Tag Archives: India

Marie A. Proctor – Seattle District Commissioner of Immigration

This is a continuation and expansion of last week’s blog entry on (James) Chin Shik Kuey. When Lily Eng gave her Uncle Jim a copy of his file, he told her that Marie A. Proctor, District Commissioner of Immigration of the Seattle District, was his godmother. This is what happened: In 1940, three-year-old Jim came to the U.S. with his father’s business partner. His father, Chin On 陳安, wanted him in the U.S. quickly because of growing fears of war. Once Jim arrived at the Port of Seattle, his father came from Yakima to the immigration office to pick him up and met Marie Proctor. It isn’t clear how or why it happened but at some point after meeting Mrs. Proctor, Chin On asked her if she would be Jim’s godmother. Maybe she was as taken by how cute Jim was in his little overcoat in the photo for his Certificate of Identity application.

Chin Shik Kuey M143 photo

“Photo of Chin Shik Kuey, Form M143,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Shik Kuey case file, Seattle Box 807, 7030/12930.

As Seattle’s District Commissioner of Immigration, Marie A. Proctor’s name appears in almost every Chinese Exclusion Act file from 1934 to 1940 but no personal information or photo of her is included. Jim Chin (Chin Shik Kuey) gave these photos to his niece Lily Eng, Data Entry Volunteer, for the Chinese Exclusion Act files at the National Archives at Seattle.

Jim Chin Shik Kuey and Marie A Proctor, ca. 1948;
Photo Jim Chin Shik Kuey and Marie A Proctor, ca. 1948; courtesy Lily Eng
Photo Chin On family
Jim’s parents: Chin On and Wong Yoke Lon: brother Kim Chin, brother Don, Marie A. Proctor and an unidentified toddler.

In January 1934 Marie A. Proctor was named commissioner of immigration for the Seattle District by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. She was replacing Luther Weedin.1 She held the position until June 30, 1940 when it was abolished by President Roosevelt in a reorganization of immigration services. She was the first woman to hold this position in the Northwest. She was responsible for immigration duties in Alaska, western Washington and Oregon, and several seaports. Before her appointment Mrs. Proctor was active in the Washington state Democratic committee.2
Marie Proctor was married to Robert L. Proctor. Their only child, a son, Capt. Gordon E. Proctor, was killed in Tezpur, India, in November 1944. He was an Army Air Forces pilot and served in transport service across the Himalaya Mountains.3 Marie Proctor’s husband died in June 1945.4 Marie A. Proctor lived to be 83 years old. She died in Seattle in September 1964.5

1.“Woman Appointed,” Bellingham Herald, Bellingham, WA, 17 January 1934, p.1 & 5; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
2.“Marie Proctor Finishes Job and Leaves City,” ,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 30 June 1940, p.3; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
3. “Capt. Proctor, Former Skier, Dies in Crash,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 3 Dec 1944, p.8; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
4. “Robt. L. Proctor Called by Death,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 329 June 1945, p.24; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
5.“Mrs. Robert L. Proctor,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 13 Sept 1964, p.65; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).