As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, we’ve digitized a small selection of inquests and inquiries from 1872 to 1934, found in series GR-0431. These were chosen to reflect the experiences of early Chinese immigrants to B.C. – their living and working conditions, and their unfortunate accidental or unusual deaths. They range from a woman working in a brothel in Barkerville who died of natural causes to three sawmill workers who died from malnutrition. Learn more.
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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.
5 Cumberland, S. C. August 12, 1903.
John Kesley, overman, No.6. Sworn:-
By Mr. Potts: Do you recollect the 15th of July, the day of the explosion? A: Yes.
Q: When Chung Chi, who died, was burnt? A: Yes.
Q: Were you engaged as overman on that date?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Between what times?
A: I consider that I am engaged at all times. I was there at the time the explosion occurred.
Q: What time did the explosion occur?
A: I got word of it between half past seven and eight o'clock.
Q: What did you do? A: I immediately went.to the mine and went down.
Q: Is it part of your duty, as overman, to receive the reports of the condition of the mine? A: Yes.
Q: Did you receive the reports of the condition of the mine that day? A: Yes sir. The reports are recorded in the firemen's report book:
Bar 2980- "I have examined all working places in No.6 mine, and "found gas in No.7 and level, 2 South and No.4 "Incline. the rest are clear H. King "I have examined all working places in NO.6 mine, and "found gas in No.7 and level, 2 South and No.1 level, No.4 "Incline. The rest are clear H. King "I have examined all working places in NO.6 mine, and "found gas in No.7 and level, 2 South and No.1 level, No.4 "Incline. The rest are clear Alex. Gillespie"
Q: Where did the explosion occur?
A: In my opinion the explosion happened in No.6 Stall, No.2 South or better known as No.12 level.
Q: What do you infer from that report: I found gas in No.2 South?
A: It means that he found gas in No.7 stall that goes in the level
Q: You qualify it by saying he found a little gas?
A: I consider the ventilation was extraordinarily good.
Q: Did you measure it?
A: No sir; I didn't measure it.
Q: What if the condition of the air course in the second south level?
A: Fairly good; I wouldn't say it was just an avenue, but I should say it was fairly good.
Q: Is it much that it would dispel and accumulation of gas in the roof? A: What's that?
Q: (Repeats question) A: Yes unless it was filling up above the level of the roof, and then there is no air course that would take it out, unless some contrivance is placed there to take it out.
Q: What is the condition of the roof in the second south?
A: Shaly, very shaly.
Q: What is the height of the roof from the ground?
A: The seam would average from five to six feet.
Q: Is there a hole in the roof?
Q: Does that go inwards? A: It goes upwards.
BC Archives GR-0431 Box 6 File 3 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.