Tag Archives: San Francisco

Lee Quong On –1901 Discharge Papers

“Lee Quong On, Discharge Papers,” 1901
“Lee Quong On, Discharge Papers,” 1901, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Quong On case file, Seattle Box 823, file 7030/13484.

This file contains documents and photos of Lee Quong On from 1901 to 1941. Lee was born in San Francisco on or about 20 June 1879. He and his parents returned to his parents’ village in China when Lee was about seven years old. In 1898 Lee married Wong She in Chu Ging village, Sun Ning district. They had one child, a son, Lee Or Yuen, born in 1900.

In early 1901 Lee Quong On left China. He arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; then took a train to Montreal, Quebec and made his way to Burke, Franklin County, New York. He was immediately arrested. On 15 March 1901, he was brought before Hon. William V. S. Woodward, U.S. Commissioner of Plattsburgh, N. Y. and charged with unlawfully being in the U.S. A trial was held. He and three witness: Chin Sing, Chin Dan and Tsao Dong, testified in his favor. The evidence was considered, the charges were cleared, and Lee was released. He received his discharge certificate with his photograph attached in August 1901 at Port Henry, New York from Fred W. Dudley, a United States Commissioner, Northern District of New York.

When Lee Quong On applied to go to China in 1908, he swore in an affidavit that he was born in the United States to Chinese parents, went to China with his parents at a young age, and returned in 1901. He told how he was arrested at Rouse’s Point, New York in 1901 and taken to jail at Plattsburgh, New York but eventually was released and given his discharge certificate. His 1908 departure was approved, and a current photograph of him was attached to his affidavit. He left for China through the Port of Richford, Vermont.

Lee returned through Vancouver, British Columbia in August 1911. He was 32 years old, marriage name of Lee Doon Po, a laundryman, and living in Boston, Massachusetts. Lee exchanged is discharge certificate for a certificate of identity.

“Affidavit Photo of Lee Quong On,“ 1916
“Affidavit Photo of Lee Quong On,“ 1916

Lee’s next visit to China was in 1916. By this time, he was a merchant but still living in Boston. Charles V. Slane was a witness for him. Lee was issued United States passport #2220 before he left the U.S.

Affidavit Photos of Lee Quong On & Chin Hong Ark,” 1940
“Affidavit Photos of  Chin Hong Ark & Lee Quong On,” 1940

In 1940, Lee wanted to return to the United States. He was a merchant at the Ow Sang Market but because of the war with Japan, the market was being disturbed by the Japanese bombers. He felt it was dangerous to stay there. His Boston attorney, John G. Sullivan, wrote to the Director of Immigration in Seattle to make sure Lee’s papers were in order. Lee’s passport had expired many years ago. Chin Hong Ark, also known as Chin Ming, swore in an affidavit, that Lee Quong On, aged 60 years, was a U.S. citizen. Photos of Chin Hong Ark and Lee Quong On were attached to his affidavit. When Lee left for China in 1916 he left his discharge papers and his certificate of identity at the Seattle Immigration office. They were both in his file.
Lee Quong On was admitted to the United States at Seattle on 3 February 1941.

Chin Yick Thlew – Bellingham, Washington

 

Chin Yick Thlew Affidavit 1940
Affidavit photos of Chin Yick Thlew and Chin Yock Can,“ 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Yick Thlew case file, Seattle Box 823, file 7030/13465.

Chin Yick Thlew, 陳溢秀, age 15, took the long journey from China alone on the Princess Marguerite, arriving at the Port of Seattle on 11 January 1941. She would be living with her parents, Chin Yock Can 陳煜芹 and Dong Shee, at 1211 Cornwell Avenue, Bellingham, Washington. Her father was the son of Chin Tong, an American born citizen. Their older son was living in Lung Hing Village, Look Toon Section, Hoy San District, China, with his grandparents. Their son, Chin Yick Goon, and daughter, Fee Lon, and two younger children were living with them in Bellingham.

Yick Thlew’s file contains a long letter she wrote to her parents. The original letter is in Chinese and a translation is included. She wanted her parents to know that she missed them; that her education was extremely important to her; she told them several time she was not ready to get married; and she wanted to join them in the United States. She signed her letter, “I am, your little daughter.” (The translation was made by the Young China Morning Newspaper in San Francisco.)

Chin Yick Thlew was admitted in spite of the District Director of Seattle Immigration, R. P. Bonham’s claim that there was some unsatisfactory testimony. Several of the family members changed their interview answers so that everyone’s story agreed. Their attorney, Henry A. Monroe, explained that the parents were afraid that if their testimony did not agree completely with their daughter’s, she would be sent back to China. Chin Yick Thlew was held in detention for almost five weeks. She mis-identified a family member in one of the photographs presented during the interrogation. Everyone involved was questioned over and over. The parents were distraught and decided that whatever their daughter said they would agree with it in their testimony. Finally, Monroe who had been working with Chinese immigrants for thirty-five years, stepped in. He got everyone to tell the truth and straightened out all the misunderstandings. There were over thirty pages of interrogations from Chin Yick Thlew, her father, mother, and her brother, Chin Yick Guoon/Goon. Files for her father, mother, grandfather, two great uncles, three uncles, a brother and a sister were reviewed.

Chin Yick Thlew was admitted on 19 February 1940.

Photos  included  in  the  file.

Ng Toy Sun – Age 11, Shoes left at Immigration Center forwarded to Cincinnati, OH

Ng Toy Sun and Ng Ah Pang
“Affidavit Photos of Ng Toy Sun and Ng Ah Pang” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Toy Sun (Sin) case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13428.
Ng Toy Sun, 伍彩新 age 11, arrived, unaccompanied, at the Port of Seattle on 2 January 1941 and was classified as the son of a citizen. He was born on 10 Feb 1930 in Ai Ong Village, Pang Sa Hon Section, Hoy San District, China. His father, Ng Ah Pang, was born in San Francisco, California on 28 May 1882.

His brother Ng Way Sin (Seattle file 7030/219) applied for admission to the U.S. on 16 July 1930 but was excluded. He appealed his case but died at Columbus Hospital [at 10th & Madison in Seattle], just before the Bureau received a telegram approving his admission. His other brothers, Ng Goon Sin 伍源新 and Ng Jin Sin were admitted in 1935.

Ng Toy Sun was interviewed in Seattle and his father, Ng Ah Pang, 伍亞彭 and brother, Ng Goon Sin were interviewed in Cincinnati, Ohio. They each made sketches of their village; the maps were compared and were alike.

Some of the questions asked during the interviews were: Does your mother have scars or marks on her face? How many persons keep water buffalos? Does anyone keep pigs? Does your village have gates? Who looks after the fish in the fish pond? Where are the toilets located? What is the name of your ancestral hall? What clans live in the nearby village of Gew Toon? Where does your family obtain water? Does your mother have a vegetable garden? Is there a clock in your house? Describe your village. Is there a hill near your village? Does the house in front of your house touch your house? Describe your house.

Only small discrepancies between the interviews were found. One difference was if there was a clock in their home. The interviewers decided the differences were not big enough to be important. Ng Toy Sun was admitted twenty-eight days after his arrival. The file does not tell us how the eleven-year old boy traveled to Cincinnati to be with his family.

Two weeks after Ng Toy Sun was admitted, E. Alexander, a guard at the Immigration Center in Seattle, found a pair of shoes belonging to Ng Toy Sun in the baggage room on the 3rd floor. He asked that they be sent to Ng’s father in Cincinnati. Alexander said they were “good shoes” and he wanted the boy to have them.

Tye Leung Schulze – 1912 – 1st Chinese American woman to vote in U.S.

Tye Leung Schulze NAPAWFNational Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

Tye Leung was born in California in 1887 to a family of Chinese immigrants. At 14, she escaped an arranged marriage in Montana by joining a Presbyterian Mission in San Francisco. There, she learned English and became an interpreter, helping the mission rescue trafficked Chinese women from local brothels.

In 1910 she was hired as a translator at Angel Island Immigration Station; Leung was the first Chinese American to pass the civil service exam and become a government employee. Here, she met Charles Schulze, an immigration inspector, and they fell in love.

Charles Schulze was white. At the time, interracial marriages were illegal in California. They went to Washington state to get legally married, knowing that the intense racism and prejudice from their coworkers would force them to lose their jobs.

To support their family of four children, Tye worked as a night shift telephone operator. Charles was a mechanic and repairman until he died in 1935. She was also the first Chinese woman hired to work at Angel Island. Tye continued to be an interpreter, social worker, and an involved community member in San Francisco’s Chinatown until she died in 1972.

(Shared from Facebook)

Albert Fay Lee –Member of Wah Kue Basketball team in San Francisco


Lee Yuen Fay 李遠輝 (Albert Fay Lee) was nineteen years old and living in San Francisco when he applied to U.S. Immigration to go to Canada via Seattle in 1941. The purpose of his trip was to play basketball with the Wah Kue Basketball team. He was five foot, seven inches tall. Lee Yuen Fay presented his birth certificate showing that he was born in San Francisco on 10 May 1921 to Lee Koon 李坤 and Yep Shee (Yep Nguey Haw). His mother (SF file 19034/15-13) came to the United States in April 1920 and was admitted as the wife of a merchant. His father arrived in July 1912 (SF file 11120/254). Because his mother suffered from car sickness, H. Schmoldt, Immigrant Inspector, arranged to take her testimony at her home.
Yep Shee testified that she was fifty years old and born at Goon Doo Hong Village, Sunning District, China. She presented her Certificate of identity #30369. Albert had been touring with the basketball team for three or four months and his mother showed the inspector a post card Albert Fay sent to his brother Victor. It said, “Hi Vic: Play here tonite in the Corn Place. Feeling fine and enjoying good weather. Fay.” The card had a picture of Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota and was returned to Yep Shee. She showed the inspector the birth certificates for her other children: Lee Yuen Hay (Victor Lee), born 23 October 1922; Lee Haw (Etta Lee), born 18 October 1924; and Yee Yuen Min (Daniel Lee), born 27 August 1925. Dr. E. C. Lafontaine (female) attended the births of the children.

Snapshot of Victor, Etta and Fay, ca. 1925

A framed certificate hanging on the wall read, “School Traffic Patrol…this is to certify that Lee Yuen Fay as a member of the School Traffic Patrol of Commodore Stockton School has rendered distinctive service… 19 May 1933…(signed) Anna F. Crough Livell, Principal; J. M. Gwinn, Wm. J. Quinn, B. J. Getchell, and C. C. Cottrel.
Albert’s father, Lee Koon (other names: Lee Chung Mee and Lee Bing Koon) testified that he was fifty years old and born at Lew Long Village, Sunning District. He showed the interviewer the alien registration cards for himself and his wife. He had a brother, Lee Chew (Lee Chung Yee) living at Long Island, New York.
Lee Yuen Fay Albert play basketball in Canada with his teammates and returned to San Francisco by car through Blaine, Washington in April 1941.

Etta, Yep Shee (mother), Victor, Daniel, Lee Koon (father), and Lee Yuen Fay Albert
The group photograph was taken at May’s Studio, 770 Sacramento St., San Francisco, ca. 1925

“Lee Yuen Fay Birth Certificate,” 1921; “Snapshot of Victor, Etta and Fay, ca. 1925; Family Portrait, ca. 1925,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Yuan/Yuen Fay case file, Seattle Box 821, file# 7030/13396.

Chun Kim Shee – photos of Chun, his father, witnesses, and with his mother in China

In May 1913, Chun Kim Shee’s father, Chung Seung, applied for admission to the United States at San Francisco, as the son of Chun Poy, a U.S. citizen born in Los Angeles, California. Two years later he returned to China, married, and a son, Chun Kim Shee, was born on 23 April 1917 in Chew Gong, Sun Ning.
Chun Kim Shee Father aff 1939
Chun Seung swore in a November 1939 affidavit that he was a Section 1993 U.S. Revised Statutes citizen** and by virtue of the provision his son was also a citizen of the United States. The affidavit contained photos of Chun Seung and his son.
Chun Kim Shee M143 1940
Chun Kim Shee 陳錦樹 (married name Chun/Chin Yee Seung) arrived in Seattle on 26 August 1940 and was admitted three and one-half months later as the son of Chun Seung, a citizen. Chun Kim Shee was twenty-three years old, a student, and married to Lim Toy May. They had no children. His destination was Bakersfield, California. He had a tattoo in a Chinese character meaning “peace” 和平 on his back, left forearm. In Chun Kim Shee’s six-page interview he described his home village in great detail; his mother, Lee Shee; and his father’s extended family,
[The interviewer’s language was often intimidating: “describe the house where you claim you have always lived;” and “describe your alleged blood father”]

Chun Seung, Chung Kim Shee’s father, testified that his married name was Gwok Shew; and he was born at Gong Village, Toy San District, China. He lost his Certificate of Identity in San Antonio in 1932. It was locked in the safe at Wah Lee Restaurant when the company went broke and shut down. He never got his certificate back. His father and mother, Chun Poy and Pang Shee, were both 69 years old in 1940 and living in their home village in China. Chung Seung presented two photographs to Immigration: one of his son at about age 4 or 5 with his mother, Lee Shee; and a photo of the applicant when he was about 16 years old.
Chun Kim Shee young

 

Witnesses for Chun Kim Shee in December 1940 were Jew Ning Fook of Bakersfield,California and Fong Tai Yuey/Yui of San Antonio, Texas .Fong Tai YueyJew Lin Fook

“Photo of Chun Kim Shee and his mother,” ca. 1921; “Affidavit Photos and Witnesses photos,” 1939-40; “M143 photo of Chun Kim Shee,” 1940;  Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chun Kim Shee case file, Seattle Box 815, file 7030/13212.

Fong Tai Yuey (marriage name Fong Hong Dot) was born in Leung Boy, China in 1909 and he first entered the U.S. in 1929. He was known as Frank at the Alamo Grocery and Market in San Antonio and owned one-fourth of the store. In his interview he correctly identified the photos of Fong Ging Pawn, Fong Tai Dee, Dong Tai Jung, Chun Seung, Chun Lim, Chun Fat, and Chun Poy from their San Francisco files. Fong Tai Yuey had a Seattle file and a San Francisco file.

Jew Ning/Lin Fook who had a San Pedro file gave testimony and the record was forwarded to the Immigration Office in San Antonio, Texas.
In late November 1940 Chun Kim Shee, the applicant, was sent to Seattle Marine Hospital for examination and treatment. He was suffering from severe pain in his stomach. There is no mention of his diagnosis, but he was finally admitted on 18 December 1940.

** Section 1993 of the Revised Statutes, as originally enacted, applies to children born abroad to U.S. citizens prior to May 24, 1934, and states that:
The amended section 1993 (48 Stat. 797), went into effect on May 24, 1934, at noon eastern standard time.  It stated that:  Any child hereafter born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such child is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States; but the rights of citizenship shall not descend to any such child unless the citizen father or citizen mother, as the case may be, has resided in the United States previous to the birth of such child.  In cases where one of the parents is an alien, the right of citizenship shall not descend unless the child comes to the United States and resides therein for at least five years continuously immediately previous to his eighteenth birthday, and unless, within six months after the child’s twenty-first birthday, he or she shall take an oath of allegiance to the United States of America as prescribed by the Bureau of Naturalization.

Nelson Wah Chan King – Tie-in to Gum Moon: A Novel of San Francisco Chinatown by Jeffrey L. Staley

Jeffrey L. Staley recently published a book on his wife’s family. Although the book is fiction it is based on real people and true events. The Chinese Exclusion Act case file published in September 2017 on this blog for Nelson Wah Chan King mentions the Methodist Oriental Home in San Francisco, where Staley’s wife’s grandmother, Mei Chun Lai, was also raised.
The mother of Nelson Wah Chan King, the subject of the blog entry, was Lily Shem. She and her younger sister, May, were both raised at the Methodist Oriental Home. Mei (Maud/Maude) Chun Lai, Jeffrey Staley’s wife’s grandmother, and several other Chinese children including May Shem sang for President Theodore Roosevelt in the White House on November 5, 1908.

Shem May Oriental Home
Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Staley

The children who performed for President Roosevelt were Ruby Tsang, Pearl Tsang, Maud/Maude Lai, May Shem, Lydia Woo, Grace Woo, Ida Woo and Lum Wong. Nine-year-old Lum Wong was the musical director and Maude Lai was his accompanist on the piano. A fund-raising trip across eastern part of the United States was organized by Miss Carrie G. Davis, superintendent of the Oriental Home for Chinese Children and her assistant Mrs. D. S. Street. The home was located at 1918 University Avenue, Berkeley, California. The purpose of the trip was to raise funds to complete a new building to replace the old one which was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Miss Davis thought the new building would cost $35,000.1
1 “Chinese Youngsters to Sing in English,” Salt Lake Telegram, 27 Feb 1909, p 1.


Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Staley.