Tag Archives: San Francisco

Ng Yat Chin Family Portrait

Ng Yat Chin Portrait 1938
“Portrait of Ng Yat Chin family,“ 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Yat Chin case file, Seattle Box 782, 7030/11868.
Front: Ng Yat Mon, 6; Soon Shee (Ng Yat Chin’s stepmother); Ng Yat Leung, 8; Ng Yat Ming, 10
Back: Ng Sin Fun, 12 (their sister); Ng Yat Sing, 13; Ng Yat Chin, 18; Ng Yat Nom, 16; Ng Yat Hen, 15 (children of Soo Quon); Ng Yat Dong, 25 (not in photo) [ages per Chinese reckoning]
Ng Yat Chin was 16 years old when he arrived at the Port of Seattle on 11 February 1939. He was a student and admitted as a U.S. citizen, the son of a native Ng Ah Wo. His father was a Hawaiian-born U.S. citizen whose file #359-G was sent to Immigration in Seattle for their review. As the interrogation started Ng Yat Chin was reminded that it was his burden to prove that he was not subject to exclusion under any provision of the immigration and Chinese Exclusion laws, therefore having the right to enter the United States.
Ng Yat Chin was born on 12 June 1922 in Nom Chin, Lung Do section, Heung San district, China. Nom Chin was a large village with about 500 houses. Ng Yat Chin gave a very detailed description of the layout of the village and his family home. He was asked to describe his father’s double house and produce a diagram of the floor plan.
[At this point it was noted in the transcript of the interrogation that Interpreter Jick Chan replaced Interpreter Fung Ming.]
Ng Yat Chin’s father and brother also testified on his behalf. The interrogators compared a map of the house and courtyard drawn by Ng Yat Dong when he was admitted to the U.S. in November 1938 with the map Ng Yat Chin had drawn during his interrogation. The two brothers both belonged to the Boy Scouts when they lived in Nom Chin.
Ng Ah Wo was born in Hawaii and lived there until he moved to San Francisco in 1905. His citizenship status was accepted by Immigration Service on the many trips he made from the U.S. to China and back over the years.
Ng Yat Chin and his family moved to Hong Kong in 1938. His father operated Canton Noodle Company and the family lived on the third floor above the factory.
After thirty pages of interrogations and re-examinations of Ng Yat Chin, his father and brother, and in spite of minor discrepancies, Ng Yat Chin was admitted to enter the United States in March 1939.

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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.

 

Jeong Sing & Jeong Dong – damming evidence found in orange

Photo Jeong Kew Family
“Jeong Kew Family Portrait,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Jeong Sing and Jeong Dong case files, Seattle Box 774, 7030/11576 & 11575.

Photo: Daughter-in-law of Jeong Kew (wife of Jeong Wah), Jeong Sing (in her lap), wife of Jeong Kew, servant, Jeong Kew (father) holding Jeong Dong, and Jeong Wah (oldest son of Jeong Kew). [This portrait is 9 1/4″ by 15 1/2″ and was folded in half to fit into the file. It has been sent out for repairs.]

In a 1939 affidavit sworn by Park Johnston, an employee of the Michigan Trust Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, he stated that he had a long acquaintance with Jeong Kew, sometimes known as Charlie Chan, owner and operator of a restaurant at 347 Division Ave South in Grand Rapids. He knew that Jeong Kew was seeking admission to the United States for his two sons, Jeong Dong, age 18, and Jeong Sing, age 17. Since Park Johnston was not personally acquainted with the people in the photograph Jeong Kew identified them for him. Johnston swore to this in his affidavit. [He did not appear to be very well acquainted with the Jeong family.]

Jeong Sing and Jeong Dong arrived in Seattle on 17 October 1938. Their cases were denied, appealed and dismissed. They were deported on 4 August 1939. Their files contain two affidavits by acquaintances, two letters of recommendation, eight exhibits (maps, photographs, and letters) affidavits by Jeong Kew with photos of him and his sons, and information from three San Francisco files and two Seattle files. There are over 150 pages of interrogations.
The most damming information in the file was a “coaching letter” written in Chinese that a guard found stuffed into an orange and left in the guard’s office.

Jeong Dong Sing translation

E. S. Krause, Senior Guard, said this about finding the orange:

Letter from guard about the orange

Many pages of the interrogations were devoted to discrepancies in witness statements, such as: who was the older of the two brothers, location of toilets in their village, if they had ever slept in the school house, if there was a servant girl staying in the family home, the number of rooms and outside windows in the school house, where the school was located, the material the family store was built from, where the applicants got their hair cut, when the applicants quit school, if there was a photo of their father hanging in the family home, and if their brother Jeong Wah smoked cigarettes.
The coaching letter and the numerous discrepancies were enough to have Jeong Dong and Jeong Sing deported.

Walter Jesse Way – Survivor of 1906 SF Earthquake & Fire, World War I Vet & Statistician at Chrysler

In 1938 Walter Jesse Way submitted an application for Form 430, “Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status.” This document when approved would verify that he was a United States citizen and permit him “to reenter the United States unless pending such return it has been found that his claim is false.”
Walter Jesse Way (Gee Chew Suey), son of Charles Way and Susie Tong Way, was born in San Francisco on 19 March 1896. He had just turned ten when the San Francisco earthquake and fire occurred in April 1906. His father, a Chinese Interpreter, had recently taken a job in Toledo, Ohio, and the rest of the family hadn’t yet had a chance to join him there.
Transcripts of newspaper articles from the Toledo Blade from April and May 1906 are included in the file. They describe the aftermath of the earthquake and fire for Mrs. Way and her three children and the anxiety felt by husband until he found out his family was safe. The final article written after the family was reunited in Toledo states, “The Ways have the unique distinction of being the only Chinese family in Toledo.”

Newspaper article 1906
“Newspaper Articles on Charlie Way Family,” 1906, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Way Walter Jesse case file, Seattle Box 773, 7030/11561.

Since Walter’s birth certificate was destroyed in the earthquake and fire, he wanted to establish his U.S. citizenship. In 1930 his parents swore in an affidavit that Walter was born in 19 March 1896 in San Francisco. Walter also presented his United States army discharge papers. He served from 18 September 1917 to 15 February 1919, part of the time in France; service number 1936275, Company C, 329th Infantry, 83rd Division. His discharge was recorded in the Lucas County Court House, Toledo, Ohio. The Immigration Inspector, John W. Hazard, reviewed a letter signed by Captain Robert F. Callaway of American Expeditionary Forces stating that Walter was entitled to wear a single war service chevron. Walter also had a letter from the Veteran’s Administration showing that his life insurance had been reinstated.
Walter J. Way held various jobs until he started working for the Chrysler Corporation in 1926. In 1938 he was a technical statistician in the Experimental Department at Chrysler and living in Highland Park, Michigan with his wife, Ru Bee One. She was a singer and traveled with her job.
Walter’s Form 430 was approved. The most current document in the file is a 1939 letter saying Walter Jesse Way had not yet traveled outside the United States.

List of documents in file for Nelson Wah Chan King

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:

Documents listed in file
“List of documents in file for Nelson Wah Chan King” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, King Wash Chan Nelson case file, Seattle Box 767, 7030/11344.

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.]

Won Suey Yuan – Certificate of Identification stolen – The Dalles Farmer

Won Suey Yuan Sheriff letter
“Letter from the Sheriff of Wasco County, The Dalles, Oregon,” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Won Suey Yuan case file, Seattle Box 1367, 40718/12-28.

On 24 September 1938 the home of Won Suey Yuan, a farmer in The Dalles, Oregon since 1923, was broken into and his Certificate of Identity was stolen. Won immediately filed a claim with Harold Sexton, the Sheriff of Waco County in The Dalles and reported it to Immigration Inspector Howard P. Swetland, Portland, Oregon. The sheriff visited the scene of the robbery, believed the claim was legitimate and filed a report. Won testified that on the evening 24 September 1938 between six and eight, he took his son, Won Loy Duck, to town for a haircut. Upon their return he saw that someone had entered the house by cutting the screen in the back door. The house had been ransacked but the thief only took a black tin box which contained Won’s valuables– his Certificate of Identity, a New York Life insurance policy and a gold nugget watch charm. The certificate was by far the most valuable item in the box. Without it Won could not travel outside the U.S. and could be deported if he could not prove his right to be in the United States. The investigator asked Won Suey Yuan if he thought the robber specifically wanted his certificate. Won was the only Chinese person within eight or nine miles of his house so he did not think the robber was Chinese or that he wanted his Certificate of Identity or would know how valuable it was to a Chinese person. Shortly after the robbery Won had a friend, Ralph Welborn, notify the Seattle Immigration office of the incident.
When Won Suey Yuan applied for a duplicate certificate his case files were thoroughly investigated. He did not have a problem getting a replacement certificate but it created a great deal of paper work.
Won originally entered the United States through San Francisco in 1907 and that file, number 19768/12-7, was reviewed. It confirmed that he received his original certificate on 20 December 1920. Won Suey Yuan’s file showed that he had made several trips to China since his original entry at San Francisco as the son of U. S. citizen. His San Francisco file lists his father’s name, Won (Woon) Tong Wing, file 17472/20-8, and the San Francisco file numbers for three of his six brothers. Won also made a trip to China in 1921 departing and re-entering through Seattle and that created a Seattle file, number 35100/4302.
Won Suey Yuan’s marriage name was Won Suey Hop (Hock). He was born in Wun Bin Village, Sun Ning District, China on 28 March 1895. He and his wife, Seid Shee, had three sons, Wong Loy Duck (file 7030/4513), living in Portland or Salem, Oregon; Won Loy Sing (file 7030/12118), in the process of coming to the United States in 1939; and Won Lum Bing, in China.
On 29 August 1939 Won Suey Yuan was issued Certificate of Identity No. 80068 in lieu of his lost certificate No. 32415.

1911 Reference Letter for Lew Wa Hoo, Seattle

Letterhead from Puget Sound Mills & Lumber Co
“Letterhead from Puget Sound Mills & Lumber Co.,” 1911, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lew Wa Hoo case file, Seattle Box 1226, 35100/5245.

Harold N. Smith of Puget Sound Mills & Lumber Co., manufacturers of red cedar, spruce & fur lumber and red cedar shingles, wrote to the Chief Inspector of Immigration Bureau in Seattle on 29 August 1911 in reference to Lew Wa Hoo. Mr. Smith, formerly an exchange teller for the National Bank of Commerce of Seattle, was a witness for Lew Wa Hoo’s application before he left for China four years earlier. Smith had known Lew for over fifteen years and had many positive business dealings with him. Lew sent a letter to Smith from Hong Kong informing him that he would be returning to Seattle soon. Smith then wrote to the Chief Inspector to assure that Lew’s re-entry into the United States went smoothly without any unnecessary delays. Lew was a merchant and treasurer of Wa Hing Company at 214 Washington Street in Seattle.
In 1911 Lew Wa Hoo was 45 years old and married with the marriage name of Lew Jung Hen. He first entered the U.S. through San Francisco in about 1881. By 1911 he had already made four trips back to China. He was registered under the name Sing Wa and was a member of the Sing (Sun) Wo Co. in Olympia, Washington before moving to Seattle and becoming a partner of Wa Hing Company. He and his wife, Gong Shee, had five children in China—three sons and two daughters. The children were attending school in their village at Bok Suk, Sun Ning District. Gong Shee or the children had not been to the United States.
When Lew Wa Hoo applied to visit China in 1901 his witnesses were Fred Wilhelm, a carpenter who owned the building occupied by Wa Hing Company; G. Wyatt Upper, teller at Commercial National Bank; and Lew King, manager of Wa Hing Company. According to Thomas M. Fisher, Chinese Inspector, the firm had a fixed location with a good stock of merchandise and the witnesses were reputable.
By 1922 Lew Wa Hoo was the manager of Wah Hing Company. Two of his sons had visited the United States and were back in China. One of his daughters was living in the U.S. and the other was still in China. Lew Wa Hoo’s paper work was in order and he was admitted to the U.S. without any problems or delays after every trip to China. There is no more information in the file after 1922.