Text Size S M L
Print E-mail

Woo Yang Tsang


1. Age 14, c. 1874 (LaFargue Collection)  2. c. 1878, age 18 (LaFargue Collection)


Pinyin & Chinese characters Wu Yangzeng  吴仰曾
Variant Spellings & Other Names Tong Woo Yang
Woo Yung Tsang
Y. T. Woo

Other Chinese Name(s) 吴述三

Detachment 1
LaFargue No. 3

Date of Birth 1862

Place of Birth Sihui 四会, Guangdong Province

Age at Departure for US 11 (Lunar Calendar)

Date of Death 17, Nov. 19391

Place of Death Tianjin1

Place(s) of Residence in US Hartford, CT
American Host Family/ies Prof. David E. and Fannie P. Bartlett
School(s), with dates Hartford West Middle Public School, CT;
Hartford Classical School;

Hartford Public High School.

Notable Activities/Awards in School  
College/University, with dates Columbia College School of Mines (recalled before graduation)1

Notable Activities/Awards in College  
Degree/Diploma Obtained (date) 1910 Jan. 17  Awarded the metropolitan graduate degree of  jinshi 进士, or Doctor of Engineering2
First Assignment in China Tangshan Mining School 唐山开平矿务学堂

Later Positions

1886-90: Sent to Royal School of Mines in London for further studies;

According to Chinese sources, after graduation, he engaged in mining in Mexico, Sweden and Spain;

Returning to China, Woo was hired as Chief Engineer of silver mines in Rehe 热河; Woo used photography as a tool for surveying potential sites for mining;

1895: Superintendent of coal and copper mines near Nanjing;

1897: Commissioned by Governor Sheng Xuanhuai 盛宣怀 to make survey of mineral deposits in Hubei 湖北 and Zhejiang 浙江 Province;

Since 1899: Assistant Director and Chief Chemist at The Chinese Engineering & Mining Co. (CEMC, aka  Kaiping Mining Co. 开平矿务局)3 ;

1900: During the Boxer Uprising, Woo organised miners to resist the Russian invading forces trying to take over the Kaiping Mining Co.;

1904: Appointed collector of taxes for the Company's coal at Linsi and Tangshan4 ;

1906-07: Acted as Assistant Examiner for returned students from Europe and America; Advisor to the Board of Education1;

Since 1910: Analyst for the Chinese Engineering & Mining Co.'s Tanghan and Linsi Collieries3

Retired 1920; engaged in business in Hankou and Tianjin.

Employment Sector(s) Government: Mining; Private business.

Final Rank, if in Gov't Service  
Father's Name Wu Nan Gao 吴南皋 alias Wu Chichang 吴炽昌; Wu was the proprietor of the firm 吴南记, and a seasoned entrepreneur with shipping and other interests. With Li Hongzhang's approval, Tong King Sing recruited him as an assistant director of CEMC, along with prominent Cantonese merchant, Xu Run 徐润.  From 1887-95, Wu was assistant managing director of CEMC, Kaiping Railway Co. and China Railway Co.5
Mother's Name  


Married 5th daughter (name not given) of Tong King Sing.6

Family Relations w/ other CEM Students

Brother-in-law of Liu Chai Chew (Liu Jiazhao 刘家照 I,14) who married 4th daughter of Tong King Sing.

Children's Names

(partial data) S:吴祖杰 Wu Zujie;


(incomplete) GS:吴松寿 Wu Songshou; GGS:吴守浩 Wu Shouhao; GGS: Richard Woo Yun-hao



"Silver-Mining and Smelting in Mongolia, Transactions of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, vol. XXXIII (1902), pp. 755ff.

"The Manufacture of Coke in Northern China", Washington Paper, Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, vol. XXXVI (1906), 661-664.

Translated book on chemistry ('A New Work on Chemistry') published in Shanghai 吴仰曾译: 《化学新编》 上海: 美华书馆, 1905. See http://www.gujibook.com/gujide_17620/.

Woo had a long, serious engagement with photography. He translated selections from 2 foreign works, combined with knowledge from his 20-years' experience, as 'A New Book on Photography' (2 v.) 《照相新编》, published in Tangshan, 1906. The preface in English was signed "Y.T. Woo".

Proof-read book on panning out gold by Li Jiande 李建德著;吴仰曾校阅:《淘金学》. 京华印刷局, 1914. See http://www.worldcat.org/title/tao-jin-xue/oclc/029903822.

Woo could have been a practising Christian: he regularly attended the Anglo-Chinese College Chapel in Tianjin, as reported by Rev. Arthur G. Robinson, one-time missionary in Tianjin.4

Notes and Sources

1. Shi (2000), 227-8; many details of Woo's career from this source.

2.  North China Herald, 21 Jan. 1910, p. 144.

3.  Directory & Chronicle for China, Japan... respectively for 1900 (p. 123) and for 1911 (p. 790).  Copy of pages courtesy of Peter Crush of Hong Kong.

4.  News of Woo's death was sent to Rev. Arthur G. Robinson, who conveyed it to the Hartford Courant, Jan. 26, 1940, 5: news clipping kept in LaFargue (Pullman). Robinson was a former missionary to China who did pioneering research on the history of the CEM and the surviving alumni in China (see HISTORY Section - "After the CEM", p. 3).

5.  See Cambridge History of China: Late Ching 1800-1911, Part 2,  p. 423; also, Peter Crush, Imperial Railways of North China/关内外铁路 (Beijing: Xinhua Publishing/北京: 新华出版社, 2014), p. 9 photo caption, and p. 143-144.

6.  《唐景星家谱》 'Tong King Sing's Family Lineage', p. 15; digital copy courtesy of CEM descendant Reed Tang 唐越.

7.  Data on Woo's photographic interests and publications in China were also cited from the Chinese online source: http://baike.baidu.com/view/1179664.htm.