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Helen Gladys Emery & Gunjiro Aoki





A Lesson intolerance Helen Emery & Gunjiro Aoki

Helen Gladys Emery Birth 8 Feb 1888 in Oakland, Alameda Co., California Death 28 JUL 1947 in Grass Valley, Nevada Co., California married Gunjiro Aoki Birth Date: 1 Jul 1878 Birth Place: Japan Death Date: 6 Feb 1932 Father: Kumaji Aoki Mother: Tase Sone. She was the daughter of John Abbott Emery Birth 24 Feb 1848 in Dorchester, Massachusetts Death 16 Nov 1922 in London, England m. 21 Jul 1875 Charmingdale, Yavapai County, Arizona Sophronia Frances Wiseman Birth 8 FEB 1856 in Gold Run, Placer Co., California Death 9 NOV 1936 in Kaweah, Tulare Co., California d/o William Wallace Wiseman & Frances Morris
It’s hard to believe today, but when love found itself strangled by San Francisco‘s intolerance, it came to breathe the freer air of Seattle. Gunjiro Aoki was a scion of a noble samurai family; Helen Gladys Emery was the daughter of Archdeacon John A. Emery of Corte Madera, just north of San Francisco. Gunjiro had come to America to join his brother Peter, an Anglican priest training under Emery. Peter’s grand daughter, the San Francisco based playwright Brenda Wong Aoki, says the Emerys invited her Uncle Gunjiro to live in their house to further his religious education. The newspapers in 1909 called him a servant in their house. One thing’s certain: Gunjiro Aoki and Helen Emery fell in love and determined to marry, throwing her family and the whole state into convulsions. Helen Gladys Emery, 21 (b. 1888) and Gunjiro Aoki, 25 (b. 1883), a native of Japan, fell in love and decided to marry. Their pending marriage was announced –
Cleric's Daughter Will Marry Samurai Neither wars nor rumors of wars nor the manifestations of race prejudice interfere with true love, as is proved by the announced engagement of Miss Helen Gladys Emery, daughter of Rev. John A. Emery, archdeacon of the Episcopal diocese of California, and Gunjiro Aoki scion of a noble house of the Japanese Samurai. - San Francisco Chronicle, Examiner, and the Call. March 10, 1909; and another news article dated March 11, 1909
The union, touted to be the first interracial Japanese/Caucasian marriage in California, so infuriated local politicians that an emergency session was called in the Assembly to specifically keep the wedding from happening. That state's legislature had hastily passed the Polsley Bill, adding the Japanese to the list of races forbidden to marry Caucasians in the State of California just weeks before (March 16, 1909). In order to get married, the couple boarded a train and kept traveling north. At every stop, hordes of people would try to stop their progress. BUT THE YOUNG LOVERS STOOD STEADFAST: Aoki refused an offer of $1,000 from the Japanese community in San Francisco to give up his alliance. "Not for two million dollars," he answered. When the engagement news broke, a mob gathered outside her family's home and pelted Emery and her mother with rocks, rice and dead flowers as the two raced for a train to take them to Washington State, where Aoki, traveling separately, would meet them and the couple could legally marry. At the train station, another crowd gathered to hurl insults. “I can feel only contempt for the ignorance that displays itself in such ways,” Helen told the new York Times. And before she left, Emery issued a public statement. In part, it read:
"I love Gunjiro Aoki, have loved him for some time, and sincerely hope to maintain my love for him despite all that may be said or done, despite the slurs on his character or the insults of the small-minded and petty individuals... I cannot see why children born of such a union would possess to any lesser degree those attributes of Americanism, as judged in its highest and broadest sense, than, say, those born of a union between a native of Poland and one of the interior of Russia. Mentality, breeding, courtesy, honor, love of country and filial devotion are as much a part of the Japanese characteristics as they are American."
They attempted to marry in San Francisco but California’s ban, combined with public outcry, prompted the couple, along with Helen’s mother, to head north.
On the back of the picture was written -
No word has come from Gunjiro Aoki and his bride since they were married in Seattle and went out into Washington state to run a fruit farm. Aoki was the poor young Jap. with whom Helen Emery fell in love in San Francisco. Her father was Archdeacon Emery of the Episcopal Church. He was strongly opposed to the union which aroused such public opposition that Miss Emery and her mother were pursued by a jeering mob when they left San Francisco for the north. Archdeacon Emery met them in Tacoma and accompanied them to Seattle to see that the marriage was performed according to the law. It could not be held in California because there is a law in that State against the intermarriage of Asiatics and Caucasians. Miss Emery said she loved her Jap. and that was sufficient reason for defying public and parental sentiment and marrying him.
The young lovers fled, first to Portland, where mobs drove them out, [A Disgusting Spectacle // Oregonian, March 26. 1909 ] and the Deputy District Attorney said, "If she parades the street with her Jap lover I'll jail 'em both." The county clerk added, "If they come to my office looking for a marriage license, I'll throw 'em out." and then on to Washington but the couple’s travaels had garnered enough media attention that, by the time they reached the state, local elites had made their positions clear. Acknowledging “there [was] no legalimpediment to such a marriage,” Vancouver’s city attorney nonetheless dared the couple to try to marry in his jurisdiction, threatening to “do all [he could] to prevent such a union.” and then on to Tacoma, where the mayor did. [the story was told in a news article dates March 27, 1909] They continued north and were about to be married in international waters off of Victoria when the mayor of Seattle came to their aid Seattle welcomed them, but Gunjiro and Helen (with her now-resigned parents) still snuck into town separately, to dodge the paparazzi.
On March 27, 1909, they wed in a private ceremony in Seattle at the Trinity Episcopal church under armed guard. Their marriage certificate and return.
After the wedding,gunjiro said: "To Christian spirit all things are equal. If you understand about love, you know it is the same in all nationalities. What is the color of love?" The new Mrs. Gladys Aoki replied "I love him. Can't you people understand that I just love him." Mrs. Emery added "We're all immigrants. What's wrong with marrying another immigrant?" The Seattle Star scored an ambush photo outside the church and blazoned it under a banner headline: ”White Girl Is Wed to Jap in Seattle.” The following day 28 Mar 1909, Salt Lake City Herald carried an article entitled "Little Jap Mpw Has White Wife". As a result, Helen lost her U.S. citizenship,
the parents split up and the mother went to live with the young couple.
Archdeacon Emery submitted his resignation to Grace Cathedral and left California.
Not surprisingly, the newlyweds decided to stay up here: “at least, the Americans I have met in Seattle have proven friendly,” Gunjiro told the Star. They settled in the Dunlap neighborhood and he tried to make a go growing produce, which he would probably have sold at the Pike Place Market. Nine months later, however the Times reported that Helen, who‘d since borne a child, was leaving Gunjiro: he had become shiftless and lazy and just wanted to hang out with his Japanese associates.[March 11, 1910 - 1; March 11, 1910 - 2] And there the story would have ended, according to the standard script: Fallen woman begs society to take her back. But it wasn’t the end. The Aoki family comes to Los Angeles in an attempt to escape publicity, renting a house at 226 E. 28th St. [news article of June 22, 1910] Year: 1910; Census Place: Seattle Ward 2, King, Washington; Roll: T624_1658; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0067; Household Members: Name Age Gunpero Soke [Gunjiro Aoki] 25 Helen G Soke [Helen G Aoki] 22 wife b. abt 1888 California Sophronin Soke [ Sophronin Aoki] 9/12 [0] b abt. 1910 Washington Daughter Frances Emmery 55 [53] Lodger Widowed [sic mother-in-law] b abt. abt 1857 [1855] California Yoshitane Obawar 21 Lodger Helen and Gunjiro reconciled and had four more children in a marriage that, the San Francisco Chronicle later wrote, "proved idyllic, contrary to all expectations." There children as found:
1 Sophronia Frances Aoki Birth 19 JUL 1909 in Seattle, King, Washington death 10 MAY 1980 married Sacramento, Sacramento, California married 1927 Jakob A. Stekol Birth 1 Nov 1904 in Samara, Russia Death 1 Jan 1969 in Coral Gables, Florida 2 John H Oakie Birth 5 DEC 1910 in California Death 31 MAY 1962 in Pasadena, Los Angeles Co., California married 21 Sep 1936 California Barbara Mery Bennett Birth 11 Oct 1913 in Chico, Butte, California Death 14 Jun 2008 in Lopez Island, San Juan, Washington d/o Guy Bennett & Ruth M Bennett both buried Clear Creek Cemetery , Nevada, California 3 Dorothy Oakie Birth 1912 in California Death abt 1931 in California 4 Donald Anthony Oaki Birth 29 SEP 1914 in California Death 15 APR 1983 in San Jose, Santa Clara Co., California 5 Constance Oaki Birth 15 Oct 1921 in Oakland, Alameda, California Death 14 Nov 2004 in Carmichael Sacramento California married Kenneth Herman Raymond Birth 9 Mar 1926 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Death 2 Jun 1979 in Sacramento, Sacramento, California, United States (see obitaury below)
U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 Name: Gunjiro Aoki Residence Year: 1914 Street Address: 965 Dewey av Residence Place: Los Angeles, California Occupation: Real Est Publication Title: Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1914 U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) Name: Gunjiro R Aoki Residence Year: 1915 Street Address: 965 Dewey av Residence Place: Los Angeles, California Publication Title: Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1915 U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 Name: Gunjiro R Aoki Residence Year: 1916 Street Address: 6th Residence Place: Los Angeles, California Occupation: Interpreter Publication Title: Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1916 Year: 1920; Census Place: Oakland, Alameda, California; Roll: T625_90; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 123 Household Members: Name Age Gunjiro Aoki 34 Helen Aoki 31 wife Sophronia Aoki 10 Daughter b abt. 1910 Washington John Aoki 9 son b. abt 1911 California Dorothy Aoki 7 Daughter b. abt 1913 California Donald Aoki 5 Son b abt 1915 California Sophronia Emery 63 Mother-in-law b. abt 1857 California U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) Name: Gunjiro Aoki Residence Year: 1923 Street Address: 3024 Blossom _ V Residence Place: Oakland; Alameda; Berkeley, California Occupation: Psychologist Publication Title: Oakland Berkeley Alameda City Directory U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) Name: Gunjiro Aoki Residence Year: 1924 Street Address: 3024 Blossom Residence Place: Oakland; Alameda; Berkeley, California Publication Title: Oakland Berkeley Alameda City Directory 1930 United States Federal Census Name: Gunjiro Aoki Gender: Male Birth Year: abt 1883 Birthplace: Japan Race: Japanese Home in 1930: San Francisco, San Francisco, California Marital Status: Married Immigration Year: 1902 Relation to Head of House: Tom F Kinoshita / Lodger Father's Birthplace: Japan Mother's Birthplace: Japan Year: 1930; Census Place: Berkeley, Alameda, California; Roll: 111; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: Household Members: Name Age Frances Emery 74 b. abt 1856 California Widowed Helen E Oaki 42 b. abt 1888 California Daughter Widowed [sic] Sophronia Oaki 20 b abt. 1910 Washington Granddaughter John H Oaki 19 Grandson b. abt 1911 California Dorothy Oaki 17 Granddaughter b. abt 1913 California Donald Oaki 15 Grandson b abt 1915 California Constance Oaki 8 Granddaughter b. abt 1922 California California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985 Name: Gunjiro Aoki Gender: Male Race: Black [sic] Birth Date: 1 Jul 1878 Birth Place: Japan Age: 53 Death Date: 6 Feb 1932 Spouse: Helen Gladys Aoki Father: Kumaji Aoki Mother: Tase Sone Funeral Home: Martin and Brown Funeral Directors In 1933, after Gunjiro‘s death, Helen regained her citizenship on 11 November 1933 [new article] and changed her name to Oakie. U.S. Naturalization Index card.
U.S. Judge Restores Citizenship to Wife in East-West Marriage The federal court here yesterday restored to citizenship Mrs. Helen Gladys Aoki, 45, wife of the late Gunjiro Aoki and mother of five children by her Japanese husband. Mrs. Aoki was permitted to change her name to Oakie by federal Judge Kerrigan and thus regain her American citizenship. Despite the storm of disapproval by scores of persons she and Aoki, son of a Japanese General and one of the noble Samurai Families of Japan, were married in Seattle. The romance proved contrary to all expectations, idyllic - San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 1933
California Death Index, 1940-1997 Name: Helen Gladys Eddy [Helen Gladys Emery] Social Security #: 0 Sex: Female Birth Date: 8 Feb 1888 Birthplace: California Death Date: 28 Jul 1947 Death Place: Nevada Mother's Maiden Name: Wiseman Father's Surname: Emery Social Security Death Index Name: John Oakie SSN: 561-52-1931 Born: 5 Dec 1910 Died: May 1962 State (Year) SSN issued: California (1955) Social Security Death Index Name: Donald Oakie SSN: 549-26-7580 Last Residence: 95129 San Jose, Santa Clara, California, United States of America Born: 29 Sep 1914 Died: Apr 1983 State (Year) SSN issued: California (Before 1951) Sister Mary Constance Raymond, RSM Monday, November 15, 2004 11:55 PM PST 10/15/1921-11/14/2004 Sister Mary Constance Raymond passed away on November 14, 2004 at Mercy San Juan Hospital, Carmichael, CA. Daughter of the late Gunjiro and Helen Aoki, Sister Mary Constance (Sister Connie) is survived by sons John (Ellen) and Michael (Karen), and six grandchildren with their families. She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth and son, Dennis. Sister Mary Constance was born in Oakland, CA on October 15, 1921 and having been a widow for some years, entered The Sisters of Mercy, Auburn on November 5, 1985, making her profession of vows on August 6, 1987. Prior to her entrance, she had been active in retreat work, hospital visitation and parish programs throughout the northern California area. Sister received her certification as Spiritual Director in 1985 she completed the requirements for Clinical Pastoral Care in 1987 and was awarded her Master in Sacred Theology by the Franciscan School of Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California in 1991. Sister ministered as Hospital Chaplain at Mercy Hospital, Folsom and Mercy General Hospital, Sacramento, before assuming responsibility as Director of the Mercy Center, Auburn. From 1975 to the present, Sister was spiritual director for many individuals as well as giving group presentations in the area of spirituality. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004 at 10:30 am at Our Lady of Mercy Convent Chapel, 535 Sacramento St.,, Auburn. Internment will be at Calvary Cemetery, Carmichael, after the Mass. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 535 Sacramento St., Auburn. CA 95603, for Mercy Center or the Fund for the Poor. Funeral arrangements are being handled by W.S. Gormley & Sons. Published in the Auburn Journal November 16, 2004. Lineages: #1 - Helen Gladys Emery -> John Abbot Emery -> Charles Emery & Susan Hilton Kelly -> Capt Robert Emery & Mary Lyman -> Captain John Emery & Margaret Gookin -> Noah Emery & Joanna Perryman -> Noah Emery & Elizabeth Chick -> Daniel Emery & Margaret Gowen -> James Emery & Elizabeth Nock -> Anthony E Emery & Frances Porter #2 - Helen Gladys Emery -> John Abbot Emery -> SUSAN HILTON KELLY & CHARLES EMERY -> JOHN KELLY & SUSAN HILTON -> William Kelly & Lavinia Bailey -> John Kelly & Hannah Somes Kelly --> ELIZABETH EMERY & John Kelly Jr. -> John Emery and Mary Webster -> John Emery & Alice Grantham #3 - Helen Gladys Emery -> John Abbot Emery -> SUSAN HILTON KELLY & CHARLES EMERY -> JOHN KELLY & SUSAN HILTON -> Lavinia Bailey & William Kelly -> Abner Bailey & Mary Baldwin ->Joshua Bailey & Sarah Coffin Bailey -> Isaac Bailey and Sarah Emery ->Eleanor Emery & John Bailey -> John Emery & Alice Grantham #4 - Helen Gladys Emery -> John Abbot Emery -> SUSAN HILTON KELLY & CHARLES EMERY -> JOHN KELLY & SUSAN HILTON -> Lavinia Bailey & William Kelly -> Abner Bailey & Mary Baldwin -> Joshua Bailey &Sarah Coffin Bailey -> Sarah Emery & Isaac Bailey ->John Emery & Mary Webster -> John Emery & Alice Grantham

Thanks to Roger Miller for the start of this page.





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