Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Memoriam: Wasyl Demosky

My husband Michael never knew his paternal grandfather, Wasyl Demosky, because he died twenty years before he was born. 

According to family tradition, Wasyl was originally from Tiflis, Russia (now Tbilisi, Georgia) or Kars, Russia (now in Turkey). His exact date of birth is unknown, but based on his age on census records and on his death registration, he was born about 1883. 

Wasyl, his father Mikhail and other family members left Russia for Canada in the spring of 1899. (His mother, whose name is unknown, died in Russia.) They were part of a large group of Doukhobors fleeing persecution for their pacifist and religious beliefs. The Demosky family settled in Moiseyevo, a village near Buchanan, Saskatchewan. They lived a traditional, agricultural and communal lifestyle, similar to what they had known in Russia. 

Wasyl Demosky, about 1927.

In about 1902, Wasyl married Lukeria (Lucy) Tomelin, a young Doukhobor immigrant, possibly in Moiseyevo village, where they appear with their respective families on the 1901 census. They had four children (a daughter and three sons) before relocating to British Columbia, where their son William (Bill) was born in 1914. After some years of hardship, the family returned to Saskatchewan and farmed land as independents, first near Buchanan, then later near Pelly. 

On 12 September 1933, Wasyl passed away at home at NE 1-35-32 W1 in Livingston rural municipality; he was only 50 years old. He was buried two days later in Tolstoy Cemetery near Veregin, Saskatchewan. 

Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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