Amy Chin knew her grandfather entered the United States through the Port of Seattle in 1911. While searching for more records on him, she found he had been in northeastern New York state near the Adirondacks by 1903. She found more information about him in a jail ledger at a museum in Port Henry, New York, near the Canadian border. Read about Amy Chin’s discovery of the jail ledgers and her collaboration with the NYSCA Museum Program, Iron Center Museum, Town of Moriah Historical Society, North Star Underground Railroad Museum, and the Museum of Chinese in America, and how they got the jail ledgers digitized and available online. Thank you to Amy Chin and everyone involved in the project for making this information available to families and researchers.
Here’s the story. You can see the 719 images at MoCA’s online archive. The ledgers belong to the Iron Center Museum/Port Henry-Moriah Historical Society in Port Henry, NY. They and the Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA) in New York City jointly own the digitized records.
Lee Quong On’s entry in the jail ledgers
Lee Quong On’s file featured on April 29, 2019 blog post, contains information from 1901 to 1941. After hearing about the jail ledgers from the Port Henry area and that they were digitized, I searched and found an entry for Lee Quong On.
In early 1901 Lee Quong On left China. He arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; then took a train to Montreal, Quebec and made his way to Burke, Franklin County, New York. He was immediately arrested. On 15 March 1901, he was brought before Hon. William V. S. Woodward, U.S. Commissioner of Plattsburgh, N. Y. and charged with unlawfully being in the U.S. A trial was held. He and three witness: Chin Sing, Chin Dan and Tsao Dong, testified in his favor. The evidence was considered, the charges were cleared, and Lee was released. He received his discharge certificate with his photograph attached in August 1901 at Port Henry, New York from Fred W. Dudley, a United States Commissioner, Northern District of New York. For the complete post, see https://chineseexclusionfiles.com/2019/04/29/lee-quong-on-1901-discharge-papers/
Lee Quong (On), the jail ledger at the Iron Center Museum/Port Henry-Moriah Historical Society in Port Henry, NY. He is the top entry on page 49. (These are copies of the same image; the second is darker so you can read all of the words.)
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!
[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. A few months ago, I emailed the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org with my request for the files for Long Mi-Na and Long Nee-Sa. The request went into the queue and when my number came up a staff member scanned the files and emailed them to me. They are the greatest!]
“Long Mi-Na & Long Nee-Sa correspondence photos,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Long Mi-Na and Long Nee-Sa case file, Seattle Box 334, file 7022/18-3 & 7022/18-4.
Long Mi-Na, age 23, and Long Nee-Sa, age 21, were the daughters of Long Tack Sam. They were actresses and members of the Long Tack Sam Troupe who made several tours the United States and Canada. There were twelve members of the troupe. On this trip to Vancouver, B.C. they left Seattle on 23 November 1932 by boat, returned via the Great Northern Railway, and were identified and admitted at Blaine, Washington, one week later.
The troupe was bonded by the National Suety Company granted by Department of Labor.
The initial correspondence in the files was for their 1929 tour. On that tour, they left the U.S. in March for vaudeville engagements at Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, Canada; and reenter at Seattle in April 1929 to continue their tour in the United States. They were allowed to stay in the U.S. for six months. A bond of $1,000 was paid for each of the twelve members of the troupe. The substantial amount of the bond was to assure that all the members of the troupe would depart the U.S. at the end of the six-month period.
[Unfortunately, files for travelers such as actors, actresses, acrobats, and vaudeville members, usually do not contain much information. Most do not include a photograph. Mi-Na and Nee-Sa’s files were only six pages but each file included a photo.]
[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopens. THN]
“Gee Moon Jew, Certificate of Identity” 1930, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gee Moon Jew case file, Seattle Box 441, file 7030/1001.
Gee Moon Jew 朱文周 was 35 when he applied for a return certificate to allow him to make a trip to China. He was a poultry farmer in Vashon, Washington. He was born about 1897 in Hong How village, Sunning District, China. He came to the U.S. in 1909, at the age of 14, arriving in San Francisco. He was considered a U.S. citizen, the son of a native. His father, Gee Fee Yee, marriage name You Ming, was born in San Francisco. His mother was in China. He had three brothers and one younger sister. His older brother, Gee Moon Bin [sic] and his younger brother Gee Moon Taw, were both living in California. Gee Moon Jew married a Caucasian woman, Charlotte Irene Rogers in Vancouver, Washington in November 1918. After marrying he took the name George W. Jenn. George and Charlotte had six children; Mary Frances, born 1919; George Walton, born 1921; Alice Martha, born 1923; William Lawrence, born 1925; Eugene, also called Wee Jee, born 1927; and Helen Elizabeth Jenn, born 1927. Mary Frances was born in Seattle and the other children were born in Vashon.
Gee Moon Jew was taking his two eldest children, Mary Frances and George Walton, to China so they could attend a private Methodist school in Canton City. He was also going to visit his mother and other relatives and expected to be gone about three or four months. The children would probably stay three years.
Immigration authorities also interviewed Gee Moon Jew’s wife. Charlotte Irene Ward was 28 years old and born in Larned, Kansas. Her stepfather’s surname was Rogers. They could not afford to take the whole family to China, so she was staying home with the younger children. Her mother was coming from California to stay with her. There were short interviews for Mary Frances and George Walton. They identified their parents and their birth certificates were examined.
Roy M. Porter, the Immigrant Inspector, examined Gee Moon Jew’s 1909 San Francisco file. His father, Gee Fee Yee, had a Seattle file showing that he was admitted at Port Townsend, Washington in 1897. He also had a San Francisco file with a discharge statement showing that he was a native-born U.S. citizen. Porter approved the application for a return certificate for Gee Mon Jew and his children. A copy of Gee Fee Yee’s 1909 affidavit was included in the file.
“Gee Fee Yee affidavit with photos of Gee Fee Yee and Gee Mun Gew [sic]” 1909, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gee Moon Jew case file, Seattle Box 441, file 7030/1001.
The reference sheet in the file included the case numbers for the files of Gee Moon Jew’s father, his brother, Gee Moon Ben; and Ben’s two sons, Gee Quong Sam and Gee Suey Gin.
Fred W. Taylor, Controller of Chinese Immigration for the Port of Vancouver, B. C. swore in an affidavit in the case of Loey King, also known as Lew King 雷權 or Loey Koon, that the document he reviewed was a true copy of Lew King’s application for admission to Canada.
[It is really highly unusual that a copy of Loey King (Lew King)’s 22-page Canadian file is included in his Seattle file.]
Lew King’s Canadian record was made in accordance with the laws of the Dominion of Canada, the Chinese Immigration Act of 1906, as amended by acts assented to July 20, 1908, and July 25, 1917. [A copy of the Act was included in the file.]
On 23 August 1920, Wong Wamfong [or Wam Fong] swore in an affidavit that he was manager of the Man Sing Lung Company at 92 Pender Street East, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The business, started in March 1919, was registered as a partnership. They dealt with groceries, general merchandise, and drugs. Lew King was a member of the partnership, a merchant, and was interested in coming to Vancouver from Hong Kong to become an active partner.
Louis Gar On swore in an affidavit in August 1920 that he was managing partner of the Man Sang Lung Company in Victoria, B.C. He claimed that Lew King had been a partner for several years of the company in Victoria and was also registered as a partner of Man Sing Lung Company in Vancouver. He believed that Lew King should be entitled to enter Canada exempt from the $500 capitulation tax.
In Lew King’s interrogation, he testified that he was a merchant for Man Sing Lung Co. in Vancouver, B.C. He arrived in Vancouver on 23 November 1920. This was reported in Vancouver file number 1316/1398. His exemption as a merchant was rejected and he was admitted after paying the $500 head tax. In his statement and declaration for registration he said that he was a salesman. He was born at Ing Gar Hong, Sin Ning district, China about 1892.
Lew King left Vancouver and was admitted at the Port of Seattle in August 1921 as a Section 6 Merchant. When Lew King applied for his laborer’s return certificate in 1935, the Seattle immigration office chose to verify Lew King’s original admission in Vancouver in 1921 even though he had made two trips to China since his admittance. The Vancouver office initially recommended that Lew King not be approved. Seattle asked Vancouver to reexamine their file. Roy M Porter, Immigrant Inspector in Seattle, reviewed their report. Porter did not think there was sufficient evidence to prove that Lew King admission to the Canada or the U.S. in 1921 was fraudulent. He reasoned that if the admittance was disapproved, Lew King’s appeal would probably be sustained so he recommended that his laborer’s return certificate be approved.
At the time of his interview to leave the U.S. on 5 April 1935, Lew King presented treasury bond No. 57451A for $1,000 as proof of his statutory right for a laborer’s return certificate. He left the bond with the Goon Dip Company at 415 7th Avenue South in Seattle. He was reminded by immigration authorities that the bond must be intact in the U.S. at the time of his return to be entitled to legal readmission.
Lew King (married name Doon Hen) was 42 years old and living at 214 Washington Street in Seattle. He left Seattle on 13 April 1935 on the S.S. President McKinley.
According to section 7 of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1888, as amend, Chinese laborers were required to return within one year. 1
There is no more information in Lew King’s file and nothing in the file to indicate why he did not return but in September 1937, Marie A. Proctor, district commissioner of the Seattle District Immigration Office, canceled the certificate of identity #56504 issued to Lew King as a laborer.
1. Green Haywood Hackworth. Digest of International Law: Chapters IX – XI., Volume 3, “Chapter XI, Aliens,” (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1942), 792. (books.google.com: accessed 12 May 2020.)
Rose Leong left Seattle by boat on Sunday morning, 24 October 1943 and returned a week later on 31 October on the S.S. Princess Alice. She was traveling with May Fun Kim (May Mar) and Kathleen Wong. They were visiting Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on vacation. Rose was twenty years old; born on 12 May 1923 in Seattle; the daughter of Leong Yip and Chin Shee. Rose was single, employed as a clerk at Boeing and lived with her family at 216 17th South, Seattle. She had never been out of the United States.
During Rose’s application interview she identified photos of her parents and her brother, Leong Gim Lin, who went back to China about 1931 and did not return. She had two brothers and a sister in the United States. Her brother, Robert Leong, age 20, was serving in the U.S. Army at Camp Sheridan, Illinois. Her bother, Jimmie Leong, age 16; and sister, Gene Leong, age 8, were both living at home. Rose attended Washington Grade School and graduated from Garfield High School in June 1942. Her father, Leong Yip, who had been ill for the last three years, had died recently.
Rose’s mother testified that Leong Gim Lin was the son of her husband and his first wife.
The names, case numbers and relationships for Rose’s parents, brother in China, Leong Git Too, nephew; and Jow Wah, adopted brother were listed on the reference sheet in the file.
The Immigrant Inspector recommended approval of Rose’s application remarking that her documents were in order, she spoke English fluently and “has all the earmarks of being educated in this country. Her father was been well known to this office for more than twenty years.”
Li Kuo Ching (K. C. Lee 李國欽) received his Section Six certificate issued by Edwin S. Cunningham, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, American Consulate-General, Shanghai, China, on 5 January 1926. His class status was “Traveler.” He was traveling with his wife, Grace Kuo Li, age 26 and their children, Majorie [sic], Mildred, Kuoching Jr., and Marie.
Li graduated as a mining engineer in 1914 from the Royal School of Mines of London University. He completed one year post graduate course before becoming the director of Hunan Mining Board, Changsha, China in 1915. He was president of Wah Chang Trading Corporation in Shanghai from 1916 to 1920. The company had branch offices in Tientsin and in the Woolworth Building in New York City. Li was going to visit the office in New York and return to China within six months. His expenses would be paid for by the company. He was worth about $750,000 Mexican and had an income of $25,000 a year. He had letters of recommendation from M.D. Currie, vice-president of the International Banking Corporation, S. C. Chu, P. V. Jui, David Z. T. Yui, F. R. Sanford, Jr., and J. B. Sawyer. F. W. Schmid and M. D. Currie were also witnesses for Li.
Li Kuo Ching’s was first admitted to the U.S. at San Francisco in 1916. He presented his “Form of Chinese Certificate” with his photo attached and signed by the Consul General of the U.S.A. It gave his date of birth as K.S. 16-9-24 (November 6, 1890).
In 1920 Li arrived on a diplomatic passport and the head tax was not assessed. T. S. Pierce, Immigrant Inspector, wrote a letter of introduction to Henry R. Monroe, immigration inspector in Seattle for Li’s wife, Mrs. Grace Kuo Li. She was taking the train from Santa Barbara, California to Seattle on her way to meet her husband in Victoria or Vancouver, British Columbia. Mrs. Li was staying at the El Mirasol Hotel in Santa Barbara.
The file contains an undated newspaper article from The [Seattle] Post-Intelligencer, ca. 1926, with a photo of Li. The headline is, “Li Luo-Ching, Prominent Chinese Financier, Here; Youthful Marvel of Celestial Kingdom Pays Visit to City With Wife En Route to New York from Orient.
[Volunteers Lily Eng brought this file to my attention and Hao-Jan Chang provided the Chinese characters for Li Kuo Ching’s name.]
This file contains documents and photos of Lee Quong On from 1901 to 1941. Lee was born in San Francisco on or about 20 June 1879. He and his parents returned to his parents’ village in China when Lee was about seven years old. In 1898 Lee married Wong She in Chu Ging village, Sun Ning district. They had one child, a son, Lee Or Yuen, born in 1900.
In early 1901 Lee Quong On left China. He arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; then took a train to Montreal, Quebec and made his way to Burke, Franklin County, New York. He was immediately arrested. On 15 March 1901, he was brought before Hon. William V. S. Woodward, U.S. Commissioner of Plattsburgh, N. Y. and charged with unlawfully being in the U.S. A trial was held. He and three witness: Chin Sing, Chin Dan and Tsao Dong, testified in his favor. The evidence was considered, the charges were cleared, and Lee was released. He received his discharge certificate with his photograph attached in August 1901 at Port Henry, New York from Fred W. Dudley, a United States Commissioner, Northern District of New York.
When Lee Quong On applied to go to China in 1908, he swore in an affidavit that he was born in the United States to Chinese parents, went to China with his parents at a young age, and returned in 1901. He told how he was arrested at Rouse’s Point, New York in 1901 and taken to jail at Plattsburgh, New York but eventually was released and given his discharge certificate. His 1908 departure was approved, and a current photograph of him was attached to his affidavit. He left for China through the Port of Richford, Vermont.
Lee returned through Vancouver, British Columbia in August 1911. He was 32 years old, marriage name of Lee Doon Po, a laundryman, and living in Boston, Massachusetts. Lee exchanged is discharge certificate for a certificate of identity.
Lee’s next visit to China was in 1916. By this time, he was a merchant but still living in Boston. Charles V. Slane was a witness for him. Lee was issued United States passport #2220 before he left the U.S.
In 1940, Lee wanted to return to the United States. He was a merchant at the Ow Sang Market but because of the war with Japan, the market was being disturbed by the Japanese bombers. He felt it was dangerous to stay there. His Boston attorney, John G. Sullivan, wrote to the Director of Immigration in Seattle to make sure Lee’s papers were in order. Lee’s passport had expired many years ago. Chin Hong Ark, also known as Chin Ming, swore in an affidavit, that Lee Quong On, aged 60 years, was a U.S. citizen. Photos of Chin Hong Ark and Lee Quong On were attached to his affidavit. When Lee left for China in 1916 he left his discharge papers and his certificate of identity at the Seattle Immigration office. They were both in his file.
Lee Quong On was admitted to the United States at Seattle on 3 February 1941.
Guest blogger: Sue Fawn Chung, Professor Emerita, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Chong Wong Chong (b. ca. 1863, immigrated KS 8 = 1882; pinyin:
Zhang Huangchang 张黄昌)
In 1928 Chong Wong Chong’s deposition to the INS described his situation and provides insight into the life of a Chinese American merchant and Chinese labor contractor. This file is found at the NARA Seattle, RS 2870, File 12860/14-1. He stated that he was also known as Chong (pinyin – Zhang) Ho Song, a Portland import-export merchant with the married name of Jung (pinyin – Zhang) Song Lung, who was born in Sui Soon Village, Hoy Ping (pinyin – Kaiping), Guangdong, China. He had other names: Sam Sing and Chung (pinyin – Zhang) Sam Sing. A later investigation using the NARA Seattle index of individuals with their occupation and birthplace led to the papers of Sam Sing, a laborer, who obviously was the same man as Chong Wong Chong. I found Sam Sing because his birthplace was the same as Chong’s and the Seattle index notes birthplace and occupation whenever feasible.
Chong immigrated around 1882 (KS 8), landing in Portland on a small steamer from Vancouver, British Columbia, as a laborer and visited China in 1890 and 1891. On his 1891 trip, he landed in San Francisco as a merchant instead of Portland or Seattle. In 1908 he visited Canada and returned 1909.
Chong was married twice, the first time when he was seventeen and living in China. Lee Shee, his first wife, died in ST 1 (1908) in China. From his first marriage he had two boys, Chong Shew Lun, who lived in Portland and was in the oyster business, and the older boy who remained in China; and two girls, one named Chong Choy Lun (b. 1893), who was married to a Wong and living in Helena, Montana with her husband, and the older girl, Jung Sou Lun (b. 1884), who remained in China. Within six months after the death of his first wife’s death, he married Lee Shee (b. ca. 1888; Certificate of Identity 6640)) in ST 1 (1908) of Gow How Village, Sunning (pinyin – Xinning) in his home village and his wife and two children came to the U.S. in ST 2 (1909). Lee Shee and the children were refused admission because Chong was listed as a laborer so Chong returned to his store in Portland, then applied again for his wife and two children in ST 3 (1910) as dependents of a merchant and was successful in getting their admission on December 20, 1911. Years later, through Ancestry.com. Lee Shee gave her husband’s name as Chong Luk Dak. They lived at 264 Flanders Street, around the corner form her husband’s store on North 4th.
Chong and his second wife had two children, a boy and girl, both born in Portland. Chong Seid Foon (September 6, 1912, American name – Charles) and Chong Heung Lon (1909-1927). The girl’s death caused his wife much grief and led to the decision to adopt Chong May Yoon (original Chinese name Jun Mui), who was born in Los Angeles to Toy and Jennie Chung (pinyin – Zhang) on April 13, 1919 and was adopted in March or April 1927 when she was eight years old. (NARA Seattle files #30/5270, 12860/14-2, and 7030/5200). Toy Chung died in 1925 and finding herself in financial difficulties, Jennie decided to allow the Chongs to officially adopt May Yoon (later called Helen Chong Yep). Jennie brought her daughter to Portland for the adoption proceedings. The adoption had been suggested by a Zhang clansman in San Francisco who knew of Jennie’s plight – a large family of young children without a father – and arranged the contact.
After nine years of working for the Quon Shew Lun Company, in 1909 Chong became the manager of Quon Shew Lun Company, a general merchandising firm on at 94 North 4th and later on North 3rd Street, Portland. The firm’s capitalization was $10,000 and Chong’s share was $2,000. He and the bookkeeper, Jung Ho Yip ($600 investment), each earned $60 per month plus room and board. The other active member was the salesman, Jung Gow ($600 investment). The inactive shareholders were primarily of the Jung (Zhang) clan, with a few other surnames – Wong, Ng, Leong, and Lee – who lived in China, Portland, elsewhere in Oregon, and New York. This was typical of large merchandising firms and all of the men were usually related or came from the same village in China. The company made about $2000 or more in profit annually. The store was located on rented property owned by Euro-Americans for the last ten years.
The firm also acted as the labor contractors for the cannery Libby, McNeil, and Libby [established in 1912 in Sacramento, CA and closed in 1980], and had two canneries under the management of Lee San Toy ($500 shareholder from Portland) in Alaska: Nushagak and Ekuk. These were fish canneries in present-day Dillingham.
Although Chong did not go into details, he noted that he owned property in Portland and had a Euro-American rent collector since he rented out the property.
Chong spoke English and had two Euro-Americans testify on his behalf: the owner of the building in which his store was located and a member of the bank he used. Their depositions and long-time acquaintance with him as Chong Ho Sang put Chong in a favorable light from the perspective of the immigration officials. He was granted a permit to re-enter the United States from China. On this trip he took his wife and his recently adopted daughter, now called Helen Chong, but keeping the name May Yoon Chong in accordance with the adoption papers (NARA Seattle file #27272). They were accompanied by others, including Helen’s natural brother, Chung Gee Kay (1911-1980) (NARA Seattle files #28160/238 and 10797/10-25).
The family made several other trips to China, presumably because of business concerns of Chong Wong Chong. Below is Helen Chong’s 1933 application from NARA Seattle.
Chong Wong Chong frequently traveled to China and owned a general store there. Presumably that store supplied the Portland store with goods. He passed away in Hong Kong In the 1950s.
In 1951 Helen returns from Hong Kong to San Francisco with her family. (Certification of birth of Anna Chung aka Helen C. Yep, State of California Department of Public Health, dated 10-29-1962, State Fil 19-015292): husband Yep Wing Sing, age 30 of 421 W Brand St., Richmond, Virginia; Chong (Yep) Helen, age 31, at the same address, Yip Won Yue, age 13, born in China, Yip Duck Lai, age 23, born in China, Yep Grace Woon Yuen, age 9, born in New York, Yep Ruby Woon King, age 2, born in China, and Yep Theresa Woon King, age 5, born in Hong Kong. There is the possibility that Anna/Helen had twin boys, Henry and Douglas. Helen passed away in San Francisco.
By Sue Fawn Chung, Professor Emerita, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Chin You’s file covers the years 1906 to 1940 and has several photos of him at various ages. He lived in Washington, D.C.
Additional information 12/10/2018:
Chin You 陳耀 was born on 3 January 1885 on a fruit farm in San Jose, California and went to China with his parents, Chin Jin 陳真 and Goon She, and his younger brother, Chin Guey, when he was six years old. They lived in Ai Wan Village in the Sun Ning District. Chin You returned when he was 21 years old. He arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from China and after making his way across Canada to Montreal he was admitted to the United States at the Port of Richford, Vermont on 24 November 1906. He was held in detention for four or five days but was admitted after his father Chin Jin who worked at Quong Ying Tung Co in Boston, Massachusetts, swore in an affidavit that Chin You was his son.
Chin You made several trips to China between 1906 and 1940. This is some of the information garnered from his interrogations: His marriage name was Chin Kun Char. His father, whose marriage name was Chin See Thun, came back to the United States about 1897 and died in Boston in 1908. His brother came to the United States a couple of months after their father died.
Chin You married Yee Shee and they had a son, Chin Doon, born in 1912 in China. Chin You registered for the draft on 12 September 1918 in Patterson, New Jersey. The war ended the day after he received his draft card in the mail. Yee Shee died and Chin You remarried Lillian Lerner in 1920 in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1921 communications from A. R. Archibald the Immigrant Inspector in Baltimore to the Commissioner of Immigration stated that they received an anonymous, rambling letter saying that Chin You was manager of the Royal Restaurant and that he was a bigamist and a draft evader. They investigated, discounted the charges and recommended that Chin You’s application be approved.
Chin You left for China in 1921 and returned in November 1939. On his immigration form he states that his first wife died and the whereabouts of his second wife are unknown. He married again in China to Leong Shee and they had six children, five sons and one daughter. He applied to leave from San Francisco for China in January 1941. His file was approved but there is no further information in the file.