Lee Chung

Death 18 Jun 1893 (aged 29–30)
Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Plot Remains transferred to China, October 1914
Memorial ID 112622346 · View Source
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   Tragic Death of Lee Chung a Mongolian

 Hom Hang, Hom Kee and Hom Sing, Rival
           Laundrymen Under Arrest for
                        the Offense.

      On Sunday June 18th, Lee Sing [sic] [Chung], one of the Chinamen who operate the Fifth street laundry, mysteriously disappeared. The last seen of him by his partner, Lee Sing, was his entering the door of a rival Chinese laundry on Laurel street, where he had been invited to dinner. Lee Sing had also been invited, and had gone a part of the way there, but at last concluded not to go on, giving as his excuse that he was sick, but really, he states, because he was afraid of the Chinamen there whom he knew to be bad men. He saw his partner enter the door and never saw him alive afterward. He went to the Laurel street laundry the following day and enquired for his partner, but it was denied that he had ever been there. Lee Chung not returning, Lee Sing in a couple of days went to Duluth and informed some of Chung's friends, one of whom Boo Joong, came to this city and began an investigation. Boo Joong stated that one of the Chinamen in the Laurel street laundry had killed a man in San Francisco, and was an all round desperate character. That he would have come to Brainerd and started a laundry with Chung, had he not been afraid of him. The investigation which was made with the assistance of the police resulted in the finding of supposed human bones, on the strength of which, two of the Chinamen were arrested on Friday of last week, their preliminary examination being set for Monday. On Monday Mr. Fleming appeared for the prosecution, Mr. Lum being out of the city, and Mr. McClenahan for the defense. On motion of Mr. Fleming the case was continued to Thursday when it was expected Mr. Lum would have returned.
      On the afternoon of the same day a son of T. Barrett, while herding cattle about a mile west of the river, found a human body which proved to be the missing Chinaman. The coroner was at once notified, who went out with an officer and got the body and brought it to Losey & Dean's undertaking rooms. The body was badly decomposed, the scalp having fallen entirely off leaving the skull bare. An investigation by Dr. Camp showed that it was a clear case of murder. There was a deep wound on the right side of the back between the fourth and fifth rib, and another on the left breast directly over the apex of the heart. The doctor probed the wounds with his shears and ascertained they entered the thoracic cavity and were undoubtedly the cause of his death. The cuts were clear and well defined as if made with the thrust of a sharp knife.
      After finding the body of Lee Chung the third Chinaman in the Laurel street laundry was placed under arrest.
      That evening Coroner Dean summoned a jury composed of J. N. Nevers, C. E. Cole, L. N. Lowe [sic], T. McMaster, T. E. Tiffany and Wm. Bredfield, and began an inquest. The jury viewed the remains and then adjourned until ten the following morning. The remains were then removed to the cemetery on account of the awful stench, and placed in a vault, and the following day they were interred by some of his friends according to their custom.
      On Tuesday morning the inquest was again adjourned until two p. m., when it was resumed, and after some deliberations the jury returned the following verdict:
      We the jury find that Lee Chung, the dead man before us, came to his death between the 17th and 26th of June, 1893, by being stabbed with a knife or other sharp instrument in the hands of person or persons unknown.
      The preliminary examination of of the imprisoned Chinamen was begun yesterday afternoon, more than a dozen different Chinamen from neighboring cities being present. Lee Shuck, a wealthy Chinese merchant of Chicago was present as interpreter. Lee Sing, the dead man's partner, was the first placed on the stand and swore to his disappearance and identity after death as has been stated.
      Dr. Camp testified as to the wounds in substance as stated above, giving as his opinion, that death was produced by these thrusts.
      Office Derooch [sic] [DeRocher] related the facts in the case as to the discovery of the body and the wounds, and swore positively that he recognized in the dead man the missing Chinaman, Lee Chung. Mrs. Tilley and another sporting woman from her house testified that on June 18, the day of the disappearance, they saw three Chinamen go towards the river on Laurel street about 1:30 p.m., and at about 5:30 saw two Chinamen return. They identified one of the defendants as one of the Chinamen. Chas. Cross testified that he saw three Chinamen cross the river on that day, and only two returned, and he identified two of the prisoners as the ones he had seen. From the the description he gave the murdered man was undoubtedly the other.
      Thorne Burrell testified that two of the Chinamen came to his father's house and bought chickens, and he identified one of the prisoners as one of the men. The same two men returned at five o'clock and got the chickens and started towards town.
      Court then adjourned until 10 a.m. today.
      Mrs. Chas. Cross was the first witness examined this morning and testified that she saw three Chinamen go across the river and identified two of them. She only saw two return, the two defendants. On the other Chinaman she noticed pock marks, which would indicate that it was the deceased, as he was pock marked.
      Mr. Lum, for the prosecution, here arose and asked that the Chinaman Hom [sic] Kee be discharged, as they had no evidence tending to establish his guilt, which was so ordered by the court.
      Hom [sic] Kee was then placed on the stand and testified that Lee Chung was not at the Laurel street laundry for dinner and that he did not go with the other defendants when they went after chickens. He denied all the main points testified to by Lee Sing and the other witnesses.
      The prosecution then rested after putting Sheriff Spalding on the stand to show that the alleged murder had taken place in Crow Wing county.
      The defense declined to offer any testimony, but made a motion that the defendants be discharged, for the reason that there had been no testimony pointing to the guilt of the defendants. The court denied the motion and bound the defendants over to await the action of the grand jury. Hom [sic] Kee was placed under bonds to require his appearance in court as a witness at the next general term. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 June 1893, p. 1, c's. 3 & 4)

Note: The spelling of Hom [sic] Hang [sic] and Hom [sic] Sing, in the headline above was subsequently changed to Hum [sic] Hong [sic] and Hum [sic] Wing Sing.

      The Chinese laundry on Laurel street which was temporarily closed recently on account of the arrest of the proprietors in connection with the death of Lee Chung, has been purchased by Ham Kee and reopened. Two assistants from St. Paul have been secured, and all work will be attended to promptly. Work will be finished and ready for delivery in 24 hours if desired. All hand work. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 July 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

              DISTRICT COURT NEWS.

      The September term of the district court opened on Monday morning with Judge Holland presiding. The work of the grand jury occupied two days and indictments were brought against Henry Jackson [See Edwin Peck.] for murder in the first degree and also against Hum [sic] Wing Sing and Hum [sic] Hong, the Chinamen. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 September 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

              Adjourned to October 16.

      The September term of court was adjourned on Monday by Judge Holland until October 16th, at 2:30 o'clock at which time the trial of Hum [sic] Wing Sing and Hum [sic] Hong for the murder of Lee Chung will be taken up. The adjournment was made on application of the defendant's counsel, W. S. McClenahan and W. W. Erwin. Mr. Erwin appeared in court and made a statement to the effect that the friends of his clients had agreed to raise a certain amount of money to defray the expense of the trial and that while it had been subscribed, it had not been collected, but would be in a very short time. It was expected the amount would have been telegraphed from New York in time for the trial at that time, but the agent who was sent there took the wrong route and the last heard of him he was in charge of the custom house officials at Montreal. In consenting to an adjournment the county attorney took into consideration the fact that the defendants agreed to a trial together and admitted the evidence of Lee Bang as given in the municipal court. Taking all these things into consideration, Judge Holland granted the request and the pettit jury was notified to appear on the date above mentioned. Judge W. A. Fleming, who was retained by the prosecution, withdrew from the case on account of the uncertainty regarding the raising of funds to defray the expense. The trial will undoubtedly consume considerable time as it will be difficult to secure a jury entirely unbiased and unprejudiced. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 September 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

      District court will convene in adjourned session on Monday at 2 p.m. for the purpose of placing the two Chinamen, now lying in the county jail indicted for murder, upon their trial. The petit jury called for the September term will be required to be in attendance. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 October 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

                  On Trial for Murder.

      The trial of the two Chinamen, Hum [sic] Hong and Hum [sic] Wing Sing, for the murder of Lee Chung on the 18th day of June, opened at the court house before Judge Holland on Monday afternoon, the state being represented by Leon E. Lum, county attorney, assisted by Judge W. A. Fleming, of this city and Attorney General Childs, of St. paul. The attorneys for the defense were McClenahan & Mantor, of this city, and W. W. Erwin, of St. Paul.
      It will be remembered that at the time the crime was committed suspicion at once rested upon the two prisoners now on trial, and they were placed under strict surveillance, their laundry being searched for evidence of their guilt, but nothing of a suspicious character was discovered. This was done only after Lee Buck Sing, the dead man's partner in the laundry business, had been to Duluth and had telegraphed in various directions to find if any trace of the missing man could be found. On the 26th of June a boy herding cattle on the west side of the river found the remains of the dead man, and the police were notified, and the body removed to Losey & Dean's morgue, where Lee Buck Sing identified it as that of Lee Chung. Two knife wounds were found upon the body showing conclusively that the man had been stabbed to death.
      Lee Buck Sing testifies that his partner was last seen alive with the prisoners and that on the Sunday mentioned he went to their Laurel street laundry to eat supper with them and never returned. The two prisoners and the murdered man were seen to go across the river together on that afternoon, and they bought a quantity of chickens at L. W. Burrell's place on the west side. Evidence was produced by the state showing that but two Chinamen came back.
      From the start it was evident that the defense would endeavor to prove that Lee Buck Sing, Lee Chung's partner, was the guilty party, and so it proved. The testimony of Hum [sic] Hong was to the effect that on the fatal Sunday Lee Chung, Hum [sic] Wing Sing and himself, went across the river, and after going to Burrell's they went down along the river bank looking for ginseng, but finding none they returned, and when near the bridge they met Lee Buck Sing, and upon the latter's suggestion Lee Chung accompanied him back to Burrell's to get more chickens, and that the two defendants went on home and that it was the last they ever saw of Lee Chung.
      Lee Buck Sing denied having been at or near the bridge on that Sunday, and J. M. Hayes was called to testify that on the day the crime was committed he was returning from Gull River, and when near the hill between the bridge and Burrell's house he overtook the two defendants, that they were alone and he saw no other Chinamen in the vicinity.
      As was expected, the attorneys made their pleas to the jury this forenoon. Mr. Child's occupying two hours and fifteen minutes, and Mr. Erwin two hours. The court room was packed, every inch of standing room being taken. At 12:55 Judge Holland began his charge to the jury.
      The case has excited considerable interest, and has been conducted in a very thorough manner on both sides. What the outcome will be is a mere conjecture, although the impression generally seems to be that an acquittal or disagreement will be the result. The jurymen are John McCarthy, George Campbell, Frank McClellan, J. P. Saunders, A. J. Forsyth, Hiram Scott, L. H. Stallman, James Towers. D. W. Whitford, D. M. Robinson, Charles Elliott and Henry Bartell (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 October 1893, p. 1, c. 5)

                 Escaped the Gallows.

      The jury in the case of the state vs. Hum [sic] Hong and Hum [sic] Wing Sing, after being out 24 hours, brought in a verdict on Saturday last, of murder in the third degree. For this offense the judge can sentence them to 30 years in state's prison, or make the penalty as light as seven years. The sentence, however, will not be pronounced until Nov. 2nd, at which time a hearing on a motion from the defendant's attorneys will be had, in regard to the indictment, which they claim is defective. If the point is well taken it forever places the Chinamen out of reach of the law, as far as this case is concerned, and they will be liberated; if not, then Judge Holland will pronounce sentence on them and they will be sent to Stillwater where they undoubtedly belong.
      It is stated that the prisoners were very much elated over the verdict, and when informed what the jury had done and the penalty for the crime in that degree, the taller one of the two exclaimed: "No hangie now." He evidently had almost felt the rope around his neck. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 October 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

             A GOOD LONG SENTENCE.

      Hum Wing Sing and Hum Hong Are
             Sentenced to Twenty-Five
                Years in State's Prison

           For the Murder of Lee Chung.

      Yesterday morning the motion to quash the indictment in the case of the state vs. Hum [sic] Hong and Hum [sic] Wing Sing, for the murder of Lee Chung, was argued before Judge Holland and denied.
      The prisoners were brought into court, and in a few brief words Judge Holland sentenced them to twenty-five years in the state's prison at Stillwater, and Sheriff Spalding accompanied by C. E. Cole, started this noon with the Chinamen for Stillwater. They both desired Sheriff Spalding to allow them to cut their cues off before they started on the trip, evidently wishing to do the job themselves rather than undergo the ordeal when they arrived at their journey's end. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 November 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

      The Prison Mirror gets off the following on the two chinamen now serving a life sentence for murder, committed in this city: "The boys of the First Grade are now enjoying ham each meal, that is Ham Hong and Ham Wing Sing, our two Chinese brethren, have been promoted to this grade." (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 May 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

      Clerk of Court S. H. Parker has received a request from Warden Woelfer, of the penitentiary, for a transcript of the evidence and charge of the court in the trial of the two Chinamen who were convicted of murder here several years ago, to be used by the state board of pardons. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 April 1897, p. 4, c. 4)

      Ham Hong and Hum [sic] Wing, the Chinese murderers who were sent to state prison from this county, were refused a pardon by the board on Monday. Their petitions were among those of the 48 that made application and were considered at the last meeting. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 July 1897, p. 4, c. 3)

      Ham Sing, one of the two Chinamen sent to state's prison from this county in 1893, died at the Stillwater prison on Sunday of typhoid fever. Ham Sing and Ham Hong were convicted of murder in the second degree and were serving a 25 years' sentence. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 July 1899, p. 8, c. 1)

      At the meeting of the board of pardons in St. Paul Monday, one Ham Hong, the only Chinaman confined in the Minnesota state prison and which personage Crow Wing county had the honor (?) of furnishing, will ask for a pardon. Ham’s partner in crime died some time ago and he has tired of the society with which he has to mingle at the Stillwater prison. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 October 1901, p. 4, c. 2)

            LEE CHING WANTS
                        PARDON BLOCKED

          Comes a Long Way to Prevent
               Granting of Ham Hong's


        Claims that the Imperial Chinese
             Consul Has Been "Seen" in
                        the Matter.

      Lee Ching, a prominent and well to do Chinaman, of New York city, arrived in the city Saturday from the east and he has come all the way from Gotham on what he deems a very important mission. Lee Ching was a cousin of Lee Chong [sic]. the Chinaman who was murdered in this city about eight years ago, and for which crime Ham Hong, another Chinaman, who was a resident of Brainerd, is serving a twenty-five year sentence at Stillwater.
      Ham Hong's pardon was asked for at the recent meeting of the pardon board in St. Paul but it was refused. The application was asked for by Ho Yow, imperial Chinese consul at San Francisco, but the board refused the pardon as there was nothing but documentary evidence to sustain the allegations. In the letter the consul alleged that Ham Hong was innocent and charged that another Chinaman, who lives in Brainerd, is the guilty party, but there is no Chinaman living here at all now.
      Lee Ching, of New York, read the account of the application before the pardon board of this state in the New York papers, and recognizing his cousin's name and wishing to see that the man convicted for the murder be avenged he hastened here. He did not know when he arrived that the pardon had been refused but was of course very glad to hear of the action that had been taken in the matter.
      He claims that everything in his power and in the power of the wealthy relatives of the murdered Chinaman of New York will be done to block any scheme to have Ham Hong pardoned. One of the first men he saw in this city was Judge Holland, who was the trial judge at the time of the murder. From the judge he secured a letter directed to Tom Lee, who is one of the most influential and wealthy Chinamen of New York city, and in the short epistle the fact that the pardon of Ham Hong had been asked for and had been refused was set forth. This letter Lee Ching wanted so that all of his countrymen in that city would know what disposition had been made of the case.
      Lee Ching stated this afternoon that he was sure that there was some money influence behind the efforts being made by Imperial Consul Ho Yow, of San Francisco, but his countrymen will keep tab hereafter on the meetings of the pardon board and there will always be a representative of the family of the murdered laundryman present to see to it that no pardon be granted if they can prevent it.
      This is Lee Ching's first visit to the city and Sunday morning he was piloted about by D. A. L. Richardson, who at the time of the murder was in the employ of the Brainerd & Northern Ry. He was cognizant with all the facts surrounding the murder and took Lee Ching to the spot where the murder was committed and also to the grave of Lee Chong [sic], in Evergreen cemetery. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 November 1901, p. 2, c. 3)

                  TAKES BONES
                        BACK TO CHINA

        Hun Foy Gathers Remains of Lee
            Chung, Murdered in 1893 in

        China Only Country in World to so
          Gather Remains of Those Who
                 Die Outside of Empire

From Saturday's Daily:—
      Traveling from San Francisco, Cal., Hun Foy is in Brainerd today gathering the remains of Lee Chung, who was murdered in Brainerd in 1893, and the bones, exhumed from the local cemetery, have been placed in a wood and zinc lined box, hermetically sealed and will be shipped back to Lee Chung's former home in China.
      Hun Foy comes originally from Hong Kong. He said it is the custom of the empire to gather, ten years after death, the remains of all Chinamen who die outside the country. This practice, it is believed, is indulged in by China alone.
      At Duluth the remains of ten Chinamen were collected. At St. Paul the remains of four are to be collected. The bones are placed in a box measuring 20 inches long, 14 inches wide and eight inches high. Arriving in China the family and relations assemble about the remains, there are appropriate ceremonies, the bones are placed in an urn and then taken to the cemetery and placed beside the urn of his wife.
      Hun Foy had permission from the state board of health to get the bodies. In Brainerd he had a permit from Dr. R. A. Beise, of the local board of health, and of Milton McFadden, secretary of the cemetery association. Assisted by an undertaker, D. E. Whitney, the grave was speedily located and the bones making a heap which would fill a suit case, were collected and placed in the box provided by Hun Foy.
      Hun Foy is a well-educated Chinaman who has been in the country over 40 years and is established in business in San Francisco. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 October 1914, p. 1, c. 1)


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  • Created by: A. Nelson
  • Added: 20 Jun 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 112622346
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lee Chung (1863–18 Jun 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 112622346, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by A. Nelson (contributor 47143984) .