small flourish

July 15, 1930 Letter from F. Cruickshank to the Superintendent


Divisional Headquarters,
Nelson, B. C.
July 15th, 1930.
The Acting Superintendent, B. C. Police
Victoria, B. C.


Mr. E. C. Cowell, Traveling Investigating Officer for the Department of the Immigration, of Vancouver, B.C., called at this office on the morning of the 14th. instant and discussed American cars visiting among the Doukhobors with Staff Sergeant Stephenson, Sergeant McBrayne and myself. I might state that previously I had sent wires to Sergeant Duncan at Fernie and Sergeant King at Penticton instructing them to get in touch with the Border Officer's in their Districts to find out what American cars had entered Canada with people of Russian names, also the license numbers of such cars, length of permits and destination.

As there have been rumors heard several times of Russians being among the Doukhobors at Porto Rico, I left at 1:30 P.M., July 14th, 1930 with Special Constable Spielmans for that point and found that there were about twenty "Sons of Freedom" there.

While talking to them I observed a man looked through a bush on the West side, where no Doukhobors live. I asked George Feminoff who that man was and he stated that he was a Russian who had been visiting there for a few days. We then went up there and found there was a small shack and found a Russian of about sixty years of age. This man stated his name was Jim Mitgren in English and that the Russian pronunciation was "Grishen". He stated he had been living there since last January, that he was Watchmaker by trade. He traveled around repairing watches and clocks. We found letters on him that showed that he had been arranging for a Passport back to Russia, upon his arrival in Japan, also that he had a brother, a School teacher in Russia and that he had some relatives who were in employ of the Soviet Government. He had in his possession an American Express Order for twenty dollars which he had made payable to himself, and about twenty dollars in cash.

We brought this man back to Nelson office where I had Mr. Cowell interview him. After a lengthy interview with him, Mr. Cowell informed me that this man was deportable, but could not be deported to Russia. Mitgren (or Grishen) promised us that he would leave Nelson on last night's train for Penticton and from there he would work west, repairing clocks and watches until he secured enough money to pay his way to Japan en route to Russia.

This man is very smooth and very ready with answers, and I feel satisfied that we did not obtain all the information that he could have given us.


Sergeant McBrayne with Constable McIntosh have been investigating re fires and dynamiting, and also Doukhobors and Doukhobor cars prowling around.

We have received a report that two Russians are among the Doukhobors. Sergeant McBrayne with Constable McIntosh are investigating this report. Also Spec. Const. Spielmans along with them.

Sergeant McBrayne will report the results of his investigations, but up to the present he has been very busy and has had no time to do so.

The Doukhobor situation at present is very quiet as far as any Parades and Undressing they are giving no trouble. A great number of "Sons of Freedom" are now settled in Glade, Thrums and other parts.

(Signed) F. Cruickshank
Inspector Commissioner, "B" Division.


(Received C.I.B. HDQRS. - JULY 17 1930 - B.C. Police, Victoria. B.C.)

Source: Steve Lapshinoff, Documentary Report on the Death of Peter Verigin, in a Train Explosion near Farron, B.C. in 1924 (Crescent Valley, BC: Steve Lapshinoff, 1993), pp. 257-9, , , F. Cruickshank, Letter from F. Cruickshank Re: Doukhobors and other Russians, July 15, 1930.

Return to parent page