small flourish


Thousand Wait in Vain,
Unwilling to Believe
Peter Verigin Gone


Many Will Come From the Prairies
to Attend the Funeral

"Is it true then? He is dead."

A great wall of despair and grief went up from nearly a thousand Doukhobors, community and independent, on the platform at Brilliant, when the train from Nelson to Rossland pulled in yesterday at 2 o'clock p.m., and the crowds of Doukhobors aboard confirmed the news of Peter Verigin's death.

Anton Strelaeff had telephoned the news from Brilliant headquarters at 7 o'clock in the morning, but his people hoped against hope until the train bringing Doukhobors from every point along the line from Nelson out, arrived at Brilliant early in the afternoon, so jammed that passengers were standing in the aisles.

From early morning on till late afternoon, after the first news of the terrible disaster at 1 o'clock Wednesday morning, when a car on the Kettle Valley train was blown up, and Peter Verigin and five others killed while a number were injured, Doukhobors were gathering at Brilliant headquarters from all parts of the surrounding country.

They came in cars, in wagons loaded with from 8 to 10, or trudged along through the rain, on the muddy roads, along the railway track, to find out if their leader had really gone from them, or to sympathize, if they were independents who had broken away from the community.

By 2 o'clock nearly a thousand were massed around the station, silent, mournful-looking men, older women with tear-stained faces, younger women and children with solemn half frightened expressions.

The silence was broken by wailing's and sobs when the train from Nelson came in and the news was confirmed.

Bright Colors Missing

The bright colors of the Doukhobors were missing. Only an occasional little girl had a bright shawl or stockings. Black, gray and white shawls took place of the usual yellow, green or gaily flowered head kerchiefs of the women, and framed faces without a trace of their accustomed cheerfulness.

Men and women stood in silent groups, or wandered restlessly from building to building. Yesterday afternoon the faint sound of singing in a slow, solemn measure could be heard from one of the buildings. But most of the Doukhobors, men, women and children were waiting quietly, with patience of their race, outside in the rain, although they knew by 8 o'clock yesterday that Peter Verigin would not come home for the last time till after midnight, when the special train would pull in from the inquest held at Grand Forks yesterday afternoon and last evening.

Grand Forks Makes Coffin

At Grand Forks, all day yesterday, the Doukhobor community was in mourning, too, while appointed members were busy making the coffin for their leader.
"Mr. Verigin and I had talked of death only a few days ago." said Max Baskin, who had been a business associate and friend of the Doukhobor king, last night.

"He said then he believed everyone went when his time came, and also that he was not afraid to die. He felt he had still a great deal of work to do. but he would be quite willing to go when his time came."

"He was always in good humour, I never saw him bad-tempered." Mr. Baskin continued. "He had a great sense of humour, too. He was a great worker. If he made an appointment, he was there. He wanted no excuses from others, but expected results. He had a wonderful head for details. When I was with him on the prairies he called all the animals by name."

Mr. Verigin had intended to spend yesterday in Grand Forks, Mr. Baskin was to go to Fernie, and from there to Spokane. where he would meet Mr. Verigin, and the two planned to go together to Portland, Ore.

Source: "Great Grief in Brilliant Over Leaders Death," Nelson Daily News, October 30, 1924.

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