This article is part of Placemaking, a project to uncover, collect and share Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander (ASPA) histories in Evanston. The project is co-sponsored by the Kitchen Table Stories Project and the Evanston History Center. (Click here to read about the genesis of this effort and here to start at the beginning of Wong’s story.)

Wong Aloy’s business card. Credit: New York Public Library

New York City

Around 1899, Wong Aloy was living in New York City’s Chinatown. [1] The reason he moved to New York is not known. But in the wake of his friend Wong Chin Foo’s death, Wong did, in essence, follow in his friend’s footsteps. Wong Chin Foo had lived for many years in New York’s Chinatown and now Wong Aloy was there too.

Credit: Jasper Davidoff

Following his experience as an interpreter in Chicago’s court system, Wong was soon working as an interpreter in New York. [2] He was also running his own import business and was identified by the New York press as the “wealthy Chinese merchant of Chicago.” [3]

In Manhattan, Wong lived at 24 Pell St., a noted address in the Chinese immigrant community. On the building’s ground floor was the Mon Lay Won restaurant, which was branded by its owners as “Chinese Delmonico” (named after the famous New York culinary institution). At the restaurant, leaders of New York’s Chinese immigrant community often hosted city officials and politicians. The building was a central location for prominent members of the Chinese immigrant community to conduct business, advocate for civil rights and connect with powerful members of the city’s government.

Now a member of the Chinese Masons (whose meeting house was located nearby at 18 Pell St.), Wong soon found himself playing a part in the life, society and politics of New York’s Chinatown. [4] As historian Mae M. Ngai has shown in her extensive research, Chinese interpreters played important roles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “As the number of Chinese working as interpreters grew,” Ngai wrote, “so did their self-awareness as a group possessing a special kind of social location, knowledge, and power.” [5] And it was in New York that Wong would play an increasingly prominent role as a mediator/go-between, connecting the two “worlds” of immigrants and the city’s power brokers.

The Chinese Delmonico restaurant was housed in the building at 24 Pell St., the same building that Wong called home. Pell Street, New York, 1900-1910. Credit: Library of Congress

In 1896 in New York City, a group of Chinese immigrants and city residents of Chinese descent incorporated the Hep Sing Tong, a group dedicated in part to the “suppression of vice” in the city. Members explained their intension “to establish and maintain a permanent place of meeting for the members away from the baneful influences of the opium dens and gambling joints where religious observances, social amusements, recreation, and intercourse may be enjoyed and the study of the English language may be pursued.”[6]

The Hep Sing Tong (later known as the Hip Sing Tong) would later become a largely criminal operation. In rivalry with other groups, namely the On Leong Tong, the group would soon be engaged in a violent power struggle to control Chinatown. [7]

But it was around the turn of the 19th century that Hep Sing Tong members formalized their pledge to aid “the police against the law breakers of Chinatown.”[8] Some members joined forces with members of the “Committee of Fifteen,” a collective of mostly white New Yorkers organized to stamp out prostitution, gambling and “opium dens.” Much of their activity was focused in Chinatown, a densely populated area with a high percentage of immigrants from a variety of different countries.

Wong began to work as an interpreter and guide for members of the “Committee of Fifteen” as they visited and evaluated various suspected vice operations in Chinatown. “Wong Aloy is a man who can be depended upon,” wrote one committee member. “He said his main object was to destroy the gambling houses and stop his countrymen from being robbed by Chinese expert gamblers, also of having police levy tribute and blackmail upon gambling and houses of prostitution.” [9]

During his time in New York, Wong met Agnes C. McGonigle, a white woman originally from Boston. Just how they met is not known. What is known is that on July 12, 1900, in Manhattan, Wong married McGonigle. [10] On their marriage certificate, McGonigle listed her address as 17 Mott St., just a two-minute walk from 24 Pell St.

Marriage Certificate, Agnes C. McGonigle and Wong Aloy, July 12, 1900. On the marriage certificate, McGonigle listed the names of her parents as James McGonigle and Elizabeth Cady and her hometown as Boston. At this point I have been unable to find any more information about McGonigle. Credit: New York City Municipal Archives
Wong Aloy, illustration from “Chinese Home Life and Superstitions,” Comfort, September 1900. “Wong Aloy wears a close cropped moustache, and its general bearing is suggestive of the Japanese,” wrote a reporter in 1904. “He speaks English fluently, and with grammatical precision. He is a close student of political affairs in this country, and is probably as familiar with the platforms of the two great parties as the ordinary voter.” [15]

While some U.S. states made it illegal for Chinese and white people to intermarry, New York and Illinois were not among them. [11] Especially in big cities where there was a sizable percentage of men who had immigrated from China, marriages between male immigrants from China and white women were not uncommon.

In 1906, the Chicago Tribune pondered such marriages in a two-page spread announcing the fact that 200 white women in the city were married to Chinese immigrants. (“The question” as to “why” they would chose to marry “was as easy to answer as why white women marry white men,” the reporter announced. “The reasons are as varied and in most cases the motives are the same.” [12])

A year after Wong and McGonigle were married, Wong was hired to work periodically as an interpreter for the District Attorney’s office in New York. [13] In 1904, he returned to Chicago where he was hired as an interpreter for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration Service. [14] He was paid $4 on a per diem basis.

Chicago, again

By the time Wong returned to Chicago there had been a significant increase in the city’s Chinese immigrant population. By 1905, an estimated 2,500 Chinese immigrants were living in Chicago. [16] That number would grow, especially after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco prompted many people to go east and settle with relatives and friends in Chicago.

As the Chinese immigrant population increased in Chicago, so too did the harassment of immigrants and Chinatown residents. Mainstream newspapers warned white readers of rampant gambling taking place everywhere in Chinatown, while white women, it was reported, were being frequently “followed and insulted” by Chinese immigrant men on Clark Street. [18] Credit: Chicago Tribune, August 29, 1908

Increasingly, residents and business proprietors in Chicago’s Chinatown were harassed. Racist attitudes among some white city residents labeled Chinese immigrants as dangerous, unclean, drug addicted; white women were warned not to fall into the “traps” of Chinese men. The neighborhood was also patrolled and monitored by city officials. “The name of every Chinese resident of the city is on the books of the Chinese inspector L[orenzo] T. Plummer,” it was reported. [17]

The neighborhood was also the site of a focused effort to identify immigrants from China who might be in violation of immigration laws. Following passage of the 1892 Geary Act, policing immigrants increased, and by 1900 enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act had become “one of the main functions” of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration. [19]

In Chicago, the bureau operated a specific unit called the “Chinese Bureau,” headed by Plummer, with Wong serving as an interpreter.

While Wong took on the responsibilities of his new job, he also looked to settle down in the city. In 1904, a Chicago property was sold to him by John B. Strasburger (Wong’s old friend who had helped him after he had been attacked in 1893). [20] In April 1905, Wong applied for and received a building permit for a two-story basement frame residence at 7343 Honore St. in Chicago. [21] This transaction was noted in the press.

After Wong’s purchase of the property there was some debate about whether a Chinese immigrant “could hold title in Illinois” and, as it was reported, “the general consensus of opinion among attorneys was that he could not.” [22] According to reports at the time, “there is an old Illinois statute which provides that an alien can hold title to real estate for six years, but this is believed to be void.” [23] And in fact, in June 1887, the Illinois State Legislature passed a bill that prohibited “aliens” from acquiring real estate in Illinois by “descent, device, purchase, or otherwise.” [24] 

Legally barred from owning property, Wong thus confronted yet another of the many restrictions faced by many Chinese immigrants in the U.S.

Wong Aloy “seems to be a pretty thoroughly Americanized Chinaman,” wrote a reporter, “and out of the $4 a day which he earns in a highly respectable and useful occupation as an interpreter he has saved enough to buy a small home in which to house his American wife and bring up his natural born American children. But doubtless to his amazement, he finds that he cannot do this because Illinois a few years ago, in a spasm of fright over the perils of alien landlordism, passed a law prohibiting that kind of ownership of real estate. It is a fine specimen of that large body of fool legislation with which many of our states are afflicted.” [25] Credit: Boston Evening Transcript, November 2, 1904

I was unable to determine if Wong and McGonigle had children. It is something vaguely referred to in two sources from the early 20th century (including the quote in the caption above). But at this point, I have found no documentation. However, if they did indeed have children, those children would have been granted one of the rights Wong longed for himself: American citizenship. For, after 1898, all children of immigrants born in the United States were born American citizens, thanks to the efforts of a young restaurant cook from San Francisco, Wong Kim Ark. (As American citizens, it should be noted, Wong Aloy’s wife and children would have been able to purchase and own property in Illinois. [26])

Wong Kim Ark (c. 1871- ?). Wong Kim Ark was in his 20s when he insisted upon his legal rights as an American citizen. In 1897, Wong was denied reentry into the U.S. when he returned to his hometown of San Francisco after a visit to China. Wong, who was born in San Francisco, asserted that he was a U.S. citizen by birth, even though his parents, who had immigrated to San Francisco, had been born in China (and were therefore barred from U.S. citizenship). His case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court was asked to determine if American citizenship should be based upon the principle of jus sanguinis (“right of blood”) or jus soli (“right of the soil”). In 1898, the court’s landmark ruling was issued in a 6-2 decision affirming Wong Kim Ark’s American citizenship and establishing the concept of “birthright” American citizenship. [27] Credit: National Archives

Apparently, Wong Aloy did not build the desired house on Honore Street. By 1906, Wong, and presumably McGonigle, were living at 7343 S. Wood St. in Chicago. [28] He continued to work as an interpreter, becoming deeply involved in both the American Chinese immigrant communities and American government bureaucracy. He worked on numerous cases brought by the U.S. government enforcing the Chinese Exclusion Act and often accompanied law enforcement on raids, sometimes going out of state to apprehend those who were believed to be in violation of the law. [29] At the time, Wong was described as keeping “in close touch with the Chinamen’s affairs. He is familiar with the provisions of the exclusion act, and his advice is always in demand.” [30]

Wong held the unusual position of having, in a sense, one foot in the world of Chicago law and politics and the other in the world of Chinese immigrants. Interpreters working for agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Immigration, as historian Mae M. Ngai argues, can be seen “quite literally [as] mouthpieces for the coercive state.” Yet they also “made it possible for non-English speaking immigrants to ‘speak’ to the offices of power, to defend themselves or make claims in their own interests.” This position, Ngai argues “created a complicated and unstable position for the interpreters.” [31]

In 1907, Wong’s life would be further complicated owing to a large scale “shake-up” in the U.S. Bureau of Immigration. Citing a “serious condition of inefficiency in the Chinese exclusion service,” the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor ordered every Chinese interpreter to be transferred out of his present city. [32] Wong, it was announced, would be sent to El Paso, Texas.

At the time the transfer was announced, Wong was working on a display at the Jamestown exposition in Norfolk, Virginia. He would soon return to Chicago, pack up, and set out “to make El Paso … home.” [33]  

El Paso c. 1910 Credit: DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

El Paso was a central site of operation for U.S. immigration officials (as was the Mexico-U.S. border area in general). It was a primary location for the enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act since many Chinese immigrants who were believed to have entered the U.S. illegally traveled from Mexico and came to the Texas city. (Read more about El Paso and Wong Kim Ark’s experience.)

El Paso and Chicago, again

Wong worked for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration in El Paso for about three years. By 1910, the El Paso Herald reported that he had left that job and was now working as an interpreter and “Chinese lawyer” – a term often applied to Wong and others like him who helped negotiate legal matters between Chinese-speaking people and officials representing U.S. government and law enforcement. [34]

In fact, while still in El Paso, Wong worked on a variety of cases representing Chinese immigrants and U.S. residents of Chinese descent who were charged with violating immigration laws. One local attorney testified that many lawyers employed the “well-educated” Wong “on account of his familiarity with legal procedure.” [35] On behalf of those facing possible deportation, Wong traveled to various American cities in order to secure depositions “to prove their right to be in the country. ”[36]

By 1912, Wong, now in his 40s, was living at the Lakota building at 614 Mesa Ave. in El Paso. [37] It appears that Wong’s talent for becoming involved (and well liked) by any community he called home was more than ever intact. At a baseball game played in the city’s Chinatown, Wong “led the rooting from the grandstand” and even interpreted the cheers for Chinese-speaking fans. [38] Later, he took the lead in canvassing the Chinatown area, collecting information for the U.S. census. [39]

Sometime after 1914, Wong was again back in Chicago – a city that had changed dramatically since he last lived there.

Just a few years earlier, around 1911, the city’s original Chinatown had been broken up as the Chinese immigrant population and people of Chinese descent began to move south, eventually establishing a new Chinatown in its present-day location around the intersection of Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue. [40]

The establishment of a new Chinatown did not take place without conflict. With news of “wealthy Chinese merchants and their white real estate allies” planning to establish a new Chinatown, the “Wabash Avenue Protection Association” was formed. According to the Chicago Tribune, association members viewed the “migration of the Chinese from South Clark street . . . to Wabash and 25th Street as “a real and immediate ‘yellow peril.’ ” [41] Credit: Chicago Tribune, Nov. 30, 1911

Wong remained in the city’s “old” Chinatown, living at 503 S. Clark St., where he operated a store.

The record of Wong’s time in Chicago in the late 1910s and early 1920s is sparse. His work as interpreter and merchant in the old Chinatown was now taking place in a city where the tong wars had become increasingly violent. At one point in 1918, Wong was implicated in an opium sting operation, but it is unclear if any charges were ever pressed. [42]

In April 1919, Wong learned of the death of his friend, James P. Grier. [43] Grier, who had first met Wong more than three decades earlier, died in Evanston and was buried at Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery. He left behind his three children and his wife, Jennie.

Just weeks later, in May 1919, Wong drafted a will and filed the document with the Cook County court. His former boss from the U.S. Bureau of Immigration, Lorenzo Plummer, served as a witness.

On April 27, 1922, Wong was shot and killed at 2212 Archer Ave. in Chicago. [44] By all accounts, he had been targeted by the On Leong Tong and reports at the time referred to Wong’s murder as an assassination. Immediately, members of the rival Hip Sing Tong called for revenge. Chicago police were notified that the San Francisco faction of the Hip Sing Tong had dispatched several gunman to Chicago to “avenge the death of Wong Aloy.” [45]

The so-called “tong wars” would accelerate. But it is unclear what transpired in the aftermath of the murder. (Read more about the Chicago Tongs.)

It is also unknown what happened to Agnes McGonigle, Wong’s wife. On his 1922 death certificate filed in Cook County, Wong was identified as a widower. However, his burial record identifies him as being divorced. [46]

In 1919, Wong appointed his nephew, Wong Buck Young, executor of his will and left him the bulk of his estate. At the time Wong drafted his will, Wong Buck Young lived in China. Wong stipulated that should Wong Buck Young not be a “resident of the United States” at the time of Wong’s death, then the bulk of his estate would be divided equally between Wong Buck Young and another nephew also in China, Wong Lin Oye. “Share and share alike,” he noted in his will. [47]

But in fact, just after Wong’s death, on July 10, 1922, the younger Wong signed an executor’s oath and stated that he resided at 503 S. Clark St., Wong Aloy’s former residence. [48]

At the time of his death, Wong’s estate was valued at $10,000 (about $160,000 in 2022 dollars).  

There were two others to whom Wong left money: his old friend John B. Strasburger, the lawyer who had come to his rescue after he had been attacked in 1893; and Jennie Grier, “the widow of my late friend James P. Grier of Evanston IL,” as Wong noted .[49]

Jennie Gertrude Parkes Grier (1864-1954) Credit: U.S. passport application,

Wong made two important requests that he asked his nephew to fulfill. First, he instructed, “I order and direct that my executor … shall arrange and provide for the shipment of my body for burial to Hoy Pen District, Hen Key Lee Village, County of Hen Kon, Qun Dom Province, China.” [52]

Nevertheless, on May 1, 1922, Wong was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Stickney, Ill., just outside of Chicago. The cemetery, founded in 1895, was an important burial site for Chinese immigrants and people of Chinese descent. [53]   

Map of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Stickney. Note the areas lower right marked “Chinese.” In the late 19th and early 20th century, Chinese immigrants and people of Chinese descent had been buried in area cemeteries such as Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. (Between 1892 and 1900 it was reported that 200 Chinese immigrants were buried there.) But later restrictions were placed on burials and, as a cemetery spokesman said in 1944, Rosehill’s “board of management has sold lots only to white people since 1925.” [54] By the 1920s, it appears that Mount Auburn Cemetery was one of the few local cemeteries that did not bar Chinese immigrants and people of Chinese descent from burial, nor did the cemetery management restrict burial rites. [55] Credit: Midwest Cemetery Preservation

While Wong’s burial at Mount Auburn Cemetery might seem to suggest that his wish to be buried in China was not fulfilled, it may have actually been part of a particular custom related to the death of immigrants from certain parts of China. According to the custom, the first burial was to be done immediately after death; then, after a period of five to 10 years or more, the body was exhumed “so that the bones can be cleaned and then arranged in a specific pattern in a box or urn” and thus prepared for a “second burial” in China. It is estimated that roughly “100,000 sets of coffins or bones made their way back to China over the first half of the 20th century” in this way. [56] (Read more here about this burial tradition.)

According to Mount Auburn Cemetery records, on Nov. 13, 1935, Wong’s body was disinterred from its grave at Mount Auburn Cemetery and sent to Hong Kong. [57] Presumably, Wong’s family members then fulfilled his wish for burial in his hometown.

Wong’s second request was: “I further make special request that said Wong Buck Young shall secure for me a son by adoption, according to the Chinese custom, and give him an education as is befitting to my said son, according to Chinese faith and practice.” [58]

I not yet been able to determine if a son was ever adopted. But what is interesting to note is that with this request Wong Aloy underscored the importance of education, of legacy and of the tenets of “Chinese faith.”

By the time he died, Wong had lived in the U.S. for four decades; his experiences had taken him from coast to coast, into the lives of immigrants, families, lawyers, teachers and friends. He had worked to represent the history of his home country and to become a citizen of his new one; he worked to advance the rights of immigrants and he also worked within a system that curtailed those rights. Wong’s biography speaks for itself; it is a narrative that is as astonishing in its breadth as it is inspiring and amazing.

So how to conclude this story?

This seems fitting:

At one point in working on this article, I stumbled on a brief mention in a newspaper that Wong had once visited North Adams, Mass. (I did indeed find evidence that Wong visited nearby Boston on at least one occasion.)

According to the story, Wong came to North Adams on a kind of research trip. He was looking for “first-hand information regarding the bringing here, years before, of a large number of his fellow countrymen to work in the Sampson shoe shop.” At the time, the newspaper noted, Wong was “writing a history of the Chinese in America.” [59]

It is unknown if Wong ever did write that history; but I looked into the story he was seeking information about and provide part of it below.

Chinese immigrant workers, Sampson Shoe Factory, North Adams, Massachusetts, c. 1870. Credit: North Adams Public Library

The Sampson Shoe Co., a large and successful factory run by Calvin T. Sampson (1826-1893), was one of many factories in the town of North Adams; the town was a thriving industrial hub, attracting workers by the hundreds, the vast majority of which were foreign-born; many were immigrants from Ireland and Canada.

As Sampson’s business grew, the number of his employees did as well. In 1870, after the workers formed a union, Sampson fired those who had joined the union and sent his superintendent to California to bring back Chinese immigrants to work in his factory.

When the first workers arrived, they proceeded to the factory accompanied by a private police escort. Ultimately, about 125 Chinese immigrants would come to North Adams to work in the factory, and for many, their arrival, which received notable attention, fueled the flames of local anti-Chinese sentiment as it “proved” that these immigrants were taking jobs from white people.

Because of the hostility the men faced, only three or four of the immigrant workers from China would remain in North Adams after their work contracts expired. [60] All of the other workers left the town.

This was a story that Wong Aloy wished to tell.

I hope that this portrait of Wong Aloy himself pays forward his intention to educate people about the “history of the Chinese in America.”

Edward Bing Kan. Credit: St. Louis Star and Times, Jan. 20, 1944

Coda: Chicago, again

Roughly two decades after Wong’s death, the U.S. Congress repealed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and its subsequent laws. [61]

A month later, at the Federal Building in Chicago, Edward Bing Kan (1878-1959) became the first immigrant from China to become an American citizen since the Chinese Exclusion Act had been passed six decades earlier.

In 1892, Kan, a 13-year-old student, immigrated to the U.S. from China. He settled in Portland, Oregon, where he met Katherine Wong (Kan) (1880-c.1955), a U.S. citizen of Chinese descent. The couple married and had three children.

In 1909, they moved to Chicago where Kan was hired as a Chinese interpreter for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration, a position he held for more than 35 years. [62]

It could be that Wong Aloy and Kan knew each other.

Katherine Jane Lee Kan (1929-2018). Credit: Chicago Tribune, Dec. 20, 1944

In December 1944, Edward Bing Kan returned to the Chicago Federal Building to stand by as his 15-year old granddaughter, Katherine Jane Lee Kan, took the oath and became a U.S. citizen.

Born in Hong Kong, Kan was the first Chinese woman to become an American citizen after the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

There is more to explore and learn about Wong’s life and career. Please stay tuned as this story is updated and as we share others.

Many thanks to the following people for their help with this article: Hannah Zhihan Jiang, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University; Rodger C. Birt, Professor Emeritus of Humanities and American Studies at San Francisco State University; Kevin B. Leonard, University Archivist at Northwestern University; Nicole Jacob Marks, Evanston Township High School Alumni Relations; Angelique Gamboa, Family Services Counselor at the Mount Auburn Cemetery, Stickney, Ill.; Jeremy M. Farmer, National Archives at Chicago; and Ian Mitchell of the Evanston RoundTable. I am also very grateful to the staff at the New York State Archives Researcher Services unit for their help.

[1] “From Wong Aloy,” Buffalo Evening News, March 18, 1900.

[2] “Chinese Festival Ends,” Boston Evening Transcript, March 10, 1903.

[3] “Hustling After the Concessions,” Buffalo Times, Aug. 18, 1899.

[4] “Chinese in Mourning,” Buffalo Courier, Nov. 8, 1901.

[5] Mae M. Ngai, “ ‘A Slight Knowledge of the Barbarian Language’: Chinese Interpreters in Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth-Century America,” Journal of American Ethnic History Vol. 30, No. 2 (Winter 2011), 12.

[6] Arthur Bonner, “Alas! What Brought Thee Hither?” The Chinese in New York, 1800-1950 (London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997), 139.

[7] The two rival groups would also be established on the West Coast, New York, and Chicago.

[8] “To Make Chinatown Moral,” New York Times, Nov. 8, 1896.

[9] Document, N.D., Records of the Committee of Fifteen, New York Public Library.

[10] NYC Depart of Records and Information Services, New York City Municipal Archives, Certificate of Marriage, July 12, 1900.

[11] Anti-miscegenation laws varied across different states; some expressly prohibited Chinese and white people from marrying; others had broader restrictions, also prohibiting, for example, Japanese and white people from marrying. Deenesh Sohoni “Unsuitable Suitors: Anti-Miscegenation Laws, Naturalization Laws, and the Construction of Asian Identities.” Law & Society Review (41) 2007, 597.

[12] “Why 200 Chicago Women Are Married to Chinamen,” Chicago Tribune, Sept. 30, 1906.

[13] New York Board of City Record, The City Record (New York, NY: March 1, 1904), 186.

[14] “Immigration Service at Large,” in U.S. Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce and Labor, U.S., Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1863-1959, Official Register of the United States Volume 1, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1905), 1096.

[15] “War in the Orient,” Lawrence Democrat, Sept. 16, 1904.

[16] “War in the Orient Studied by Chinamen,” The York Daily, Sept. 19, 1904.

[17] “War in the Orient Studied by Chinamen,” The York Daily, Sept. 19, 1904.

[18] “Report Girls Insulted,” Chicago Tribune, Aug. 29, 1908.

[19] The U.S. Bureau of Immigration was created in 1891, taking over the work previously conducted by the U.S. Customs Bureau. National Archives and Records Administration, “A Guide to Records of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at the National Archives and Records Administration,” Washington, D.C., GPO, 2004, 17-18.

[20] Economist, Oct. 20 1904

[21] “Building Permits,” Chicago Tribune, April 18, 1905.

[22] “Topics of the Times,” Evening Times Republican, Oct. 14, 1904.

[23] “Topics of the Times,” Evening Times Republican, Oct. 14, 1904.

[24] The law granted “resident aliens who had declared their intention to become citizens six years within which to dispose of such property.” Samuel MacClintock, “Aliens Under the Federal Laws of the United States, Illinois Law Review (May 1909), 38.

[25] News item, Evening Bulletin, Oct. 20, 1904.

[26] The status of an American spouse married to a non-citizen would change in 1907 with the passage of the Expatriation Act. The act ordered that women who married men who did not have U.S. citizenship automatically lost their own U.S. citizenship status. The law was repealed in 1931. (Read more:

[27] Christopher Klein, “Born in the USA: The Chinese Immigrant Son Who Fought for Birthright Citizenship,”, March 18, 2021.

[28] Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago, 1906.

[29] “Three Chinamen Taken to Nashville,” Leaf Chronicle, April 7, 1905.

[30] “War in the Orient,” Lawrence Democrat, Sept. 16, 1904; “War in the Orient Studied by Chinamen,” The York Daily, Sept. 19, 1904.

[31] Mae M. Ngai, “ ‘A Slight Knowledge of the Barbarian Language’: Chinese Interpreters in Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth-Century America,” Journal of American Ethnic History Vol. 30, No. 2 (Winter 2011), 7.

[32] “Shake Up Among Chinese Interpreters,” Arizona Daily Star, June 5, 1907.

[33] “On Vacation,” El Paso Herald, Oct. 29, 1907.

[34] “Kilpatrick Will Assist in Compiling District Court,” El Paso Herald, May 6, 1910.

[35] U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Transcript of Record. Yee Suey v F.W. Berkshire, March 12, 1915. 49.

[36] U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Transcript of Record. Yee Suey v F.W. Berkshire, March 12, 1915. 49.

[37] Worley’s Directory of El Paso, Texas, 1912, 488.

[38] “Local Chinatown Chortles Cheers,” El Paso Herald, March 19, 1914.

[39] “Kilpatrick Will Assist in Compiling District Court,” El Paso Herald, May 6, 1910.

[40] “Chinatown Plans to Move Two Miles to the South,” Chicago Tribune, Nov. 24, 1911.

[41] “Wabash Avenue Residents War on New Chinatown,” Chicago Tribune, Nov. 30, 1911.

[42] “ ‘Stool Pigeon’ Too Clever for Chi’s Chinatown,” Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 10, 1918.

[43] Obituary, James P. Grier, Chicago Tribune, April 5, 1919.

[44] “Blame Tong War for Poolroom Death Mystery,” Chicago Tribune, April 28, 1922.

[45] “Tong Warfare Feared,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 13, 1923.

[46] “Wong Aloy,” Illinois, U.S., Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947,

[47] “Wong Aloy,” Record of Wills, 1879-1928; Probate Court, Cook County, Illinois.

[48] “Wong Aloy,” Executor’s Bond, July 10, 1922, Wills and Probate Records, and Record of Wills, 1879-1928, Illinois. Probate Court, Cook County, Illinois.

[49] “Wong Aloy,” Record of Wills, 1879-1928; Probate Court, Cook County, Illinois.

[50] “Society Amusements,” Chicago Tribune, Jan. 30, 1895.

[51] “Jennie Gertrude Grier,” Obituary, Evanston Review, Dec. 23, 1954; Evanston Index, March 2, 1907.

[52] I am still working to identify the precise locations Wong lists here and trace the connections between these areas and his family history. “Wong Aloy,” Record of Wills, 1879-1928; Probate Court, Cook County, Illinois.

[53] Russ is Right, “Bones-Why So Many Chinese Are Buried In Stickney IL,” YouTube, April 25, 2019.

[54] “Burial of Tom Y. Chan Refused by Rosehill,” Chicago Tribune, Sept. 6, 1944. 

[55] Monica Eng, “Chinese-Americans Have Their Own Ways of Paying Respect,” Chicago Tribune, May 25, 1998.

[56] Alex Frew McMillan, “Learning Lessons from the Grave: The Remains of Chinese Emigrants Produced a Paper Trail of the Modern Chinese World,” The Chinese University of Hong Kong, August 2015.

[57] My thanks to Angelique Gamboa, Family Services Counsellor at the Mount Auburn Cemetery. She was able to locate the record of Wong Aloy’s burial and disinterment and she provided me with these details. I am grateful to her for finding this information.

[58] “Wong Aloy,” Record of Wills, 1879-1928; Probate Court, Cook County, Illinois.

[59] “Fifty Years Ago,” North Adams Transcript, Aug. 13, 1930.

[60] Brennen Eckman, “Sampson Shoe Factory,”; “Chinese Workers Arrive in North Adams,”

[61] The repeal, however, instituted quotas for future immigrants. Read more here:

[62] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Edward Bing Kan: The First Chinese-American Naturalized after Repeal of Chinese Exclusion,” 2020.

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