In 1917 Wong F. Pershing’s father, Wong Chun Wah, applied to Immigration for pre-investigation as a merchant intending to visit China. The examining inspector believed that the place Wong was working, W. J. London Company, was involved in gambling. The inspector did not believe Wong qualified as a merchant according to the exclusion law. Wong abandoned his connection with this employer and became a merchant for the Quan Yuen Chong Company, a legitimate and bona fide mercantile concern. His status as a merchant was reinstated.
Wong Chun Wah again applied to take his wife and three sons, Raymond, Pershing and Chester, to China with him in 1921. Wong showed Immigration Inspector B. A. Hunter the Seattle birth certificates for his children.
On 14 February 1942 Pershing F. Wong was applying to visit Vancouver, British Columbia by bus via Blaine, Washington. His Chinese name was Wong Gok Way. He was born on 27 October 1919 in Seattle, the son of Wong Chun Wah (Wah Fat) and Ann Quan Gee. His mother died in Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle in 1930. Pershing had five brothers and one sister. He attended Garfield high school and was a seaman on the U.S. S. Explorer, Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship. Ensign John Guthrie of the Explorer verified that Pershing F. Wong was the correct name for W. F. Pershing Wah, the name Pershing used on his original application.
The last document in Pershing Wong’s file shows the he was admitted at Blaine, Washington. The Reference Sheet list the file numbers for his father, mother, two brothers, and sister.
Additional information not included in the file:
A newspaper article from the 6 February 1945 issue of the Seattle Daily Times, states that Pershing Wong was the only Chinese deck officer sailing out of Seattle in the American merchant marines; he was a member of the Masters, Mates & Pilots’ Association; and joined the merchant marines in 1941. Wong had just spent 110 days in the Pacific combat area. It was a turbulent time, besides the heavy WW II bombing, three navy craft were sunk by a typhoon.
According to Pershing F. ‘Perky’ Wong’s obituary in the 14 July 1999, Oregonian newspaper, he retired as a captain in 1985.
Chin Yick Thlew, 陳溢秀, age 15, took the long journey from China alone on the Princess Marguerite, arriving at the Port of Seattle on 11 January 1941. She would be living with her parents, Chin Yock Can 陳煜芹 and Dong Shee, at 1211 Cornwell Avenue, Bellingham, Washington. Her father was the son of Chin Tong, an American born citizen. Their older son was living in Lung Hing Village, Look Toon Section, Hoy San District, China, with his grandparents. Their son, Chin Yick Goon, and daughter, Fee Lon, and two younger children were living with them in Bellingham.
Yick Thlew’s file contains a long letter she wrote to her parents. The original letter is in Chinese and a translation is included. She wanted her parents to know that she missed them; that her education was extremely important to her; she told them several time she was not ready to get married; and she wanted to join them in the United States. She signed her letter, “I am, your little daughter.” (The translation was made by the Young China Morning Newspaper in San Francisco.)
Chin Yick Thlew was admitted in spite of the District Director of Seattle Immigration, R. P. Bonham’s claim that there was some unsatisfactory testimony. Several of the family members changed their interview answers so that everyone’s story agreed. Their attorney, Henry A. Monroe, explained that the parents were afraid that if their testimony did not agree completely with their daughter’s, she would be sent back to China. Chin Yick Thlew was held in detention for almost five weeks. She mis-identified a family member in one of the photographs presented during the interrogation. Everyone involved was questioned over and over. The parents were distraught and decided that whatever their daughter said they would agree with it in their testimony. Finally, Monroe who had been working with Chinese immigrants for thirty-five years, stepped in. He got everyone to tell the truth and straightened out all the misunderstandings. There were over thirty pages of interrogations from Chin Yick Thlew, her father, mother, and her brother, Chin Yick Guoon/Goon. Files for her father, mother, grandfather, two great uncles, three uncles, a brother and a sister were reviewed.
“Form 430 Photos of Ah One,” 1907, 1925,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ah One case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13432.
In 1907 (Wong) Ah One 黃穩 applied for admission to the U. S. as a native-born Chinese person. He was the son of Ah Fook and Lem Shee and was born in Tacoma, Washington. He went back to China with his parents and younger brother, Ah Wah, when he was about four or five years old, about 1888 or 1889. They lived in Chung Chi village then Hong Kong.
Ah Lung, a witness for Ah One, was a laundryman in Seattle and a good friend of Ah One’s father. He came to the U.S. about 1867. He lived in Tacoma for about 10 years and met Ah Fook there; they were friends but not related. At that time the Chinese businesses in Tacoma were all located near the sawmill. Al Lung remembered Ah Fook leaving Tacoma after the riots [November 1885] but a few months before the Chinese fire. Ah Fook went to Portland then came back to Tacoma briefly before moving to Seattle. He took his family to China about 1888 after he received reparations from the government for damage done to his property by the riot in Tacoma.
F. W. Southworth, a physician for most of the Chinese in Tacoma, lived there since about 1887 and testified that Ah One was born in Tacoma. In 1907 Dr. Southworth sworn that he was well acquainted with Ah One’s father, Ah Fook, a merchant. He believed that Ah One was his son.
S. J. Murphy was another witness for Ah One. He testified that he was a deputy sheriff and had been living in Tacoma for 31 years [since about 1876]. He was a teamster in 1885. He remembered that Ah Fook was the proprietor of Quong Yen Co., which was located “somewhere about where the Commercial Dock is now, or near the old Hatch sawmill.”
A. S. Fulton, the immigrant inspector questioning Murphy about what became of Ah Fook “after the so-called Chinese riots in Tacoma.” Murphy said Ah Fook and his family left the city immediately and may have gone to Portland but may have come back briefly. Ah Fook’s business was burned out during the Tacoma riots. Murphy said “Ah Fook was a friend of his in those early days and frequently used to invite him into his store and pass him a cigar and talk about his business and his boy Ah One.”
Immigration authorities considered the evidence and decided that Ah One was born in the U.S. and satisfactorily identified. Ah One was admitted to the U.S. in 1907.
Ah One made several more trips to China. In 1911 Ah One testified that he owned a tide-land lot in Tacoma. He bought the property from Mr. Harmon and had a contract at the Pacific National Bank of Tacoma. He showed the interrogator some of his payment receipts. He paid $705 for the lot. He also had a $650 interest in the Shanghai Café where he was the manager.
In 1912 Ah One testified that he was born near the old Flyer Dock in Tacoma (described by a witness as Second and Pacific Avenues, North). He learned to speak English at Sunday school. When asked if he paid his witnesses to testify for him, he denied it. He said they testified because they knew him and they were acquainted with his father. Ah One had saved about $600 for this trip to China. He was going back to China to get married.
In 1917 Ah One testified that his marriage name was Chun Wong. He had a brother Ah Wan. His parents, Ah Fook and Lum Shee, both died before 1917. He was married to Chin Shee and they had one son, Ah Him, born in 1913. They are living in Jung Sai, Sun Ning, China. Although Ah One entered the U.S. successfully on previous trips, this interrogator wanted more witnesses to prove Ah One was born in the U.S. and that he was the same person who left for China when he was 4 or 5 years old. This is part of the testimony:
Q. “Do you mean then that you are relying simply on your two former admissions at this port to prove your right to readmission on your return from China?”
A. “Yes, and I have a certificate of identity as a native.”
Q. “Have you ever voted in this county?”
A. “Yes, I voted for Mayor in Seattle, I voted for Hi Gill when he last ran.” [Hiram Gill was mayor of Seattle from 1911-1912.]
Ah One stated that he attended a mission school in Tacoma for a few months. After he returned from China when he was 23 he worked as a cook for four or five years, then worked as a foreman at the Deep Sea Salmon Cannery Co., in Alaska. Since September 1916 he as the foreman of the Chinese workers at a company at Richmond Beach.
In 1923 he was living at 1346 Broadway in Tacoma, Washington and was a merchant at the Kwong Fat Lung Company in Seattle. In 1928 (Wong) Ah One had a problem with his eyes and could not see to write. His final trip to China was in 1941. Although Ah One’s earlier trips required several witnesses, affidavits and testimony, his later re-entries into the U.S. went smoothly.
“Photos See Jan (Ah Yen), Ah Gooey family and Judge Joe A. Kuhn” 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, See Jan case file, Seattle RS Box 37, file RS 1392. [Judge J. A. Kuhn attached his own photograph to the court papers to be sure of the identification. This is the first time I have seen a judge do this. THN]
In 1903 Ah Gooey (married name Yee Fon) applied to Judge Kuhn, U.S. Commissioner in Jefferson County, Washington, to obtain the proper documents for himself, his wife, and their seven children to travel to China and be admitted to the United States upon their return. [This file is for his son See Jan but it has information on the whole family.]
Ah Gooey and Kee Toy’s children were Ah Lun, Ah Yen, Ah Len, Suie Yen, Fung King, Fung Sing, all born in Port Ludlow and a daughter, Fung Gall, born in Irondale, Jefferson County, Washington. The three eldest children attended public school in Port Ludlow. They could read, write and speak English. Ah Gooey was a steward at the Puget Mill Company’s cook house in Port Ludlow and had a brother, Ah Loy, living nearby.
The following Chinese knew of Ah Yen’s birth in Port Ludlow: She Gon of the Zee Tai Co., Port Townsend, Washington; Eng Yee Tung and Ah Yow. Ah Yen knew the following white people in Port Ludlow: Louis Poole, Mrs. Charles Guptill, Mr. Charles Parks, Mr. James Wilson, and Mr. Walker.
C. H. Hanford, Judge of the U.S. District Court, District of Washington issued a commission to Judge Kuhn to take their testimony and report back to him. H. Hallinger was their attorney. Louis Poole and Mrs. Charles Guptill were witnesses.
Louis Poole was 57 years old in 1903 and had resided in Port Ludlow for 38 years. He had known Ah Gooey since 1875. He testified that because he was in the mercantile business, he had seen Ah Gooey and his growing family almost daily as customers, especially the children who bought candy at his store.
Mrs. Charles (Elthea S.) Guptill, age 60, a resident of Port Ludlow since 1873, was also a witness for Ah Gooey. She was present at the birth of his three oldest children. She saw all the children almost daily until they moved to Irondale in 1902. Ah Yen was born in Port Ludlow on 9 April 1888.
His father, Ah Gooey, died in China in 1905. In June 1907 Yen (Ah Gong Yen) (married name See Jan) returned to Port Townsend, Washington by himself and was admitted to the United State after the court declared that he was a returning native-born Chinese person, son of Ah Gooey and Kee Toy.
In August 1898 Yee Hang applied to U.S. Immigration to have his thirteen-year old son, Yee Ton Lock (Look), join him in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Yee Ton Lock arrived in Port Townsend, Washington on 16 August. His uncle Yee Mow, a business owner on Water Street, filed his petition. Several people in McKeesport wrote letters of recommendation saying they were personally acquainted with Yee Hang and he was a good citizen. The Collector of Customs in Port Townsend received letters from Joseph A. Skelley, alderman and ex-officio Justice of the Peace; Homer C. Stewart, cashier of the First National Bank; Joseph R. Sean, Chief of Police; and Fred Steckel, business owner.
In an affidavit Yee Hang declared that he was a native of China and had been a resident of McKeesport for twenty-five years. He wanted to bring his son to the U.S. so he could receive an education in English and business.
The following people signed a petition with the hope of convincing Immigration authorities that because Yee Hang was such a good citizen his son should be allowed to come to McKeesport to receive an education:
S. J. Hutchison, ticket agent, B & O Railroad; J. E. Inghram, chief rate clerk; Mrs. Mary E. Inghram, S. S. teacher; R. T. Carothers, mayor, McKeesport; Homer C. Stewart, cashier, First National Bank; Charles A. Tawney, teller, First National Bank; Joseph A. J. Kelley, Justice of Peace; V. F. Geyer, retail merchant; Ada Page, Sabbath School teacher; Eugene Rodgers, grocer; S. B. Page, grocer; R. W. Ekin, secretary, Water Dept; Edwin Sales, superintendent, Water Dept; Henry A. Clante; F. B. Satterthwait, watchmaker; Adolph Schmidt, druggist; Charles William Kahl, drug clerk; J. W. Campbell, insurance agent; W. L. Laughlin, National Hotel; B. B. Cousin, real estate dealer; Edward Huber, clothier; F. W. Steckey, merchant; George W. Hartman, hardware ; William B. Fell, assistant postmaster; Erwin Meyer, postmaster; F. L. White, physician; James E. White, druggist; I. Wallis, accountant; Harry T. Watson, accountant; J. B. Shale, Surveyors Office; John N. Orth, florist; E. R. Donahue, pastor, West End Presbyterian Church; and Charles Tory, deputy surveyor.
The cover sheet of Yee Ton Lock’s file says, “His father keeps a laundry in McKeesport and claims to have been born in U.S. No proof produced. Refused in the absence necessary proof.
Rejected 8 August 1898. By HVB”
There is no further information in the file to tell exactly when Yee Ton Lock was deported.
Fannie Seto More (Lew Tue or Lew York Lue) was born on 9 July 1890 in Olympia, Washington. In 1913 she married Seto More; a Canadian citizen and a Canadian Pacific Railways passenger agent. Because Fannie married a Canadian citizen she lost her U.S. citizenship. When she traveled to the U.S. from her home in Vancouver, B. C. her classification under the Chinese exclusion laws was “traveler.” Her two children, Wilfred and Maysien were both born in Vancouver. Wilfred Bientang Seto was born 21 August 1915 and Maysien Geraldine Seto was born 30 April 1918. The three traveled from Vancouver to Blaine, Washington via train many times, had Canadian certificates of identity, and became well known to immigration officials.
Fannie’s file starts in 1909 and covers her many trips between Vancouver, B. C. and Seattle, WA until 1940. The following is some of the information gleaned from her file. Her parents were Lew King and Lee Shee. She had three brothers and one sister; Lew Geate Kay, Lew Get Soon, Lew Get Don, and Lew York Lon, (Mrs. Tom Shue Wing). Lew King, a member of Jong King Company and Wah Hing Company in Seattle, died in August 1908. Her mother, Lee Shee, was born in Kin Ham village, Sunning district. She was admitted to the U.S. in 1873 as the wife of a merchant about seven months after she married Lew King. She died in Seattle in 1914.
In 1909 Fannie was traveling from Seattle with student status. Her mother, Lee Shee, and brother, Lew York Lon, were witnesses for her. Lee Shee testified that she and her husband moved to Seattle in 1883. Seven months after they arrived, someone set fire to their store on old Third Avenue South. They moved nearby to the apartment above Hong Yee Chung Company store and stayed there until the Great Fire of Seattle in 1889. After the fire they lived in Olympia for a few years until they returned to Seattle.
S. L. Crawford was a Caucasian witness for Fannie Seto More in 1909. He testified that he had been living in Seattle for thirty-four years [since 1875]. Crawford was a reporter for the Post Intelligencer during the Chinese riots in 1886 and city editor for many years. He had frequent dealings with Lew King and knew him intimately. Lew King had been a Chinese interpreter for the court when Judge Lind was on the bench. [Judge Lind was a Thurston County judge in the early 1900s] Crawford identified photos of Lew King’s children including the applicant.
Witness Louie Kay, also known as Yin Lim and Hong Po, testified that he was a member of the Lew family but not related to Lew King. He came to Seattle in 1879; was away for the riots; and came back about two months after the 1889 fire. He was questioned about many things concerning the extended Lew family but most of the information did not pertain to Fannie.
Fannie’s mother underwent a serious operation in Seattle in 1913 but because Fannie had lost her U.S. citizenship she was unable to secure a Section 6 certificate so she could cross the border to visit her. The consul at Victoria refused to approve her certificate on the grounds that she was not a Canadian citizen even though her husband was a member of the exempt class in Canada. Her brother, Lew Gate Kay, of the Chinese Consulate in Seattle, made an appeal to the immigration authorities and Fannie was allowed to land without a Section 6 certificate. Commissioner White informed the Commissioner-General of Immigration in Washington, D.C. about what had happened. His letter of explanation is in Fannie’s file. [It never hurts to know the right people and pull a few strings.]
A 1921 letter from Frederick M. Ryan of the American Consular Service in Vancouver, B.C. confirmed that Mrs. Fannie Seto More acquired British citizenship through the naturalization of her husband.
“Seto More Fannie passport visa” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seto More Fannie (alias Lew Tue Fannie) case file, Seattle Box 787,file 7030/12060.
In 1921 Fannie and her children were issued Section 6 certificates by the Controller of Chinese Immigration in Vancouver, B.C. John J. Forester, of Vancouver, swore in a 1927 affidavit that he knew Fannie Seto More and her children and could identify them.
By 1933 Mr. Seto More was manager of the Chinese Department of the Canadian Pacific Railways in Vancouver.
In 1938 Fannie was traveling to visit her brother, Lew G. Kay, a staff member of the Chinese Consulate in Seattle, and stopover in Oakland, California to see her sister.
“Seto More Fannie Form 430 photo, Consular photo, Admittance photo” 1909, 1914, 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Seto More Fannie (alias Lew Tue Fannie) case file, Seattle Box 787,file 7030/12060.
The file ends with Fannie’s and her daughter’s visit to Seattle in February 1939.
[Tamia Duggan, CEA volunteer at NARA-Seattle, indexed this file and brought it to my attention.]
Fong See arrived at the Port of Seattle on the S.S. Iroquois on 22 May 1911. She was applying to be admitted to the United States as the lawful wife of Lee Yew, a merchant at On Lee Company in Portland, Oregon. Ellis DeBruler, Immigration Commissioner, wanted to expedite her landing. She was forty-six years old with bound feet; the only Chinese woman in the detention house. She was suffering from extreme loneliness and cried a great deal.
On 10 September 1910 Lee Yew made an affidavit to establish his status as a Chinese merchant and that of his wife, Fong See, as the wife of a merchant so she could join him and his son in Portland.
E. Hussey, Acting Chinese Inspector in Seattle reported to J. H. Barbour, Inspector in Charge in Portland, that after inspecting the premises of the On Lee Company, reviewing its partnership list and interviewing two Caucasian witnesses, Thomas G. Farrell and John B. Coffey, he was satisfied with Lee Yew’s status as a merchant
Thomas G. Farrell, age 43, testified in 1911 that he had been living in Portland for almost 43 years. He was a merchant in wholesale groceries on Front Street. He knew many Chinese and was acquainted with Lee Yew for five or six years. Lee Yew bought his poultry and eggs from Farrell so he was at Farrell’s business at least once a week.
John B. Coffey was in the tailoring business in the Elks Building and had been living in Portland for twenty-five years. He knew many Chinese socially and through his work. He and Lee Yew were acquainted in Salem, Oregon before Lee Yew came to Portland. Coffey was a witness for Lee Yew when his son came to the U.S.
After Inspector Hussey was satisfied that Lee Yew’s mercantile status was established, he interrogated Lee Sun Hing, the son of Fong See and Lee Yew.
Lee Sun Hing was born in China and arrived in the U.S. at Sumas, Washington in 1908 and was admitted as the minor son of a merchant. He was a student and after his Lee Yew’s death he inherited his father’s interest in the On Lee Company.
Lew Yew was too sick to testify about his status as a merchant and his marriage to Fong See when she arrived in Seattle in 1911. He died within a few months after Fong See’s arrival.
Fong See was admitted as the lawful wife of Lee Yew and went to live above the On Lee Company store in Portland with her son.