Tag Archives: Seattle Daily Times

Wong F. Pershing – Seaman on the U.S. S. Explorer

In 1917 Wong F. Pershing’s father, Wong Chun Wah, applied to Immigration for pre-investigation as a merchant intending to visit China. The examining inspector believed that the place Wong was working, W. J. London Company, was involved in gambling. The inspector did not believe Wong qualified as a merchant according to the exclusion law. Wong abandoned his connection with this employer and became a merchant for the Quan Yuen Chong Company, a legitimate and bona fide mercantile concern. His status as a merchant was reinstated.

1921 Form 430 of Pershing Wong with Hersheys Chocolate bar.
Form 430 Photo of Wong F. Pershing,” 1942, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong F. Pershing case file, Seattle Box 827, file 7030/13628.

Wong Chun Wah again applied to take his wife and three sons, Raymond, Pershing and Chester, to China with him in 1921. Wong showed Immigration Inspector B. A. Hunter the Seattle birth certificates for his children.

On 14 February 1942 Pershing F. Wong was applying to visit Vancouver, British Columbia by bus via Blaine, Washington. His Chinese name was Wong Gok Way. He was born on 27 October 1919 in Seattle, the son of Wong Chun Wah (Wah Fat) and Ann Quan Gee. His mother died in Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle in 1930. Pershing had five brothers and one sister. He attended Garfield high school and was a seaman on the U.S. S. Explorer, Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship. Ensign John Guthrie of the Explorer verified that Pershing F. Wong was the correct name for W. F. Pershing Wah, the name Pershing used on his original application.

The last document in Pershing Wong’s file shows the he was admitted at Blaine, Washington. The Reference Sheet list the file numbers for his father, mother, two brothers, and sister.

Additional information not included in the file:
A newspaper article from the 6 February 1945 issue of the Seattle Daily Times, states that Pershing Wong was the only Chinese deck officer sailing out of Seattle in the American merchant marines; he was a member of the Masters, Mates & Pilots’ Association; and joined the merchant marines in 1941. Wong had just spent 110 days in the Pacific combat area.  It was a turbulent time, besides the heavy WW II bombing, three navy craft were sunk by a typhoon.

According to Pershing F. ‘Perky’ Wong’s obituary in the 14 July 1999, Oregonian newspaper, he retired as a captain in 1985.

Fook Chun Lee – “Common Sense is Needed”

Lee Fook Chun
“Stanley Fook Chun Lee (Lee Fook Chun) photo,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Fook Chun and Chang Suey Ping files, Seattle, Box 1119, Case 10422/2-2; 10422/2-3.

Chan Suey Ping’s infant son, (Stanley) Fook Chin Lee, was refused admission at the Port of Seattle but permitted by the Secretary of Labor to remain in the United States for six months until 7 March 1930.
Chan Suey Ping was born in 1902 at Napa, California and a citizen of the United States. In 1925 she visited China and married Chiu Hang Lee, a citizen of China and of the Chinese race. Under the terms of the 1922 Cable Act, she lost her U.S. citizenship. Chiu Hang Lee came to the U.S. with a student status and she accompanied him with a “wife of student status.” In about 1927 they had twin boys, born in Berkeley, California. They went back to China in March 1928 to visit Chiu Hang Lee’s elderly mother who was ill. They left their sons with Chan Suey Ping’s mother in Napa. Chan Suey Ping was pregnant when they left and their son, Lee Fook Chin, was born in China.
By the time Chan Suey Ping was ready to return to the U.S., Lee Fook Chin, was four months old. Even though Chan Suey Ping was born in the U.S., her son was excludable under the Chinese Exclusion Act. Since he was born in China, according to officials he was “consequently helpless from infancy, it seemed absolutely necessary to also exclude his mother as an accompanying alien.”

Included in the file is an editorial from The Seattle Daily Times published on 24 February 1929, on page 6. The headline is “Common Sense is Needed.” The piece included these statements: “The decision of the U.S. immigration authorities…may be based upon statutory law, but it is contrary to every decent conception of humanity and common sense.” “She and her husband are graduates of Stanford University.” ”It is inconceivable the exclusion act is so precise in its terms that it does not permit some discretion on the part of responsible authorities.” ”America does not appear in an enviable light when the country’s officers can and do deal so callously.”
Chan Suey Ping, her American-born two-year-old twins, Bert Y. Kynn Lee and Allan Wy Synn Lee, and baby, Stanley Fook Chin Lee, returned to China on 6 November 1929.