Tag Archives: Lee Shee

Wong Ming Bow and family – restaurant owner in Buffalo, New York

Collage of Wong Ming Bow and family
“Photos Wong Ming Bow and family,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ming Bow, Wong Hong Sun, Wong Hango, Wong Hong Kew, Wong Dock How, Wong Tai You and Wong Hang Jew case files, Seattle, Box 577, 7030/4947, 7030/4939-4944.

Wong Ming Bow (grandfather), Wong Hong Sun (son), and grandchildren: Hango (Stella), age 8; Hong Kew (Rose), age 6; Dick How (Anna), 4; Tai You, 18 months; and Hang Jew (Joseph), two months.

[Continued from 22 May 2017]
Wong Ming Bow was in China from 1911 to 1913. He was visiting his wife, Lee Shee, and their two sons, Wong Hong Heung/Sun and Wong Shere Choon and daughter, Wong Gim Fon. He returned to his home at 64 West Genesee Street in Buffalo, New York where he was the proprietor of the Yuen King Lim Restaurant. Wong’s 19-year old son, Wong Hong Sun, joined his father in Buffalo in 1916. He was admitted as a student, the minor son of an alleged citizen. The interrogator asked him about his school in China, the village, his grandparents and their siblings, if his father knew his schoolmates, playmates or acquaintances; who lived in various houses in his village—name of spouse, names and ages of their children; property his father owned and many other questions. The interrogation was five pages long. His father’s interview was even longer. Many of the same questions were asked to make sure his answers agreed with his son’s. Wong Hong Sun was admitted about a month and a half after he arrived at the Port of Seattle and he left immediately for Buffalo.
Wong Hong Sun registered in District 3 for the draft and served as a private in the U.S. Army from October to December 1918. His record of enlistment and honorable discharge were submitted as evidence when he applied to visit China in 1922. [These records are not included in the file.] It was a special trip; he was getting married and bringing his mother, brother, sister, and new bride back to Buffalo. Wong Hong Sun was a part owner of Joyland, an American-Chinese Restaurant at 640 Main Street in Buffalo.
By 1933 Wong Hong Sun and his wife, Lee Shee, had five children, all born in Buffalo. Certified copies of their birth certificates are included in their files. They were all applying to go to China for a visit. Wong Hong Sun’s parents joined them; his mother planned on staying in China. They were going back to their native village of Mee Way, Sun Ning district and stay four or five years.
In September 1936, Wong Ming Bow returned to the United States through Seattle. His son, Wong Hong Sun, returned in April 1937 and his son’s five children came back as native citizens in July 1941 and were admitted. Wong Hong Sun’s wife stayed in China and died in 1946.
Eventually the family moved to San Antonio, Texas. [More information isn’t included because of privacy concerns.]

Leong Gain – Positive testimony given by Caucasian Witnesses

Leong Gain 1932 photo
“Leong Gain, Form 430 photo,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong Gain case file, Portland, Box 96, 5017/705.

Leong Gain, son of Leong Poy and Lee Shee, was born on Oak Street in Portland, Oregon on 24 September 1893. When Leong Gain was about five or six years old, his mother returned to China with his baby sister.
Leong Gain visited his family in China in 1912. He received his Certificate of Identity in San Francisco, California upon his re-admission to the United States as a native-born citizen in 1914.
Leong Gain’s most challenging application came in 1917 with his interview for re-entry into the United States. He stated that Mr. Frasier and Billy Fook knew about his birth. The examining inspector, W. F. Watkins, questioned Leong Gain’s honesty because Leong did not mention his sister when he was interviewed in 1912. The 1917 interview went on and on. Recorded on page 3 of the interview, Watkins said, “You mean to say now, do you, that the first knowledge you received of your having a sister was when you returned to China in 1912…?” Leong Gain answered, “That’s correct.” The inspector wanted to know if Gain’s sister was born in Portland or China. Although he thought his sister was born in Portland, Gain explained that he just too young to know the details of his sister’s birth. He would have been 5 or 6 when she and his mother returned to China. (It was probably traumatic to be motherless at that young age.)
Later in the interview, the point of the questioning finally becomes apparent. Watkins said, “Isn’t it true and you and your sister were both born in China?”
The next nine pages of the interview involve witnesses testifying that Leong Gain was born in Portland.
Haw Ah Fook, also known as Billy Fook, was about 64 years old in 1917, when he testified that Leong Gain was born in Portland. He didn’t know Leong Gain as a small child but knew his father, Gong Poy. As far as he knew, Gong Poy lived on the east side of Portland and had a wife and son there. When Watkins pressed him for more information, he said, “Mr. Watkins, I can’t remember those things. I attend to my business and I don’t keep track of the Chinese. I can’t remember those things.” On the third page of Billy Fook’s interview, Watkins asked him if Leong Gain ever told him if he had a brother or sister. Fook replied, “No, never said a dam’ word to me.”
Charles R. Frasier, a merchant at Crescent Paper Company, testified that he had known Leong Gain all his life, since he was born. He was a week or two old when Frasier saw him for the first time. Frasier said he and his parents took an interest in the family. He saw the family frequently until he went away to college. After he got married and opened his own business, Leong Gain and his father would visit his business every few months. At Christmas they would bring Chinese nuts; they never forgot the family on Christmas. Mr. Watkins asked Frasier over and over if he was certain that Leong Gain was born in Portland. Frazier said, “I would gamble my last dollar on it.”
George J. Kadderly worked in the hardware business in Portland. He easily recognized Leong Gain from his photograph. He remembered “this little chap was around in swaddling clothes around on the sidewalk.” He saw Leong Gain off and on over the years on the street or in Chinatown. Whenever he ran into Leong Gain he always said, “Hello, George.”

Because Frasier and Kadderly were well-known, respected White witnesses and their statements were clear cut and positive in Leong Gain’s favor, Inspector Watkins approved the application in spite of some inconsistencies.
Leong Gain made another trip to China in 1923; returning in 1926. During his 1923 interview he presented his Portland draft registration card dated 5 June 1917. He was classified as 1-A but was not called for active military duty because he was under weight.
In October 1932 Leong Gain was applying for his fourth visit to China and was approved. Each time he traveled outside of the United States he went through the whole process of being interviewed and photographed.
There is no more information in the file.

Lee Shee – Red Marriage paper

Lee Shee Red Marriage Paper
“Red Marriage Paper for Lee Shee and Gum On,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Shee file, Seattle, Box 154, Case 2150/10-3.

Lee Shee, wife of Gum On of 937 Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, arrived in Seattle on 20 July 1924 with their two sons, Yue Dok, age 16; and Yue Bun, age 10 years. The sons were admitted to the United States as sons of a U.S. citizen but Lee Shee was detained at the Immigration Quarters in Seattle for six months. In December she was nine months pregnant and Immigration allowed her to land temporarily. A bond for $1,000 was taken out to assure that she left at the required deadline. Eventually the bond was extended until July 1929. Lee Shee, her husband, and children returned to China in April 1929.
During the interrogation the immigration inspectors asked Gum On if he could provide any evidence to show that he was married. Gum On gave them his Red Marriage Paper. It stated that he was married to Lee Shee and listed four generations of his family–his parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great, great grandparents. A translation of the document is not included in the file and the inspectors did not comment on it.

[Hao-Jan Chang, a volunteer who works with the Chinese Exclusion Act case files at NARA-Seattle, reads and writes Chinese. He translated the Red Marriage Paper and verified that it contained the marriage information for Gum On and Lee Shee.]

Jew Hoo -Passenger’s Identification Check

Jew Hoo Passenger ID Check Bx 887 7032 464
Passenger’s Identification Check No. 11383 for Jew Hoo, 1923, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Jew Hoo How file, Seattle, Box 887, Case 7032/464.

 
Jew Hoo, a merchant, was returning from Hong Kong to Seattle on the S.S. President McKinley in a first-class cabin. He was admitted into the U.S. on 20 October 1923. He paid an Alien Head Tax of $8 when he arrived in Seattle. He had been visited his wife Lee Shee and their two sons.
When he returned from another trip to China in 1931 he stated that he was the assistant manager and treasurer of the Oriental Café in Kansas City, Missouri. According to the Chinese Exclusion Act a restaurant keeper was not usually classified as a merchant. B. A. Hunter, the Immigrant Inspector visited the restaurant and came up with these facts: it had a seating capacity of 136 or more, there was a stand for an orchestra and a platform for dancing, it had modern fixtures and was located in an excellent business neighborhood. Two white creditable men testified in Jew Hoo’s favor. The inspector gave a favorable recommendation for Jew Hoo’s status as a merchant.
Jew Hoo’s 13 September 1918 draft registration card is included in the file.