William ‘Tim’ Jung
Great-grandson of Chin Lin Sou
Interviewee: William ‘Tim’ Jung (Great-grandson of Chin Lin Sou)
Interviewed by: Connie Young Yu and Barre Fong
Interview Date: 2015
Location: San Francisco, California
Length of Interview: 41 minutes, 13 seconds
00:02 Jung: William, where?
00:04 Yu: Do you like to be called…
00:06 Jung: Tim.
00:06 Yu: Tim. Okay, Tim. All right. So…
00:11 Jung: Too many Williams in this family.
00:15 Yu: So what name do you go by now, the full name?
00:19 Jung: Tim.
00:20 Yu: Okay. And your Chinese name?
00:22 Jung: Jung Bing Tim [SP].
00:23 Yu: Jung… Oh, no wonder. You’re using your Chinese name. And where were you born?
00:30 Jung: Denver, Colorado. Am I on tape?
00:36 Yu: Yes, you are.
00:37 Jung: Oh, okay.
00:39 Yu: Could you tell me… So you were born in Colorado and who were your parents and what did they do?
00:47 Jung: Who are what?
00:49 Yu: Your parents, your mother and father?
00:51 Jung: Yes.
00:51 Yu: Yes. What did they do?
00:55 Jung: We had a big restaurant and we… And we owned the only Chinese restaurant in Denver at that time. There are two. My cousin, he opened one and we opened one. And his restaurant was little different from ours, so there’d be no competition. And it was called New China.
01:25 Yu: Yours is New China?
01:27 Jung: No. His restaurant was called New China. Ours was called Lotus Room, the Lotus Room and it was one of the biggest… Well, there was only two Chinese restaurants at that time, but since now, there’s a lot of ’em. Okay.
01:51 Yu: And so, how are you related to Chin Lin Sou?
01:54 Jung: Oh, second generation. He’s my grandfather. No, no. My great-grandfather. Wait, wait.
02:07 Yu: Sound like your great-grandfather. Yes.
02:11 Jung: That’s a video camera?
02:13 Barre Fong: Yeah.
02:13 Jung: Oh, yeah. Looks like a nice regular camera.
02:18 Yu: I’m gonna go right to Chin Lin Sou.
02:20 Fong: I’m gonna remove this seat real quick.
02:23 Jung: Is this thing connected?
02:24 Fong: Yup, I can hear you. Don’t worry.
02:26 Yu: Okay. So your great-grandfather, that’s your mother’s? Is it your mother’s grandfather?
02:32 Jung: Yeah. My mother’s grandfather. Yeah.
02:43 Yu: And so, your mother is from Colorado also, your mother?
02:48 Jung: Yeah. My mother was born in Denver.
02:51 Yu: I see.
02:53 Jung: And I… Yeah. My mother was born in Denver and her mother was born in Denver. Chin Lin Sou, after he helped build the railroad… He’s a contractor and he helped build the railroad. Chin Lin Sou is 6-foot with blue-gray eyes. That was strange for a Chinese at that time, 6-foot and he spoke fluent English. And he spoke Chinese and fluent English. And he hired, he was able to hire a lot of Chinese coolies to help build the railroad from San Francisco to Promontory Point. And then when he got to… When he met the Irishes coming from the east, the Irishes helped him in the Union Pacific and that’s how… When they met at Promontory Point, that was the end of the transcontinental railroad. They built this railroad because of their economy. They wanted the goods from the East Coast on the West Coast and so forth. Our family, after they… Well, they moved… Okay. It’s a long time ago. I can’t remember a lot of these fights and you’re sitting on my notes.
04:54 Yu: Okay. Maybe we should give it to him, part of it to him.
04:57 Fong: Which one?
04:59 Jung: No, no. Notes, the notes.
05:03 Yu: He said he had notes. Chin Lin Sou after… Just what did he do after he finished building the railroad?
05:12 Jung: Chin Lin Sou went to Denver… He went to a place called Como, C-O-M-O. He moved from Promontory Point after meeting the Irish and he had all these Chinese people coolies with him. He had about a hundred and he decided… The Chinese coolies decided to stay in the United States instead of going back to China. So they went to south from Promontory Point to a town called Como, C-O-M-O. And from Como, they went to… They settled down in a town called Black Hawk. So Black Hawk became where all the Chinese coolies and Chin Lin Sou lived. They lived there and they opened up a trading company, and they took the trading company… got… They opened a big trading company and they move…they got food and furniture, and clothes, and all that from China, shipped to Black Hawk. And then from Black Hawk, they decided to move to Denver. And so, we ended up in Denver, living there.
07:05 Yu: What kind of work did he do then when they set up a trading post? There must be a lot of workers.
07:10 Jung: He was a contractor. He just supervised. He was one of the richest guys at that time.
07:19 Yu: What did the Chinese workers do after the railroad? What did they do? What kind of work did they find?
07:26 Jung: Oh, some of them decided to go back to China, some. But the rest stayed in Denver and just settled there. They just settled in Denver.
07:42 Yu: You’ve mentioned that Chin Lin Sou was a miner. Was he a miner at one time?
07:46 Jung: Oh, no. He supervised as a miner. You know, there was a lot of gold in Denver at that time. They found a lot of gold in Colorado, lots of gold. So he had all these coolies working for him as miners. So he rented out these coolies to work in the mines and then the coolies were miners for low wages. That’s why… Lower wages because the Chinese were willing to work for lower wages than the people that lived there.
08:43 Yu: Well, could you talk something about how Chin Lin Sou came to Colorado? Was he born in China?
08:50 Jung: Okay. Chin Lin Sou was born in Guangdong, China, Hong Kong. I don’t know if you understand what Guangdong is.
08:59 Yu: Yes, yeah.
09:01 Jung: It’s a… Anyway, he was 19-years-old at that time and he wanted to… Oh, he said, “Gee, I think I’ll go to the United States.” He said, “I’ve never been there and I think that I would like to try living there.” And his family, our family in China were higher class people than the Chinese people that are living in Guangdong. There were higher class, higher society. They’re in higher society. He was well educated. He learned how to speak English in China. He learned how to speak English. He was very fluent in English and he could speak Chinese and English. So when he went… He decided to go to help build the railroad across…the transcontinental railroad. The transcontinental railroad was built across the United States. It’s called the Union Pacific. So they built… They hired the coolies to build the railroad, but there is a lot of problems going across the Rocky Mountains. They have to build the tunnels through the mountains and the Chinese people, the coolies, a lot of them died because they didn’t know how to. It was dangerous for them.
11:00 Yu: So could you talk something about what Chin Lin Sou look like?
11:06 Jung: What?
11:07 Yu: What did Chin Lin Sou look like?
11:10 Jung: He was 6-foot tall with blue-gray eyes, 6-foot tall. Here’s a picture of him here. This is the only picture in existence that I know of that… I have the original one, but I can’t find it.
11:32 Yu: So did he… Okay. Well, when he came by himself, did he come by himself from China or did he come with other workers? Do you know how we came from China?
11:47 Jung: He came from China when he was 19 years old on a big boat. Everybody thought he was on a junk boat, but that was just talk. He came over on a big boat and he settled down in a town south of here called Como. No. Settled down here in a town called St. Joseph. I try to look for a town on the map called St. Joseph. There’s no such town anymore. I think it’s changed the name to San Jose, but the town was called St. Joseph. And from St. Joseph he moved to a town called… He moved to San Francisco and he settled down… He opened up a place, a trading company called the Chinese Six Company. He opened that up, Chinese Six Company in San Francisco. I think it’s still one of the biggest places here in San Francisco. It was a trading company and they traded…they’ve brought in goods from China, furniture, clothes, food for the Chinese people here because they… And then from San Francisco, he went to… He says, he would like to… He’s only 19 and he wanted to travel. Excuse me. I hope you could edit some of that.
13:47 Yu: Sure.
13:47 Fong: Don’t worry.
13:48 Yu: He’s very good at editing. Could you tell me how did he meet his wife? He got married, right?
13:53 Jung: Oh, he was married in China, 10 years… He didn’t see his wife for 10 years. He married in China to a lady called Mrs. Ng, N-G and they were separated for 10 years. And after he got here to the United States in Denver, he moved his wife back here to Denver. Not to here. We’re in San Francisco. I keep thinking we were in Denver. And then they moved their family here to Colorado and they had five children, five children. One of the five children… Two of the five children were twins and one was called William and one was called Jimmy Junior, and then one was called… I got my notes. And then… Nope. See, I did a lot of notes, but they’re all over there somewhere. They’re probably in my room. Anyway, we opened… Chin Lin Sou, our grandfather, my great-grandfather?
15:44 Yu: Great-grandfather. Yeah.
15:45 Jung: He was… Oh, see, I lost track where I was talking.
15:57 Yu: So you said the five children, they took…
16:00 Jung: Oh, he had five grandchildren, five children and they all settled down in Denver. No. From Promontory Point, they went to Black Hawk and Black Hawk became one of the biggest Chinese communities, Black Hawk.
16:30 Yu: Because of him.
16:31 Jung: Yeah. And then it was in Gilpin County. And from Gilpin County, my great-grandfather was known as the mayor of Chinatown there. He was known as the mayor of Chinatown in Gilpin County. And then from there, they decided to move to Denver. His five children, two of them are twins. I think they died in Denver, but William, Jimmy, and… I forgot what. They all went back to China just maybe they thought they would like to live there, but they went back to China. But they didn’t like it there. I talked to them, they said they hated it, “We don’t like it. We’re going to go back to the United States. We don’t like China. We don’t like Guangdong, China.” So they came back here to the United States and they settled down in Denver, in Denver, Colorado.
18:04 Yu: So here’s what I wanna ask you, you have spent many, many years. You started maybe in 19-… What? In the 1960s and 1970s researching Chin Lin Sou. Did you first start hearing stories from your family? How did you know that your great-grandfather worked on the railroad? How did you know? When did you… You’re very interested in your great-grandfather.
18:33 Jung: I’m the only one that did this information. The rest of the family didn’t care about it.
18:39 Yu: How did you start? 18:41 Jung: I just started. I just said, “Gee, this is interesting. I think I’ll do some research on my great-grandfather.” My mother, my grandmother, nobody was interested in it and I says, “I would like to do it.” So I did it, but they weren’t interested in doing that. They didn’t do a genealogy.
19:09 Yu: So did you find out where your great-grandfather was buried?
19:14 Jung: Yes.
19:15 Yu: Is he buried in America?
19:18 Jung: You know what? I wanted to find out where he was buried and I wanted to go visit his grave site in China if I can find it. So I went to see a psychic and the psychic told me, psychic here in… She says, “You will find your grandfather’s grave site. You will find it.” She sees it, but I found a grave site. But the gravesite is not in China, it was in Denver at the… I even… I was able to go to the grave site myself and I stood on top of the grave site, and I took pictures of myself standing there. But what I thought was I was gonna find the grave site in China. But it was the grave site in Denver. And he was buried here in Denver Riverside, the Riverside Pioneer Cemetery in Denver, in Riverside. And he was buried there and then after so many years, they took his body back up and shipped it back to China. That’s normal for Chinese. They shipped the body back to China and I think they cremated him there. His wife came back here to Denver… Well, I keep thinking I’m in Denver. His wife came back to Denver and lived there until she passed away. She brought her five kids, her children back here to Denver. I keep calling this place Denver, but they didn’t like China because it was… They just didn’t like China. They wanted to go back to Denver.
21:39 So he opened up a business in Denver. We had a big trading company that made a lot of money and then we decided to open up a Chinese restaurant. And we opened up one of the biggest Chinese… There’s only two Chinese restaurants in Denver at that time and one of them belonged to my cousin. And he belonged to… And we opened up our restaurant. And there were two… The Chinese at that time had two types of associations. One was called a Ping Gong Tung [SP] and the other one was called a Hap Sing Tung. [SP] The Hap Sing was the other side of the family and the Ping Gong Tung was our side of the family. So they were split. The family split it that way. One was political and one was… Oh, I’m not sure it was political. They just decided to open up their own restaurant.
23:04 Yu: Was there gambling?
23:05 Jung: Say it again?
23:06 Yu: Was there gambling? Was there gambling in the Chinatown?
23:09 Jung: There was… No. At that time they had no Chinatown.
23:14 Yu: Oh, I see.
23:17 Jung: The Chinatown was… Oh, the Chinatown was on Larimer Street here in Denver. Oh, here in San Francisco, Larimer Street and it was called Hop Alley, Hop Alley. And that was considered San Francisco’s Chinatown in that area, Hop Alley. I don’t know if you remember that or not, or know about it. I think some of the old-timers living here would know Hop Alley, H-O-P and then alley.
23:58 Yu: Now, something… Was Chin Lin Sou a leader in the community?
24:02 Jung: Yes. They would all come down to him and ask him for help. And he would find jobs for the Chinese that live here. He was a contractor. I think they called him a contractor. Anyway, he helped the Chinese people coming in find jobs.
24:36 Yu: So…
24:36 Jung: I never met him because I wasn’t even born yet. Chin Lin Sou died in 18-something. I have the date here.
24:51 Yu: But did you…
24:53 Jung: 1823, I think.
24:54 Yu: Did you hear stories from your grandparents about him? Did they tell you stories about Chin Lin Sou?
25:01 Jung: What?
25:02 Yu: Did your grandparents tell you stories about Chin Lin Sou?
25:05 Jung: No.
25:07 Yu: How did you know about him?
25:08 Jung: The family was actually never interested in genealogy and I decided to do it myself. And that’s… Oh, there is information about Chin Lin Sou at the Denver Library and also at the Denver Convention Center. Those two places have information about Chin Lin Sou. At the Denver Library, Denver Public Library, I met a lady. Her name is Sheets, Shirley Sheets and she helped me on my genealogy. And Shirley Sheets worked at the Denver Public Library. I forgot where it is. I wrote to a lot of the people that work at that library and they helped me with my genealogy. This is… What’s this, a Colorado society?
26:35 Yu: That’s you with your children. With your wife and your children.
26:39 Jung: That’s my three daughters. And I got them kinda interested in this too. And this is where I found in one of the books. This is my wife, Margo, and she helped me. We found this picture of Chin Lin Sou in one of the books there. But I was never able to find that book again after she found it.
27:10 Yu: Well, at least, you have the record.
27:12 Jung: I took pictures of it, but I was never able to find that information again.
27:16 Yu: Maybe you could be showing us some pages. Would you… One minute. So I think that probably the best thing because he [inaudible] Do you think you could suit the…
27:31 Fong: Yeah. If he holds it up.
27:34 Yu: Yeah. I need some help.
27:37 Fong: You just sit there. You hold up the camera.
27:38 Yu: Could you sit there? I’m gonna move my car and be right back.
27:41 Fong: Okay. Let’s take a break.
27:43 Jung: …grand. And she was one of the richest Chinese women at that time. This is for you.
27:55 Yu: Okay. Can I see?
27:58 Jung: She was one of the richest Chinese women at that time because we had our trading company. That’s where we made all our money. I don’t know what happened to it.
28:18 Yu: She was the first American child born in Colorado. She’s the first Chinese American, first Chinese American, Lily Chin. So can I hand him this? So this is the brother. Is this the brother of Lily?
28:36 Jung: Brother?
28:37 Female: That’s the son.
28:37 Yu: Oh, that’s the son.
28:39 Female: Of Chin Lin Sou.
28:40 Yu: Oh, that’s the son. So that would be the brother, that would be the brother because that’s the daughter.
29:10 Jung: I don’t even know who this is.
29:14 Yu: So Lily Chin, was she buried in Denver also?
29:18 Jung: Lily.
29:20 Yu: The children of Chin Lin Sou?
29:22 Jung: As far as I know, she didn’t get married here in Denver.
29:31 Yu: I’m thinking about the children of Chin Lin Sou. Were they buried in Denver?
29:36 Jung: Some of them. The children of Chin Lin Sou… Yeah. Lily, they’re all buried at Riverside.
29:50 Yu: All right.
29:52 Fong: He showed the… Yes. Here’s the shot of the cemetery.
29:55 Yu: Okay. Good. So…
29:58 Jung: Do you know where Riverside Cemetery is?
30:01 Yu: No, I don’t.
30:02 Fong: I marked it. It’s in here.
30:02 Jung: It’s in…
30:05 Yu: We did that already.
30:07 Fong: Yup. I took a photo of it. You could give it to him. He could try talking to you about this.
30:09 Yu: Yeah. Can you talk to… And is this cemetery for just Chinese or is it for…
30:15 Jung: Every pioneer.
30:16 Yu: Oh, for pioneers. Could you… Yeah.
30:23 Jung: It’s a pioneer cemetery here in… I keep thinking this is Denver. In…
30:38 Fong: Riverside.
30:39 Jung: Riverside, he’s buried. Where are we? San Francisco.
30:46 Yu: So could you tell us how it was growing up in Denver as a Chinese, Chinese American? Was there prejudice against Chinese when you were growing up?
30:56 Jung: Yes. They wouldn’t even… They thought I was Japanese at that time. We just started the war with Japan and they thought I was Japanese. And they would treat me as a Japanese here. And they would… Even when I got on the public buses, I would put the money in the coin thing and they wouldn’t even take that money there. They would count each piece to make sure there was 35 cents in there. There were a lot of prejudice at that time.
31:39 Yu: Did you say, “I’m Chinese?” But you told them you’re Chinese.
31:43 Jung: I didn’t say a thing. I just let them do what they wanted to do. I didn’t tell them I was Chinese, but all my friends there I was growing up with were Japanese. During the war, they put all the Japanese in relocation camps. And so, the ones here in Denver were lucky. They didn’t have to go to a camp because it is further away from the coast and they were afraid of the Japanese invading United States. So they moved all the Japanese inland and then… They moved all the Japanese inland and so, the Japanese who lived here were kinda lucky, they didn’t have to go to a concentration camp. They didn’t call them concentration camps. They call them relocation camps at that time in the United States. They don’t do that no more. They changed… President Richard Nixon changed that. He says they don’t want that ever to happen again.
33:00 Yu: So when you were growing up, though, did you associate with Chinese or did you go to an integrated school?
33:09 Jung: No. Yeah, they’re integrated.
33:13 Yu: Yeah. So you had Japanese friends.
33:15 Jung: Oh, yeah. Mostly Japanese. I’ve only had one Chinese friend, one Chinese friend, and his father was a doctor and he lived there in Denver. He had his business on Larimer Street.
33:38 Yu: So, you know, there’s a history of anti-Chinese?
33:42 Jung: What?
33:42 Yu: There’s a history of people against Chinese in Denver. There’s a Chinatown that was burned before. Do you know anything about that?
33:55 Jung: Yeah. There was a Chinatown here in San Francisco.
34:00 Yu: No, in Denver, Denver.
34:01 Jung: Oh, yeah. In Denver. Let’s see in Denver, in Chinatown.
34:06 Yu: So there was an anti-Chinese riot during those, in the early days.
34:11 Jung: Oh, yeah.
34:12 Yu: Do you know anything about that?
34:14 Jung: I was too young.
34:16 Yu: I know, but did people, you know, in your research because if Chin Lin Sou was a leader of the community…
34:23 Jung: Yeah. I think he was already dead. He died in 1922, I think.
34:28 Yu: Yeah. But there was a big Chinatown in Colorado, in Denver in the 1870s and it was burned to the ground. So that was those old days.
34:44 Jung: Yeah. That was the old days.
34:44 Yu: I was wondering if you did any research on that. So…
34:50 Jung: All the Chinese endeavor are now gone. They are very few… We just got a few left in China…in Denver now, in my own family and relatives. But they’re no more. Everybody would now go their own ways and most of them moved away.
35:12 Yu: But Chin Lin Sou was the founder, was the beginning of the Chinese community, the new Chinese community, after the anti-Chinese movement. And this was… He did a lot for the community.
35:28 Jung: What?
35:28 Yu: I said, Chin Lin Sou did a lot for the Chinese community.
35:31 Jung: Oh, yes.
35:32 Yu: So you must be very proud of the fact that he worked on the railroad and helped built the transcontinental railroad.
35:40 Jung: I was too young then to know all that.
35:44 Yu: But in your scrapbook that you collected, you know, you did it because you were very interested. And you took your children…
35:51 Jung: I wanted to keep a record to pass on to my kids and the family. But nobody seemed to be interested in it, nobody. I’m the only one in the family that’s interested in genealogy.
36:12 Yu: Well, our project and many people, many historical groups and also American history buffs are very interested in the Chinese who worked on the railroad.
36:26 Jung: Oh, they just started now. The Chinese Historical Society here in Denver, I mean, here in San Francisco, I think near the Union Square or something.
36:39 Yu: In Chinatown, they’re in Chinatown.
36:40 Jung: In Chinatown. I was just looking and I said, “Gee, there’s nothing at all about our family in that place at all. Nothing.” So I never said anything about it. Just because no one ever gave me. Oh, I did give one of the people that work there. His name was Philip…
37:04 Yu: Choy. Philip Choy.
37:04 Jung: Yeah. I gave him some information. That was the last I heard of it. I never heard any more about what he did. Philip what?
37:15 Yu: Philip Choy.
37:17 Jung: Huh?
37:18 Yu: Philip Choy.
37:19 Jung: Choy. Yeah. Philip Choy. I talked to him and I…
37:23 Yu: Yes. This is our collection though.
37:24 Jung: I gave them a lot of information about our family, but that was the end of that. I never heard anything about it after I did that. That’s when I was living here in San Francisco, but then I was still young to really get too involved in this. So I just let it go.
37:49 Yu: Well, you gave the scrapbook to Philip Choi and you gave me some pages. But we have used it for research. It has started a lot of research into your family. So we have done something with it and we’d like to do more. So…
38:05 Jung: Good.
38:10 Yu: Thank you so much.
38:12 Jung: In Denver, the community… They put a stained glass window in the capital here in Denver, a stained glass window and they have this picture of Chin Lin Sou in the stained glass window in the upper floors. I forgot what floor is this. I forgot what rooms. You can’t go in there unless you have a key or else you have something going on. But the stained glass windows in there… I got pictures of the stained glass window.
38:59 Yu: Did you take…
39:00 Jung: I don’t think he took a picture.
39:02 Fong: None of the stained glass. I haven’t done it before.
39:09 Yu: Maybe you should do.
39:10 Fong: Okay.
39:11 Jung: The lady here in Denver… I keep calling here, Denver. Her name was McFarland. She’s one of the richest Chinese white girl ladies in Denver, McFarland and she built… She asked my mother or asked my family if she could put a chair honoring Chin Lin Sou at the opera house. There’s a opera house where they have operas once a year and they have individual chairs. And on each chair is engraved the name of a pioneer. And one of them, next to my Chin Lin Sou was Buffalo Bill Cody, William Bill Cody. And they put… They have that chair, it’s still in the opera house and I got pictures of it.
40:14 Yu: Yes. Where is that? Is that on camera?
40:18 Jung: The opera house in Central City. Central City is now a gambling place now. They all go up there to go gambling, but Black Hawk, Central City, it’s changed.
40:39 Yu: Yeah. Sorry. This is part of the deal, part of the process. Yes, you look great and I could show it to you later too. Okay. Got it. That’s… Okay. All right. I want you to see it. Oh, could you stand with us? I’ll stand there with Barry. See if you can get us all.
41:03 Jung: Oh, boy.
41:03 Yu: Yeah. I know, I know. Do you remember me?
41:06 Female: You want me to go this way? Just the two of you?
41:08 Yu: All right. Well, yeah.
41:10 Female: Okay. Here we go.
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