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Jang Ting Shan

Pinyin & Chinese characters Zheng Tingxiang 郑廷襄

Variant Spellings & Other Names

Jan Ting Shan
Jang Ting Seong
Jang Liang Sing
Tsiang Ting Sheong
Jang Landsing
Jang Lansing [as of 1906]1

Other Chinese Name(s) Zheng Lansheng 郑兰生

Detachment 3

LaFargue No. 88

Date of Birth 10/11 October 18642

Place of Birth Shiqi 石歧, Xiangshan (Zhongshan), Guangdong

Age at Departure for US 13 (Lunar Calendar)2

Date of Death 10 July 19092

Place of Death Boonton, New Jersey (buried at Vernon, CT, 13 July 19092)

Place(s) of Residence in US (1) Hadley, MA;
(2) Hartford, CT.

American Host Family/ies (1) Miss Maria [Mariah] L. Pasco, Hadley, MA;
(2) Dr. Edward W. & Hilah A. Kellogg, Hartford, CT3

School(s), with dates

Rockville High School, Rockville (now a part of Vernon), CT, 1879-80;
? West Middle Public School, Hartford, CT4
Hartford Public High School, Hartford, CT: admitted May 1880, recorded as attending from June to October, 1880, as a junior in the English (non-Classical) Department.5

Notable Activities/Awards in School

College/University, with dates Jang was due to enter Sheffield Scientific School at Yale in 1881 when the CEM was recalled. After returning to the U. S., in 1884 he enrolled in Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, and graduated, with distinction, with the Class of 1887.5 In June 1892, he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Worcester Polytechnic Alumni Association of Cleveland, Ohio.6

Notable Activities/Awards in College Jang was an excellent scholar and a star player on the tennis team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he encouraged creation of competition tennis matches (see below, "Other").5

Degree/Diploma Obtained (date) Mechanical Engineering, 1887.

First Assignment in China Assigned to Torpedo section, Dagu 大沽 Forts, Tianjin

Later Positions

1881-1883: Spent two years in military service, mostly at at Dagu Forts; supposedly had "indefinite leave of absence to finish his education in U.S."7

1884: Early in the year returned to US (see below, “Other”); obtained assistance of Rev. J. H. Twichell in entering Worcester County Free Institute of Technology (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); Rev. Twichell also helped find financial support for his education.8

1887: After graduation employed by Pratt & Whitney, Hartford, CT;

1889: Was working as draftsman for Brush Electric, Cleveland, OH, at the time of his marriage.9

1894: Moved from Cleveland to New York City, where he was  partner in an engineering firm, Wetmore and Landsing; served also as a consulting engineer to the Chinese Legation in Washington, DC.10

Employment Sector(s) Engineering

Final Rank, if in Gov't Service  
Father's Name  
Mother's Name  
Wife/wives Married, 11 November 1889, Nellie Harriet Sparks (1858-1942), of Vernon, CT, a schoolmate at Rockville High School.11 They were married by Rev. Joseph H. Twichell whose handwritten certificate of their marriage survives. See note 15 below.
Family Relations w/ other CEM Students  
Children's Names Two sons; both followed in their father's footsteps and built prominent careers in the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering:

Joseph Twichell Lansing (1890-1958), named in honor of Rev. Joseph H. Twichell; attended Clark College and Clark University, Worcester, MA: A.B. 1915; A.M. (History) 1916; dissertation, The present situation of the United States in regard to naval and military preparedness, published by Clark University, 1916.

Raymond Possons Lansing (1893-1980); attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA: Class of 1915; awarded more than 150 patents in the design of aircraft engines; Vice President of Bendix Aviation Corporation.12


Cora Lansing, granddaughter
Everett Lansing, grandson
  (Their father: Joseph Twichell Lansing).


“…[W]hen in 1883 Tong Shao-yi [Tang Shaoyi 唐绍仪 III, 61] boarded the official junk which was to take him to Korea to join Von Mollendorf in the Korean Customs service, he found Jang hiding as a stowaway aboard the junk.  Jang had no knowledge that this was the junk designated to take Tong to Korea but had boarded it under the belief that it was bound for Java and Sumatra.  From one of these places he hoped to get to the United States.  When he recognized his former schoolmate now arrayed in his mandarin robes, Jang emerged from his hiding place and made himself known to Tong.  Tong took him to Korea and from there enabled him to get passage to America….”13

On 25 September 1888, Jang Landsing presented documents to the District Court of Hampshire County at Northampton, MA in support of his petition to become a citizen of the United States. On the same date, the District Court issued a testimonial that "Jang Landsing" of Hadley, was admitted to become a citizen. At the time, the 14th section of the so-called "Chinese Exclusion Act" (passed May 6, 1882) stipulated that "no State court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citizenship". In October, 1892, Jang, then a resident of Cleveland, sought to register as qualified to vote in the federal election of 8 November 1892, and presented his certificate of citizenship as proof of eligibility.  Although both The Cleveland Leader and the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported a challenge to the inclusion of Jang's name on the list of registered voters, other voters in Cleveland appeared before the Board of Elections to voice their support of his claim to be a citizen, noting that the law had been ignored in other states, including Massachusetts, said to be "the most law abiding state in the union."14

Reverend Joseph H. Twichell conducted Jang Landsing’s wedding on 11 November 1889, and, twenty years later in 1909, officiated at his funeral. Yung Wing was also present at both ceremonies in Vernon, CT.15

According to some sources, Jang Ting Shan was credited with the invention of a coupling device for railway cars (referred to as “Jann’s coupling” or the "Jang method" of coupling), and was also said to have been one of the engineers who designed and erected the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.  Neither of these claims is factual.  The "Janney Coupler" was a semi-automatic coupler for linking railway cars invented by the American engineer, Eli Hamilton Janney (1831-1912), whose patent for it was awarded on 29 April 1873.  As for the Brooklyn Bridge, it was completed in May 1883, before Jang had returned from China to complete his education in the United States.16

As "Jang Landsing," Jang was awarded a number of patents by the U.S. Patent Office: e.g. 1896, for "Photographic-plate holder and developing apparatus"; 1904, for "Electric rail-bond", and "System and apparatus for flushing"; 1907, for "Storage batttery" (assigned to General Storage Battery Company, New York, NY).17

As a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1885, Jang Ting Shan sought to stimulate interest in competition tennis by donating “a silver cup and platter of Chinese workmanship, which was to be held by the winner of the annual matches…[After matches held in 1893, there] are no records of subsequent matches, nor of what disposition was made of the Landsing cup.”18

1900 August 14 -- Jang Landsing, then residing at Rockville Centre, NY, took an examination as "Chinese interpreter" with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, in Washington, D.C.  The official report of his performance indicated he earned high marks in all skills covered, including spelling, arithmetic, letter-writing, penmanship, and "copying from plain copy". His highest score, for "experience and training as a Chinese interpreter", was 100.19

Notes and Sources


1. As a student at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Zheng Tingxiang spelled his name "Jang Landsing", by which he was long known in American society. His adopted surname approximates his alternate Chinese personal name, Lan-Sheng 兰生 (recorded in Wen Bingzhong). However, in a sworn deposition, notarized 10 February 1941, in Sidney, Delaware County, NY, Jang's American wife declared that in the year 1906 her late husband, she, and their elder son, Joseph Twichell Landsing, had changed their names "from LANDSING to LANSING without any legal proceedings taken to effect such a change." She declared that all three continued to use the name LANSING and were so known to "all our relatives, friends, neighbors and the general public”. (Copies of documents relating to Jang's petition and award of citizenship, and the deposition by Nellie H. Lansing, courtesy of her granddaughter Cora Lansing.)

2. Sources provide conflicting dates of birth. Chinese records give renxu 壬戌 (1862) as year of birth, 13 sui 岁 as age (lunar calendar) at departure from China. On his petition for U.S. citizenship (dated 25 September 1888), Jang declared 10 October 1863 his date of birth, but claimed to be about 24 y.o. A posthumous biography, "Life of Jang Landsing, by Y.S.C.", in The Chinese Students' Monthly, 5.3 (Jan. 1910): 186-87, notes his birthdate as 11 October 1864, making him "a boy of ten years of age" on arrival at San Francisco, 21 October 1874 (cf. Rhoads [2011], p. 41).  ("Y.S.C." was Yushu Chin, Chinese Secretary of the Board of Executives, The Chinese Students' Monthly. Chin was a student at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, alma mater of Jang Lansing.) Date and place of death: "Life of Jang Landsing," p. 186.  Burial in Vernon, CT: Rev. Joseph H. Twichell, personal journal, July 13, 1909; Rhoads (2011), p. 206. (C.S.M. source courtesy Reed Tang, email 1 Mar. 2013; and Cora Lansing, email 26 Oct. 2016.)

3. Residences and hosts: Rhoads (2011), p. 53, Table 5.1 (Hadley, MA, Maria L. Pasco); Rhoads (2011), p. 141, Table 9.3 (Hartford, CT, Dr. Edward W. Kellogg). Dr. Edward W. Kellogg (1840-1921), a doctor of homeopathic medicine, was the eldest brother-in-law of Yung Wing.

4. Robyn (1996), p. 153. Attendance not confirmed.

5. Edward J.M. Rhoads, email 16 March 2006 (citing Hartford Public High School monthly reports, 1880-81, and Hartford Courant 12 Nov. 1889, p. 1). Achievement at Worcester Polytechnic Institute: "Life of Jang Landsing, by Y.S.C.", in The Chinese Students' Monthly, 5.3 (Jan. 1910), p. 186 (cf. note 2 above).

6. Worcester Daily Spy, 24 June 1892 (source courtesy Bruce Chan).

7. Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12 November 1889, p. 6.

8. Rev. Joseph H. Twichell, personal journal, entry of 6-7 February, 1884.

9. Edward J.M. Rhoads, email 16 March 2006 (citing Hartford Courant 12 Nov. 1889, p.1).

10. Rhoads (2011), p. 206.

11. Data on Nellie H. Sparks from website of Sparks Family Association, accessed 2011/10/23 (source courtesy Bruce Chan). Date and place of marriage: New Haven Register, 12 November 1889; Worcester Daily Spy, 24 June 1892 (source courtesy Bruce Chan). Cf. Rhoads (2011), p. 206.

12. Some information on Lansing sons from web site of Sparks Family Association, accessed 2011/10/23. Degrees awarded Joseph Twichell Lansing: Louis N. Wilson, comp., "List of Degrees Granted at Clark University and Clark College, 1889-1920," in Publications of the Clark University Library, Worcester, Mass., Vol. 6, No. 3, (Dec. 1920), pp. 40, 47, 64. Spelling of younger son's middle name attested by Selective Service registration card (copy courtesy Cora Lansing).

13. LaFargue (1987), p. 142.

14. Copies of documents presented to District Court of Hampshire County, Northampton, MA, kindly supplied by Cora Lansing.  Jang seeks to register as voter: The Cleveland Leader, 21 October 1892, 3:3; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 21 October 1892, 6.  (It is not known if Jang voted in the election of 8 Nov. 1892.) "Chinese Exclusion Act" text: Andrew Gyory, Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 261-264.

15. Handwritten certificate of marriage in hand of Rev. Twichell, dated 11 November 1889, at Vernon, Conn., signed by Joseph H. Twichell; also signed by Yung Wing as one of thirteen witnesses (copy courtesy Cora Lansing); burial service in Vernon, CT: Joseph H. Twichell, personal journal, July 13, 1909 (transcript courtesy E. J. M. Rhoads).

16. E.g., Yung Shang Him (1939), p. 29; Yung Shang Him (10/1939), p. 253; LaFargue (1987), p. 142.  Cf. Qian & Hu (2003), p. 252; Qian & Hu (2004), p. 272; Y. C. Wang, Chinese Intellectuals and the West 1872-1949 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1966), p. 97.

17. Information from online U.S. Patent Office sources, courtesy Bruce Chan.

18.Herbert Foster Taylor, Seventy Years of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (privately printed: 1937), [Chapter 14] "Student Life with Dr. Fuller," pp. 154-155. On website of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  https://web.wpi.edu/academics/library/history/seventyyears/page154.html. (Reference courtesy E. J. M. Rhoads, email 19 March 2006.)

19. Document: "Report of Averages -- Chinese interpreter examination." United States Civil Service Commission, Washington, D.C.  Signed: "John R. Proctor, President"; dated: "Sep 21 1900".  (Copy of original document courtesy Cora Lansing.)