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Ouyang King

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Pinyin & Chinese characters Ouyang Geng  欧阳庚

Variant Spellings & Other Names Keng Owyang1
Owyang Keng
Owyang King

Other Chinese Name(s) 欧阳少白

Detachment 1

LaFargue No. 5

Date of Birth

18581

Place of Birth

Daling Village 大岭村, Xiangshan District, Guangdong

Age at Departure for US 15 (Lunar Calendar)

Date of Death 19411

Place of Death Beijing

Place(s) of Residence in US (1) 1872 – spring 1873: Bridgeport, CT;
(2) Spring 1873 – Fall 1875: West Haven, CT;
(3) New Haven, CT

American Host Family/ies (1) Guy B. Day, who ran a school in Bridgeport;
(2) Luther Hopkins Northrop & his wife, who operated the Seaside Institute, West Haven;
(3) Henry A. Street, New Haven (1880 U.S. Census)


School(s), with dates Mr. Day’s school;
Seaside Institute, West Haven, CT1;

New Haven High School, CT

Notable Activities/Awards in School  
College/University, with dates Yale: Sheffield Scientific School, 1878-1881

Notable Activities/Awards in College  
Degree/Diploma Obtained (date) Ph.B. 1881

First Assignment in China Fuzhou Naval School (福卅船政学堂) to study navigation

Later Positions

1883:  Upon graduating from naval school, was put on board flagship Yang Wu 扬武 for training.  Then Ouyang applied and was granted leave to return to USA to study for one year.  Subsequently, he worked in the Chinese Consulate in New York City2 (cf. Decatur (IL) Morning Review, 1891.5.3, p.10);

1886: Appointed Vice-Consul at San Francisco, where he served in that post until 1909.3 (cf. Decatur (IL) Morning Review, 1891.5.3 p. 10).  Ouyang related that he was sent to Vancouver twice to deal with problems arising from mob violence against the Chinese there.  Other sources reveal that he was referring to the riot associated with a rally organized by the Anti-Asiatic League on 9 Sept. 1907, when a mob attacked Japanese and Chinese shops and homes.  He settled claims against the Canadian government for damages to the Chinese of about $26,000;2; (cf. Strathcona (AB) Evening Chronicle: 1907.9.10, p. 1: "Disgraceful Race Riots in Vancouver"; also 1908.5.13, p. 3: "Will Adjust Vancouver Riot Claims," and 1908.7.3, "Cost of Rioting.") 

1894 June: Was ordered by Yang Ru 杨儒, Chinese Minister in Washington, to resign for disobeying his instructions and for an alleged criminal offence (“Asked to Resign,” San Francisco Call, 1894.6.14, p. 10)  This involved the case of Hor Shee, a known procuress who, backed by Chinese underworld criminals, was alleged to have smuggled in a young woman from China for prostitution.  OYK actively supported the American authorities in prosecuting the accused, despite Yang Yu’s order to drop the case.  Yang believed the rumours spread by organized crime in San Francisco that in fact it was OYK who had facilitated the landing of the young woman.  OYK refused to resign and demanded to be investigated by the Six Companies’ leaders in order to clear his name.  According to a local paper, Yang had ulterior motives for making these charges.  “It is now believed that the Minister was not displeased when he received the accusations against King Owyang.  It is remembered that when he came to this country he brought with him a man who was to take Owyang’s place, but the Six Companies and the merchants made such a vigorous protest against the change that Yang Yu abandoned his purpose and took his man with him to Washington.”  (“Owyang is Bold,” SFC, 1894.6.24, p. 3).  We have not found any reports of the trial’s verdict, but OYK must have been cleared, for he remained Vice-Consul for many more years.

1894–1895:  Was sent with a party to Mexico to investigate conditions there  with the object of making a treaty with the Mexican government permitting the immigration of Chinese into the country.  OYK remained there for about one year, but made a second trip for further negotiations. 2 The contacts eventually culminated in the Sino-Mexican Treaty of Dec. 1899.  (Cf. Kenneth Cott, “Mexican Diplomacy and the Chinese Issue, 1876-1910,” Hispanic American Historical Review, 67:1 (Feb. 1987), p. 69;

1906, Jan.—Mar.: During the study tour of the Chinese Imperial Commission, OYK, took part in hosting them in San Francisco, and also accompanied delegates on visits in various parts of America.  (“Chinese Visitors Are the Guests at Banquet," Oakland Tribune, 1906.1.15, p. 4; “Taking in the Sights,” Daily News (Marshall, MI), 1906.3.8 p. 1);

1906 April: In the aftermath of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, large parts of Chinatown were destroyed, including the Consulate building, where OYK and his family lived.  They lost all their possessions and moved to a rented house in Oakland.  However, OYK worked 16-hour days, helping stricken Chinese residents recover from the disaster.  He was a member of the Chinese delegation negotiating with the State and municipal authorities regarding the relocation of the affected Chinese residents and the reconstruction of their properties (“Chinese Make Strong Protest,” San Francisco Chronicle, 1906.4.30)  

1909 January– 1909 July: China's first Consul to Rangoon, Burma3

1909 July– 1910 March: Consul General at Vancouver3;

1910 January– 1911: China's first Consul General in Panama3.  Around July 1911, OYK was assigned to investigate the brutal killing and robbery of 303 Chinese residents of Terreón in Mexico carried out by a racist mob and rebel soldiers on 15 May, 1911.  His report, jointly written with an American attorney and the Mexican representative, was submitted on 28 Aug. to Chang Yin Tang 张荫堂, Chinese Minister at Washington.  In September, China sent diplomat Woo Chung Yen (Wu Zhongxian 吴仲贤 II, 33) to settle the dispute with the Mexican government over the amount of indemnity for the loss of life and properties.  The figure of $3.1 million was agreed on 16 December.  Several days later, OYK accompanied Minister Chang to Mexico City to finalize the agreement.  However, due to Mexico's financial problems and political turmoil, the money was never paid. 4

1912: Consul General in Java1;

1917 – 1921: First Secretary of Chinese Legation at London1;

1921 – 1927: Chargé D'Affaires in Chile.1

Employment Sector(s) Navy; Diplomatic Service

Final Rank, if in Gov't Service  
Father's Name Not known; but see Footnote 4 below5  
Mother's Name  
Wife/wives 1) 骆丽莲 Lillian Tin Loy (adopted married name of “Lillian King”), died 19091;
2) 陈锦梅 Chen Jinmei, m. 1914 [Chinese Internet articles].

Family Relations w/ other CEM Students  
Children's Names 1) Earl, b. 1893; Victor, 1894-1902;
2) five children from 2nd marriage.1

Descendants Ouyang Le 欧阳乐 (g/s)
Ouyang Xiaoying 欧阳效英 (g/d)
Ouyang Xiaoping, Florence 欧阳效平 (g/d)
Pan Qiubao 潘秋保 (g/s)

Other In 1891 in San Francisco Ouyang married Lillian Tien Loy, an American-born Chinese Christian woman from that city. She studied medicine at Chicago’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1901.1

Earl, Ouyang’s eldest son, had some of his academic project(s) displayed at the St. Louis International Exhibition of 1904.1


Notes and Sources

1. Kao (1986), 23-44, passim.  In this collection, Kao translated and annotated several letters from Ouyang, and from his wife, Lillian to his former American host family members, Willie Northrop and Mrs. Martha Northrop, in which many important facts were related about the Ouyangs' lives and circumstances.

2.  An important primary source is Ouyang’s autobiographical sketch titled “Biography of Keng Owyang,” a 5-page undated typescript document in LaFargue (Pullman).  However, because several of the dates and details about his many posts, probably recalled in old age, vary from those in the official records, as cited in Note 3, the latter source has been relied upon instead.

3. Diplomatic Postings (1985), 74-86, passim.

4.  For an account of the massacre and its aftermath, see Leo M.D. Jacques, "The Chinese Massacre in Torreón (Coahuila) in 1911," Arizona and the West, 16:3 (Autumn, 1974), 233-246 [pub. by Journal of the Southwest].  See also: "Diplomat From China Arrives," Oakland Tribune, 1911.9.8, p. 2; and "Chinese to Collect Indemnity," San Antonio Express, 1911.12.19, p. 16.

5.  According to his grandson, Ouyang Le 欧阳乐, Ouyang King came from a family distinguished for consular service.  In 1886, for diplomatic service rendered by Ouyang Ming, the Emperor awarded posthumous honours to three generations of his forebears and gifted to him a memorial archway 牌坊 named after the grandfather Ouyang Qingyu 欧阳庆余. Besides OY King, there were: an older cousin, Ouyang Ming 欧阳明(字辉庭 号锦堂), 1838-1902; a younger brother, Ouyang Kee 欧阳祺, and a nephew, Ouyang Kan 欧阳干.  OY Ming was appointed NYC’s first Chinese Consul in March, 1883, in post until Feb. 1886 (“The New York Chinese Consulate,” New York Times, 1883.5.23).  In Sept 1885 he was appointed Consul General at San Francisco.  OY Kee was serving as Vice-Consul at San Francisco in 1910 (“Owyang King En Route to Panama Zone,” SF Call, 1910.4.23, p. 11).  In the post-Qing period, OY Kan served as Vice-Consul at Java. (Sources: 欧阳乐: 百年沧桑《庆余牌坊》─区阳庆余家族简况 on pp. 211-222 of the unpublished collected papers presented at the CEM Conference, Zhuhai, Nov. 2010); OY Le’s biography of OYK posted on  http://baike.baidu.com/view/1179658.htm)