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Diefenbaker saw Peter V. Verigin drive carriage

A Rockaway carriage was given to Peter V. Verigin by Canadian government officials as a gesture of good will, shortly after his arrival in Canada in 1902.

VEREGIN- In Part 1 we started looking at Doukhobor leader Peter Vasil’evich (Lordly) Verigin’s carriages, carts, and sleighs, of which at least seven survive, including four in Saskatchewan. One is a Brougham (Rockaway) Carriage from Khutor village.

At the Community settlement in Veregin, Michael N. Chernoff (1892-1966) was the official in charge of providing and managing local transportation for Peter V. Verigin from 1912 to 1924. To this end, a fleet of special carriages were always at Verigin’s call whenever needed. These were stored at the Community implement sheds at Veregin and at Khutor village, two-and-a-half miles to the east, where the Community horse herd was kept.  

One such carriage that remained at Khutor following the demise of the Community was a Brougham or Rockaway type (manufacturer unknown). Reputedly, it was given to Peter V. Verigin by Canadian government officials as a gesture of good will, shortly after his arrival in Canada in 1902. It can be described as follows:

• Body: grey painted body and cab with red and yellow trim;

• Seats: open driver’s seat and enclosed interior passenger seat;

• Cab: royal blue mohair interior upholstery (inside along doors as well) and a dark blue satin ceiling, with six beveled-edge windows (one in back, two on either side), with a partition between the driver’s seat and passengers cab which can be raised or lowered;

• Headlamps: gas headlamps on either side with square-shaped bevel glass panel on front and outer sides;

• Wheels: four rubber-rimmed, red wooden-spoked wheels; and

• Misc: front dashboard; mud guards over the footsteps, double eveners to be attached to four horses.

Following the breakup of Khutor village in 1938, the Brougham came into the possession of Wasyl A. Chernoff (1909-1995), who kept it covered in a shed and maintained in very good condition. From time to time, Chernoff drove the carriage in community parades and special events in Veregin and Kamsack. 

In 1949, Chernoff donated the carriage to the Western Development Museum (WDM), formed the same year, where it was initially exhibited at the Saskatoon branch. When viewed there during a September 1951 museum fundraising drive, then-Lakeview Member of Parliament and future Prime Minister of Canada John Diefenbaker was moved to comment: “It fascinates me. For instance, Peter Verigin’s carriage. I saw him driving in that carriage when I was a boy.” In December 1951, it was featured in The Beaver magazine, which described it as “of beautiful craftsmanship, and one of the most interesting exhibits on display in Saskatoon.”

In May 1949 and again in April 1955, the WDM showed the Brougham at the annual Saskatoon Light Horse Show, where it was driven around the ring at the Saskatoon Exhibition Stadium. In June 1955, it was featured in the provincial jubilee parade held in Kamsack, attended by 12,000 people. And in July 1969, it was one of two carriages displayed by the WDM at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Doukhobors in Canada, held at Veregin.

In the 1970s, the carriage was transferred to the WDM Yorkton branch, where it was exhibited on display. In July 1987, through the efforts of George Legebokoff (1921-1995) of Burnaby and Harry Shukin (1928-2005) of Kamsack, the WDM agreed to loan it to the National Doukhobor Heritage Village in Veregin, where it remains on display to the present in the administration building. The carriage remains overall in very good condition; a paint job would give a virtually like-new appearance.

In the last installment of this series, we’ll look at several other surviving vehicles from the Peter V. Veregin era.

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