Tag Archives: Virginia

Henry White (Lim Kok Heng)– Becomes citizen through Private Law

Henry White, alias Lim Kok Heng, became a naturalized citizen effective 25 August 1942, the date he arrived in New York City on the exchange ship MS Gripsholm. Private law 380 of the 78th Congress was approved by the President on 27 September 1944 to allow him to be naturalized.  The Secretary of State was instructed to have “the proper quota-control officer to deduct one number from the quota for the Chinese of the first year that the said quota is available.” “Henry White (Lim Kok Heng) was paroled to the custody of Mr. Kenneth M. White upon posting a public charge and departure bond in the amount of $500.”

“Private Law 380, Henry White (Lim Kok Heng),” 1944, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, White Henry case file, Seattle Box 827, file 7030/13659.

[This was significant because after the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, the quota of Chinese entering the United States was 105. This extremely restrictive quota was in place until the Immigration Act of 1965.]

Henry White was originally excluded from entering the United States; his case was appealed, then he was paroled to the custody of Kenneth Matchitt White, his adoptive father, who posted a bond of $500. His Ellis island file was #174/405.

The file includes a copy of a 20 October 1943 Seattle Times newspaper article, titled “Chinese Orphan is Permitted to Stay.” Kenneth Matchitt White of Portland, Oregon found Henry, age 9, in a bar in Singapore in 1935. White placed the boy in a Chinese school, but Henry was interned when the Japanese captured Hong Kong.

Louis C. Hafferman, Immigrant Inspector investigated the case. He found that Lim Kok Heng (Henry White) was born in Singapore, Straits Settlement on 2 April 1926.

The father of Kenneth M. White, F. Manson White, was interviewed. He stated that he was born in Derby, England in 1868 and arrived in the United States in 1875. He had been living in Portland since 1888 and was a naturalized citizen. He was employed by the Portland School District as an architect with a salary of $3,000 per year. He had four children: Dr. Randall White, a Portland physician; Frederick M. White, editor on the Oregonian newspaper; Kenneth M. White, the adoptive father; and Katherine White, a former schoolteacher working in the defense industry in Los Angeles. Kenneth owned a farm in Springfield, Oregon a few years before becoming an electrician and currently he was a chief refrigeration engineer in the U.S. Army Transport Service. F. Manson White learned from his son that Lim Kok Heng was sold into slavery as a baby and mistreated. Kenneth felt sorry for him. Because Kenneth thought Lim Kok Heng was intelligent, he wanted him to receive a good education. Eventually Kenneth went through the adoption process. After Lim arrived in New York he was paroled under bond and went to live in Los Angeles with Kenneth’s sister, Katherine. The father, F. Manson White, stated that his assets were worth $10,000 in 1943 and that before the depression they were worth about $150,000. If anything happened to Kenneth, Manson would have the means to support Lim Kok Heng (Henry White).

Kenneth’s brother, Dr. Randall F. White, testified that he had been the Multnomah County physician for two years. He was not interested in Lim Kok Heng and would not want to accept any responsibility for him. Randall had only seen his brother three times in the last four years. As far as he knew the adoption papers were drawn up in Portland after Kenneth returned from the south Pacific war zone. Randall believed that his brother was mentally stable; a generous person who was fond of the subject and wanted to see that he was properly educated. Kenneth M. White sent Lim to Diocesan Boys School at Hong Kong. After the city was captured by the Japanese, Lim was interned. Other internees were Walter F. Frese, of Arlington, Virginia; John N. Raymond, of San Francisco, California; and M. B. King, of Salem, Ohio. Lim Kok Heng was taken aboard the Asama Maru and transferred to the MS Gripsholm with a group of American internees returning to the U.S. In 1943 Lim Kok Heng registered under the Alien Registration Act of 1940.

In a letter to the New York City Immigration Service from Kenneth White’s lawyer, Simon Hauser, he mentioned that White’s aunt, Mrs. Grace Calkins, the widow of a Rear Admiral, was willing to care for the boy at her home in Berkeley, California. Kenneth’s job required him to be at sea most of the time. Henry (Lim Kok Heng) completed most of his elementary school subjects in a year and a half in Hong Kong and was due to graduate from Virgil Junior High School with the highest possible grades in all his studies. He spoke English and “perfect Malayan and his services have been offered to Mr. Davis of the Office of War Information and to the CBS monitor station in San Francisco.”

Private bills S.1103 and H.R. 2707 were introduced by Senator McNary and Representative Angell.

There is no additional information and no photo in the file.

 

Woo Sing Family Portait – Registering Proof of Birth in Richmond, VA

Chas Wm Sing 1898 Fam photo sm 1070_8787_13 8
“Woo Sing family portrait,” 1898, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charles William Sing file, Seattle, Box 1070, Case 8787/3-8.

This photo was taken in Richmond, Virginia about 1898 of the Woo Sing, his wife Sue King, their son Charles William, and their daughter.
Charles William Sing, born 16 November 1895, was said to be the first Chinese baby born in Richmond, Virginia. [In 1908, the Acting Chinese Inspector stated that the Department of Health did not records birth in the City of Richmond during the years 1888 to 1900.] Woo Sing, knowing that his son nativity might be questioned in future years and his rights under the Constitution may be endangered, had several affidavits recorded in Chancery Court. Woo Sing stated that he was born in China and came to the United States in 1875 at the age of nine, married Sue King, of Chinese descent, but born in San Francisco. They were married there according to the laws of the State of California. They moved to Richmond about 1894 and lived at 2 South 7th Street. He set down the date of his son birth in Chinese and that statement was attached to the affidavits of the attending midwife and two persons who knew him personally. His affidavit was signed 28 April 1898. He paid $1.75 in filing fees. Minetree Folkes, a Notary Public for the City of Richmond, certified Woo Sing’s document.
Walter Christian, Clerk of the Hustings Court of the City of Richmond, certified Folkes’ qualifications.
Caroline Claton, a colored woman, swore in an affidavit that she was a midwife, resided at No. 4 Jackson Street, Richmond, and that on 16 November 1895; she attended to Woo Sing’s wife in the birth of a male child afterwards called Charles William.
Jefferson Wallace swore that he had his linen washed at the laundry of Woo Sing, sometimes called Hop Sing, He knew Woo Sing four or five years, knew that his wife bore a male child in the autumn of 1895 and the child was named Charles William Sing.
Bettie T. Hayes, residing at 817 Floyd Avenue, Richmond, swore the Woo Sing was her tenant and that she has no doubts about the time and place of the birth of Charles William Sing and that his mother brought him to her house on numerous occasions.
These statements were admitted to record on 8 August 1899 by Charles O. Saville, Clerk of the Court of Chancery. The documents were recorded in Deed Book 166 “B”, page 63.
In early September 1908, Woo Sing’s attorney asked the immigration authorities to do a pre-investigation on Charles William Sing to assure that he would not have any problems re-entering the United States. John H. Sargent, Inspector in Charge, in Seattle, complied. On 25 September 1908 John C. Williams, Acting Chinese Inspector, Norfolk, Virginia reported that he had done a thorough check of records and reported that “all the evidence produced and the people interviewed would seem to indicate that there is no doubt of the birth of a Chinese child at #2 So. 7th St., Richmond, Va. about the time set forth in the father’s affidavit.”
On 19 April 1911 Woo Sing, also know at Woo Yip, testified that he was 46 years old, a cook, and living at 655 West Highland Drive, Seattle. His wife and son and daughter were living in China. His statement was in reference to his son, Charles William Sing, coming to Seattle to live with him. Charles, age 16, arrived in Seattle on 15 April 1911 and was admitted. He went back to China in 1913 and 1927 for visits. The final document in his file shows that he was re-admitted on 23 April 1928. He was married. His married name was Woo Gong Jim; his Chinese name was Woo Gong Foon. He had seven children—four sons and three daughters, age 8 to 2. The oldest was born in China and he was staying in Seattle. The others, all born at 1023 King Street, Seattle were going back to China to attend school and return later. He had birth certificates for the children born in Seattle.
Other information not included in the file obtained from Library of Virginia :
The Richmond Dispatch, a Richmond, Virginia newspaper published an article, “Woo Sing Has a Son. He paid $1.75 Yesterday to Certify to this Fact. An [sic] Unique Paper Filed in Court” on 9 August 1899.
[There must have been a problem with Charles William Woo’s return in 1908 because these articles were in the local Richmond, Virginia newspapers.]
“Richmond-Born Chinaman is Denied Re-Admission,” The Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia 24 September 1908, p.10, col 1.
“American Chinaman Barred,” Appomattox and Buckingham Times, Volume 16, Number 48, 30 September 1908, p7, col. 2.