied with Lee Yew’s status as a merchant

Thomas G. Farrell, age 43, testified in 1911 that he had been living in Portland for almost 43 years. He was a merchant in wholesale groceries on Front Street. He knew many Chinese and was acquainted with Lee Yew for five or six years. Lee Yew bought his poultry and eggs from Farrell so he was at Farrell’s business at least once a week.

John B. Coffey was in the tailoring business in the Elks Building and had been living in Portland for twenty-five years. He knew many Chinese socially and through his work. He and Lee Yew were acquainted in Salem, Oregon before Lee Yew came to Portland. Coffey was a witness for Lee Yew when his son came to the U.S.

After Inspector Hussey was satisfied that Lee Yew’s mercantile status was established, he interrogated Lee Sun Hing, the son of Fong See and Lee Yew.

Lee Sun Hing was born in China and arrived in the U.S. at Sumas, Washington in 1908 and was admitted as the minor son of a merchant. He was a student and after his Lee Yew’s death he inherited his father’s interest in the On Lee Company.

Lew Yew was too sick to testify about his status as a merchant and his marriage to Fong See when she arrived in Seattle in 1911. He died within a few months after Fong See’s arrival.

Fong See was admitted as the lawful wife of Lee Yew and went to live above the On Lee Company store in Portland with her son.