Ng Chuen Yong (吳春容) was twelve years old in July 1939. She passed a medical examination in Hong Kong before boarding the Princess Marguerite for her return trip to the United States.
Nl [Normal] Chinese Girl, inoculated against Cholera. Signed V. N. Atienza
Ten years earlier she and her mother, two brothers, Ng Chuck Sang and Ng Jack Sang, and sister, Ng Chuen Moy had left from the port of Seattle to return to their home village of Nom Yung in Hoy Ping District, China. There were only two houses in the village and they were next door to her mother’s parents. Her mother and brother, Jit [Jack] Sang traveled back to the United States about 1931; her brother Chuck Sang returned around 1937. Her sister stayed in China and was going to school in Hong Kong.
Ng Chuen Yong’s mother, Lee Lon, was born in China and was admitted to the U.S. at the port of San Francisco, California in 1923 as the daughter of a merchant. Her husband, Ng Ong Jen, was born in San Francisco. They were married in July 1924 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a waiter there at the Paris Inn Restaurant. Their children were all born in Pennsylvania. The United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census issued a “Notification of Birth Registration” for Ng Chuen Yong saying she was born on 31 August 1927 at Ellwood City, Pa. The document was signed by Dr. Theodore B. Appel, Harrisburg, Pa.
In 1912 Gin Mon Louie was applying to visit China. His witness, Willard A. Norse, testified that he was 50 years old and living at 1902 Yesler Way and was in the hotel business. He owned two hotels– at 114-1/2 2nd South and 122 2nd South in Seattle. For the past five years M. Hee Woo (He Wo), a Chinese doctor, rented five rooms at the hotel on 122 2nd South. Dr. Woo was Gin Mon Louie’s employer and when Woo visited China in early 1912, Gin Mon Louie took over the business for him until his return. Then it was Gin Mon Louie’s turn to visit China.
F. T. Carlton, a druggist, age 52, living a 1942 10th Avenue West in Seattle, also testified for Gin Mon Louie in 1912. They were both druggists in the same building and saw each other four or five times a day. Carlton knew that Gin Mon Louie was going to China to get married.
Gin Mon Louie application was approved. He visited China, married, returned in September 1913 and received his Certificate of Identity #12747.
When Gin Mon Louie applied to visit China in 1921 his witnesses were Dr. J. E. Godfrey and Axel Hedberg. Godfrey was a physician and surgeon residing at 103 Second Avenue South. He had lived in Seattle since 1914. He knew about a couple dozen Chinese and named Dr. Louie, Quon Foy, Chin Him and Tom Leong as examples. He stated that Gin Mon Louie was a Chinese herb doctor, not a regular licensed physician, but a sanipractor [drugless-healer/naturopathic doctor]. Dr. Lamb was his partner. Godfrey and Gin Mon Louie were friends and saw each other about once a month.
Gin Mon Louie’s other witness, Alex Hedberg, was the newspaper publisher for the Swedish Tribune and lived at 44 Rose Avenue in Sunnyside. Hedberg did not know many Chinese but was acquainted with Gin Mon Louie because Louie advertised in his newspaper. He went to Gin Mon Louie’s office monthly to collect the five dollars owed him for the ads.
Charles E. Keagy, Immigrant Inspector, visited Dr. Louie at his office and obtained a copy of M. Hee Wo (Hee Woo) Company’s income tax report for 1920. He recommended that Gin Mon Louie’s application to visit China and return as a merchant be approved.
In 1924 Gin Mon Louie made another trip to China. Godfrey and Hedberg were his witnesses again.
Gin Mon Louie visited China again in 1934 and returned in 1937. The interrogators asked him about his interactions in China with Chinese who were residents of the United States: Did he visit with anyone in his village that was from the U.S? Did he attend a wedding of anyone from the U.S.? Did he arrange to appear as a witness for a prospective applicant for admission to the U.S.? Louie answered no to all these questions and there were not follow-up questions.
The Examining Inspector, Roy C. Matterson, reviewed information from when Gin Mon Louie originally came into the United States. He was first admitted at San Francisco as a student in 1904 and was sometimes known as Jin Mon Yuey. Immigration listed him as Chan Man Yai but Gin Mon Louie thought it was either misspelled or mispronounced. Matterson updated Gin Mon Louie’s family information. His marriage name was Jin Lip Moon. He was married to Yee Shee and they had two sons, Jin Ok Jung and Jin Hing Lok; all living in China.
Bruce Lee (Lee Jun Fon) was born on 27 November 1940 in San Francisco, California. In order to establish his son’s right to his United States citizenship and before the family returned to China in April 1941, his father, Lee Hoi Chuen, filed a Citizen’s Return Certificate on his son’s behalf. This would document his son’s birth, his American citizenship and enable him to return to reside in the United States at a later date. His father was an actor at the Mandarin Theatre in San Francisco; he was 27 years old and was born in Fat San City, Nom Hoy, China. He testified that he and his wife, Ho Oi Yee, were married ten years and had four living children—one son died in Hong Kong and one daughter was adopted. Ho Oi Yee’s mother was English. Lee Jun Fon (Bruce Lee) was the only child born in the United States. The doctor gave Bruce Lee his American name. His father couldn’t pronounce it but went along with it.
A copy of Bruce Lee’s birth certificate and a corrected copy are included in the file. In the original document, Item 3B stated that his mother’s usual residence was China. This was corrected to say that she had been a resident of California for one year, two months.
[Bruce Lee returned to the United States at age 18 and attended the University of Washington in Seattle for three years. He became a celebrated actor and martial artist. Lee died of a brain edema on 20 July 20 1973 in Hong Kong and buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle, WA.]
Gee G. Baine was studying law at Suffolk Law School, Boston, Massachusetts in 1916 when he applied for pre-investigation of status so he could visit China.
After a careful investigation Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration in Boston approved Gee’s application. White agreed with Inspector McCabe saying that the application “requires a liberal interpretation of the law to approve this application…”
“The applicant was lawfully admitted to the country and so far as developed has maintained an exempt status during the last past year. He thus has met the requirement of rule 15. True, in years gone by, he was a laborer within the meaning of the law, and at times might have been arrested on the charge of being unlawfully with the United States. It is doubted, however, that because of his doings at that time he should now be denied the right to visit his home county.”
Gee G. Baine originally entered the U.S. under the name Gee Quock Bin in San Francisco in June 1896. He lived with his uncle Dr. Gee in New York City, before moving to New Brunswick, New Jersey where he was tutored by a private teacher. He attended several schools over the years: the Thirteenth Street School In New York City, School #11 in Brooklyn, Horace Mann School in Newtonville, Massachusetts; a public school in New York City, and Berkeley Preparatory School in Boston. He was sick with pneumonia one winter then went to Boston where he worked for Mr. Monerly as a chauffeur. When his uncle Dr. Gee returned to China he gave Gee a partnership interest in the Royal Restaurant in Boston. Before Gee was accepted to law school he sometimes worked at the restaurant.
Gleason L. Archer, an attorney, the Dean and founder of the Suffolk Law School in Boston, swore in a statement that Gee Baine had been a student since August 1915 and attended classes three evening a week. He had a good attendance record and good grades having completed courses in contracts, criminal law, torts, agency, legal ethics, and real property. His personal history record showed that his references were Joseph F. O’Connell and Dr. C. H. Thomas of Cambridge.
Edgar S. Monroe, an optometrist in Boston, testified that he had known Gee about twelve years and he had seen him studying law for the last year or two. Monroe did not have personal knowledge that Gee had not worked as a laborer in a restaurant or laundry in the last year but he felt that Gee was worthy and always a gentleman—one that he would not feel ashamed to associate with in any society.
George A. Douglas, an attorney and instructor at Suffolk Law School, attested that he had known Gee since 1915 as a student in his classes in criminal law and agency. Gee attended classes faithfully. Although Douglas could not swear that Gee had not done any manual labor in the last year he knew that his attendance at school and the time needed for studying must have kept Gee extremely busy.
Gee testified that he arrived in 1896 when he was twelve years old and was admitted as a section 6 student. In the past year his only work for the Royal Restaurant was as an interpreter for the business.
In Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration’s letter approving Gee’s application he refers to Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 of the Chinese Exclusion Act. See Rule 15 (b)1 below:
[The interviewers overlooked the fact that over the years Gee had sometimes found it necessary to work as a laborer. Because he was in the U.S. as a student he could have been deported if this became known to the authorities. The interviewers decided to concentrate on Gee’s previous year. It appeared that he was a full time student and was only associated with the restaurant in a managerial capacity.] [Although Gee’s application was approved there is no indication in the file that he ever left the country.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
E. S. Krause, Senior Guard, said this about finding 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.