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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
By Mr. Pooley:- Did you examine it on more than this particular occasion? A: No, only this once. That was the first time I was ever down in No. 6. By a Juror:- Do you think is possible that the driver might have been in use and caused this explosion? A: No, although it might have been possible that the driver might have been careless and gone into a stall, and it might have been caused by his naked light. Of course in the event of that, those in the stalls would have been killed and the Chinaman driver, as he would only light the tail end of it, would get away. it might have been caused that way, I don't think it was but you can't tell. By another Juror:- According to the evidence I think you said you thought it would be impossible for that gas to have ignited from the light in the driver's hands? A: It was, providing he was in his proper place. I don't think it was ever ignited by him if he was in his proper place. Of course that is a question; he might not have been; but it is a matter of supposition all round. Q: Do you know any of the Chinamen working in there? A: No, I did not. I might have known them, but they were all black and burnt. Q: Do you think those Chinamen working there were capable of working in a mine by themselves? A: That I couldn't say. Q: Is it possible to suppose that the same explosion would have occurred if there had been nothing but whitemen there? A: Well, if might have occurred all the same, but I hardly think so. I rather think think the whitemen would have been more careful. I don't think, if they had been whitemen, that you would have found so many matches on them as on these Chinamen. That is the opinion I come to. Of course in other explosions there has been always matches found on men, but I don't believe, according to the amount of men taken out that you would find so many matches if they had been whitemen. By Mr. Hall:- Would you kindly tell me your opinion with regard to the cave; how that occurred? A: I believe there was a good squeeze off there at the time, and that had something to do with it. Q: So far it has not been brought out just where that cave was? A: As near as I can tell, it was between 6 and 7. Q: If that had been properly pillared would the cave have been likely to occur? A: It would have to be timbered pretty close; still, if it had been properly timbered, it might not have happened. Q: And it is your opinion that behind that fault there was a large body of gas? A: Well, you see before the cave occurred there was certainly a crack that gave off gas just as she was working down. Q: Were you there when the bodies were recovered? A: Yes. Q: Were there any timbers under that cave? A: When the last body was recovered, I wasn't there.
Taken upon oath and acknowledged this 14 day of August in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and three, before me,
BC Archives GR-0431 Box 6 File 3
BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.