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1882/17 Ah Ton, assault, on CPR railroad construction crew

As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, the BC Archives has digitized a selection of documents related to criminal prosecutions against the Chinese community from 1866 to 1914, found in GR-0419. These are mainly records created as part of the preliminary hearing held before a judge in order to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. There are often lengthy witness statements, and cross examinations by both prosecution and defense lawyers. The eventual verdict is sometimes recorded on the outside of the docket. They offer a fascinating glimpse into 19th and early 20th century criminal activity around the province, and ways in which the Chinese community was stereotyped. The records offered for transcription here are a small selection; for additional digitized material from GR-0419 click here. 

*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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. In addition, GR-0419 records deal with subjects such as assault, murder and abuse, which may upset some readers. 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.
*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 G-0419

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4th November 1882

Thomas Cole being duly sworn states upon oath as follows;

I am employed as foreman on the Canadian Pacific Railway and am in charge of a number of Chinese at the eight mile hill running dirt up and down the line at various places. On Thursday the 26th of October AD 1882 at about 5:50 PM I returned to the ballast pit with the train it was raining & the Chinamen wanted to leave the work. I told them that if they left then they would not get credit for the afternoons work. [illegible] that they all went to work with the exception of one man. The complainant Augustus Carroll called my attention to a man that was skulking under one of the cars. he suddenly rushed out with an upraised shovel & judging from his attitude

BC Archives GR-0419 Box 24 File 1882/17 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Attorney General documents.

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