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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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.
James Knight having been duly sworn states About 2 P.M. this day, I, James Wilks and four Chinaman came up the slope to the pit, we rang the Bell for the cage to be lowered to take us up to the Pit mouth, the cage was lowered and myself, James Wilks and the Chinamen got on for the purpose of being hoisted up. I rang three bells which was the proper signal for the engineer to hoist up. As the cage began to move up the Chinaman Ah Hee made a spring to get on to the cage & caught it with his hands & after hanging for a few moments he lost his hold and fell to the bottom of the pit a distance of 170 feet. James Wilks and I went down immediately and found the man quite dead at the bottom of the pit, his neck being broken, as well as other injuries.
X his mark James Knight
Sworn before me at Nanaimo this 30th day of May 1874 Warner R Spalding, Coroner.
BC Archives, GR-0431 Box 1 File 5 / BRITISH COLUMBIA, ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.