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.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jue Joe Family Time Line with Blog Links

The following is a time line of the Jue Joe Clan Story represented in the lives of the original Jue family in America : Jue Joe , his wife Leong Shee , and their children as well as Jue Shee and Jue Nui , Jue Joe's brothers. I have included blog hyperlinks for those who want details of the story . This story and the blog itself is dedicated to all the members of our Clan's first family : Jue Joe, Leong Shee, San You , San Tong, Corrine and Dorothy , and all their descendants, as well as the descendants of Jue Nui ( the Loon Family) . As San Tong said "The whole in time heals it's injured parts". My hope is that in the telling of this story our clan can become whole once more.
Jack Jue Jr.


1874 Jue Joe arrives in San Francisco at the age of 18
1874 to circa 1878 Jue Joe is employed as a vineyard laborer in Marysville
1878 to circa 1887 Jue Joe is employed as a vineyard laborer in St. Helena
1876 to 1902 Jue Joe deals with anti Chinese anger and violence and restrictive immigration laws
1882 or 1883 Jue Joe obtains his first certificate of identity in St. Helena
1887 to 1893 Jue Joe is employed as a laborer on the Southern Pacific Railroad , Coastal Route
1880's Jue Joe pays for his older brother Jue Nui to emigrate to America. Jue Nui works as a fisherman and cannery worker in Monterey, California and later goes to Alaska to work but is lost at sea .
1893 Jue Joe obtains his 2nd certificate of identity.
1893 to circa 1896 Jue Joe is employed by the Johnson family in Chatsworth as a houseboy
circa 1893 to 1894 Jue Joe meets Otto Brant either through Otto Brant's houseboy Wong Joe or possibly in the Mojave desert and the two become friends.  Jue Joe helps Otto Brant with real estate transactions by serving as a "strawman" and loaning Otto money , and  Otto Brant helps  Jue Joe obtain leases to farm land.
1896 to 1902 Jue Joe farms potatoes in Chatsworth , selling them at a produce market in Los Angeles
Circa 1890's Jue Joe pays for his younger brother, Jue Shee to emigrate to the US . Jue Shee takes classes in English in Los Angeles and Pasadena  while helping his brother at the produce market.
1902 Jue Joe leaves for China , leaving his business with his brother Jue Shee .
1902 Jue Joe arrives in China marries Leong Shee in an arranged marriage builds a house and farms land in China
1903 San You , Jue Joe's first son is born
1905 San Tong , Jue Joe's second son is born.
1904 Jue Shee enrolls in college prep classes in Chemistry and English literature at Pomona College. He drops out after only three months. In 1905 Jue Shee sells the Jue Joe farming and produce business without telling his brother and leaves for Paris and then Harbin, China.
1906 Jue Joe discovers that his brother , Jue Shee has sold his business and stopped sending money to China . Jue Joe decides to move back to Los Angeles to remake his fortune . He leaves Leong Shee in China with his two sons.
1906 Jue Joe returns to America despite discriminatory immigrations laws that bar his return,  probably through the intercession of his friend , Otto Brant and begins farming again  in El Monte near Los Angeles , probably on land leased again through the help of his friend Otto Brant.
Circa 1908 Jue Joe opens a saloon on 2nd and Broadway in Los Angeles.
He is friends with Otto Brant , Harrison Otis and Harry Chandler .
1908 to 1918 Jue Joe begins farming again in the San Fernando Valley ,
1915 Jue Shee ( who has been in Paris and then Harbin ), finally shows up in the village and tells Leong Shee Jue Joe is alive and in Los Angeles. Leong Shee has not heard a word from her husband in 9 years ! Jue Joe begins corresponding and sending money .
1918 Jue Joe sends for his wife and two sons and they emigrate to the United States.
Immigration photos are taken of Jue Joe and his family . Jue Joe certifies that he is a merchant and thus legally able to bring his wife and sons from China , Initially detained and interrogated on Angel Island San Francisco , Leong Shee and the boys are finally released to join Jue Joe.
1918 through the 1920's and on into the 1930's Jue Joe reunited with his family and sons expands farming operations in the San Fernando Valley , Santa Paula - Fillmore region , and Imperial Valley. Initially Jue Joe grows potatoes and later switches to asparagus. around the early 1920's.
1918 to 1920's San You and San Tong are educated at Van Nuys High school . Graduating , San You helps managing the family produce market in downtown Los Angeles . San Tong helps on the farm .
1919 Corrine Jue is born to Jue Joe and Leong Shee.
1921 Dorothy Jue is born to Jue Joe and Leong Shee.
Corrine and Dorothy unlike their brothers are American citizens as they are born in the United States . ( US Constitution 14th Amendment)
Early 1920's a photo is taken of the Jue Family, Jue Joe, Leong Shee , Dorothy , Corrine,
San You , and San Tong .
Mid to Late 1920's San You and then San Tong are married. San You marries Maxine May Kam, an American born Chinese girl in a large Chinatown wedding. They have three girls Maxine V. , Lorraine, and June.
San Tong falls in love and marries an American born Chinese girl , Rose Chung
Late 1920's to early 1930's Jack and Joan Jue are born to San Tong and Rose.
1932 Jue Joe pays for Jue Nui's grandson Chan Lum ( " Loon") to emigrate to America
1933 San You passes away
1934 Joe Jue's Asparagus farms have become very successful and he is hailed as the "Asparagus King. " by the LA Times.
1935 Rose Chung Jue ( 1st wife of San Tong ) passes away
1937 San Tong Jue returns to China and marries Yee Lai Ping and brings her back to Los Angeles.

1938 to 1941 the family asparagus farming operations fall on hard times during the depression . San Tong assumes increasing responsibility for farming operations .
1941 Jue Joe passes away. Because the Alien Land Law prevents aliens not eligible to become naturalized citizens from owning land , Jue Joe prior to his death causes title of all the Jue family land holdings to be placed in his American born daughter's names. United States law in effect at the time prevents all Chinese born abroad from ever becoming naturalized citizens.
Early 1940's Corrine goes to UCLA , Dorothy goes to USC and later John Hopkins
Corrine is a contestant in the Moon Goddess festival
1937 to 1944 Soo Jan , Guy , Pingeleen and Soo Yin are born to San Tong and Ping
Circa 1947 the Van Nuys Ranch house is built. San Tong Jue has renamed the Van Nuys Ranch the Jue Joe Ranch in honor of his father.
Late 1940's Corrine Jue marries Lansing Kwok ( a Hong Kong based merchant) , and Dorothy Jue marries Warren Moe ( a physician).
1940's into the 1950's San Tong expands farming operations in Saugus /Newhall
The Zoraster and Holloway families are neighbors to the Jue's in the San Fernando Valley both these families are involved in the hatchery business.
1950 San Tong Jue becomes a naturalized citizen (Laws preventing Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens are finally repealed after World War II.)
1950 Jack Jue (son of San Tong) marries Alice Kwok and Joan Jue (daughter of San Tong) marries Richard Yen
Jack having graduated from UC Davis in agriculture joins his father in the asparagus farming business and makes a video of the Saugus farming operations.
Circa 1950 Chan Lum ("Loon") returns to China and marries Fay , Yee Lai Ping's sister.
(They have two son's Jimmy and Ming)
1955 A Law suit is filed against San Tong by Corrine Jue , Dorothy Jue and Maxine Jue ( daughter of May Jue-San You's widow )
1956-1958 Trial and Appeal
A trial lasted from October 22nd to December 18, 1956 and resulted in a judgement against San Tong .A subsequent appeal was made by San Tong's attorneys and a final judgement was made on August 28, 1958 affirming the decision of the trial court and against San Tong.
San Tong and his family are evicted from the Van Nuys Ranch by his sisters and sister in law
1957 to 1986 San Tong tries to make a new life for himself in Florida and then Mexico
1968 Yee Lai Ping ( 2nd wife of San Tong) passes away
1969 Maxine May Kam Jue (wife of San You) passes away
1971 Corrine and San Tong have a tearful reunion and reconciliation at Auntie Soo-Yin's apartment in San Francisco
1971 Leong Shee passes away
1972 My Great aunt Corrine and My Grandfather San Tong both attend my college graduation ceremony at UC Berkeley
1986 During San Tong's terminal illness , Corrine comes to visit him twice at Auntie Soo Jan's house and they share some time together. "San Tong never blamed his sisters. He forgave them. One day he said to me, "Even though I lost the land I thank God that it still remains in the family." To him family meant everything. He always said, "The whole in time heals its injured parts." This is so Chinese. One looks ahead and long term. Sees each life as a fraction of the whole of a family's life-force. Auntie Soo-Yin. "
1987 Soo-Yin and Pingeleen make a trip back to China to visit Jue Joe's Village and the house he built there. They meet relatives , bring a recorded message from San Tong, who was too ill to go on the trip, and shoot a video .
1987 San Tong Jue passes away
1997 Corrine Jue Kwok passes away
2001 Dorothy Jue Moe passes away

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Details: Leong Shee , Gold Mountain Wife


Jue Joe returns from Gold Mountain to China in 1902 to find a wife and settle down after spending 28 years in America . He is 42 years old . Leong Shee is married to Jue Joe in an arranged marriage . She is 17 years old . She bears him two sons . In 1906 Jue Joe leaves again for America leaving her with with their 4 month old and two year old sons. She hears nothing from him for 9 years and thinks he died in the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. She makes her own way , farming their land , raising her children by herself , protecting her children from bandits. Suddenly , out of nowhere , Jue Joe's younger brother Jue Shee returns to the village with news that Jue Joe is still alive and in Los Angeles. Shortly a letter follows from Jue Joe. .:"Good news! I'm well , I send you this " A bank note is enclosed.

Three years later, twelve years after he left Jue Joe finally sends for his family to join him in America.

Leong Shee's plight as a gold mountain wife was shared with many woman of her generation in China . Poems written by these women have surfaced and offer a poignant reminder of the sorrow in their lives. Leong Shee had married a Gold Mountain Man who had returned home . She did not realize that the pull of the Gold Mountain was strong and that in only 4 years she would be left a Gold Mountain widow as her husband left once more to find his fortune.

Gold Mountain Wives : Rhapsodies in blue.
by Marlon K. Hom

" "Jinshan fu xing" (Rhymes of the Gold Mountain Women) was written by Tan Bi'an in January 1949. It contained excerpts both from local folk rhymes and from writings by local literati about the tragic legacy of Gold Mountain Wives who suffered the effects of local cultural mores and emigration practices alike. This was the first extensive prose written on these women as forsaken spouses of participants in the rush to Gold Mountain. No further study has followed this thematic treatment since the 1949 publication of the essay. It was not until the 1980s that the plight of the Jinshan po (Gold Mountain wives) gained the scholarly attention of Chinese American Studies in the United States.
With news of the gold discovery in North America, Cantonese peasants desperate to survive joined the emigration to America in large numbers to fulfill their dream of gold . Some became miners; some later went to build railroads. Their Chinese cultural upbringing gave them the perseverance to withstand the hardship in their journey to North America, They left their wives, who tended the family and farmed the fields. Days and years passed. These women waited and waited, hoping their husbands would one day return with gold. Their youthful years were spent working in the fields and waiting in silence. They lived like widows because their husbands had gone to Gold Mountain and did not return"


"I beg of you, after you depart, to come back soon ,
Our separation will be only a flash of time;
I only wish that you would have good fortune.
In three years you would be home again.
Also , I beg of you that your heart won't change,
That you keep your heart and mind on taking care of your family;
Each month or half a month send a letter home.
In two or three years my wish is to welcome you home . "

"Tall is the ship to Gold Mountain.
It took my husband away;
It didn't bring my husband back.
I remember our moment to bid farewell:
We held our hands together, unable to let go.

It's been more than ten years of a forsaken life;
It's been more than ten years of conjugal separation.

In silence, I complain to no one;
Tossing and turning, I sit by an empty bed--
Tears falling like rain.

In the morning, I tend the fields in front of our house.
In the afternoon, I gather firewood by the mountain
creek.

In the evening, I hurry to the marketplace;
I sell the firewood for rice for the day.
There are wild beasts in the mountain,
There are idle gossips in the marketplace.

It is not that I don't have modesty or a sense of shame,
But the family is in poverty:
What can I do?

Dear husband, I wish not for you to become rich.
I care not for yellow gold or fine jewelry.
I only wish that you would come home quickly--
I only wish that you be by my side, every moment, every
day.
O, when will we be together again?
My appearance in the mirror has completely changed!

The ocean winds are chillingly cold;
The ocean water is without an end.
So far away on the other side of the ocean,
Who is caring for your meal and bed?

The bright moon above the wall is solitary;
We look at each other with no words but sighs.
I pray the bright moon to show you the way home,
I pray the bright moon to show you the way--
You who have yet to return home.

In front of the house, morning and evening,
Tides rise and ebb in regularity
Why does a faraway traveler,
Once gone, never return?

Autumn brings solitary moments;
Spring brings new life forms.
Seasons come and go;

What good is my longing love for you?
Yet--
I wish to climb the highest hill
And become the rock--
The Waiting Wife Rock! "


" O, just marry all the daughters to men from Gold Mountain :
All those trunks from Gold Mountain --
You can demand as many as you want!
O, don't ever marry your daughter to a man from Gold
Mountain :
Lonely and sad--
A cooking pot is her only companion! "

Friday, August 6, 2010

Details: Jue Joe, Making Do in an Era of Hate





Jue Joe arrived in the United States in 1874 just as anti Chinese sentiment against coolie labor was reaching a fever pitch . He spent his early years living and working in a California in which a race war against his countrymen was at its peak . How Jue Joe survived and succeeded against all odds is a fascinating story. In this post I will explore how Jue Joe may have dealt with the discrimination and persecution.

The anti -chinese era was fueled by a depressed economy in which out of work white laborers scapegoated Chinese laborers as the cause of their problems . Mob violence , burning of Chinatowns, and rioters driving Chinese laborers out of towns were regular occurences in California in the 1870's and 1880's .

Auntie Soo Yin writes : "Indeed, Jue Joe suffered injury in the anti-Chinese riots following 1874. Immigration papers noted a gash at the end of his right eyebrow, and a crooked little finger on his left hand. Jue Joe told his son San Tong of attacks he had received at the hands of nogooders when he was a young man working the vineyards of Northern California. And a Chinese could not fight back. The case "People v. George Hall, 1854," ruled that Chinese may not testify against a white man in court. The Chinese Six Companies first sent Jue Joe to the vineyards of Marysville, then to the vineyards of St. Helena. His wage was 50 cents a day. But when discrimination got so bad in each town, and Chinese camps were set on fire, Jue Joe got work laying tracks for the Southern Pacific RR from a Chinese labor broker in Oakland's railroad yard. His wage was $1 a day. ...... There is a good book called, "Driven Out," by Jean Pfaelzer, that recounts the riots and the attacks on Chinese in California. Numerous incidents occured in Northern and Southern California. "


Violence against Chinese was a fact of life in the labor camps of the 1870's and 1880's where Chinese could be attacked in their sleep in their cabins by anti -Chinese mobs. A life long habit of self protection became ingrained in Jue Joe. Armed with a Colt.45 and a cleaver under the pillow he could sleep in relative peace . As violence got too bad , Jue Joe, like other Chinese would move on looking for work elsewhere. . First Jue Joe moved from the Marysville area , to St.Helena and then left St . Helena as the anti Chinese hysteria there reached a fever pitch as well.

"Jue Joe preferred a simple lifestyle and independence. My father San tong told us that Jue Joe always wore a khaki shirt and pants, knee high boots, and lots of keys dangled from his waist belt. He fired his Colt.45 once a year to clean its barrel, wore it in a holster around his waist, and slept with a cleaver under his pillow in his one-room cabin with a dirt floor on the Van Nuys ranch. In that cabin there was an indented hole under his desk where he always rubbed his barefeet on the dirt floor. His lawyers came to conduct business with Jue Joe in that cabin, too. There was a pot-bellied stove that served as a heater and on the walls were hung horse's bridles and yokes. When Jue Joe left to work in his fields he always locked his cabin door and never allowed--at any time!--his wife Leong Shee, who on the premise lived in a different cottage with their children, to enter his abode in order to clean it. Auntie Soo-Yin. "

With anti chinese sentiment growing , Jue Joe contemplated becoming an American Citizen .

Auntie Soo Yin writes :"My father San Tong told me that in early 1882, in San Francisco, Jue Joe had asked the Elders of the Chinese Six Companies if he should become a U.S. Citizen. He had given it serious thought. He'd heard a rumor about impending legislation against Chinese immigrants and so he thought he'd be better off becoming a citizen. And besides, China was beginning to fall apart. But because of extensive anti-Chinese incidents in California, and bitter hostilities growing daily, the Elders of the Six Companies told Jue Joe, "No! Don't do it." They told him to remain a Chinese citizen and be proud. They told him Chinese stand together and he would be better off. Four months later, the Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882 was passed and Jue Joe had to get a certificate of Identity. He would never again be allowed to become a U.S. "

The 1882 law provided a system to identify Chinese who remained exempt from exclusion. Resident Chinese laborers, for example, received a certificate of identity—known as a “return” certificate—before they left the United States and presented the certificate for readmission upon their return. Jue Joe obtained one of these certificate of identities in St. Helena . It proved that he had legally immigrated to the United States prior to 1882.

In 1892 a much more stringent Exclusion Act was passed, the Geary Act , requiring all Chinese in the United States to have a photographic certificate of identity or face deportation . There was initially strong resistance to this law .

"The Chinese immigrant community had a strong internal organizational network that provided an institutional basis for their resistance to the policy. The Chinese Six Companies, known to Chinese as the Zhonghua Huiguan, was composed of leaders from different huiguan or district associations to which all Chinese immigrants belonged depending upon their region of origin. The Chinese consulate in San Francisco was the official representative of the Chinese government. Both the Chinese Six Companies and the Chinese consulate provided crucial leadership and financial support for the fight against discriminatory treatment of Chinese immigrants."


"ON September 19, 1892, the presidents of the Chinese Six Companies, initially organizations of Chinese merchants established in major cities across the United States, ordered all 110,000 Chinese immigrants in the United States to commit mass civil disobedience. Red leaflets appeared on the walls and windows of Chinatowns throughout the country commanding Chinese to defy the new Geary Act that required Chinese residents to carry a photo identification card to prove that they were legal immigrants."

"The Geary Act is an unjust law and no Chinese should obey it. The law degrades the Chinese and if obeyed will put them lower than the meanest of people . It is a cruel law. It is a bad law. Read it and see how cruel the law is to our people. See how mean and contemptible it wants to make the Chinese. We do not want the Chinese to obey it . We do not believe the Chinese will obey it. In making the law the United States has violated the treaties. They have disregarded our rights and paid on attention to their promise, and made a law to suit themselves, no matter how unjust to us . No chinese can read this law without a feeling of disgust. Many whites say the law is not right . Let us stand together." -Chinese Six Companies


Thousands honored the call to disobey the “Dog Tag Law,” and they faced immediate deportation.Their refusal to carry an identity card, America’s first internal passport, created perhaps the largest organized act of civil disobedience in the United States. "

Chinese were asked to not only disobey but donate a dollar a person to a legal defense fund . This was used by the Chinese Six Companies to challenge the law all the way to the US Supreme Court . However , these challenges failed and the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law .


The Chinese did not suffer the indignity without further action ." On September 8,1893, many Chinese vegetable peddlers and laundrymen across southern California failed to show up for work. They knocked on the doors of the houses and hotels of their white customers, demanded payment of their bills, and disappeared. Hundreds made their way to San Francisco. Two days later the Chinese Consul as well as the Chinese Six Companies called for a general strike in Southern California ."

However , strikes , legal action ,and civil disobedience in the end failed . The Chinese Government also ceased to intervene with the US government over its immigration policies. By 1894 The Chinese six companies admitted defeat and advised all laborers to comply with the law .

Throughout California , Chinese were being attacked and persecuted by mobs of angry out of work white laborers. Vigilantes demanded to see certificates of identity for Chinese laborers and if they were not produced , these vigilantes made citizen's arrests and forcibly carted the Chinese off to the local police. The courts upheld the right of citizens to make these arrests. Businesses that hired Chinese laborers were target for public condemnation and boycotts by Anti-Chinese organizations .

In many ways the anti -chinese era was fueled by a depressed economy in which out of work white laborers scapegoated Chinese laborers as the cause of their problems . The elite in the white community had much to gain from the cheap Chinese labor and employed them on railroad construction , in large scale farming operations, and as domestic servants. But even the most elite and powerful amongst the white upper class were not immune to the racial hate being spread by the white labor movement . Railroad barons were forced to discharge Chinese workers, as were farmers, and even upper class women hiring Chinese domestics.

How did Jue Joe respond to the persecution ? In many ways , Jue Joe was the ultimate pragmatist . He registered for a certificate of identity not once but twice. Even when the Chinese Six Companies were advising civil disobedience, Jue Joe went ahead and registered. At the time of registering the second time ,Jue Joe was a houseboy working for well off American white families and the practical thing would have been to go along with the law and register so that his employers would not be accused of hiring illegal aliens and forced to discharge him.

According to my father , San Tong told him that one of the reasons that Jue Joe did not bring his family with him when he returned to the US in 1906 was that he knew that the country was hostile to Chinese , that Chinese were being persecuted by whites and he felt his family would not be safe in America. Jue Joe had intended to return to America by himself , remake his fortune and then return back to China to his family .

"Entrepreneurship is the ability to see value where others do not. It is also the ability to "make lemonade when life hands you lemons......Many seized the entrepreneurial moment and made a successful life for themselves in a strange land among a strange people."

Jue Joe like many other Chinese of the time were pragmatists, first and foremost, trying to survive in any way they could .

One of the fascinating stories of Jue Joe's life was how he became friends with the rich and powerful white men of Los Angeles during a time of racial strife. Remember , that the anti Chinese sentiment was primarily a working class white movement . The rich and the elite had much to gain from the Chinese being able to work freely . Otto Brant and his syndicate
prospered from Chinese farmers leasing and working their land in the San Fernando Valley, and from large numbers of Chinese working on their extensive land holdings in the Imperial Valley and Mexicali in Baja California. Upper class whites employed Chinese as domestics and treated them well . These men and their wives were not anti -Chinese at all . I think Jue Joe understood that . He could understand that if he could in some way become allied with these powerful men , they could provide him some measure of protection against the anti -Chinese sentiment of the time and help him to succeed in a very hostile environment.

Yes , I can understand that . But here is the rub , how did Jue Joe become friends with these rich and powerful men ?

Auntie Soo Yin writes :"Jue Joe's two best friends were Otto Brant of California Land Title and Trust, and General Harrison Gray Otis founder of the Los Angeles Times. Otto Brant also had a land syndicate in which William Mulholland and Mr. Grant founder of California Bank were partners. Through this syndicate Jue Joe acquired land to farm in Indio, Imperial County, and in SFV because the syndicate owned most of the land in both regions.... "

Just being employed by them as a houseboy does not insure that you will become life long friends with the rich and the powerful . We are missing something. Something really big . I think the missing ingredient is that Jue Joe must have been quite a character . And I mean , a REALLY BIG CHARACTER. I mean , there HAS too have been something about how he talked to these men , how he related to them , that drew these rich and powerful men to this humble Chinaman with a broken command of English .

There are clues . Jue Joe holding court in his western style saloon , Jue Joe sipping moonshine with Harry Chandler (or was it Harrison Gray Otis or maybe both ) in his cabin , holding legal meetings with his attorneys in a one room cabin with a dirt floor, closing deals with a handshake and meaning it, a guy you grew to like and whose simple word was his bond !. I think my Great-grandfather was one of those immigrants who could sense how to become a part of a new culture and did in a big way . I think he was a Chinaman who was also a big time wild west frontier character. Los Angeles at the turn of the century was a frontier town on the verge of becoming a big metropolis . The movers and shakers of the time were men who thought of themselves as self made men , frontiersmen in the best sense of the word ,yet were required to assume the appearance and habits of proper East Coast type stuffy aristocrats. They must have loved letting their hair down and spending time with this strange wild west frontier Chinaman with the broken English , who presided over his own saloon with colt .45 strapped to his belt , , who despite a lifetime of menial service had saved enough money to make THEM loans ! , and despite being a successful farmer, shared moonshine with them in his little dirt cabin . San Tong told Soo-Yin that Jue Joe was a cranky father at times. But I am almost positive , that he knew how to laugh and share some jokes with these guys . All the pictures , I have of him are of a stern wooden guy .. I think those pictures may ultimately belie the man !


"On the Van Nuys ranch San Tong recalled seeing Harrison Gray Otis and Jue Joe sitting on stools in front of a round wash tub near Jue Joe's cabin. They were talking and drinking Jue Joe's "moonshine" through a rubber hose dipped into the tub. Auntie Soo-Yin.
(Harrison Gray Otis, one of Jue Joe's best friends, had died on July 31, 1917. So it must have been Harry Chandler that San Tong saw sipping moonshine with Jue Joe on the ranch. Or perhaps San Tong had heard that Otis came to visit Jue Joe at the ranch in earlier times and had sipped Jue Joe's homemade brew. Auntie Soo-Yin.) "

It was not only the rich and powerful that were important to Jue Joe . My Dad at the age of 13 helped his 81 year old Grandfather pay the Jue Joe Ranch farm workers. Dad says Jue Joe could not read or write English so he had my Dad write the checks for him. Jue Joe had a great memory , and identified each worker by personal characteristics and remembered exactly who they were , and how much work they did and was careful to pay them exactly what he promised. My Dad wrote the checks as the men came up to be paid .



Details: San Tong Jue , Food Scientist

As we have seen in a previous post , San Tong tried very hard to put himself back in luck's way in Mexico.

Auntie Soo-Yin writes :
"In the "South of the Border" period of his life San Tong invented many food products such as soy sauce, 5-spiced peanuts, sharks fin exporting, damiana tea, passion fruit champagne, Esther White piglets, thousand-year-old eggs, to name a few. He was always reading and working out formulas. I think his true calling was as a food scientist. "

Auntie Estelle writes ;

Hi J.R.
Finally took time to catch up on the Jue Joe Clan blog. Rich mentioned that some of us visited your grandfather in La Paz. So I thought you might enjoy seeing photos I found of the tea factory that Uncle Guy took when we were there in 1984 . Thank you for doing such a wonderful job documenting the Jue family history for all of us and, most important, for future generations.
Love,
Auntie Estelle

(Thanks so much for the pictures , Auntie Estelle ! They are priceless. I really wish I had made that trip too ! Jr. )

Your grandfather proudly showing us the tea bag machine


A corner of San Tong's apartment in La Paz that he transformed into his food products laboratory




The damiana tea factory in La Paz