Mable June Lee, a princess for the 1939 Oregon Winter Sports Carnival, was applying to leave Portland to publicize Oregon and Mount Hood in Mexico. She and the royal court traveled to Nogales, Arizona, then spent five days in Mexico City and returned via El Paso, TX. The trip was made by train and would take three weeks.
Mable was 21 years old and born in Portland. She was a checker at the Orange Lantern Tea Room in Portland.
Mable’s brother, Lee Shear Nuey, also known as Louis Lee, was a witness for her. Their parents were both dead and were buried River View Cemetery in Portland. According to C. J. Wise, the examining inspector, Lee spoke English perfectly. Lee did not know much about his grandparents; they had all died in China many years ago. Besides Mable he had two sisters and three brothers: Lee Lin (Mrs. Chin Chow), Lee Tai Hai (died of the flu in Portland in 1919 and buried in the Lone Fir Cemetery), Lee Tommy Shear Gong (born on the boat crossing from China about 1914 on his parents’ one visit to China. He was now living in Stockton, CA), Lee Shear Gum, a chef at Green Mill in Portland and another brother living in Cuba.
Lee Lin, Mable’s older sister, was also a witness for her. Lee Lin was born in San Francisco in 1894. She was married to Chin Chow and they had seven children—two boys and five girls. Her daughter Dorothy Chin Kum was adopted out to Mrs. Sing Ho. She also had a daughter, Ah Me, who died of the flu.
Mable’s file includes a certified copy of her birth certificate and her itinerary for her trip to Mexico City.
According to an article [not included in the file] in the Oregonian on 25 February 1939, the royal court consisted of Queen Fern Lorenzini, Crown Princess, Dorothy Olivera; and princesses: Norma Cowling, Maryanne Hill, Mable Jean Lee and June Long.
Dong Ah Lon, age 21, arrived at the Port of Seattle on 9 August 1938 on the s.s. Princess Marguerite. She was born in Ping On village, Gee Kai, Hoy Ping, China and this was her first trip out of China. She was unable to establish beyond doubt her claim for entry to the U.S. as the daughter of U.S. citizen. When her father, Dong Toy, a native born U.S. citizen, was re-admitted to the United States in 1919 after a trip to China, he claimed he had a daughter named Lan Hai and with a different birth date than Dong Ah Lon’s date of birth. Dong Ah Lon could not recall ever being called Lan Hai. Her father had died in China in 1924 so he could not be asked about the discrepancy. The immigration inspectors were suspicious about her claim that Dong Hoy was her father.
Dong Ah Lon’s brothers who were testifying in her behalf were Dong Hong, age 37, and Dong Ball, age 19. Dong Ah Long was 21. She only attended school for two years. She correctly identified photos of her father and brothers. According to her brothers she was the daughter of Dong Toy and his second wife, making Dong Hong her half-brother and Dong Ball her full brother. Dong Ah Lon seemed to be confused about the relationship. Her mother had told her she was the mother of all the children in her family. Her brothers did not agree with this.
Dong Ah Lon’s application to enter the United States was denied 9 September 1938 because she could not correctly identify her closest neighbors in her village and her testimony did not agree with her brothers about their mother/stepmother. The Board could not find any family resemblance between the applicant and her two brothers and they were not satisfied that Dong Toy was actually her father. There were twenty-two pages of testimony from Dong Ah Lon and her brothers. Most of Dong Ah Lon’s description of the village agreed with her brothers except for the location of the toilets and the direction which the school faced. There were other minor differences.
The interrogations in 1938 included the affidavit by Dong Hong with photos of him and his sister, Dong Ah Lon, and a map of Ping On village according to Dong Ah Lon.
Dong Ah Lon was set to be deported in October 1938 but a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and an order to show cause were filed by her attorney, then an order for dismissal of petition for writ of habeas corpus and a petition for re-opening. Immigration decided to examine the oldest alleged brother, Dong Yum, and the prospective husband of the applicant, Lee Lin. These interviews took place in early 1939.
[Interesting tidbit: The Acting Matron of the Deportation and Detention Division, Bertha B. Titus, reported that she took Miss Dong to Dr. O. T. Dean’s dental office at 818 Cobb Building for a tooth extracted. The charge for the gas and extraction was $4.00.] [This file was researched by Hao-Jan Chang, NARA CEA files volunteer.]
[Continued on 16 October 2017.]