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Doukhobor Chief in City

Colonization Not Planned

[ Peter V. Verigin in a formal portrait, 1922, Unknown, UBC Special Collections 27-10 ]

Any fears that a colony of naked savages will leap out from behind the big trees of Lane county to amaze the inhabitants of the county were dispelled today by Peter Verigan, president of the great Canadian colony of the much-talked-about Doukhobors.

In the first place, says Verigan, the Doukhobors are not coming to America. In the second place, he adds, they do wear clothes, and in most ways are just normal, healthy, industrious human beings, who have been much misrepresented.

The rumor that the Doukhobors were going to give up their Canadian colony to settle here, it is thought, grew out of the purchase, six months ago, of 875 acres of land in Lane county. Verigan bought the land, he said, partly as an investment and partly as an agricultural experiment, for he thought his people would be able to raise crops on it. He settled a family of five persons on it, and that family is the extent of the Oregon “colonization.”

“You may say flatly,” he said, through his interpreter, “that we do not intend to settle in America. We have some $8,000,000 or $9,000,000 invested in Canada. That is our home. We are satisfied there, and the people seem to like us.”

Discussing the rumor that the Doukhobors do not wear clothes, he laughed, and branded it as absurd. He said that many years ago four or five fanatics among the organization propounded the theory to that effect and were expelled from the colony when they tried to put it in practice.

“We are generally said to be the best farmers in the world,” he said. “We work industriously, and know how to make our work bring forth crops.


“Our children go to the Canadian public schools. We have no schools of our own. We are Christians, the same as you are. We are only different from other people in that we do not believe in eating meat. We are vegetarians. We believe it wrong to kill – to kill any living thing. We do not use whiskey. Neither do we use tobacco.”

Verigan is the president of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, which is the legal name of the Doukhobors’ organization. The Canadian colony is scattered in three main groups. One group raises from 80 to 90 bushels of oats to the acre in Saskatchewan. Another tills the soil in Alberta and forces it to yield from 30 to 40 bushels of wheat. A third has 4000 acres of fruits in British Columbia.


The organization operates four lumber mills, has a packing plant in British Columbia which ships and sells to the public some five carloads of jam daily during the fruit season.

The company colonized in Canada 30 years ago, and was financed by the Quakers, Verigan says. The Doukhobors originally came from Russia, which is the language Verigan speaks. With Verigan in Portland is his business representative, Edward Graf of Monroe, Or.

Verigan plans to leave late today to return to Canada. He was in conference with the Guaranty Trust company officials while here, and exhibited to them, the officials say, letters from the Canadian premier and from bankers of Canada, to the effect that the organization is one of thrifty, industrious people who are regarded as good citizens of Canada.

Source: Doukhobor Chief in City , Oregon Daily Journal, August 15, 1924.

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