This article is part of Placemaking, a project to uncover, collect and share Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander (ASPA) histories in Evanston. Click here to read about the genesis of this effort. The project is co-sponsored by the Kitchen Table Stories Project and the Evanston History Center. Research is ongoing and more articles will follow. Please contact us if you would like to get involved with the project.

Author’s note:

Credit: Jasper Davidoff

Wong Aloy (1868-1922) was one of the earliest recorded ASPA residents in Evanston.[1]

Wong was many things; a man of letters, a merchant, a playwright, an immigrant, an interpreter, a brother, an uncle, a husband, a son. His life and career in the United States provide a fascinating portrait of an immigrant from China; his experiences, triumphs, and tragedies constitute a significant narrative.

Wong Aloy, Chicago Record, November 21, 1894.

His life was woven by the multiple threads related to numerous issues facing immigrants from China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After he came to the U.S., he lived in San Francisco, the territory of Montana, Evanston, Chicago, New York, and El Paso. He was deeply impacted by white Americans’ attitudes toward and treatment of Chinese immigrants – both positively and negatively – and he was fully enmeshed in the Chinese immigrant community.

Wong lived in Evanston for about five years and the experience had a major impact on him. Wong’s life after he left Evanston was so compelling that I could not help but trace the larger events that constituted that portion of his life, astonished as I pieced together the range of his experiences.

More research into Wong’s biography is needed.[2] But for now, here is part of his story.

Language warning: Some of the language reproduced here is racist. It is quoted here in its original context only and in order to preserve the historical context in which it was originally used.

Boats in Guangzhou Harbor, Guangdong, China, c. 1880. Photo by Lai Afong. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Guangdong, China

Wong was born in a remote town near the Si-Kiang River in Guangdong Province (Canton) in southern China. His father, Wong Quai Jun, and mother, Jue Shue, had several children.[3] Their oldest son was 21 years older than Wong, their youngest son. Wong was the “pet” of the family, as he later said.

Wong’s older brother immigrated to the U.S., probably in the 1870s. He lived in the territory of Montana where, according to Wong, he was a businessman. In 1881, when Wong was a teenager, his older brother returned to China for a visit. When he learned that Wong didn’t like school and that his mother let him “have his own way,” the older brother asked his parents if they would allow him to come to the U.S. They agreed.[4]

On the day of his departure, May 1, 1882, Wong found himself overwhelmed emotionally. With great sadness, he and his brother said their goodbyes to family members and left. “[T]he picture of the smiles which my home folks gave me is still in my mind,” Wong recalled years later. “And the kind, true, tender and wise advice which they gave me on that morning – it seemed to be whispering in my ears all the day long.”[5]

Wong sailed with his brother to Hong Kong. After spending a week in there, his brother, who would remain longer in China, bade Wong goodbye. Jam Hing, Wong’s brother’s business partner, was returning to the U.S. and he had agreed to look out for Wong both on the voyage and once they arrived. The two set sail for San Francisco. Wong was 14 years old.

Anjer Head c. 1850-1910. Credit: Merseyside Maritime Museum

San Francisco

At that time, a steamer voyage from Hong Kong to San Francisco took about four weeks. A look at records of ship arrivals in the port of San Francisco at the time leaves little doubt that Wong sailed on the British steamer Anjer Head, which arrived in San Francisco on June 13, 1882, with 830 Chinese passengers on board, along with European and American passengers.[6]

Like many ships at that time, the Anjer Head was held in quarantine at Meiggs pier in San Francisco out of concern that there might be an outbreak of smallpox on board.[7] According to standard procedures, immigrants were vaccinated against smallpox, and once a ship arrived in port, doctors boarded the vessel to conduct an examination. After the Anjer Head was released from quarantine, the European and American passengers were allowed to disembark first. Next, the passengers from China were allowed to disembark; they were directed to the Customs House, where officials inspected their luggage and subjected them to a brief physical examination. Now officially on American soil, they proceeded to the city’s “Chinese Quarter,” or Chinatown.[8]

Wong and the other immigrants from China aboard the Anjer Head arrived in San Francisco just weeks after the U.S. Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in May 1882. Thus, Wong was one of the last immigrants from China to enter the U.S. before the act took effect. (Note the cutoff of June 1882 in the chart below.)

The above total number has been revised in recent years. Between 1850 and 1882 it is estimated that roughly 322,000 immigrants from China arrived in the United States.[9] While the number of immigrants from China dropped off dramatically after 1882, there was still some continued immigration. Credit: American Almanac and Treasury of Facts, Statistical, Financial, and Political (H.H. Warner and Co, 1883)

In the 1840s, Chinese immigrants (mostly single men) came to the United States, largely to the West Coast, to work in gold mines as well as in other industries, including agriculture and mining. Quite notably, many would work on the building of the transcontinental railroad.

As the number of Chinese immigrants grew, so did the racist sentiment toward them, particularly on the West Coast where their numbers were higher than in any other part of the United States. In the last half of the 19th century, various laws and ordinances were passed to limit Chinese immigrants’ opportunities and curtail their rights within the U.S.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first federal law focused on restricting immigration. The act barred Chinese immigrant laborers from entering the U.S. for a decade. Exemptions were made for students, teachers, merchants and diplomats, as long as they had the required documentation. Those who were able to immigrate after 1882 faced the fact that no immigrant from China would be allowed to become a U.S. citizen. By this act, Chinese immigrants already in the U.S. became so-called permanent aliens. The 1882 act was extended several times before becoming indefinitely extended in 1904. The restriction barring immigrants from China from becoming U.S. citizens was lifted in 1943.

Chinatown, San Francisco, c. 1898. Credit: Keystone View Co., Manufacturers and Publishers, Library of Congress

The majority of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. arrived in San Francisco. Increasingly, they were met with a host of discriminatory laws, for example barring them from attaining certain kinds of employment, attending schools with white children and testifying in court.

In January 2022, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution formally apologizing for the city’s various forms of discrimination against Chinese immigrants and their descendants.[10] “The shameful history of structural and systematic racism and discrimination against Chinese immigrants and the Chinese American community by the city and county of San Francisco reaches back over 150 years and touched every aspect of life including employment, housing, education and culture,” the resolution stated.[11]

After Wong arrived in San Francisco, he worked for five weeks in a laundry, one of the small number of industries open to Chinese immigrants.[12] “I didn’t like that kind of work,” Wong later told a Chicago Daily News reporter, “but, finding myself an ostracized stranger, 4,000 miles from home, I was glad to follow the example of my countrymen.”[13] (Read here about the civil rights struggle pertaining to Chinese laundries in San Francisco.)

Bird’s eye view of Missoula, Montana, 1884. Credit: Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

Missoula

Around 1883, Wong moved to Missoula, a town in the territory of Montana. He may well have gone there with his brother’s business partner, Jam Hing, who was apparently in business there.

Christopher Powers Higgins (1830-1889) in 1879. Higgins was an Irish immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child. He enlisted in the U.S. army at the age of 18; he was later “put in charge of a military force by the general government and ordered to subdue” Native Americans in Montana.[15] In 1865, he and two others organized the town of Missoula. When Higgins died, Missoula’s public buildings were draped in black.[16] Credit: Findagrave.com

In the small town of Missoula (population 2,500 in 1880), Wong was employed as a cook and domestic servant in the household of Capt. Christopher Powers Higgins. Higgins, a former U.S. army officer, was a business owner, banker and politically powerful resident of Missoula.[14]

The fact that Wong moved to Missoula is not surprising. He was one of hundreds of Chinese immigrants who came to Montana from the West Coast in the late 19th century.[17] A mining boom attracted workers to the remote Western territory and the population skyrocketed. By 1870, more than 1,900 Montana residents were immigrants from China, constituting roughly 10% of the territory’s total population. Montana soon boasted the fifth highest number of Chinese immigrants after California, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada.[18]

By the time Wong arrived, an anti-Chinese movement was gaining momentum among white Montana residents.[19] The “Chinese must go” was a popular phrase of the anti-Chinese movement in the United States at the time. Efforts to restrict and oppress immigrants from China were founded on racist ideas and often centered on the argument that Chinese immigrant laborers drove down wages and “stole” jobs from white workers.

In the town of Missoula, an “anti-Chinese committee” was formed; racial slurs were printed repeatedly in the press; and a concerted effort among white residents was underway to force Chinese immigrants to leave. “The community would be well rid of them,” an editorial in The Missoulian read. “Drive them out. Do it peaceably and quietly, but do it.”[20]

Discrimination and the drive against Chinese immigrants in Montana was replicated in places across the U.S. In the latter part of the 19th century, violence toward Chinese workers would accelerate. Immigrants were driven out of communities in various localities; they were attacked, and they were murdered. In 1885, in Rock Springs, Wyoming, for example, white miners attacked and killed 28 Chinese immigrant miners. (Read more here about the Rock Springs Massacre.)

Partly as a result of the violence directed toward them, many Chinese immigrants moved east to major cities, including New York and Chicago.

Wong lived in Missoula for about five years. Living and working in the Higgins household (which included seven children) was likely arduous work. But he would later recount that it was during this time that he perfected his English and began “writing love stories and dramas.”[21]

Wilder Mellen Nutting (1854-1937) was born in Wabash County, Illinois. He moved to the Montana territory with his family in the 1870s. He studied at Highland University in Kansas and at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Rochester, New York, before returning to Montana as a missionary. [24] Credit: Findagrave.com

He also met the Rev. Wilder Mellon Nutting. Nutting was a missionary – also known as a “circuit rider” – for the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church. Nutting had been assigned to the Montana territory in 1883.[22] Three years later, he was assigned to Missoula.[23] His job was to organize new congregations, preach to residents in remote or rural areas and help the church expand.

The first ME church in Montana was established in 1866.[25] At the time, the denomination operated what were called “missions” in a variety of countries, including China and India, beginning in 1847. The missions were designed to convert people to the church and minister to populations in foreign countries. The church also operated what it called “Foreign Missions” or a “third class of missions” in territories in the western and southwestern U.S.; these areas included Arizona, the Black Hills, Dakota, so-called “Indian Territory,” Montana, Utah, West Nebraska, and New Mexico.[26] Some of the church’s missionaries also worked extensively with Chinese immigrant populations, especially in California, where the Rev. Otis Gibson (1826-1889), author of the seminal The Chinese in America (1870), worked. Gibson, a former missionary to China, was a prominent member of the ME Church. He worked to advance the rights of Chinese immigrants. He publicly opposed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.[27]

Wong’s encounter with Nutting would change the course of his life, quite literally. Wong later explained that in Missoula he was “converted to the Christian religion by Rev. Nutting.”[28]

Wong’s employer, Capt. Higgins, died in 1889, the same year Montana was admitted to the Union. Wong had already left Missoula by then. The Rev. Nutting “brought him to Evanston,” as Wong later said. [29]

Illustration, Davis Street, Evanston. Credit: Evanston Township Directory, 1888

Evanston

In late 1887 or early 1888, Wong and Wilder Nutting left Missoula and traveled over 1,500 miles east to arrive in Evanston. Nutting was to continue his religious studies and would enroll at the Garrett Biblical Seminary, where he would study for two years.[30] Wong would also become a student again once in Evanston, now revisiting his education after many years of hard manual labor and domestic work. But in order to continue his education, Wong needed employment. With years of experience as a cook and servant for the Higgins family, Wong was hired in a similar role for an Evanston family. And, while in Evanston, he would “work his way through school.”[31]

The first known record of Wong’s presence in Evanston is found in an 1888 directory: he is listed as working as a cook for Eliza Barber and living in the Barber residence at 1006 Orrington Ave. (near Emerson Street). Barber’s son Arthur was a student at Northwestern University at the time Wong worked for and lived with the Barber family.

Eliza Barber was a widow. Her husband, Seth Barber, had worked as a dry goods salesman. He died in 1881. Both of the Barbers were immigrants from England.[32] (The Barbers would be the second immigrant family Wong would work for in the United States.)

Evanston Township Directory listing from 1888. Wong was later listed as a “servant” for Eliza Barber. Various sources that document Wong’s life after he arrived in Evanston include some conflicting and erroneous biographical details. On more than one occasion, for instance, it was reported that Wong was Japanese. His name was often misspelled in records, such as city directories and newspaper articles, listing him as “Won Aloy” and “Wung Aloy.” His names were also reversed in various sources (as they are above). Wong signed his name in the traditional Chinese manner with the surname first.

As Wong settled in, it was likely a comfort to him to know that the Rev. Nutting and his wife lived not too far away, at 825 Chicago Ave.

Given that Wong had converted to Methodism, going to Evanston was a good fit. The Barbers were members of Evanston’s First Methodist Church on Hinman Avenue.[33] And the town was dominated by the ME Church, to some degree, from the presence and influence of Northwestern University (originally founded as a Methodist institution) to the work of the Garrett Biblical Seminary, the first Methodist seminary in the Midwest.[34]

First Methodist Church, Hinman Avenue, Evanston, c. 1894. [35] Credit: Classic Evanston

However, having lived in two American localities where the Chinese immigrant population had been large, Wong arrived in a state that counted only a tiny number of immigrants from China. According to the U.S. Census, in 1880, the total population of Chinese immigrants in Illinois was 212.[36]

At this point, I have identified two other immigrants from China who were living in Evanston at the time Wong arrived: Sam Sing and El Lee. Both men were operating laundries in Evanston, Lee at 525 Benson St. and Sing at 523 Orrington Ave. Sing would live and work in Evanston for decades. Soon, more immigrants from China would arrive.[37]

About two years after Wong arrived, Jim Lee (1855- ?) was living in Evanston and operating a laundry at 1614 Sherman Ave. Lee arrived in the U.S. in 1875. A few years later, in 1880, Willie Sing (1860-?) arrived in the U.S. from China. Sing later joined Lee in Evanston and they ran the laundry together.[38] (Lee and Sing, along with other Chinese immigrants who operated laundries in Evanston, will be the subject of a forthcoming Placemaking article.)

At the time these men were living in Evanston, the population of Evanston and South Evanston was about 9,000. (This time period predated the merging of the two towns in 1892.)

Although Evanston did not have any sizable Chinese immigrant population, it did boast a certain connection with China. The ME Church, Northwestern University and Garrett Biblical Seminary all had a history of sending Evanston missionaries to China, along with other countries.[39] And on at least one occasion that I have found, Evanston hosted a group of visiting students from China.

Evanston News-Index, July 23, 1887.

In the summer of 1887, the students came to Evanston and hosted a fundraiser to raise money to build a Baptist Mission Church in China. At Evanston’s Presbyterian Church, the students – “Christian converts,” as the local newspaper called them – served refreshments, performed songs and displayed “Chinese curios.” They also performed a Chinese wedding ceremony in “Chinese regalia.”[40]

Wong was about 20 years old when he arrived in Evanston and took up his duties in the Barber residence. Along with his work in the household, Wong also took on other jobs. He “waited table,” mowed lawns, “and did anything that came to hand to earn an education.”[41]

The old Haven School where Wong was a student. “Wong Aloy, whose face has become familiar about the town,” the Evanston Index reported, “is particularly well-known to the pupils of Haven School as one of its most interesting students.” [43] Credit: Evanston History Center
James Parkinson Grier (1864-1919). Grier’s father had been a surgeon in the Union Army in the Civil War. After he died, Grier’s mother, Rhoda M. Grier, followed her son to Evanston in 1888. She was a charter member of Evanston’s Emmanuel Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1890, James P. Grier graduated from Northwestern and went on to earn a Bachelor of Laws at Northwestern in 1892.[46] He set up a law office in downtown Chicago and was soon operating a “profitable law practice.”[47] From 1901 to 1906, Grier served on the Evanston City Council representing the Second Ward. He would live in Evanston until his death in 1919. Credit: Evanston Index, March 2, 1907

While in Evanston, Wong soon became known more as student than servant. By December 1890, he was attending school at the original Haven School (demolished) which was on the northwest corner of Church Street and Sherman Avenue. Wong was a student in teacher Lottie Armstrong’s class that year.[42]

According to an 1894 profile of Wong, he “stood high in his class and was well liked by his classmates.” He also “made many warm friends” in Evanston.

In particular, Wong singled out Homer Hitchcock Kingsley (1859-1924), superintendent of Evanston schools, his teachers and John S. Short, a carpenter who lived at 242 Grove St. and frequently welcomed Wong into his home.[44]

Another Evanston resident, James P. Grier, became Wong’s close friend. Grier was just four years older than Wong. Born in Illinois, Grier moved to Evanston in 1883 and was a student at Northwestern at the time Wong arrived in Evanston. Grier was also a member of the ME Church and would lead the “young people’s meeting” at Evanston’s First Methodist Church.[45]

Eighth Grade Class, Haven School, Evanston, 188?. The original photograph reproduced here is blurry around its edges; despite scanning it at high resolution it is difficult to determine the year written on the sign propped up in front of the student at bottom left or to see clearly the student standing in the leftmost spot on the top row. Is that student Wong?[48] Credit: Evanston History Center

After leaving Haven School, it was reported that Wong attended Evanston High School. One account stated that he worked as a custodian at the high school while he was a student there.[49] Several other accounts mention that he later attended Northwestern. [50] In 1891, for example, the Evanston Index referred to Wong as “the Chinese student of Northwestern University.”[51] At this point, however, no records of his attendance at Evanston High School or Northwestern have been located.

The Evanston High School, at Elmwood Avenue and Dempster Street, opened in August 1883. This building was the precursor to the current Evanston Township High School building, which opened in 1924.
Credit: Photograph, Alexander Hesler

As Wong advanced in his studies, he continued to work on his writing, a vocation he took up in earnest while living in Missoula. By the 1890s, he had “written many stories and plays which deal with Chinese life.”[52] He soon became well known as “a deep student of Chinese history” and began to give lectures to “American audiences.”[53]

He also served a role within Evanston’s Methodist community. In March 1891, for instance, Wong led the “young people’s meeting” of the Emmanuel Methodist Church congregation, just as his friend James P. Grier did at the First Methodist Church.[54] (The meeting Wong led was held at the high school since the Emmanuel Methodist Church at Oak Avenue and Greenwood Street was still being constructed at the time.[55])

Founded in 1889, the Emmanuel Methodist Church held its first services in Evanston’s high school before the church was completed. Credit: Illustration, “Story of a Church,” Evanston Press, N.D., 1901

In February 1893, at the Union Hall (now demolished) at 807 Davis St. in Evanston, Wong gave a lecture about China. According to a reporter present at the talk, Wong explained various aspects of the country, including its educational system. At one point Wong also addressed “the matter of limiting Chinese immigration.” While no record of his talk is known to exist, the reporter present merely commented that Wong’s speech addressed the issue “in a very interesting way.”[56]

The issue of the rights of immigrants from China was likely at the forefront of Wong’s mind when, in August of 1890, according to a local newspaper, The Inter-Ocean, Wong visited the Cook County Circuit Court “for papers of naturalization to become a citizen of the country.” Observing that Wong had been in Evanston for two years, the paper noted that he “is now well up in American ideas. He is anxious to vote.”[57]

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 would be renewed and extended just two years later, making Wong’s wish to become a U.S. citizen futile. In fact, in 1892, the U.S. Congress passed the Geary Act, which extended the Chinese Exclusion Act and added other restrictions. The Geary Act included the provision that “any Chinese person or person of Chinese descent convicted and adjudged to be not lawfully entitled to be or remain in the United States shall be imprisoned at hard labor for a period of not exceeding one year and thereafter removed from the United States, as hereinbefore provided.”[58] Further, it ordered “all Chinese laborers within the limits of the United States” to apply for, obtain, and carry “certificates of residence.” Anyone found without such a certificate was subject to detention and deportation. A period of one year was given in which to obtain the certificates. In Chicago, and across the country, many Chinese immigrants, residents, and others denounced the law as unconstitutional. (Read here about Fong Yue Ting’s challenge to the law and the 1893 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld it.)

Hang Jung’s Certificate of Residence, March 1894. Credit: The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

While Wong was unable to become a U.S. citizen (that right would not be extended to immigrants from China in his lifetime), he did indeed play an integral role in the unfolding of America’s story: He would soon become part of the system of government itself and he took an active part in both the legal system governing immigration and the community of immigrants from China who had to negotiate that system.

(Click here to read part two of the story of Wong Aloy.)


[1] The earliest recorded Chinese immigrants in Chicago arrived in 1858. Ben Bronson and Chuimei Ho, “1858: The First Chinese Resident of Chicago: A Knife Thrower,” Chinese American Museum, 2005. https://ccamuseum.org/1858-the-first-chinese-resident-of-chicago-a-knife-thrower/

[2] In the course of conducting this research, I uncovered a handful of details about Wong’s life that I was not able to confirm. I am also still working to determine the exact town where Wong Aloy was born. I am also looking to find more information about his family. This article may be updated as information is uncovered and confirmed.

[3] The names of Wong’s parents are spelled differently on various records. The spellings given here are taken from his 1900 marriage certificate.

[4] M.B. Thrasher, “How a Chinese Boy Was Homesick,” Every Other Sunday, Feb. 11, 1900, 92.

[5] M.B. Thrasher, “How a Chinese Boy Was Homesick,” Every Other Sunday, Feb. 11, 1900, 92.

[6] “The Quarantined Steamer,” San Francisco Examiner, June 16, 1882.

[7] “The Quarantined Steamer,” San Francisco Examiner, June 16, 1882.

[8] Otis Gibson, The Chinese in America (Cincinnati, Ohio: Hitchcock and Walden, 1877), 45-46.

[9] Suchen Chan, “Chinese Livelihood in Rural California: The Impact of Economic Change, 1860-1880,” in Working People of California (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995), 57.

[10] Nicolas Iovino, “San Francisco Apologizes to Chinese Immigrants for Historic Discrimination,” Courthouse News Service, Feb. 1, 2022, https://www.courthousenews.com/san-francisco-apologizes-to-chinese-immigrants-for-historic-discrimination/

[11] At the time the resolution was issued, San Francisco was the fourth city to issue such an apology. San Francisco Board of Supervisors, “Resolution Apologizing to Chinese Immigrants and Their Descendants,” File No. 211240, Jan. 26, 2022.

[12] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[13] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[14] “Miscellaneous,” The Inter-Ocean, Aug. 12, 1890.  

[15] “Another Pioneer Gone,” The Independent Record, Oct. 16, 1889.

[16] “C.P. Higgins Dead,“ Great Falls Tribune, Oct. 16, 1889; “Another Pioneer Gone,” The Independent Record, October 16, 1889.

[17] See Mark T. Johnson, The Middle Kingdom Under the Big Sky: A History of the Chinese Experience in Montana. Lincoln, NE:University of Nebraska Press, 2022.

[18] John R. Wunder, “Law and Chinese in Frontier Montana,” Montana The Magazine of Western History (Summer, 1980), 18.

[19] Jim Harmon, “Harmon’s Histories: All Debts Cancelled, Grievances Forgotten in Missoula’s Old Chinatown,” Missoula Current, March 2, 2020. https://missoulacurrent.com/art/2020/03/histories-old-chinatown/

[20] “Drive Them Out,” The Missoulian, July 9, 1895.

[21] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[22] Methodist Episcopal Church, Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Colorado Conference (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1883), 216.

[23] “M.E. Conference,” The Independent Record, July 13, 1886.

[24] Methodist Episcopal Church, Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Colorado Conference (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1883), 216.

[25] Forty-Seventh Annual Report of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (New York: Methodist Episcopal Church 1867), 161.

[26] Forty-Seventh Annual Report of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (New York: Methodist Episcopal Church 1867), 161. For more on the American Protestant mission movement in general, see John King Fairbank, ed., The Missionary Enterprise in China and America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard U.P., 1974 ).

[27] Wenxian Zhang, “Standing Up Against Racial Discrimination: Progressive Americans and the Chinese Exclusion Act in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Phylon (Vol. 56. Summer 2019), 16.

[28] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[29] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[30] “Methodist Ministers,” Butte Daily Post, Aug. 23, 1887.

[31] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[32] U.S. Census records, Evanston, Illinois, 1880.

[33] Donation records, First Methodist Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois, Oct. 1, 1893, Evanston History Center archives.

[34] Now known as Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (after merging with two other institutions).

[35] The church pictured in the photograph that appears here was torn down in 1909 after structural damage was discovered. The current (2022) First Methodist Episcopal Church replaced it. It was completed in 1910.

[36] American Almanac and Treasury of Facts, Statistical, Financial, and Political Rochester (NY: H.H. Warner and Co, 1883), 278.

[37] Evanston City Directory, 1888.

[38] U.S. Census, Evanston, Illinois, 1900.

[39] Eighty-Sixth Annual Report of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (New York: Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1904).

[40] “Chinese Students,” Evanston News-Index, July 23, 1887; “Chinese Students,” The Inter-Ocean, July 31, 1887.

[41] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[42] “The Public Schools,” Evanston Index, Dec. 20, 1890.

[43] “China,” Evanston Index, Feb. 18, 1893.

[44] “Wong Aloy and His Play,” Chicago Daily News, Nov. 20, 1894.

[45] “Evanston,” The Inter-Ocean, Nov. 2, 1890.

[46] Northwestern University, Catalog, 1891-1892 (Chicago: Thayer and Jackson, 1892), 232.

[47] “James P. Grier,” Evanston Index, March 2, 1907.

[48] I was unable to locate any photographs of Wong Aloy, other than the Haven School photograph which may indeed picture him. The search continues.

[49] “Claims They Are Highbinders,” The Inter-Ocean, March 31, 1893.

[50] “Claims They Are Highbinders,” The Inter-Ocean, March 31, 1893; Evanston City Directory, 1888; Scott D. Seligman, The First Chinese American: The Remarkable Life of Wong Chin Foo (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2013), 224.

[51] Evanston Index, March 21, 1891.

[52] “A Love Drama,” Cincinnati Post, Nov. 21, 1894.

[53] “A Love Drama,” Cincinnati Post, Nov. 21, 1894.

[54] Evanston Index, March 21, 1891.

[55] The Emmanuel Methodist Church was founded by members of Evanston’s First Methodist Church on Hinman Avenue. The idea was that Evanston was growing at such a pace that those “who lived in the western portion of the town” needed a church of their own since “the old parish [was] too large for a single pastor to have charge of.” “Will Dedicate the Church Today,” Chicago Tribune, June 12, 1892.

[56] “China,” Evanston Index, Feb. 18, 1893.

[57] “Notes,” The Inter-Ocean, Aug. 12, 1890.

[58] U. S. Congress, “An Act to Prohibit the Coming of Chinese Persons into The United States,” Fifty-Second Congress. Session I. 1892.

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  1. Great article! I appreciate all the many hours spent to accumulate and check all the information in this article. When the series it completed, it should be made part of the curriculum in the high school. This info is invaluable!

  2. Thank you very much for providing this rich, well-researched history of Wong Aloy. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your installments.