Page 2 photos: Mon, 36, Sun-You (Johnny), 6, Fay-lun, 7, and another of Ho Shee
This week’s blog entry is by Darby Li Po Price. He researched his family in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files at the National Archives-Seattle and found many family files. This file is for his grandmother and her family.
Ho Shee (Ho Sue-Young)’s Precis of Investigation, issued in 1940 by the American Consulate in Hong Kong, permitted Ho to travel to Seattle with two children to reside with her husband Chin Mon in Bonneville, WA.
Ho’s Seattle file no. 7033/251 also includes Mon’s petition for Ho’s immigration visa, a Pre-Investigation of status of citizenship interview of Mon, interviews of Ho, Mon, Sun-You, and Fay-lun conducted in Seattle, Summary for admission, and Ho’s application for Certificate of Identity.
Interviews spanning 22 pages describe Ho, Mon, and other family in China and the U.S. Their marriage in Sun Wui Village (Xinhui) was arranged by their parents and a go-between woman in 1922. Ho and Mon did not meet until their marriage ceremony 1 June 1 1922. A few months later, Mon immigrated to North Bonneville, WA and became owner and operator of the Kong Chew Restaurant. Ho lived with Mon’s mother in China the next 16 years. Mon returned to Sun Wui November 1928-April 1930, and April 1932-May 1934, and bought a brick house at 32 Ng Ming Chung highway for Ho. Ho, Sun-You, and Fay-lun lived in Hong Kong from 1938 until their 1940 immigration. When they left Hong Kong, Japanese planes strafed their ship and they had to duck for cover. Sun-You (Johnny) was adopted by his godfather, Jack Lee, in Portland.
Ho was born 28 December 1904 in Sun Wui to her mother Lum Shee, and father Ho Hon Jone. Ho spoke the See Yip (Siyi) dialect of Sun Wui. Mon, despite growing up in Sun Wui, spoke Yip Wui Ping dialect because in the U.S. he had mixed with Hoi San and Hoi Ping speakers.
Mon, born 28 February 1904 in Sun Wui, lived with his mother, Tom (Hom) Shee, born 1880 Sun Wui, until entry to Seattle 1922 as the oldest son of Chin Jan (Yock Kong), a citizen by 1881 birth in Portland. In 1939, Jan was a cook at the New Cathay Cafe at 82nd and Division. Mon’s mother was Hom (Mock) Shee. Jan’s parents were Chew (Joe) Chin, and Leong Shee. Mon’s siblings were: Soon, On, Quay, Wing, Hoe, and Kin. Jan’s brothers were: Quong, Jip, Choe, Hoy, Hom; sisters: Sing Choy, and Lin Choy.
Ho and Mon claimed two other sons: Gok Hing (George), born 1923, entered Seattle 1934 with Mon, then lived with Wong On, owner of the Hung Far Low Restaurant, 112 NW 4th Ave., Portland. Gok Hing (George)’s mother (whom stayed in China) was the sister of Wong On’s first wife Yee Shee. Gim Foon (Kim), was born 1929 in Ark Hing Lai, Kwangting by Mon’s first wife, whom Mon left after an affair with and impregnating her younger sister, Ho. Gim was in the care of Mon’s cousin Chin Gong (Young Yuke Jee) owner of the Kwong Ching Chong store, Hong Kong until 1941, when due to Japanese invasion he was sent to Gow How, Hoy (Hoi) Ping District to reside with a friend until returning to Hong Kong 1948. He entered Seattle in 1951.
Rose Wong, daughter of Gee “George” Wong and Minnie Lee Wong, was born 3 June 1906 at Reinbeck, Iowa. She married Andrew Kuei Lu on 18 March 1933 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lu was a Chinese citizen in the United States with a Section 6 student exemption.
Kuei Lu and Rose Wong Lu returned to China in February 1934. Their son Thomas Laurence was born three months later on 20 May 1934 in Shanghai. Alice Catherine Lu was born the next year on 4 August 1935.
In April 1939 Rose and her two children returned to the U.S. through Seattle. They were here to visit Rose’s parents in Minneapolis and would return to China sometime after Christmas. Rose obtained her certificate of identity 79613 when she landed in Seattle.
Thomas was considered a temporary visitor when he entered the U.S. His stay could not exceed one year. He was born four days before the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 24 May 1934 went into effect. The Act would have allowed him to be considered a U.S. citizen if he had been born after 24 May 1934. He missed being considered a citizen by four days. His mother and little sister were citizens.
Mrs. Rose Wong Lu obtained a Report of Birth for Lu Alice Catherine issued by the American Consulate at Shanghai and presented it to Immigration upon their arrival in 1939.
When the family arrived In April 1939, Alice Catherine Lu was reminded that “under the law you will cease to be a citizen if you fail to reside in the United States for at least five years continuously immediately previous to your eighteen birthday and fail to take an oath of allegiance to the United States of American within six months after your twenty-first birthday.”
O. B. Holton, District Director of the St. Paul District Immigration Service noted that the signatures in Chinese on Forms 430 were omitted because Rose Wong Lu, the applicant’s mother, was unable to write Chinese.
Rose Wong Lu, her daughter Alice Catherine Lu; and her son, Hou Chi Thomas Lawrence Lu (Seattle file 7027/819), visited with family in Minneapolis and were approved to leave the United States in April 1940. They left for China from Vancouver, B.C., via Seattle, on the Empress of Asia on 20 April 1940.
Mabel Kegiktok Long was born in Nome, Alaska on 4 June 1905. When she was twelve years old she came to Seattle with a missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin. After Mr. Miller, the Secretary to the District Attorney at Nome, was appointed her guardian she also spent time in Oklahoma and Texas, then lived with Mrs. Hamlin in Illinois, and finally went to live with Dr. and Mrs. Rigden, in Danville, Indiana. She attended the Friends Private School in Washington, D.C. before returning to Danville to attend Central Normal College where Dr. Rigden was president of the college. After college Mabel returned to Seattle then visited her mother in Nome in 1924. At some point she took the surname of her guardian and was known as Mabel Mae Miller.
Mabel’s father was Charley Long (marriage name Dong Hop Long) a full-blooded Chinese. He moved back to China in the late 1920s. Her mother was Lucy Otongana, a full-blooded Eskimo who was born on Diomede Island, Alaska. Mabel first met her father in 1924 in Seattle. Her father’s friend, Chin Ben, arranged the meeting. She always thought she was full-blooded Eskimo and was shocked to see that her father was Chinese. In 1939 Mabel testified that her mother told her that Father La Fortune had married her parents at the Catholic Church in Nome in 1903 or 1904. They were divorced a year or two later and Mabel had no memory of her father. A few years later her mother married Frank Martin in Nome and they had eight children together.
Mabel had been married twice. Her first husband was Harry Fong Lee. They had a daughter, Joan Lee, born 15 August 1930 in Vancouver, Washington. Mabel and Harry divorced in 1935 and she married Clarence C. Coble, a Caucasian of German and English ancestry, on 7 September 1935 in Seattle. Clarence was a movie projectionist.
Mabel was a dancer and worked with the Fisher Booking Agency in Seattle. In 1939 she was applying for a return certificate to visit Canada for a week’s engagement at a night club. The certificate would enable her to cross the Canadian border and return to the United States a week later.
Chin Ben (marriage name Sui Wing) was a witness for Mabel Kegiktok Long’s application. He was a friend of her father and knew her from the time of her birth. A 1939 transcript of her certificate of birth is included in the file. Her mother swore in an affidavit that her daughter’s birth wasn’t recorded at the Recorder’s Office because in 1905 there was no systematic record of birth kept throughout the Territory of Alaska. She stated that the records of the Catholic Church in Nome and the Probate Records of the Cape Nome Precinct, Nome, Alaska where W. R. Miller was appointed guardian of Mable, agreed with the affidavit.
Mabel’s application was approved but there is no indication in the file that she made the trip to Canada.
The reference sheet in the file includes the names and file numbers of Mabel Kegiktok Long’s father, uncle, step-mother, step-brother, and witness Chin Ben.
Edwin Mah Lee, (李孟賢) the mayor of San Francisco, died unexpectedly on 12 December 2017. He was born on 5 May 1952 in Seattle, Washington, the son of Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching).
[See the many tributes to Edwin Mah Lee on the Internet and in newspapers. The following is a brief summary of some of documents in Chinese Exclusion Act case files for his father, grandfather and great grandfather.]
Lee Gok Suey (Edwin Mah Lee’s father) In August 1937 Lee Ling Hung swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States and the holder of Certificate of Identity No. 34552 issued when he entered the Port of Seattle on 9 February 1921. He was applying to bring his son, Lee Gok Suey, into the United States.
Lee Gok Suey arrived in Seattle, Washington on 20 December 1937 on the Princess Marguerite and was admitted four months later after a difficult but successful appeal. He was 17 years old, a student and the son of Lee Ling Hung, a United States citizen and Luey Shee. He was born on 9 May 1921 in Taw Long village, Suey Low Section, Hoy San District, China. Originally Lee Gok Suey was denied admission by a board of special inquiry because he was not able to prove to their satisfaction his relationship to his father.
Seattle’s Inspector-in Charge, Joseph H. Gee, re-opened Lee’s case so additional evidence could be obtained. Affidavits from his father, uncle and grandfather were submitted to the board for their review. The applicant’s attorney filed a letter and an affidavit of the applicant’s alleged grandfather, Lee Share Young, and included a photograph with a satisfactory resemblance to Lee Gok Suey. Because of several discrepancies in the witnesses’ testimony the board voted unanimously that Lee not be admitted. His attorney argued that it had been fifteen years since the grandfather had been to China so it was not unusual that his testimony might not completely agree with his two sons who had been to China recently. After more than four months, Lee Gok Suey’s arrival was approved.
Lee Ling Hung (Lee Gok Suey’s father; Edwin Mah Lee’s grandfather)
Lee Ling Hung first arrived in the United States at Seattle on 21 January 1921 and was admitted as a citizen son of a native. He visited China in 1926 and returned in 1928. During his pre-investigation examination before leaving in 1926 he stated he had one son, Lee Gok Sui, born in 1921. On his return he claimed a second son born while on that trip, Lee Gok Foo. In an application for another trip to China in 1930 he claimed that his second son’s name was Lee Gok Gong and his third son was Lee Gok Foo. Because Lee Ling Hung’s father, Lee Share Young (sometimes spelled Lee Shere Yung)’s citizenship had been granted in 1888 through U. S. District Court discharge papers, Immigrant Inspector Roy M. Porter recommended that Lee Ling Hung’s application for pre-investigation of status be approved. [The confusion over the names of the second and third sons and their dates of birth caused the inspectors to distrust Lee Ling Hung’s testimony and combined with other discrepancies made Lee Gok Suey’s arrival approval so complicated in 1937.]
Before moving to Seattle Lee Ling Hung lived in Portland, Oregon for about six years and he was a baker for Coffman’s Candy Shop at 152 Broadway.
Lee Share Young (Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather; Edwin Mah Lee’s great grandfather)
In March 1938 Lee Share Young (You Yuey, marriage name) testified that he was a bookkeeper at the Quong Tuck Company in Seattle. He was the father of Lee Gim Jeow and Lee Ling Hung and the grandfather of Lee Gok Suey. He was re-examined regarding some of the questions where there was some confusion—were there twelve rows of houses in his village or thirteen? Lee Share Young said, “There are thirteen rows but the first row at the head is not a regular row because there is only a small house and some toilets there.” [It is easy to see how this trivial fact could be confusing.] Lee Share Young’s son sent him a photo of Gok Suey Lee in 1932. The interrogator asked how he could identify his grandson since he had not seen him since he was two years old. He replied, “I have to trust my son who sent me the picture.” There were other discrepancies about the extended family and deceased ancestors, the location of neighbors’ houses in their home village, and the applicant’s school experience. Eventually the board of special inquiry decided that there was enough information where the all the witnesses agreed and they admitted Lee Gok Suey. There were over fifty pages of interrogation. The witnesses were asked about the village, the location of roads, paths, hedges, ponds, shrines, the school, cemetery, stores, and many other minor details. They gave detailed descriptions of the houses, buildings and the people who lived in them. [There were over one hundred houses in their village so this could not have been easy.]
In 1920 Lee Share Young swore in an affidavit that he wanted to bring his son Lee Ling Hung over to the United States. At that time he was a merchant for the Quong Sang Wo Kee Company in Portland, Oregon. He produced his 1888 discharge papers for the interrogators inspection.
When Lee Shere [Share] Yung left for a visit to China in 1900 he obtained an affidavit with his photo attached to assure his reentry into the United States. He swore that he was a member of the Wau Yune Lung Kee Company, dealers in Chinese merchandise and provisions doing business at 739 Commercial Street in San Francisco. He had four witnesses: Chas. E. Harris, O. R. Beal, Frank B. Hoyt and Edgar A. Greenblatt. Lee returned on 2 May 1902.
Lee Share Young, Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather, was born in San Francisco, California on 7 December 1871 to Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee. His marriage name was Lee Yeow You and he was sometimes known as Lee Yung. He married Toy Shee and they had two sons, Lee Gim, born 14 February 1889 and Lee Ling Hung, born 28 November 1901. Lee Share Yung’s paternal grandparents were Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee. He had an older brother, Lee Seah Fook, living in California. The parents of his wife, Toy Shee, were Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee.
The family of Edwin Mah Lee found in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files: Parents:
Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching) Grandparents:
Lee Ling Hung and Luey Shee Great Grandparents:
Lee Share Young and Toy Shee G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s parents)
Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee G G Grandparents: (Toy Shee’s parents)
Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee G G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s grandparents)
Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee
The Reference Sheets in the files also contains Seattle file numbers for Lee Gok Suey’s cousin, Lee Gwok Ying (7030/13310); uncle, Lee Gim Jeow (7030/4521); Lee Gwock Ying, Lee Gim Jeow’s son, (7030/13310).
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.
Look Ah Pong, an American-born Chinese citizen died on 7 January 1921 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Seattle, Washington on 10 January. His son, Look Gom Hong, born at Sing Shu Village, Fook Chung, Sun Ning, China, originally entered the United States through the Port of Seattle in 1923. He received his Certificate of Identity #50610 upon arrival. After his entry was approved he joined his older brother, Look Gim Yook (York), in New York City.
In 1935 Look Gom Hong filled out his Form 430, Application for Pre-investigation of Status, for his upcoming trip to China. He was 25 years old and a waiter at Li Chee Gardens Restaurant in New York City. In over five pages of interrogation Look Gom Hong described his father’s and mother’s siblings, his grandparents on both sides of the family, their extended families, and many details about their village.
Look Gim Yook (York) testified on behalf of his brother. He swore that he was with their father when he died at Hai Ping Fong in Seattle. He did not have his father’s death certificate but he gave the interrogator a bill addressed to the Hip Sing Company from Collins Brothers Undertaking Company for $125 for the burial of his father. He surrendered his father’s Certificate of Identity #2671 which was issued in 1911. The interrogators then asked Look Gim Yook (York) the same questions about the family and village as his brother. [His father’s Certificate of Identity was valuable proof of the family connection.]
Look Kim Fun who was admitted to the U.S. in 1922 was from their village and testified for Look Gom Hong. He was asked the same questions about the family and village and also stated that the village had thirteen houses and a watch house. [Since it was such a small village everyone knew each other’s families making Look Kim Fun a credible witness.]
The Inspectors reviewed the interrogations and decided that the testimony of the three witnesses agreed. Look Gom Hong made a favorable impression; the brothers resembled each other and they were prompt and frank in their testimony. Look Gom Hong’s application was approved.
The Reference Sheet in the file includes the names, relationships and file numbers for Look Gom Hong’s father, brother, two nephews, two uncles, two cousins, and a “distant relative.”
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.]