Saturday, October 16, 2010

In Memory -San Tong Jue

Selections from Auntie Soo-Yin's book "Legend of Zhao- An Epic Fable Based on a True Story"

"Pa wanted me to be the farmer because I'm a quiet sort," explained Father, after I'd ask him to elaborate. " He wanted my brother to be the marketman at the Produce Exchange because he was the oldest. After the death of San You in 1933, and after the death of my first wife, Rosemary, two years later, the Depression hit us hard. If we were to sell the Van Nuys ranch and sail to China as Pa had wanted, we'd have gotten only half its value. Everything Pa had lived for , everything he strived for ,had slipped through his fingers and he was so unhappy. After Pa died I was determined to make good for us. And believe me, it was scary because we were in debt up to our ears. No matter what happened at the Produce Exchange-or in the fields on our farm-I had to clear at least ten thousand dollars a year just to make ends meet. I had to do that "

Father worked the Van Nuys Ranch until the sun rolled down ,then he drove at 3 a.m. to the Produce Exchange-on L.A' s San Pedro Street-in order to market fresh asparagus, each bunch packed in crates stamped with our logo of "Universal No.1" He worked so hard to build a dream.

And how I love the big house that Father built in 1945. The rooftop of the house allows you a sweeping view of the San Fernando Valley.... In that room by the hearth I know that Father is lighting his Lucky Strike. He puts one hand on the white mantel and catches Joe's pupils in a portrait above that mantel. Commissioned by Father, Joe's portrait speaks of inward moves stolen from the space outside of time.

"This is our family's headquarters", says Father. He taps the mantel above the fireplace and says, " Our new home should have a bit of the old country built into its spirit. I want the Van Nuys ranch to be the central beacon in our lives, a home to which you can return whenever you wish. It's like a ship anchored safely in a harbor that will always provide for you-that will always provide for everyone in the family-because it is our only headquarters now, we can't go back to China"

Father shows me how to uproot expertly the earth . Like a reaper of old Song times he thrusts his machete at a steep angle-as if brushing the face of an exquisite scroll. Soon I follow my father's motions, feeling clumsy. Father is steeped in this life , I tell myself. I see the field's dust settle like clouds upon his hair and it softens the monkey grease across his suntanned face. I see dirt buried beneath his fingernails, and when I kiss his rosy cheek , I taste the salt of China's southern seas.

Wednesday. My mother summons my siblings and I to the upstairs bedroom of my parents. I see that her face is weighted by pain as I'd never seen in her. Her finger points to a spot on their rose-colored silk bedspread.

"This morning your father locked himself in our bedroom" opens her heart, "and all day he wept by himself-all day!- I want you to see his tears and to understand what our move means to him".

O god! informs my soul, that tear-stained outline that I see on their bedspread is larger than a human head!

"I want you to understand what your father feels but cannot express aloud," says my mother . Her voice is strained, exhausted , bombarded by an unspeakable burden.

So enormous was Father's heartbreak. It was one man's soul exploding at once-triggered by a myriad of treasons-and I felt helpless in my ability to reach him . I felt terrified. I had never experienced the depth of my father's emotions, not like this , for in public he never allowed himself such unraveling because it was considered an act of weakness for a man; this according to the Chinese point of view-which was his view. But here lay the stain of irrevocable rupture before my eyes. Father let go and cried centuries of sorrow to no one but a rose-colored bedspread that could not comfort him. He gave way to the loss of something deeper than an immigrant's worn out dream, he felt the core of his existence-- all that he believed in -- take an uncontrollable turn and he had not understood himself inside that twist of fate . To Father the condition of unity was the fabric of our family's consciousness, and no matter what its deficiencies, he felt this unity could not be questioned.... Attempts to restart his life began to misfire, as old men in their desperate hour often face; nevertheless, Father brought up great courage that reinforced his ability to take those blows, and I grew to love my old man and to respect him all the more for this.

Departing the Van Nuys ranch I closed our massive , white front door . Before it's tattooed face ( the character Fu carved in gold) I wondered if that character knew the irony of a river's journey down the lea of dreams. Long ago Father had stood before the charcter of Fu , freshly carved, and had pointed to me its soul. "Do you see the 'Fu' ? It means 'Happiness!". There is power in a word like this and it will bring to us many good years, you wait and see." He smiled at me and he believed.

You hear a coyote's carol and you hear no more. You feel a valley's vision and you see the valley no more.

Father's legacy was not the one he'd intended to leave us , but it is the one I most treasure for all that it illuminates upon the art of living .
"I tried so hard to make a comeback," In my apartment in San Francisco he fell to deep silence on my sofa. The doctor's news had hit him swiftly...
An enormous sadness washed over Father's face that had no words to express its grief- that the fight for life had left him --except to me he choked : " I tried so hard to do right, I tried so hard. "
And I asked myself, Has life been lived in vain in view of the travails that take it? Hell no ! Life has not been lived in vain no matter where you're parked on this social planet, no matter who you've come to be or have not come to be.

Father passed away and his cardboard boxes from Mexico began to arrive in Los Angeles, one by one.
" He'd carried our lives with him wherever he moved!" exclaimed my brother Guy in astonishment; he lifted from Father's boxes the photos, cards , letters that we'd sent to him over the years and that he'd carefully bundled with red rubber bands. For down the years of grief we thought our father had abandoned us emotionally. But it was the strength of Father's love, unfolding in those tired brown boxes, that brought Guy to weep for what in life went unexpressed between father and son .

I embrace a marvel so eternal -what a family really means.

Memories of San Tong Jue from Auntie Soo-Jan :

Portrait of San Tong Jue: Photo taken in the 1980s at a family celebration banquet.

"Gung, in his early 70s in years, began winding down in Mexico and spending more and more time in the U.S. He lived with various children, moving from home to home every few months. Then he fully retired and for 3 years, he stayed with Pingy and her family, living in the nice guest suite over the garage. After that, he came to live permanently with us the last 6 years of his life and we moved across the cul de sac to a larger house to accommodate our growing family, including my father. I was a stay-at-home Mom so we were all comfortable with the arrangements. Gung was an integral and permanent part of our daily lives and he finally had time to be a fully involved grandfather. I can say that it was the same for Pingy's family when he resided with her. During the time he lived with me, Janet and Diane were of the middle school and high school ages while Ryan went from infancy to 6 years old. Our children were influenced daily by having their grandfather around. He met Janet's dates and had talks with Diane. Diane said that one time when Mel and I were out of town, Gung asked if she wanted hash browns to eat. Diane said yes, whereby Gung placed a big pile of potatoes in front of her to peel and cut up. Right then, Diane had a lesson that you have to work for what you want. She said that she never forgot that incident. Afterwards, Gung cooked some very delicious hash brown potatoes. It probably tasted even better for all of her efforts. He also cooked a very scrumptious "jook."

Once, Diane went with friends on a Grunion hunt and came back with a bucket of catch. Gung showed her how to clean and cook them. He saved a female one with roe and waited for Ryan to come back from school so they can disect it together as a teaching moment. There definitely was a special bond between those two. I remember that for two days, Ryan's hamster was an escapee in the house. Gung joined in the hunt and looked for clues as to where the critter's favored spots were. He jerry-rigged the hamster cage door and set the trap in the fireplace. The next morning, we had a captured hamster and everybody was happy!

Whenever, Mel and I went out, Gung was the babysitter. Inevitably, when we returned, Ryan was sleeping in Gung's bed while Gung sat in a chair. Even as of a few weeks ago, Ryan said that for six years, Gung was his best friend and he still lives each day the best he can to make him proud. Ryan was his sidekick and shadowed him as Gung immersed himself into many projects.

First, Gung color coded every one of Mel's tools so that they can be traced and identified when neighbors borrowed them. He built two pantry cabinets for our garage for extra storage. Then outside, he built a wide and very tall storage cabinet along the dead, exterior wall space alongside the chimney. It was the envy of the neighborhood. It was big enough to store 3 bicycles end to end and space for paint cans and many tools because he had put in shelves, hooks, racks, pulleys, a system of locks,etc. He even added a slant roof and shingles and paint job that perfectly matched the rest of our house seamlessly. He built a potting table, a large gardening tool chest on casters for use in his garden, and a beautiful butcher block table for my kitchen. I asked him how he knew all these skills. He laughed when he told me that as a high school student, the counselors thought that the best course of action for an immigrant young man was to enroll into all the shop classes. He said that those classes served him well because to run the Farm he had to be Jack of all Trades: a mechanic, an electrician, a welder, a carpenter, etc.

His most happy and contented days began when Seal Beach placed a Community Garden right along the river at the beginning of our tract (2 long blocks from our house beyond the park). He cleared and planted 2 plots with various vegetables such as zuchinni, eggplant, strawberries, green onions, carrots. He built his own trellis and strung up string beans, Chinese bittermelons (fu gua), Chinese okra (sing gua). He hauled his tool chest down there along with a lawn chair. After a hard days work on the land, he often lingered and I would have to drive down there to tell him dinner was ready. I'd find him sitting in the chair at sunset just enjoying the vista of all the vegetables in his prolific garden. I have some photos that I took of him in that garden, but like your father, I would have to sift through boxes of photos to look for them. He and I would walk among the other people's garden plots and he would point out tell-tale signs of yellow leaves, curled edges on leaves, insect infestations, etc. and instruct what the remedy was, ie. that plant needs more nitrogen, or that's a symptom of lack of potassium, or overwatering, etc. He was always a teacher and he also always loved the land. He even grew some asparagus in a large pot in our front yard as a testament to the past.

Once when I was at the gardens alone, a man asked me if my father was of the Jue Joe Asparagus Ranch on Vanowen Street. Imagine my surprise when that guy turned out to be the tax collector for the Ranch back in those days! He told me that he was now living with his daughter in the very same housing tract as us and had a plot in the garden. What a coincidence!!

To help his garden grow, Gung bought gallons and gallons of chemicals to make his fertilizers and a gallon of arsenic to make rat poison and roach killers. He stored them inside the potting cabinets that he built at the side of our yard. We weren't aware of all that he squirreled away until we filled in our pool and relanscaped our yard five and half years ago. Mel had to, very carefully, transport these chemicals to a toxic waste management station because by this time, they probably had become very unstable. Also after 9/11, security was tight with these fertilizer chemicals because they were bomb making ingredients for terrorists. We were afraid that we would be questioned or be on a "to watch" list, but happily for us, no one blinked an eye.

Gung was very mechanically inclined and you would often see him tinkering with cars. He kept his car running well. He explained to me that you always looked for the easier steps first. Begin work on the outside of the car layer by layer. Only if needed, start taking the parts out as you work inwards. Always start with the simplest because that may do the trick. He told me that I should take an auto shop course, not so much to be able to fix car problems, but to know enough so that I can confidently deal with auto mechanics and make informed decisions and to protect myself from b.s.

Gung had the patience to teach me how to drive stick shift on his old Volkswagen.
Janet recalled that he also patiently taught her how to drive stick shift. By using his interlocking fingers of both hands to illustrate the coordination of stepping on clutch to unlocking the gears, he had a simple, clear way of explaining things. I, in turn, taught all of my children to drive our old stick shift Audi with 250,000 miles to get cut rate premium on insurance for new drivers.

Also, when I first married, Gung took me grocery shopping and showed what to look for when picking out the best of each kind of produce. These were invaluable lessons for a new bride.

In the evening hours, he and the kids would watch science programs on T.V. on Discovery channel, which is a field that he particularly loved. In fact, if he could have had the chance to go to college, I think that he probably would've become a scientist. On top of the T.V. would be rows of children's milk cartons filled with potting soil, a squirt of fertilizer and seeds. He would germinate the seeds into seedlings on top of the warm T.V. for two weeks, like an incubator, then transplant them into his garden. No wonder my children grew up loving science. He also loved watching travel shows and stayed current on news events. Because of him, I'm a news addict.

Gung used to dry fish by hanging them from our patio rafters a few feet from the sidewalk in full view of neighbors and , I'm sure, pedestrians got a whiff too. He liked to experiment with food products and he actually was a good cook, though he did not cook often, preferring to spend time on his many projects.

He practiced two rituals annually without fail. 1). By the evening before Chinese New Years, all his clothes were washed and he, himself was squeaky clean, all affairs in order to welcome the new year's good luck and fortune. 2). On Jan. 1st, New Years Day, without fail, he would get up early to watch the Rose Parade from beginning to end. Then he would comment, "Last year's parade was much better."

His lung cancer came on suddenly and affected the pleura membrane of both lungs simultaneously which is where it originated. The doctor surmised that it was caused by his years of farm work exposed to pesticides. He lived for 4 months after diagnosis. He stayed at home. He took care of all of his needs himself, never wanting to burden me. He even told me that when the time is near, to take him to the hospital because he did not want to die in my house and scare the children. Four days before his death, on his last office visit to see the doctor, he told the doctor that he'll stay alive long enough to visit with all of his children who were coming to visit during President's Day weekend. After that, he would be ready to go. He did just that. On that last day, he dressed himself, sat in his easy chair, then talked to each of his children separately. That night, we had to rush him to the hospital. When he was intubated and regained consciousness, he opened his eyes and shook his head indicating that this is not what he had wanted. He had signed a Do Not Resusitate order months earlier. With the tubing removed, he passed away peacefully in the way that he had wanted. A few days after his death, I thanked the young Japanese doctor who treated him and he said that it was a pleasure to have known such a dignified man and he carried that dignity to the very end. This was your Gung Gung as I knew him.

Under the surface, Gung was a very sentimental man. This was in evidence when, after Gung had passed away, we opened up his old suitcase and found that he had kept every card and letter that he had ever received from his children and family members. They were his treasures and went with him wherever he was, even in Mexico

Concerning material wealth, I think that Gung felt that he had a duty as the surviving son to uphold and expand his Father's work. This was his identity and drove him throughout his life. I've thought of how all of our lives would have been affected differently if Gung was able to hold onto material wealth. One will never know how we, as a family or as individuals, would have turned out....for better or for worse. We could have been wealthy deadbeats for all we know. Fate determined the path, but I think that Gung would have been very proud of how his Family thrived and grew for the better, despite the circumstances of our past. "

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Blog - "Chop Suey"

I hope that family members will continue to send in information , memories, and pictures to expand on the Jue Joe Clan History Blog . Studying family history has been an eye opening experience for me . It has caused me to take many wonderful side trips along the way .
I have created a new blog to share some of the fascinating odds and ends and fresh looks that I have discovered about the Chinese American experience as a whole . Hope you will come along !

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Details: "The Legend of Zhao"

" Descendant of the 2nd emperor of the Song Dynasty (Zhao Gunagyi), Jue Joe was born and raised in a chicken coop, in 1860. He grew up dirt poor and vowed that his descendants would never suffer as he had. " Auntie Soo-Yin

Ever wonder why the Jue clan is so tall when Jue Joe and Jue Nui immigrated from Southern China where people are usually quite short ? How does a descendant of an emperor of China end up born and raised in a chicken coop ? The answers make a fascinating story and lead us way back in time into ancient China at the time of the Song ( or Sung) dynasty. Many thanks for Auntie Soo-Yin for writing her book the " Legend of Zhao" and tracing the Jue Clan roots all the way back to Emperor Taizong of the Song Dynasty and even earlier still.

Taizong, Wade-Giles romanization T’ai-tsung, personal name (xingming) Zhao Jiong, original name Zhao Kuangyi, or Zhao Guangyi (b. 939, China—d. 997, China), temple name (miaohao) was the second emperor of the Song dynasty (960–1279) and brother of the first emperor, Taizu. He was responsible for unifying all of China under the Song Dynasty. Here are some portraits of Emperor Zhao( Jue ) Guangyi

"In civil administration Taizong paid particular attention to education, helping to develop the civil-service examination system and to further its use in determining entrance into the bureaucracy. He centralized control more thoroughly than ever before in Chinese history, concentrating great power in the emperor’s hands. He followed the Tang dynasty’s prefectural system and divided China into 15 provinces, each of which was under a governor. By the end of Taizong’s reign, Song rule had become established, and the dynasty had begun its great cultural and economic achievements."
The Song dynasty period has been called the Chinese Renaissance. Probably the most advanced civilization in the world at the time , it was vibrant time in the arts, literature ,science and technology. "
The scientific development in the Song Dynasty ranked forefront in the world of the time. The world-shaking China's three greatest inventions-the gun powder, compass, movable-type printing were invented at that time, which altered the whole world's civilized rate of progress."

"The Song dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝) was a ruling dynasty in China from 960-1279. Its founding marked the reunification of China for the first time since the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907.
The Song dynasty itself can be divided into two distinct periods: the Northern Song and Southern Song. The Northern Song (960-1127) signifies the time when the Song capital was in the northern city of Kaifeng and the dynasty controlled all China. The Southern Song (1127-1279) refers to the time after the Song lost control of northern China to the Khitan Liao dynasty, itself later conquered by the Jurchen Jin dynasty. The Song court retreated south of the Yangtze River and made their capital at Hangzhou"

A famous Chinese general, Yue Fei, of the Southern Song dynasty who fought heroically against northern invaders has been immortalized in Chinese lore and song as a symbol of Chinese patriotism and loyalty to country.

Here is a nice tour of modern day Hangzhou , capital of the Southern Song Dynasty and some history about the dynasty itself.

"The northern Jin dynasty was overrun by the Mongols (Genghis Khan/Kublai Khan) in 1234, who subsequently took control of northern China and maintained uneasy relations with the Southern Song court. The Mongol Yuan dynasty, proclaimed in 1271, finally destroyed the Song dynasty in 1279 and once more unified China, this time as part of a vast Mongol empire.
In 1276 the Southern Song court fled to Guangdong by boat, fleeing Mongol invaders, and leaving the Emperor Gong of Song China behind. Any hope of resistance centred on two young princes, Emperor Gong's brothers. The older boy, Zhao Shi, aged nine was declared emperor, and, in 1277, the imperial court sought refuge first in Silvermine Bay (Mui Wo) on Lantau Island and later in today's Kowloon City, Hong Kong (see also Sung Wong Toi). The older brother became ill and died, and was succeeded by the younger, Zhao Bing, aged seven. When on March 19, 1279 the Song army was defeated in its last battle, the Battle of Yamen, against the Mongols in the Pearl River Delta, a high official is said to have taken the boy emperor in his arms and jumped from a clifftop into the sea, drowning both of them. "

And thus our family's imperial legacy ended. The Zhao(Jue) family were no longer royals and became commoners. The family line had moved from the North to the South with the fortunes of the Song dynasty . Jue Joe and his brothers and other members of the Jue clan who were descended from royal northern blood were tall as are northern Chinese and different then the other southern Chinese around them .

Here is a tribute to the imperial legacy of the Jue (Zhao) clan and the Song Dynasty.

Courtesy of Auntie Soo-Yin , here is the direct lineage of San Tong Jue . The " Nay " generation born in the USA includes Auntie Soo-Yin and her siblings including my father.(Click to enlarge).

Here is some information concerning the Zhao (Jue ) surname and a nice list of famous people with our family surname .

"Zhao is represented in Cantonese by either Chu, Chiu, Chew, Jue or Siu."
Here is the Chinese character for Zhao (Jue) in simplified Chinese . It is easier than the more complicated traditional Chinese character for our surname that my grandmother Kwok taught me to write as a child . ( The original character is at the beginning of this post. )

edited 10/2/2010 see Auntie Soo-Yin's comments concerning the origin of the Zhao (Jue) Chinese character . Please click on the image below to see details.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Details: Rev. Wai Shing Kwok and the Jue Joe Ranch Chinese School

"Chinese-language schools have been an integral part of the Chinese immigrant community in the United States, and in the Chinese diaspora worldwide. In the United States, Chinese-language schools date back to the late 1880s, having survived legal exclusion and associated adversarial circumstances.
Just like other ethnic-language schools in German, Scandinavian, Jewish, Greek, and Japanese immigrant communities, Chinese-language schools in much of the pre-World War II era aimed to preserve language and cultural heritage in the second and succeeding generations."
After-School Institutions in Chinese and Korean Immigrant Communities: A Model for Others? By Min Zhou and Susan S. Kim,University of California, Los Angeles

My maternal grandfather Rev. Wai Shing Kwok immigrated from China along with my grandmother Kopo Yung Kwok and their young son ,Johnny in 1920 .My grandfather's family were farmers but he had become educated in Chinese and Christian schools in China as had my grandmother who came from the family of a high government official in Shanghai. Both my grandfather and my grandmother had converted to Christianity in China and actually met in church. My grandfather's immigration was with the aid of the Fat Ming Company,a well estabilshed book seller in San Francisco . The company helped to attest to my grandfather's status as a teacher and scholar. Teachers and scholars were one of the exempt classes allowed to immigrate under the Chinese Exclusion Act.

After arriving in the United States my grandfather accepted a position as head teacher in a budding Chinese language school being started in Sacramento , the Kwai Wah School . "Immigrants Fong Sik,Chan Tai Oy, and Fong Bun Wall started the school by renting an old house on P street between Fourth and Fifth in the Spring of 1924. Kwok Wai Shing from the Methodist Mission was enaged to be the teacher . The Kwai Wah School purchased and remodeled an old house for their use on 519 N Street on December 13, 1926 and named it the Chinese Christian Church with Kwok Wai Shing conducting religious services. Kwok Wai Shing was not actually a minister, so on August 16,1931 the Chinese Christian Union in San Francisco held a ceremony at the Chinese Presbyterian Church and officially ordained Kwok Wai Shing." Canton Footprints, Sacramento's Chinese Legacy by Philip P. Choy , 2007

Wai Shing and Kopo Yung Kwok had 5 children : Johnny who was born in Shanghai , Andrew , Sarah, my mother Alice, and Esther who were all born in the United States..

The school became a major Chinese language school for the Sacramento Chinese community and many prominent members of the community learned Chinese as young students under the tutelage of my grandfather . One student was William Fong who later became a well respected and well loved physician in Sacramento for many years. William Fong recently passed away. Norma On , one of my mother's friends , who also attended the school wrote this remembrance of William Fong's time at Kwai Wah School :
William’s intellect was well known not just in the public school system but
also at the Kwai Wah Chinese Language School. He was one of the four
outstanding students that was often called upon by Mr. Wai Shing Kwok to
stand up in front of class to translate our lessons written on a large
blackboard from English to Chinese. William and the others were always calm
and deliberate as they were aware of Mr. Kwok’s persona, a strict
disciplinarian who had a low tolerance for errors."

Here are some pictures of my grandfather and grandmother Kwok and the Kwai Wah School :

This first picture is of a graduating class in 1927

This picture is of the school in 1947 . My mother Alice is in the front row , 2nd girl from the left.

The Church that my Grandfather Kwok started later became the Chinese Community Church now located on Gilgunn way in Sacramento .

"Our forefathers began the ministry of the present-day church in 1924. They established the Kwai Wah Language School in a converted residence on 5th and P Streets in Sacramento to provide education for future generations of American-born Chinese. They also created the Kwai Wah Marching Band, the first of its kind in the Chinese community. In the late 1920s, the church moved to 519 N Street in the heart of the Chinese community.

In 1939, a severe storm damaged the church, and it had to be razed. With the help of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), a two-story building was put up. The church continued to thrive until the mid 1940’s. After the City lifted restrictions on where Asians could buy residential property, many Chinese moved to the suburbs. For several years, the church struggled to rebuild its congregational base. In 1951, again with the help of the RCA, the church located to its current site and built the sanctuary and education building."

_ About Us , Chinese Community Church, Sacramento

San Tong Jue , like many Chinese immigrant parents , felt that it was important for his children to learn the Chinese language . Being on a ranch in the San Fernando valley , however, meant that there were no easily accessible Chinese language schools for his children . The problem was solved when his eldest son Jack married Alice Kwok .San Tong learned that Rev. Kwok was planning to retire from his position as pastor of the Chinese Christian Church and head of the Kwai Wah Chinese language school in Sacramento and move to Los Angeles to be nearer his children and grandchildren.

San Tong proposed to Rev. Kwok that he teach San Tong's younger children ( Soo Jan , Guy , Pingeleen , and Soo-Yin ) Chinese language on the Jue Joe Ranch . Mr. Kwok agreed and San Tong converted Jue Joe's old cabin to a traditional one room school house complete with blackboard , desks , and warmed by a pot bellied stove. As a young child I remember seeing the schoolroom and thought it was pretty cool for my aunts and uncle to go to school right on the ranch. I didn't quite realize at the time that they had to go to school twice , first regular public school and then Chinese school !

Auntie Pingeleen and Auntie Soo Yin told me that Chinese school on the Jue Joe ranch was from 4 to 5 pm every day Monday through Friday and Mr . Kwok was a pretty strict teacher . Auntie Pingeleen said after several years of going to Mr. Kwok's Chinese school she was able to read a Chinese newspaper and had a pretty good command of the language.
I do not remember my grandfather Kwok as a strict guy at all , I think that is because he spoiled me rotten !
Here is my grandpa Kwok and I .

Later after we moved to our Lassen house , Grandfather Kwok and Grandmother Kwok lived within walking distance and tried to teach the new generation ( my brother and sisters and I ) Chinese at their house . I remember going to my grandparents house after school .. I think my grandfather had passed away and my grandmother was trying to teach us Chinese . All I remember is that I was not interested at all and was a very poor student and just wanted to go play or watch cartoons and felt sorry for myself . I think she gave up in short order ! I wished I had stayed with it as my Chinese language skills are essentially nonexistent except for ordering Chinese dishes in Cantonese at local restaurants !

Here is a picture of my Mom and Dad , Grandpa and Grandma Kwok , my brother and sisters and myself :

Monday, September 20, 2010

Joan and Richard's 60th Wedding Anniversary!

The Yen and Jue Clan and friends gathered this weekend to celebrate my Auntie Joan's 80th birthday and the 60th wedding anniversary of Auntie Joan and Uncle Richard. We all had a great time and enjoyed spending time with each other ! My Auntie Joan is the eldest daughter of San Tong Jue .

Here is the happy couple 60 years ago :

And here is the great video that my cousin Bob shared at the event:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Details-Thomas G. Chung and the Chung Family

After the wonderful 60th Anniversary party , Auntie Joan was kind enough to share with me some great pictures of my great grandfather Tom Chung  and the Chung Family .

Ok . Let's start with this great information from Auntie Joan. " My paternal grandfather, Tom Chung(actual surname Hom) married G'ma Chung (maiden surname unknown). She was born in the U.S. in a little gold mining camp in Cal. She had bound feet, and had no formal education . The Tom Chung family eventually had a small grocery store in , then the Pueblo of Los Angeles, which had at the time only about 5 Chinese families. They had 3 boys and 3 girls ( Tommy , Jimmy , Willie, Rose , Layne and May -all using the last name Chung). My father (San Tong) met Rosemary Chung in LA at their grocery store and began to write and visit with her whenever his family went out to LA to stock up on Chinese staples. Eventually , they got married and had 2 children Jack and Joan"..

Here is a picture of  my great grandfather Tom Chung , with youngest son Willie .

Here is a picture of my great grandfather Tom Chung in later years .

Here is a picture of my great grandmother Chung ( Tom Chung's wife- Rose Chung's mother )

Here is a picture of Great grandmother Chung with her youngest son Willie to her upper right and her oldest son Tommy (Thomas G. Chung)  and some of his children to her left. . Seated just below Willie is Great grandmother Chung's youngest daughter May.

The boy in front of the horse is Jimmie ,the middle son of Tom Chung and Great grandmother Chung, and the girl on the horse is my grandmother Rose . We are not sure who the young man behind her is .

Ok , let's explore some additional facts in the Jue Joe story concerning " Thomas Chung"
The first mention of a "Thomas Chung " is in a sworn deposition of Jue Joe in 1918 to immigration authorities that he is a merchant and thus able to bring his family over from China .
"Jew Joe, being first duly sworn, deposes and says: That he is a Chinese merchant, now at the age of sixty-two years, residing in the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, State of California; that he is now and for the last twelve months has been a member of the commission merchant firm of Thos. G. Chung and Company; that said firm of Thos. G. Chung and Company now is and for many years past has been engaged in buying and selling farm products at No. 117-118 Los Angeles Market, Sixth and Alameda Streets , in the City of Los Angeles, State of California."

The next mention of a "Thomas Chung " is in this Los Angeles Times newspaper article about the Los Angeles County Asparagus Grower's association dated 4/26/1925. ( ps. this article gives a fascinating report on Asparagus farming in the mid 1920's in the San Fernando valley. Just click on the image to enlarge and read.)
"One of California's newest and most successful co-operative marketing organizations is the Los Angeles County Asparagus Grower's association, formed last year by twelve local growers to faciliate the disposal of the rapidly increasing output of their fields. The members control 90 per cent of approximately 250 acres planted to Asparagus in Los Angeles county.. With the exception of S.O. Houghton of Van Nuys all the growers are Chinese and among them are some of the best truck farmers in Southern California . The president is Joseph Woo, Van Nuys. Thomas G Chung, Los Angeles is vice president...."
(Click to enlarge and read the article )

The next mention of a "Thomas Chung " is a follow up article in the Los Angeles Times on 10/11/1925, 6 months later , about the same Asparagus Grower's association . In this article "Thomas D. Chung" is listed as secretary of the organization and Jue Joe as a director. The only Caucasian ,S. O . Houghton, has taken over the vice presidency of the organization . I think the  name is an error and refers to Thomas G. Chung.

The Thomas Chung referred to in these documents is  Thomas G. Chung. Thomas G. Chung was the older brother of Rosemary Chung and the son of Tom Chung . Rose was San Tong Jue's first wife and mother of my father Jack and Auntie Joan . Thomas G. Chung was my grand uncle on my Dad's mother's side. Jue Joe was my great grandfather on my Dad's father's side. Thomas G. Chung and  my great grandfather Jue Joe had a business relationship.  My great grandfather Tom Chung began the family grocery business in Los Angeles and his son Thomas G. developed the business into a large and successful commission produce operation. Born in the United States, Thomas G. was a merchant fluent in English and Chinese and knew Jue Joe and the other asparagus growers and although he was not a grower himself was involved in selling the product on the market . It would have made sense to have a market man involved in the Association along with the growers.  Earlier in 1918 it would have made sense for Jue Joe to buy into Thomas Chung's business as a silent partner , as many Chinese farmers did , in order to prove "merchant " status so that he could bring his family from China .
The Chung and the Jue families have strong roots together.  We were joined by marriage as well as in business affairs !

Friday, September 17, 2010

Details: Jue Shee's Textbook?

Here is a fascinating contribution today from my cousin , Michael Jue (Guy Jue's son and San Tong Jue's grandson) . Click on the pictures to enlarge and see details .ps The Clan is gathering in Phoenix tomorrow for Auntie Joan (San Tong Jue's daughter) and Uncle Richard's 60th wedding anniversary :

From Michael ;
Hi JR,

I've kept these books that I found in one of my dad's boxes a long time ago. I always thought that they were my grandmother's, but after reading your blog about Jue Shee, I wonder if they may have been his. There is a name in Chinese and what looks like the initials "J. S.", which doesn't really fit with my grandmother's name. I could be completely wrong and these were from my mom's side of the family though. Mom, do you remember who these belonged to? The neat thing is that the copyright dates are 1901 and 1902. These are over 100 years old! 1901 and 1902 would correspond to the time that he was at Cal. It's pretty amazing that we have so many Cal alums in our family spanning something like 95 years. Anyway, maybe Auntie Soo-Yin remembers seeing these too.

We'll see all of you tomorrow in Phoenix!

edited 6/11/2012  Recently we obtained from Pomona University, Jue Shee's Pomona transcript. These textbooks were from a course he took in college prep ( high school level) elementary chemistry at Pomona Prep School in 1904.  More information about new discoveries concerning Jue Shee's academic career can be found here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Details: Jue Nui

Chinese Fisherman Monterey

China Point Fishing Village-Monterey

"Jue Joe had 4 siblings. His oldest brother was Jue Nui, the great grandfather of Jimmy and Ming Loon. Joe sent for Jue Nui and Nui got a job in Monterey in the canning and fishing industry. Later Jue Nui sailed to Alaska to work on an off-shore oil platform. There was an explosion on the platform ( or ship ) and Jue Nui perished at sea. Communication was almost nonexistent in those days and Joe heard the news only years later. In those days when you said goodbye to kin you generally never heard from or saw them again. (After that Jue Joe sent for Jue Shee, his younger brother.) "-Auntie Soo Yin

Jue Joe paid for his eldest brother to emigrate sometime in the 1880's when the Chinese finishing industry was in full swing . The history of the Chinese in Monterey is an interesting one .
"Chinese fishermen were the first to mine the rich marine treasures of Monterey Bay, and their industrious efforts as early as the 1850s helped make Monterey one of California's most successful fishing ports... These skilled Chinese seamen launched the first commercial fishing industry in Monterey, taking first abalone and later other varieties of fish including cod, halibut, flounder, yellowtail, sardines, squid and shark--as well as oysters and mussels from the bay waters. It was a common sight to see the unique Chinese fishing boats setting off from the shanty-like village at "China Point."

By 1900, some 200 to 800 pounds of fresh catch were sent daily to the busy fishmongers on Clay Street in San Francisco. The Chinese also produced a fortune in dried fish; abalone meats and shark fins. Some of this dried product found its way to the bustling mines of the Sierra Nevada mountains, but much of it was destined for shipment directly to the immigrants' home province of Canton, China.

An impressive sight in those early days of Cannery Row was the arrival of large, ocean-going Chinese junks with their massive lanteen sails. These splendid craft would anchor off China Point, where they would unload Oriental goods for the local Chinese, then load their holds with dried squid--a food staple and fertilizer much sought after in China.

Indeed, the Chinese fishermen were so successful that serious conflict developed with Italian-American fishermen who began to work the waters of Monterey Bay in the later 1800s. This conflict further contributed to the tension and prejudice against Monterey's Chinese fishing community.

Unfortunately, growing competition for fishery resources on the increasingly crowded waters of Monterey Bay--worsened by the cultural biases and anti-Chinese laws of the later 1800s--did not bode well for the future of Monterey's Chinese community.

New laws passed between 1875 and 1900 greatly restricted the ability of Chinese to fish and process or sell their catch.

Newspapers and citizens sided clearly with the non-Chinese fishermen and laborers, and some called openly for the removal of the China Point settlement. On the night of May 16, 1906, a disastrous fire of suspicious origin swept through the Chinese quarter destroying virtually every major structure expect the Joss House. Although the origin of the fire was never determined, and some non-Chinese fought valiantly to stop the flames, the fire was the final calamity for China Point. Local regulations were quickly established prohibiting the rebuilding of the Chinese settlement at its original site. Some Chinese then relocated to McAbee Beach or dispersed to other Oriental settlements--but the Chinese fishing presence on Monterey Bay never fully recovered.

Yet the determined Chinese were destined to play yet another remarkable role in our local history, in the rise of Cannery Row to international status in fish canning. When the sardine factories were eventually established on Cannery Row, many of the skilled early workers were descendants of China Point's original Chinese fishermen. "

Alaska Bound
One of the interesting questions is why did Jue Nui leave Monterey for Alaska and why did he not just work with Jue Joe on his ranch ?
I asked Auntie Soo-Yin who gives us some insight :

"I am not sure when Jue Nui emigrated. It might have been in the late 1870s or early 1880s. In Jue Joe's deposition he speaks of his older brother's time in America as happening so very long ago. Communication between the brothers must have been spotty, not only was distance communication undeveloped, but neither knew how to read or write Chinese very well. They didn't have educational opportunity in their time. Jue Joe told San Tong that the family had lost their harvest and that it was a matter of survival for the family that Jue Joe go to America and send money home. Jue Nui was to look after their mother, Lee Shee, a widow, and his siblings, until Jue Joe could send for him. So I would assume that Jue Nui emigrated a few years after Jue Joe had emigrated, but before Jue Joe owned his own farm. Otherwise, older brother would have been farming alongside with his younger brother. Instead, Jue Nui went to Monterey to make his own way, and this leads me to believe that Jue Joe was still working for others, not for himself yet. It is certainly plausible that Jue Nui lived and worked in China Point, Monterey, and that his time there coincided with the development of fishing, the growth of the canning business, and the subsequent anti-Chinese backlash that drove him to sail toward Alaska's offshore platform. San Tong had said that Jue Nui first worked as a fisherman, then briefly for a canning company, then he set sail for--and died--in Alaska. "

I do think it very plausible that the Anti Chinese sentiment in Monterey caused Jue Joe to start looking for work elsewhere , just as the Anti Chinese sentiment in St.Helena caused Jue Joe to leave and find work on the Southern Pacific railroad.
I agree that Jue Nui would have had to have left for Alaska before Jue Joe started his farming business in the San Fernando Valley circa 1896 otherwise the two brothers would have farmed together. In 1895 Jue Joe was still probably working as a houseboy for the Johnsons in Chatsworth. All this places Jue Nui's time in Monterey in the 1880's and early 1890"s and departure for Alaska around 1895, There is some confirmatory evidence from the history of the cannery business in Monterey that places Jue's Nui departure around 1895. By 1895 the Chinese fishing industry was on the decline because of prejudice and discrimination and most of the fishing in Monterey was done by Italian and Portugese fishermen . By that time Chinese were resorting to fishing at night with lanterns for squid to avoid persecution . San Tong said that Jue Nui worked in a cannery for a short time . The first commercial cannery business in Monterey was established in 1895 by an entrepreneur named Frank E. Booth. It was a salmon cannery business. It would make sense that Jue Nui went to work for this cannery for a short time before his departure to Alaska . Why Alaska ? Family history has Jue Nui departing for Alaska to work on oil drilling . I am not too sure about that .

Here is a short history of oil drilling in Alaska .
"The first oil claims in Alaska were filed in the 1890s, on the Iniskin Peninsula on the west shore of Cook Inlet, due west of Homer. In 1898 the first Alaska wells were drilled there, striking small amounts of oil, but also striking seawater. The oil flows were not enough to support the production of oil.

At the same time a group funded some drilling at Dry Bay. These also were unproductive, as were the wells drilled at Puale Bay, near Cold Bay at the end of the Alaska Peninsula.

Alaska's first productive oil drilling operation was at Katalla, on the Gulf of Alaska, south of the Copper River delta. Seepages had been reported around the shore of Controller Bay for many years. Around 1900 a group of investors asked an English petroleum expert to evaluate the area's potential. He was positive, and soon afterward, drilling began. While some wells found oil, conditions were rough and the investors decided not to continue. . "

By 1898 or 1900 when the Alaskan oil drilling was just getting started, Jue Joe would have had a pretty successful farming business and it would not have made sense for Jue Nui to leave for Alaska for work . I couldn't find any history of Chinese labor contractors sending Chinese to work on oil drilling operations around the turn of the century. . Was there any other industries that were hiring large numbers of Chinese laborers in Alaska around 1895 .? The answer is yes . The salmon cannery business was in full swing in Alaska by the mid 1890's and Chinese labor bosses were contracting to bring labor crews to Alaska .

"The first salmon canneries in Alaska had been built in 1878 at Klawock and Sitka. The North Pacific Trading and Packing Company's Klawock cannery operated for 51 years. The Sitka cannery closed after two seasons and its machinery was moved north to Southcentral Alaska.

Many more canneries were built over the next decade...

Although the value of the salmon pack increased every year, the profits did not benefit many Alaskans. Many of the canneries were owned by nonresident corporations that hired non-Alaskans.

Tlingit Indians were anxious to share in the profits of the salmon fisheries. At the Klawock cannery almost all of the work was carried out by Tlingit and Haida crews. Natives also caught most of the fish for the operations. They knew the coastal waters, the fish migrations, and harvesting methods.

At other canneries, Natives were hired only when no other laborers were available. Cannery superintendents wanted employees who would work long hours, day or night. The workers had to be willing to carry out jobs that were "tiring, dirty, smelly and wet." They had to stay for the entire fishing season and work for low wages. Cannery owners found a solution in the Chinese.Cannery operators considered them to be "meek, yielding and dependable" just the kind of workers they wanted.

Although housing for cannery workers was poor by modern standards, cannery operators tried to provide the kind of food the Chinese liked. A "China boss" contracted with the operators to feed the "China crew." A list of provisions for the canning season published in an 1890 report included Chinese salted eggs, bean cakes, bamboo shoots, sugar cane, and 453 pounds of green ginger. The same employer also provided opium, gin, tobacco, and "China wine" for the cannery crew. "

It would have been natural for Jue Nui who was already working in a Salmon cannery in Monterey to hear of better wages in the same business in Alaska and been attracted by offers of Chinese labor bosses to sail for Alaska around 1895 before Jue Joe had established his farming business.(At least that is what I think happened !)
Unfortunately , he never made it . "There was a violent storm and the ship exploded and sank, drowning Jue Nui". Much of the early history of our family is a very interesting detective job that involves piecing together oral history with the historical facts of the time to create a plausible story that fits both the family oral history , a reasonable time line, and historical facts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Details: Jue Shee's Berkeley Photo

In an earlier post I discussed Jew Shee (aka Jue Shee), Jue Joe's younger brother , who obtained a PhD in mining engineering at UC Berkeley. The family had no pictures of him, however ,some fine internet sleuthing by Auntie Soo-Yin has unearthed a remarkable photograph entiled "Engineering Students 1898" in the University Photographic Archives of the Bancroft Library at Berkeley that includes Jew Shee! Thanks so much , Auntie Soo Yin ,for sharing this photo ! ( click on group photo to enlarge, bottom photo is a digitally enlarged photo of Jew Shee from the group photo )

The Chinese student in lower right-hand corner is Jew Shee. According to San Tong, Jew Shee had a slender face. In 1898 UC Berkeley had around 219 graduate students enrolled, and 14 of them were enrolled in mining engineering. The date corresponds to the time that Jew Shee would have attended UC Berkeley. Also, the date he wrote on his engineering textbook that I saw on the Jue Joe Ranch corresponds to the date of this photo. (University Archive, Bancroft Library, UARC NUM: 4.57.)
-Auntie Soo-Yin
EDITED 5/18/2012   We have determined that the student in this photo is not Jew Shee but rather a student named Yoneshiro Shibata. In fact Jue Joe never attended UC Berkeley at all and made that story up. The reason is here.

Details : Jue Joe and the Alien Land Law

"My Dad held no hard feelings towards his sisters. He always blamed the Alien Land law that caused the family rift. I asked my Mom how could Dad not be bitter and angry over what happened. She said that this is the only way he could have coped with it, otherwise he would be emotionally destroyed. The law was at fault, not his sisters….that was his chosen view. - Auntie Soo-Jan "

Let's review the history of the California Alien Land law .

"The California Alien Land Law of 1913 prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" (i.e., all Asian immigrants) from owning land or property, but permitted three year leases. It affected the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California It passed thirty-five to two in the Senate and seventy-two to three in the Assembly and was co-written by attorney Francis J. Heney and California state attorney general Ulysses S. Webb at the behest of Governor Hiram Johnson."

"Chinese and Japanese residents living in America sought various ways to circumvent the Alien Land Law. A commonly-used way to get around it was to purchase land in the name of their US-born children (who, by birth, were automatically granted American citizenship), and then become the guardian of the property. This enabled Chinese and Japanese parents to effectively become de facto if not de jure managers and owners of land. This tactic was challenged in the courts."

"Jukichi and Ken Harada came to America with their son Masa Atsu in 1903 and to Riverside in 1905. They lived in and ran a boardinghouse and the Washington Restaurant in Riverside.

When their first American-born son died of diptheria in the boardinghouse, the Haradas sought a healthy home. But the 1913 California Alien Land Law prohibited aliens from owning property.

They purchased the home on Lemon Street in the names of their three American-born children, Mine, Sumi, and Yoshizo. Soon, several neighbors formed a committee to persuade the Haradas to sell their home, to no avail.

The committee went to the California attorney general's office and the Riverside Superior Court, bringing international attention to the case because of emerging Japan.

In 1918, Judge Hugh Craig of the Riverside Superior Court upheld the Alien Land Law, but ruled that the Harada children as American citizens were entitled to constitutional guarantees of citizenship; therefore, the Haradas could keep the house."

"In response to these tactics, the 1920 version of the California Alien Land Law included more stringent rules designed to put a stop to such circumvention. Among other changes, it introduced a provision that stated that if a person purchased land in another person’s name, it would be presumed that this was done with intent to bypass the Alien Land Law. This was a significant shift in the rules regarding burden of proof in state escheat cases involving land. Whereas before the State would have to prove its case, this was no longer the situation – it was now incumbent upon the defendant to prove that the purchased land was a bona fide gift rather than an attempt at getting around the land ownership restrictions.

Another, even more stringent provision introduced in the 1920 law prohibited assigning persons ineligible for naturalization as guardians of estate. The California Supreme Court , however, invalidated this prohibition in the 1922 Yano case (Estate of Tetsubmi Yano, 188 Cal. 645)."

Oyama vs the State of California 1948 US Supreme Court Case :

"Kajiro Oyama, Fred Oyama's (Petitioner) father, bought in 1934 six acres of agricultural land in Southern California, when Petitioner was 6 years old. The deed was executed to Petitioner. In 1937, a second parcel of land, adjoining the first one, was bought by Kajiro for Fred. As Petitioner's guardian, Kajiro was managing the land on his behalf.

"From the time of the two transfers until the date of trial, however, Kajiro Oyama did not file the annual reports which the Alien Land Law requires of all guardians of agricultural land belonging to minor children of ineligible aliens. In 1942, Fred and his family were evacuated from the Pacific Coast along with all other persons of Japanese descent. And in 1944, when Fred was sixteen and still forbidden to return home, the State filed a petition to declare an escheat of the two parcels on the ground that the conveyances in 1934 and 1937 had been with intent to violate and evade the Alien Land Law."

The trial court... findings were based primarily on four inferences: (1) the statutory presumption that any conveyance is with 'intent to prevent, evade or avoid' escheat if an ineligible alien pays the consideration; (2) an inference of similar intent from the mere fact that the conveyances ran to a minor child; (3) an inference of lack of bona fide at the time of the original transactions from the fact that the father thereafter failed to file annual guardianship reports; and (4) an inference from the father's failure to testify that his testimony would have been adverse to his son's cause."

The Supreme Court of California agreed with trial court's finding. The Oyamas appealed to the US Supreme court . The US Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Supreme Court of California. In the following ruling :

"In broad outline, the Alien Land Law forbids aliens ineligible for American citizenship to acquire, own, occupy, lease, or transfer agricultural land. It also provides that any property acquired in violation of the statute shall escheat as of the date of acquisition and that the same result shall follow any transfer made with 'intent to prevent, evade or avoid' escheat. In addition, that intent is presumed, prima facie, whenever an ineligible alien pays the consideration for a transfer to a citizen or eligible alien. We agree with petitioners' first contention, that the Alien Land Law, as applied in this case, deprives Fred Oyama (Petitioner) of the equal protection of California's laws and of his privileges as an American citizen. In our view of the case, the State has discriminated against Fred Oyama; the discrimination is based solely on his parents' country of origin; and there is absent the compelling justification which would be needed to sustain discrimination of that nature. The California law purports to permit citizen sons to take gifts of agricultural land from their fathers, regardless of the fathers' nationality. Yet, as indicated by this case, if the father is ineligible for citizenship, facts which would usually be considered indicia of the son's ownership are used to make that ownership suspect; if the father is not an ineligible alien, however, the same facts would be evidence that a completed gift was intended. The cumulative effect, we believe, was clearly to discriminate against Fred Oyama... The only basis for this discrimination against an American citizen, moreover, was the fact that his father was Japanese and not American, Russian, or English. But for that fact alone, Fred Oyama, now a little over a year from majority, would be the undisputed owner of the eight acres in question."

Note that in this ruling the Supreme court did not strike down the Alien Land Law itself as unconstitutional but only that the law as interpreted by the State of California interfered with Fred Oyama , the minor American citizen , from his right to equal opportunity to own land with other American citizens. .

"Although the Oyama case did not strike down the 1913 and 1920 California Alien Land Laws, it nonetheless proved to be an important precedent. In part relying on the Oyama decision, the California Supreme Court found the Alien Land Laws unconstitutional in Sei Fujii v. California, 38 Cal.2d 718, 242 P.2d 617 (1952), and California finally repealed them in 1956."

We have discussed in detail the history of the Alien Land Law . Let us now see how it applied to the Jue family . Jue Joe's friend was Otto Brant , a prominent member of a Los Angeles land syndicate. Jue Joe discussed with Brant his desire to own and farm land in the San Fernando Valley .

"The name of Otto Brant's land syndicate was the "Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company," formed in 1909. It had 30 members all prominent leaders of L.A. (Harrison Otis and Harry Chandler of L.A. Times newspaper, Wm. Mulholland the L.A. Water Commissioner, M.H. Sherman, Grant the founder of Santa Fe Railroad and California Bank, H.J. Whitley the subdivider, I.N. Van Nuys, to name a few). Together the Syndicate controlled Tract 1000. In it Brant reserved 850acres for his Title Insurance and Trust Company and, within the acreage, platted Van Nuys, Marian (Reseda), and Owensmouth Canoga Park). You could buy a small farm 1 to 10 acres, or a large farm 100 to 600 acres. In 1920 he reserved a large parcel for Jue Joe: 300acres of prime property from Vanowen St to Haynes, and from Hayvenhurst to Balboa Blvd. It was segregated from a large ranch owned by Mr. Van Nuys, later was part of the Anderson Ranch, then bought by Mr. Dickey who later sold to Jue Joe. Brant ( and later Brant's estate after his death in 1922) held the Jue Joe property as Trustee for the benefit of Corrine and Dorothy until they came of age. When they came of age the land was deeded to them pursuant to the original trust documents . Auntie Soo-Yin "

Unlike other Chinese and Japanese immigrants such as Mr. Harada and Mr . Oyama , Jue Joe had the help of a prominent Caucasian land owner and businessman in Otto Brant. Both Jue Joe and Otto Brant and their attorneys must have been well aware of the implications of the Alien Land Law , the Harada case , and the subsequent 1920 law . Jue Joe could have purchased land and put the land immediately in his American born daughters name with him as the guardian and without Mr . Brant's involvement. As we have seen above , this was a technique fraught with difficulty as demonstrated in the Oyama case. Jue Joe and Brant with the help of their attorneys must have agreed that the best course of action was for Jue Joe to give Otto Brant the money to purchase the land , then have Otto Brant buy the property and then create a trust , where Brant was the trustee and Dorothy and Corrine were the beneficiaries , with the stipulation that when Dorothy and Corrine came of age the property would be deeded to them . Corrine came of age in 1937 and Dorothy came of age in 1939 and the Van Nuys property were placed in their names as legal owners. . Subsequent to Dorothy becoming of age in 1939 additional Jue Family property in Porterville was purchased with Dorothy listed as the legal owner.

At the time of these events , the law was quite clear . While American born children of Chinese and Japanese aliens could be legal owners of property , and such property could be bought for them and held by their parents or others as guardians or trustees until they came of age , the law considered that the very fact that these were minor children of aliens ineligible for citizenship prima facie evidence of an attempt at circumventing the Alien land law and the burden of proof was on the purchaser to prove that this was a bona fide gift to the child and not an attempt at circumventing the Alien land law. This fact would have been made crystal clear to Jue Joe and Brant and to San Tong by their attorneys .
How about a will?
"Jue Joe died "Intestate." Meaning that he left no Will and Testament. There was no Will placed in a safe deposit box. Jue Joe died with the understanding that his children would carry on family matters as he had--in the Chinese way" Auntie Soo -yin .

Why didn't Jue Joe leave a will ? He had the advice of competent attorneys . I think the answer is quite clear . Under California law at the time , Jue Joe actually had no property to give . He was not able to own land under California law , and he was prevented from attempting to circumvent the law by placing the land in his American born children's names while retaining ownership. The only thing he could do was to purchase land for his American born children and apply to the court to be made a guardian of his children's land holdings until they came of age , or as Jue Joe did , give Otto Brant money to purchase the land under Otto's name and create a trust with his American born citizen children as beneficiaries when they came of age. He would under California law have no ability to try to circumvent the law by trying to hold title or ownership to the land or cause the land to be held in title or ownership for his Chinese born son , or his Chinese born wife. This was illegal and if there were written wills or other documents showing that the deeding of property was done in an attempt to circumvent the Alien land law , the State would have the right to begin proceedings to confiscate the land .
The only thing that the State allowed was that American born children of aliens including minor children had the right to own land and their rights as citizens could not be inhibited by the law. The Alien land law in effect at the time of Jue Joe's death was quite clear : property could be purchased for Dorothy and Corrine and held in trust for them , when Dorothy and Corrine came of age , the land was theirs and theirs with to dispose of as they saw fit. The Alien land law prohibited transfer of ownership to any Chinese born family member. The appellate court in it's final ruling on the Jue Family law suit stated that
: " Considering all the evidence before the court in the instant action , including Jue Joe's pride in the American citizenship of his daughters and grandchildren , the court's knowledge that any interest of a Chinese alien in California land was then subject to escheat proceedings, the inference is not only warranted but practically inescapable that Jue Joe , smart business man that he was , intended to exclude from "the family" who were the beneficiaries of the trust not only himself , but also his wife and sons who were born in China"
In fact , there was NO legal way under Alien land law in effect at the time for Jue Joe to make himself , his wife or sons born in China beneficiaries of the trust.
The Alien land act and the previous Exclusion act prevented Jue Joe from ever becoming a citizen , owning his own land , or passing on that land to his children as he saw fit after his death . It created an artificial and unequal separation between Chinese born brother and American born sisters in their ability to hold title to land and to become American citizens. Under the act , Jue Joe could not make his wishes known legally and clearly . The Alien land act set the stage for a painful family battle about inheritance that has left its scars on the generations that have followed.

Post Script:
Auntie Soo -Yin writes : "The Jue court case has been cited in 9 other cases. I found the Japanese case that Uncle Guy had read while he was in law school. The case citation is: Kaneda v. Kaneda, 235 Cal.App.2d 404 (1965). Scroll down to Sec.3 "California Alien Land Act" and you can read how the Jue ruling applied to the Kaneda facts. Their family story is similar to ours."

Further details of the Jue Family Law Suit can be found here .

To understand this document it is important to review some of the details and facts of the case . During the time the Alien Land Law was in effect Jue Joe paid for 100 acres of land in the Van Nuys Area. This was divided into two lots each with 50 acres, Lot 690 on which the main Jue Joe Ranch was located and Lot 691 which was adjacent to Lot 690 and comprised also of 50 acres. Lot 691 was held in trust for Dorothy and Corrine when they were minors and became theirs outright when they became of age. All parties to the lawsuit agreed that the intent of Jue Joe was to give the 50 acres of land comprising Lot 691 to Dorothy and Corrine for their ownership. Lot 690 was placed in a trust with Corrine as beneficiary and was deeded to Corrine when she came of age at a time when Jue Joe was still alive. San Tong contended in the initial trial that it was Jue Joe's intent that Lot 690 was to be held by Corrine in trust for his son and Jue Joe's first American born Grandson , Jack , and that Jue Joe intended that she should ultimately sign the deed over to Jack . It was his contention that Jue Joe wished Jack to hold ownership to lot 690 and that he , San Tong , manage farming operations on the land . Corrine signed a deed in favor of Jack at San Tong's request in 1942 . It was Corrine and Dorothy and May's contention at the trial that Corrine was told by Jue Joe to hold Lot 690 for the "benefit of the family" and that San Tong in having her sign over Lot 690 to his son and later managing and selling portions of the property on his own acted contrary to the interests of the "family" as a whole . Later the trial court found that there was conflicting evidence that Jue Joe intended for Corrine to sign over the whole of Lot 690 to Jack and determined that in fact Corrine held Lot 690 in trust for the "family" which the court determined to be Leong Shee, San Tong , Corrine Dorothy and San You's descendants who were each entitled to 1/5 of Lot 690. In the appeal , San Tong's attorneys changed their legal strategy and unable to prove that Jue Joe had in fact intended Corrine to deed the entire of lot 690 to Jack attacked the idea of a 5 way split of Lot 690 . Much of the appeal was an attempt to show that as wife of Jue Joe, Leong Shee either should have 1/2 of the property and that the trust for the family should apply only to the remaining 1/2 of the 690 property or that the idea of the trust for the family was unclear and , in fact , the entire property should belong to Leong Shee. The appeal court did not agree with this argument , upheld the trial court's enforcing of a a family trust for the entire of the 690 property and actually went further than the trial court and determined that Jue Joe actually intended to exclude himself, his sons born in China and his wife as beneficiaries of any family trust . The trust for "the family" actually meant just Dorothy and Corrine , , but because there was no attempt by Dorothy and Corrine to argue with the 1/5 division for San Tong and Leong Shee , there was no need for the appeal court to decide on the validity of these 1/5 divisions of the property .

"Considering all the evidence before the court in the instant action, including Jue Joe's pride in the American citizenship of his daughters and grandchildren, the court's knowledge that any interest of a Chinese alien in California land was then subject to escheat proceedings, the inference is not only warranted but practically inescapable that Jue Joe, smart business man that he was, intended to exclude from "the family" who were the beneficiaries of the trust not only himself but also his wife and sons who were born in China.

We are convinced that the evidence is sufficient to support the finding and conclusion of the trial court that Jue Joe himself was not included in "the family" as used by him in naming the beneficiaries of the trust.

Since no claim is made on the instant appeal that either San Tong or Leong Shee was entitled to less than the interest given by the judgment, it is not necessary to determine whether the evidence was sufficient to support the finding that they were intended by Jue Joe to be included in "the family" as beneficiaries."

There was also 90 acres of Land in Porterville that was in dispute . This land was deeded to Dorothy during Jue Joe's lifetime . Dorothy said that this land was a gift to her by Jue Joe and that her brother who was farming the land was acting only as her "foreman". It was San Tong's contention that he had actually paid for the land himself and that title was placed in Dorothy's name because of the Alien Land law . When the law became invalid for Chinese after the war ( as Chinese were allowed to become naturalized citizens) , he asked for Dorothy to sign deed over to him which Dorothy did but in the trial she contended that this was under duress and against her will .

. At the time of the appeal the Alien Land law had been ruled unconstitutional , alien's such as Leong Shee could own land . San Tong was a citizen and could own land . Unfortunately , at the time the deeds and trusts were constructed the prevailing law was that Leong Shee , and San Tong were completely excluded from ever owning land . Legal title had to be placed in the names of American born citizens such as Dorothy , Corrine and Jack (Jue Joe's grandson .) . As we have seen , Jue Joe was prevented from making his wishes clearly known legally and in writing because of the Alien land law . The irony is that that Jue Joe was very careful to provide for his family , he had done everything he could to insure that the land that he had worked so hard for would stay in the family's hands , but because of the legal climate at the time it was impossible for him to leave written directions as to how that land should be used by his family after his death . It was left for San Tong and Dorothy, May , and Corrine to prove to the court what Jue Joe's true intentions were. Ultimately the court found in favor of Dorothy , May and Corrine and against San Tong . By the time of the appeal 35 acres of Lot 690 had already been sold . The 15 acres remaining was held by Jack and later San Tong . Although the court found that San Tong and Leong Shee did each deserve 1/5 ownership of Lot 690, because they had already benefited from the sale and use of the land ( Leong Shee was living with San Tong ) , it was found that they had no title to the remaining 15 acres of land and this land was conveyed to Corrine , May and Dorothy as sole owners. The Porterville land was conveyed in total to Dorothy as sole owner.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Details- Jue Shee, College Years

Jue Joe paid for his younger brother Jue Shee to emigrate to America as a student in the 1890's. Jue Shee attended Pomona college and later obtained his PHD from UC Berkeley. Recently Auntie Soo-Yin has been able to locate a college photo of Jue Shee at UC Berkeley taken in 1898 . More on this remarkable photograph here.

The story of Chinese students in American Universities in the 19th century is fascinating.Yung Wing pictured below was the very first Chinese student to graduate from an American university

".Yung Wing enrolled at the Monson Academy in Monson, Massachusetts. Upon his graduation in the summer of 1850, he entered Yale University. In the summer of 1854, Yung received his Bachelor of Arts degree and became the first Chinese student to graduate from an American university. He returned to China in 1855."
In China ,Yung Wing became instrumental in bringing other young students to America to study. Between 1871 and 1881 the Chinese government embarked on a unique experiment to send Chinese students abroad , first to attend high school prep schools and then to enter prestigious American universities.

"A few years earlier, in 1868, Yung Wing proposed to the Qing Dynasty to send promising 12- to 15-year-old students to study abroad. His proposal included the creation of an office and a monitoring officer in the United States to assist and manage the students’ education and living arrangements. Funding for the students’ expenses would come from customs revenue. The Qing government approved the plan in 1870, and in 1871 Yung Wing selected students who would go to preparatory school in Shanghai to study English.

A memorandum was submitted to the Chinese court dated August 18, 1871:
"A detachment of thirty students should be sent every year for a
consecutive four year period. The total number will be 120.
Each student shall study for fifteen years and then come back to
China. Their age upon return should be no more than thirty
years old, the best time to serve their homeland."

The students were assigned to 54 households (34 in Connecticut, 20 in Massachusetts) while in the United States. In a short time, they overcame the language barrier and even became some of the best students in their schools. According to available statistics, by 1880, more than 50 students were enrolled in U.S. colleges—22 entered Yale University, eight into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, three in Columbia University, and one to Harvard."

"From 1872 to 1881, the Chinese students' academic achievements were
matched by their victories on the baseball diamond and in the ballroom.
Their great "south-paw" pitcher, Liang Tun-Yen, led the "Orientals" to
many victories (he later served as the last Minister of Foreign Affairs in the
Qing Dynasty). When Zhong Monyu (Chung Mun-yew) called the strokes
as coxswain for the Yale crew, they defeated Harvard in the boat races in
1880 and 1881.
The Chinese students earned popularity in social circles and seemed to
adjust to American mores very quickly. The Chinese Educational
Commission's stay in America coincided with a great period of scientific and
technological innovation. The students witnessed Alexander G. Bell's first
telephone (1876) and Thomas Edison's phonograph (1878) and
incandescent lamp (1879). They attended the Centennial Exhibition in
Philadelphia where samples of their homework, on display in the
Educational Pavilion, won merit awards from the Board of Jury. Their
accomplishments even drew the attention of then-President Ulysses S.
Grant who hosted a special reception for the Chinese students during
which he shook hands with each of them."

"A growing hostility toward Chinese in America resulted from the
importation of "coolie" labor for the mines and railroads of the
western states. Although then-President Hayes resisted the mood
when he vetoed the Chinese Exclusion Act of February 1879, it
eventually passed in 1882. These developments offered a pretext
for the conservative Confucians in the Chinese government who sought to terminate the American educational experiment. On May 12, 1881, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the CEC in a memorandum:

"Customs and etiquette in the foreign country are vicious and improper.
Confucian creed is lacking in all the young
students. The best way to solve the problem is to dissolve
the Chinese Educational Commission in America immediately."

The Chinese Education Mission was disbanded in 1881 with a total of 120 students brought to the United States. Many of the students returned home and made significant contributions to China’s civil services, engineering, and sciences. These students provided China with her first generation of railroad builders,engineers, medical doctors, diplomats, college presidents and naval admirals. "

More information here.

After the Chinese Education Mission was disbanded, other bright Chinese students began to apply for and be accepted at American Universities on their own and without the sponsorship of the Chinese government . These students were allowed to emigrate to the United States even after the passage of the Exclusion Acts of 1882 and 1892 because students were one of the exempt classes.
Jue Joe, with the success of his farming operations, was able to pay for his bright and talented younger brother to emigrate to the America as a college student and support his college expenses. Jue Shee, 15 years younger then Jue Joe , emigrated sometime in the 1890's and enrolled in Pomona College in Southern California for his undergraduate training .
"Pomona College was incorporated on October 14, 1887, by a group of Congregationalists who wanted to recreate on the West Coast “a college of the New England type,” one that would represent the very best of what they had experienced as students in the finest colleges of the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Instruction began on September 12, 1888. Right from the start, Pomona was coeducational and -- reflecting the 19th-century commitment of its Congregationalist founders to equity -- open to students of all races. Pomona awarded its first diplomas -- seven Bachelor of Arts degrees, two Bachelor of Letters degrees, and one Bachelor of Science degree -- to the Class of 1894."

Here is a picture of Pomona College during Jue Shee's time there.After completing his undergraduate degree at Pomona College. Jue Shee went to UC Berkeley where he obtained his PH.D in mining engineering . Here is a picture of UC Berkeley looking out toward the San Francisco Bay. The campus had only a few buildings in those days. By the turn of the century under the leadership of Dean Samuel Benedict Christy, the mining college at Berkeley was one of the finest technical colleges in the world . The major was one of the most popular majors at that time with one in five male students in the entire university enrolled in a mining engineering major.

Jue Shee was a social activist during his college years.

Auntie Soo- Yin writes :
"JEW SHEE/ORPHEUM THEATER: The Orpheum was located at 110 S. Main St. It had been the Grand Opera House, then became the Orpheum Circuit vaudville theater from 1894 to 1903. In 1896 the Orpheum premiered its first film festival (called, "exhibition") in Los Angeles, featuring films from the Edison Studios (Thomas Edison). This was a very big event for "Angelinos." It marked the transition from vaudville to silent films. And everyone wanted to see this new technology, including Jew Shee. San Tong said, "Jew Shee and two Chinese students from Pomona College dressed up in suit and tie. They walked passed a sign in the Theater's opulent lobby that read, 'No Chinese allowed,' they walked passed the manager, Charles Schimpf, who yelled and ran after them, they parted the red velvet curtains and entered to take their seats. At once a fight broke out. Jew Shee and his two friends were arrested. At the jailhouse Jew Shee's attorney had been waiting to post bail for them, the attorney had been paid in advance by Jew Shee. A discrimination suit was filed against the Orpheum and Jew Shee won his case. Thereafter, the Orpheum had to allow all people regardless of race to attend the theater." The dates that I saw on Jew Shee's textbooks from Pomona College correspond to the date of the festival's premier at the Orpheum. They ranged from around 1896 to 1898. Recently I found photos of the old Orpheum Circuit in which theater seats cost 10 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents at the time that Jew Shee desegregated the Orpheum. The date of the Orpheum's film exhibition was July 6, 1896. The Theater's seating capacity was 1500. By this time Jew Joe was making good money from farming and he could afford to send his younger brother, Jew Shee, to Pomona College, a private school. "

"In 1902 Jew Joe left his L.A. farm operation to his younger brother Jew Shee (15 yrs younger) whom he'd sent for years earlier and whom he'd educated at Pomona College. His intent was to settle in Sum Gong Village (Three Rivers Village), and raise a family, while Jew Shee ran the L.A. business and sent him money every month. Unknown to Jew Joe, his brother sold the business to a Jewish wholesaler at the L.A. Produce Mart, who was a friend of Joe and who had a warehouse next to Joe's at the Mart. With the profit Jew Shee sailed for Paris, France, then onward to Manchuria.
Jue Shee got a Ph.D in Mining Engineering, but a U.S law prevented Chinese from mining or holding mining claims. He heard that Manchuria was rich in metals and there would be opportunity. However, he could only find work with the Ford Motor Co. in Harbin that was manufacturing tanks for the Sino-Soviet War. When hostilities worsened he left his Manchurian wife and took their son back to Sum Gong Village and to Leong Shee's doorstep. Sum Gong Village is rich in nickel, platinum, and ore. Using his tools Jue Shee began tearing up Leong Shee's garden and fields for those metals. He also built himself a 2-story library adjacent to Jew Joe's house and, after holding many parties there, turned Leong Shee's life upside down .
He was an eccentric. Very smart. Out of scrap metal he'd fashioned himself a machine gun, and in a heated argument with Leong Shee, he threatened to "blow her up." After that event , Leong Shee sent a frantic letter begging Jew Joe to send for her, San You, and San Tong ." .... Auntie Soo-Yin

EDITED 5/18/2012  Further research reveals that while Jue Shee attended Pomona College briefly and then dropped out , he never did attend UC Berkeley.  He made up that story. More here. Also the picture we thought was Jue Shee is not him but another student named Yoneshiro Shibata.