Tag Archives: Joe Jim & Co.

Charlie Stewart Cue – Mixed Race Child, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Charlie Stewart Cue, affidavit photo, 1901
“Charlie Stewart Cue, affidavit photo,” 1901, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charlie Stewart Cue case file, Portal Box 686, Por 641.
A 1908 statement by Modena Stewart Cue said she and Joe Que (Cue) were married at Greenwood, Mississippi by Rev. N. L. Lackey in March or April 1894. At that time Joe Que ran a general merchandise store at Clarksdale, Mississippi called Joe Que & Co. His partner, Ju Gong, sold his interest in the store to Joe Que about December 1894. Modena and Joe had three children. Charlie Stewart Cue was born 31 January 1895. A midwife called “Grandmother Oliver,” attended Modena during his’s birth. Modena’s daughter, Mabel Cue, was born 17 August 1896 in Webb, Mississippi; and Joe Lee Cue, was born 16 September 1898 in Bonham, Texas. Mabel died 18 December 1898 and was buried in Bonham. Modena left her husband in 1899 so she could live closer to her family in Mississippi. She married John Williams at Coahoma, Mississippi in 1904.

After Modena left Joe Que he moved to various places in Texas then went to Memphis, Tennessee. In December 1901 he decided to go back to China and take Charlie with him. James P. Newton, a photographer residing in Memphis, Tennessee and Modena Stewart Cue, the mother of Charlie Stewart Cue (周拃李), both swore that Charlie, age five, was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the son of Joe Que, a merchant; Charlie and his father were not classified as “a laborer, huckster or peddler.” [Charlie received his classification by “being of tender years.”]

Joe Que returned to Chicago, Illinois in 1903 without Charlie. He left him with his mother in Man How Dewey, Hoy Ping District so he could learn Chinese. E. Sutcliffe, a ticket agent at the Frisco Railway System in Memphis and Will Hays swore in an affidavit that “Joe Que or Joe Cue” was a peaceable, law-abiding merchant and member of the firm of Joe Jim & Co., Dublin, Mississippi. His entry into the United States was approved.

Joe Que affidavit photo 1903
“Joe Que (Cue), affidavit photo,” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charlie Stewart Cue case file, Portal Box 686, Por 641.

In 1907 Joe Que’s mother died and he went back to China to bring Charlie back.

Charlie Stewart Cue was twelve years old in September 1908 when he arrived at Portal, North Dakota seeking admission into the United States. His mother had given him her photograph before he left for China in 1902; it was attached to the lapel of his coat. He described her as an American who did not look like his father, shorter than his father, and medium built.

When Joe Que was interviewed he said that Modena was a mix of white and Mexican blood. Joe Que testified that he married a Chinese woman in China in 1907 because Modena would not live with him.

Originally Joe Que was denied admission by the Board of Special Inquiry because they were concerned that he was married to two women. A. W. Brough, Immigrant Inspector, went to Mississippi to investigate. He interviewed Jim Gow, a laundryman at Clarksdale. Gow said Joe Que was “a gambler, a bum.” Brough also interviewed Modena Stewart Cue and described her as “an unusually intelligent colored woman.”

The Board concluded that Charlie Stewart Cue was entitled to admission since he was a native born citizen. Joe Que’s entry was denied and his case was appealed. Modena’ Stewart Cue’s 1908 affidavit she said she was not sure if Joe Que ever married in China. This information must have satisfied the Board; Charlie’s father, Joe Que, was admitted two days after Charlie in September 1908. They listed their destination as Chicago.

[Joe Que said Modena was of white and Mexican blood; Immigrant Inspector Brough said she was a “colored woman;” and her son Charlie said she looked American. All we know is that Modena was not Chinese.]

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