Tag Archives: Oregon

The Ancestors of Edwin Mah Lee, recently deceased mayor of San Francisco (1952-2017)

Edwin Mah Lee, (李孟賢) the mayor of San Francisco, died unexpectedly on 12 December 2017. He was born on 5 May 1952 in Seattle, Washington, the son of Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching).
[See the many tributes to Edwin Mah Lee on the Internet and in newspapers. The following is a brief summary of some of documents in Chinese Exclusion Act case files for his father, grandfather and great grandfather.]

Lee Gok Suey (Edwin Mah Lee’s father)
In August 1937 Lee Ling Hung swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States and the holder of Certificate of Identity No. 34552 issued when he entered the Port of Seattle on 9 February 1921. He was applying to bring his son, Lee Gok Suey, into the United States.

Lee Gok Suey Lee and Ling Hung AFF 1937
“Affidavit with photos of Lee Gok Suey and Lee Ling Hung,” 1937, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Gok Suey case file, Seattle Box 747, 7030/10684.

Lee Gok Suey arrived in Seattle, Washington on 20 December 1937 on the Princess Marguerite and was admitted four months later after a difficult but successful appeal. He was 17 years old, a student and the son of Lee Ling Hung, a United States citizen and Luey Shee. He was born on 9 May 1921 in Taw Long village, Suey Low Section, Hoy San District, China. Originally Lee Gok Suey was denied admission by a board of special inquiry because he was not able to prove to their satisfaction his relationship to his father.
Seattle’s Inspector-in Charge, Joseph H. Gee, re-opened Lee’s case so additional evidence could be obtained. Affidavits from his father, uncle and grandfather were submitted to the board for their review. The applicant’s attorney filed a letter and an affidavit of the applicant’s alleged grandfather, Lee Share Young, and included a photograph with a satisfactory resemblance to Lee Gok Suey. Because of several discrepancies in the witnesses’ testimony the board voted unanimously that Lee not be admitted. His attorney argued that it had been fifteen years since the grandfather had been to China so it was not unusual that his testimony might not completely agree with his two sons who had been to China recently. After more than four months, Lee Gok Suey’s arrival was approved.

Lee Ling Hung (Lee Gok Suey’s father; Edwin Mah Lee’s grandfather)

Lee Ling Hung CI App 1921
“Certificate of Identity Application, Lee Ling Hung,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Hing Hung case file, Seattle Box 433, 7030/719.

Lee Ling Hung first arrived in the United States at Seattle on 21 January 1921 and was admitted as a citizen son of a native. He visited China in 1926 and returned in 1928. During his pre-investigation examination before leaving in 1926 he stated he had one son, Lee Gok Sui, born in 1921. On his return he claimed a second son born while on that trip, Lee Gok Foo. In an application for another trip to China in 1930 he claimed that his second son’s name was Lee Gok Gong and his third son was Lee Gok Foo. Because Lee Ling Hung’s father, Lee Share Young (sometimes spelled Lee Shere Yung)’s citizenship had been granted in 1888 through U. S. District Court discharge papers, Immigrant Inspector Roy M. Porter recommended that Lee Ling Hung’s application for pre-investigation of status be approved. [The confusion over the names of the second and third sons and their dates of birth caused the inspectors to distrust Lee Ling Hung’s testimony and combined with other discrepancies made Lee Gok Suey’s arrival approval so complicated in 1937.]
Before moving to Seattle Lee Ling Hung lived in Portland, Oregon for about six years and he was a baker for Coffman’s Candy Shop at 152 Broadway.

Lee Share Young (Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather; Edwin Mah Lee’s great grandfather)

In March 1938 Lee Share Young (You Yuey, marriage name) testified that he was a bookkeeper at the Quong Tuck Company in Seattle. He was the father of Lee Gim Jeow and Lee Ling Hung and the grandfather of Lee Gok Suey. He was re-examined regarding some of the questions where there was some confusion—were there twelve rows of houses in his village or thirteen? Lee Share Young said, “There are thirteen rows but the first row at the head is not a regular row because there is only a small house and some toilets there.” [It is easy to see how this trivial fact could be confusing.] Lee Share Young’s son sent him a photo of Gok Suey Lee in 1932. The interrogator asked how he could identify his grandson since he had not seen him since he was two years old. He replied, “I have to trust my son who sent me the picture.” There were other discrepancies about the extended family and deceased ancestors, the location of neighbors’ houses in their home village, and the applicant’s school experience. Eventually the board of special inquiry decided that there was enough information where the all the witnesses agreed and they admitted Lee Gok Suey. There were over fifty pages of interrogation. The witnesses were asked about the village, the location of roads, paths, hedges, ponds, shrines, the school, cemetery, stores, and many other minor details. They gave detailed descriptions of the houses, buildings and the people who lived in them. [There were over one hundred houses in their village so this could not have been easy.]

In 1920 Lee Share Young swore in an affidavit that he wanted to bring his son Lee Ling Hung over to the United States. At that time he was a merchant for the Quong Sang Wo Kee Company in Portland, Oregon. He produced his 1888 discharge papers for the interrogators inspection.

Lee Share Yung 1920 Aff
“Lee Share Yung Affidavit with photos of Lee Share Yung and Lee Ling Hung,” 1920, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Yung case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.
Lee Share Yung 1902 Aff
“Lee Share Yung Affidavit,” 1902, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Yung case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.

When Lee Shere [Share] Yung left for a visit to China in 1900 he obtained an affidavit with his photo attached to assure his reentry into the United States. He swore that he was a member of the Wau Yune Lung Kee Company, dealers in Chinese merchandise and provisions doing business at 739 Commercial Street in San Francisco. He had four witnesses: Chas. E. Harris, O. R. Beal, Frank B. Hoyt and Edgar A. Greenblatt. Lee returned on 2 May 1902.

Lee Share Yung Habeas Corpus Petition 1888
“Lee Share Yung, Habeas Corpus Petition,” 1888, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Young case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.
Lee Share Yung Discharge 1888 photo
“Lee Share Yung, Habeas Corpus Judgment Roll, page 2,” 1888, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Share Young case file, Seattle Box 118, 1010/18-8.

Lee Share Young, Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather, was born in San Francisco, California on 7 December 1871 to Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee. His marriage name was Lee Yeow You and he was sometimes known as Lee Yung. He married Toy Shee and they had two sons, Lee Gim, born 14 February 1889 and Lee Ling Hung, born 28 November 1901. Lee Share Yung’s paternal grandparents were Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee. He had an older brother, Lee Seah Fook, living in California. The parents of his wife, Toy Shee, were Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee.

The family of Edwin Mah Lee found in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files:
Parents:
Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching)
Grandparents:
Lee Ling Hung and Luey Shee
Great Grandparents:
Lee Share Young and Toy Shee
G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s parents)
Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee
G G Grandparents: (Toy Shee’s parents)
Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee
G G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s grandparents)
Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee

The Reference Sheets in the files also contains Seattle file numbers for Lee Gok Suey’s cousin, Lee Gwok Ying (7030/13310); uncle, Lee Gim Jeow (7030/4521); Lee Gwock Ying, Lee Gim Jeow’s son, (7030/13310).

For more information see:
Wikipedia
Seattle Times
New York Times

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.

 

Lin Hay (Mrs. Wong Gai Kee) and family, Portland, Oregon

Portrait Wong Gai family
“Wong Gai family portrait” ca. 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, (Chin) Lin Hay (Mrs. Wong Gai Kee) case file, Seattle Box 65, 32/2355.
Family Portrait, ca.1903: Wong Gut Bow (born ca. 1884), Wong Gai Kee, Lin Hay (Mrs. Wong Gai), Gut Fong/Tong (born July 4, 1897) Front: twins: Gut Tung and Louie Hie (born January 1899)
(Chin) Lin Hay was born about 1863 in Gong Ming Village, Sunning District, China and first came to the United State in 1893 landing at Portland, Oregon. She arrived with her son Wong Gut Bow and daughter, Wong Toy Gew.
Wong Gut Bow died in 1903 or 1905 on a ship en route to China. He was married to Lee Shee and they had a baby daughter, Ah Gui.
In May 1907 Mrs. Wong Gai applied for admission as the returning wife of a domiciled merchant, Wong Gai, of the Gai Kee Company of Portland, Oregon. Her status was upheld based the testimony of six credible white witnesses who swore that Wong Gai had been the head of the Gai Kee Company for over twenty-five years and that he was registered by the government as a merchant. The Caucasian witnesses interviewed by John B. Sawyer, Chinese Inspector, were William Bohlander, F. H. Saylor, O.P. S. Plummer, James B. Young, F.M. Anderson and W. R. Kerrigan. They testified that Wong Gai bought and sold vegetables. Mrs. Wong Gai admittance depended of proof of Wong Gai’s status as a merchant. Mr. Sawyer carefully investigated Wong Gai’s place of business. He noted that it looked like a junk shop and did not have much inventory of goods but it had once been a thriving business. And most importantly, Wong Gai did not engage in manual labor. He kept roomers and boarders to supplement his vegetable business. Sawyer reported: “Wong Gai says he will continue producing witnesses so long as the Government is not satisfied with those examined but that no one would be better qualified to testify than those already produced.” Wong Gai kept his status as a merchant.
Mrs. Wong Gai returned with her three children, Gut Fong/Tong (born July 1897) and Gut Tung and Louie Hie (born January 1899). The twins were admitted as returning native born citizens of Portland. Her son Gut Fong/Tong, was born during her temporary visit to China, and was admitted as the minor son of a domiciled merchant. An attempt was made to bring in Ah Wong, a substitute for Mrs. Wong’s deceased son Wong Gut Bow. He was declared an impostor and was deported.

The interrogator asked Mrs. Wong Gai what doctor, White or Chinese, delivered her children. She replied, “I didn’t have any, but just did it myself.”

In 1927 Mrs. Wong Gai Kee (Chin Lin Hay), age 64, was applying for a laborer’s return certificate. Mrs. Wong’s 23-year-old son, Wong Git (Gut) Fong, also known to white people as Nick Wong, testified for his mother. He worked as a waiter at Huber’s Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. The application was given a favorable endorsement.
Other case files listed in connection with the case include files for her husband, Wong Gai; their children and grandchildren.

The Archaeological Site of the Chinese Community, The Dalles, Oregon

Wing Hong Hai Company, Archaeological Preservation Site
Wing Hong Tai Company, Archaeological Preservation Site at 210 East First Street, The Dalles, Oregon                                                                         The site is owned by Eric B. Gleason and Jacqueline Y. Cheung, archaeologists.
Eric and Trish
Eric Gleason showing Trish Hackett Nicola the plans for preserving the Wing Hong Tai Company building.

[In the original documents the company is sometimes referred to as the Wing Hong Tai Company and sometimes the Wing Hong Hai Company.]

photo of owners
The Dalles Wing Hong Tai [Hai] Co Owners
Business owners & residents, ca. 1900-1910: Lee Yuen Hong, Lee Dick, Lee Wing, and Lei On
Exhibits by The Friends of The Dalles Chinatown and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum, 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, OR

The Dalles A Brief History
The Dalles: A Brief History
Sanborn Map
Sanborn Map of Chinatown, The Dalles, OR

The Sanborn map showing the location of the Wing Yuen Company and Chinese lodgings. Photos of Seid family, Wong Sen and Wong Gen Chuey, Lee Ho, Wa Poi, Toui See, Lee Sam, Lee Jeon Kue, Chan Shee, and Lee Tom.

Display of Artifacts
Display of Artifacts from the Marilyn Urness Collection at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum’s display of artifacts from the Marilyn Urness Collection. These artifacts were collected over fifty years and loaned to the museum. For more information see Marilyn Urness’s well-written historically researched and documented book, Chinatown, The Dalles, Oregon 1860-1930

 photos of Lei On and Fook Doo
Exhibit with photos of Lei On and Fook Doo at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
Trish Hackett Nicola at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Moy Gee Hung – Family photos – Boston, MA

Moy Gee Hung Group Photo
“Moy family photos,” ca. 1900,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, (Moy) Gee Hung case file, Seattle RS Box 62, RS 2478.

Photo Exhibit D & E – “taken in Boston” ca. 1900
Exhibit D – Moy Gee Pon (Henry), Moy Sam Sing holding Gee Hung, Moy Yut Gum (Annie)
Exhibit E – Moy Yut Gum (Annie), Moy Gee Hung, Moy Gee Pon (Henry)
In 1901 when he was five years old Moy Gee Hung, his parents, Moy Sam Sing and Kong Jung Chun, and his older sister, Annie, left Boston, Massachusetts and return to his parents’ home village at San How, Sun Ning District, China. His older brother Henry stayed in the U.S. with an uncle. His father didn’t stay in China long and returned to the U.S. to Portland, Oregon. His mother died in February 1906 and in 1909 Moy Gee Hung returned to the U.S. to join his father and brother in The Dalles, Oregon.
The interviews in the file focus on his father’s life. In the 1880s Moy Sam Sing was a merchant at Quong Sang Lung Company and San Sing Company in Boston, Massachusetts. He visited China, married Kong Jung Chun, and bought her back with him to Chicago. They had two children there, Annie Moy (born 1890) and Henry Moy (born 1893). After about five years in Chicago they moved to Washington, D. C. where according to Moy Gee Hung’s birth certificate in the file, he was born on 27 July 1894. Two years later they moved to Boston, Massachusetts.
Moy Sam Sing testified that when he originally came to the U.S. around the 1870s he lived in Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; returned to China (one year); Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; returned to China (about one year); returned with wife to Chicago (6 or 7 years), Washington, D.C. (one year), Boston, returned to China, traveled on East Coast for three months, Tacoma (3 years), Seattle (one year), Vancouver, Washington (one year); The Dalles, Oregon (3 years to 1909).
He applied for naturalization in Atlanta, Georgia (ca. 1883-84) and took out his second papers in Jacksonville, Florida. (ca. 1888). The interrogator asked if he knew at the time that naturalization of Mongolians was forbidden by law. Moy didn’t know but thought if the court was willing to issue the papers to him he would find two citizens to act as witnesses. With the help of Mr. Jones, a lawyer in Boston, Moy Sam Sing applied for and obtained his U.S. passport. He paid a $5 fee.
Much of the nine-page interview of Moy Sam Sing refers to events in his life which did not pertain to his son, Gee Hung. The interrogator was bringing up in great detail old, serious wrongs that Moy Sam Sing had allegedly committed but had not been proven. Moy offered to produce two consuls of China, Moy Back Hin of Portland and Goon Dip of Seattle as sponsors of his credibility.

When Moy Gee Hung arrived in Seattle In September 1909 he was joining his father and brother in The Dalles, Oregon. They were his witnesses. Neither had seen Moy Gee Hung in over ten years when he was five years old. His father, Moy Sam Sing, did not have a good reputation. He was well-known to Immigration Service for suspected perjury, smuggling and other unlawful schemes involving prostitution.
Moy Sam Sing didn’t really know his son very well but he had the proper paper work—a birth certificate, family photos, and the potential backing of two prominent Chinese citizens of Portland. According to the Portland Inspector J. H. Barbour, “I have minutely scrutinized with a magnifying glass exhibits D and E, [the photos] and have compared the alleged presentments thereon with the photograph affixed to Gee Hung’s present papers. I find a considerable resemblance between the two….”
Seid Back Jr., a well-known attorney from Portland, Oregon wrote to Immigration Service in Seattle to let them know that he was representing Moy Gee Hung upon his arrival in the U.S. in 1909.

After considering oral and documentary evidence, Moy Gee Hung was approved for admission to the United States as a native born citizen.
In 1919 Moy Gee Hung was applying to leave the United States for a visit to Canada and had no problem getting his application approved.

Arthur Chin –Pilot in Chinese-Japanese War and WW II Hero

Photo of Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin)
“Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin), Form 430 photo,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin) case file, Portland, Box 102, 1209/614.

[See CEA Blog entry for Virginia Wong on 1 May 2017 for more information on the World War II Chinese combat pilots who trained in Portland, Oregon.]

Arthur Chin (Chin Suey Tin) was born on 22 October 1913 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon, the son of Chin Fon and Eva Wong (Wong Gue Tai). In 1922 at age eight, he visited China with his family. They stayed fourteen months. He attended Atkinson Grammar School and Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland.
He applied to visit China in August 1932 to visit his sick grandmother. In his application he stated he had three sisters: Mildred, Dorothy and Evelyn, and two brothers; Harold and Norman. He left for China in August. A few months later, in November, he enlisted as a fighter pilot for the Chinese Air Force to fight in the Japanese-Chinese war. He became a war hero.
Although Arthur Chin was born in Portland, Oregon, he lost his U.S. citizenship when he joined the Chinese Air Force. He married in China and his two sons were born in Hong Kong. Because of his lost citizenship, his sons, Gilbert and Stephen, were not considered U.S. citizens.
His wife was killed in the war. Major Chin was injured with severe burns and was returned to the United States at Miami, Florida on 25 July 1942 as a war casualty. He was hospitalized for over two years. He was released from the service of the Chinese Air Force on 1 February 1945.
In 1944 his 1922 Certificate of Identification was returned to him. He was repatriated in July 1945 in the U.S. District Court, Portland, Oregon. According to his second wife, Frances, in 1945 Arthur Chin was flying for PanAm Airlines and based in Calcutta, India.
Arthur Chin’s 1945 naturalization #D-376 is mentioned in the file.
[ Much is written about Arthur Chin but his Chinese Exclusion Act case file usually is not mentioned.]

Compelling Letter of Support by Ruby Whang

Excerpt of 1941 letter from Ruby Whang:

Excerpt of letter from Ruby Whang
“Letter of Support by Ruby Whang,” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang, who was in his early 50s or 60s, was arrested in Portland, Oregon in May 1941—he was a Chinese-born laborer without papers. He arrived in the United States as a stowaway about 1918.
Ruby Whang, a 17-year old Korean girl from Gresham, Oregon sent a letter to E. P. Marsh at the U.S. Court House in Portland. The letter was forwarded to Marsh in Washington, D.C. He knew nothing about the case or how Whang got his name. He forwarded to Roy Norene at Immigration in Portland saying the letter “has a very appealing tone…”
There is no information in the file of how it was discovered the Chin was an illegal. He worked on a farm and there is no mention of him getting into trouble.
A letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation “fails to disclose prior arrests or criminal data…” [The letter is signed with the signature stamp of J. E. Hoover.]

J Edgar Hoover Letter
“Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Portland Director of Immigration, 1941” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang was deported.