Tag Archives: Thomas M. Fisher

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.

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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.]

Gim Bing – 1927 Return Certificate and signature

Gim Bing 1927
“Gim Bing, Return Certificate,” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gim Bing file, Seattle, Box 1091, Case 9347/9-3.

Gim Bing, age 62, returned to Walla Walla, Washington in September 1927 via the port of Seattle. He signed his name in Chinese and English. His statement was witnessed by Thomas M. Fisher, Officer in Charge. Charles L. Tung , interpreter and Martha Patterson, reporter were also witnesses for his application for return certificate.