Thursday, March 9, 2023

Jue Joe's 1st Voyage to America aboard the SS Japan

Recently Robert Wells, author of "Voices from the Bottom of the South China Sea: The Untold Stoy of America's Largest Chinese Emigrant Disaster", has helped our family to determine the exact steamship on which Jue Joe made his first voyage to America in 1874.  The most significant clue was Auntie Soo Yin remembering that her father San Tong told her that Jue Joe arrived in San Francisco in February of 1874. 
Robert Wells was able  to determine that there were only two steamships arriving in San Francisco from Hong Kong that month.  One was a smaller but more modern steel hulled screw propelled steamship which only had room for 22 steerage passengers and the other the much larger all wooden paddle wheel propelled SS Japan. with room for 590 Chinese steerage passengers. Jue Joe had always told the family that he sailed from Hong Kong aboard an enormous ship with a large complement of Chinese passengers and that he served as a cabin boy on that ship . For these reasons Auntie Soo Yin and I believe that the SS Japan was the ship that Jue Joe arrived on . 

It is fascinating that Robert Well's book is an in depth exploration of that very ship , the SS Japan, the largest paddlewheel steamer of it's time and a marvel of 19th century engineering . Unfortunately, later the very same year that Jue Joe arrived on that ship , the SS Japan was lost at sea off the coast of China in a late night coal fire with  loss of life of 390 Chinese steerage passengers returning to China from America. 

Here is a picture of the SS Japan .

Here is a picture of the berthing section for the Chinese Steerage passengers who were stacked three bunks high in the forward part of the ship . 

Here is a picture of a Chinese cabin boy (steward) serving first class passengers in the dining salon . This is exactly the work that Jue Joe did. There were 30 Chinese cabin boys on the SS Japan. They wore black caps, all had black pig-tails that went down to their heels, dark blue tunics, large wide trousers, gaiters or white stockings, and black felt shoes with white soles. They served "22 guests in a large cabin , fluttering round them and serving them in the most respectful fashion, without making any noise".

Here is a talk that Robert Wells gave on the Pacific Mail Steamships, their role in Chinese Emigration to America, and the tragic loss of the SS Japan . I highly recommend his book which is available both as a Kindle e book and in print .

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Valley Relics Museum Talk on the Jue Joe Ranch 2/21/2023

 Here is a zoom recording of a talk I gave at the Valley Relics Museum in Lake Balboa/Van Nuys.  It is a 25 minute talk on the Jue Joe Ranch. I enjoyed touring the Valley Relics Museum and meeting Franky Ortega who is a local high school teacher who helped Auntie Soo Yin and I on our previous zoom talks on the Jue Joe Ranch for the Museum of the San Fernando Valley.  Also joining me for the event were my sister Adrienne and her husband William and my cousin Jimmy and his wife Nancy. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

"Chinese in Napa Valley"- a talk by author John McCormick with Jack Jue Jr.

 I had the pleasure of joining John McCormick in a discussion of his new book  "Chinese in Napa Valley- The Forgotten Community that Built Wine Country".  John and I met when he was doing research for his book and discovered this blog.  He was excited to find Jue Joe's oral history of his time as a vineyard worker in the Napa Valley and has included Jue Joe's story in his book as well as used Jue Joe's life story to illustrate various larger themes throughout his book .  Here is the You tube video of John and I discussing his book and Jue Joe's life story at the Napa County Historical society event on January 19th, 2023. The presentation was live with some 70+ folks in attendance as well as 30 more folks who attended on zoom. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

"A Jue Trilogy" by Auntie Soo Yin

From Auntie Soo Yin: "This was my 'pandemic project' while sheltering-in-place for a whole year 😀! With our combined efforts as a whole family...we have preserved family events that help to expand understanding of the Asian American experience. Our forebears have left us a tremendous legacy."

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Main Ranch House is Gone

Unfortunately, efforts to preserve the main ranch house on the Jue Joe Ranch property have been unsuccessful and the house was demolished recently. This completes the removal of all the historic structures on the ranch property. Our family is saddened by this news but are happy that the stories, memories, and pictures live on.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Auntie Soo Yin's Presentation on San Tong Jue's Life Story

 Auntie Soo Yin recently gave a wonderful talk on San Tong's Jue life story during the History of Jue Joe Ranch Series Part 3 at the Museum of the San Fernando Valley. San Tong was my grandfather . He was the son of Jue Joe and born in China , emigrated to America at the age of  13 with his mother and brother to join Jue Joe in  Los Angeles. He ran asparagus farming  and produce operations for Jue Joe and after Jue Joe passed away ran all farming operations for the Jue family and then moved to Mexico in the later part of his life  before returning to America to retire. 

Here is her presentation. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Jue Joe and Otto Brant - An Unusual Friendship

 Today  I was invited to give a talk on the friendship between Jue Joe and Otto Brant at the Museum of the San Fernando Valley.   For those unable to attend here is the you tube video of my talk.

One of the fascinating stories in the Jue Joe saga is his friendship with Otto Brant. How does a poor illiterate Chinese man who is a houseboy on a wheat ranch, meet up with and become fast friends with a wealthy Title insurance president? There is ample documentation in real estate deeds and family oral history that Otto and Jue Joe were associates and friends but why or how that friendship developed is something I did not understand. My talk concerns the research I have done and some of the answers about that very special and unusual friendship.