Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 19, Number 2, Fall, 2007 Page: 20
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County, while the local directory recorded
twenty-five individuals in the city limits, including
one absentee proprietor, Jim Sing, owner of
the Sue Lung Restaurant at 382 Main, who lived
in Houston.They made up less than one percent
of the total population of 82,726.2 Curiously,
however, by 1910, the Chinese grocers had all
ceased to operate, while there were still three
Chinese restaurants in the city. The U.S. Census
of that year identified only sixteen Chinese
residing in Dallas County, while thirty-three
were listed in the local directory as living in the
city limits, still representing less than one percent
of the total population of 135,748.3
The number of Chinese business establishments
continued to decline in the three-year
period following the census, and by 1913 there
were only three Chinese who were identified in
the city directories. They included restaurateur
Jim Wing, a cafe owner named Lep Lee, and
laundryman Joe Get Lee.24 The dramatic
decrease in the city's Chinese population may be
attributed to the prolonged effects of the exclusion
laws of 1888, 1892, 1894, 1902, and 1904,2'
a return to China by many overseas Chinese following
the founding of the new republic by Dr.
Sun Yat-sen in 1912, combined with an escalation
of anti-immigrant and minority violence
that occurred in Texas during this period, culminating
in the 1921-1924 activities of Dallas Klan
No. 66. In 1920 the U. S. Census recorded eleven
persons of Chinese descent who were residing in
Dallas County, far exceeding the number of
individuals that were identified in the local
directories, and representing less than one percent
of the total population of 210,551."
Still, one Chinese entrepreneur, Sam Choi,
stayed in the city long enough to garner a
lengthy tenure there-thirty-one years. He started
as a laundry man in 1879, incorporated the
Wang Ling Chung Co. in 1894, became the
city's first Chinese grocer when he formed
Quong Lun [sic] Chong in 1895, opened the first
Asian grocery, named Quong SangWah in 1903,
and finally closed his businesses in 1910.'2
In addition, Choi made the funeral arrangements
for a number of Chinese who died in the
city, suggesting that he may have been a promi
nent member of some mutual aid society like the
Sze Yup district association, which was largely a
laundryman's organization, although no such
entities were ever recorded in official records as
having been established in Dallas.' Similarly, it
may be conjectured that he had ties with the
Chinese Six Companies in San Francisco. Also
known as the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent
Association or"CCBA," the consortium handled
all credit arrangements and managed the movement
of goods for Chinese businesses in all of
the western states and territories as well as the
northern states of Mexico, including Baja
California, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas,
Coahuila, and Sonora."'
Another entrepreneur named Jim Wing,
whose similar career as a laundryman had begun
in 1890, successfully remained in the city for several
decades. He became the first Chinese restaurateur
in the city in 1894, started Jim Wing &
Co. in 1900, began advertising his "Star
Restaurant" on the covers of the local city directory
by 1901, and operated his restaurant from
1931 until 1935 as the "Star Cafe.""'
While Sam Choi and Jim Wing provide
some evidence for the material success that was
achieved by a small and determined group of
Chinese entrepreneurs in Dallas, a number of
their countrymen were far less fortunate. Two
such cases were those of laundryman, Jue Lee
Hong, and the city's first Chinese butcher,
Charlie Sing.Jue Lee Hong opened a laundry at
155 South Ervay in 1890 and was listed as also
residing at that location in the city directory of
the following year." He operated his business at
the site for a decade and hired a fellow countryman,
Toy Mar, in 1896 to assist him.3' Toy
worked and lived with him for at least two years.
Jue Lee Hong became ill in the fall of 1900 and
was admitted to the city hospital. Known in the
vernacular as "the pest house," it was a six-room
frame cottage in an area known as Deep Ellum,
in the vicinity of the old Union Terminal. He
had been transported there by a police wagon
that served as the city's ambulance.
Hong languished at the hospital and finally
died there. J. H. Florence, the Anglo-American
physician in attendance, recorded Hong's name,
20 LEGACIES Fall 2007
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Dallas Heritage Village. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 19, Number 2, Fall, 2007, periodical, 2007; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35087/m1/22/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.