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Petition of Independent Doukhobors

Thrums, B.C. July 26, 1913

To His Honor the
Victoria, B.C.

Dear Sir:

We the undersigned, Independent Doukhobors, petition you on behalf of our many unfortunate relatives, who are suffering silently in so called Doukhobor Society, which is ruled by Peter Verigin with a rod of iron.

We are all left this Doukhobor Society and we know what we are talking about.



Here are few facts which could be easily corroborated by an honest, unbiased investigation.

1. All the lands and capitals are in the name of P. Verigin and he spends our brethren's money lavishly without any accountability; he buys for peoples money for his personal....


...use automobiles, expensive horses (at $1500.00 each) has in every settlement severall expensive carriages, in which he drives for pleasure with his "niece" Nastia and other young girls and women... He has two mansions on [sic] at Verigin Sask, another at Grand Forks, and contemplates to build one mansion and winter garden at Brilliant, B.C.

2. Our people in "Society" are half starving, Peter Verigin allows only 1/2 the flour for each adult per 24 hours and the people are degenerated. Children are pale and lifeless.


8. The children in the Society growing...

4 ignorant as their parents as P. Verigin is against education, against enlightening of the rising generation. Just think of the terrible sight of 15 years of age white boys and girls, who are born in Canada but who do not know a word in English, who are illiterate.


P. Verigin is now about 60 years of age. His irregular course of life will quicken his end. Now as all the Doukhobor lands and money are legally his personal property and so when he dies his legal heirs (son and wife who are severed connection with the Society and now in Russia) will inherit all the lands, for which we are all worked so hard. [...]


We beg your Honor on behalf of thousands of our relatives which are in economical and political captivity in so called Doukhobor Society to appoint a commissioner or commission (receivership)...


...who will take over from P. Verigin the lands and money and administer same for the benefit of all, and will also see to proper housing, feeding, education the people and establishing aid to the sick.

Also Government should see that those who prefer to live independently should receive at once the money they invested into society and their share in land etc. And we also beg the Government to investigate the old indebtness of P. Verigin to us, the independent Doukhobors and to make him settle without further delays...

Very Respectfully Yours
Formerly members of Doukhobor

Alex Sherstobetoff
John Koleenoff
his mark


Source: BC Archives, BC Prov Sec, GR-0527 1914-1918, Box 1, File "D", Alex Sherstobetoff and John Koleenoff, Petition of Independent Doukhobors, July 26, 1913.

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