Chinese pioneers arrived in Delta in the 1880s after working in the gold fields, railway construction and road building. They were attracted to the Ladner area as work was readily available on farms, with salmon fishing and its canneries lining the banks of the Fraser River.
Much of Delta's early road building was accomplished with Chinese labour. Over time, some 400 Asian men settled in the area of West River Road and 47A Avenue in Ladner. They built their housing adjacent to and on the river as well as stores and restaurants to meet their needs. Many of the early structures in their community were seriously damaged in an extensive fire in 1929.
In 1909, Chung Mor Ping, 11 at the time, and his father came to Canada from Canton, China and soon arrived in Ladner. The young Chinese lad became known as Chung Chuck and a lifetime resident of Ladner.
He attended public schools in Ladner and New Westminster as well as a private school. Chung Chuck became the highest profile member of Delta's Chinese community and well known throughout B.C. for his legal exploits.
Citizens in Mainland China had survived centuries of hard times by outsmarting their overlords. It seems Chung Chuck brought this tenacity and character with him, much to the chagrin of those in authority locally.
Immigration laws in those earlier times only permitted Chinese males to enter Canada and they were subject to the controversial head tax. Chung's advice from his father was: "Work hard, get a good education, save your money, buy land and be a good Canadian citizen."
In 1929, Chung Chuck, already in the farm business and growing potatoes, built his first home/storage shed and emblazoned it with a large painted logo: "Chung Chuck Potato Grower." Chung was driven to succeed in this strange new land and in his own independent way.
In the 1930s, Lower Mainland crop farmers were facing a price war with U.S. border states shipping produce into B.C. The B.C. government was persuaded to set up a marketing board, thus regulating the business and pricing of product.
This set the stage for unrelenting conflict between Chinese farmers led by Chung Chuck and the "boards" that attempted to control and regulate the price and flow of product to the consumer. The "board" was successful in 1936 in shutting down Chung's sale of potatoes from his home.
Unrepentant, Chung was not willing to pay the marketing board for washing, grading, storing and shipping his potatoes. He reasoned, correctly as it turned out, he could do it cheaper with direct sales to his customers.
Legislation was enacted making "bootlegging potatoes" illegal. Chung Chuck was jailed and released and continued with his direct sales, expanding into Cloverdale, Langley and Hammond, sometimes camouflaging his product.
During this turbulent time with authorities, Chung married Mary Lee in 1940 and they raised five children, Vickie, Joyce, Frances, Winch and Napoleon.
Ever the contrarian, Chung Chuck was resistant of all authority to control his business and his personal liberty. The legal battles were just beginning.
To be continued. And a good night to you, Janet.