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Sue Yi Chew


1. c. 1873-74, Ct. Hist. Soc.?  2. c. 1880, Ct. Hist. Soc.?  3. 1936 CEM Reunion (Lafargue Collection)


Pinyin & Chinese characters Su Ruizhao 苏锐钊1

Variant Spellings & Other Names Soo Yui Chin2
Su Yui Tsin
Su Yi Chu
Su Yu-tchu3
American nickname: "Africanus Su"4

Other Chinese Names Su Jianhou 苏剑侯

Detachment 2
LaFargue No. 35
Date of Birth 1860

Place of Birth Nanhai, Guangdong

Age at Departure for U.S. 14 (Lunar Calendar)
Date of Death  
Place of Death Probably Shanghai, where he retired.

Place(s) of residence in U.S.

(1) Northampton, MA, 1873-76;
(2) Troy, NY

American Host Family/ies (1) Martha Ely Matthews, Northampton, MA
(2) John & Mary Magivny, Troy, NY (U.S. Census 1880)

School(s), with dates Northampton High School (did not graduate)3
Notable activities/ awards in school

College/University, with dates Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, Fall 18793

Notable activities/ awards in College

Degree/Diploma Obtained, with date  
First Assignment in China Assigned to Fuzhou Naval School

Later Positions

1882 after graduating at Fuzhou became an instructor at Whampoa (Huangpu) 黃埔 Military School, Canton;

1893 accompanied Minister Yang Ru 杨儒 to Washington, DC, as Yang's secretary3;

1895 accompanied Minister Yang to Madrid to present Yang’s diplomatic credentials in Spain;

1896 accompanied Minister Yang to Lima to present Yang’s diplomatic credentials in Peru;

1897 sent to St. Petersburg on consular service for 3 years in Russia, then reassigned to Washington;

1903 appointed Interpreter Class III in Legation staff of Minister Sir Chentung Liang Cheng (Liang Pe Yuk Liang Pixu 梁丕旭 IV, 118)

1905 appointed Consul General in Manila, succeeding Chung Mun Yew (Zhong Wenyao 钟文耀 I, 2), who left post August 19055;

1909 handled foreign affairs for Guangdong and Guangxi provincial governments;

1910 appointed Consul General at San Francisco but did not take post due to his aged and frail parents5;

1910-12 appointed Consul General at Singapore5;

1912 appointed first Chinese consul to Batavia5;

1914 returned to China upon death of his father;

1915-20 General Manager of Guangzhou-Sansui Railway;

1920 Secretary of Chinese Legation, Tokyo;

1923 posted to Foreign Affairs Dept.;

1926-28: Advisor to Foreign Affairs Dept. and then retired.6

Employment sector(s) Navy; Government: Diplomatic Service; Railway Service

Final rank, if in gov't service

Father's name Su Zicheng 苏子城

Mother's name  
Family relations w/ other CEM students A son of Sue Yi Chew married a daughter of Kwong Pin Kong (Kuang Bingguang 邝炳光 IV,93).7 
Children's Names

Descendants Paternal grand-daughter: Louise Su Tang


c. 1890s joined Scottish Rite Masonic Order, Federal Lodge, No. 1, Washington, D.C.

1915 32nd Degree of the Scottish Rite conferred on "Su Yu-tchu...of the Chinese Consular Service" (Scottish Rite. Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., The New Age Magazine, v. 22-23, 1915, p. 197f.)

Notes and Sources

1. All contemporary Chinese sources and Yung Shang Him (1939) write Sue’s personal name as 锐钊.  The variant romanizations, “Yui Chin” and “Yui Tsin” suggest that the second character in Su’s personal name may occasionally have been taken to be the visually similar 钏 (chuan).

2. Springfield Daily Republican, 26 July 1873, 3.

3. Springfield Sunday Republican, 30 March 1902, 11.

4. As in letter of Young Shang Him (Rong Shangqian 容尚谦 I, 6) to Woo Yang Tsang (Wu Yangzeng 吴仰曽 I, 3), dated 30 November 1936, enumerating the eleven who attended the reunion in Shanghai, 3 November 1936. LaFargue (Pullman).

5. Consul General, Manila: Foreign Office records show 1906.4-1907.12.

Consul General, San Francisco: Foreign Office records show he assumed post 1909.10-1910.7.

Consul General, Singapore: Foreign Office records show he assumed post 1910.10-1911.

First Chinese Consul, Batavia: Foreign Office records show 1911.9, transferred from Singapore to Consul General at Java, a newly-created consulate covering Batavia, Borneo and neighboring areas. Source for above details: Diplomatic Postings (1985), 73-77.

6. From Sue’s autobiographical essay Shengping zishu "生平自述" reprinted in Kao (1986), 113-115; and in Shi (2000), 255.

7. Information courtesy Louise Su Tang (email 6 April 2008).