Text Size S M L
Print E-mail

Fong Pah Liang


1905 CEM Reunion (LaFargue Collection).

Pinyin & Chinese characters Fang Boliang 方伯樑
Variant Spellings & Other Names Fang Pe Liang1
Fong P. Liang2
Liang Pak Fong 
Other Chinese Names Fang Zhuchen (zi 字) 柱臣
Fang Wenti (hao 号) 文体

Detachment 2
LaFargue No. 42
Date of Birth 16 March 18603
Place of Birth Kaiping, Guangdong

Age at Departure for U.S. 14 (Lunar Calendar)
Date of Death 1927 (age 67)4
Place of Death Hankou5
Place(s) of residence in U.S. (1) Wilbraham, MA
(2) Easthampton, MA (U.S. Census 1880)

American Host Family/ies (2) Charles E. Leland, Easthampton, MA (U.S. Census 1880)
School(s), with dates Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham, MA (1873-1876); Williston Seminary, Easthampton, MA (1876-1880)6

Notable activities/ awards in school

College/University, with dates M.I.T. (1880-81)6

Notable activities/ awards in College

Degree/Diploma Obtained, with date  
First Assignment in China 1881-82 Attended Telegraph School, Tianjin7

Later Positions 1882-98: Clerk in Charge, Telegraph Office at Fuzhou and later at Guangzhou;

1889-1905: Teacher, Telegraph School, Guangzhou;

1905-08: North China Railway Service, Tianjin; Proctor, Tangshan Railway and Engineering College, Tangshan;

1908-09: Member, Bureau of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce, Mukden (Fengtian 奉天);

1909-12: Student Engineer, Beijing-Zhangjiakan Railway 京张铁路, Telegraph Section7; Section Chief Inspector, Beijing-Zhangjiakan Railway8;

Head of Telegraph Department, same line; later held similar position with Hankow-Canton Railway.5

Employment sector(s) Telegraph Service; Railway Service.

Final rank, if in gov't service

Father's name Fang Shouyan 方守严
Mother's name  

Ms. Wong, married 1883 (3 daughters)
Ms. Loo, married 1891 (no children)
Ms. Soon, married 1894 (8 sons, 2 daughters)

Family relations w/ other CEM students

Children's Names

By Ms. Soon (孙氏):
8 Sons: 1. Xiyue 锡粤; 2, Xijin 锡津; 3. Xitang 锡唐; 5. Xijing 锡荆; 6. Xigao 锡皋; 7. Xiwu 锡武; 8. Xichang 锡昌; 9. Xisheng 锡盛;
2 daughters: 4. Guiying 闺英; 10. Guixing 闺兴.


Granddaughter: Hui Fang 方辉 (father: 方锡皋).
22 grandchildren currently living in China.

Other In May, 1878, Fong Pah Liang joined a group of about eight other Chinese students then attending Williston Seminary in founding the "Chinese Christian Home Mission," a society dedicated to the promotion of Christianity among the CEM students and the Chinese in America as well as in China. “P. L. Fong” served as President of this society. After some initial success in winning more students for the Faith, an internal dispute over the Home Mission’s goals and methods caused division among its leaders and led to its eventual dissolution. By the Fall of 1878 a second society, Societas Condita Causa Augendarum Rerum Chinensium Christiana (“Society Founded for the Advancement of Chinese Christianity”), of uncertain relation to the first but with similar evangelical goals, had been formed among CEM students at other schools or academies; but it is not known if Fong joined this society.9

After his return home, Fong appears to have maintained ties to the Christian community in China. In a brief memoir printed in the book commemorating the 25th anniversary of M.I.T.’s Class of 1884, Fong noted that while residing in Canton, he was "interested in missionary work, being a member of Rev. C. A. Nelson's mission and belonged to a committee of the same."10  Rev. Nelson was a member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and active in the work of mission-led education in Canton and south China.

Fong Pah Liang brought his youngest brother, Fong Pah-lin 方伯麟, into the telegraph service; he later became a well-known expert in the industry and in 1924 published a book 初级电报学 (“Basics of Telegraphy”).11

Notes and Sources


Much significant biographical information has been kindly supplied by Hui Fang, granddaughter of Fong Pah Liang (emails, 8 & 20 Feb. 2014, ). 

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

2. Signature: "Yours truly / Fong P. Liang / Canton, / China. / Springfield / March, 1875," in autograph book of Yung Kwai (Rong Kui 容揆 II, 34), Yung Kwai Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, Yale University Library, New Haven, CT.

3. Date of birth as published in Class of '84 M.I.T. Twenty-fifth Anniversary Book (Boston: The Everett Press, 1909), p. 42. (Source courtesy Hui Fang.) CEM student name lists give xinyou 辛酉 (1861) as Fong's year of birth.

4. Year of death and age at death: courtesy Hui Fang.

5. Yung Shang Him (1939), pp. 24-25, Yung Shang Him (10/1939), pp. 248-249.

6. Schools and college: Rhoads (2011), p. 92, Table 7.1. (Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham, MA); p. 100, Table 7.3 (Williston Seminary, Easthampton, MA); p. 116, Table 8.1 (M.I.T.).

7. Who's Who (1917; 1978), p. 3.

8. Student name list compiled by Won Bing Chung (Wen Bingzhong 温秉忠 II, 36).

9. On the student-created Christian societies, see Rhoads (2011), pp. 153-57.

10. Class of '84 M.I.T. Twenty-fifth Anniversary Book (Boston: The Everett Press, 1909), p. 43.

11. Data courtesy Hui Fang.