Guest blogger: Marie Sheallene Lim-Yeo
Inspired by the CEA blog essay on Chinese basketball players, Marie started tracking down the games her grandfather, Lim Chuan Teck 林川澤, played on tour in China, Canada and the United States in the late 1920s. He played guard and was also known as Charles Lim.
The Chinese basketball team played in Hubei, China in 1926 and won all the matches. Lim did not join them in Japan in 1927 but he was there for their Canadian tour which started in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on 23 January 1929. In the next three weeks they played Victoria, Montreal, New York, Seattle, University of Southern California, and Indianapolis, Indiana; ending their tour in Honolulu, Hawaii on 14 February 1929. Some of the players continued on for a total of three months playing many of the leading college basketball teams in the U.S.
The squad was led by Captain Choa Itsan; Enyang Siok Huy was their tallest member. He and Lee Dah Chen were forwards. Lim Chuan Teck and Co Teck Eng were guards. An article in the Bismark Tribune on 6 February 1929, said the guards were as hard to stop as their names were to pronounce.
Photos provided courtesy of Marie Sheallene Lim-Yeo:
Twelve basketball players from China were admitted at the Port of Seattle on 31 January 1929 as temporary visitors for five months each with a $1,000 bond. Two of them had Section 6 certificates; student status and could remain one year. The Office of the Governor General of Manila, Philippine Islands recommended that his office grant temporary visas to twelve members of the basketball team composed of Chinese students from Manila. The captain of the team, Domingo Rufino Choa, was a full blood Chinse from the Philippines.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service, Luther Weedin, Commissioner of Immigration in Seattle said, “All members of this party are of a superior type of
Northern Chinese, and most of them speak English
fluently. A Souvenir booklet describing the basket ball
team is enclosed.”
[They were not from Northern China. Most of them were from southeastern China, studying in the Philippines, and several were born in the Philippines. Unfortunately the souvenir booklet titled “Souvenirs China & Japan Tour, Chinese Basket Ball Team,” published by C. C. Lim of Manila, P.I., was not included in the file.]
[Most files for Section 3 (2), temporary visitors, do not contain much information. Usually a photograph is not included.]
Chen Ping-Huang [10360/1-1] had attended St. John’s University and Kwang Hu University. His father was a well-to-do export merchant at Changehow near Amoy, Fukien, China (According to Wikipedia: a sub-provincial city in southeastern Fujian, China, beside the Taiwan Strait). His property was valued at $150,000 Mexican. His reference was Tang Chin-Yun of the University of Washington.
Wee Guan Chuan stayed on as a student; graduated from the University of Louisville, Kentucky; and married Mary Virginia Payne (a Caucasian woman of Irish, German and English descent), of Evansville, Indiana. Their son George Richard Wee was born on 19 October 1931 in Louisville, Kentucky. They left the U.S. via Seattle on 15 July 1932 destined for the Philippine islands where Wee would be practicing medicine.
Mabel Kegiktok Long was born in Nome, Alaska on 4 June 1905. When she was twelve years old she came to Seattle with a missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin. After Mr. Miller, the Secretary to the District Attorney at Nome, was appointed her guardian she also spent time in Oklahoma and Texas, then lived with Mrs. Hamlin in Illinois, and finally went to live with Dr. and Mrs. Rigden, in Danville, Indiana. She attended the Friends Private School in Washington, D.C. before returning to Danville to attend Central Normal College where Dr. Rigden was president of the college. After college Mabel returned to Seattle then visited her mother in Nome in 1924. At some point she took the surname of her guardian and was known as Mabel Mae Miller.
Mabel’s father was Charley Long (marriage name Dong Hop Long) a full-blooded Chinese. He moved back to China in the late 1920s. Her mother was Lucy Otongana, a full-blooded Eskimo who was born on Diomede Island, Alaska. Mabel first met her father in 1924 in Seattle. Her father’s friend, Chin Ben, arranged the meeting. She always thought she was full-blooded Eskimo and was shocked to see that her father was Chinese. In 1939 Mabel testified that her mother told her that Father La Fortune had married her parents at the Catholic Church in Nome in 1903 or 1904. They were divorced a year or two later and Mabel had no memory of her father. A few years later her mother married Frank Martin in Nome and they had eight children together.
Mabel had been married twice. Her first husband was Harry Fong Lee. They had a daughter, Joan Lee, born 15 August 1930 in Vancouver, Washington. Mabel and Harry divorced in 1935 and she married Clarence C. Coble, a Caucasian of German and English ancestry, on 7 September 1935 in Seattle. Clarence was a movie projectionist.
Mabel was a dancer and worked with the Fisher Booking Agency in Seattle. In 1939 she was applying for a return certificate to visit Canada for a week’s engagement at a night club. The certificate would enable her to cross the Canadian border and return to the United States a week later.
Chin Ben (marriage name Sui Wing) was a witness for Mabel Kegiktok Long’s application. He was a friend of her father and knew her from the time of her birth. A 1939 transcript of her certificate of birth is included in the file. Her mother swore in an affidavit that her daughter’s birth wasn’t recorded at the Recorder’s Office because in 1905 there was no systematic record of birth kept throughout the Territory of Alaska. She stated that the records of the Catholic Church in Nome and the Probate Records of the Cape Nome Precinct, Nome, Alaska where W. R. Miller was appointed guardian of Mable, agreed with the affidavit.
Mabel’s application was approved but there is no indication in the file that she made the trip to Canada.
The reference sheet in the file includes the names and file numbers of Mabel Kegiktok Long’s father, uncle, step-mother, step-brother, and witness Chin Ben.
In November 1904 Pang Hong applied to Immigration to visit his family in China. His uncle, Pang Wah Tip, testified for him. His return trip in September 1905 was through Portal, North Dakota and his destination was Frankfort, Indiana. He was detained in jail in Portal for almost a month. On 2 October W. J. Palmer, his lawyer wrote to the immigration office explaining that he and Rev. T. H. Kuhn had filed the necessary application and affidavits for Pang Hong, a U. S. citizen, and had even obtained a U. S. passport. Twelve days later, on 14 October, Pang Hong was still in jail. Thirty-two members of the Christian Church in Frankfort signed a letter testifying that Pang Hong was a “truthful honest person, a citizen of integrity, and has taken a constant interest in the church.” The signers were: Thomas N. Lucas, Quincy A. Kennedy, E. A. Spray, A. M. Kern, M.S. Canfield, M.D. (Elder); J. H. Comley, Elmer Detwiler, Deacon; E. H. Whitake, Deacon; C. E. Bickley, C. H. Gillis, David S. Kern, J. A. Lucas, N. T. Rice, C. T. Keller, A. Michael, M.D.; H. C. Eldridge, Ellis D. Mines, Rev. W. J. Russell, J. C. Caron, M.D.; Ed Ross, Emma Ross, Mrs. T. N. Lucas, Katharine Lucas, Sarah E. Lucas, Mrs. G. A. Smith, Namie Haller, T. R. Spray, L. C. Brooke, C. H. Doctor, Marry Merrill, James McClomrock, and Mrs. C. E. Boulder.
This unidentified newspaper article dated 18 October  was included in the file.
When Pang Hong applied to leave in 1921, Immigration Inspector Brekke in Chicago approved his application reluctantly because of discrepancies in the file. He said it was very doubtful that the applicant was American-born but the applicant was found to be an American citizen by the department on appeal in 1905 and in 1912 so it would have been difficult for them to re-open his file.
Pang Hong was 41 in 1921. He was testifying about events that happened when he was 12 years old. Some of the discrepancies were concerning the exact address of his father’s cigar factory in San Francisco, which floor they were living on, how many floors the building, the names of the other families living in the building and other minor differences.
[One wonders how much time and money was spent trying to deport Pang Hong for no apparent reason.]