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” 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.
William Jue Poy, Chinese name Jue Soo Kuen, was born at 365 E. 12th Street, Portland, Oregon on 22 May 1904. His parents were Jue Poy and Choy Lain. William Poy attended local schools in Portland, University of Washington in Seattle and Northwestern University in Chicago; did his internship and residency and was an assistant surgeon before getting his medical license in Pennsylvania about 1932. He had two brothers and four sisters, all born in Portland. In 1932 his brother Clarence was in Russia working as a consulting mining engineer for the Russian government; and his brother Henry was in Berkeley, California working with McKee Radio Company. His sisters Frances, Alice and Dorothy were unmarried. His sister Helen was married to Andrew Y. Wu and they were living in San Francisco.
In 1932 William was applying to go to China to work as a professor of Anatomy, Associate Surgery in the Hackett Medical School in Canton, China. The school was established under the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and he had a five year contract. His application witnesses were his mother and Mrs. William S. (France A.) Holt. Choy Lain, William’s mother, was born in San Francisco about 1884 and had never been to China. Her husband, William’s father, died about three years previously. Mrs. Holt testified that she had known William Poy since he was a baby and that William’s father was the first Elder in their church. Mr. Holt married William’s parents.
In August 1937 William applied to leave the U.S. so he could accompany Dr. Loh Shau Wan to Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Wan had original planned to stay in the United States for six months but was returning early because of war conditions in China.
The Reference Sheet in William’s file lists three of his siblings: Jue So Ling (Clarence Poy), file 5017/452; Helen Poy Wu, file 5006/397; and Jue So King (Alice Jue Poy), file 5017/760 There is no more information about Dr. William Poy in his file after 1937.
[I am always curious when I come across my maiden name, Hackett, when I am doing research. Although I am not related to the founder of Hackett Medical College, here is a link to a very lengthy biography on Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916) that I found on FindAGrave.com.]
[Edward A. K. Hackett established the Hackett Medical College at Canton, China, and put his eldest daughter, Dr. Martha Hackett, in charge.]1,
1. Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 31 Mar 2017), memorial # 57707137, Edward A.K. Hackett (1851-1916), created by “JC”; citing Linderwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Allen Co.,IN.
Written of the back: “July 8, 1930
Dear Mr. Norene,
This is just a few lines to thank you and Mr. Lowe for your prompt attention on my matter.
With kindest personal regards,
[This post card is included in the file for Helen Wong.]
In June 1930, Wong Laine Heung (Helen Laine Louis), also known as Helen Wong, applied to leave Portland, Oregon for a short visit to Vancouver, B.C. with the Orpheum Circuit. Helen was a musician and played the piano. She was interrogated by Roy J. Norene, Immigrant Inspector. The Chinese Interpreter was Herman Lowe. Helen stated that she was born in San Luis Obispo, California on 14 April 1905. Her father, Ah Lui, also known as Wong On or Wong Ok Fon was a wealthy merchant. Her mother, Gon Ying Lui, died when Helen was six or seven years old. Helen went to Court Grammar School and California Polytechnic School and had five brothers and two sisters. They were all born at 800 Palm Avenue in San Luis Obispo. Helen’s brother, George (Wong Him), was also an actor.
Helen’s brother, Wong Jung Sing, was a witness for her. His birth certificate lists his name as Walter Wong Louis; his school name and business name was Wong Sing Louis. The Immigrant Inspector, H. F. Duff, asked Walter why the family name was “Louis” and sometimes “Wong.” Walter said that his father was known as “Louis” in the mines. Walter was a jeweler at Tin We Jewelry Store in San Francisco.
Included in the file is a telegram from the Signal Corps, United States Army to Immigration Service in Portland. It alerts Immigration that Helen’s brother murdered his mother or stepmother and was hanged for the crime. Mr. Norene at Immigration ignored the telegram and approved Helen Wong’s Form 430 enabling her to go to Canada. [The murder had nothing to do with Helen’s immigration status.]
[Information not in the file but found on GenealogyBank.com: San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram has many articles on the murder which took place in September 1909. Willie Louis had several reprieves but was finally hanged at San Quentin state prison on 6 December 1912 for the murder of his stepmother. ]
[After an anonymous letter was received at the Immigration Office saying that there was a rumor that Pearl Y. Hom had married a Chinese citizen on her recent trip out of the country, an investigation was made and it was determined that the information was incorrect. [Her 1929 trip was to Vancouver, B.C. In 1909 Pearl and her family visited China.]
Transcript of the letter:
Portland, Oregon, April 10th, 1930
This is just to let you know that it has been said that Pearl Ham [sic], the woman who teaches Chinese in the Chinese School which is located on Davis street near 3rd street, was married to a Chinese before she returned to this country. She has told people that she is still a girl. She was born in the United States and is a citizen. But I should like to ask you to see if she is still a citizen, if she was married to a Chinese. It is up to you to investigate this matter. As far as I am concerned, I have nothing against such woman. But I just want to let you know if it is lawful for her to stay in our country, if she was married to a Chinese before she came back to the country where she was born. Of course, you know what to do about this case.
Yours very truly
No need to be mentioned
On 23 July 1929 Pearl Y. Hom (Mon Hom Ying) applied for a Native’s Return Certificate. She was born in Portland, was not married, and had been teaching at a Chinese public school in Portland for four years. She was living at the Baptist Mission on Broadway and Couch.
According to Pearl’s application she had four brothers and one sister: Thomas S. Hom (Hom Mon Sing), working in a cannery in Alaska and off-season living in Seattle; Charles C. Hom (Hom Mom Chow), Alice H. Hom (Hom Mom Hong), and Amos G. Hom (Hom Mon Gum) living in China; and George Hom (Hom Xow) living in Portland. [Sometimes “Mon” is spelled “Mom” but “Mon” seems to be correct.]
Pearl’s 1909 application included affidavits from C.R. Levy of Levy Spiegel & Co., Dr. C. E. Cline, Mrs. E. B. Kan, Yee Mow, and Rev. Moy Ling, all of Portland.
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.