Tag Archives: Victoria

Li Kuo Ching – Chinese Financier Arrives in Seattle – Destination NYC

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 1916
“Li Kuo Ching, Form of Chinese Certificate,” 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Li Kuo Ching case file, Seattle Box 236, file 4725/3-4.

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.]

Tsang Gee Kay and his dog

Tsang Gee Kay photo with dog
“Tsang Gee Kay and his dog,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Tsang Gee Kay file, Seattle, Box 1305, Case 38749/1-1.

In May 1921, Tsang Gee Kay, alias Bennie One, was applying to travel from Oakland, California to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia for two weeks. He was an actor and was playing in a skit at the Pantages. His dog was not mentioned in the file so it is assumed that the dog was part of the skit. Tsang Gee Kay was 25 years old and born in San Francisco on 2 December 1895 according to his birth certificate. His father ran a Bizarre and Chinese restaurants in Frisco. He had a brother, Ernest, and two sisters. He had never been back to China but had been to Canada three times—crossing twice at Blackrock near Buffalo, New York, and a third time at Emerson, North Dakota. Tsang Gee Kay was married to Augusta. She was living at 102-West 90th Street, New York City. They had no children. He was re-admitted at Seattle on 12 June 1921.