Tag Archives: National Bank of Commerce

Leong Yip – Pacific Northwest Pioneer

(Leong Yip is the father of Leong King Ying Rose who was featured on the blog on 30 July 2019.)

Leong Yip’s Seattle file starts in February 1912. His previous files were brought forward and there are no documents in this file before 1912 but 1917 and 1919 interviews tell about his earlier life.Leong Yip 1912

“Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1912, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong Yip case file, Seattle Box 1283, file 34847/5-3.

In 1912 Leong Yip 梁業 was 55 years old, manager of Hop Yick Shing Kee Company in Astoria, Oregon and could speak some English. His first wife died in China in 1911 and he married Chin See of the Shee Chong village, Sunning District, China, in 1912. His marriage name was Leong Seung Ging. Leong spent the last four and a half months at Canoe Pass Packing Company in Alaska acting as overseer of the workers and as bookkeeper and treasurer. In 1910 he gave half of his $1000 interest in the company to his son but retained all his duties.

J. D. Robb, son of W. L. Robb, age 27, and a foreman at the cannery in Canoe Pass, was a witness for Leong. As a child in Astoria, Robb knew Leong who contracted for Chinese labor and managed the Hop Yick Company. Robb testified that Leong did not engage in manual labor during the time he knew him.

W. L. Robb, president and manager of Canoe Pass Packing Co., testified that he had known Leong Yip for about twenty years. Robb was Collector of Customs at Astoria from 1902 to 1906 and frequently did business with Leong. He also testified that Leong was a merchant and did not do any manual labor.

The commission of Immigration in Seattle issued Leong Yip a merchant’s return certificate. Leong Yip 1913

“Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1913

In July 1913 when Leong Yip returned to the United States his Certificate of Identity was cancelled and he received Certificate of Residence #45383.Leong Yip 1917 Form 431

“Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1917

In 1917 Leong Yip applied for a return certificate for his next trip to China. He had a six- year-old adopted son and a biological son from his first wife, Leung Gim Lim. Gim Lim arrived in the U.S. in 1898, returned to China at some point, was readmitted to the U.S. in 1913 and was living in Astoria. About 1914 Leong relocated to Seattle and became the manager of Ying Shing Lung Co., a Chinese grocery business. There were eighteen members of the firm; three active—Go Gay and Young Fong Yee, both salesmen, and Leong.

Leong explained that he had been a laborer from 1881 to 1885 before becoming a merchant. He still owned his share of the Astoria firm. He paid $40 a month rent to his landlord, Goon Dip, the Chinese Consul. He paid about $9 to $10 a year in taxes. His white witnesses were James Shea, an exchange teller at the National Bank of Commerce and Peter Bremmeyr, [yes, that how he spelled his name] a plumber on Jackson street. Leong’s business made a little over $10,000 a year and his inventory was worth about $2000.

Shea testified that when Leong arrived in Seattle, he presented the Seattle bank with a letter of recommendation from the Astoria Savings Bank commending Leong very highly as a merchant who had conducted business with the bank of 25 years.Leong Yip 1919 Form 431

Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1919

In his 1919 pre-investigation interview Leong stated that he first came to the U.S. in 1881 and had made two trips back to China. His white witnesses to prove his mercantile status for this trip were Mr. Callahan of the National Bank of Commerce and Mr. Woods of Schwabacher Brothers. Leong planned on visiting China for about a year and bringing his wife back with him. Orley A. Williams, age 48, in the real estate business, also testified that Leong was a merchant and had not done manual labor in the last year. Charles Brotchi, age 54, testified that Leong was one of the best known in Chinatown; president of the Chinese Masonic in 1918; a man above reproach; and clean and honest in every respect.

Leong Yip returned to Seattle in July 1920 with his wife, Chin She and his son Jow Wah and was admitted.

Leong Yip’s 30 June 1943 Seattle Times’ obituary is included in his file.  “…Leong Yip, Chinese patriarch and one of the most colorful of Pacific Northwest pioneers died… His son, Pvt. Robert Leong, served in the army during World War II. Leong Yip was survived by his widow; two daughters, Rose Leong and Jean Leong of Seattle; three sons, Charles, of Astoria, Robert, stationed in California; and Jimmy of Seattle; and a grandson, Harry Leong.

1911 Reference Letter for Lew Wa Hoo, Seattle

Letterhead from Puget Sound Mills & Lumber Co
“Letterhead from Puget Sound Mills & Lumber Co.,” 1911, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lew Wa Hoo case file, Seattle Box 1226, 35100/5245.

Harold N. Smith of Puget Sound Mills & Lumber Co., manufacturers of red cedar, spruce & fur lumber and red cedar shingles, wrote to the Chief Inspector of Immigration Bureau in Seattle on 29 August 1911 in reference to Lew Wa Hoo. Mr. Smith, formerly an exchange teller for the National Bank of Commerce of Seattle, was a witness for Lew Wa Hoo’s application before he left for China four years earlier. Smith had known Lew for over fifteen years and had many positive business dealings with him. Lew sent a letter to Smith from Hong Kong informing him that he would be returning to Seattle soon. Smith then wrote to the Chief Inspector to assure that Lew’s re-entry into the United States went smoothly without any unnecessary delays. Lew was a merchant and treasurer of Wa Hing Company at 214 Washington Street in Seattle.
In 1911 Lew Wa Hoo was 45 years old and married with the marriage name of Lew Jung Hen. He first entered the U.S. through San Francisco in about 1881. By 1911 he had already made four trips back to China. He was registered under the name Sing Wa and was a member of the Sing (Sun) Wo Co. in Olympia, Washington before moving to Seattle and becoming a partner of Wa Hing Company. He and his wife, Gong Shee, had five children in China—three sons and two daughters. The children were attending school in their village at Bok Suk, Sun Ning District. Gong Shee or the children had not been to the United States.
When Lew Wa Hoo applied to visit China in 1901 his witnesses were Fred Wilhelm, a carpenter who owned the building occupied by Wa Hing Company; G. Wyatt Upper, teller at Commercial National Bank; and Lew King, manager of Wa Hing Company. According to Thomas M. Fisher, Chinese Inspector, the firm had a fixed location with a good stock of merchandise and the witnesses were reputable.
By 1922 Lew Wa Hoo was the manager of Wah Hing Company. Two of his sons had visited the United States and were back in China. One of his daughters was living in the U.S. and the other was still in China. Lew Wa Hoo’s paper work was in order and he was admitted to the U.S. without any problems or delays after every trip to China. There is no more information in the file after 1922.