In July 1938, Nelson Wah Chan King, age 27, applied to the U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service on Form 430 for a two-day visit Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His application created much paperwork and eventually was approved by Tom L. Wychoff of the Spokane immigration office but never used. Nelson cancelled his trip to Canada because he was transferred from his job in Spokane, Washington to New York City. This is a list of the documents that were in his file:
Nelson Wah Chan King was born on 10 June 1911 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Harry N. King and Lily Dorothy Shem (maiden name: Shem Mowlan). His parents were both born in San Francisco. His father owned the Kwong Nom Low Restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah before moving to Los Angeles, California to become a merchant. Although Nelson’s grandparents were born in China, Nelson, his parents, and his brother had never been to China. Nelson’s only sibling, Paul Ming King, was born 21 January 1918 in Salt Lake City and by 1938 was a student at University of California in Los Angeles.
Nelson was working as a floor manager for the National Dollar Stores in Spokane, Washington, making $90 a month in 1938. His mother’s brother, Bruce Shem, was living in San Francisco with his wife and two sons. His father did not have siblings but he had four cousins in Salt Lake City– Walter G. King, a reporter for Salt Lake City Tribune; Ernest Q. King, M.D., a Reserve Flight Sergeant, U. S. Army and connected with a C.C. C. Camp; Raymond S. King, newspaper photographer; and Ruth King Chang, M.D. Nelson Wah Chan King’s paternal grandparents were Chan Mun Lok Way and Chan Lau Shee. His maternal grandfather was William C. Shem. Nelson could not remember his grandmother’s Chinese name—he just called her grandmother. She was living in San Francisco with her son Bruce Shem.
Nelson Wah Chan King graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1933.
Nelson’s mother, Lily S. King, testified that her father was Shem Yow Ching and her mother was Leang Shee.
In his sworn statement, Nelson’s father, Harry N. King, (Chinese name: Chan Hong), stated that he was an art dealer with the Tom Gubbins Company and his father’s name was Chan See Gern.
Anna C. Stevenson also testified in Nelson’s behalf in 1938. She was a 70-year-old widow who had lived in Salt Lake City for 35 years. She had owned the apartments on Vissing Court where the King family had lived. She stated that Nelson’s mother was brought up in a Methodist home in California. Anna had last seen Nelson in 1936 on her birthday, 6 August. He brought her a present from the King family.
On 23 August 1938 Nelson Wah Chan King notified the Immigration office in Seattle that because of his transfer to New York City he would not be making his trip to Canada. It is the last document in his file. [Although Nelson Wah Chan King and his parents were all born in the United States and never left the U.S., his grandparents were Chinese immigrants and therefore Nelson was subject to the Chinese Exclusion Act. On the positive side, there is a tremendous amount of family information in the file.]
“Mrs. T. C. White, newspaper article,” 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. T. C. White case file, Seattle RS Box 285, RS 34,283.
Undated newspaper article included in the file: “Princess is Here, has Shopping Fad”
“Princess Der Ling, who is shown with her husband, Thaddeus Raymond White and little son, Thaddeus, Jr., during stay of family in Seattle.” [Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington, 10 April 1917, p.22] [See complete article below.]
Mrs. Thaddeus C. White entered the United States with her husband and son, Thaddeus Raymond White, on 20 October 1916. Mrs. White was also known as Elizabeth Antoinette Der Ling or Princess Der Ling, former lady-in-waiting to China’s Dowager Empress, Tzu-hai. Mrs. White was born in Tientsin, China; her husband, a Caucasian, was a U.S. citizen and businessman in China. The caption under the photo in 1917 newspaper article: “Daughter of Manchurian Prince declares that department stores of Seattle furnish never ending round of wonder and desire to buy.”
A letter in the file states that In April 1917 Mr. White complained to the Commissioner-General of Immigration in Washington, D.C. about the way he and Mrs. Konigsberg were treated by Inspector Thomson on their arrived in Seattle in October 1916. The Commissioner was satisfied that Mr. Thomson had no intention of being discourteous although he may have seemed “rather abrupt.” [The file doesn’t give any details about Mr. Thomson’s behavior or give the identity of Mrs. Konigsberg .]
Another note in the file says that Mrs. White was Princess Der Ling and had lived in U.S. about one year in 1888.
Mrs. White, her husband, and son traveled from Vancouver, B.C. via Seattle, Washington in August 1922 to New York City and were admitted as U.S. citizens. They traveled again in 1927 and were admitted.
A final memo in the file dated 28 November 1944 says, “Our attention has been called to the accidental death of this person as reported in the San Francisco newspaper Call Bulletin, on November 22, 1944. [Mrs. White died from injuries in Berkeley, California after being struck by a truck. She had been teaching Chinese in the language War Program at the University of California. More information about Princess Der Ling can be found on Google and Findagrave.com.]
Miss Senn was born on 21 March 1882 in Shin Hing, China. She first came to the United States in 1896 as a young student. She attended various schools including Baptist Mission Training School in Chicago, Illinois; Home Mission Society in Portland, Oregon; McMinnville School, McMinnville, Oregon; Adelphi College in Seattle, Washington; and Lewis Institute in Chicago. She obtained her B. S. degree from Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois in 1916. When she wasn’t going to school, she taught at mission schools.
Senn returned to China in 1918 and was a missionary/teacher at the Girls’ School for the South China Mission. Miss Senn’s witnesses on her 1918 application were Shailer Matthews, Dean of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and Miss Nellie G. Prescott, Foreign Secretary Woman’s American Baptist Foreign Mission Society of Boston, Massachusetts.
Senn came back to the U.S. in 1924 and received her M. A. degree from Boston University in 1926. She left again for China to continue her work as a missionary/teacher. In 1937 she returned to study theology at Biblical Seminary in New York City. She had a scholarship covering one-half the tuition, room and board. Mrs. W. H. Dietz of Chicago was helping her pay the other half of her expenses.
Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, there is a “Certificate of Admission of Alien” form in the file dated 25 May 1948. It states that Senn’s status was “changed from Section 4-e student to student returning to relinquished domicile in June 1924, under which status she was entitled to permanent residence.”
[Information not included in the files: Pauline Poy Ling Senn was naturalized on 14 February 1955 in Massachusetts1. She died 4 June 1979, age 97, in Alameda, California2.]
1. U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995, “Index to Naturalization Petitions and Records of the U.S. District Court, 1906-1966, and the U.S. Circuit Court, 1906-1911, for the District of Massachusetts,” database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 15 Mar 2017).
2. California, Death Index,” California Death Index, 1940-1997,” database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 15 Mar 2017).
On 2 July 1904 A.F. Learned, postmaster; William P. Wyckoff, Customs House official; and H. L. Tibbals, of Port Townsend, Jefferson County, Washington, swore in an affidavit they had been residents of Port Townsend for more than twenty years and were U.S. citizens. They proclaimed that Goon Fon was a bona fide merchant for more than twelve years, a member of the Wing Sing Company, the son of Goon Sam, and was now 22 years old.
Goon Fon was born at Hom Quon village, Sun Woi district, China on 14 January 1883. He came to the United States with his father and landed in San Francisco about 1894. His father returned to China in 1902 and died there. After his father left Goon Fon went to New York City and worked in the restaurant business. He came back to Seattle and worked in a cannery in Alaska for Goon Dip, then moved to Spokane, Washington.
In 1924 Goon Fon applied for a return certificate as a laborer. His only proof of his status was the 1904 affidavit. He obtained the required proof that debt was owed him—a $1,000 bond. His application was approved.
In 1937 Goon Fon was living at Noodles Café, 512 Main Street, Spokane. According to his application for his Return Certificate for Lawfully Domiciled Chinese Laborers, he had a $1,000 loan due from Hui Cheung, 126 ½ North Wall Street, Spokane. His application was approved.
[Date and place the photo was taken are not listed.]
Dora Brandenberger was born on 30 November 1903 in Baretswil, Switzerland. She arrived in the U.S. at New York City in November 1922 on the S.S. Adriatic. She married Kenneth S. Wang on 30 June 1932 at Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York.
Kenneth S. Wang was born in Tang Shan, China on 2 November 1903. He came to the U.S. through Seattle in September 1924. He was here to attend pre-medical courses at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. After three years he transferred to the Medical College at University of Buffalo, New York for three and one-half more years. He was living at 24 High Street in Buffalo. Before he arrived in the U.S. he attended two years at the Chinese German School at Tientsin and four years at the Peking Academy. His father paid for his education.
At the completion of his studies Dr. Kenneth Wang, a non-quota immigrant student (Section 4 (e) of the Chinese Exclusion Act), and his wife Dora Wang left for China in July 1932. There is no indication that they returned to the U.S.
[Dora Brandenberger Wang does not have a file since she was not a U.S. citizen. There is no mention of how or where Dora and Kenneth met. Miscellaneous information found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org: Dora was the daughter of Alfered [sic] Brandenberger and Lina Miller of Switzerland. She was a 17 year-old student when she arrived in the U.S. Kenneth Wang was her second husband. Her first husband was Ture Verner Wennersten. They divorced in 1929. Dora was a teacher and residing in St. Petersburg, Florida when she married Kenneth Wang. Kenneth lists his residence as Bemus Point, Chautauqua County, New York on their marriage license. One of the witnesses to the marriage was living in Orlando, Florida. ]
Bertha Hoy’s birth certificate describes her as a white, female; the daughter of Tom Jung Hoy and Long Ho Hoy, born on 25 January . The date of record is 3 April 1905 and the date at the top of the document is 21 July 1908. Her father was 33 years old and was born in China. Her mother was 20 years old and her place of birth is not entered. The family resided at 5512 5th Avenue, New York City. This was their second child. A current photo [ca. 1923] of Bertha Hoy is stapled to the certificate.
The family left for China from Seattle on 30 August 1908.
Bertha Hoy returned from China on 17 January 1923. Her application for Certificate of Identity includes her Chinese name, Jung Bik Ha. Bertha presented a copy of her birth certificate as proof that she was a U.S. citizen.
An Immigrant Inspector thought it was necessary to compare her birth certificate No. 7595 with the original record on file at the Brooklyn Board of Health. A comparison was made in the presence of Dr. S. J. Byrne, whose check marks appear on the official copy and he verified it as genuine.
Witness Woo Bing, manager of the Qwong Tuck Company in Seattle, was called forth. He exhibited a Qwong Tuck Company’s departure book showing the names of hundreds of Chinese that departed for China. The book listed the Jung Hoy family’s departure on 30 August 1908.
[A note at the bottom of the interview says, “The book above mentioned shows Chinese departing for China from the year 1906 to December 3, 1912.”]
The Board of Special Inquiry unanimously agreed to admit Bartha Hoy to the United States as a returning native-born Chinese.
[Nothing in the file mentions anything about Bertha Hoy’s birth certificate listing her as “White.” They may have decided that it was a clerical error not worth pursuing.]
In May 1921, Tsang Gee Kay, alias Bennie One, was applying to travel from Oakland, California to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia for two weeks. He was an actor and was playing in a skit at the Pantages. His dog was not mentioned in the file so it is assumed that the dog was part of the skit. Tsang Gee Kay was 25 years old and born in San Francisco on 2 December 1895 according to his birth certificate. His father ran a Bizarre and Chinese restaurants in Frisco. He had a brother, Ernest, and two sisters. He had never been back to China but had been to Canada three times—crossing twice at Blackrock near Buffalo, New York, and a third time at Emerson, North Dakota. Tsang Gee Kay was married to Augusta. She was living at 102-West 90th Street, New York City. They had no children. He was re-admitted at Seattle on 12 June 1921.