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Lum Family Story

So Here’s the story on Henry Sue’s in-laws, the Lums… It’s a story on how his Henry P. Lum hooked up Henry C. Sue with his 18 year old daughter. They were all world travelers and straddled the fence between the old and new worlds…

Lum Ping Wei

Lum Wei Ping aka Henry P. Lum (1882 – 1966)
Henry P. Lum was among the first in the family line to leave China after failing the candidates examination for an imperial post in the Chinese government. He first immigrated to Mexico then illegally entered the United States as an undocumented alien. Once in America, Henry worked in San Francisco, Fresno and the Sacramento delta area.

In 1922, Henry submitted a claim at the Fresno Immigration Service to be recognized as a natural-born citizen of United States. It seems that Henry had expended much effort concocting a logical story and a dependable cast of characters, to substantiate that he had been born in San Francisco, had attended the Methodist Mission School there for three or four years under an American teacher, then attended a private Chinese School on Clay Street. His story continues that he worked in his alleged father’s cigar factory until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, then moved to Suisun, CA where he worked for an American, William Pierce. At the immigration hearing, he produced his fictitious father, said his mother was deceased, produced his mother’s fictitious midwife who allegedly had delivered him and his two fictitious brothers.  These two witnesses effectively confirmed Henry’s story. The inspectors ultimately submitted favorable recommendations and on December 18, 1922 Henry was recognized as an American citizen. The official records show him as Lum Ping, age 35, 5’ 8-7/8″ tall, unmarried.

But contrary to his fictitious story, Henry had a wife, son and two daughters in China, whom he had supported for years by sending money home.  So after successfully winning American citizenship, Henry returned to his ancestral village in 1923 to bring his wife, Siu Kam Chu, to America. On his journey back to China on the USS President Taft, he met Henry Chee Sue who was also on his way back to China in search of a wife. So Henry P. arranged for Henry C. to meet his 18 year old daughter, Suk Hin (aka Alice Sue). The couple married in China and returned to the United States.

Henry P. re-entered the U.S.A. with his spouse on the USS President Wilson on November 12, 1923.  They settled in San Francisco where he was employed as a laborer in various jobs and raised their young daughter who was born in the US. During World War II, they moved to Oakland to operate a grocery store that had been abandoned when the Japanese were interned.

Siu Kam Chu

Siu Kam Chu (1883 to 1969)
Siu Kam Chu entered America with her husband, Henry P. Lum on December 7, 1923.  They settled in San Francisco, California.  To help place them in the family lineage, Henry P. Lum and Siu Kam Chu were the maternal grandparents of Helen Sue Owyoung, Gladys Sue Lee, Edith Sue Sheu, Ed Sue and John Sue.

Now here’s a bit of family hardship: because of the U.S. Exclusion Act, when Siu Kam Chu left China, she had to leave her 13-year-old daughter, Lum Suk Wun behind. Later attempts to bring this daughter into the U.S were unsuccessful and the parents never saw their daughter again although Lum Suk Wun was eventually brought to the United States in 1978 by her own daughter.

Siu Kam Chu enjoyed living in San Francisco, California, and had a happy life there. Shortly after arrival in San Francisco, she gave birth to another daughter, Lum Suk Fong but she never forgot the daughter she left behind in China. She died in Oakland, California at the age of 86.

Lum Suk Wun, at age 73 in Oct 1981

Lum Suk Wun aka E-Baw (Nov 29, 1908 – Feb 9, 2006)
Suk Wun was the 13 year old daughter that Henry P. Lum and Siu Kam Chu left behind in China in 1923. Seven years later, she attempted to immigrate to the United States to rejoin her parents but was interned at Angel Island in San Francisco, the Ellis Island of the West, for 18 months before she was deported back to China at the age of 22. 18 months was considered an unusually long internment and Suk Wun’s story has been retold many times in later years. Suk Wun was featured in an interview in the Bill Moyers’ documentary “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience” which aired on PBS in 2004.

Upon returning to China, she married and had 5 children. Unfortunately, she never saw her parents again. However in 1978, her daughter brought her and her husband to the United States. She died in Oakland, California, at the age of 98.

Lum Suk Fong aka Suky Jang

Lum Suk Fong aka Suky Jang

Lum Suk Fong aka Suky Jang

Was the daughter that Siu Kam Chu bore shortly after her arrival in America. Suky married Lloyd Jang and had three children, Adrienne, Ronald and Kenton, all of whom have growing families of their own.

Suky lived much of her life in Oakland, CA and currently resides in Pleasanton, CA near her three children’s families.

Lum Suk Hin

Lum Suk Hin aka Alice Sue (Oct 2, 1905 – Dec 6, 1991)
Suk Hin was born on October 2, 1905 in An-Tong Village, Canton, China.  Angel Island
Papers list her as “Lum Shuk Yim”, which is how they interpreted the sound. However, “Yim” is not the correct sound, as it’s closer to “Hin.” She was the second of four children with an older brother and two younger sisters.

At the age of 18, Suk Hin was introduced to Henry C. Sue by her father who had met Henry on his recent journey back to China from America. Suk Hin and Henry embarked on the USS President Wilson on an 8 day voyage to America arriving on May 24, 1923 and were married on December 2, 1923.

Lum Suk Hin

Suk Hin and Henry first settled in Watsonville and later went to Fairfield-Suisun to begin a family. In 1931, after losing their farm in the Great Depression, the Sues moved to Oakland.

Unfortunately, Henry was murdered by a neighbor in Oakland Chinatown on September 17, 1937, at the age of 46. Suk Hin, then 32 years old, moved to San Francisco to continue raising her 5 children as a single parent.  She worked as a seamstress for the various sewing factories in San Francisco and Oakland.

In 1947, the family moved back to Oakland. She stressed the importance of a education to her children and encouraged them all to enroll in college. She never re-married.

Lum Suk Hin

Suk Hin became a United states citizen in 1967 and adopted the name of Alice Sue upon naturalization.

Suk Hin (aka Alice Sue) with her 5 children, 1939

Lum Suk Fong, Siu Kam Chu and Henry P. Lum in San Francisco, CA

Siu Kam Chu (Grandma Lum) with three children in China, from left to right: Lum Tom, (Uncle Tom), Lum Suk Wun (E-Baw), and Lum Suk Hin (aka Alice Sue).

Lum Suk Hin (aka Alice Sue), Kam Chu Siu and Lum Suk Fong

Left to Right: Darlene Tom Sue (wife of John Sue), Helen Sue Owyoung (eldest daughter of Lum Suk Hin), John Sue (youngest child of Henry Chee Sue), Lum Suk Wun (aka E-Paw at age 73), Lum Suk Hin (aka Alice Sue), Aunty Fong, Janet Goo. Hanzhou, 10/1981

6 Responses to “Lum Family Story”

  1. Ron says:

    A few corrections.

    1) Under the caption “Lum Suk Fong aka Suky Jang” Adrienne’s name is mispelled as “Adriene.”
    Suky lives in Pleasanton not Castro Valley.

    The photo labelled as “Lum Suk Wun, Siu Kam Chu and Henry P. Lum in China” and shown in Bill Moyers’ documentary is a photo of “Lum Suk Fong, Siu Kam Chu and Henry P. Lum” and was probably taken in San Francisco.

  2. natalie valiente says:

    Did Lum Wei ping have siblings?
    Lum Hook Ping?

    • sjsue says:

      Hi Natalie, Dunno the answer to either of your questions. It was a few generations ago… my sister Linda might know though as she has the family tree on ancestry.com. I’ll forward a ping to her on this.

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