Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Details: Official Immigation Photos 1918

Here are the official 1918 immigration pictures of Jue Joe, Leong Shee , San You , and San Tong ( courtesy Auntie Soo-Jan)
Jue Joe ,who was in Los Angeles at the time .certifies that he is a merchant and thus legally able to bring over his wife and sons from China.

The Oriental Exclusion Act , in effect in 1918, prohibited Chinese from immigrating to the USA unless they were in a number of special categories: a merchant, a scholar, or a child or wife of a man in one of these special categories. Specifically prohibited are any Chinese who have been employed as a manual laborer. Jue Joe was farming at the time , farmers were not allowed to immigrate.
Jue Joe like many Chinese in America bought his way as a partner into an existing Chinese American company so he could become a merchant and thus be able to travel to and from China and to bring his family to America . Jue Joe bought his way into the Thomas G. Chung Company for this purpose.

This is a transcript of the printed portion of the immigration document posted above :

"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 comission 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.

Affiant says that he is not now , nor has he been engaged in the performance of manual labor for the past twelve months,except such as was and is necessary and required in the conduct of his said business as a merchant and a member of the above-mentioned firm ."

Despite Jue Joe identifying his wife and children , Leong Shee , San Tong and San You are detained on Angel Island for weeks while they are interrogated to prove that they are who they say they are.


  1. By the way I think Thomas Chung was the father of Rose Chung , San Tong's first wife . Besides being a paper partner to the Thomas Chung business , I think Jue Joe and his family bought produce and supplies from Thomas Chung's store regularly and it was there that San Tong first met Rose.

  2. I checked with my father and my Auntie Joan and there is agreement that the Thos.C.Chung company mentioned in the immigration document was Grandma Rose's family produce company but they are unclear whether the owner of the company was really Rose's father and may have been an uncle instead.

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    1. Further information reveals that the company in question is the Thomas G. Chung Company and that this company was owned by my grand uncle , Thomas G. Chung, who was my grandmother Rose Chung's eldest brother. Thomas G Chung's father was Tom Chung ( my great grandfather ) who started the family grocery business in Los Angeles. Thomas G. Chung expanded this business into a very successful produce merchandising business.