Tag Archives: San Francisco

Wong Ming Bow – 1897, arrested, held two months, tried, declared U.S. citizen, released

Wong Ming Bow 1897 Discharge papers
“Discharge Papers – Wong Ming Bow,” 1897, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ming Bow case file, Seattle, Box 577, 7030/4947.

Wong Ming Bow was born in San Francisco about 1876. His parents took him back to China when he was four years old. In 1882 while the family was in China the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Wong Ming Bow returned to the United States in 1897 when he was 21 years old. He entered at Malone, New York and was immediately arrested. He did not have the proper papers and could not prove he was a United States citizen. Wong and about nine or ten other Chinese were held in a three-story brick building for about two months. Wong was finally issued his discharge papers by U. S. Commissioner William P. Badger at Malone on 27 July 1897. Unlike most discharge papers, his did not include his photograph. This document was the only proof he had of his citizenship. It was very precious—without it he could be deported.
Wong made trips back to China from Buffalo, New York in 1907 and 1911. Each time his discharge papers were reviewed. The “discharge certificate was sent to Inspector George W. Ketchum at Malone who compared it with the docket and found it genuine. Commissioner Badger identified the signature on the certificate as his own.”
In an interview with Wong on 7 July 1911 he said his father came to get him when he was arrested in 1897. This is the only detail given about the 1897 arrest and it does not mention what documents his father used to prove the Wong was born in San Francisco and a citizen of the United States. Evidently it was enough for the commissioner to issue the discharge papers.
There were several correspondences between Buffalo, Boston and Vancouver, B.C. immigration offices trying to locate the necessary paper work in Wong’s file. On 10 July 1911, the commissioner in Boston wrote to the Inspector in Vancouver, B. C. saying, “the papers in this case can be easily located, no doubt, by reference to the large books entitled “Record of arrivals and disposition of Chinese Persons,” at Malone, which were packed in the box marked M 6, from which the serial number can be ascertained. Inasmuch as the card index at Malone was not started until January 1, 1909, this case cannot be found by reference to that.” [It is not known who underlined these passages.]
In 1913 Wong Ming Bow was issued a certificate of identity No. 10150. It was a sturdy document and much easier and safer to carry around than his discharge papers. Wong’s certificate is not included in the file but to see an example see (Chin) Lin Hing’s certificate .
[There is much more information on Wong Ming Bow and his family in the files. Get more details on next week’s entry.]

Seid Juck Family Portrait – The Dalles, Oregon

Seid Juck Family Portrait
“Seid Juck Family Portrait,” ca. 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seid Quay Fong (Foon) and Fung Shee case file, Portland, Box 31, 4242.

[This undated, unidentified family portrait was included in the file. The people in the photograph are almost identical to other photos in the file: Fung Shee (mother), Seid Quay Foon (daughter), Sher Lun (adopted son), Seid Juck (father), and baby (probably born in 1916-17; not mentioned in the file). The photo was taken about 1917.]
Fung Shee and her daughter, Seid Quay Fong (or Foon), arrived at the port of Seattle, Washington on 3 June 1915 and were admitted four days later. Fung Shee’s husband, Seid Juck, was a merchant and manager of the Wing Yuen Company at 208 First Street in The Dalles, Oregon.
The file tells a complicated story. Seid Juck and his first wife adopted a son, Sher Lun. After Seid Juck’s wife died, his first cousin, Seid Dai, who was visiting in China from The Dalles, arranged for Fung Shee, a widow without children, to live in Seid Juck’s home and take care of Sher Lun. Seid Dai (sometimes referred to as Seid Ah Dai) was a fruit rancher and contractor for laborers for the Seufert Cannery in The Dalles, Oregon.
Fung Shee was thirty-one years old in 1915 and had bound feet. W. F. Watkins, Chinese and Immigrant Inspector in Portland, Oregon, explained the marriage situation in his report to J. H. Barbour, Inspector in Charge. Watkins said that Seid Juck and Fung Shee’s marriage was arranged by Seid Ah Dai and was “consummated by the bride coming to Seid Juck’s home to live.” “… according to Chinese custom, nothing additional in the way of ceremony is necessary when the bride is a widow.” Seid Juck arrived in China in October 1912 about a year after the marriage to Fung Shee took place. He returned to The Dalles in May 1913 with his son Sher Lun. His daughter, Quay Foon, was born four month later in China. Seid Sher Lun, age 11 in 1915, was attending school in The Dalles in Grade 2A in Miss Sebring’s class.
Seid Juck’s marriage name was Seid Sing Gee. He was 52 years old in 1915. Other members of the Wing Yuen Company were Seid Wah My, salesman and buyer; Seid Lup, silent partner; Seid Wah Yim, bookkeeper and salesman; Seid Sui, silent partner; and Seid Sing, silent partner. The company’s annual sales were $5,000.
F. A. Seufert, Jr. was a witness for Seid Juck’s 1912 trip to China. Seufert had known Seid Juck for about 12 or 14 years. He swore that Seid Juck was a bonafide merchant and performed no manual labor except that was necessary in the conduct of his business at the Wing Yuen Company.
Arthur Seufert, age 37, was born in San Francisco and lived in The Dalles, Oregon for 35 years. He was a member of his family’s salmon cannery, Seufert Brothers Company, and swore he knew Seid Juck and his partner, Seid Wah Yim, for several years. The brothers both gave favorable and positive statements for Seid Juck.

There is no information about Fung Shee in the file after 1915. In 1926, a letter in the file states that their daughter, Seid Quay Foon, age 14, applied for and received a Certificate of Identity.

Leong Gain – Positive testimony given by Caucasian Witnesses

Leong Gain 1932 photo
“Leong Gain, Form 430 photo,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong Gain case file, Portland, Box 96, 5017/705.

Leong Gain, son of Leong Poy and Lee Shee, was born on Oak Street in Portland, Oregon on 24 September 1893. When Leong Gain was about five or six years old, his mother returned to China with his baby sister.
Leong Gain visited his family in China in 1912. He received his Certificate of Identity in San Francisco, California upon his re-admission to the United States as a native-born citizen in 1914.
Leong Gain’s most challenging application came in 1917 with his interview for re-entry into the United States. He stated that Mr. Frasier and Billy Fook knew about his birth. The examining inspector, W. F. Watkins, questioned Leong Gain’s honesty because Leong did not mention his sister when he was interviewed in 1912. The 1917 interview went on and on. Recorded on page 3 of the interview, Watkins said, “You mean to say now, do you, that the first knowledge you received of your having a sister was when you returned to China in 1912…?” Leong Gain answered, “That’s correct.” The inspector wanted to know if Gain’s sister was born in Portland or China. Although he thought his sister was born in Portland, Gain explained that he just too young to know the details of his sister’s birth. He would have been 5 or 6 when she and his mother returned to China. (It was probably traumatic to be motherless at that young age.)
Later in the interview, the point of the questioning finally becomes apparent. Watkins said, “Isn’t it true and you and your sister were both born in China?”
The next nine pages of the interview involve witnesses testifying that Leong Gain was born in Portland.
Haw Ah Fook, also known as Billy Fook, was about 64 years old in 1917, when he testified that Leong Gain was born in Portland. He didn’t know Leong Gain as a small child but knew his father, Gong Poy. As far as he knew, Gong Poy lived on the east side of Portland and had a wife and son there. When Watkins pressed him for more information, he said, “Mr. Watkins, I can’t remember those things. I attend to my business and I don’t keep track of the Chinese. I can’t remember those things.” On the third page of Billy Fook’s interview, Watkins asked him if Leong Gain ever told him if he had a brother or sister. Fook replied, “No, never said a dam’ word to me.”
Charles R. Frasier, a merchant at Crescent Paper Company, testified that he had known Leong Gain all his life, since he was born. He was a week or two old when Frasier saw him for the first time. Frasier said he and his parents took an interest in the family. He saw the family frequently until he went away to college. After he got married and opened his own business, Leong Gain and his father would visit his business every few months. At Christmas they would bring Chinese nuts; they never forgot the family on Christmas. Mr. Watkins asked Frasier over and over if he was certain that Leong Gain was born in Portland. Frazier said, “I would gamble my last dollar on it.”
George J. Kadderly worked in the hardware business in Portland. He easily recognized Leong Gain from his photograph. He remembered “this little chap was around in swaddling clothes around on the sidewalk.” He saw Leong Gain off and on over the years on the street or in Chinatown. Whenever he ran into Leong Gain he always said, “Hello, George.”

Because Frasier and Kadderly were well-known, respected White witnesses and their statements were clear cut and positive in Leong Gain’s favor, Inspector Watkins approved the application in spite of some inconsistencies.
Leong Gain made another trip to China in 1923; returning in 1926. During his 1923 interview he presented his Portland draft registration card dated 5 June 1917. He was classified as 1-A but was not called for active military duty because he was under weight.
In October 1932 Leong Gain was applying for his fourth visit to China and was approved. Each time he traveled outside of the United States he went through the whole process of being interviewed and photographed.
There is no more information in the file.

Lee Doo – U. S. Naval Reserve

Lee Doo - U.S. Navy Discharge
“Seal of the War Department, United States of America, Lee Doo,” 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Doo case file, Seattle, Box 1391, 41410/13-17.

Lee Doo, born in San Francisco on 11 November 1892, was the only child of Lee Jing and Ng Shee. His father was in the Chinese drug business. His parents went back to China in 1899 and sent Lee Doo to Chicago to live with his grandfather, Lee Sing Yin. Four years later his grandfather went back to China and Lee Doo went to live at Wa Chung Sing Company with his grandfather’s brother, Lee King.
Lee Doo registered for the draft in Chicago on 5 June 1917. He received classification certificate order #4155, serial #4469 and was classified as 1-a. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force as a ward room cook. He did his training at Great Lakes, Illinois then served on the ship Yantic. He went to France twice, once on the ship Lancaster. After he was honorably discharged in 1920 he moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he worked at the Mandarin Café. His father’s brother, Lee Thou (Lee Woon Fat) was living there. In February 1922 he was applying to visit his mother in China. When he returned in May 1923 he was married and had a son.
There is no more information in his file.

William Jue Poy, M.D., surgeon at David Gregg Hospital, Hackett Medical Center, Canton, China

William Jue Poy, photo 1932
“Photo of William Jue Poy,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, William Jue Poy (Jue Soo Kuen) case file, Portland, Box 99, 5017/872.

William Jue Poy, Chinese name Jue Soo Kuen, was born at 365 E. 12th Street, Portland, Oregon on 22 May 1904. His parents were Jue Poy and Choy Lain. William Poy attended local schools in Portland, University of Washington in Seattle and Northwestern University in Chicago; did his internship and residency and was an assistant surgeon before getting his medical license in Pennsylvania about 1932. He had two brothers and four sisters, all born in Portland. In 1932 his brother Clarence was in Russia working as a consulting mining engineer for the Russian government; and his brother Henry was in Berkeley, California working with McKee Radio Company. His sisters Frances, Alice and Dorothy were unmarried. His sister Helen was married to Andrew Y. Wu and they were living in San Francisco.

In 1932 William was applying to go to China to work as a professor of Anatomy, Associate Surgery in the Hackett Medical School in Canton, China. The school was established under the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and he had a five year contract. His application witnesses were his mother and Mrs. William S. (France A.) Holt. Choy Lain, William’s mother, was born in San Francisco about 1884 and had never been to China. Her husband, William’s father, died about three years previously. Mrs. Holt testified that she had known William Poy since he was a baby and that William’s father was the first Elder in their church. Mr. Holt married William’s parents.
In August 1937 William applied to leave the U.S. so he could accompany Dr. Loh Shau Wan to Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Wan had original planned to stay in the United States for six months but was returning early because of war conditions in China.
The Reference Sheet in William’s file lists three of his siblings: Jue So Ling (Clarence Poy), file 5017/452; Helen Poy Wu, file 5006/397; and Jue So King (Alice Jue Poy), file 5017/760 There is no more information about Dr. William Poy in his file after 1937.
[I am always curious when I come across my maiden name, Hackett, when I am doing research. Although I am not related to the founder of Hackett Medical College, here is a link to a very lengthy biography on Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916) that I found on FindAGrave.com.]
[Edward A. K. Hackett established the Hackett Medical College at Canton, China, and put his eldest daughter, Dr. Martha Hackett, in charge.]1,

1. Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 31 Mar 2017), memorial # 57707137, Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916), created by “JC”; citing Linderwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Allen Co.,IN.

Mrs. Lai Ziang Bryant – Chinese Wife of Caucasian U.S. Citizen

Photo Lai Ziang Bryant 1919
“Photo of Mrs. Lai Ziang Bryant,” 1919, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. Lai Ziang Bryant case file, Seattle, Box 1263, 36351/2-1.

Lai Ziang was born in Hankow, Hupeh Province, China on 11 May 1897. In 1919 she was living with her mother and sister in Shanghai; her father was deceased. Her sister, Mrs. Joseph D. Jensen, was a widow with children whose Danish husband died about 1915.
On 6 February 1919 Lai Ziang married Charles Robert Snaith Bryant, a master licensed mariner, at the American Consul. He was 42 years old and she was 21. When they arrived in Seattle in April 1919 their marriage certificate was examined by Immigration officials and returned to them. It stated that Charles R. S. Bryant was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and they were united in marriage by Rev. G. A. Fitch, a duly ordained minister of the American Presbyterian Church.
Immigration also examined Mrs. Bryant’s passport, endorsed by J. B. Sawyer, Vice Consul at Shanghai; and a Declaration of Alien About to Depart for the United States, form 228. The items were approved and returned to Mr. Bryant. Bryant was asked why he was bringing his wife to the United States. He said it was to allow her to have his company and to give her an education. In both 1916 and 1917 he was absent nine months, “and she said that was no home life.”
The witnesses for her 1919 application were Neville Craig, U.S. Court for China, and Walter H. Meyers of Seattle, Washington. Her application was approved.
Their travels between 1919 and 1927 are not mentioned in the file. In 1927 Mr. and Mrs. Bryant arrived in San Francisco from Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. Mrs. Bryant was delayed because she did not have a Certificate of Identity. Bryant complained to Immigration Services in Seattle because they were not given the proper documents when she arrived in 1919. He said they were very embarrassed because their landing was delayed until the paperwork could be verified. [The file does not say how long the delay was but it could have been hours or days.]
The Bryants left Seattle again in 1931. A letter in the file says she was identified by photographs and her Certificate of Identity No. 58341. [They made sure they had the paperwork in order this time.] There is no more information in the file after 1931.

Fong Gum – Chinese Woman Merchant in Butte, MT

Photo of Fong Gum and Sam Chong
“Photo of Fong Gum and Sam Chong,” 1902, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. Wong Cue (Fong Gum) case file, Seattle, Box 43, 31-88.

Fong Gum was born in San Francisco, California about 1876 and moved to Spokane around 1898. According to a 1902 statement in the file Fong Gum and Sam Chong/Chung were married in Spokane County in September 1901. Sam Chung was a member of S. Chung and W. Ting firm at 127 Washington Street, Spokane, Washington.
There is nothing in the file that tells what happened to Sam Chong/Chung but Wong Cue, a merchant tailor, and Fong Gum were married in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho about 1907 or ’08. Their witnesses were Mrs. McDonald and her husband who was a street car conductor.
In 1923 Mrs. Wong Cue was the proprietress of Ladies’ Popular Garment Store, 317 South Main St., Butte, Montana. Her status with the U.S. Department of Labor Immigration Service was as a merchant independent of her husband. [This is very unusual and the only file I have seen where a woman is listed as a merchant.] Her business was in a building own by Mr. B. Marcello. He charged $30 rent per month. She paid all of her own expenses and netted about $35 to $40 each month. The store was about 30 by 80 feet and she lived in the back. For the last two years she and her husband had lived separately.
(According to Mrs. Wong Cue, her husband was living with another woman and they had two children together.)
Mrs. Wong Cue was planning a trip to China in 1923 and taking her adopted daughter, Po Lin and nephew, Lee Hoy, with her.
Mrs. Wong Cue told the immigration interviewer that she bought her merchandise stock from Hennessey’s, Symons, and sometimes O’Connell’s. She sold ladies garments. Sometimes she made her own garments and sometimes she bought them.
Her white witnesses were Mrs. Gordon Schermerhorn, Mrs. Jane Lammie and Mr. B. Marcello. Mrs. Lammie testified that she came from Scotland almost three years ago to join her husband, a baker at Rex Bakery, who had been in Butte since 1906. Mrs. Lammie said “Mrs. Wong [Cue] is an excellent little woman.” Mr. Marcello also testified that Mrs. Wong Cue paid her rent to him and that she made her own living. Mrs. Gordon Schermerhorn testified that she was 45 year old in 1924 and born in England. She had been living in Butte for about ten years. Mrs. Schermerhorn and Mrs. Lammie were neighbors and good friends of Mrs. Wong Cue. All three witnesses testified that they were confident that Mrs. Wong Cue lived separately from her husband.
Wong Cue said that he visited his wife three or four times a week and he slept with her “the night before last.” The examining inspector asked if he had any trouble with Mrs. Cue. Wong Cue said “sometimes she gets a little cranky.” [Wong Cue was being investigated for bringing a woman into the country for immoral purposes—the woman he was living with.]
Mrs. Wong Cue application was approved and she and her daughter and nephew left for China in September 1923.
Additional information per Jill Morelli’s questions:
The file ends with Mrs. Cue’s departure. There is no further information in the file. It was important that she made her own money because she did not want to depend on her husband to get back into the country. Since he was under investigation, his status could endanger her ability to return to the U.S. She needed to show that she made her own money and lived away from her husband so she could prove she was a merchant. Merchants were exempt from the Exclusion Act. If she had merchant status she could get back into the U.S. no matter what he did.