It is just over 20 years since we left China and came to this hospitable country, the United States of America.
I do not have anything of value to leave behind, but there is one thing I can give you. It is the record of our family antecedents, which I have been able to piece together. It should satisfy your understandable requests for information.
Here it is. HAPPY THANKSGIVING. GOD BLESS YOU.
I was born on August 31, 1892, in Shanghai, China. My father, Henrique Carlos LubeckClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (6429) to be taken to his personal page , and my mother, Philothea de Souza LubeckClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (6427) to be taken to her personal page, had me baptized in the Catholic religion, in the Sacred Heart Church, Hongkew, on September 8, 1892, with the names Carlos Borromeu.
To my knowledge there is no record of my grandmother. [In fact, there is: Dr Jorge Forjaz, in his Familílias Macaenses Vol II pp424-425, argues that she was Matilde Rosália BarrettoClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24150) to be taken to her personal page. who later became a nun and Mother Superior in the Canossian Order. – Ed.] My grandfather'sClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (24149) to be taken to his personal page last name, Lubeck, was put on a headstone in the Protestant cemetery in Macao (the Portuguese spell it Macau) by the Portuguese authorities. Through various sources I have been able to reconstruct the following. My grandfather Lubeck was a Swedish seaman who settled in the Portuguese colony of Macao and operated the business of a stevedore, catering to sailing vessels which made use of the harbor and port. In l864 a typhoon hit Macao, my grandfather was killed and his business wrecked. The Portuguese authorities took charge of his affairs, as well as of his two sons, aged 5 and 3. The younger was my father.
An official of the Macao government, Pedro Nolasco da SilvaClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (1646) to be taken to his personal page , took both boys into his home. He named the older LuizClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (19403) to be taken to his personal page and the younger, my father, born July l5, 1861, Henrique Carlos. Later both boys were given schooling in the "Colégio de S. José". After graduation, my father was apprenticed to a sailing ship which used to make the round trip trading voyage from Macao, via Malacca and Ceylon, to Goa, in India, at that time the chief port and headquarters of the Portuguese Far Eastern expansion. In due course my father was given his certificate as "Sota Piloto" (assistant navigator). He did not however take to the sea permanently. When the newly founded British colony of Hongkong began to boom, he looked for work there. There he met a Mr. de Souza, owner and editor of "Eco do Povo" (Voice of the People), a paper edited for the benefit of Portuguese living in Hongkong. My father worked for Mr. de SouzaClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (6319) to be taken to his personal page as compositor and pressman. Eventually he married his boss's daughter, Philothea, known familiarly as Felicia. In 1880 the couple moved from Hongkong to Shanghai, which had become an international city destined to grow into the greatest commercial port in China.
An International Settlement was established, where British influence predominated, although the Municipal Council usually had one or two non-British members of European or American nationality. The French however preferred to establish an independent area of their own, which they named the "French Concession", where the Municipal Council was entirely French. They developed their "Concession" in the course of the years, bringing in water through an Intake & a Filtering & Pumping plant located in Tonkadou, from the Whangpoo River to the Concession. They also built a Power station inside the Concession, at Lokawei, generating electricity for lighting. Later a Company was formed in Paris, a private utility company, which first undertook to operate a streetcar service in the streets of the Concession, and which afterwards took over the Electricity generating & distribution systems, as well as the Waterworks. This Company was the "Compagnie française de Tramways et d'Éclairage Électriques de Shanghai".
My father and mother raised a family in Shanghai: 4 daughters, IdaClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24157) to be taken to her personal page, MadeleineClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24159) to be taken to her personal page, Bertha,Click on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24160) to be taken to her personal page MalyClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24161) to be taken to her personal page, and one son, myself. My mother died of small pox in January 1896. My father remarried May 1, 1897, Marie José GutterresClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (16973) to be taken to her personal page, and raised another family of 7 daughters and 2 sons.
I don't remember my mother. My earliest recollection is the marriage day of my father, when I was dressed for the occasion and photographed after the church ceremony. I went to St. Francis Xavier's School in Hongkew, taught by Marist Brothers, mostly French, until the age of l5, when my father got me a job in the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, as a clerk. In August 1914 a school friend, John Bono, who was head of the Secretariat in the Compagnie Française de Tramways, was able to get me into the Company. He was about 2 years older than myself. Unfortunately he later developed a brain tumor and died, and I replaced him as head of the Department. At the time I was living in a small rented house in the French Concession and married to a girlClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24166) to be taken to her personal page from the Zi family. We had no children, so my wife adopted a little girl baby, whom we named KatyClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24170) to be taken to her personal page, but she died at the age of 3 of diphtheria. We then adopted two more girls, Click on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24162) to be taken to her personal page, born January 16, 1920, and BernadetteClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24173) to be taken to her personal page, born March 2, 1922. By 1923, we were living in our own home, built for me by the French firm of Leonard & Veysseyre, situated at 132 Route Kaufmann in the French Concession.
In the summer of 1929, my father arranged to take a trip to the U.S., where his daughter, my sister Madeleine, was a nun, a "Helper of the Holy Souls", living in a convent on Haight Street, in San Francisco. Together with my sister Maly, we accompanied my father, making the voyage across the Pacific on a Japanese liner, the "Taiyo Maru", on which we had reserved return passages. We had a nice time visiting with Mother St. Ida, as my sister Madeleine was then known. I bought tickets for myself to go on a C.Y.0. sponsored trip to Yosemite National Park, but never made it, as a telegram reached me from Shanghai to say that my wife had died of typhoid fever. I took the train from San Francisco to Seattle, where I was able to secure passage on the S.S. "President Lincoln" to Shanghai but that voyage took more than two weeks and my wife was already buried by the time I got back.
My household now comprised two girls and five servants. It needed a woman to run it. I met a girl from a fine family named Yang, Catholics from way back, whose original home was Wusih. These Wusih Catholics were mostly boat people, hardy and self-reliant, whose religion was a real tie binding them together. Fishing on the Tai-hu, operating individually owned passenger boat services (open boat as well as houseboat), criss-crossing the networks of creeks and canals in the delta region south of the Yangtze, that was their livelihood. A day was fixed for me to meet the girl's parents, her father's mother, and three of his brothers, one fluent in English, one (the youngest brother) very well educated in French. I got on very well with them, was impressed by the old lady the grandmother, a matriarch whose sons were very deferential to her. My proposal of marriage was accepted, and it was solemnized July 18, 1931, in St. Joseph's Church, Rue Montauban. My wife, Yang Te-diClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24167) to be taken to her personal page, born October 10, 1914, and baptized the same day in the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Tonkadou, proved to be the right person to take charge of a household. Although still a young girl, she was levelheaded, capable and economical. She turned out to be a good wife and a good mother.
In the summer of 1936, after the births of CarlottaClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24193) to be taken to her personal page, ReginaClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24206) to be taken to her personal page, StephenClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (24207) to be taken to his personal page and JosellaClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24216) to be taken to her personal page, I took a vacation and went on a cruise up the Yangtze in one of Jardine's river steamers (a British company) up to the city of Ichang, at the entrance to the Gorges. There I changed to an American boat belonging to the Yangtze Rapids Steamship Company. We steamed up the gorges to Chungking, the farthest point I reached up the Great River. Everywhere people were speculating about Japanese intentions. In fact, the next year, 1937, Japanese and Chinese forces clashed in the Shanghai area. A bomb dropped accidentally by a Chinese plane in a crowded center of the International Settlement killed thousands, including our next-door neighbor, an American Protestant missionary named Rawlinson. Because of the fighting, my wife's parents, as well as my own father and his wife, took refuge in our home in the French Concession, as both the International Settlement and the French Concession were able to keep the contending forces away from their territories. DympnaClick on the SEARCH icon and enter her number (24221) to be taken to her personal page was born in September while fighting was going in Nantao, just south of the French Concession. Partly because of this, my wife became very ill subsequent to giving birth in the Hopital Sainte-Marie; the two families were very concerned and anxious, but after about two months she made a good recovery.
In 1938, Bertha (18) and Berna (16) were studying at Loretto School. This was a school which had been started in Shanghai in 1923 by American nuns (the Sisters of Loretto). Bertha's future career was Influenced at this time by a French Jesuit, Father Jacquinot de Besange, an outstanding figure in Shanghai, who was the driving force, during the Sino-Japanese hostilities, in the establishment of a safe neutral zone in Nantao (called the Jacquinot Zone) recognized by both Japanese and Chinese, where non-combatant refugees were sheltered and fed. Bertha decided to become a nun and left Shanghai in 1940 for the U. S. to enter the Novitiate of the Sisters of Loretto in Kentucky.
The start of World War II In Europe in 1939 affected the French in Shanghai; they no longer had the same capacity to defend the Concession against outside attack. After the German occupation of France, when the Petain regime was installed in Vichy, they seemed divided in their loyalties but tried to make a show of a united front. But a new phase began when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December l941 and the Pacific War began. Japanese forces occupied the International Settlement and the French Concession as well. Citizens of the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, were considered enemies, rounded up and put into concentration camps. Although the French were left individually free, the Police In the Concession were placed under Japanese command and the few renaming soldiers and Frenchmen of the Police kept under surveillance and their, movements restricted. The Compagnie Française de Tramway, continued to function, but under directives issued by the Japanese forces, who introduced a new currency to replace the Chinese Nationalist paper money. Since Shanghai was cut off by the war from Europe and America, the Japanese instituted rationing of foodstuffs. However, owing to the foresight of the management of the Company, which had procured in advance a large stock of canned and packaged food, we at home were able to supplement our rationed food with the quantities issued us by the Company from time to time. We suffered however hardships and sickness, because of which our son PaulClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (24234) to be taken to his personal page born March 27, l94l, died March 4, 1942. But a new son born March 8, 1943, consoled us. The name AxelClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (24235) to be taken to his personal page I chose because of the book I had been reading during the dreary book-deprived times, by Dr. Axel Munthe, "The Story of San Michele". The author must have been an inspiring figure in every way. My father Henrique Carlos Lubeck died that year, l943, April 17.
The war came to an end at last in August 1945. I had slowly come to the conclusion that Shanghai could never be the same again and that for the sake of the children, the family had to move. In the end, I convinced my wife of the necessity to emigrate away from China. In l946, Bertha returned from the U.S. as a nun, "Sister Carlos Marie", and began to teach In Loretto School, now again conducted by the freed Sisters of Loretto. There were many optimists who flocked to Shanghai at the end of the war who thought it had a rosy future. But disillusionment set in, marked by the catastrophic inflation of Chinese Nationalist currency, and also by the defeats inflicted upon Nationalist armies by the Chinese Communists. We made a contact with a relative of my mother's who had come with an official mission from Argentina sent by Peron to the Far East, but our negotiations to obtain a Visa for the family to emigrate to Argentina proved abortive because of the money we were required to pay before a Visa would be granted. Thanks however to Sister Carlos Marie, who obtained assurances of help from Father John Regan in Denver, Colorado, we were encouraged to make application to the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai for Permanent Entry Visas to the U.S. Affidavits of support, required by U.S. Immigration laws, were furnished by John J. Regan, Sr., of Boston, Mass. Other requirements which had to be met, took much time.
By the beginning of 1949, the situation in Shanghai had become very acute because of the approach of the Chinese Communists. Martial law and curfew from dusk to dawn were enforced. Our son, OlafClick on the SEARCH icon and enter his number (24239) to be taken to his personal page , was born under these circumstances on February 12, 1949. I remember I was surprised that, having obtained the use of a Company car, my wife and I made the journey from home to the maternity hospital about 3 a.m. through absolutely empty streets when we were expecting to be stopped by soldiers and police blocks. The Communist threat grew more serious and caused the Sisters of Loretto to send back to the U. S. a number of their nuns, including Sister Carlos Marie, who left Shanghai May 2, 1949.
The Communists took Shanghai May 26, l949. We thought our application for U.S. visas had fallen through, but happily the U.S. Consulate General did continue to process it and after overcoming all obstacles, the whole family embarked on the s.s. "General Gordon" and left Shanghai for good September 26, 1949