Tag Archives: Nogales

Chon Chow Ling – Born on the High Seas Enroute to China

Chon Chow Ling Seattle Times article headline

On board the S.S. President Madison, between San Francisco and Victoria, British Columbia, near the Port of Seattle, a baby girl was born to a Chinese couple. Immigrant officers came on board to interview the father. A statement was taken from Jung Fat, also known as Carlos Chon, on 14 October 1932, His wife, Maria Adelelma Ley was present during the interrogation.

Jung Fat was born about 1901 in Gow Gong City, Nam Hay District, China. In 1914 he sailed from Hong Kong to Mazatlán, Mexico where he was lawfully admitted and eventually became a merchant. He married Maria Adelelma Ley on 28 December 1929 at Comolote, State of Sinaloa, Mexico. Both were “full-blooded Chinese.” Maria was born at Acoponetto, State of Durango, Mexico. Her parents died when she was young, and she was adopted by a Spanish woman. She grew up speaking Spanish and a little Chinese. Jung Fat had never been back to China and Maria had always lived in Mexico. They were not deported from Mexico, but the Mexican government appropriated their grocery and merchandise business. They used all their money to cross the border from Mexico to the United States near Nogales, Arizona. Their daughter, Jung Hong Lin or Auchalina Chon, about age two, was with them. The family was taken into custody by immigration officers, taken to San Diego, and put on a ship to San Francisco. From there, they boarded the S.S. Emma Alexander. Maria gave birth to a baby girl at 10 p.m. on 5 October at Latitude 44° 24’ North, Longitude 124°, 51’ West, on the high seas enroute from San Francisco to Victoria, B.C., Canada.

A few days later after interviewing the family, T. W. Lynch from the Seattle Immigration office sent a letter to the office in San Francisco giving them information on the birth and the El Paso file numbers of the parents and their older daughter, Jung Hong Lin.

[Because of the birth at sea near Seattle, I thought there might be a newspaper article on it. This is what I found:]

On Friday, 7 October 1932, page 14, the Seattle Daily Times published a dramatic account of the birth:
Father Neptune to Guide Destinies of Little China Emma.”
      “There is an old legend which says that Father Neptune and the guardian spirits of the sea          watch over the destinies of those mortals who are born on shipboard, protecting them               through storm and tempest and guiding their voyages safely to port…”

Daniel McLellan, M.D., a passenger from Vancouver, B.C. delivered the baby. Mrs. Alice Hooker and Mrs. Grace L. Steward arranged to have Mrs. Chon moved from her third-class cabin on the after deck to a roomy stateroom. It was suggested that the baby be named Emma Alexander Wong [sic] but the document certifying her birth gives her name as Chon Chow Ling.

Back to the file:Chon Chow Ling Birth at High Seas

“Chon Chow Ling, Certification of birth” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, [name not listed on case file], Seattle Box 853, file 7031/450.
[It is very unusual to have a file without a name listed.]

On October 15, the family left for China on the S.S. President Madison. Jung Fat left China as a child and Maria had never been there. They were penniless with a toddler and a new-born infant. China was just recovering for the Han–Liu Civil War. They planned to reside with relatives in Gow Gong City.

[NARA volunteer Hao-Jan Chang brought this file to my attention. THN]

Mable June Lee – Princess for 1939 Oregon Winter Sports Carnival

Photo of Mable June Lee
“Form 430 Photo of Lee Wun Jun (Mable June Lee),“ 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Wun Jun case file, Portland Box 100, 5017/891.

Mable June Lee, a princess for the 1939 Oregon Winter Sports Carnival, was applying to leave Portland to publicize Oregon and Mount Hood in Mexico. She and the royal court traveled to Nogales, Arizona, then spent five days in Mexico City and returned via El Paso, TX. The trip was made by train and would take three weeks.
Mable was 21 years old and born in Portland. She was a checker at the Orange Lantern Tea Room in Portland.
Mable’s brother, Lee Shear Nuey, also known as Louis Lee, was a witness for her. Their parents were both dead and were buried River View Cemetery in Portland. According to C. J. Wise, the examining inspector, Lee spoke English perfectly. Lee did not know much about his grandparents; they had all died in China many years ago. Besides Mable he had two sisters and three brothers: Lee Lin (Mrs. Chin Chow), Lee Tai Hai (died of the flu in Portland in 1919 and buried in the Lone Fir Cemetery), Lee Tommy Shear Gong (born on the boat crossing from China about 1914 on his parents’ one visit to China. He was now living in Stockton, CA), Lee Shear Gum, a chef at Green Mill in Portland and another brother living in Cuba.
Lee Lin, Mable’s older sister, was also a witness for her. Lee Lin was born in San Francisco in 1894. She was married to Chin Chow and they had seven children—two boys and five girls. Her daughter Dorothy Chin Kum was adopted out to Mrs. Sing Ho. She also had a daughter, Ah Me, who died of the flu.
Mable’s file includes a certified copy of her birth certificate and her itinerary for her trip to Mexico City.

Mabel June Lee birth certificate
“1917 Oregon Birth Certificate for Mabel [sic] June Lee & 1939 Itinerary for Oregon Winter Sports Association ,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Wun Jun case file, Portland Box 100, 5017/891.
Lee Wun Jun Mexico City Schedule

According to an article [not included in the file] in the Oregonian on 25 February 1939, the royal court consisted of Queen Fern Lorenzini, Crown Princess, Dorothy Olivera; and princesses: Norma Cowling, Maryanne Hill, Mable Jean Lee and June Long.