Tag Archives: Mr. Harmon

Ah Fook Family – Left Tacoma during Anti-Chinese Riots in 1885

Wong Ah One 1907

“Form 430 Photos of Ah One,” 1907, 1925,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ah One case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13432.

In 1907 (Wong) Ah One 黃穩 applied for admission to the U. S. as a native-born Chinese person. He was the son of Ah Fook and Lem Shee and was born in Tacoma, Washington. He went back to China with his parents and younger brother, Ah Wah, when he was about four or five years old, about 1888 or 1889. They lived in Chung Chi village then Hong Kong.

Ah Lung, a witness for Ah One, was a laundryman in Seattle and a good friend of Ah One’s father. He came to the U.S. about 1867. He lived in Tacoma for about 10 years and met Ah Fook there; they were friends but not related. At that time the Chinese businesses in Tacoma were all located near the sawmill. Al Lung remembered Ah Fook leaving Tacoma after the riots [November 1885] but a few months before the Chinese fire. Ah Fook went to Portland then came back to Tacoma briefly before moving to Seattle. He took his family to China about 1888 after he received reparations from the government for damage done to his property by the riot in Tacoma.

F. W. Southworth, a physician for most of the Chinese in Tacoma, lived there since about 1887 and testified that Ah One was born in Tacoma. In 1907 Dr. Southworth sworn that he was well acquainted with Ah One’s father, Ah Fook, a merchant. He believed that Ah One was his son.

S. J. Murphy was another witness for Ah One. He testified that he was a deputy sheriff and had been living in Tacoma for 31 years [since about 1876]. He was a teamster in 1885. He remembered that Ah Fook was the proprietor of Quong Yen Co., which was located “somewhere about where the Commercial Dock is now, or near the old Hatch sawmill.”
A. S. Fulton, the immigrant inspector questioning Murphy about what became of Ah Fook “after the so-called Chinese riots in Tacoma.” Murphy said Ah Fook and his family left the city immediately and may have gone to Portland but may have come back briefly. Ah Fook’s business was burned out during the Tacoma riots. Murphy said “Ah Fook was a friend of his in those early days and frequently used to invite him into his store and pass him a cigar and talk about his business and his boy Ah One.”

Immigration authorities considered the evidence and decided that Ah One was born in the U.S. and satisfactorily identified. Ah One was admitted to the U.S. in 1907.

Ah One made several more trips to China. In 1911 Ah One testified that he owned a tide-land lot in Tacoma. He bought the property from Mr. Harmon and had a contract at the Pacific National Bank of Tacoma. He showed the interrogator some of his payment receipts. He paid $705 for the lot. He also had a $650 interest in the Shanghai Café where he was the manager.

In 1912 Ah One testified that he was born near the old Flyer Dock in Tacoma (described by a witness as Second and Pacific Avenues, North). He learned to speak English at Sunday school. When asked if he paid his witnesses to testify for him, he denied it. He said they testified because they knew him and they were acquainted with his father. Ah One had saved about $600 for this trip to China. He was going back to China to get married.

In 1917 Ah One testified that his marriage name was Chun Wong. He had a brother Ah Wan. His parents, Ah Fook and Lum Shee, both died before 1917. He was married to Chin Shee and they had one son, Ah Him, born in 1913. They are living in Jung Sai, Sun Ning, China. Although Ah One entered the U.S. successfully on previous trips, this interrogator wanted more witnesses to prove Ah One was born in the U.S. and that he was the same person who left for China when he was 4 or 5 years old. This is part of the testimony:

Q. “Do you mean then that you are relying simply on your two former admissions at this port to prove your right to readmission on your return from China?”
A. “Yes, and I have a certificate of identity as a native.”
Q. “Have you ever voted in this county?”
A. “Yes, I voted for Mayor in Seattle, I voted for Hi Gill when he last ran.” [Hiram Gill was mayor of Seattle from 1911-1912.]

Ah One stated that he attended a mission school in Tacoma for a few months. After he returned from China when he was 23 he worked as a cook for four or five years, then worked as a foreman at the Deep Sea Salmon Cannery Co., in Alaska. Since September 1916 he as the foreman of the Chinese workers at a company at Richmond Beach.

In 1923 he was living at 1346 Broadway in Tacoma, Washington and was a merchant at the Kwong Fat Lung Company in Seattle. In 1928 (Wong) Ah One had a problem with his eyes and could not see to write. His final trip to China was in 1941. Although Ah One’s earlier trips required several witnesses, affidavits and testimony, his later re-entries into the U.S. went smoothly.

To learn more about the Tacoma Anti-Chinese riot in November 1885 go to: The Tacoma Method, Aftermath.
or  Tacoma expels the entire Chinese community on November 3, 1885