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Wong Kong Ying et al

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.

*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person. 

BC Archives GR-0431

*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.

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in fresh or uncooked vegetables. In the absence of this vitamen, beri beri will develop either acutely, producing heart degeneration sufficient to cause heart failure in a few days, or become a chronic nerve paralysis much the same as we see in the two Chinamen remaining in hospital.

Q. 264 It has been said by witnesses that these three dead Chinamen have been living on rice and salt, augmented by clams, for some fifteen to eighteen days. Would that induce the condition which was found?

A. I believe it would.

Q. 265 In a normal case, what would avoid that condition? How would we, in Canada, mostly avoid beri beri? What do we do?

A. Our diet includes all these vitamens, due to the fact that we can secure fresh vegetables, which in the process of ordinary cooking have not the vitamen B. destroyed. We also use a greater percentage of wheat in many cases, so that we get vitamen B. in bread.

Q. 266 How long would beri beri take to develop, according to your experience, in the event of a shortage of vitamen B?

A. The acute form which I mentioned has been recorded and reported as causing death in three days from its onset.

Q. 267 But how long would it take to bring about the condition which would bring on the disease?

A. That would depend on the individual.

Q. 268 In a normal case?

A. I would say two weeks would be sufficient.

Q. 269 Two weeks improper feeding

A. Yes about that. Experimentally it can be produced in pigeons on a diet of refined rice in ten days to two weeks.

No further questions.


Q. 270 What is your full name?

A. Pryor Wheadon.

Q. 271 What is your occupation

A. I have been running a boat. I am a carpenter.

Q. 272 do you know a place called Effingham Inlet?


BC Archives GR-0431 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Box 13 File 6 Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.

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