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Woo Kee Tsao


2. 1919 CEM Reunion, LaFargue Collection


Pinyin & Chinese characters Wu Qizao  吴其藻

Variant Spellings & Other Names Woo Ki Tso

Other Chinese Names 吴敏斋

Detachment 4
LaFargue No. 100
Date of Birth 1864

Place of Birth Cuiwei Village 翠微村, Xiangshan, Guangdong Province1

Age at Departure for U.S. 12 (Lunar Calendar)
Date of Death 1932
Place of Death Shanghai
Place(s) of residence in U.S. (1) South Hadley Falls, MA;
(2) Hartford, CT

American Host Family/ies (1) R. Ogden Dwight;
(2) Helen E. Blakeslee
School(s), with dates Hartford West Middle Public School, Hartford, CT;

Hartford Public High School, Hartford, CT.

Notable activities/ awards in school

College/University, with dates

Notable activities/ awards in College

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

Later Positions 1884: fought in Sino-French War;

1894: fought in Sino-Japanese War, where he was captain of cruiser Kaiji "凯旗"; sunk by enemy fire, but rescued by local fishermen;1

Post-war period: taught in Shanghai Naval School;1

1903 January - April: Chargé d'Affaires at Chinese Consulate in Seoul, with collateral responsibility for Longshan 龙山 and Yuanshan (Wonsan) 元山; and again, 1905 September – 1906 June2;

1904 May – 1905 September: Chinese Consul at Fushan (now Pusan) 釜山, with collateral responsibility for Mashanpu (now Masan) 马山浦2;

Worked for the Salt Distribution Dept. 盐运部 and Shanghai-Nanking Railway.

Employment sector(s) Navy; Government; Railways

Final rank, if in gov't service

Father's name Wu Youyuan 吴悠遠, aka Houzhi 厚志 - traditional Chinese doctor1

Mother's name  
Wife/wives Ms. Tao 陶氏; 1 concubine of Japanese nationality
Family relations w/ other CEM students

Children's Names Sons: by wife, Wu Zhiliang 吴志良; by concubine, Wu Zhiqiang 吴志强
2 daughters by wife, name not known

Descendants (incomplete) nephew: Wu Dawen 吴达文


According to Wu Dawen, Woo Kee Tsao's father, Wu Youyan was acquainted with Yung Wing, both being natives of Xiangshan.  While Wu was practising medicine in Macau, Yung happened to be there also, recruiting boys for the CEM.  Learning of this scheme, he entrusted Yung to bring his eldest son, Woo Kee Tsao up to Shanghai to be tested for admission.  Certain aspects of this account seem not too plausible, nevertheless, it is of interest as an anecdotal testimony of how some CEM candidates might have been recruited.1 

There was an intimate relationship among Woo Kee Tsao and two CEM colleagues that extended to the second generation.

1.  Woo's younger brother Wu Qifen 吴其芬 studied medicine at Beiyang University 北洋大学, where former CEM student, Tsai Shou Kee (Cai Shaoji 蔡绍基 I, 1) was Director.  He later married Tsai's eldest daughter, Cai Guiqing 蔡桂卿.1

2.  On one occasion, Wu Qifen, with the aid of former CEM student Chow Chang Ling (Zhou Changling 周长龄 III, 63),  received emergency medical treatment in Hong Kong.  Afterwards, he stayed on and worked for Chow in his King's Theatre movie house 娱乐戏院 until 1936.1

Notes and Sources 1. Many details from reminiscences by Woo's nephew (son of Wu Qifen 吴其芬), Wu Dawen 吴达文, written up by Liang Zhenxing 梁振兴: "留美幼童吴其藻及其家世", 《珠海文史第16 辑》 (Dec. 2006), 76-80.

2. Diplomatic Postings (1985), 79-80.