Tag Archives: U.S. Army

List of documents in file for Nelson Wah Chan King

In July 1938, Nelson Wah Chan King, age 27, applied to the U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service on Form 430 for a two-day visit Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His application created much paperwork and eventually was approved by Tom L. Wychoff of the Spokane immigration office but never used. Nelson cancelled his trip to Canada because he was transferred from his job in Spokane, Washington to New York City. This is a list of the documents that were in his file:

Documents listed in file
“List of documents in file for Nelson Wah Chan King” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, King Wash Chan Nelson case file, Seattle Box 767, 7030/11344.

Nelson Wah Chan King was born on 10 June 1911 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Harry N. King and Lily Dorothy Shem (maiden name: Shem Mowlan). His parents were both born in San Francisco. His father owned the Kwong Nom Low Restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah before moving to Los Angeles, California to become a merchant. Although Nelson’s grandparents were born in China, Nelson, his parents, and his brother had never been to China. Nelson’s only sibling, Paul Ming King, was born 21 January 1918 in Salt Lake City and by 1938 was a student at University of California in Los Angeles.
Nelson was working as a floor manager for the National Dollar Stores in Spokane, Washington, making $90 a month in 1938. His mother’s brother, Bruce Shem, was living in San Francisco with his wife and two sons. His father did not have siblings but he had four cousins in Salt Lake City– Walter G. King, a reporter for Salt Lake City Tribune; Ernest Q. King, M.D., a Reserve Flight Sergeant, U. S. Army and connected with a C.C. C. Camp; Raymond S. King, newspaper photographer; and Ruth King Chang, M.D. Nelson Wah Chan King’s paternal grandparents were Chan Mun Lok Way and Chan Lau Shee. His maternal grandfather was William C. Shem. Nelson could not remember his grandmother’s Chinese name—he just called her grandmother. She was living in San Francisco with her son Bruce Shem.
Nelson Wah Chan King graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1933.
Nelson’s mother, Lily S. King, testified that her father was Shem Yow Ching and her mother was Leang Shee.
In his sworn statement, Nelson’s father, Harry N. King, (Chinese name: Chan Hong), stated that he was an art dealer with the Tom Gubbins Company and his father’s name was Chan See Gern.
Anna C. Stevenson also testified in Nelson’s behalf in 1938. She was a 70-year-old widow who had lived in Salt Lake City for 35 years. She had owned the apartments on Vissing Court where the King family had lived. She stated that Nelson’s mother was brought up in a Methodist home in California. Anna had last seen Nelson in 1936 on her birthday, 6 August. He brought her a present from the King family.
On 23 August 1938 Nelson Wah Chan King notified the Immigration office in Seattle that because of his transfer to New York City he would not be making his trip to Canada. It is the last document in his file.
[Although Nelson Wah Chan King and his parents were all born in the United States and never left the U.S., his grandparents were Chinese immigrants and therefore Nelson was subject to the Chinese Exclusion Act. On the positive side, there is a tremendous amount of family information in the file.]

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Wong Ming Bow and family – restaurant owner in Buffalo, New York

Collage of Wong Ming Bow and family
“Photos Wong Ming Bow and family,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ming Bow, Wong Hong Sun, Wong Hango, Wong Hong Kew, Wong Dock How, Wong Tai You and Wong Hang Jew case files, Seattle, Box 577, 7030/4947, 7030/4939-4944.

Wong Ming Bow (grandfather), Wong Hong Sun (son), and grandchildren: Hango (Stella), age 8; Hong Kew (Rose), age 6; Dick How (Anna), 4; Tai You, 18 months; and Hang Jew (Joseph), two months.

[Continued from 22 May 2017]
Wong Ming Bow was in China from 1911 to 1913. He was visiting his wife, Lee Shee, and their two sons, Wong Hong Heung/Sun and Wong Shere Choon and daughter, Wong Gim Fon. He returned to his home at 64 West Genesee Street in Buffalo, New York where he was the proprietor of the Yuen King Lim Restaurant. Wong’s 19-year old son, Wong Hong Sun, joined his father in Buffalo in 1916. He was admitted as a student, the minor son of an alleged citizen. The interrogator asked him about his school in China, the village, his grandparents and their siblings, if his father knew his schoolmates, playmates or acquaintances; who lived in various houses in his village—name of spouse, names and ages of their children; property his father owned and many other questions. The interrogation was five pages long. His father’s interview was even longer. Many of the same questions were asked to make sure his answers agreed with his son’s. Wong Hong Sun was admitted about a month and a half after he arrived at the Port of Seattle and he left immediately for Buffalo.
Wong Hong Sun registered in District 3 for the draft and served as a private in the U.S. Army from October to December 1918. His record of enlistment and honorable discharge were submitted as evidence when he applied to visit China in 1922. [These records are not included in the file.] It was a special trip; he was getting married and bringing his mother, brother, sister, and new bride back to Buffalo. Wong Hong Sun was a part owner of Joyland, an American-Chinese Restaurant at 640 Main Street in Buffalo.
By 1933 Wong Hong Sun and his wife, Lee Shee, had five children, all born in Buffalo. Certified copies of their birth certificates are included in their files. They were all applying to go to China for a visit. Wong Hong Sun’s parents joined them; his mother planned on staying in China. They were going back to their native village of Mee Way, Sun Ning district and stay four or five years.
In September 1936, Wong Ming Bow returned to the United States through Seattle. His son, Wong Hong Sun, returned in April 1937 and his son’s five children came back as native citizens in July 1941 and were admitted. Wong Hong Sun’s wife stayed in China and died in 1946.
Eventually the family moved to San Antonio, Texas. [More information isn’t included because of privacy concerns.]

Georgie Lee – Chinese Champion Bantamweight of the World

Georgie Lee Letterhead
“Ancil Hoffman Letter regarding George Washington Lee,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, George Washington Lee & Raymond Lee case files, Seattle, Box 1349, Case 40233/1-1 & 40233/1-2.

George Washington Lee and his brother Raymond Lee were pugilists (boxers). Their primary home was in Sacramento, California but they were being promoted to box all over the world—United States, Canada, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, France and British Isles. In 1922 they were returning from their first trip out of the U.S.– a boxing match in Vancouver, B.C. Their manager was Ancil Hoffman and James J. Corbett created a promotional biography for George Lee. He called him the “yellow peril” and said he held his own with Bud Ridley, Young Farrell, Al Walker and Felix Villamore, know on the West Coast as the “Big Four.”
This is a condensed family biography gathered from Form 430, witnesses, letters, interviews and the promotional material in the file:
The progenitor of the family was Lee Moy, who was born in China, and his wife, Neevis Paderas, born in California of Mexican descent. They had seven children, four boys and three girls: George, Raymond, Elwin, Daniel, Emma, Dora and Irene. The mother died in Sacramento in 1917. (Moy and Neevis’s 1899 marriage certificate and Neevis’s death certificate were reviewed by the inspectors and returned to the family.) Their son Daniel died in 1918. George and Raymond were born in San Francisco before the earthquake and fire. (Raymond’s birth certificate is included in the file.)
Lee Moy serviced in the U.S. Army as a mess attendant on the U.S.S. Pinta and was receiving a pension for his military service. He worked as a cook after his stint in the army.
In 1921 George Lee applied for and obtained a U.S. passport from the Department of State. (included in the file)
Ira M. Conran, Chief of Police, Sacramento, Mr. Tharpe, a detective, and Ted N. Koening, a policeman, all testified that they knew George Lee since he was a child. A copy of a torn family portrait was included in the file.
The inspectors were satisfied with the applications and they were accepted.