Chin Wong Kee 陳黃記 was born in Watsonville, California in 1879. He was the son of Chin Din Ling and Wong She. About 1884 he went back to China with his parents and younger brother, Chin Loy Foo, to Bok Wut village. Chin Wong Kee (marriage name Chin Ai Goon) married before he and his brother returned to the United States in 1901. They landed at Vancouver, B.C., travelled to Montreal, then entered the United States at Rouses Point, New York. [south of Montreal]
They were immediately arrested. They were sent by train to jail in Plattsburg, NY. [about 24 miles south of Rouses Point]. They were in jail there for about four months. They received their discharge papers at Port Henry [about 54 miles south of Plattsburg] from Fred W. Dudley, U.S. Commissioner, Northern District of New York in August 1901. Their father’s younger brother, Chin Don Suey, was a witness for the brothers. The discharge papers enabled Chin Wong Kee to obtain his Certificate of Identity #20529.
His adult son, Chin You Dick, was admitted at the Port of Seattle in 1915 and was living and working in Mount Vernon, New York. Chin Wong Kee was working nearby in a restaurant as a waiter. His wife died in China in 1919.
Chin Wong Kee applied to return to China in 1920. His application was approved and he left via Boston, Massachusetts. Chin Wong Kee returned to the U.S. at the Port of Seattle on 21 June 1923 and was admitted.
Robert Eugene Lee (Lee Quock Bong) was born on 24 February 1897 at 208 North 9th Street in Philadelphia. His parents were Lee Chong and Musetta Lee. His father was Chinese and his mother was “a negress.” In 1902 Lee Chong and his family visited his home village, Dong Nom Ho Village, Hok Dan District, China. Mrs. Lee died two months after arriving in China. Lee Chong returned to Philadelphia in 1903 and the children stayed in China with their father’s family.
In 1916 Lee Chong was applying to have his son, Robert Eugene Lee, join him in Philadelphia. He swore in an affidavit that he was a laundryman at 1939 East Sargent Street, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a widower and father of three American-born children, Robert Eugene Lee, aged 18; Mable Luella Lee, age 16, and Gum Len Lee, age 13, who were living in China. His son was married but his wife would be staying in China.
Mary E. Moy, age 45, was a witness for Lee Chong and his son. She testified that her sister and Dr. Bates attended Musetta Lee at Robert’s birth. Mrs. Moy, a Caucasian, was married to a Chinese, Goon Moy. Her husband and Robert’s father, Lee Chong, were close friends.
Other witnesses were Lee Tong, manager of Chong Woh Company in Philadelphia and Agnes A. Ming, a Caucasian who knew Robert’s parents well. She testified that she had known Lee Chong since she was twelve years old and that Lee Chong married Zada Brown, “a colored girl,” who lived over his laundry at 18th and Wharton streets. After their three children were born the Lee family moved to China and Zada died there in 1903. Agnes went to school with Zada, a mulatto. Agnes’ husband was Chinese and a friend of Lee Chong. The Mings lived in Albany, New York.
Lee Chong (American name Joe Lee), (marriage name Lee See Tai), was 49 years old, a laundryman. He received his certificate of identity or residence 107002 in Philadelphia in March 1894. [The file sometimes refers to the certificate as identity and sometime as residence.]
In a letter recommending approval of Robert’s documents, Charles V. Mallet, Chinese and Immigrant Inspector at Gloucester City, New Jersey stated,
“The witnesses Mary Moy and Agnes Ming are both white women
who are or have been married to Chinese, and both of them
convince me of their credibility in connection with their
testimony affecting the applicant; Mrs. Moy being a woman
whose personality should place her way above the status of
one who ordinarily consorts with Chinese. I personally know
something about this witness and have to say for her that
she has raised a family of boys in a manner which should do
credit to any mother. The Chinese witness, Lee Tong, is one
of the most responsible and respected merchant in
Philadelphia Chinatown, and his testimony should be
accorded corresponding weight. The alleged father of the
boy gives the impression of one who is disposed to tell the
truth with his knowledge, and manifests a true parent’s
interest in the applicant…”
In a 1916 statement approving Robert Eugene Lee’s arrival, H. W. Cunningham, Chinese and Immigrant Inspector, Vancouver, B.C. said, “…the claims made are genuine, and in addition applicant’s features plainly indicate an admixture of negro blood. Applicant is admitted and furnished a certificate of identity.”
The file lists the following documents were examined: the baptismal cards for Robert Eugene Lee and Mabel Luella Lee at Philadelphia, 12 December 1901; a 1911 copy of a birth certificate for Chinese female Lee, [Gum Len Lee] born 21 July 1902; and passport 62682 issued 9 October 1902 to Musetta Lee accompanied by her three minor children. [Unfortunately these documents are not included in the file.]
Robert lost his certificate of identity in 1921 but was able to get it replaced.
Robert Eugene Lee made two more trips to China. He was gone from 1922 to 1924. His son, Lee Tong Chee, arrived in the U.S. in 1928. His wife, Chong See, and his other son, Lee You Kue, stayed in China. In 1936 Robert, age 39, applied to visit China and was approved. He returned in June 1937.
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.
“Mrs. T. C. White, newspaper article,” 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. T. C. White case file, Seattle RS Box 285, RS 34,283.
Undated newspaper article included in the file: “Princess is Here, has Shopping Fad”
“Princess Der Ling, who is shown with her husband, Thaddeus Raymond White and little son, Thaddeus, Jr., during stay of family in Seattle.” [Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington, 10 April 1917, p.22] [See complete article below.]
Mrs. Thaddeus C. White entered the United States with her husband and son, Thaddeus Raymond White, on 20 October 1916. Mrs. White was also known as Elizabeth Antoinette Der Ling or Princess Der Ling, former lady-in-waiting to China’s Dowager Empress, Tzu-hai. Mrs. White was born in Tientsin, China; her husband, a Caucasian, was a U.S. citizen and businessman in China. The caption under the photo in 1917 newspaper article: “Daughter of Manchurian Prince declares that department stores of Seattle furnish never ending round of wonder and desire to buy.”
A letter in the file states that In April 1917 Mr. White complained to the Commissioner-General of Immigration in Washington, D.C. about the way he and Mrs. Konigsberg were treated by Inspector Thomson on their arrived in Seattle in October 1916. The Commissioner was satisfied that Mr. Thomson had no intention of being discourteous although he may have seemed “rather abrupt.” [The file doesn’t give any details about Mr. Thomson’s behavior or give the identity of Mrs. Konigsberg .]
Another note in the file says that Mrs. White was Princess Der Ling and had lived in U.S. about one year in 1888.
Mrs. White, her husband, and son traveled from Vancouver, B.C. via Seattle, Washington in August 1922 to New York City and were admitted as U.S. citizens. They traveled again in 1927 and were admitted.
A final memo in the file dated 28 November 1944 says, “Our attention has been called to the accidental death of this person as reported in the San Francisco newspaper Call Bulletin, on November 22, 1944. [Mrs. White died from injuries in Berkeley, California after being struck by a truck. She had been teaching Chinese in the language War Program at the University of California. More information about Princess Der Ling can be found on Google and Findagrave.com.]
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
Wong Ming Bow was born in San Francisco about 1876. His parents took him back to China when he was four years old. In 1882 while the family was in China the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Wong Ming Bow returned to the United States in 1897 when he was 21 years old. He entered at Malone, New York and was immediately arrested. He did not have the proper papers and could not prove he was a United States citizen. Wong and about nine or ten other Chinese were held in a three-story brick building for about two months. Wong was finally issued his discharge papers by U. S. Commissioner William P. Badger at Malone on 27 July 1897. Unlike most discharge papers, his did not include his photograph. This document was the only proof he had of his citizenship. It was very precious—without it he could be deported.
Wong made trips back to China from Buffalo, New York in 1907 and 1911. Each time his discharge papers were reviewed. The “discharge certificate was sent to Inspector George W. Ketchum at Malone who compared it with the docket and found it genuine. Commissioner Badger identified the signature on the certificate as his own.”
In an interview with Wong on 7 July 1911 he said his father came to get him when he was arrested in 1897. This is the only detail given about the 1897 arrest and it does not mention what documents his father used to prove the Wong was born in San Francisco and a citizen of the United States. Evidently it was enough for the commissioner to issue the discharge papers.
There were several correspondences between Buffalo, Boston and Vancouver, B.C. immigration offices trying to locate the necessary paper work in Wong’s file. On 10 July 1911, the commissioner in Boston wrote to the Inspector in Vancouver, B. C. saying, “the papers in this case can be easily located, no doubt, by reference to the large books entitled “Record of arrivals and disposition of Chinese Persons,” at Malone, which were packed in the box marked M 6, from which the serial number can be ascertained. Inasmuch as the card index at Malone was not started until January 1, 1909, this case cannot be found by reference to that.” [It is not known who underlined these passages.]
In 1913 Wong Ming Bow was issued a certificate of identity No. 10150. It was a sturdy document and much easier and safer to carry around than his discharge papers. Wong’s certificate is not included in the file but to see an example see (Chin) Lin Hing’s certificate . [There is much more information on Wong Ming Bow and his family in the files. Get more details on next week’s entry.]
“Wong Quai Yin, alias Virginia Wong, dies while serving as a commissioned lieutenant in the National Commission of Aeronautical Affairs.”
In 1930 Virginia applied to Immigration to visit Vancouver, B.C. as a member of a theatrical troupe. She had two brothers, George (Wong Gong Ho) and Gordon; and four sisters, Betty, Margaret, Alice, and Myrtle. They were all born in Portland. George was a witness for his sister. Nancie D. Singleton, a teacher at Atkinson Public School in Portland, swore in an affidavit that she taught George, Virginia and Gordon Wong and had a general acquaintance with the entire family.
On 9 February 1933 Wong Quai Yin (Virginia Wong), age 21 years, of Portland, Oregon, applied to visit China. She was born on 15 November 1911 to Wong Chock Way and Jung Shee. She had just finished her preliminary training as an aviator. [She was not asked anything about this training.]
A copy of a 3 June 1935 letter to the editor of the Oregonian newspaper was added to the file. Elizabeth Wong, Virginia’s sister, was correcting an error in a 12 May 1935 Oregonian article, “Portland-Trained Chinese Flying to Oriental Fame.” [article not included in the case file] The original article stated that “Miss Wong died in Canton from malaria before the start of a campaign to exploit the air corps through these two women fliers” (Virginia Wong and Hazel Lee). Elizabeth explained that her sister Virginia died in the fall of 1934 at Nanchang while serving as a Commissioned Lieutenant in the National Commission on Aeronautical Affairs and was buried at the National Cemetery of the Air Force at Nanking.
[In the next few weeks there will be more information on the blog about the Al Greenwood flying school for Chinese, where Virginia trained, and other Chinese who trained there. It is surprising that the interviewer did not ask Virginia more about her flight training.]
The website, Disciples of Flight, has an article about the school and the aviators, “World War 2 Flying Ace Arthur Chin’s story is an incredible story of courage and survival during wartime” by Andy Chan, John Gong and Michael Little. It tells about flight training at Al Greenwood flying school in Portland and its connection to the “Flying Tigers.”
The articles has footnotes and a list of sources—books, articles, and websites.