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Letter Of Warning To Doukhobor Leader Was Result Of Dream


Worked Near Farron For Some Time; Knew Nothing of Accident.

The "Czar of Heaven" at about 5 o'clock last night walked from the Nelson jail a free man. On his head he had his crown of 21 oranges. He was released following an inquiry as to his actions before several police officers who are here working on the Kettle Valley train tragedy. The czar was represented by his counsel, E. G. Matthew.

Practically all the afternoon was taken up by the inquiry, the czar whose right name is Simon Kaminchikoff, giving every information possible as he paced up and down the jail office.

Several interesting things were brought to light, among them a dream which Simeon had. He told of the dream when questioned as to whether or not he had written a letter to Peter Verigin, giving him warning of death.

He wrote to Verigin last spring. It was a brotherly love letter.

"I dreamed that harm would come to Peter. I wrote him of the dream I had, I was in California when I had this dream," stated the czar.


His dream was that he had left California and had gone to Saskatchewan, where all people were brothers. He felt lonely in California. In Saskatchewan his dream showed all were brothers and took wheat and put it in stooks. People were working in the fields. They suddenly heard a great noise. Mr. Verigin came and witness stated that in his dream he was working some distance from the others. He was stooping down working. He saw Peter Verigin behind him.

"Peter called me. I stood before him. I looked at him and saw all his face was all mud. His cheeks were muddy. I said. 'Who hit you like that?' After that Peter Verigin cried. He said, 'a strange country did that to me'" That was all of the dream.

He had written to Peter Verigin often and had never threatened him in any of his letters. Neither had he ever threatened Verigin over the telephone.


Kaminchikoff was detained by provincial police authorities on Saturday last on information of Inspector Dunwoody. He has been in the Nelson jail since. Although appearing fanatical he seemed quite smart and knew enough to have a legal advisor. He had asked several times if he could be held in jail without a charge being laid against him.

Questioned if he would hold a higher rank in heaven than Peter Verigin, the czar stated that Verigin would be higher he was more generous and a better educated man.

Kaminchikoff, who belongs to the fanatical element, is not a Doukhobor, he has lived among the colonists, but came to them from Bessarabia some two or three years ago. He is disclaimed by the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood who emphatically state that he does not belong to their numbers.

The "Czar of Heaven" came to Canada on a boat from Russia and was classed as a Doukhobor. He was living at the Grand Forks community off and on. When he wore oranges on his head Peter Verigin had told him to take them off. He was not a Doukhobor in his old country.


Witness had been working at Coryell all fall and was working there on Tuesday last. That night after work he did his cooking and then retired in an upstairs room with his partner Eli, who had a clock. He may have gone downstairs in the night, but did not think so. He had not heard that train got through to Nelson.

He had been awakened early in the morning by the boss and all the section crew were taken to Farron from Coryell on a gasoline speeder. He saw below Farron a passenger coach which had been blown up and which was afire. He saw several bodies but all were covered up. He had seen Peter Verigin's body before it was placed on the train and after it was on the train.

At Farron he had seen Annastasia, the niece of Peter Verigin. She was crying. He got on the car to look at Peter Verigin's body, but had been ordered away by the people there, who believed themselves higher ups.


He did not know anything about the accident. He never had been in Trail, but knew several Doukhobors in Rossland. "Peter Verigin is like Jesus I would like to see a man hanged if he killed Peter," said Simeon.

He knew the man who had set fire to the School in Grand Forks.

At that time he was in New Westminster working on the colony farm. He had spent lots of time in jail. He had been jailed after failing to get free land where he could do as he pleased. He was at one time in California and was in jail there. He had been employed there in a lumber yard. They did not pay him so he went to jail to get something to eat.

He admitted stripping naked once in Vancouver and had been sent to jail for that. He had never been naked at Grand Forks, but had paraded in Saskatchewan.

The first time that he had stripped himself, was with two other men in the Vancouver station. The next time was in Victoria when he went to church.


Simeon stated that he had on several occasions received money from Peter Verigin. Verigin had given him $150. but for what purpose it was not disclosed.

Simeon stated that he always wore his oranges on his head. He had been questioned on a train by a Doukhobor named Lazareff about the oranges.

He replied that he had 21 oranges on his head. These represented three oranges for each day of seven in the week, one orange for every meal in the day.

Lazareff. who had asked him about the oranges, said that it was nutty and foolish, for him to wear oranges. Simeon had replied that the crown of oranges represented God. He again replied that it was foolishness.

Verigin had never struck him, stated the czar. He had at one time lifted him up bodily, but had never struck him. "Peter Verigin licked another man, but not me," he said. This man was Eli Mazloff another "Czar of Heaven," at Grand Forks. When questioned if he was a Bolshevist Simeon declared that he didn't understand. He refused to answer if he had committed any criminal offenses in Russia.

Following his release from jail he doffed his crown of oranges and departed toward the independent Doukhobor colony here.

Source: "Orange Man Had Dreams of Peters Death," Nelson Daily News, November 8, 1924.

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