In 1938 Walter Jesse Way submitted an application for Form 430, “Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status.” This document when approved would verify that he was a United States citizen and permit him “to reenter the United States unless pending such return it has been found that his claim is false.”
Walter Jesse Way (Gee Chew Suey), son of Charles Way and Susie Tong Way, was born in San Francisco on 19 March 1896. He had just turned ten when the San Francisco earthquake and fire occurred in April 1906. His father, a Chinese Interpreter, had recently taken a job in Toledo, Ohio, and the rest of the family hadn’t yet had a chance to join him there.
Transcripts of newspaper articles from the Toledo Blade from April and May 1906 are included in the file. They describe the aftermath of the earthquake and fire for Mrs. Way and her three children and the anxiety felt by husband until he found out his family was safe. The final article written after the family was reunited in Toledo states, “The Ways have the unique distinction of being the only Chinese family in Toledo.”
Since Walter’s birth certificate was destroyed in the earthquake and fire, he wanted to establish his U.S. citizenship. In 1930 his parents swore in an affidavit that Walter was born in 19 March 1896 in San Francisco. Walter also presented his United States army discharge papers. He served from 18 September 1917 to 15 February 1919, part of the time in France; service number 1936275, Company C, 329th Infantry, 83rd Division. His discharge was recorded in the Lucas County Court House, Toledo, Ohio. The Immigration Inspector, John W. Hazard, reviewed a letter signed by Captain Robert F. Callaway of American Expeditionary Forces stating that Walter was entitled to wear a single war service chevron. Walter also had a letter from the Veteran’s Administration showing that his life insurance had been reinstated.
Walter J. Way held various jobs until he started working for the Chrysler Corporation in 1926. In 1938 he was a technical statistician in the Experimental Department at Chrysler and living in Highland Park, Michigan with his wife, Ru Bee One. She was a singer and traveled with her job.
Walter’s Form 430 was approved. The most current document in the file is a 1939 letter saying Walter Jesse Way had not yet traveled outside the United States.
Lee Doo, born in San Francisco on 11 November 1892, was the only child of Lee Jing and Ng Shee. His father was in the Chinese drug business. His parents went back to China in 1899 and sent Lee Doo to Chicago to live with his grandfather, Lee Sing Yin. Four years later his grandfather went back to China and Lee Doo went to live at Wa Chung Sing Company with his grandfather’s brother, Lee King.
Lee Doo registered for the draft in Chicago on 5 June 1917. He received classification certificate order #4155, serial #4469 and was classified as 1-a. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force as a ward room cook. He did his training at Great Lakes, Illinois then served on the ship Yantic. He went to France twice, once on the ship Lancaster. After he was honorably discharged in 1920 he moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he worked at the Mandarin Café. His father’s brother, Lee Thou (Lee Woon Fat) was living there. In February 1922 he was applying to visit his mother in China. When he returned in May 1923 he was married and had a son.
There is no more information in his file.
In June 1933 Han Chao-Tsung applied for a reentry permit so he could return to the United States after a one-year trip to China to visit family. He presented his Section 6 student exemption certificate issued to him in Manila, Philippine Islands in 1923. He was born on 6 June 1903 at Hwon Shui Village, Meng Tsing Honan, China and had lived in the United States continuously since his arrival in San Francisco on 11 September 1923 from Manila. He attended the University of Illinois from 1923 to 1927. In 1933 Han Chao-Tsung was working as a metallurgical research engineer for Illinois Steel Company in Chicago, Illinois. Han Chao-Tsung was married to Elevina Pechon, a French woman, born in Lille, France. They were married on 10 April 1928 in Waukegan, Illinois and had a son, Pierre Han, born on 12 July 1929. The three of them were traveling together to China.