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 !

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the photos and story of the Chung family with us. I've never seen these photos until now, what a treasure! And the story of Thomas G. Chung and Jue Joe brings our family's history full circle. Their inter-twined relationship is fascinating. Good work! Auntie Soo-Yin.