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Hong Neok Woo


It is believed that this is WOO Hong Neok's picture in Union uniform, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of Dr. Thomas P. Lowry, a retired physician and author of several Civil War books, and also, courtesy of Michael Musick, archivist of Civil War Military Record at the National Archive, Washington, D.C.



My Internet friend, Shaie-Mei Deng Temple

My Internet friend, Shaie-Mei Deng Temple, sent me her re-typed, transcribed text on "Hong Neok Woo", written by William Frederic Worner in 1921. I sincerely thank her for her contribution and for her generosity on sharing the findings of her research with me. Shaie-Mei Deng Temple held a B.S. degree and M.S degree in Nuclear Engineering and she works as a Strategic Decision Consultant. Right now, she is doing research on the New Orleans and Louisiana Chinese American Heritage History, including the Chinese Confederate Soldiers. She is documenting the oral and visual Chinese American History in New Orleans and Louisiana.

A Chinese Soldier in the Civil War: Hong Neok WOO

A recount of one soldier's experience.

By William Frederic Worner

Adapted from the Papers Read before the Lancaster County Historical Society; Friday, March 4, 1921; Vol. XXV, No. 3.

In these days when the restriction of immigration is a much-mooted question, it is pleasing to record that some sixty odd years ago there came to this country a poor Chinese youth who lived in our city for nine years, during which time he acquired considerable knowledge of our habits, customs and language. On his return to his native land, he entered the ministry, rose to a position of distinction in the Church and became widely known and honored by Christians and non-Christians alike. My only apology for presenting a brief sketch of his life, especially that part spent in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is to correct the erroneous impressions prevalent concerning this remarkable foreigner.

Hong Neok WOO was born August 7, 1834, in a little hamlet called Antowtson, five miles outside the south gate of the city of Changchow, in the district of Yanghuhsien, China. His people though poor were industrious and independent farmers. His father frequently visited Shanghai for the purpose of selling farm products. On one of these visits he heard of the boys' school, opened in 1845 by Bishop William J. Boone, of the American Church Mission, and he was determined to send his son to it to prepare him for working in a foreign "hong". He entered the Mission School at the age of thirteen. Two years later, he was baptized by Bishop Boone in the school chapel and thus belonged to the first generation of Christians in China. The following year he was confirmed by the same prelate.

When Commodore Perry made his expedition to Japan in 1852-1854, for the purpose of concluding a treaty of commerce with that country, several of his ships came in 1854 to Shanghai. One of the ships in the expedition was the frigate "Susquehanna", another was the "Powhatan". During their stay in port, the officers were in the habit of visiting the Mission and attending the Sunday services there, it being the only American Mission in Shanghai at that time.

From these officers, young Woo learned of the Perry expedition and of its speedy return to America. He formed a strong desire to visit that country by working his way across the ocean aboard one of the ships. The Rev. Mr. Points, an American missionary, negotiated with the officers of the frigate "Susquehanna" for Woo to be taken on board as cabin boy. He was assigned to wait on Dr. John S. Messersmith, the surgeon of the ship. After a voyage of eight months, during which time the ship touched at all the important ports enroute, he landed in March 1855, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. A few days were spent in a hotel and then he proceeded, by train, to Dr. Messersmith's home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Lancaster at that time contained about 20,000 inhabitants. Woo lived with Dr. Messersmith at 40 North Lime Street until the marriage of the latter.

During the nine years Woo lived in Lancaster (1855-1864), it was his custom on Sunday to attend the morning service in St. James' Episcopal Church, of which the Rev. Samuel Bowman was then rector, and to spend the afternoon calling on friends or taking walks in the country. Occasionally, he attended the afternoon service. St. James' church at that time had a mixed choir of men and women and they sang from an upper gallery at the back of the church, above the two entrances. In the evening, he visited the other churches in the city and some of the meeting-houses. In his autobiography he says of the latter: "Sometimes Dr. Messersmith took me to one of those places just to see how people would behave themselves in the name of Divine Worship. One day we visited such a place. The people made lots of noise and did much crying over their sins and confessions. They prayed in a loud voice and sang lustily. Sometimes one would fall down on the floor and do other things, which would be described as indecent in any other place. We felt very curious worshipping God not reverently."

Woo was invited to attend the parochial school founded and conducted by Bishop Bowman. He declined, explaining that he was a poor student at the Shanghai Mission School, that he forgot his lessons when the time for recitation came, and that his desire was to become a mechanic. He applied at the Lancaster Locomotive Works for a job, but owing to the depression in business, he was not employed.

Mr. Joseph Clarkson, a neighbor of Dr. Messersmith and organist of St. James' Church for many years, strongly advised Woo to learn the trade of printer, stating that it would be very useful wherever he went and would give him a practical opportunity of learning the English language. He accepted the advice and became an apprentice in the office of the "Lancaster Examiner and Herald", where he worked for seven years, four as apprentice and three as journeyman. Later he was employed in the office of the "Daily Express" as pressman. While oiling a machine in the latter office, his right hand caught in a cogwheel and the flesh, skin and nail were torn from the middle finger. He consulted Dr. Henry Carpenter, who instead of amputating his finger, advised him to let nature heal it. This course, fortunately, was successful and the finger was saved. Referring to this experience in his autobiography, he says: "Long afterward when I was engaged in hospital work in Shanghai, dressing wounds and caring for the injured, the sight of a wound or injury never failed to remind me of this incident and I was all the more happy relieving others."

On September 22, 1860, he was naturalized as an American citizen in the local court. He was the only Chinese naturalized in Lancaster County and was one of the few admitted to citizenship in this country.

During the Civil War, when Pennsylvania was invaded by the Confederate army under General Lee, he responded to the call for 50,000 volunteers issued by Governor Curtin for protecting the State and strengthening the Northern Army. In his autobiography, he refers to his enlistment in these words: "I volunteered on June 29th, 1863, in spite of the advice of my Lancaster friends against it, for I had felt that the North was right in opposing slavery. My friends thought I should not join the militia and risk my life in war, for my own people and family were in China and I had neither property nor family in America whose defense might serve as an excuse for my volunteering."

Hong Neok Woo, however, did not participate in any fighting. He was enrolled as a private at Lancaster, Pennsylvania on June 29, 1863, in Company I, 50th Regiment Infantry, Pennsylvania Volunteer Emergency Militia, commanded by Captain John H. Druckemiller, which was immediately sent to Safe Harbor where it camped on a hill at the mouth of the Conestoga creek. The people of Lancaster County at that time feared the invasion of the Confederate forces, and volunteers were stationed at various points along the Susquehanna River. On July 2, 1863, Woo returned to Lancaster city and was mustered into the service of the State. The Company was sent to Harrisburg, where it was equipped. From the place it was transported by train through the Cumberland valley to Chambersburg. After a short stay in the latter town, it marched on through Hagerstown to Williamsport, Maryland, and was stationed at Dam No. 5, about five miles above that place, on the Potomac river, where it did picket duty.

Concerning his experience as a solider there was nothing unusual. His military duty consisted of taking turns at cooking, doing sentinel work, practicing target shooting, etc. "There was one march", Woo says in his autobiography, "which impressed itself on my memory deeply. For one afternoon and night we marched. It happened to be a very warm summer day and I was so tired I could not go any further, and I had to lie on the roadside and rest my sore feet." The Company subsequently returned to Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Private Woo was mustered out of the service at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on August 15, 1863. So far as could be learned he was the only Chinaman who served in the Civil War.

The nine years spent in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, were uneventful, on the whole. Among his friends he counted Dr. Messersmith and his sister Miss Harriet, Bishop Bowman and Mr. Joseph Clarkson, the Rev. J. Isidor Mombert, Mr. Edmond Kline, one of the editors and proprietors of the "Examiner and Herald Weekly", Mr. Michael O. Kline, connected with the Lancaster Cotton Mills, and Mr. George M. Kline the lawyer.

In February of 1864, he decided to return to his native land. He sailed from New York City on board the "Kiukiang", one of the Oliphant Company's new boats built in New York for special service between Hankow and Shanghai, on the Yangste River. He worked on board ship to earn his passage money, and reached Shanghai in May 1864. One of the first acts on landing was to register his name in the American Consulate.

Shortly after his arrival in Shanghai, he was offered the position of catechist in the American Mission, but he was obliged to decline the offer as his nine years residence in America had nearly robbed him of much of his knowledge of the Chinese language. For eight months he was practically like a foreigner in learning to speak his native dialect fluently. He subsequently became Archdeacon Thomson's assistant; and in 1866, during the first period of his work, he helped in establishing the first dispensary of the Mission. Out of it eventually developed the present Saint Luke's Hospital, Shanghai.

On May 1, 1867, he was ordained Deacon by Bishop Williams in the Church of our Savior, Shanghai; and on May 24, 1880, he was advanced to the priesthood by Bishop Schereschewsky in St. John's Chapel, Jessfield. The Rev. Dr. Mombert, who had been Woo's rector in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, sent him Dr. Henry's commentaries and some theological books.

To describe in detail the many activities in which Woo was engaged or to enumerate the humanitarian enterprises which he founded and helped to support would tax your patience and extend beyond the scope of this article. He served successively as catechist, hospital assistant, physician, and chaplain, organizer of and teacher in boys' schools, and general missionary of the diocese. At the age of 72, he began a vigorous campaign for raising money for the establishment of an Industrial Home for poor widows. He was able to secure a large sum with which land was purchased and building erected. This Home, which now accommodates more than one hundred women, was the crowning achievement of his life and will ever stand as a memorial of his philanthropy.

He died on August 18, 1919 and was buried in Westgate Cemetery, the oldest Christian burying ground in Shanghai.

WOO Hong Niok, Chinese Convert and Candidate for Orders: A sketch of his History, written by Miss Fay

HongNiokWOO Hong Niok: Chinese Convert and Candidate for Orders

(Reference: Church Divinity School Library, Berkeley, California -- Bound volumes in series of the Spirit of Missions {Episcopal Church Monthly} but marked on bounding Domestic Mission - 1871 [Nov.] pp. 532-535)

(Courtesy of Him Mark Lai and Ruthanne Lum McCunn)

(Webmaster's Note: In this account, Miss Fay focused on Hong Niok's characters and his religious service, and therefore, did not mention Hong Niok's service in the American Civil War.)

Hong Niok is really quite a remarkable man --- a man of strong health and of untiring energy; warm-hearted and impulsive; one whose entire self-confidence never seems to falter or change for a moment; with him an impulse of duty is followed by corresponding action; I have known him to leave his dying child to conduct the ordinary chapel Services when it was "his turn." In this, though, he seems guided by an admiration of Chinese examples of lofty self-denying virtue as well as by the example of Him Who has said, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me." Chinese annals say that "the great Yu was absent eight years from his home, during which period he several times passed his own door; yet his duty to the Emperor was so absorbing that he never once looked towards his home, lest the sight of it or of his children might weaken his resolution, or hinder the accomplishment of the mission with which he was charged by his sovereign." It is easy to see that the religion of Jesus, grafted on such principles, ought to make staunch Christians, and as easy to see that such Christians might be wanting in the graces of humility, meekness and consideration for others, as well as in the silence and gentleness that become self-knowledge.

Hong Niok was a little boy in our Mission boarding-school when I went to Shanghai, some twenty-one years since; and as I was a young teacher in those days, he was one among twenty boys whom Bishop Boone gave me in charge to teach English the day after my arrival in the Mission. I taught him several years, and considered him rather a patient, plodding boy, with a good amount of self-esteem and self-will, neither of which I took notice of, as he was uniformly respectful to me, and obedient to all my little rules, and generally stood well in his classes. As time passed on, a new teacher was put in charge of our school. A class of my boys, fifteen in number, considered sufficiently advanced to be promoted, were placed, with others, under his charge for more efficient teaching. Hong Niok was of the number, and for a little while seemed pleased with the change. I must say in defence of the boys --- for they nearly all rebelled against the new superintendent --- that the pages of algebra, geometry, history, philosophy, etc., that were required of them every day, besides their Chinese studies, did seem rather impossible. At all events, one after another took refuge in running away from the school. One morning, on going to my classroom, I saw a slate lying on my desk, on which was written: "Now dear Miss Fay, I run away like other boys. Superintendent say I am dunce. I think I stupid. I go. Your affectionate Hong Niok."

From that time he disappeared from our school, and I saw no more of him for several years. In the meantime, the superintendent returned to America, and, for lack of other teachers, the boys' boarding-school again fell into the hands of the ladies. A good number of the old runaway scholars reappeared, among whom was Hong Niok, and begged to be permitted to enter the school again; but Bishop Boone did not think best to readmit them; so they found places of employment, knowing just enough of the English language to bring the teaching of it into general disrepute among the Chinese, as well as the English residents. Several of them got situations as table-boys on board an American man-of-war then lying in port, which sailed for New York soon after. Among this number was Hong Niok, who left the vessel on its arrival in port, and remained in this country about eight years, learning to speak the language, and also learning the printing business in the establishment of some good Christians man and friend of Missions in Pennsylvania. I have often heard Hong Niok speak of him, but do not remember his name. He seems to have been well satisfied with his Chinese protégé, as, after he was master of the business, he was anxious that he should remain, and offered him a fair price for his work. But Hong Niok's heart was with his own people and in his own country; so he refused all overtures to remain here, and returned to Shanghai just after the death of our beloved Bishop Boone. Mr. Thomson was then the only one left of our former large Mission. I was in the English Church Missionary Society's Mission at that time. The fund of our Mission were low, and Mr. T. had no means of employing Hong Niok, or rather no means of paying him, so Hong Niok engaged himself as in interpreter in an English establishment where Chinese work men were used. In the meantime, he attended all the Sunday and sometimes the Evening Services of the Mission, and began a course of reading with Mr. T., preparatory to being admitted a candidate for Holy Orders.

He showed, too, great love for the theory and practice of medicine, nursing and caring for the sick. A medical Missionary, Dr. McGowan, whose name you may see in the Reports of our Mission hospital took a great fancy to him; lent him books, gave him occasional instruction, took him with him in his visits to Chinese patients, till he became so expert in the names and the uses of medicines, and in treating the ordinary diseases of the country people, that Dr. McGowan often trusted him to administer medicine to them during his absence; and then, under charge of Mr. T. and the Doctor, of dispensing medicines, on certain days of the week, as our Mission chapel, to the Chinese, after the services were over; and he never failed to accompany his medicines with a good amount of religious advice to his patients. This was the beginning of our present flourishing Mission hospital, in which he still holds a prominent and efficient position, is still learning, and is of great importance in interpreting for the two very superior English medical men who are in charge. He assists in the difficult surgical operations, and performs the simpler ones alone; has had charge of the medicines, makes up prescriptions, keeps the Chinese applicants in excellent order, which is sometimes rather difficult, as there are often three or four hundred or more in one afternoon to administer to and send away. After Mr. T. left for this country, at the request of Mr. Nelson I used often to go to the hospital, to assist in administrating to the women and children. Hong Niok's order, energy and despatch (dispatch) were quite my admiration; and his graceful English, as he assigned me my duties, did not at all remind me of the poor little note he had left on my writing-desk some years before.

But I fear I am making this sketch too long, so I will finish by saying that since Bishop Williams has had charge of the Mission, Hong Niok (has) been admitted candidate for Orders, and devoted all his time to Mission work, studying theology first with Mr. T., and since his absence, with Mr. Nelson or the Bishop. The Summer after Mr. T. left Shanghai, our good pastor, Wong Chai, had a severe illness, and was ordered to go to Hankow for his health, which left Trinity Church in the city without a pastor. The Bishop was in Oosaka. Mr. Nelson had four regular services to conduct every Sunday --- three in our Mission chapel and one at Kong Wan. Hong Niok assisted him, reading Morning Prayers, and had besides two or three Services among the Chinese; so Mr. Nelson sent me to Trinity Church to attend to the reading of the Morning Prayers, look after the people, the schools (we have six or seven that attend the Mission there), and Hong Niok was to come in after the reading, in time to "preach" or speak to the people. In this way, I had an opportunity of seeing him in the pulpit, or rather the chapel, as I had during the week of seeing him in the hospital. I at first thought it would be the "extreme of self-denial," as I told Mr. N., "to sit there, with one eye on the school children and congregation generally, and listen to Hong Niok's 'preaching.'"

But I soon became so much interested, and was so surprised to see eloquently he could speak, I considered it a special favor that I had the opportunity of listening to him. For a Chinese, he has a wonderful gift of speaking, seizing upon the most simple and effective truths of our holy religion, and impressing them upon the hearts of his hearers. It was also very gratifying to see how attentively he was listened to by the whole congregation.

Hong Niok is probably the best and most efficient teacher and superintendent of schools that we have ever had among the Chinese. Mr. Thomson made him superintendent of all the Mission schools while I was in the English Mission. On my return, I took the full charge of my own schools. I had six when I left for New York, which I suppose have mostly fallen back into his hands, as the Chinese teachers have great respect for him; and I most earnestly pray that grace may be given to him equal to his day, that he may "continue Christ's faithful servant unto his life's end."

The Medical Ministry of WOO Hong Neok, written by KWOK Chuen Hau

The article was written in Chinese language and was printed in the SHI JIE RI BAO (World Journal), SECTION F, PAGE 2 from 9/28/2000 through 9/30/2000.

Translated into English by the webmaster, Gordon Kwok.

Special thanks to Him Mark LAI and Ruthanne Lum McCunn for sending the article to the Webmaster.

Please note that with the exception of the name WOO Hong Neok, translated from Shanghaiese pronunciation, all other names are translated in Cantonese pronunciation.

The Medical Ministry of WOO Hong Neok

During 1861 to 1865, the conflict of American Northern States and Southern States created a political and economic standoff, on the issue of whether to free or to keep the Negro slaves, and it progressed to a serious break up of the Country, and ended up in a Civil War. However, not many people know that in this War, in the Union Army, there was an American of Chinese ancestry serving as a soldier. His name is WOO Hong Neok, who later became an Episcopalian minister.

WOO Hong Neok was born in August, 1834, in Yeung Woo District, Kong So Province, China. Generations of his family were farmers. WOO's father sent his son, at age thirteen, to study with the American Bishop William Jones Boone, of the American Church Mission in Shanghai. This son of a peasant studied hard, and took courses in English, Chinese, Astronomy, Science, Philosophy and Mathematics and achieved high grades. Two years later, WOO was converted to Christianity and was baptized by Bishop Boone.

In 1854, the seventh year WOO had attended the Academy, the U.S.S. Susquehanna visited Shanghai. With the permission of the Captain, WOO Hong Neok could work on the ship for his passenger's fare. From then on, WOO started his new life in America. He was assigned to wait on Dr. John S. Messersmith, the surgeon of the ship, U.S.S. Susquehanna. In March, 1855, U.S.S. Susquehanna arrived in Philadelphia Navy Yard, and Dr. Messersmith took WOO back to the Doctor's hometown, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Later on, WOO got a job as an apprentice in a newspaper, the Lancaster Examiner and Herald Weekly. His hand got injured but not crippled. In 1860, WOO Hong Neok took an oath in a local Court of Lancaster to become a Naturalized American Citizen. He was the only Chinese Naturalized in the Lancaster County.

The year after WOO became a U.S. Citizen, the Civil War broke out. In 1863, the Confederate Army invaded Pennsylvania. WOO responded to the Volunteer Recruitment, and joined the Army, determined to fight against Slavery.

Hong Neok joined the Pennsylvania Militia 50th Regiment, Company I. WOO did his picket duty, sentinel work, cooked meals, guarded the railroad station and dam. When the Southern Army was defeated, the danger of the occupation of Pennsylvania had passed. He had not experienced combat, but army life left an unforgettable impression in his mind.

He served about one and a half months in the Army, and was mustered out with full honor. Although he did not make any significant contribution, he left his footprint in the history of the American Civil War.

Although WOO Hong Neok was already a U.S. citizen, he still thought about China very often. He figured when the Civil War was over, or, when northern victory was substantially ascertained, America would, sooner or later become a united country again. So WOO decided to return to China to serve his people.

In February 1864, WOO said goodbye to the friends of the local Church, the colleagues of the Newspaper, and his comrades-in-arms, and went onboard a ship called "Kiu Kiang", one of the passenger ships of the American Oliphant Company, and sailed back to China.

In May, he arrived in Shanghai, and decided not to return to the United States. Woo went to visit the American Episcopal Church Archdeacon Thompson in Shanghai. He also visited WONG Kwong Choi, the first baptized Chinese and the first pastor of Chinese ancestry, of the American Episcopal Church, as well as an old classmate NGAN Wing Ging, who graduated from Kin Yeung Institute of the State of Ohio in 1861. NGAN was the first Chinese student to get his Master's Degree in America. WOO accepted NGAN's invitation and stayed in the latter's home.

Woo had lived in America for nine years, and even after he returned to China, he still wore western suits. He found there was a barrier in communicating with the Chinese, since his Chinese language skill had deteriorated. He was aware of his situation and asked Archdeacon Thompson to delay his job assignment in the Church, because he needed more time to re-learn his mother language. Thereafter, he spent eight months to re-learn Chinese, especially his Shanghaiese dialect. The Episcopal Bishop encouraged WOO to re-learn Chinese language and literature, especially paying attention to composition. The Bishop further encouraged WOO to wear Chinese style clothing, making it easier to approach his fellow Chinese citizens, and to pay attention to giving sermons. WOO learned and progressed quickly.

Later on, not only would WOO deliver sermons, he also managed two Elementary Schools. Several years later, he was promoted to the President of the Shanghai Episcopal Church. In his sixteen years as pastor of the Church, WOO became one of the pioneers in the American Episcopal Church.

In the Fall of 1866, the American Episcopal Church started to establish its hospital in Shanghai. Because of scarce funding, the Church rented two small houses in the corner of Rainbow Street and Broadway, and opened a small Medical Clinic and invited Dr. MacGowan {Dr. Daniel Jerome MacGowan} to see patients and to dispense prescriptions. WOO served as a pharmacist. In less than half a year, the clinic attracted heavy traffic. Therefore, WOO started to raise fund to build a hospital, with 24 beds, and named it St. Luke Hospital. St. Luke was run by Dr. McGovern and WOO served as his assistant.

Not everything ran as smoothly as expected. A new Church Director wanted to rent out the properties that the Church owned, and gave order to dismantle St. Luke Hospital. The Hospital almost disintegrated. On the determination of WOO, he rented a small house as the clinic, and alone he continued the Medical ministry work: healing, dispensing prescriptions, bookkeeping and managing without complains. The result was quite remarkable. WOO's generous act had moved the Church. In 1880, St. Luke Hospital officially opened for service, and later, it became the famous affiliated Hospital of the St. John University Medical School, one of the three earliest famous hospitals in Shanghai.

WOO continued to contribute to St. Luke Hospital, by working tirelessly in fund raising efforts. He raised 20,000 plus silver coins from a Kwangtung merchant, LEE Chau Ping, and finally built new buildings for St. Luke Hospital. When he heard that LEE Chau Ping had planned to donate a large sum of money to repair the Ching On Temple, WOO walked to LEE's house through a blizzard snow storm and persuaded LEE to donate the money to St. Luke instead. LEE was moved by WOO's sincerity and determination. LEE changed his mind and handed the money to WOO. After, receiving the fund, WOO was able to expand more Hospital buildings and facilities. Working in the Hospital for eight years, WOO gradually grasped the medical skills, and, combined with his religious ministry, he could save lives and save souls at the same time.

When WOO preached in Shanghai, specially in the rural areas, he really understood the difficulties that the poor peasants faced in their struggle to make a living, because he went through similar circumstances when he was growing up. WOO wanted to train these poor people to become financially independent, and so he established Yun Tak Institute, an Industrial Home for the poor.

WOO was already in his old age. His initial idea of establishing a school did not gain support from the Church. WOO reflected on his work and it appeared he was the only one taking the lead on any project and then other people would follow later. He relied on his gut feeling and became a trailblazer again. In 1906, he donated his four Chinese acres of land to build the school. His generous action moved many people to support his work. A Church member donated one thousand silver coins, and the society responded likewise. In May 1907, twenty thousand silver coins were collected, and with WOO's supervision, the school was constructed.

Yun Tak Institute, an Industrial Home, was located in the Chow Family House, an eastern town in Kong Wan. It consisted of two buildings and several separate units, including a church, school, reception room, guestroom, utility room, restaurant, dormitory, kitchen and nursery. The Institute accepted poor widows, orphans, regardless of whether they were Christian or not, provided that they followed the regulations.

Room and board was free. Except for the weak, sick and the disabled, every participant had to work, including farm work or sewing work. Woo hired teachers to conduct classes and taught them reading, writing and attending daily religious service. WOO appointed a female Director to run the Institute, and several supervisors to assist. WOO Hong Neok was the unnamed Chairman of the Institute.

By 1918, WOO was nearly 84 and too feeble to continue the management. Therefore, he passed his executive authority to the Church, with one condition; that an Executive Board comprising Chinese to manage the place.

Yun Tak Institute remained a pioneer Independent Social Service Agency of the Chinese Episcopal Church, and a milestone of WOO Hong Neok's fifty four years of religious and social work ministry.

WOO passed away on December 18, 1919 (correct date: August 18, 1919) in Shanghai, at age 85. Thousands attended his funeral and a Memorial was dedicated to him, to commemorate his philanthropy and extraordinary deeds.

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Webmaster Gordon Kwok (gordoncwrt@gmail.com)

November 15, 2000

Revised and uploaded on January 26, 2009