Saturday, June 19, 2010

Details: Jew Joe Immigration Q/A 1906, Jew Shee-Jue Joe's Brother

Jue Joe like many Chinese immigrants dreamed of the time when they would have saved enough money to buy passage back home to China , buy land , build a house , farm , marry and raise children . Finally saving enough money , he returns home to China May 8th , 1902 . He marries Leong Shee, builds a house and farms and has two sons , San You and San Tong .. He leaves his wife and his two young sons in January of 1906 and returns to "Gum Saan", the Gold Mountain .
Why did he leave his wife and son's in China ? Why did he not remain in China ? Soo-Yin provides insight in the comment section below , as well as clarifying for us the fascinating role of Jew Shee, Jue Joe's younger brother in this story .

Jew Joe applies for a duplicate immigration certificate on his return to the USA in 1906 and is interrogated by immigration officials in this transcript document , kindly provided by Auntie Soo Jan. (Jue Joe after his return to America resumes asparagus farming in the San Fernando Valley and does well and finally sends for his whole family to join him in 1918 ,not having seen them for 12 years ) In the transcript K.S. refers to the Chinese calendar date .

Here is a transcript of the above document :
Los Angeles, Cal. March 20, 1906
Inspector J.H. Jenkins
Stenographer J.J. Brady

in re Jew Joe , applicant for duplicate certificate
Jew Joe, sworn.

Q What is your name?
A Jew Joe
Q How many names are you known by?
A Just Jew Joe
Q How old are you ?
A 51
Q Where do you live?
A El Monte
Q What is your business?
A Farmer
Q Did you register?
A Yes, sir
Q In what year, month and day did you register?
A I was 38 years old , in 1892 or '93
Q Did the certificate that you first got in 1892 or '93 have a picture on it?
A No , no picture; the first one no picture, but that no good I no keep , throw it away.
Q When did you register the second time ?
A K.S. 18 or 19 ; got a picture that time .
Q What became of that certificate?
A I left it in the custom house when I went to China
Q Where at ?
A San Francisco. I go home to China they keep my certificate and give me another ticket and if I come back ,everything they keep down there
Q Are you sure you left your certificate with the Chinese Bureau at San Francisco?
A Yes, sir.
Q In what year was that ?
A I was 47 years old when I went home , coming 48 K. S. 28, 1st day, 4th Moon (May 8,1902)
Q When did you return from that trip to China?
A This year
Q What month and day?
A Chinese January 3, K.S. 31, I come to San Francisco, and I come to land on the 13th ; I stay on the boat ten days .
Q What boat?
A "Mongolia"
Q And you are sure you never registered but one time?
A One , that's all
Q Where were you living at the time you registered?
A St. Helena, Napa County
Q Where were you living when you threw the first certificate away?
A In Napa county. Time have to register second time every people say first one no account and I no keep, I throw it away .

Signed , Jew Joe


  1. 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. So Jew Joe returned alone to California when San Tong was only 4 months old in China. Leong Shee assumed Joe perished in the 1906 Earthquake of SF when she did not hear from him for 9 years. When at last a letter came San Tong was 9 yrs old, and at the age of 13, he saw his father for the first time in 1918 after having been released from Angel Island. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  2. Thanks so much Auntie Soo-Yin for clarifying the role of Jew Shee in this story . I had not been aware of the arrangement betwee Jew Joe and his brother concerning the business arrangement , nor of the sale of the business and the role that sale in causing Jew Joe to return to the America. According to my father , Jew Shee got a PHD in engineering with his education supported by Jew Joe but could not find any work in America in his field , nor could he find any work in his field in China when he returned to China in later years .

  3. JR, your father is correct. 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. She begged Jew Joe to send for her, San You, and San Tong. This is why they sailed to California. Originally, Jew Joe had not intended for them to come because he planned to return one day to China. Meanwhile Jew Shee married and had a daughter named "Mansui" and a new son. In 1937 Mansui was present at San Tong and Yee Lai Ping's wedding in China and meeting Leong Shee. Later, when civil war broke out between the Communists and the Nationalist, Mansui's new husband and his family were all killed by the Communists. She grabbed her infant daughter and swam Sum Gong's waterways all the way to Macau. She recalled that the Red Army was shooting at her and other escapees from one side of the canal, and the White Army (Nationalists) was shooting at them from the other side. She made it to Corrine and Lansing Kwok's house in Hong Kong, and with money sent by San Tong, made her way to New York's Chinatown. She would not speak to her brother in China for many years because he had joined the Red Army. At age 68 Mansui saved enough cash to come see San Tong in the Valley. She stayed with Fay Loon, the mother of Jimmy and Ming. This is how we heard her story. Also, my siblings and I recall thumbing through Jew Shee's college textbooks in a bookcase in our living room. He had beautiful penmanship. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  4. I forgot to add the following: What triggered Leong Shee's frantic letter to Jew Joe was in regard to Jew Shee's machine gun. 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." When Jew Shee was a student at Pomona College he was a social activist, too. He was the first to desegregate L.A.'s Orpheum Theater that prohibited Chinese. He and 2 other students entered the Orpheum, got into a fist fight, and got arrested. Before hand, Jew Shee had arranged for his attorney to post bail. Released, he sued the Orpheum Theater and won. In regard to Mansui I add this: She was a brave 18 year old. With her daughter she first ran rooftop to rooftop to flee soldiers chasing and shooting at her in Sunwai (Xinhui), where her husband had been a palms merchant. Then she jumped into the big canal and swam the waterways to Macau/HK. For the rest of her life she worked in a sweatshop in NY's Chinatown. But Mansui was not a complaining woman. Upon meeting her my impression was that of a jovial and energetic lady. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  5. Ooops, I haven't learned how to go back to edit the previous comment, so here's another addition: ...when Mansui reached Sum Gong Village, from Sunwai, it was being overrun, too. That's when she jumped into the big canal. She told us that people in the water were screaming for help as they were drowning but no one could stop to help them. Auntie Soo-Yin, again.