In 1913 Wong Yook Yee 黃玉瑜 was a student applying for a Section 6 certificate to allow him to come to United States through Seattle, Washington. He was eleven years old, born in Chung Hen Lee village, Hoy Ping district, China. His father, Wong Lon Seong, died in China in 1910. His mother, Jew Shee, was living in their native village. He had a younger brother, Nook Nay, and two younger sisters, Chuey Cit and Fong Gay. Wong Yook Yee attended school in his village for five years before going to Hong Kong for two months to study English. He planned to attend Ng Lee school in Oakland, California. His cousin, Ngong Suey, a merchant at Kwong Yuen Co. in Hong Kong, would be paying his expenses. Ngong gave Miss Ida K. Greenlee five hundred dollars in gold to cover the cost of school expenditures. Wong’s local contact was Know Ong Sow, a merchant at Chung Lung Co. in San Francisco. Wong was cautioned that if he did any manual labor during his stay in the United States he could be returned to China. Wong was admitted and started attending school at Pierpont School in Boston, Massachusetts. [change of schools explained in 1929 testimony] He was directed to confirm his school attendance to Mr. Monroe at the Seattle Immigration office via a post card signed by his teacher every three months.
Wong wrote to Mr. Monroe at Seattle Immigration and asked him to help get his Certificate of Identity. He adopted the Christian name of Perry Wong.
In 1929 Wong Yook Yee applied for a return certificate as a laborer. He was 29 years old and a draftsman in Boston. He married Lee Sue Doy (Boston file No. 2500/7819) on 11 March 1929 in Boston. During his interview there was some confusion about the place Wong was born. His family moved when he was three years old.
Wong testified that after he arrived in Seattle in 1913 he went to Ng Lee School in Oakland for six months then about six months in San Francisco before moving to Boston to attend Quincy School until 1917. He went to Northeastern Preparatory School for one years, then served one year in the U.S. Army at Camp Eustis in Virginia. He worked at an architectural firm and attended Tufts College in structural engineering, then Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1925. He then went back to work at Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott (called Coolidge & Shattuck when he worked for them previously)
In March 1929 Wong Yook Yee was granted his laborer’s return certificate. There is no more information in his file.
Alex Jay’s maternal step-grandfather was Wong Yook Yee. Alex has a blog, Chinese American Eyes about visual and performing artists. It includes links about Wong.
Henry White, alias Lim Kok Heng, became a naturalized citizen effective 25 August 1942, the date he arrived in New York City on the exchange ship MS Gripsholm. Private law 380 of the 78th Congress was approved by the President on 27 September 1944 to allow him to be naturalized. The Secretary of State was instructed to have “the proper quota-control officer to deduct one number from the quota for the Chinese of the first year that the said quota is available.” “Henry White (Lim Kok Heng) was paroled to the custody of Mr. Kenneth M. White upon posting a public charge and departure bond in the amount of $500.”
[This was significant because after the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, the quota of Chinese entering the United States was 105. This extremely restrictive quota was in place until the Immigration Act of 1965.]
Henry White was originally excluded from entering the United States; his case was appealed, then he was paroled to the custody of Kenneth Matchitt White, his adoptive father, who posted a bond of $500. His Ellis island file was #174/405.
The file includes a copy of a 20 October 1943 Seattle Times newspaper article, titled “Chinese Orphan is Permitted to Stay.” Kenneth Matchitt White of Portland, Oregon found Henry, age 9, in a bar in Singapore in 1935. White placed the boy in a Chinese school, but Henry was interned when the Japanese captured Hong Kong.
Louis C. Hafferman, Immigrant Inspector investigated the case. He found that Lim Kok Heng (Henry White) was born in Singapore, Straits Settlement on 2 April 1926.
The father of Kenneth M. White, F. Manson White, was interviewed. He stated that he was born in Derby, England in 1868 and arrived in the United States in 1875. He had been living in Portland since 1888 and was a naturalized citizen. He was employed by the Portland School District as an architect with a salary of $3,000 per year. He had four children: Dr. Randall White, a Portland physician; Frederick M. White, editor on the Oregonian newspaper; Kenneth M. White, the adoptive father; and Katherine White, a former schoolteacher working in the defense industry in Los Angeles. Kenneth owned a farm in Springfield, Oregon a few years before becoming an electrician and currently he was a chief refrigeration engineer in the U.S. Army Transport Service. F. Manson White learned from his son that Lim Kok Heng was sold into slavery as a baby and mistreated. Kenneth felt sorry for him. Because Kenneth thought Lim Kok Heng was intelligent, he wanted him to receive a good education. Eventually Kenneth went through the adoption process. After Lim arrived in New York he was paroled under bond and went to live in Los Angeles with Kenneth’s sister, Katherine. The father, F. Manson White, stated that his assets were worth $10,000 in 1943 and that before the depression they were worth about $150,000. If anything happened to Kenneth, Manson would have the means to support Lim Kok Heng (Henry White).
Kenneth’s brother, Dr. Randall F. White, testified that he had been the Multnomah County physician for two years. He was not interested in Lim Kok Heng and would not want to accept any responsibility for him. Randall had only seen his brother three times in the last four years. As far as he knew the adoption papers were drawn up in Portland after Kenneth returned from the south Pacific war zone. Randall believed that his brother was mentally stable; a generous person who was fond of the subject and wanted to see that he was properly educated. Kenneth M. White sent Lim to Diocesan Boys School at Hong Kong. After the city was captured by the Japanese, Lim was interned. Other internees were Walter F. Frese, of Arlington, Virginia; John N. Raymond, of San Francisco, California; and M. B. King, of Salem, Ohio. Lim Kok Heng was taken aboard the Asama Maru and transferred to the MS Gripsholm with a group of American internees returning to the U.S. In 1943 Lim Kok Heng registered under the Alien Registration Act of 1940.
In a letter to the New York City Immigration Service from Kenneth White’s lawyer, Simon Hauser, he mentioned that White’s aunt, Mrs. Grace Calkins, the widow of a Rear Admiral, was willing to care for the boy at her home in Berkeley, California. Kenneth’s job required him to be at sea most of the time. Henry (Lim Kok Heng) completed most of his elementary school subjects in a year and a half in Hong Kong and was due to graduate from Virgil Junior High School with the highest possible grades in all his studies. He spoke English and “perfect Malayan and his services have been offered to Mr. Davis of the Office of War Information and to the CBS monitor station in San Francisco.”
Private bills S.1103 and H.R. 2707 were introduced by Senator McNary and Representative Angell.
There is no additional information and no photo in the file.
“Form 430 Photos of Ah One,” 1907, 1925,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ah One case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13432.
In 1907 (Wong) Ah One 黃穩 applied for admission to the U. S. as a native-born Chinese person. He was the son of Ah Fook and Lem Shee and was born in Tacoma, Washington. He went back to China with his parents and younger brother, Ah Wah, when he was about four or five years old, about 1888 or 1889. They lived in Chung Chi village then Hong Kong.
Ah Lung, a witness for Ah One, was a laundryman in Seattle and a good friend of Ah One’s father. He came to the U.S. about 1867. He lived in Tacoma for about 10 years and met Ah Fook there; they were friends but not related. At that time the Chinese businesses in Tacoma were all located near the sawmill. Al Lung remembered Ah Fook leaving Tacoma after the riots [November 1885] but a few months before the Chinese fire. Ah Fook went to Portland then came back to Tacoma briefly before moving to Seattle. He took his family to China about 1888 after he received reparations from the government for damage done to his property by the riot in Tacoma.
F. W. Southworth, a physician for most of the Chinese in Tacoma, lived there since about 1887 and testified that Ah One was born in Tacoma. In 1907 Dr. Southworth sworn that he was well acquainted with Ah One’s father, Ah Fook, a merchant. He believed that Ah One was his son.
S. J. Murphy was another witness for Ah One. He testified that he was a deputy sheriff and had been living in Tacoma for 31 years [since about 1876]. He was a teamster in 1885. He remembered that Ah Fook was the proprietor of Quong Yen Co., which was located “somewhere about where the Commercial Dock is now, or near the old Hatch sawmill.”
A. S. Fulton, the immigrant inspector questioning Murphy about what became of Ah Fook “after the so-called Chinese riots in Tacoma.” Murphy said Ah Fook and his family left the city immediately and may have gone to Portland but may have come back briefly. Ah Fook’s business was burned out during the Tacoma riots. Murphy said “Ah Fook was a friend of his in those early days and frequently used to invite him into his store and pass him a cigar and talk about his business and his boy Ah One.”
Immigration authorities considered the evidence and decided that Ah One was born in the U.S. and satisfactorily identified. Ah One was admitted to the U.S. in 1907.
Ah One made several more trips to China. In 1911 Ah One testified that he owned a tide-land lot in Tacoma. He bought the property from Mr. Harmon and had a contract at the Pacific National Bank of Tacoma. He showed the interrogator some of his payment receipts. He paid $705 for the lot. He also had a $650 interest in the Shanghai Café where he was the manager.
In 1912 Ah One testified that he was born near the old Flyer Dock in Tacoma (described by a witness as Second and Pacific Avenues, North). He learned to speak English at Sunday school. When asked if he paid his witnesses to testify for him, he denied it. He said they testified because they knew him and they were acquainted with his father. Ah One had saved about $600 for this trip to China. He was going back to China to get married.
In 1917 Ah One testified that his marriage name was Chun Wong. He had a brother Ah Wan. His parents, Ah Fook and Lum Shee, both died before 1917. He was married to Chin Shee and they had one son, Ah Him, born in 1913. They are living in Jung Sai, Sun Ning, China. Although Ah One entered the U.S. successfully on previous trips, this interrogator wanted more witnesses to prove Ah One was born in the U.S. and that he was the same person who left for China when he was 4 or 5 years old. This is part of the testimony:
Q. “Do you mean then that you are relying simply on your two former admissions at this port to prove your right to readmission on your return from China?”
A. “Yes, and I have a certificate of identity as a native.”
Q. “Have you ever voted in this county?”
A. “Yes, I voted for Mayor in Seattle, I voted for Hi Gill when he last ran.” [Hiram Gill was mayor of Seattle from 1911-1912.]
Ah One stated that he attended a mission school in Tacoma for a few months. After he returned from China when he was 23 he worked as a cook for four or five years, then worked as a foreman at the Deep Sea Salmon Cannery Co., in Alaska. Since September 1916 he as the foreman of the Chinese workers at a company at Richmond Beach.
In 1923 he was living at 1346 Broadway in Tacoma, Washington and was a merchant at the Kwong Fat Lung Company in Seattle. In 1928 (Wong) Ah One had a problem with his eyes and could not see to write. His final trip to China was in 1941. Although Ah One’s earlier trips required several witnesses, affidavits and testimony, his later re-entries into the U.S. went smoothly.
Guest blogger: Sue Fawn Chung, Professor Emerita, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Chong Wong Chong (b. ca. 1863, immigrated KS 8 = 1882; pinyin:
Zhang Huangchang 张黄昌)
In 1928 Chong Wong Chong’s deposition to the INS described his situation and provides insight into the life of a Chinese American merchant and Chinese labor contractor. This file is found at the NARA Seattle, RS 2870, File 12860/14-1. He stated that he was also known as Chong (pinyin – Zhang) Ho Song, a Portland import-export merchant with the married name of Jung (pinyin – Zhang) Song Lung, who was born in Sui Soon Village, Hoy Ping (pinyin – Kaiping), Guangdong, China. He had other names: Sam Sing and Chung (pinyin – Zhang) Sam Sing. A later investigation using the NARA Seattle index of individuals with their occupation and birthplace led to the papers of Sam Sing, a laborer, who obviously was the same man as Chong Wong Chong. I found Sam Sing because his birthplace was the same as Chong’s and the Seattle index notes birthplace and occupation whenever feasible.
Chong immigrated around 1882 (KS 8), landing in Portland on a small steamer from Vancouver, British Columbia, as a laborer and visited China in 1890 and 1891. On his 1891 trip, he landed in San Francisco as a merchant instead of Portland or Seattle. In 1908 he visited Canada and returned 1909.
Chong was married twice, the first time when he was seventeen and living in China. Lee Shee, his first wife, died in ST 1 (1908) in China. From his first marriage he had two boys, Chong Shew Lun, who lived in Portland and was in the oyster business, and the older boy who remained in China; and two girls, one named Chong Choy Lun (b. 1893), who was married to a Wong and living in Helena, Montana with her husband, and the older girl, Jung Sou Lun (b. 1884), who remained in China. Within six months after the death of his first wife’s death, he married Lee Shee (b. ca. 1888; Certificate of Identity 6640)) in ST 1 (1908) of Gow How Village, Sunning (pinyin – Xinning) in his home village and his wife and two children came to the U.S. in ST 2 (1909). Lee Shee and the children were refused admission because Chong was listed as a laborer so Chong returned to his store in Portland, then applied again for his wife and two children in ST 3 (1910) as dependents of a merchant and was successful in getting their admission on December 20, 1911. Years later, through Ancestry.com. Lee Shee gave her husband’s name as Chong Luk Dak. They lived at 264 Flanders Street, around the corner form her husband’s store on North 4th.
Chong and his second wife had two children, a boy and girl, both born in Portland. Chong Seid Foon (September 6, 1912, American name – Charles) and Chong Heung Lon (1909-1927). The girl’s death caused his wife much grief and led to the decision to adopt Chong May Yoon (original Chinese name Jun Mui), who was born in Los Angeles to Toy and Jennie Chung (pinyin – Zhang) on April 13, 1919 and was adopted in March or April 1927 when she was eight years old. (NARA Seattle files #30/5270, 12860/14-2, and 7030/5200). Toy Chung died in 1925 and finding herself in financial difficulties, Jennie decided to allow the Chongs to officially adopt May Yoon (later called Helen Chong Yep). Jennie brought her daughter to Portland for the adoption proceedings. The adoption had been suggested by a Zhang clansman in San Francisco who knew of Jennie’s plight – a large family of young children without a father – and arranged the contact.
After nine years of working for the Quon Shew Lun Company, in 1909 Chong became the manager of Quon Shew Lun Company, a general merchandising firm on at 94 North 4th and later on North 3rd Street, Portland. The firm’s capitalization was $10,000 and Chong’s share was $2,000. He and the bookkeeper, Jung Ho Yip ($600 investment), each earned $60 per month plus room and board. The other active member was the salesman, Jung Gow ($600 investment). The inactive shareholders were primarily of the Jung (Zhang) clan, with a few other surnames – Wong, Ng, Leong, and Lee – who lived in China, Portland, elsewhere in Oregon, and New York. This was typical of large merchandising firms and all of the men were usually related or came from the same village in China. The company made about $2000 or more in profit annually. The store was located on rented property owned by Euro-Americans for the last ten years.
The firm also acted as the labor contractors for the cannery Libby, McNeil, and Libby [established in 1912 in Sacramento, CA and closed in 1980], and had two canneries under the management of Lee San Toy ($500 shareholder from Portland) in Alaska: Nushagak and Ekuk. These were fish canneries in present-day Dillingham.
Although Chong did not go into details, he noted that he owned property in Portland and had a Euro-American rent collector since he rented out the property.
Chong spoke English and had two Euro-Americans testify on his behalf: the owner of the building in which his store was located and a member of the bank he used. Their depositions and long-time acquaintance with him as Chong Ho Sang put Chong in a favorable light from the perspective of the immigration officials. He was granted a permit to re-enter the United States from China. On this trip he took his wife and his recently adopted daughter, now called Helen Chong, but keeping the name May Yoon Chong in accordance with the adoption papers (NARA Seattle file #27272). They were accompanied by others, including Helen’s natural brother, Chung Gee Kay (1911-1980) (NARA Seattle files #28160/238 and 10797/10-25).
The family made several other trips to China, presumably because of business concerns of Chong Wong Chong. Below is Helen Chong’s 1933 application from NARA Seattle.
Chong Wong Chong frequently traveled to China and owned a general store there. Presumably that store supplied the Portland store with goods. He passed away in Hong Kong In the 1950s.
In 1951 Helen returns from Hong Kong to San Francisco with her family. (Certification of birth of Anna Chung aka Helen C. Yep, State of California Department of Public Health, dated 10-29-1962, State Fil 19-015292): husband Yep Wing Sing, age 30 of 421 W Brand St., Richmond, Virginia; Chong (Yep) Helen, age 31, at the same address, Yip Won Yue, age 13, born in China, Yip Duck Lai, age 23, born in China, Yep Grace Woon Yuen, age 9, born in New York, Yep Ruby Woon King, age 2, born in China, and Yep Theresa Woon King, age 5, born in Hong Kong. There is the possibility that Anna/Helen had twin boys, Henry and Douglas. Helen passed away in San Francisco.
By Sue Fawn Chung, Professor Emerita, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
“Mei Lai Gay (Agnes), Form 430 photo and birth registration” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) case file, Seattle Box 817,file 7030/13284.
The father of Mei Lai Gay (Agnes), Mei (Moy) Kong Kay (marriage name: Mei (Moy) Kung Sun) first came to the United States in 1908 and was admitted as a merchant at the Port of San Francisco. He was born in 1882 in Sai Yuen village, On Fun section, Hoy San district, China. He and his wife, Ng Shee, had six children; two sons living in China and four in D.C. where they had been living since 1923. Mei Kung Sun was a merchant at Hong High Company, 343 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Agnes’ 1927 birth was registered by Dr. Mary Parsons. Dr. Parsons had been practicing medicine in D.C. for fifty-three years and had worked with the Chinese population for 31 years. It was thought that she officiated at the birth of the first Chinese baby born in the city.
The return certificates as American citizen applications for the parents, Agnes, her two brothers and sister were approved and they left Washington, D.C. for China in 1927.
In October 1940 Mei Lai Gay Agnes and her sister Mei Bow Ngook Ruby returned to the U.S. through the Port of Seattle. They were going to live with their brother, Mei (Moy) Bow Duen Earnest, in Washington, D.C. The interrogators questioned Ruby, age 16, then Agnes, age 13. Their father, Mei (Moy) Kung Sun, died in the U.S. in 1938. Their mother moved from her husband’s home village to Hong Kong after her husband’s death. The examining inspector had no questions about the identity of Ruby and noted after careful examination of the photograph of Lai Gay Agnes that “the left ear of this applicant shows outer and inner rim close together and a ridge in the center of the right ear.” [Evidently this scrutiny of her left ear agreed with her baby photo.] Their applications were approved and they were admitted into the U.S.
The Reference Sheet in Mei Lai Gay (Agnes Mei)’s file includes the name, relationship and file number for Agnes’ parents, four brothers and her sister.
Back row: Tai You (servant girl), Moy Mee Ting (applicant)
Front Row: Moy Ngoon See, Woo Shee (mother), Moy Fang Dhl, Moy Mon Dle
Moy Mee Ting 梅美清 (Georgia Moy) and her bother Moy Fang Dhl 梅宏資 (Stanley Moy) were admitted to the U. S. at the Port of Seattle on 3 September 1937 as native born U. S. citizens. Georgia was 14 years old and Stanley was a year younger. They were joining their father, Moy Chuck Poy in Chicago, Illinois. Their native dialect was See Yip Sun Ning.
The Moy family went to Sai How Gow Dee village, China in 1927 so the children could study Chinese. The children Georgia, Stanley, and Philip (Moy Mon Dle) were all born in Chicago. Their mother Woo Shee (maiden name: Woo Yin Po) stayed in China and their father returned to the U. S. about 1929. The children and their mother moved to Ng Gong market near Gow Dee village in about 1932 because there were many floods in their former village.
Moy Mee Ting’s paternal grandfather, Moy Fang Chung (marriage name: Moy Dip Nai), was living in Detroit in 1937.
Moy Mee Ting testified that Sai How Gow Dee village had over 100 houses and she attended the Sai How School. There were over 100 students and including about thirty or forty girls. There were no women teachers. In her interview she was asked about size of the village, the number of stores, the number of stories of various buildings, who lived where, where they got their household water, how their house was lighted, where everyone slept, the number of beds, who cut her hair, why her mother had a servant girl, and many more questions.
When they moved to Ng Gong market the children attended the gospel mission school called Jing Ock. They had women teachers at this school. Chairman Inspector J. H. Gee asked Mee Ting several questions about where her mother got the money to support them after her father returned to the U.S. and where she got the white gold wrist watch she was wearing. She replied that her father had been sending her mother money and her mother gave her the watch before she left for the U.S.
Their mother accompanied them to Hong Kong. They took a boat from Ng Gong market to Ow San market, a train to Bok Gai and a steamer to Hong Kong. Their mother said goodbye onboard and a man named Chin Deung Fun oversaw them on the trip to the U.S.
Mee Ting correctly identified photos of her father, Moy Poy, (SF file 20173/13-16) (Seattle file 10724/12-10) and her mother, Wu [Woo] Yin Po (SF file 20173/17-3) and her brothers. Six pages of testimony by her brother, Moy Fang Dhl, is included in her file. The next day Moy Mee Ting was recalled to the hearing. Three more pages of testimony are included in the file. The interviewers compared her answers to her brother’s and asked about discrepancies and included more in-depth questions. Mee Ting and Fang Dhl were both admonished for saying that they had a brother named Ngoon Jee. They admitted that there was no such brother and were cautioned not to say he was a brother. They provided a group photo of the family which did not include the “extra brother.”
The Immigration committee reviewed the parents’ files from 1917 and 1921 and the family’s files from when they left the country in 1927 and voluminous current testimony and unanimously approved the admittance of Moy Mee Ting and Moy Fang Dhl.
[It must have been very cold the day his photo was taken. James is wearing a big heavy coat and he doesn’t look very happy.]
[Researched by Lily Eng, Data Entry Volunteer, for the Chinese Exclusion Act files. Chin Shik Kuey is her uncle.]
Chin On 陳安 made a trip to China in November 1935 and upon his return in June 1937 he claimed his son, (James) Chin Shik Kuey, was born on 2 January 1937 at Wah Lok village, Hoy San, China.
In November 1939 Chin On swore in an affidavit that he was born in Seattle, resided in Yakima, and was in the restaurant business. He had made six trips to China since 1893. His intention was to bring his son, Chin Shik Kuey, to live with him in Yakima. The affidavit contained photos of Chin On and his son. He was seeking admission for his son with the status of son of an American citizen which would make him an American citizen in his own right under Section 1993 of the Revised Statues of the United States.
At the age of three, Chin made the trip from his village to Hong Kong with his father’s Yakima business partner, Ng Mon Wai, and his wife. From there they boarded the (Empress of Asia) Princess Charlotte and arrived at the Port of Seattle on 13 April 1940. Chin was admitted three days later as the son of Chin On, a citizen. Since James was so young the interrogators only asked him his name and then quizzed his father. Chin On, marriage name Dee Bon, was 52 years old and born in Seattle. He was the cashier and buyer for the Golden Wheel Restaurant in Yakima, Washington. He had four sons with his first wife. They were Chin See Wing, married and living in Ellensburg; Chin See Chong, married and living in Yakima; Chin Fon Yung, married and attending school in Yakima; and Chin Moy On, age 11, attending school in Ellensburg. The wives and children of his three older sons were living in China. Chin On claimed the mother of Chin Shik Kuey died in 1939. Chin On planned to take his son, who he now called James, to Yakima and hire a nurse to take care of him until he was old enough to go to school.
Ng Mon Wai, marriage name See Suey, was a witness for James Chin Shik Kuey. Ng was a merchant and manager of the Golden Wheel Restaurant. He and his wife brought the boy on the ship from China to Seattle. Ng Mon Wai’s wife, Chan Yuen Mui, also testified. Her status for entering the U.S. was as the wife of a merchant. She was not interested in caring for a three-year old child and did not interact with James on their voyage to Seattle.
Chin Shik Kuey was admitted to the United States as a U. S. citizen, son of Chin On, a native. The notice of his admittance into the United States was signed on 16 April 1940 by Marie A. Proctor, District Commissioner of Immigration, Seattle District. Chin Shik Kuey’s finger prints were included in the file with this cautionary note.