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.
*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
Q: And your reason, amongst other things is the position of the body? A: I think so. Q: You consider that the explosion occurred in ---? A: In No. 6 stall. Q: Why? A: Because the force seems to have radiated from both sides; the force of teh explosion goes both ways from that point. Q: Now as to that body; what position would a body be in the case of an ordinary explosion? A: That is hard to say. You get them in all positions. Q: What position would it be in the case of a cave in? A: It just depends upon the position he was in when the cave in took place. This many was lying flat on his back with a stick of cordwood across his legs. Q: Would that be the position you would expect to find the body in in the case of a cave in? A: No, from the position he was in I would infer that he died before the cave in took place. There might have been a little dirt down to begin with, but not the cave that was there latterly. Q: Did you make a careful examination of this second south level after the explosion? A: No. Q: Any matches? A: Well, I seen a chinaman come down to get a man's watch in No. 5 stall, and I seen matches taken out of the pocket of a coat in the place where "B" lamp was found. Q: To whom did the coat belong? A: It belonged to a man in No. 5. I don't know the names. You have got them there. Q: A chinaman? A: Yes. Q: Was he one of those killed? A: There was one brought up dead and out of that place. Q: Did you find anything else besides matches? A: That match-box and the cigarettes a little above it. I don't think they were more than a foot apart in No. 5 stall, and about 30 yards from where these were found I think the explosion occurred. Q: How many Chinese were employed in the Second South level that day? A: 21. There was 4 pushers, one driver, 8 miners and 8 helpers. Q: Had these 8 miners certificates? A: Yes sir. Q: Are the 8 miners dead? A: That I can't tell. Some of them are not dead. I believe the man in No. 8 is living. Nothing the matter with him, and I think there is one man from No. 9 stall. Q: Were these Chinese able to understand English? A: Yes sir; able to understand me. Q: Understand all the orders that you gave them? A: Yes. Q: Had they sufficient knowledge of the English language to understand the rules? A: Mr. Morgan tried them last month and found them able to understand the rules? Q: I am asking you? A: They were able to receive any instructions that I gave them. Q: And as to skill as miners? A: They were really good miners. I wouldn't say they were the best you could find. Q: Who is in charge of the station for the second south level? A: Sandy Gillespie that time.
BC Archives GR-0431 Box 6 File 3
BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.