Tag Archives: Seattle

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.

Moy Gee Hung – Family photos – Boston, MA

Moy Gee Hung Group Photo
“Moy family photos,” ca. 1900,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, (Moy) Gee Hung case file, Seattle RS Box 62, RS 2478.

Photo Exhibit D & E – “taken in Boston” ca. 1900
Exhibit D – Moy Gee Pon (Henry), Moy Sam Sing holding Gee Hung, Moy Yut Gum (Annie)
Exhibit E – Moy Yut Gum (Annie), Moy Gee Hung, Moy Gee Pon (Henry)
In 1901 when he was five years old Moy Gee Hung, his parents, Moy Sam Sing and Kong Jung Chun, and his older sister, Annie, left Boston, Massachusetts and return to his parents’ home village at San How, Sun Ning District, China. His older brother Henry stayed in the U.S. with an uncle. His father didn’t stay in China long and returned to the U.S. to Portland, Oregon. His mother died in February 1906 and in 1909 Moy Gee Hung returned to the U.S. to join his father and brother in The Dalles, Oregon.
The interviews in the file focus on his father’s life. In the 1880s Moy Sam Sing was a merchant at Quong Sang Lung Company and San Sing Company in Boston, Massachusetts. He visited China, married Kong Jung Chun, and bought her back with him to Chicago. They had two children there, Annie Moy (born 1890) and Henry Moy (born 1893). After about five years in Chicago they moved to Washington, D. C. where according to Moy Gee Hung’s birth certificate in the file, he was born on 27 July 1894. Two years later they moved to Boston, Massachusetts.
Moy Sam Sing testified that when he originally came to the U.S. around the 1870s he lived in Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; returned to China (one year); Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; returned to China (about one year); returned with wife to Chicago (6 or 7 years), Washington, D.C. (one year), Boston, returned to China, traveled on East Coast for three months, Tacoma (3 years), Seattle (one year), Vancouver, Washington (one year); The Dalles, Oregon (3 years to 1909).
He applied for naturalization in Atlanta, Georgia (ca. 1883-84) and took out his second papers in Jacksonville, Florida. (ca. 1888). The interrogator asked if he knew at the time that naturalization of Mongolians was forbidden by law. Moy didn’t know but thought if the court was willing to issue the papers to him he would find two citizens to act as witnesses. With the help of Mr. Jones, a lawyer in Boston, Moy Sam Sing applied for and obtained his U.S. passport. He paid a $5 fee.
Much of the nine-page interview of Moy Sam Sing refers to events in his life which did not pertain to his son, Gee Hung. The interrogator was bringing up in great detail old, serious wrongs that Moy Sam Sing had allegedly committed but had not been proven. Moy offered to produce two consuls of China, Moy Back Hin of Portland and Goon Dip of Seattle as sponsors of his credibility.

When Moy Gee Hung arrived in Seattle In September 1909 he was joining his father and brother in The Dalles, Oregon. They were his witnesses. Neither had seen Moy Gee Hung in over ten years when he was five years old. His father, Moy Sam Sing, did not have a good reputation. He was well-known to Immigration Service for suspected perjury, smuggling and other unlawful schemes involving prostitution.
Moy Sam Sing didn’t really know his son very well but he had the proper paper work—a birth certificate, family photos, and the potential backing of two prominent Chinese citizens of Portland. According to the Portland Inspector J. H. Barbour, “I have minutely scrutinized with a magnifying glass exhibits D and E, [the photos] and have compared the alleged presentments thereon with the photograph affixed to Gee Hung’s present papers. I find a considerable resemblance between the two….”
Seid Back Jr., a well-known attorney from Portland, Oregon wrote to Immigration Service in Seattle to let them know that he was representing Moy Gee Hung upon his arrival in the U.S. in 1909.

After considering oral and documentary evidence, Moy Gee Hung was approved for admission to the United States as a native born citizen.
In 1919 Moy Gee Hung was applying to leave the United States for a visit to Canada and had no problem getting his application approved.

William K. Lai – Vaudeville performer & vocal soloist from Portland, OR

William Lai 1913
“Lai Man Kim (William K. Lai), Form 430 photo,” 1913, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lai Man Kim case file, Portland Box 23, 3282.

Lai Man Kim whose American name was William K. Lai was born on 5 September 1887 in Portland Oregon, the son of Lai Fong and Foong Ho. He had no siblings. His father died when he was about four years old and his mother went to live in China in 1906. Lai Kim obtained a certificate of residence in 1894 when he was seven years old. On his 1913 pre-investigation of citizenship status he listed several witnesses: Mr. Sanborn of Van Schuyver & Co., and several prominent Chinese: Lee Mee Gin, Seid Back, Moy Back Hin, Seid Back, Jr. (Said Gain) and Moy Bow Wing. Lai Kim was a charter member of the American Born Chinese Association in Portland and held certificate number 21. After his mother left Portland he lived with the Moy Bow Wing family. He listed his occupation as vocal soloist at the Majestic Theatre in Portland. Lai Kim was a student at Chinese and English schools in Portland before attending the University of Oregon at Eugene, Oregon. Lai Wai, Lai Kim’s cousin and godfather, help support him and his mother after his father’s death.
Lai Man Kim’s application was approved by the Seattle Immigration Office but he didn’t leave the country at that time. About a year later, in 1914, Martin Beck, General Manager of the Orpheum Circuit in Chicago wrote to Immigration Service in Portland to tell them that Lai Man Kim would be leaving Chicago for Canada, then returning to Seattle from Vancouver, B.C. There is no more information in the file.
Information not included in the file:
[These entries are from my 2009 blog on the Chinese at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle. The newspaper articles tell a little bit more about William Lai’s earlier musical career.]
Portland student at AYPE and Harry Ding and William Lai Perform

Charlotte Chang – lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a China native

Charlotte Chang Photo 1910
“Charlotte Chang Photo, Form 430,” 1910, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charlotte Chang case file, Seattle, Box RS 193, RS 29,101.

Charlotte Chang lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a China native.
Charlotte Ah Tye Chang, mother of Ora Chang [see June 19, 2017 blog entry] and Oliver Carrington Chang, was married to Hong Yen Chang, the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, British Columbia. When Mrs. Chang and her children applied to leave the United States in May 1910, the Commissioner of Immigration wrote,
“…I am not prepared to approve her application, as under section 3 of the act of March 2, 1907, in reference to the expatriation of citizens and their protection abroad it would seem that this woman is not now a citizen of the United States she having been married to an alien, and which marital relationship has not been terminated. Of course Mrs. Chang being the wife of a consular representative is permitted to accompany her husband into the country at any time.“
Charlotte Chang and her children were all born in California. Although Charlotte lost her citizenship when she married a Chinese native, she was allowed to leave the U.S. and return because of his position as the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, B.C.
In 1935 Charlotte Chang petitioned for the restoration of her American citizenship (Naturalization file No. 22 X 6304). In her statement she said that in January 1910, accompanied by her mother, Chan Shee, she gave testimony at Angel Island station, California to receive return certificates in order to proceed to Vancouver, B. C. The Chang family took a train from San Francisco to Seattle and then a steamer to Vancouver. Mrs. Chang claimed that she lived in Vancouver from 1910 to about January 1913.
[The file refers to Charlotte Chang’s San Francisco file #12041/62 and her citizenship restoration but doesn’t give any more information.]

Letterhead for Wa Chong Co. Importers, Seattle, WA

Letterhead Wa Chong Co.
“Wa Chong Co. Importers, letterhead” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Woo Back (Bak) Sue(y) case file, Seattle, Box 756, 7030/10966.

Woo Bak Sue – Released after paying detention costs $25.05 in 1899
Woo Bak Sue was born on 10 August 1884 in Seattle, Washington Territory, just two years after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed and five years before Washington Territory became a state. His parents, Woo Tai Gap and Chew See, took Bak Sue to China when he was about five years old. Bak Sue came back to the United States through Port Townsend in the summer of 1899 when he was fifteen years old. When he arrived he was arrested, put in detention and given a hearing. A writ of habeas corpus was issued stating that he had been detained without authority of law and that he was entitled to be released on the grounds that he was a native born citizen. The order of discharge was made by Judge C. H. Hanford of the U.S. District Court, Northern Division, District of Washington. Woo Bak Sue was released after paying for the costs of his detention amounting to $25.05. He asked that his photograph be attached to his discharge papers and that the papers be certified and sent to him.
He made three trips to China after 1899—1904 to 1905, 1910 to 1911, and 1915 to May 1938. When Woo Bak Sue applied to leave for China in 1903 his Caucasian witnesses were J. F. McGee and D. G. Rinehart. They both swore that they were residents and citizens of Seattle for the last twenty years and were well acquainted with Bak Sue and his parents. Woo Gen of the Wa Chong Co. sent a letter on company stationery to Thomas M. Fisher, Chinese Inspector, Office of the Collector of Customs in Port Townsend saying he would be a witness for Bak Sue if requested.
When Bak Sue was returning in 1911, the immigration inspector asked him if he knew any of the Chinese at the detention house. He said he knew Woo Bing Gee. There were no followup questions asked.
Woo Bak Sue’s son, Woo Sze Hong, arrived in Seattle in September 1938. His Seattle file number is 7030/11336. In October 1938 Woo Bak Sue was applying to return to China because he wasn’t feeling well. His application was approved. Bak Sue’s marriage name was Woo Gun Lum. He had a wife and six sons and two daughters in Nom On Village, Hoy San District. The village had 26 houses in three rows, facing south. He and his family lived in the 6th house, 6th lot, 2nd row. He had a grocery business there called Ow San Market.
[The file contains photos of Woo Bak Sue from 1903, 1910, 1912, 1915 and 1938.]

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.

Pauline Poy Ling Senn – Missionary & Teacher

Senn Pauline Poy Ling
“Photo of Senn Pauline Poy Ling,” 1918, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Senn Pauline Poy Ling case file, Seattle, Box 394, 7028/978.

Miss Senn was born on 21 March 1882 in Shin Hing, China. She first came to the United States in 1896 as a young student. She attended various schools including Baptist Mission Training School in Chicago, Illinois; Home Mission Society in Portland, Oregon; McMinnville School, McMinnville, Oregon; Adelphi College in Seattle, Washington; and Lewis Institute in Chicago. She obtained her B. S. degree from Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois in 1916. When she wasn’t going to school, she taught at mission schools.
Senn returned to China in 1918 and was a missionary/teacher at the Girls’ School for the South China Mission. Miss Senn’s witnesses on her 1918 application were Shailer Matthews, Dean of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and Miss Nellie G. Prescott, Foreign Secretary Woman’s American Baptist Foreign Mission Society of Boston, Massachusetts.
Senn came back to the U.S. in 1924 and received her M. A. degree from Boston University in 1926. She left again for China to continue her work as a missionary/teacher. In 1937 she returned to study theology at Biblical Seminary in New York City. She had a scholarship covering one-half the tuition, room and board. Mrs. W. H. Dietz of Chicago was helping her pay the other half of her expenses.
Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, there is a “Certificate of Admission of Alien” form in the file dated 25 May 1948. It states that Senn’s status was “changed from Section 4-e student to student returning to relinquished domicile in June 1924, under which status she was entitled to permanent residence.”
[Information not included in the files: Pauline Poy Ling Senn was naturalized on 14 February 1955 in Massachusetts1. She died 4 June 1979, age 97, in Alameda, California2.]

1. U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995, “Index to Naturalization Petitions and Records of the U.S. District Court, 1906-1966, and the U.S. Circuit Court, 1906-1911, for the District of Massachusetts,” database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 15 Mar 2017).
2. California, Death Index,” California Death Index, 1940-1997,” database on-line, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 15 Mar 2017).