← Main Interviews Page

Lorraine Mock

Interviewee: Lorraine Mock
Interviewed by: Connie Young Yu and Barre Fong
Interview Date: 2018
Location: Los Gatos, California
Length of Interview: 53 minutes, 54 seconds

Transcript::

00:09 Connie Young Yu: Introduce yourself.
00:10 Lorraine Mock: Okay. I’m Lorraine Mock. I was born in San Francisco, California. I’m a fourth generation Chinese. So my dad was also born in San Francisco, then my grandfather was born in Palo Alto, California and he was actually born on Leland Stanford’s farm. And then my great-grandfather was born in China. And my profession is I’m a licensed acupuncturist right now. Yeah. I originally started out as a…working in the hospital laboratory, but I changed professions and became a licensed acupuncturist.
00:52 Yu: Did you always know about your family history as a Chinese American, some of your pioneer history?
00:59 Mock: No. Actually, the only thing I knew was growing up, I knew that my grandfather was born on Leland Stanford’s farm that the significance was that he was supposedly the first Chinese born on Stanford’s farm. Other than that there wasn’t too much history. Our grandfather died when his kids were very young and so, I only had my grandmother around who only spoke Chinese, Cantonese and I couldn’t speak Cantonese. So I didn’t know too much and it wasn’t until high school that we started to kinda wonder about our family history. And then later on, my uncle, the youngest uncle, decided to do some research into the family and that’s how it kind of all started.
01:54 Yu: Did you grow up in Palo Alto?
01:56 Mock: No. I grew up in San Francisco and so did my dad. I think the only one that grew up in Palo Alto for a little while was the grandfather, but he actually went back to China and didn’t come back here until, like, his, I think 30s or 20s.
02:17 Yu: Well, you know our project is about the descendants of the Chinese railroad workers. And also, you know, the connection with Stanford. So this is a very, very wonderful to talk to you. So if you could start by telling us about your great grandfather, his name and when he came. Just what you have researched on him.
02:40 Mock: Okay. All right. His name is Jim, or Juey You Mock. He came from China the…What is it called? Is it called Sukyun?
02:59 Yu: Hong Song. Is it Hong Song?
03:00 Mock: Yeah. Hong Song District. They said that he came in the 1870s, but in doing more research, apparently he supposedly worked for the railroad companies. So during that time, well, I think it was in the 1860s. So I’m not sure if he actually came. In one of the interviews from the archives, from the San Bruno archives, it said that he came in 1875. But then that doesn’t really make any sense if he worked on the railroads. So he came in the 1800s, late 1800s, I believe. One of the resources said that he had worked for the railroads. Julie Kane from Stanford University, told me that she believed that he also worked for Ogden Mills’ estate which I believe is right next to Stanford’s estate, until Stanford somehow lured him away to work for him. And he started working for Leland Stanford as, like, a caretaker and the head gardener. And so, I guess he was in charge of a lot of the Chinese workers.
04:19 At that time, I believe his wife was also with them because my grandfather was born on the farm in, I believe it was in July of 1891. And then there was another brother that was born about a year later. And so, Jim Mock, he’s a very interesting guy. He not only was caretaker, but he also had a lot of contracts with Mrs. Stanford in order to grow sweet peas, chrysanthemums, and vegetables. And I guess he was allowed to not only grow it there, but he can sell them. So we believe that he either sold them in San Francisco or maybe in San Jose. And with the caveat that Mrs. Stanford could at any time ask for vegetables or flowers from his garden, and he also had to keep up the grounds. So I looked at one of the old contracts and it says that he has to make sure there are no weeds anywhere, everything is kept up immaculate. And apparently, some visitors who have come to the Stanford estate at that time was amazed at the grounds and how pretty it was. Yeah.
05:44 Yu: Just to backtrack a little bit, you mentioned that your grandfather was born in 1849?
05:49 Mock: No, 18… Let me. I have it there. He was born July 7th, 1891.
06:00 Yu: Okay. All right. I’m sorry. I meant, could you say when your great-grandfather was born?
06:05 Mock: Oh, great grandfather. I don’t know when he was born. All I know is that he came to the United States supposedly in the 1870s or maybe late 1860s. Yeah, yeah.
06:25 Yu: All right. So possibly, he could have come as a teenager, and worked for the Central Pacific.
06:33 Mock: It’s possible. I don’t know, I don’t know. Let’s see. He died in 1908 in San Francisco.
06:49 Yu: They didn’t give his birth date?
06:50 Mock: No, they never gave his birth date.
06:53 Yu: And do you have a copy of the photograph of your great-grandfather?
06:57 Mock: Of the grandfather? Yes.
06:58 Yu: Holding his son?
06:59 Mock: No.
07:00 Yu: Okay. We think that we found that.
07:02 Mock: Oh, you do?
07:02 Yu: Yeah.
07:03 Mock: Wow.
07:04 Yu: I will send it to you, but it wasn’t identified. It just shows a man, could be Jim Mock, holding a baby and it was around that year. What? 19…
07:16 Mock: 1891.
07:17 Yu: 1890…Yeah. Very possibly.
07:19 Mock: Yeah. Because the significance of, you know, my grandfather, Wah Him Mock is that, yeah, that he was the first Chinese born on the farm and I believe that might be true. I mean, you know, how you always hear stories because Julie, she went through the farm records and she was telling me there’s a lot of significance of…the Chinese always worked and they hardly ever took any time off except for Chinese New Years or maybe Christmas. But there’s a entry in the farm records that, about in August, it said that it was a hot day and that there were no men working, and they went to Ah Jim’s baby’s christening. And so, she said that it’s very significant that nobody was working that day because usually they do. And if you think about it that’s like, a month after he was born.
08:21 Yu: Yeah. You know, the red eggs and ginger party. You know, that’s a big one.
08:26 Mock: Yeah, yeah. And also the Stanford’s gave him a silver cup, spoon, fork, and knife set with his name on it. And I think the birth date. And so, my grandfather always had that and someone in the family still has it. And I have a picture of that too. Yeah, yeah.
08:50 Yu: So then…Well, that meant that your great-grandmother lived on the farm?
08:56 Mock: Yeah. She lived on the farm. It will be, yeah. She lived on the farm, but she and the two boys, and I…we’re not sure if there was a girl, left in 1893 and went back to China. So that’s when my grandfather went back to China and I guess, supposed he was raised and educated, and everything back in China. And then he didn’t come back to the United States until the 1900s.
09:26 Yu: And there’s a letter that, you know, it shows that Mrs. Stanford vouched for him.
09:33 Mock: Yeah. Because when he came back in his early 20s, he had a letter from the father and a letter from Mrs. Stanford. Because since he was born here in the United States, they had to somehow prove that he was a U.S. citizen, right? So it would be easier for him to get back into United States. So that just corroborated saying that, yes, he was born in the United States and that he is a U.S. citizen, and that he could come back in. So that’s how I have a picture of the great-grandfather, Jim Mock, and pictures of my grandfather and his brother at the time when they came in, in 1920.
10:18 Yu: So do you know something about your great-grandmother and how she married Jim Mock?
10:24 Mock: No, I only have very brief… Let’s see. Her name was Lee Shee and that in 1910, she was living in the Suey Heung Shan Village which I think is where they went back to. And then she… I know that she died here and that she’s actually in the same grave as my grandfather and grandmother. Yeah, yeah. So there is a picture of her too.
11:08 Yu: Okay. Well, it’s just amazing. Do you think she was… Was she younger, much younger than Jim Mock?
11:14 Mock: Probably. I would think so. Yeah. She must have been…
11:20 Yu: Because he was in his 40s when his son was born.
11:24 Mock: Yeah. And the only other thing I also know about the mother, my great-grandmother is they said that she had bound feet. So my aunts and uncles say that when they saw her, like, you know, you had to carry her around because she couldn’t walk.
11:43 Yu: That’s very unusual, imagining them living on the farm. So very possibly he went back to China to marry her, your great-grandfather because she had bound feet, she was born in China. And well, it’s possible either way. I don’t know. But it’s just, it’d be interesting to know how they met and got married, because there weren’t that many women, eligible women.
12:13 Mock: Yeah, yeah. That’s the curious thing too. I would like to know about that too because, yeah, not that many women were here and then the significance that, you know, my grandfather would be the first one born on the farm. It’s, like, so there weren’t that many families, I guess, or was that, like, the start of his appointment of Chinese. I don’t know. Yeah. It would be interesting.
12:39 Yu: We’ve interviewed… Well, we’ve interviewed William Mock who said that his grandfather was able to get a job because of Jim Mock and they were from the same village. So maybe you could… Can you tell us something about your great-grandfather’s ability and his authority?
12:59 Mock: Well, it sounds like from my own reading too that he was instrumental in getting… Because of his influence or, I guess, his job position at Leland Stanford’s farm, it sounded like Stanford really respected his decisions and his abilities, his expertise. Because even when some of the other workers, the white workers would say, “Oh, we shouldn’t do this or maybe we shouldn’t plant that,” Stanford would always say, “Well, what did Jim Mock say?” You know, and then they say, “Well, Jim said to plant this.” And he goes, “Okay. Then plant it.” So it sounded like, he had a lot of sway over what was happening on the gardens and I think in using that influence, he was able to hire a lot of Mocks from that same village. I also know that, I think, Theodore Mock, the photographer in Palo Alto, his ancestor, one of his ancestors the name, I found his name in one of the interviews.
14:18 Okay. Yeah. I mean, I find that my great-grandfather is so interesting because here is a Chinese coming in during the 1800s, during the time of the Exclusion Act, discrimination, and all of that, and he has this influence over Leland Stanford as to like, where to plant things, how to do things, how to run the garden, how to run the estate gardens. And he has these contracts with Stanford or Mrs. Stanford to be able to grow flowers and vegetables, and be able to sell that for himself. But as long as he’s able to keep the grounds for her and do things for her. And also if you look at his contracts, he’s…has signed them not in Chinese. But he signs it in English, in script, Jim Mock. And so, you’re thinking, “Okay,” you know. I mean, for him to be able to go and come from China, learn English maybe he must be fluent in the language and now, he can…able to write it. I just find that so interesting and then I see that some other, I think, from Mark… Was it Mark Ly?
15:36 Yu: Yeah. Mark Ly.
15:36 Mock: …book that he was maybe also the founder to the Chung Wah Store, Chung Sung Wah Store in Chinatown and also he might have been one of the founders for the Canton Flower Market Association. So those are the questions that I have. Is that true? I mean, I would like to know. He also grew, you know, the sweet peas and the chrysanthemums. And I hear about these Japanese have the chrysanthemum flower associate or something, and I…There’s like a little rumor that he might have been involved with that. I just find that so fascinating, someone could have that much influence at that time and to be related to him.
16:26 And the thing you were asking me about, one of the other Mocks that you have talked to could have come from the same town. During the… Reading the interrogation stuff that, you know, that my grandmother and the grandfather went through, I was able to actually make a map of the town of the Mock, where the Mocks came from. So one of the names that I found was the name that’s very similar to Theodore Mock’s distant relative. So I go, “Oh, yeah. I guess, you know, all the Mocks came from the same…they all came from the same town.” So I guess they’re there. So I have, like, this little map thing that I just made out. So what I did is like, if someone said they lived next to so and so, and if another person said the same thing, I put them in that spot and that’s how I was able to make the map.
17:21 Yu: So did you go to the San Bruno Archives?
17:24 Mock: Yes, yes. That’s how it all started. My youngest uncle and eldest aunt decided to finally go to the San Bruno Archives and look for their mother’s file which is… And so, they guessed as to what year she came in. And unfortunately, I don’t know, have they proved anything, but at the time there are, like, microfilm index cards or something that cross references all the immigration numbers with a name. Unfortunately, the MOs are gone, is missing and I asked them, “How can it be missing?” They said, ”They probably thought that the microfilm got so old. They probably thought there was another copy and they threw it out, but there was no other copy.” So that’s why it’s very difficult for me to find the other Mocks that are, you know, related to…because the microfilm is gone. So they started, I think, it was in 1923 or something. They decided, “Okay. We’re gonna look at 1923 records.” The ship records, and they started from January, and just looked through all the ship logs. Luckily, they came in February. So, because you can imagine if they came in December, I don’t know if they would been still looking… But they found my grandfather’s name on the ship log. But they couldn’t find my grandmother’s name. And they thought, “Well, where is she?” She was actually in the steerage list. So she was listed under the cargo, but in doing all that, they found his file and they found her file. And so, that’s how it all started because his file had some other numbers on it. And when I looked at those numbers that’s how I found his first… My grandfather actually had a first wife. So I found her file plus he had two sons from the first marriage and I found one of them. But there’s another son which I can’t find his file. And then my grandfather, you know, like I said, there was another son that was born here in the United States. And I haven’t been able to find his file either. So…
19:49 Yu: So usually they have some, you know, testimony about who is the first ancestor who came. Is Jim Mock mentioned in any of these testimonies?
19:59 Mock: I think… Yeah. So my grandfather’s file is where I found Jim Mock’s picture and all of that. That’s where I found out, “Oh, here’s the letter corroborating that he was born here.” That’s I think where I found Mrs. Stanford’s letter and then there’s some pictures of my grandfather and his brother as little boys in the file too. And that actually, I think is part of the testimony when they first came back in from, into the United States from China when they had those letters, they asked, yeah, I guess they still didn’t believe him. Even though they have Mrs. Stanford’s letter they still didn’t believe it. So they had someone come from Stanford’s farm to say, “Yes, these are the boys that they’re talking about in the letters and everything.” And that person also said, “Oh, yeah, I remember seeing those pictures in the Stanford museum that was there.” So I don’t know if those pictures that I have with me in the scrapbook are the pictures that he were talking about. But they are pictures of these two little Chinese boys. Yeah.
21:19 Yu: And the witness was of course, Caucasian.
21:22 Mock: Yes. Yeah.
21:23 Yu: Because you had to have the white witness.
21:25 Mock: Yeah, yeah. It was like, it was either foremen or somebody that came from Mrs. Stanford’s farm. Yeah, yeah.
21:34 Yu: That would be really interesting. So something about your grandfather. Okay. Here’s the boy who’s so celebrated, I mean, he gets the silver cup and the fork, and knife. I mean, that was considered a very big deal because even William Mock mentioned it.
21:49 Mock: Oh, he did?
21:50 Yu: Only he called it a gold cup, you know. Well, that’s the idea. It was so valuable and that I think that other Chinese thought it was a real honor. And that’s why it’s mentioned, the christening, red eggs and ginger party. But could you tell us something about the fact that… Okay. Your grandfather kept that and he became…he was pretty well…a successful person, right? No, he wasn’t? Could you tell us something about that?
22:23 Mock: Okay. From what I know… Okay. So he went back to China. I guess he got educated and came back here. When he came back here and then he went back to China to retrieve his wife and two sons, and then arrive back again. His first wife died, like, about two or three months after arriving here. And so, he went back to China to… The story is he went back to China to get another wife because he had two little boys that needed a mother. So that’s been my grandmother. She came from more… I think the first wife came from more of a merchant class. My grandmother came more from a farming class. Supposedly, he bought her and the story is from my grandmother is that, “Yes, he might have bought me.” But, you know, it was her decision whether she wanted to go with him or not. So she met him and thought, “Okay. He’s okay, so I’ll go.” They ended up going to Hong Kong and that’s where they got married. It’s not a typical marriage ceremony. From the story that I’ve heard is that it was in some hotel. There is…I don’t remember the name of the hotel, but there’s a hotel in Hong Kong where there was my grandfather and maybe another friend, and another man there, and that my grandmother had to serve them tea and everything. And then they finally got married. And then they got on a ship to come to the United States. That’s how he ends up being a passenger and she ends up in the steerage, in the cargo hold.
24:17 Before they even left, somehow my grandfather picked up a baby. I guess, during those years, he… I guess, they get money or something for bringing a baby over. So he had this baby and then so, he… She had to pretend that that was her baby. So when she came in to Angel Island, she had a very difficult time of it because the explanation was that, yeah, this was her second marriage that this baby was from a different husband. And so, this story that she had to… I guess, they gave it to her. She had to say it over and over again. And I think she spent about three months, at least, on Angel Island before they would let her through.
25:09 Yu: With the baby?
25:10 Mock: Mm-hm, with the baby. And I think, again, someone from the Stanford farm had to come and testify or whatever and try, and get her out. Yeah, yeah.
25:23 Yu: What year was that?
25:24 Mock: When she came in was…
25:25 Yu: At Angel IslandÉ
25:26 Mock: Yeah. Oh, gosh. January 22nd, 1923 is when she arrived.
25:41 Yu: One year and she waited another year to be home [inaudible].
25:44 Mock: Okay. Yeah. So that’s what… So there’s a picture of them. I guess, they took a picture in China or in Hong Kong and so, there’s a picture of them with this little baby. And that baby is the…the little boy is the baby that he picked up somewhere.
26:06 Yu: Do you know his name?
26:07 Mock: Well, they call him Kay Mock, don’t know too much about him. He grew up with the whole family and they said that he found out very young that he wasn’t part of the family. It’s like, he overheard maybe the adults talking. The rest of my aunts and uncles said that they did not know anything about that until one day when he was a teenager or something, he announced that he’s leaving the family and they said, “Why?” And he said, “Well, because I’m not part of your family.” And they were shocked. They didn’t know anything about it, but he did.
26:51 Yu: So what was your grandfather’s career? What was his…
26:54 Mock: His career, he did a lot of things and… But he was also an opium addict. So what I’ve heard is that he tried to do different businesses and he failed at everything. One of the funny stories is he tried to start a restaurant business and somehow mixed the salt and baking soda, you know, instead of using one or the other. So the biscuits instead of becoming soft, they were hard as a rock. And so, the restaurant business failed. The last thing I know that he had a, like, a Josh House or little temple thing in one of the alleys, yeah, in San Francisco. And so, he knew how to like, read the sticks.
27:49 Yu: The fortunes?
27:51 Mock: Yeah. Fortunes and all of that. So…
27:54 Yu: So that would be your mother or your father is one of his kids.
28:02 Mock: Mm-hm. Yeah. So there were seven kids, a brother, the eldest brother, and then sister. How many sisters? So there were three boys and four girls. Yeah.
28:22 Yu: What’s the birth order of your father?
28:23 Mock: He is in the middle. So there’s a older brother and then older sister, then two other sisters almost back-to-back, and then my dad. And then another brother, and then the youngest sister.
28:41 Yu: So your dad was born in San Francisco?
28:42 Mock: Yes.
28:43 Yu: And what business did he go into?
28:45 Mock: He became what they call a lithographer, or in the printing business. Yeah. So that was most of his business and, yeah. He just…
28:57 Yu: And your mother?
28:58 Mock: My mother, she’s actually of Japanese descent, came from Walnut Grove area. Yeah, yeah. And she worked as, I think, an insurance company secretary until she became a housewife and there we are.
29:16 Yu: So that’s part of the, sort of, the Chinese-Japanese legacy in the Delta, in Walnut Grove, Locke, and Isleton. They all went to the same school, oriental school.
29:30 Mock: Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah.
29:34 Barre Fong: Do we know where your great-grandfather was buried? You said he died in San Francisco. Do you know if he was buried here or…
29:40 Mock: No. He was… They shipped his body back to China. So I actually have the little certificate that says that. That’s how I know the actual date that he died because it says the date and then a few days later, they said they shipped him back to China.
29:57 Yu: What year was that?
29:58 Mock: 19… Let’s see. When did he die? 1908.
30:09 Yu: 1908.
30:10 Mock: Yeah. They said he died above that store, the Chung Sung Wah Store. Yeah. Okay. So in looking, yeah, at my grandfather’s immigration file is where I found Jim Mock’s picture. So there were two photos.
30:35 Fong: If you hold it a little more upright and I think it’ll stop. There we go.
30:38 Mock: Yeah. So two photos that I found and then this is the…what they call removal permit. So that’s how I found out the exact date that he died and then when they shipped his body to China, because I did too almost wondered, “Well, where is he buried?” And then I find out that he shipped his body back to China. And then let’s see. Okay. So this is the mother, Jim Mock’s wife. So I think this is her immigration photo when she arrived in United States the second time. Not the second, but the…when my grandfather brought her, went back to bring her back here.
31:26 Yu: When she was…
31:27 Mock: Yeah. Because this photo is totally different. And this photo is one that I’ve always seen because this is on the grave site. Yeah.
31:38 Yu: And that’s her son.
31:39 Mock: And that’s, yeah, the son. And that’s my grandfather, yeah. And so, I think when he came back to the United States the first time during the early 1900s and this is when he had to have Mrs. Stanford’s letter, that’s his picture there. And then this is the letter that his father had in order to say, “Yeah. This is my son.” So I think his father must have somehow got this letter and got it to him, so that he, you know, so that when he came to United States he’d have some proof that he was a U.S. citizen. [inaudible 00:32:20] Okay. And then…
32:22 Yu: The signature’s right there.
32:24 Mock: Yeah. And then this is… See this picture? And then this is of his brother. Oops, of his brother…
32:36 Yu: That’s [crosstalk 00:32:36] 32:37 Mock: My guess is that little, you know, how the… When he came in the first time, someone from Stanford’s farm had to, you know, corroborate, I guess, Mrs. Stanford’s letter and everything. And I have a feeling he’s the one that brought the pictures because he said, “Yeah, these are the pictures of the boys.” I’m not sure if he brought the pictures or they are…were already there, but I have a feeling that he probably brought the pictures with him and said, “Yeah. These are the pictures of the two boys that I would see in the Stanford Museum.”
33:12 Yu: Oh, you mean the witness, the witnesses?
33:13 Mock: Yeah.
33:14 Yu: Oh, there you go.
33:15 Mock: Because he’s so young, I mean.
33:18 Yu: So, that’s the little boy that… Yeah.
33:20 Mock: Yeah. So I think that’s when he was a little boy.
33:24 Yu: And what’s his name?
33:25 Mock: This is Wah Him. So that’s my grandfather. So Wah Him Mock, but they also called him Palo Alto Mock, which is interesting. And then his brother was Wah Foon, but is also known as Menlo Park Mock. Interesting, huh?
33:48 Yu: He was born in Menlo Park?
33:49 Mock: Mm-hm. And so, he too had the same letter, you know, saying that…from the father saying that he was born here. And then these are just the shipping docket’s tickets. And then this is Mrs. Stanford’s letter.
34:06 Yu: That’s just a copy.
34:07 Mock: Yeah. No, that was the actual letter that was in the files.
34:14 Fong: But that’s…That’s a photo.
34:15 Mock: This is just a photo. I took a photo.
34:17 Yu: The actual file was there, the actual thing.
34:19 Mock: Yeah.
34:20 Yu: Gosh.
34:21 Fong: Who has the… Are those letters in the archives?
34:23 Mock: Yeah, it’s in the archives. Yeah.
34:26 Yu: Can you read it?
34:28 Mock: I can’t read it right now because it’s so small.
34:32 Yu: Yeah, it just says… You can see that it’s [crosstalk 00:34:36] 34:34 Mock: Let’s see.
34:35 Fong: We can get a photo of that later too.
34:35 Yu: Yeah. Jane L.. [crosstalk 00:34:39] 34:37 Mock: Yeah. It says, “Jane Stanford being duly sworn depose and says that he has resided at Menlo Park, State of California for more than 20 years last pass. That Palo Alto, Wah Him Mock, Wah Foon and Yu Mei are the sons and daughters of Jim Mock, Chinese, who is a gardener,” maybe, “In her…,” something, “At Menlo Park.” That said, “Palo Alto, Wah Him, and Wah Foon are citizens of the United States and were born at Menlo Park, and are now in China. That they departed for China with their mother, Lee Ho on the steamer, Gaelic, in about 26th day of August 1893. That three…these affidavits are something in order to facilitate their landing in case of their return to the United States.” Yeah. Let’s see. So and then… Yeah. Well, it dropped out before.
36:12 Yu: Well, can you explain this? Yes.
36:14 Mock: Okay. So this is a picture of the silver cup, spoon, fork, and knife that was presented to the family by Leland Stanford because Wah Him Mock or my grandfather was the first Chinese born on the Stanford estate. And it’s very interesting that my grandfather has kept this in his possession because on some of his other trials of getting in and out of the United States, he seems to always lose his certificate or documents that he’s supposed to have or there’s another time where he needed a document to, you know, prove residency. And then he told them, well, he lost it in the fire. And I thought, okay, you’ve lost all these things, but somehow he always had this. And this was his savior all the time because this actually probably what saved him in coming back in to United States that first time.
37:20 Yu: Could you read the… I’d like you to explain the engraving. You said there’s an engraving…
37:25 Mock: …All these years, but he lost everything else.
37:28 Fong: Yeah. And no one grabbed it.
37:29 Mock: Yeah. I’m just amazed that he still had it all these years.
37:35 Yu: So what does it say?
37:37 Mock: Okay. So the only engraving I see is, okay, is the knife I believe has… It says, “Palo Alto. July 7th, 1891.” It should be 1891 and then the other implements have his name on it. Wah Him Mock, engraved on it. Yeah.
38:10 Yu: Do you think the mug’s at Stanford or anything?
38:13 Mock: No, it… Oh, wait. So, yeah, it does…has his name on the cup, Wah Him Mock and I think the date. But I don’t think… It doesn’t say Stanford anywhere, but it has a flower here. And in talking to Julie, apparently, I guess, like, either the chrysanthemums seem to be very big at Stanford and then sweet peas. So I can’t tell what kind of flower this is, but there’s a flower on it. So, yeah. It’s amazing.
38:53 Yu: I’ll hold this.
38:55 Mock: Thank you.
38:56 Yu: And you can show us a few more things.
38:57 Mock: Okay. Let’s see. So this is my grandfather’s, the first wife that came through and so, that’s I guess is her immigration photo when she arrived in the United States. She also had, I think, had to have a letter from him saying that, “This is my wife.” And then he also brought in his son. He had two sons, but this one for the immigration file, I can only find one of them. And I believe this is the younger one, Xibo Mock. But he did have two sons. And…
39:47 Yu: So your…your father is from the first wife.
39:49 Mock: Second wife.
39:50 Yu: Second wife.
39:51 Mock: Yeah. So this is the first wife. Because she died, like, three months after arriving from emphysema or something, so then he had two young boys that he had to raise. So he went back to China to find another wife and that was my grandmother. And that, yeah. And I think one of the sons was a photographer. And actually, both of them ended up being jazz musicians too. And I knew that one of them was. I didn’t know that both of them were, but again in reading somewhere or someone told me that in one of the books it says that there were like, two Chinese that became…they were jazz musicians and my grandmother had a lot of these old negatives, and my aunt found them. And so, I got them from her and I developed some of them. Well, I actually developed whatever I could and so, I think, I think, that these two are the two sons because one of them… This is my…the youngest uncle, my dad’s youngest brother and if you look at these two boys, one of them looks exactly like my uncle. So I said, “They’ve got to be related.” And then this younger guy, there’s a picture of him with a saxophone. So I’m guessing that both of these guys are his sons. And then I know that they’re also related because in the background, I think there’s one photo of them that they’re on the Stanford campus and everything.
41:42 So, yeah, I found him and then the story is, is that one of them really helped out my grandmother a lot and he got sick at one point. And that she kinda nursed him back to health. And then they both decided to go on, like, a tour somewhere. And I knew one of them died, but I guess both of them might have died of, like, of, you know, a bad cold or something. Because they went back East, and it’s very cold back there. So I believe both of them are gone, but, yeah, so that’s the two sons from the first marriage. And then this is my grandmother.
42:23 Yu: From Japan…
42:27 Mock: And…
42:28 Yu: She looks young.
42:29 Mock: Yeah. She was only, like, 20-something years old when she arrived and so, this picture… Now, I always saw this picture. This is my… So this is my grandfather. I always saw this picture. So I thought he was that young when he got married to her, but this is actually a very old picture of him. He was actually…looked that old and so, this is the picture, I guess, they took back in Hong Kong or something. So that’s the baby, that they picked up and then this outfit that she’s wearing is the wedding…
43:11 Yu: Cheongsam?
43:12 Mock: Yeah, yeah. So she had to wear it on the ship all over and everything. Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, that’s her files and then from there… Oh, so this is… They’re buried in the cemetery in Daly City in Colma. So that’s the great-grandmother. So that’s Jim Mock’s wife and then my grandfather. And then all three of them are actually in the same grave site.
43:47 Yu: In?
43:48 Mock: In Colma. Yeah. So this is… Now, we’re going to my family. So this is the eldest brother, Kwang Mock and unfortunately, there’s only one surviving. The youngest sister is the only one alive right now, yeah. So this is the eldest brother and he got married. And this is the eldest sister. So she is the one that started looking for all the immigration stuff and then her family, her husband and then she had three kids. And one of my cousins, her daughter, she did artwork. She’s an artist and so, she used my grandmother’s photograph to make…and the great-grandmothers to make a… There’s another sister, Aunt Rose and her family. And then the other sister.
45:03 Fong: They all had portraits taken? They look like they’re all…
45:06 Mock: Yeah. What we did… That one, I took. That one, I took and the youngest sister, I took. Everybody else, the artist cousin had her boyfriend photographer come one day and we got all of them together to take a photo shoot.
45:29 Fong: Nice.
45:30 Mock: Which was great because now, you know, I had something to go by and we always have a really nice pictures of them. And the other two couldn’t make it that day, so then I had to go and take a picture of them. So that’s another sister and then that’s my dad. And then this is the youngest uncle. So the eldest sister and the youngest uncle or the ones that started doing the immigration and looking for the information. And then the youngest sister. And you might have noticed this thing. What I did here is, someone found these photos and I found out that my grandmother, it was, like, just at the start of World War II. Yeah. I think it’s World War II. When World War II started, my grandmother made all of them go and take a picture because she knew that wars separate families. And so, she wanted everybody to have a picture of each other. So everybody in the family went to take the picture except my dad who always was a loner. He goes, “Oh, I’m not gonna go that day.” So he didn’t go and the eldest was working at the time. So, but everybody else went and took a picture that day and I thought it was so interesting because it’s like a snapshot in time. This is how they all looked at that particular time and so, what I did then is just took those pictures and then added the grandfather’s picture, my dad’s, and then I found a baby picture of the eldest uncle and just made a collage out of it.
47:22 Fong: Could you come over and do one for my family? It’s really good.
47:23 Yu: It’s really good.
47:25 Fong: It’s amazing.
47:28 Mock: And then I put my brush painting in the background. Yeah.
47:31 Yu: Well, it’s a wonderful explanation, but it was war.
47:34 Mock: Yeah, yeah. Because that’s how she lost, like, a sister or a brother, or something. Because she’s…from the wars. So she just knew that she had to do something. Yeah.
47:47 Yu: That’s fantastic. Well, it’s a great story and actually that’s part of legend, I’ll show you our district association, but it always refers to…it probably gets bigger and more gold-like. But, like, Jim Mock sounded as if he gave a lot of people jobs.
48:09 Mock: So I didn’t explain why I don’t know a lot of the other Mocks. Okay. So probably the big reason is that again, my grandmother was a second wife. I just found that out like, I mean, I didn’t know that until, I think, I was in college, I found out. I said, “Oh, she was second wife?” They said, “Yeah.” And then I found out from some of the aunts that for the longest time they never called her mother in Chinese. There is another name that they had called her and I guess it will translate to nanny. And because I asked one of my…the eldest uncle, “Well, what did you call popau?” And he said it and his wife who speaks, you know, Cantonese, she kind of looked at him, like, “What?” And I asked her, “Well, what did he say?” And she said, “Essentially, it kinda meant like nanny.” So I guess for years that’s what they called her. So she was considered more a nanny than the wife and also my family, all those aunts and uncles were not considered part of the Mock family. And one of the stories is that even if they went to the Mock clan dinner or party, they were delegated to eating outside whereas everybody else was inside. So that’s why I don’t know anything about the other Mocks. There’s no connection. Also I think because…maybe because, I guess, my grandfather, you know, must have some prestige because of having the gold cup and his history with Jim Mock, that people would come to him and ask him for money. And that’s the other stories I had heard that popau would say, “Yeah. Everybody keep coming and asking for money, asking for help.” But, I mean, he didn’t have any money because anything he did he wasn’t successful at it. And now, he has seven kids or at least at that time six kids. And so, I think that’s why, like, she didn’t want to have anything to do with the Mock clan because they didn’t accept her, people kept asking her for money. And so, I think that’s why I really don’t know a lot about the rest of the clan.
50:32 Yu: And as far as the silver cup, could you tell us where it is now?
50:34 Mock: I believe the daughter of the youngest uncle has it and it’s in a safe deposit box somewhere. Yeah. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it because, I mean, there’s so many of us and it’s sort of like, “Well, who…who’s gonna keep it and what are you gonna do with it?” Also the Mock, if you think about the lineage of the Mock name, it actually stops with me and another cousin, a female. So there is no other male Mock name to carry on the name. So it stops right here.
51:14 Fong: I think if it made it back…made it back to Stanford, that would probably be a good place for it.
51:18 Mock: Yeah.
51:19 Fong: You would know… They, long story, but they have incredible resources to preserve artifacts and so, you know.
51:26 Mock: It depends. There’s some people, because of the way, you know, my grandmother was treated that there’s a little animosity toward, you know, the Stanfords and the whole history. But, I mean, you know, it’s… I say it’s a sign…it was a sign of the times, you know? It’s, you know, the era that she was brought here in the United States and so…
51:52 Yu: But it shouldn’t affect, I mean, the fact is it still was in the family. I mean, you know, she’s holding it really because it’s in her household.
52:01 Mock: Yeah. So, yeah, the cup, we have to decide what to do with it. It’s sitting there in the safety deposit box right now and…
52:11 Yu: The thing is that it really is…it shows an incredible, you know, association between the Chinese, this particular Chinese, your great-grandfather and Leland Stanford, the fact that he was so extraordinary. And also it showed, you know, something about Leland Stanford because this whole story breaks the stereotype of that usual thing about Stanford, you know, being the big capitalist who exploits Chinese, and just wanted to get rid of them. I mean, he employed so many Chinese and he had Vina, you know, farm, in which he had hundreds of Chinese there, and he was trying this experiment with irrigation. Only could do it with the Chinese. And he…and just the fact that you’re saying that Stanford asked the advice of your great-grandfather, asked Jim Mock, you know, that he relied on him. So it’s an important story and there’s an artifact because you just don’t give a gift like that randomly. I mean, and the fact that it was recorded that the other employees went to the christening which probably was the red eggs and ginger party. And also, it breaks the stereotype about women and babies. And, you know, the fact that it was all bachelor, total bachelor society. It was not if you had the family living…
53:29 Mock: Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, because he lived there. Julie Kane said that, yeah, there’s some contracts about him. Even the last contract I saw, that he was allowed to live in the boarding house there on the farm. Yeah.
53:47 Yu: I just think of your great-grandmother with her little bound feet.
53:50 Mock: I know.
53:52 Fong: Carried around, on that big property. That’s great.

Back to Oral Histories home page

All materials on these pages © Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford.