Tag Archives: North Dakota

Pang Hong – jailed in Portal, North Dakota

Pang Hong 1904 Passport
“Pang Hong’s Passport,” 1904, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Pang Hong file, Seattle, Box 1333, Case 39924/6-16.

In November 1904 Pang Hong applied to Immigration to visit his family in China. His uncle, Pang Wah Tip, testified for him. His return trip in September 1905 was through Portal, North Dakota and his destination was Frankfort, Indiana. He was detained in jail in Portal for almost a month. On 2 October W. J. Palmer, his lawyer wrote to the immigration office explaining that he and Rev. T. H. Kuhn had filed the necessary application and affidavits for Pang Hong, a U. S. citizen, and had even obtained a U. S. passport. Twelve days later, on 14 October, Pang Hong was still in jail. Thirty-two members of the Christian Church in Frankfort signed a letter testifying that Pang Hong was a “truthful honest person, a citizen of integrity, and has taken a constant interest in the church.” The signers were: Thomas N. Lucas, Quincy A. Kennedy, E. A. Spray, A. M. Kern, M.S. Canfield, M.D. (Elder); J. H. Comley, Elmer Detwiler, Deacon; E. H. Whitake, Deacon; C. E. Bickley, C. H. Gillis, David S. Kern, J. A. Lucas, N. T. Rice, C. T. Keller, A. Michael, M.D.; H. C. Eldridge, Ellis D. Mines, Rev. W. J. Russell, J. C. Caron, M.D.; Ed Ross, Emma Ross, Mrs. T. N. Lucas, Katharine Lucas, Sarah E. Lucas, Mrs. G. A. Smith, Namie Haller, T. R. Spray, L. C. Brooke, C. H. Doctor, Marry Merrill, James McClomrock, and Mrs. C. E. Boulder.
This unidentified newspaper article dated 18 October [1905] was included in the file.

Pang Hong 1905 Newspaper article
Unidentified newspaper article dated 18 October [1905] Pang Hong file, Seattle, Box 1333, Case 39924/6-16.
When Pang Hong applied to leave in 1921, Immigration Inspector Brekke in Chicago approved his application reluctantly because of discrepancies in the file. He said it was very doubtful that the applicant was American-born but the applicant was found to be an American citizen by the department on appeal in 1905 and in 1912 so it would have been difficult for them to re-open his file.
Pang Hong was 41 in 1921. He was testifying about events that happened when he was 12 years old. Some of the discrepancies were concerning the exact address of his father’s cigar factory in San Francisco, which floor they were living on, how many floors the building, the names of the other families living in the building and other minor differences.

[One wonders how much time and money was spent trying to deport Pang Hong for no apparent reason.]

Thomas Chin 1919 Birth Certificate, Omaha, NE – midwives listed

Thomas Chin 1919 Birth Certificate Nebraska 1068_8715 11 20
“Certificate of birth for Thomas Chin, Omaha, Nebraska,” 1919, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Thomas Chin file, Seattle, Box 1068, Case 8715/11-20.

Thomas Chin, the son of Gin Chin [Chin Ah Gin] and Unce Chin was born on 14 December 1919 at 1917 Cass Street, Omaha, Nebraska. The attending physician, C. B. Foltz, M.D. and nurse-midwives, Miss Smith and Miss Unger were from Lord Lister Hospital. [The name of the hospital is not filled out on the certificate so it was probably a home birth.] Thomas’s father was born in California and his mother in China. The birth certificate was used for proof of birth so Thomas could obtain a Certificate of Identity. The family was about to visit China and needed the proper papers so they would be re-admitted on their return to the U.S. Beside Thomas, their younger sons George Chin Gin and Carl Chin were traveling with them.
According to Chin Ah Gin’s statement, in April 1891 the U.S. District Court of San Francisco, California established that Chin Ah Gin’s place of birth was San Francisco. A copy of the court document is included in his Seattle file #2792. By 1909 Chin had made four trips to China. He had to prove his citizenship every time he re-entered the U.S. On his last trip he was admitted at Portal, North Dakota.
Chin Ah Gin and his wife had nine children; three were born in China and six in the United States. Their daughter Fong Yin died in Omaha about 1925. All the children were living in the United States in 1927.

Thomas Chin photo 1927
“Photo of Thomas Chin, Form 430,” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Thomas Chin file, Seattle, Box 1068, Case 8715/11-20.

Thomas Chin and his family returned to Seattle, Washington on the S.S. President Grant on 9 April 1828, were admitted then went home to Omaha, Nebraska. The file does not give any information on how they traveled from Seattle to Omaha.
Chin Ah Gin owned and managed the Mandarin Café at 1409 Douglas Street in Omaha.