Tag Archives: Lun Chong & Company

Tam Sing – native-born U.S. citizen returns after 31 years in China

In May 1894 Tam Sing 譚勝 registered in the first district of California as a native-born Chinese person and received certificate of residence No. 81,385.

In 1897 Tam Sing visited China and married Wong Shee at Wing Wah Toon village. His marriage name was Hoy Gui. He returned to the U.S. four years later. In 1902 he visited China again.Tam Sing 1902 MerchantBefore he left San Francisco in 1902, Tom Sing [this is the only document where he is referred to as Tom instead on Tam] swore in a Declaration of Chinese Merchant that he was

“a merchant in good standing, and a member of the firm of Lun Chong & Company, engaged in buying and selling Chinese Mdse. and Provisions, at a fixed place of business, to wit: at 819-821 Dupont Street, San Francisco…”

His witnesses were Henry Mohr, Charles N. Peck, and William M. Dye.

Tam Sing returned to the U.S. in 1905.

Tam Sing [of the Hom Clan] swore in an affidavit in Salt Lake, Utah in July 1908 to the following information:

Tam Sing, son of Tam Shuck Dip, a San Francisco merchant, and Lee Shee, was born in San Francisco on 29 September 1876.  He stayed in the U.S. when his parents returned to China with his brother in 1886. His father died at his home in Wing Wah Toon, Sun Ning, Canton, China the following year. His mother and brother remained in their village.

On this trip to China Tam Sing was hoping to bring back his two minor sons. Unfortunately, his wife and two sons died in 1908 during an epidemic. It isn’t clear if Tam Sing arrived in their village before or after their deaths.

Later Tam Sing married Jee Shee. They moved to Toy San City and had five sons and two daughters. He worked at Sai Ning market.

Thirty-one years later Tam Sing was applying to return to the United States.

When he arrived in Seattle in 1939, he was interviewed before a Board of Special Inquiry. Tam Sing testified that when in the U.S. he lived mostly in San Francisco but was in Ogden, Utah and Montello, Nevada from 1906 to 1908. He satisfied his interrogators by answering several questions about the history and topography of San Francisco. Because he had been away in China for so many years, Tam Sing did not have any witnesses who could vouch for him. He presented a 1908 certificate of membership in the Native Sons of the Golden West with his photo attached; a letter from the Citizens Committee dated 1906; a receipt for Red Cross funds dated 1906; and a 1906 acknowledgement receipt of money from Chinese residents of Montello, Nevada.

After careful consideration the Board members believed the applicant to be the same person as the photograph and description on his certificate of residence. Tam Sing was admitted thirty-seven days after he arrived in Seattle on the Princess Marguerite on 23 August 1939. He surrendered his 1894 Certificate of Residence and was issued a Certificate of Identity in 1941 when he was planning a temporary trip to China.

Tam Sing’s Form 430, Application of Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Preinvestigation of Status, lists his San Francisco file number 53828.

“Tam Sing/Tom Sing, photos and documents” 1902, 1908, 1941; Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Tam Sing case file, Seattle Box 794, file 7030/12347.

 

Joe Chin – Portland Merchant

Chin Joe family
“Chin Joe family portrait,” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Joe file, Sumas, Box 14, Case 247.

[Chin Joe with Chin Gip, age 7; Chin Tall, age 4; and Chin Hoy, age 2 years. They were born in Portland.]

After attending the “Chinese Genealogy Seminar” in March 2016 at Oregon Historical Society Research Library in Portland, Darby Li Po Price of Berkeley, CA was inspired to search for his family’s exclusion files at the National Archives-Seattle. With the help of the staff he found six files including one with a beautiful 1903 photo of his great-great grandfather Joe Chin and three of his children which was part of an application to return to China to find a second wife after his first wife died. Joe’s file includes extensive interviews with descriptions of family life and residences in both China and Portland, as well as his original 1872 entry in San Francisco with his first wife (whose file Darby will search for at the National Archives-San Francisco-San Bruno).

Pictured in 1903 are Joe Chin and the three youngest of nine children from his wife Mon Du Shee whom had recently died. This is part of Joe’s application to go to China to find a wife to attend his children so he could manage his store. Upon returning the next month from China after marrying his second wife, his re-entry was denied. His store was suspected to be “the headquarters for gamblers and lottery dealers” and his identity suspect because his given name was “Chew” on his certificate of residence, “Joe” on other papers, and as “Jew” by a court interpreter (Joe said the differences were misspellings into English by officials). Moreover, he did not have documents for his initial entry in 1872 (not required prior to the Chinese Exclusion Act which went into effect in 1882). Two years later Joe was re-admitted after several white men testified on his behalf.
Chin Joe was formerly a member of the firm of Lun Chong & Company, 130-1/2 Second Street, Portland, Oregon. The name of the firm was changed to Bow, On & Company in 1902. They dealt with dry good and clothing. Currently he was a manager at Gum Wah & Company.

D. C. Lounsberry, a White witness for Chin Joe stated that he had known Chin Joe for about twenty years. Lounsberry was formerly the deputy sheriff for the city of Portland in charge taking a census in 1885 of all Chinese persons residing in the city for the purpose of collecting poll tax. He held this position for eleven or twelve years and got to know all the Chinese merchants. In 1903 Lounsberry was a watchman at the Burnside Street Bridge.
James B. Sinnott, age 35 and born in Portland, swore in an affidavit that he had known Chin Joe for about fifteen years. Sinnott worked in the Sheriff’s office from 1891 to 1896 and assisted in collecting the Chinese Poll taxes.
Robert Holman, an undertaker in Portland for the Edward Holman Undertaking Company, submitted a copy of the invoice for $116.00 for the burial of Doo She, Chin Joe’s deceased wife.