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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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

I knew a chinaman named Yang Grattat. He stopt [sic] at the china house at Brownsville he was in my gang of men. Last Tuesday evening I saw him alive. The next morning, I was told his door was locked. I broke it open and found 3 men in the room. One man Grattat was dead. The other two were unconscious. There was a coal oil can with burning charcoal in it. I could not stay in the room long because of the charcoal fumes. Some chinamen dragged the two men out and they got better after some time. They were frothing at the mouth when found. The men broke in to the English store and got the charcoal there. The room the men were sleeping in was a very small one. The walls and ceiling were covered with paper pasted on. I think they took the charcoal to keep their room warm as it was very cold weather. Min Foon [?] was the man’s name who got the charcoal. Ah Hok [?] is the other man’s name.

Taken on oath and acknowledged before me this 26th day of December A.D. 1879

C.N. Trew Coroner

BC Archives GR-0431 Box 2 File 5 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.

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