Darby Li Po Price’s guest blog entry for Chin Jan, his great-grandfather, is based on Chinese Exclusion Act case file No. 7030/263, Record Group 85, National Archives at Seattle.
Chin Jan’s 90 page file contains a 1905 letter confirming admission to the U.S. by Chinese Inspector in Charge, H. Edsell, at Sumas, WA to Inspector in Charge, J.H. Barbour, at Portland, OR, and 1910 and 1920 Application(s) of Alleged American-Born Chinese for Pre-Investigation of Status to leave the U.S. and return through “the Chinese port of entry of Seattle.” Jan’s file also contains: 1903 letter confirming departure to China on steamship Indrapura, 1905: Application and Examination of Applicant to land in the U.S. port of Sumas, as a Native Born Citizen, Supplementary Examination, Application for Re-admission, and Medical Examiner report “free from contagious disease,” 1911 Application case for Admission to the U.S. as a Returning Native Born Citizen, 1920 Pre-Investigation for Native’s Return, and a Reference Sheet with 15 case numbers corresponding to names of relatives used in connection with Jan’s case.
The 1905 Examination and Supplementary Examination to land in the U.S. Port of Sumas was conducted by Chinese Inspector H. Edsell, Chinese Interpreter Eng Chung, and Reporter Charles Crouch. Jan arrived on the C.P. Railway from Vancouver, B.C., June 2, 1905, arrived Vancouver, May 29, 1905, on SS Empress of Japan. Age 24, height 5’4”, large scar on right temple near ear, scar on right wrist, speaks some English. Born 130-1/2 Second St., Portland, Aug. 29, 1881, in a 2-story brick building of the Gen Wah store of his father Chin Chew (Joe). Chew was still in China after bringing Jan there in 1903. Jan’s mother Leong Shee died in China after returning for over 10 years. Jan’s brother of the same mother, Chin Foon, age 26, in China. Chew’s second wife Deu She died March 1903 in Portland and was buried in the New Mission Cemetery. Chew and Deu She had 3 children–two in Portland: Chin To, 25, and Chin Hui [Hoy], 3 ½. Chew gave Hui to “a white woman” two years ago to care for, whom he paid; one in China: Chin Dip [Jip], 10, taken there by Chew in 1903. Chew’s partner of the Gim Wah firm, Hui Gui, was in charge while Chew was in China.
The firm’s name changed 4 times, was previously Bow Wah Cheong. Jan worked and slept in the store to age 17. The Hop Cheong Co. collected the rent. Jan was asked if and confirmed knowing Leong Jew Hing of the Tong Duck Chong Co., and Cheok Quay, of Yuen Wah. Questions and analysis of Jan’s “Native born paper” confirm it was signed by “white men” B.B. Acker, and Jim Sinnott, and stamped in Portland.
The 1905 Application for Re-Admission, Sumas, WA, conducted by Inspector John Sawyer and Interpreter Seid Gain, includes witness Wong Lim, former partner of Jan, witness letter of L.E. Juston owner of Juston’s Restaurant, whom employed Jan as a cook, and letter by Inspector J.H. Barbour of Portland stating “inclosed [sic] photograph of a Chinaman applying for admission represents Chin Jan.” Jan’s son Chin Moon Taw [Tall], age 5, under the care of Wong Lim and Mrs. Wong, recognized a photo of “brother Jan.” Wong Lim took Inspector Barbour to 130 ½ 2nd St., the prior location of Wing On [Wong On?] firm and showed 3 photos on one frame of Chin Joe and his children, Chin Jan, and another son.
The 1911 Application for Admission to the U.S. as a Returning Native-Born Citizen via SS Princess Charlotte Nov 26, 1911 was conducted by Inspector Henry Monroe, Interpreter Q. Foy, and Stenographer W. Stahs. Jan was 30, height 5’5 ½” with shoes, occupation: cook, address: 97 ½ 4th St., Portland, marks, large scar right temple, scar center forehead, scar right forehead. Married name: Jock Gow [Yock Kong]. 3 children: Chin Man [Mon], born 1904, Ah Sen [Soon] born 1906, Ah On, 4 mos. old born 1911. Jan’s father Chin Jew was still in China. Brother Chin Dip [Gip, Jip] came to Portland last year via port of Sumas, WA by boat with Jung Chung’s wife.
1920 Record of Pre-Investigation for Native’s Return Certificate, Portland, was conducted by Inspector H.P. Schweitzer, Chinese Interpreter Herman Lowe, Junior Clerk Margaret A. Scott. Married name Yook Gong [Yock Kong], age 39, Certificate of Identity #6674 issued Seattle 1912. Wife: Ham [Hom] Shee, 33, son Chin Mun [Mon], 16, son Chin Sun [Soon], 14, daughter Ah Oon [On], 9, all living in China. Cook for Lange and Kruse, 145 Park St. China address: c/o Kwong, Ching, Chong Co., 14 Connaught Rd., Hong Kong. Registration Certificate 1918 w/85 Park St. address, stamped and signed by Frank J. Streiisig.
Reference Sheet no. 7030/263 for Jan Chin lists file numbers and names of relatives used in connection with his case: father Chin Joe; brothers: Chin Jip, Chin Tall, Chin Hoy, Chin Man Ham; sister Chin Lin Choy (Mrs. Young Gar); sons: Chin Mon(d), Chin Soon, Chin Quay; nephew Chin Yee Pon; daughter in-law Ho Sue; grandsons: Chin Gok Hing, Chin Sun You, granddaughter Chin Fay Lun.
Thank you Darby Li Po Price for contributing your great-grandfather’s story from the Chinese Exclusion Act case files!