Hadjin and the Armenian Massacre
by Rose Lambert
For nearly twelve years a Missionary of the United Orphanage and Mission Society stationed at Hadjin, Turkey
Published by Fleming H. Revell Company
New York, New York
“To the Memory of the Christian martyrs and to the suffering mother, sisters, widows and orphans this little book is dedicated”
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Inland Trip
Chapter 2 – Hadjin
Chapter 3 – Liberty Proclaimed
Chapter 4 – Increased Alarm
Chapter 5 – Approaching Doom
Chapter 6 – Results of the Massacre
Chapter 7 – Death of Henry Mauer and D. M. Rogers
NO attempt has been made in this little book to do more than sketch lightly those events connected with the recent massacres of which the writer had personal experience. All questions relating to the political significance of these events and the new movement and developments in Turkey we have had to pass by. Requests have been so numerous, however, that in behalf of the Armenian people it has seemed best to accede to them, and record in this form something of the events of those days. The many whys and wherefores of the mas sacres we do not undertake to discuss, but for the sake of the orphans and widows— made such in those awful days—and in the hopes that more knowledge of them and what they endured may result in an awakened interest, which will in turn make the access of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them wider and more prompt, this story has been told.
Translation of the letter received from the Patriarch at Constantinople
To the Noble Miss Rose Lambert, salaams (vochtchun) and blessings :
Through Nerces, the Prelate, I was informed of how you hastened to help and relieve the many who were in need of help and comfort during those wild, savage massacre days, and this gives me infinite comfort.
You helped in such a way as to endanger your own life, and by so doing have comforted thousands of the unfortunate ones during their bitter and hard affliction.
We feel obliged to express to you our hearty thanks and gratitude for your intrepid labors and philanthropic willingness.
Your name and nobility will ever remain unforgotten in our annals.
My prayer is that the Lord will make you and your home happy with endless blessings so that you may continue to help the poor and suffering.
I remain with prayers for you,
(Signed) ELISHA B. TOURIAN,
Patriarch of Constantinople.
AS treasurer of the Board under which Miss Rose Lambert has devoted many years to the Armenian people located at Hadjin, Turkey; as one of the first Americans, apart from the missionaries, to visit Hadjin; having personally seen these poor people, so hated by the non-Christians of Turkey, and being personally acquainted with the author, I can but appreciate and commend her zeal both in Turkey and at home, and her moving descriptions of that period of severe trial. Our sister proved herself a hero during the late massacre. The Armenians look to Miss Lambert as a mother and even the Turks think highly of her. This book should prove of the deepest interest, being written by one who was on the ground and in a peculiar position to see and know the terrible details of those days of horror. Read this book and you will remember it. Miss Lambert gave her early womanly years for Armenia regardless of the tax upon her health. She evidently has but one end in view, the arousing of the Church and the American public to benevolent activity in behalf of these poor orphans, widows and afflicted. We hope the reader will catch her spirit.
Yours for God and Armenia,
0. B. SNYDER.
Chapter One – Inland Trip
The seaport of Mersin appears to a new arrival one mass of filth and perplexing contradictions. One walks through the middle of streets crowded with porters carrying huge boxes and bundles on their backs, caravans of camels, laden or kneeling, awaiting their burdens, shop goods displayed outside of doors, peddlers of all kinds, beggars, blind or crippled, praying God’s blessings upon you if you have mercy on them. Now carriages with the drivers shouting to the mass of Armenians, Turks, Bedouins, Kurds, Greeks, Jews and the few foreigners, all in their native costumes, to make way. We at once see that the occupant of the carriage is a consul or Turkish officer.
But it is astonishing to note how favorably one is impressed with this same little town after living in the interior of the country for a few years, for Mersin then seems transformed, for we judge everything by comparison.
Here we board the train, passing through Tarsus, the home of the Apostle Paul, and arrive at Adana, the terminus of the railroad.
Here arrangements are made for the inland journey. Our own caravan was composed of a Turkish guard, the mounted missionaries, and as many pack animals as the loads required. The kitchen utensils, dishes and provisions are packed in a box, the travelling beds and bedding, trunks and valises are balanced on each side of the packhorse, and the cook mounts the smallest load which includes the food box.
The muleteers walk all day long, amused at us for thinking that they must be tired. If all has gone well and we have started no more than an hour later than we had planned, we form a very happy party.
For two days we travel over the vast Adana plain, but several hours takes us beyond the vineyards, cotton fields, lemon, orange and olive orchards and the day laborers at work on every hand. We hear
the jingling of the bells as the large caravans of donkeys, horses and camels heavily laden with cotton, wheat, and all the produce of the interior, meet, or follow us.
The country now becomes more rolling, and the fields uncultivated but covered with shrubs and small trees.
The Turkish guard insists that the caravan remain together and he is on the alert, for he tells us that this part of the country is infested with robbers. As we ride along we hear an unusual sound in the thicket and then see a heavily armed horseman riding towards us. As this suspicious character approaches we recognize his costume and see that he belongs to the class of Mohammedans who are often farmers during the day—robbers at night. But he now sees our Turkish guard and knows that some explanation must be given. After exchanging salutations and a few casual remarks, the stranger assures us that a camel of his has strayed and that he is searching for the lost animal, and again disappears into the thicket.
In this region we meet only an occasional traveller or caravan, and after six hours of travel arrive at Khan Derese, a soldiers’ station.
This little building is rather dilapidated now, but the government constantly has two soldiers stationed here to protect travelers through this section of the country. This station is situated in the wilderness, and the howling of the jackals is heard in the distance, while a visit by the wild hogs at night is not unusual.
The first floor is used for a stable where the horses and loads are kept. Half of the second floor is used for a verandah, the remainder being divided into two rooms. The smaller room is for storage as well as for barley and chaff for the soldiers’ horses. Government officials, soldiers, reserves, mail-carriers and occasional guests are all entertained in the large room occupied by the two resident soldiers.
Although this is not, properly speaking, a regular khan (inn) the soldiers are hospitable enough to American travellers to share their quarters ; as they know ladies want privacy, the straw is pushed a little farther into one corner of the small room, the barley into another, and we proceed to prepare our evening meal and to put up our cots there. The beds are made as carefully as possible, for the chaff is thickly populated with the contemptible little flea, an insect always in evidence ; at best the bed is rather crowded before morning.
Usually, no matter how fatigued one may be, when the muleteers begin to curry their horses with their rattling currycombs at two or three o’clock in the morning, one is glad to vacate in favor of the little intruders and prepare for another day’s journey.
Two hours generally pass before breakfast is over, the dishes washed, the food box packed, the cots and bedding put into their respective sacks and the horses saddled.
Yet we are always grateful for these accommodations for there is only one other place where travellers can spend the night.
In order to reach this second lodging we travel three hours farther. We leave the main road and after riding about half an hour cross what appears to have been at some time a river bed and then through a Mohammedan graveyard. As we approach huge and ferocious dogs begin to bark until all the dogs in the village unite their efforts in attempting to forbid trespassing and at times leap up at one. If the Turkish guard did not interfere and call the villagers to control their dogs they would drag the traveller from his horse.
As we meet the villagers and see their savage looks it surely seems that man and animal are partaking of each other’s nature.
Here is a dark, filthy little khan. We ride into the enclosure and the doors are closed behind us. The dogs are shut out and we heave a sigh of relief as the khan keeper greets us and we see he is an Armenian. He tells us there are also a number of Armenian tradesmen in the village.
Here one little corner is reserved as a guest-room and although other travellers and our soldiers each watch this coveted spot with an envious eye, it is given to the missionaries.
But alas ! the keeper has but one lamp and the chimney is broken. The nearest store is six hours’ distant.
We search for a candle in the bottom of our food box ; but soon our host returns with a lamp-chimney telling us that the ruler of the town also has a lamp and has loaned us the chimney for the evening as a special favor.
As we ride away in the morning we are happy to bid good-bye to Sigetchet, hoping that we need never stop there again.
Armenians who are travelling must put up at this place and not at Khan Derese, neither are they ccompanied by a Turkish guard; so as long as Khan Derese extends its hospitality we gratefully accept it in preference to the other.
Leaving Khan Derese we continue our journey over the rolling country and we see the remains of an old castle on the mountain in the distance. That is where we hope to be nine hours later if we make good time.
Three hours’ journey brings us to a number of large shade trees where we dismount for lunch in the shade.
The fields about us again show signs of cultivation and as we approach Sis we meet many at work in them, gathering oranges and hauling their drinking water from the river in tin cans. These are placed in wooden frames and put on the donkeys’ backs. Many of the day laborers live in the mountains but come to the fertile plain to find work.
If possible we always arrange, in travelling, to spend the Sunday here, as the church and native pastor and his family are always glad to welcome missionaries and have them take charge of the services. Besides, we are glad to have a day of rest.
Early Monday morning we continue our journey so that if possible we may reach Hadjin in two days more and spend but one night on the road. However, unless all in the party are good travellers we cannot make it.
There are three khans stationed by the way and although the first one is new, the fireplaces are not properly made and the rooms are dark with smoke. The courtyard in the centre is filled with loads, horses, camels, sheep, goats, Armenians, Turks. Circassians, men and women, all endeavoring to take possession of a corner.
Rooms are more plentiful here and the distinguished guests are favored. One might as well sleep in spite of the noise, for eyes must be closed as the smoke forbids anything else, and it may be a wise plan not to repair the fireplaces, for the khan is too filthy for any one to remain there at ease with their eyes open.
When the journey is made in two days this place is passed by. The second khan is far more acceptable. You might not feel comfortable in it had you not put up at some of the others.
The third is wretched. There are only two little private rooms, so called, and one of these has no door. The large central room is for the horses and their owners, travellers and herds and everything that happens that wayand needs protection.
The door of the small room opens into this stable so that the guests may be benefited by the heat the animals generate, and there is no outside door.
The room with the door is vacated for the lady missionaries but the larder, the cupboard containing a quantity of little things, our saddles, food box, valises and bedding all keep us company.
An occasional rap at the door informs us that the keeper must enter to get some of the things essential for the comfort of the family that night, for we are occupying their living room.
The board partition between us and the stable even permits the old family cat to go in and out freely through the cracks. A large curtain is hung over the partition to afford privacy, and one must be extremely tired and sleepy to secure even for a few moments an unconscious indifference to the surroundings. Needless to say, we prefer not to stay here when it can be avoided.
Leaving Sis we are at once in the mountains. The scenery is most picturesque as we follow the narrow mountain road by the side of the rushing and roaring stream.
We ford streams frequently and then ascend until the river is heard hundreds of feet beneath us. We reach the top of the mountain only to gaze about and see peak after peak rising before us and around us, and mountain after mountain that must yet be climbed. The river appears but as a thread winding about through the valley below.
The panorama is most beautiful. We wait until the caravan passes, for it is always wise for the riders to lead the caravan when ascending and to follow when descending. The horses and donkeys are sure-footed but at best one or the other will at times make a misstep, and in case this happens and the animal and load go rolling down the mountainside, the travellers will be safe.
We descend the zigzag path and follow the narrow road that is cut out of the mountain. To our left is the perpendicular mountain rising hundreds of feet above and to our right, hundreds of feet beneath, is a deep chasm where the river rushes with wild abandon. This spot we are told sees the sunshine only half an hour each day.
In the winter time it is often icy, but in the heat of the summer we appreciate “the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
We ride on and on, and as we again meet an unusual number of people, we are sure there must be a town near by.
We follow the beautiful river and enjoy the grand scenery and the majestic mountains, but notice that now nearly all the mountains are covered with vineyards, and ahead of us in the distance the mountains are bleak and barren and contain no vegetation whatever.
Winding around another mountain we get a glimpse of riders who whip up their horses and gallop towards us as rapidly as possible. Others are coming on foot, and soon we see crowds of people, and amongst them recognize our orphans from the orphanage with their teachers. Every one salutes us with a “Hoshgelden,” meaning “You have come pleasantly,” or ” We welcome you.”
We ride across the bridge and get the first view of Hadjin, and a few minutes later are at the end of our journey, having travelled over a hundred miles.
Fair weather is very desirable when journeying thus, for in case of rain, especially during the first days of travel, it is almost impossible to get the bedding dry again except as it is held before the fireplaces in the khans in the evenings or spread on the mountains in the sunshine the following day while we rest and the caravan waits for the bedding to dry.
Chapter Two – Hadjin
HADJIN is an Armenian town with a population of about 20,000. The Turkish population consists of only about sixty families beside the officials and the standing army. This is unusual for in only a very few towns in this entire part of the country is the population so exclusively Armenian. The two nationalities generally live more intermingled in the cities, towns and villages.
Hadjin is built on a mountain 3,500 feet above sea-level and is closely hemmed in by mountains towering thousands of feet above the town. As the town is built around the mountain as well as on the top of it, the entire town cannot be seen from any one point of view.
Two roads along the valley, one from the southwest and the other from the northwest, enter the town, and the third comes over mountains to the east.
The narrow little valley is cultivated and little patches of gardens are seen on either side of the stream. The nearest cultivated plateaus are an hour or two distant and some of the farms are nearly a day’s journey away.
As the city is entered the countless number of little boys and girls on the street is the first thing to challenge attention.
Nearly all of the houses are small and have flat, ground roofs which are also used for yards. The houses are built one against the other and many have only openings in the walls for windows. As tier after tier of these houses are built up the mountainside, the roofs of the lower houses often form the yard and entrance to the upper house and as the upper street is frequently level with the roof of the lower house, it is not an unusual sight to see men, women and children, the babies in their cradles, chickens, dogs, cats, cows and donkeys on the roof. Some of these steep streets have been repaired and so are much improved by having a stairway built in the road. At the top of this mountain and in the midst of this part of the town you will find the girls’ orphanage, while the boys’ orphanage is only a block away. The American Board buildings are beyond the limits of the town.
As the caravan enters, the women and children crowd the roofs and the men and boys the streets to get a glimpse of the latest arrival.
As the poverty-stricken aspect becomes evident, invariably the first question asked is, Why should any people locate in such a place ? The answer is that this place was sought out for safety, since God has by nature fortified it, leaving but three roads of entrance. Although poverty, sickness and filth abound,
it is amazing to see how attached the villagers are to their native town, speaking of it as an ideal spot. Only poverty and starvation will drive them away to seek a livelihood elsewhere. Yet after the hot summer months are past, streams of people are seen going to the Adana plain to spend the winter. Weavers, shoemakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, men who follow all kinds of trades are scattered about in the Turkish villages on the plain while some of those who are unfortunate enough not to have a trade go to help cultivate the fields or to be the servants of the richer. Sometimes whole families move to the plain for the winter while others leave the women and children of the family in Hadjin and bid them farewell until the following” summer.
We must not, of course, think of an Oriental family as we do of an American or European, for there the sons all bring their wives to the father’s house while the daughters are married into their husband’s family and go to live with their father and mother-in-law. A family consequently often consists of three or four generations and the great-grandmother or the grandmother is the highest authority amongst the women of the household.
On account of the shortage of crops in the year of which we write an unusual number of our Hadjin people had gone to the plain to find work.
Chapter Three – Liberty Proclaimed
Ten years had passed since the orphanage was first started and although many of our girls were married and the boys able to support themselves, at this time still nearly three hundred orphans were being fed, clothed and educated.
We had seen the oppression of the Armenian people, the oldest Christian nation on earth by their Mohammedan rulers and in our hearts the cry would arise, “How long, Lord ? How long ?”
The Turkish officers treated us always courteously and respectfully as their equals: but the Armenians always as inferiors and the poorest Mohammedan beggar thanked “Allah” (God) that he was one of those who were “resigned to God” and not an unbelieving “Ghavour” (Christian).
A Turkish military officer who called on us and appeared friendly to the mission argued the point that the uneducated Armenians made better citizens than the educated. He was answered, ” Whatever your opinion may be with regard to education, when it comes to caring for the orphans, it is not only the privilege but also the duty of both Mohammedan and Christian to care for them as the Koran and Bible teach us. Besides this, the government needs educated men to fill positions and surely an educated man is worth more to any government than an illiterate one.”
He answered, ” Ah! you do not understand. Give a donkey a handful of straw and a kick and he is satisfied.”
After asking how this could be applied to the Armenian he said, ” You can tax and re-tax an illiterate Armenian and impose upon him as one chooses. He sighs but cannot help himself and one can do as he pleases. Educate this same man and when thus treated he asks for an explanation or proves that this is unjust.”
At this time, July 26, 1908, a telegram reached Hadjin. It was sent by an Armenian doctor on the coast to his father who was the city mayor, and read, “Rejoice, we are a free people. Liberty has been proclaimed.” The telegraph operator who was a Turk was alarmed as was everyone else to think that one would risk his life by sending such a message. But it was followed by others which said, “All Turkey and Adana are celebrating. Hurrah for Liberty, Equality, Justice and Fraternity.”
The officers heard of these strange messages only to be exceedingly alarmed. But the next message said, “Why do you not celebrate? Turkey will think you are traitors if you do not appreciate and welcome the message.”
After consulting each other, the officers finally decided that neither one nor the other would be responsible individually; but that all of them would frame the message in reply and act in accord. In case it was a false report they would all have a share in the punishment.
But as everyone knows, it was not a false report. The new government at Constantinople had proclaimed that there was to be liberty, equality, justice and fraternity hereafter, regardless of religion or race.
The people were hilarious. Every man wanted to possess the things which had been forbidden them and especially a weapon.
Although the Mohammedans were always armed heretofore, it was considered an offense for a Christian to possess a firearm or sword. Speeches on liberty were delivered by Armenians and Turks, and Union Liberty meetings were not unusual.
It chanced this year that there was again a shortage of crops and in the autumn between three and five thousand men, many of them taking their families with them, moved to the plain.
At different places these little Armenian villages were started and the uncultivated fields cultivated. They were thriving and prospering everywhere and many who had scarcely known what it was to have sufficient food now wrote they had a plenty and to spare.
Those who remained in Hadjin suffered from poverty as well as sickness, for there was an epidemic of typhoid fever and many other diseases raging.
The Rev. Mr. Barker and family were in America on furlough and Mr. Barker’s health was poor. Miss Tschumi was spending a few months in Switzerland, trying to regain her strength and health.
Mrs. Maurer, the doctor, succumbed to typhoid fever while Miss Honk was bedfast with the same disease and could not even attend the funeral.
Our circle which had numbered seven had dwindled to three and one of them very weak from the effects of the fever. Upon Miss Tschumi’s return in the fall our circle again numbered four, but only a few weeks later Miss Honk had a complete breakdown and was finally taken to the Beirut hospital by
Miss Tschumi, and accompanied to the coast by Mr. Maurer, where the Misses Bowman were awaiting their arrival and ready to come to our assistance, having just arrived from America.
Chapter Four – Increased Alarm
When liberty was proclaimed there were Mohammedans here and there who objected to the new government and in Damascus and Arabia many pious Mohammedans declared that the government had fallen into the hands of the skeptical, otherwise it would have been impossible to place a Christian and Mohammedan on the same basis. As time passed this feeling spread throughout the country.
The Armenians became alarmed and declared that the Turks were buying large supplies of ammunition and that Martini rifles were freely distributed to the village Turks and yet no Armenians could buy them.
This was contradicted by the Turks and their friends who declared that the government had decided that only the militia should possess this special weapon, which was of course quite justifiable.
Rumors continued to circulate until alarm gradually changed to consternation, yet many of us thought it was needless.
Easter was approaching and the American Board and Native Protestant Conferences were to be held in Adana.
As the American conference preceded the native, Mr. Maurer and one of the American Board missionaries started for Adana three days in advance of the native brethren.
When they reached the plain they wrote telling us of their journey, how very fertile the plain was and how prosperous were the Armenians.
The caravan bound for the conference now bade us good-bye. It was composed of the village pastors, the Hadjin pastors, their delegates, deacons, the head teacher of our girls’ home, and merchants who were going to buy goods for their stores and who went at this time in order to have the benefit of the meetings. Many also took their wives with them. This large caravan which left us continued to grow in size as the pastors, deacons, delegates and Christians from the towns and villages along the way joined it.
Scarcely had the caravan left when the alarm increased yet more. On the arrival in Sis, the members of the party were surprised to find so much excitement, since thus far they had found no occasion for alarm, yet many begged them to discontinue their journey.
Although there was some hesitancy, they knew that the least delay would make them too late for the opening of the conference in Adana. They consulted the local officer with regards to the advisability of travelling, but he told them they need not go unless they chose, but there was really no cause for alarm. The pastor of Sis, the delegates, the deacon’s wife and a number of merchants joined the caravan as it finally continued the journey.
A Turkish officer from Sis visited us after the massacre and told us of the above and that when the governor gave the advice he knew that the dreadful massacres in Adana had already begun and that the party was riding into the jaws of a most cruel death, but the governor told this officer, “I did not dare to tell them for I knew the Armenians would be alarmed and I am awaiting the arrival of several regiments before they are to know of it.” This officer strongly condemned the governor’s conduct, for he could have detained the party on any pretense, did he not wish the truth to be known.
Soon after liberty was proclaimed the standing army of Hadjin and the chief military officers had been withdrawn, and the chief civil officer also called away and no one as yet sent to occupy his place or perform his duties.
THE FIRST BLOW
Nearly a year had passed since liberty was proclaimed. On the fifteenth of April the schoolgirls were taken on the mountain for a picnic when they heard the Mohammedans practicing and shouting, “Long live our king.”
Only two days later ambiguous telegrams were received. The one received by the Armenian prelate read, “The relief you expect to send to Zeitoun, send at once. Do not come here.” Another received by one of the principal men of Hadjin from his son at the coast said, “We are alive but our children have died of starvation.” This caused great alarm, for the prelate had no relief to send and all felt sure the message meant to ask for help and to warn them. The sender of the second message had no children and why he should say that they died of starvation when living on the fertile plain was obviously a veiled warning.
It was said that the judge (acting lieutenant-governor) received a telegram to the effect that Adana and Sis were in rebellion and that he should call in the reserves to prevent such a contingency in Hadjin.
On Saturday morning the Mohammedan shops were not opened, it is said, but the officials and other Turks were walking about the market-place anxiously watching the mountain road. Evidently they were informed of something, for the telegraph operator told us he had been kept busy sending messages day and night for nearly a week previous to this.
One teacher after another called, asking if it was true that Mr. Maurer had been killed, and what the American papers say about Turkey’s critical condition ; and wondering why we refused to tell them what we knew, for if they were to be massacred it were better to know the worst.
It seemed impossible to persuade them that we knew no more about it than they did.
Early in the afternoon a Turkish storekeeper is said to have closed his shop, drawn a pistol and fired saying, “Whatever is to be, let it be now.” About the same time a notoriously wicked Turk from Albustan, whose arrival had aroused suspicion (for although he declared that he brought wheat to sell, all knew he had not), is said to have called to the Turks from the roof of a Turkish house saying, “Are there no faithful here? The Christians of Adana and the villages have been destroyed. Why do you linger?” The government, considering the small number of Turks in Hadjin and their fear of the Christians, doubts this story.
We have seen for ourselves the Turkish storekeeper rushing through the streets pursued by Armenians and both he and they were firing.
The Armenians had hurriedly closed their stores, rushed to their homes, sent the women and children indoors and armed themselves. The cry went out, “The Turks are coming,” and the men rushed to the roads to prevent, if possible, their entering the town.
During the excitement a policeman in town, who hurriedly mounted a horse, was shot, the crowd supposing that he was ready to gallop away to meet the enemy. He was taken to an Armenian home and cared for by the doctor, but was later taken to the government building at his request where he died about ten days later.
The Armenians also met a captain of the reserves who had been out in the villages gathering recruits. Knowing that he also was a notoriously wicked man they demanded that he give up his arms before entering the town but he cursed and swore at them and began to fire. He was promptly shot.
The night passed and yet the Turks had not arrived. The Hadjin people sent a messenger to a village near by telling the Armenian villagers of the danger and they soon came rushing into the town for protection, but empty handed.
At this point a teacher came to ask if we had a spy-glass for he was quite sure that he saw the heads of men above the mountain ridge and that the Turkish villagers were attempting to climb the steep mountains.
As we looked through the glass he said, “Do you see that rock projecting and the tree over on this side? Now look carefully for I occasionally see a head appearing above the ridge.”
As we looked, to our amazement we saw the head of one appear for a moment and then disappear again and then another and another and still another and we knew the Turks on the opposite side were attempting to climb that mountain, nearly perpendicular, and to come down and surround the town, or to fill the barracks, at the foot of the mountain.
The prelate, city mayor and chief men of the city called, after having spent the night in consultation and examining the town, to see if there was any hope of self-defense. They begged that we send telegrams to the consuls and ambassadors asking for protection for ourselves, telling us of the ambiguous telegrams and their interpretation.
While speaking, a pale messenger boy suddenly rushed in, having a handful of messages and gave me one. Eager hands were stretched out for it from all directions and all impatiently waited knowledge of its contents. We asked one of our students to read it for us for it was written in the Arabic characters and I was familiar only with the Armenian.
He turned pale but said nothing in answer to our questions. We handed it to another and he read, “Of the Americans, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Maurer are dead. We are awaiting news from you.”
It was sent by the missionary in Adana where the massacre had started four days before even the shops had been closed in Hadjin, and where the conference was to have been.
Mr. Rogers was the newly appointed American Board missionary who, with his family, was to come to Hadjin to take up the work immediately after the conference.
Another of our missionaries gone and again we were only four, two having arrived only six weeks before the massacre began.
Chapter Five – Approaching Doom
MEMOUSH OGHLOU’S son, a Hadjin Turk, secured the consent of the Armenians to go to his father in the village, and although no one was allowed to come or go, they escorted him to the Armenian outposts.
Later on it was discovered that in his load were concealed many Martini rifles, and that he joined his father in leading an attacking party of Turks from the surrounding villages against Hadjin. This caused great indignation.
The same day a number of reserves arrived but were captured by the Armenians and placed in the khan but were later turned over to the government.
The Hadjin Moslems who tried to escape or to take refuge in the government buildings were disarmed, but not those who were willing to remain in town.
It was reported that the plan of the massacre was to rush upon Hadjin on Sunday morning when nearly the entire population would be congregated in the churches. The city would be set on fire, the church buildings and congregations burned and the remaining few could soon be wiped out.
A band of Armenians went to Roomloo to rescue the belongings of the refugees if possible, but the Moslems were pillaging the Christian houses and hauling cart loads of provisions away to their own villages. Later on all these houses were burned. There were about two hundred Turks there with Memoush Oghlou and his son at the head of the pillagers.
Urgent telegrams were now sent to all quarters. On Monday the Armenians sought help from the government and asked the judge and a few soldiers to accompany them to Roomloo to disperse the Turks, and to rescue the Christians’ property.
When only a short distance from the town one of these soldiers fled, which alarmed the Armenians, and thereupon they demanded that the soldiers exchange weapons with them, for the soldiers were armed with Martini rifles of American manufacture which carried bullets twice as far as the little rifles in the Armenians’ possession. About a dozen of these rifles were given to the Armenians by the soldiers with the judge’s consent. The Armenians feared the soldiers, and they and the judge feared the Armenians. Consequently both soldiers and Armenians returned to Hadjin, and the judge continued his journey alone. Instead of preventing the Turks from attacking the town, he is said to have encouraged them.
An Armenian woman who had been attacked by the Turks when passing their village, came into town having six sword wounds. The sights she reported she had seen, together with her condition, increased the state of alarm. Villagers appeared on the mountains. They attacked the shepherds, seized their flocks, and the Hadjin guards were obliged to recede. The Armenians persuaded two Turkish teachers to go to the Turkish villages to make peace. They went, but instead of messages of peace, invented horrible tales, and thus instigated the Turks to take revenge.
The following day it was noticeable that the number of Turks on the mountains had increased.
Until this time the skirmishes had taken place outside of the town at the Armenian outposts. A party of Armenians, led by the priests, went to meet the judge at the appointed hour, to welcome him back into the town, but he did not come.
Captain Ibrahim fled to the barracks with the few reserves he had and refused to afford the town any protection or to send any soldiers to protect the mission buildings.
The Armenians were frantic and revenged themselves for Memoush Oghlou’s conduct by burning his little garden house, for he was leading the troops nearer and nearer, intent upon destroying Hadjin. This, after the Armenians had given protection to his son so that he might join his father, enraged the Armenians. The whole town was in great confusion, some suggesting one thing and some another. A mob composed of the most illiterate and unwise were bent upon pillaging the few stores and wheat bins that belonged to the Turks.
The prelate, backed by the educated class, protested severely, assuring them that giving vent to such rage would benefit no one and that the town would suffer for it. He publicly announced that if any were really suffering from hunger he would give them wheat free of charge rather than have the Turks’ wheat touched.
Haratune Usta, our steward, who was shot a few days later, an earnest Christian man, about sixty years of age, our chief standby, rushed to us and begged that we go into the midst of the mob and try to dissuade them, for he thought they would heed our words.
Hundreds of these frantic and uncontrollable peoples were of the very poorest, many of whom depended upon us for work and relief, or else had some little orphan relative in our home, greatly appreciating the help given them, would, he declared, listen to us.
Although this suggestion was too unwise to accept, we gave the steward, who was often our representative, a message for the people, assuring them that we would do all in our power to save them from the sword of the Turks providing they would be quiet and law-abiding subjects even at this perilous moment; that any violent conduct would only increase their danger and make it impossible for us to give them assistance. The armed mob at once dispersed, we were told, as this message was shouted to them in our name by several Armenian officers, yet we know that the teachers, who stood in front of the bins and protested, as well as the prelate with his appeal, deserve much credit for it.
It was soon found that all the appeals sent by the Armenian people were discarded and instead of receiving sympathy, or a promise of protection, the chief military officer at the capital telegraphed threats, saying he would come up with an army and wipe Hadjin from the face of the earth if the Armenians would not lay down their arms and stop rebelling.
In answer to our many telegrams, we were informed that the chief military officer from Fekka, only eight hours away, was coming to our rescue. We hoped and feared as we knew three hundred soldiers were marching towards us but the following morning we saw division after division descending the mountain, the first divisions apparently waiting for the later divisions so as to join them before entering the city. But alas! they located there and made no attempt to enter the city or to disperse the village Turks on the mountains.
All attempts made to communicate with the commander were futile and he could not even be located. To this day it is not known whether he was concealed in the barracks in Hadjin, in a Turkish village two hours distant, or whether he was commanding the attack made against Hadjin.
Finally two Moslem teachers consented to carry a message to the commander but, it was said, that he sent them as prisoners to a neighboring Turkish village for carrying Christian messages. A message of peace with a Turkish flag was sent to the band of Turks on the opposite mountain, but they warned the bearer to return else they would shoot him.
The Hadjin people now unanimously agreed that the only hope of relief was for us to go to the telegraph office, which was situated in the government building, and telegraph directly to the consul.
What benefit could be derived from it? We knew nothing about the code and could not know whether the ticking sound informed the consul of what we wanted him to know or whether it told him something entirely different. Since this was the case and we had to take the Moslem operator’s word for it we might as well send him the written message for the consul. Moreover, our teacher had volunteered to assist in protecting the town and there was no one to help keep our excited boys under control except our steward. It seemed unwise for us to leave the orphanage.
But this appeared as only an excuse and no reason to the thousands of frightened girls and mothers, the crying children and babies and the pale and sleepless fathers, husbands and brothers who seemed sure that by this act we might save them from the impending doom. We mounted our horse, the steward and several others accompanying us, and determined to smile all the way through the town and to encourage the disheartened people if possible.
The doors and windows were barred, and only here and there men were seen going to or coming from the ranks. But as the cry went out, “They are going to telegraph for help,” it was touching to see the mothers, wives, daughters and children (for the men were all in the ranks) peep out of the windows which were cautiously opened, and, as they beat their beasts in anguish, shower a mixture of questions and blessings upon us, our parents and all who helped to send us, praying that God might protect us while we were endeavoring to save the town.
The telegraph office was crowded with Hadjin Turks and Armenians, the Turks declaring themselves entirely innocent of any intrigue whatever, although it was evident no Armenian believed them.
Firing was heard and the crowd rushed down-stairs as fast as possible saying, “The soldiers in the barracks are firing upon us.” The operator turned pale and swore that he did not believe it, for it was an Armenian plot and the Turks had nothing to do with it but the firing continued and he could see as well as we did that Captain Ibrahim and his soldiers in the barracks were firing upon the town. While the operator, our two men and myself were left alone in the office, he said to me in a most significant way, “They will do nothing to you. If you choose you can step into the adjoining room where the Turkish officers are and they will give you protection until things are more settled again.”
The consul had not yet arrived and so we asked our steward to return to the orphanage that the children might not be left alone at this time, but he refused to leave me alone in a Turkish building at such a critical time. We fully appreciated his fatherly interest in our safety as we were three days’ journey from the nearest male Americans. We returned to the orphanage and after the consul was ready made a second trip. He told us the war vessels had arrived and that the Turkish government would protect us.
After making a last call on the American Board missionary and on Miss Tschumi and Miss Anna Bowman in our girls’ orphanage we saw no more of each other until our troublous times ceased, for the Fekka soldiers also began to fire upon us.
Having lived in Turkey longer than any Americans in Hadjin at this time, they desired me to transact whatever business needed to be transacted in the name of the Americans.
Bonfires were seen on the mountains all about us at night. Dozens of Turks were descending the mountains at different places until it looked as if the ants were gathering to an ant-hill and as we looked upon this panic-stricken Armenian people and watched the bloodthirsty Turks gathering we remembered Christ’s words to His apostles, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
It was Thursday and matters were becoming more serious so we prepared a lengthy telegram to be sent to the English and American consuls at the coast and the ambassadors at Constantinople who had requested us to send daily messages and keep them informed with regards to our situation.
Our steward took this message to the office and half an hour later a second man took another. Scarcely were we seated around the dining-room table when a stranger rushed in the room with the words, “Your man is shot. I brought the riderless horse.” To all our questions of which and where it happened and requests to have the body brought, we could only learn that it was the rider of the horse brought back to us and that the rider himself lay dead under a hail of Turkish bullets and quite beyond reach. We could not tell which messenger it was but found later to our horror that it was Haratune Usta who had been shot, leaving behind him a widow and six children, now orphans.
A few minutes later the second man rushed in pale, and tremblingly said, ” Haratune Usta is dead and is lying in the middle of the road. I had to ride over his body. Three shots were fired at me, missing me, but the horse is very slightly wounded.” We sent him home to his weeping family and brought Haratune Usta’s widow and six orphans to the orphanage where we would try to protect them.
The orphanage was crowded with refugees and it was impossible to hide the tears as this weeping family came to crowd in with the others, and all gave expression to their grief and sympathy, for he was a man beloved by all, Turks and Armenians alike. A few weeks later the seventh little one came to the bereaved and unhappy widow but died a week later.
The American consular agent telegraphed that a message regarding our condition had been wired to America and to the embassy and the English consul urged the acceptance of the commander of the Fekka troops and also informed us that a commission was being sent to reconcile the Armenians and Turks.
The people feared the regiments and begged that the commission precede the regiments in entering the town, saying that there was no confidence left between the nationalities. But the commission never arrived for it was composed of three Mohammedans who were persuaded by the Fekka commander that their mission was an impossible one and so returned to the coast condemning Hadjin to the government without Hadjin’s ever knowing of their arrival or departure.
Finding that no commission was coming, the Armenians now begged that the regiments enter; this they refused to do and continued firing upon the town.
At last evening came and we found ourselves encircled by flames as the vineyard and summer-houses all about us were set afire.
Without lanterns and as quietly as possible a party started for the body of our steward and they brought him into our sitting-room, placing him upon the bed as he was, for the night. The sitting-room had not been used for days for there were so many windows and the Turks on the mountains just opposite could fire in. The refugees had quieted themselves for the night and being careful not to disturb them we quietly locked the door, for bullets could no longer disturb his rest.
With heavy hearts we began our duties on Friday morning, April 23, 1909. We must prepare the body of the dead before the family is allowed to see the beloved father. All day he had lain in the dusty road under the hot sun, with arms thrown up and eyes unclosed and in his bloody garments as if there were none to pity. With great difficulty we concealed the evidences that he had been so brutally murdered and as we closed his eyes and folded his hands, that ghastly expression was transformed to a look of sweet repose.
He who had been our main standby only a few hours before was at rest with the Lord.
The family and friends entered the room and a little later as the family gathered about the grave, facing the bullets, the teacher readthe Scripture lesson, the orphan boys sang a hymn and after offering a prayer he was lowered in the grave which was dug in a vacant spot beside the orphanage where he was to remain, either to have his grave covered with the ruins of Hadjin, or in case Hadjin was spared, to be removed to our little missionary graveyard on the mountainside which was now entirely in the possession of the Turks.
There were no ministers left in our part of the country, neither American nor Armenian, for the former had already laid down their lives and the latter were on their way to the conference or for all we knew in Eternity.
An appeal was again sent to Captain Omar (acting lieutenant-governor in the judge’s absence) telling him of the death of our steward and begging him to give us a few soldiers for the protection of the mission stations and also that he order the trumpet blown, for it might be the Turks on the mountains would obey his command.
In answer he sent us a letter expressing his sorrow to hear of the death of our steward and that he had sent six soldiers to protect us and that the trumpet had been blown.
The result was that for twenty-four hours the firing diminished. He again informed us that by mistake the six soldiers had goneto the American Board home, but we assured him that we preferred to have it so as that home was outside of the city limits and Miss Billings the only American in it. Several armed Armenians and a number of our largest boys were constantly on guard there.
The orphanages and American Board school now sheltered hundreds of refugees. At the boys’ home one floor was entirely occupied by them, several rooms of another floor and the floor where Miss Dorinda Bowman and I lived was occupied by the doctor of the municipality who was a Greek, the only druggist Hadjin had, the prelate and ourselves, but our large spacious hall was used for a city hall and all business was transacted there. Although no place assured safety, there were an unusual amount of bullets directed towards the prelate’s home and the city hall, and the American flags were floating above our buildings. Moreover, it was dangerous to be on the street and our ambassador had warned us to keep ourselves unexposed as much as possible.
The prelate, city mayor and city council were persuaded that all telegrams sent by them were of no value, for all the Armenian messages were discarded and we could not think of signing our name to anything unless we were well informed and persuaded of its validity. Consequently all business was transacted in our hall and all messages bore our name.
During the day we were kept busy consulting and assisting the prelate as far as possible in giving orders to the men that occupied the last row of houses around the town and thus guarded it, for the village Turks would at intervals attack the town in several places at once, and then again would all unite their forces to break an entrance through the ranks if possible.
There were so few men to guard the town that according to the demand they were shifted from one place to another, although each section had its commander.
Telegrams were also prepared to be sent at night, for it was impossible to send or receive messages in the daytime, since several villagers were stationed in a little mill near the telegraph office, their only duty being to shoot any one who dared to cross the yard or give the operator a message.
The wounded were brought in at night, and the doctor and druggist cared for these. The seriously wounded were given beds and the slightly wounded returned to their homes, after having their wounds dressed.
The druggist’s invalid mother and one of the wounded died in the orphanage and were buried at night, and in each of the three mission compounds there were a number of smallpox cases amongst the refugees.
The crippled, aged, infirm and those who had been bedfast for years, and in whose home some representative of our society had been, to bring them the Gospel and cheer, now sent in touching appeals that we have them brought into our homes.
We knew that if the Turks entered and the massacre actually began, the town would be set on fire at once. What benefit could there be in bringing them to our home? In it we already had one hundred and thirty boys, several hundred women with their babies and little ones, and also the seriously wounded.
If the town burned, our homes in the midst of it could not be saved, and it was impossible for us to carry out all the sick and helpless that we were already responsible for.
We appointed a number of reliable, strong young men to carry them into the church with the promise that in case of fire they would carry the crippled and infirm with them to the mountains.
Messages were sent to the government at the coast to send the lieutenant-governor of Fekka to us. Some time previously he had been located in Hadjin and had won the confidence of the people, and being a Mohammedan, although not a Turk, the Turks would trust and respect him.
The government ordered him to come and although he was willing to do so the Turks and Armenians of Fekka would not allow it for fear of trouble there in case he left.
The Fekka commander, who was supposed to be near Hadjin, was again ordered to enter with his troops, and Hadjin was ordered to receive him, but this mysterious personage could not be located and he still refused to obey the command, and his soldiers continued firing into the town.
Village Turks and reserves crowded the barracks.
Another division of Turkish soldiers from Fekka, who were sent to protect Hadjin, poured over the mountains. Was the regiment expecting to enter and only awaiting reinforcements? Were they really going to enter? In case they did, would they try to save the town or to find an excuse to massacre the people?
While filled with hopes and fears, we saw that although they joined the regiment on the mountainside they had no intentions of either entering the city or of protecting it, for they united their forces and fired into the town, and set the vineyard houses about them on fire.
Up to this time all the telegrams received by Armenians or Americans left us under the impression that the Turkish officials at the coast and the foreign representatives considered Hadjin rebellious and consequently to blame for the present situation, reassuring us that the Turkish government would protect us and urging us to be brave. At the same time all our appeals to the government at Hadjin for protection were fruitless. We had no way of knowing that our messages were delivered to our consuls or that they knew of our perilous condition.
How were we to send or receive messages hereafter? No one dared to face the bullets nor risk his life by crossing the fated garden.
Our messages were returned to us after having been taken to the edge of the town, for although one dollar, two dollars, and at last five dollars, was offered to the man who was brave enough to take them to the office, each one shook his head and said, “Who would sell his life for five dollars ? “
We again sent the message to the ranks urging that they manage in some way to see that the message left the town.
As the call for a messenger was again sounded it reached the ears of an old man who had spent much of his life in the Turkish villages and whose house was near the barracks. The Turks had looted it, even carry ing away the iron bars in the windows with them. (All the windows in Turkey are barred with iron for safety in the same manner as our prisons in America.)
Mentioning our name he rushed up saying, “No one to take a message for them when they are trying to save the town? I’d give my life for them. The Turks have taken all I have except my life and I wish they would take that too.” Thus saying he took the message. But who would take our future messages? Would he always be at hand or could no more messages be sent?
It was midnight and for once our business hall was almost deserted and those who remained in the house had retired. Only two men lingered and we saw they had a secret message for us and yet scarcely knew how to deliver it. We withdrew into the dining-room and they began the conversation by saying, “Have you received any news from the ministers, or delegates, or your teacher? Have they arrived at their destination?” We answered in the negative and urged them to tell us all they knew, for we saw they hesitated and no one in the Orient wants to be the “black messenger.” We had sent telegrams of inquiry to Sis and to Adana, but the only answer received from the former place was, “They left Sis. No further information,” and from the latter place, “They have not arrived and have no news from them.” They suggested that we send messages of inquiry again but immediately added, “How absurd! we may not live to receive the answer and the same fate awaits us.” One of them then said, “Rumors are afloat that they have all been brutally massacred at Sigetchet, but perhaps it is not true,” he added as he noticed our expression. He then turned to his associate and said, in a most determined and emphatic way, in their Armenian dialect (which missionaries are not supposed to understand), ” It’s true, every word of it is true. They have all been massacred.” It seemed as if our blood had turned cold, but they did not know that we understood and so bade us good-night, urging that we hope for the best.
Upon entering the bedroom we found that the bullets whizzing through the air had awakened our associate. The Turks were very near and so much room had been given to the refugees that we both occupied our associate’s bedroom which had two windows that faced the mountain from where the bullets were coming. At first there was no firing at night but now even darkness gave us no rest.
We determined that as far as it lay in our power none of our associates should hear of the cruel death of our noble native workers until some days later. If we met the same fate we would meet them in eternity and if we were spared a later hour was early enough, for our present circumstances were sufficiently distressing. Bullets were flying thick and fast and as they whizzed past the windows it sounded as if they were within a few feet of us. Our associate, as she afterwards told us, was for the first time agitated with fear, but she covered her face in her composed and serene way and uttered a prayer to God for protection, that His will might be done and that He should relieve her of this feeling of terror. He answered the prayer and she fell asleep and slept until morning.
We shuddered to think of the awful death our party had met with and what it would mean to the families of the pastors, the churches and our girls’ home. Osonnah Hanum, our head teacher, had been with us for years and was a most efficient worker. Three of the main workers of our circle massacred within a week, each at a different place. Only a few weeks later a telegram reached us informing us of the death of our associate, Miss Fredericka Honk, who died on her way to America and was buried in the English cemetery in Alexandria, Egypt.
Since the trouble first began very little time was given us for sleep and this night we slept only one short hour when a rap at the door awakened us.
Our old Vartevar Agha had returned with three telegrams from the consuls and ambassadors and at their request we awoke the prelate and gathered the principal men of the city, for they desired us to have a meeting, find out the attitude of the Armenians towards the government, their motives, desires and intentions. The only desire of the Armenians —needless to say—was that protection be sent them. Their intention was to defend themselves, if possible, against the hordes of villager Turks who had surrounded the town until help came, and this they did because they were obliged to, not because they were in rebellion.
At the consul’s suggestion all the Armenians were now commanded to do absolutely no firing unless the Turks actually entered the town.
When the firing ceased the Turks came nearer and nearer until they were on a level with us and only the narrow little valley separating us. All the houses were burned as far as they came so that each evening the flames that encircled us came nearer.
The telegram was ready to be sent and before daylight we saw that the new school building on the monastery grounds near the barracks was on fire. As the flames mounted higher and higher, the hearts of the people were moved. Some lamented as they thought of the valuable ancient handwritten volumes of the Word of God which were treasured there and of the hundreds of dollars they had denied themselves in order to erect the new building which was completed only a few weeks previous but never used. Others were filled with indignation at the thought that their large building should be burned while they were stationed in the little mosque to prevent it from being destroyed. As we stood on the verandah and watched the flames ascend higher and higher and saw those who caused all this disaster running back to the barracks again, the prelate who was walking up and down the hall in dejection said to us, “This dreadful experience has at least taught us one lesson and that is that there is no difference between us after all, whether Protestant, Catholic or Gregorian, we are all one and persecuted because we love the name of Jesus and worship Him.” That all these terror-stricken people might at this time have realized the blessings pronounced upon us by Christ when He said, ” Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven! “
The news of this fire was added to the telegram before it was sent to the consuls and ambassadors and the tone of the messages received now changed.
The English consul at Adana now demanded of the governor-general that a certain military officer he personally knew be sent up to us with a regiment to relieve us, for he was the only officer he could trust to do his duty when in the interior and of whom it would be certain that he would not join the enemies on the mountains.
News was telegraphed us that he was to arrive from Messis three days later, but we well knew that horsemen could cover that distance in three days only and that the regiment could not march over it in less than five. Before this message reached us, the Turks on the mountains knew of it and by their exasperated efforts proved to us that if it was in their power there would be no one left to be rescued when the regiment did arrive and we knew that in massacres it was so often the case that the regiment arrives in time only to gather the few remaining widows and orphans.
Day and night the firing increased and towards morning kerosene was poured over the shrine and altar of the monastery and it was set on fire.
The wild and furious flames that burst through the roof could not devour the massive stone walls although all within was consumed, and while we regretted that so much should be turned to ashes in so poor a country and that even the House of God was not spared this desecration, we were thankful that it was not filled with refugees who would thus meet their end, as was the case in so many other places.
Each evening Vartevar Agha waited for the darkness of the night to hide him and then he would creep about on hands and feet and gather the messages that the telegrapher tied to a stone and threw out of his window into the garden.
The Turks crept nearer and nearer and now occupied our vineyard house which was used as a little fortress. A number of Turks I have already said were also stationed in a little mill near the door of the telegraph office, their only duty being to prevent any messages from reaching the office. Consequently messages could only be sent and received under cover of night when the Turks in the mill were resting and would not detect the dark object crossing the garden on hands and knees with his pockets filled with messages.
The long week had ended and we saw the light of another Sabbath. Provisions were getting scarce although the people ate very little, slept less and in their pale and terror-stricken condition looked more like the ghosts of the people we formerly knew.
The number of our refugees increased and it is almost impossible for any one to understand what even this little protection meant to them. Daily we went through the house to see the wounded sufferers and it was touching to see the look of pain and suffering mingled with that of gratitude as they insisted that we come near enough to permit them to kiss our hands and in this way express their thanks for the help given them.
Amongst the telegrams received was one from the governor-general and another from the governor begging us to accept Captain Omar’s wounded son into our home and give him the same care we were giving the wounded Armenians, and we assured them we would gladly do so if we could get the child into our possession. Captain Omar’s appeal to this effect had not reached us and as the Turks would not risk coming through the town bringing him to us, we begged old Vartevar Agha to bring the boy with him when he returned from the telegraph office, but to this he did not consent, for to him it seemed that in case the little Turk’s life would be spared it only meant that he would grow up to take part in future massacres.
After a time we were called out and there was Vartevar Agha climbing up the steps and straining every muscle to get the captain’s wounded son into our possession. This little old man had carried the fourteen-year-old boy on his back from the post-office, which was at least a fifteen minutes’ walk up the steep streets through the town to our orphanage.
The poor little fellow was weak, as he had been wounded several days prior to this and had had no treatment whatever. He was as happy to be in our care as were the wounded Armenians. The Armenian shepherd boy who was shot through the leg and finger occupied a bed in the same room.
Captain Omar had buried his wife a year ago, but he did all in his power to care for his three sons and two daughters The oldest son attended a military school in Damascus and the boy who was now wounded was responsible for the housekeeping and watched over the baby sister only two years old. Every spare moment they spent with their father, but at this time he had put them in charge of some of the Turkish women who were secluded in the barracks while the captain remained at his post in the government building, a part of which was the telegraph office. While bullets were flying in every direction, the captain threw up his hands in horror as he looked out of the window and saw his four little children coming across the fields. A moment later he saw the older son drop with the baby in his arms. Into the midst of the bullets he ran and rescued his children.
The bullet had penetrated the left side of the boy’s body just below the ribs and there it remained. A part of the spleen was projecting but the doctor gave him good attention and we succeeded in saving the child until the country was quiet enough to permit the captain to take his son to the hospital for an operation. The child recovered and upon his return spent a day with us in the vine-yard. We were thankful for this opportunity of doing good and the Turks appreciated it.
The Turks were so near that our only hope now lay in allowing the Armenians to fire upon them in case they persisted in approaching closer and thus keep them far enough away to prevent them from setting fire to the town.
The bravest were now hopeless. The wealthiest women were dressed in their oldest garments so as to appear poor, for they knew that if the village Turks recognized them they would receive the greatest outrages. Some tried to persuade us that we might as well give up, for it was only a [Since writing the above news has reached us of the death of the boy.] question of time and whether we would die to-day or to-morrow and it seemed impossible for them to bear the strain any longer or to keep the Turks out of town. Monday evening came at last. It was rather a quiet evening but suddenly we saw that the thing we feared had come upon us, the dreadful blow had fallen, and the city was burning. Had the Turks entered and were they actually massacring at that very hour? Was the fire in the midst of the city or at the edge of it? We remembered the fire that occurred but ten years before and which, even while the whole city was busy extinguishing, yet destroyed one hundred houses, for it must be remembered most of the houses are very small and attached to each other. The water then had been carried by women in jars. A messenger brought us word that the three houses at the corner of the city nearest the telegraph office were burning. At an unexpected moment a village Turk, who was located in the little mill, ran across the garden, poured the kerosene on the large wooden door, put a match to it, returned to the mill and was ready to waste his ammunition by shooting at a shadow rather than to run the risk of allowing any one to put out the fire.
But, providentially, the town had not been entered. The guards considered it unsafe to occupy those houses as they were so near the government buildings, but thought they could protect them from the rear.
We watched the flames ascending until the mountains formed a glowing background and knew that very probably a day later our ashes would be blown over the mountains or perhaps, what was worse.
But a strong wind arose and blew down the valley, and we found the flames were driven away from the city. A few moments more and we could see by the dense smoke that the walls gave away and the roof fell in. We expected to see the flames rise higher than before as the plentiful timber in the roof would catch fire and would then set other houses aflame. We watched and waited almost breathlessly but—needlessly. The roof had put out the fire! Our hearts were reassured and God’s promise made so real to us as we remembered how He had said, “I, Jehovah thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
For the first time a great desire arose in our hearts that we might tell the world of this suffering, wickedness and injustice.
The hope of the people was gone and one after another made their wills and handed us their money and valuables.
Of course the stores and all they contained would be destroyed but they well knew that the men were the first to fall beneath the sword and they thought that if any one escaped it would be the missionaries.
One after another requested us that if his wife or his child should remain alive, that we give them the possessions he handed us so they need not beg, and in case none of the family remained to then send it to the relative in a foreign land. Others begged us not to allow their children to be homeless orphans on the streets in case both father and mother were killed.
The women and children who were refugees on the first floor of the orphanage refused to remain there and crowded up into the business hall. It was so crowded one could scarcely move and the messages were being delayed. Although sent down repeatedly they again returned and refused to let us get out of sight. We finally questioned them, for we knew there must be some reason and they said, “We have heard that the American Board buildings outside of the city have been offered you and the orphans and we are atraid you will leave us.”
We assured them we would not leave them. They said, “If you do we had better go to our homes or the Turks will burn the orphanage and all of us and there will be no possibility of escape.” We reassured them that we would not leave them but would do all in our power to help protect them. They again questioned. ” But if the town actually burns and the massacre begins will you not leave us then ? ” We answered, ” If the blood of twenty thousand innocent Armenians is shed it will make very little difference if the blood of an American is mingled with it.” How could one think of deserting them at such a time, especially when our presence gave a chance of saving- them? They believed our word and went to their quarters.
We now had reasons to believe that the object of the Turks that surrounded the city was to get the Americans out of the town and if possible destroy it before the regiments arrived, and we saw that the only chance we missionaries had of helping to save the town was to remain in it.
Two springs supply the water for Hadjin. One of these had been cut off, and strenuous efforts put forth to cut off the supply from the other.
The large white flags that floated from the church-steeples for days to convince the Turks that Hadjin was not in rebellion but seeking peace made no impression on them.
Large rocks were rolled down the mountainside which came crashing through the roofs of the unfortunate houses they struck. This was the third day that the regiment was to be marching towards us and was supposed to arrive.
Memoush Oghlou, who first led the troops against Hadjin, crept away with one hundred and fifty of his men to attack a village farther up in the mountains, but heavy firing continued so that one could not tell that a division had left.
On Tuesday the 27th, no one could go to the telegraph office as the villagers were immediately surrounding the town and standing around the office in groups and there was still no sign of the new regiment.
The Turks on the mountains were shouting to those on the opposite side of the city, ” Kill the Christians, plunder their property, be faithful to Mohammed,” followed by an Arabic hoot and yell until it seemed as if the demons of hell were turned loose against us.
Others would call to the city mayor, mentioning him by name, saying, “This is your last day. We are coming to burn you and your kind with kerosene,” and at the same time swinging the glistening kerosene tins back and forth.
Our hopes were abating as one after another came to us in the most dejected manner asking the questions, ” Do you still think the telegrams to the consuls and ambassadors left the town and that they know of our condition?” “Do you really believe that the new regiment will come or do you think they have joined the former regiment and are intent upon destroying all of us?” All we could answer was, “We do not know,” and began to fear that our hopes had been in vain. Our only hope was in God. If help was to reach us He must bring it to pass. We could only” stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Firing this day and night exceeded anything we had yet experienced, although the Armenians replied only by an occasional shot. For some days the Martini rifles taken from the soldiers on the 19th were carried around the city and fired off occasionally from various points to give the impression to the foe that there were many of these rifles in the town so that they would fear to enter. When they did fire they were forbidden to aim at a Turk unless they were actually breaking the ranks.
This may be thought strange, but we all knew well that in case the town was saved the Armenian punishments would be too severe to bear as it was, and the death of every Turk would only increase their own woe. All they could do was to try to hold out until help came; moreover, the consul and the governor both strongly advised Hadjin to keep on the defensive only.
On Wednesday the only messenger who could go to the telegraph office was one of the six soldiers who was stationed at the American Board school. He found the office deserted, and so went to the barracks and found the operator there. It was reported that the Turks sent a message to the officers at the coast saying that the Armenians were cutting the wires and that they had set fire to the government buildings which were now aflame, and that the officers were obliged to flee for their lives. Flee they did, but before the village Turks could succeed in carrying out their purpose, accusing the Armenians of the deed mentioned above, a letter was received from the military officer of the new regiment, which was addressed to the prelate.
he officer informed Hadjin that he arrived with his regiment late the evening before, and that they camped in the Americans’ vineyard that night. They had come to save the town and its inhabitants, and were awaiting news from them as to where they were to enter, assuring them of protection. A former letter had been sent by way of the government building, but it was not allowed to be handed to the Armenians, and secretly destroyed, but this officer was too wise to believe that Hadjin had refused to accept his message and so sent another by way of the American Board school, which was brought to us.
The prelate and a number of men went to meet them and soon the regiment was seen marching down the mountain, over the bridge into the city. Every one awaited their doom, but as the military officer and prelate rode through the town, confidence was partly restored, and a crowd of men and boys followed them through the streets, shouting forjoy while others were weeping.
The shutters were opened and once again hope came into their lives. The procession marched into the church and after a thanksgiving service, called on us, assuring us that they were at our service, that the danger was over and that we had a new sultan.
Ten soldiers were stationed at each American home while others were sent out to see if there were any Turks left on the mountains. One captain after another came to report to the chief officer, saying there were none left anywhere, for all had gone to their homes.
He told us that although they camped so near the village Turks on the mountains, the villagers were so intent upon destroying the town that none even saw the new regiment march up, and were taken by surprise when ordered by the regiment to disperse.
The operator with several Turkish officers called to pay his respects and to congratulate us that our troubles were over. He told us that the Turks had cut the telegraph wires and that he went out to them to repair the wires. Before leaving he also stated that there were only three officers, of which he and Captain Omar were two, who remained in the government building until the villagers drove them out, and then they were obliged to flee.
Captain Omar with his children came to visit his son daily and was much pleased with the care we had given him.
For some time the commanding officer sent a captain daily to see how we were faring, and himself called once a week for several months.
For a week or more the Armenians were busy preparing banquets for the officers of the new regiment, and there was great rejoicing.
Large numbers of soldiers were stationed in various parts of the town as well as all about the city, in camps on the mountains.
The barracks and monastery were also filled and we could only hope that the soldiers would not be able to invent some cause for starting a massacre.
After some days the town was placed under court martial law and a number of the principal village Turks were called to give an account of their deeds. After giving them a little advice they were sent home again and pardoned.
The Moslem Hoja (religious head) of the neighboring Turkish village, very near the khan nearest Hadjin (where the cats walk through the cracks of the partition), was called to give an account of himself for ordering the villagers to kill the Armenian innkeeper and a man from Hadjin who was with him at that time. For at the Hoja’s command Sahag Soghanahan was brutally massacred. After his eyes were dug out he was cut to pieces inch by inch. The Hoja said he had heard that the Armenians of Hadjin had killed the resident Turks and so they wanted revenge. The prelate was asked to give the Hoja counsel after which the officer kissed his holy Mohammedan whiskers and sent him home without any penalty or fine.
The Turks repeatedly testified to the fact that Memoush Oghlou had instigated them by false reports until they thought there was nothing else to do; but even Memoush Oghlou, as well as his followers, was not fined or even imprisoned.
The Hadjin Turkish officers united their testimonies in accusing the Armenians of obliging the Turks to kiss the Christian cross, which of course was considered a great offense, and that the only alternative was death. This was proven to be false by the policeman and Regie Memour, two Mohammedans who chose to remain in the town during this time, knowing there was no cause to fear the Armenians.
The chief officer told us that when he was commanded to call in the reserves and come and save Hadjin, they refused to obey his call, as they were busy murdering and plundering. He promised them they might destroy Hadjin and each man might keep his plunder. He soon had a regiment and they marched almost day and night. But when he neared Hadjin he was puzzled to know how to manage his regiment. He consulted a friendly officer in Fekka and the two officers obliged each soldier to swear by Mohammed, the Koran and all he held dear or sacred, that he would not begin to massacre or plunder until the chief gave the signal and command; but the chief did not give the signal.
The resident Turks of our town were appointed to act as policemen in gathering the offending Armenians into prison and they were locked in until the prisons were packed to such an extent that there was no space for them to lie down and bedding was denied them. Some were brutally tortured so as to extort confessions. This was told us not only by the prisoners but by the doctor who was called to administer medical aid to the tortured.
One young man was met by these policemen and taken to prison. The prison keeper said to them, ” His name is not on the list.” They answered. ” Put him in anyway ; it will not take long to add his name.” Some were in for months before they received a hearing and daily new ones were added to the number. Those condemned were sent in chains to the penitentiary where they were again to appear before a higher court before receiving their final sentence.
Amongst the many prisoners who were sent to the penitentiary were the city mayor and son, the members of the city council, the men who were responsible for the divisions who protected the town until help came, the man who carried the provisions to those on guard, and the baker who baked the bread that the guard ate.
The prelate was also taken a prisoner but after months of imprisonment was again released and returned to Hadjin, as were also the majority of the other seventy who had been sent, but several are to-day in the penitentiary condemned to ten years’ imprisonment for having taken the soldiers’ guns when the party started with the judge to try and disperse the Turks who were attacking the villages.
Do not confuse an American penitentiary with a Turkish for the remains of the crusaders’ castles are used and the prisoners are placed in these damp dungeons and receive only water and a piece of bread daily. No suits are furnished them, neither soap, or even a little coal, but they must wear the old suits they chance to have when they enter the prison and there wrapped in a blanket, they lie on the damp ground floor having nothing to do but to wait and wait for the long years to pass till they can once again see the sunshine on the hills and gather their scattered and uncared-for family together.
Chapter Six – Results of the Massacre
SCARCELY had the regiment arrived when news reached us of the awful massacre on the plain. Many Christian villages were completely wiped out and not one Armenian left alive. Where there was a mixed population the Armenian quarter was usually destroyed but here and there were places where no great harm was done simply because the officer in charge would not consent to it.
Widows and orphans by the hundreds came flocking back to Hadjin and the villages about us, from the plain, bereft of beloved ones, many of whom had been brutally massacred before their eyes. They were penniless, ragged, barefooted, sick, pale and almost beyond recognition, the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of the three thousand Hadjin men who had been massacred on the plain.
Nearly all of these refugees flocked to the missionaries and told us of the dreadful experiences through which they had just passed. Some had not a male relative left. The effect of this is better understood when it is borne in mind that they were living in a land where womankind constantly needs protection and has no means of support. In one family twenty-three of the nearest relatives had been killed. In another no one but the infirm grandfather and aged grandmother, a son and a little grandson remained, although there had been thirty-two children and grandchildren in the family.
Some were insane and others on the verge of nervous prostration.
A young man wounded returned alone, not knowing what had become of his wife and child. It was later found that his wife after much wandering had received shelter in a village. The little one was found on the streets in another town with a number of helpless orphans, and friends had sent it with others to an orphanage in another part of the country. But this was only one of many families that were scattered, and only time will tell whether or not even those living will again meet.
The Turkish villagers could not be reconciled to the fact that Hadjin had been spared and as these frightened widows and orphans passed them on their return to Hadjin were heard to voice their regrets and shame that they could not even wipe out Hadjin or deride this idea of a massacre when the ghavurs (a contemptible name for Christian) were still so numerous.
Amongst these destitute refugees were a few of the wives and orphans of the tradesmen from Sigetchet. Our hearts were filled with sorrow as one after another told us how they had witnessed the death of our ministers, delegates, deacons, merchants and the head teacher in our girls’ orphanage, numbering seventy-six in all.
After consulting the governor in Sis as to the safety of continuing their journey, they left the town, but only an hour or two later the news reached the people of Sis that the Christians in Adana were being massacred and that the town was in flames.
One of the members of the church committee whose wife had also joined the caravan, immediately sent his son-in-law on horseback to inform them of their danger and to return, but he overtook them just after they had unloaded in Sigetchet and the Turks had already taken possession of them.
The messenger was forced to join the same party and meet the same doom.
All were crowded into the dingy khan for the night while the mob of Turks in their frenzy surrounded it. All night long they prayed God to deliver them from the hands of these bloodthirsty enemies and if not His will, then to prepare them for the death that was awaiting them, and before morning our deacon’s wife had literally pulled all the hair out of her head in her anguish. At last daylight came and a Turk came riding into the village at high speed, his horse covered with lather, and declared that he had been to Adana and returned during the night, and producing a document assured the Turks that the governor-general had said that he had all the Christians he wanted and they should dispose of the party without sending them farther.
As the prisoners were momentarily waiting and trying to hope against hope the door opened and the ruler entered. He assured them that the Mohammedans had no evil intentions whatever and that this excitement was due to the fact that the Turks had noticed a few weapons in their possession. He asked them to give up these, their money watches, jewelry, trunks and whatever they possessed into his keeping and he would then escort them into his home where he could protect them.
Although our helpless co-workers doubted the ruler’s word, there was no alternative, and the members of the party at once assured the ruler that he was welcome to all their possessions if he would but protect them. The mob of Turks had taken their ablutions and were in the mosque praying “Allah” to assist them in their murderous plans as the disarmed Armenians were taken to the ruler’s house.
As soon as their prayers were finished they came to the one who had promised to give protection. He opened the door and there stood the bloodthirsty and fanatical mob armed with swords, knives, clubs, guns and axes and the demonized expression of their faces told a more shameful story than their shrieks and yells could express. The martyrs were disrobed, with the exception of one garment. The pastor of the First Church of Hadjin begged for an opportunity to speak to them and appealed to their sense of justice and sympathy, but when he saw it availed nothing he appealed to their fear of God, but a Turk stepped forward and taking the pastor by the beard, led him forth and killed him.
The aged deacon of Hadjin was next led forth. His wife rushed after him trying to protect him but both were shot and her body fell upon his. Some were clubbed to death, some shot, some killed with swords and some with axes; but the women of the party, as is nearly always the case, were reserved until the last and after being humiliated and disgraced in the most unspeakable manner, were afterwards killed.
One Turk stood at the door and killed sixteen members of this party in succession, when he finally called someone to take his place saying his strength was exhausted.
After these were all killed they turned to the Christian tradesmen and their families who had spent each winter with them for the past twenty years. One of them was on his knees before the murderers and with a little son on each arm begged that for God’s sake they should not make his little boys orphans. But they answered, ” Drop your children or we will kill them too.” He did so and was killed before the eyes of his wife and little boys.
The shoemaker was finishing a pair of shoes for one of the Turks and begged for his life saying he would present the shoes to him, but when the last stitch was taken the shoemaker was killed by the owner of the shoes. Less than two dozen of the smallest children and widows were spared to be haunted for life by the memory of these dreadful scenes.
An ox-cart was filled with these dead bodies and the remainder were dragged out by horses and all were thrown into the ditches and left to be devoured by the jackals and dogs.
No wonder one of the missionaries exclaimed, “So great and hospitable a plain, and yet it could not spare the ground to furnish these martyrs a grave.”
Oh! how these poor widows longed for Hadjin and their homeland, for they had heard that a regiment was sent to protect us. They walked for days and entered the town footsore and weary, ragged and hungry, penniless and homeless, helpless and hopeless, but alas! they threw up their hands and shrieked in terror as the first person they saw was the trumpeter and soldiers of the new regiment and they recognized the former as their neighbor who had killed the first sixteen and the latter as those who had murdered their husbands and brothers.
From amongst the heaps of dead bodies, a pastor’s wife, a tradesman and a servant who were supposed to be dead regained consciousness and at dead of night crept away and after days of misery reached another village and were spared to tell this tale of suffering.
Ardashas, one of the young ministers in the party, had been our interpreter for a few years. He was an earnest Christian and entered the ministry only a year before his death. At that time he married one of the high school teachers in the American Board Mission School. She was taken into the school when but a child and educated by the Board.
Our night watch in the boys’ orphanage was a cousin to this young minister.
When the husband started for the conference, the young wife remained in the village. But this village was also surrounded by the Turks at the same time that Hadjin was, and although a part of the Christian quarter was burned the villagers bravely defended themselves.
The minister’s wife was ill but her suffering was a secondary matter to her, for she constantly sighed, “Oh! for some word from my husband.” Several times at dead of night a footman from the village arrived to tell us of their distress and to beg help from Hadjin and he would carry a few pounds of salt back with him for the besieged villagers . Each time he brought a letter from the pastor’s wife to the cousin in our employ and it always contained this one message, “My grief is unbearable. Do send me some news about my husband.”
Only rumors had reached us at this time. He would not be a ” black messenger,” so without our knowledge the cousin gave no answer at all to the letter.
Again a letter was received which the cousin brought to us. The poor wife wrote, ” I am ill. Our village is strongly attacked and we may soon all be destroyed but all this is nothing compared with the fear for Ardashas. Surely you can tell me where he is. Pity me in my misery and send me an answer. Oh! for some news about my husband.”
We begged him to tell her that we could not locate the party but that we had traced them as far as the Turkish village Sigetchet, but after this letter reached the village the mother-in-law withheld it from the sorrowful wife, fearing she was too ill to bear the news. All this time, of course, she had already been a widow.
As soon as possible she was brought to Hadjin and at once requested to see us. Never can we forget the sight of the poor, pale, grief-stricken and suffering Iittle woman as she threw herself into our arms and embraced us and amid tears said, “God has at least answered this prayer of mine. for after I knew I should never see my dear husband again, I then begged Him that in some way He should bring me to the missionaries “
A few days later we visited her again and our hearts were moved with pity as we beheld the little fatherless babe in the distressed mother’s arms.
The sight of her as she lay vainly trying to regain strength and on one half of a peck of wheat given her, weekly, by the government for there were no other provisions in the house, is one of the memories of those days.
A poor brother in the village sent a horse telling her to come and live with him.
She prepared to take the three days’ journey on horseback across the mountains. She had no food to take with her and knew she could get none on the way. At first she decided to go hungry but afterwards sent one of her relatives to us with the message, “Were it not for my little babe I would say nothing and start hungry and without food ready to die on the mountains and forget my sorrow, but my conscience reproves me for entertaining such a thought when I look at my helpless babe and remember it has no one left but me to care for it. I can tell my condition to no one else.”
We sent her provisions for the journey. She came to bid us good-bye and to thank us for the help given, but with tears in our eyes we embraced each other and although we could not express ourselves, we felt each other’s grief and sympathy and thus parted.
During the two weeks that Hadjin was surrounded our Bible woman, Isabelle, was a constant help to us as she comforted the people and gathered them together that they might unite their prayers to God for deliverance. After the regiment had arrived andpeace was partially restored, we sent a message inquiring about the safety of her parents, brothers and sisters who lived in Adana. The answer received was, ” The men were all killed, and Martha was seriously wounded and is lying here in the hospital.”
The father who was in a village at the time was slain there.
The younger brother had returned from college for the Easter vacation. As the murderers rushed into the little house, the older brother was fatally wounded.
They rushed towards the younger brother with their daggers, but Martha, the youngest sister who was older than her brothers, sprang between the Turk and the brother, begging that they kill her instead and spare one son for the aged mother who had no one left to care for her. She was fatally wounded and the younger brother was killed. Somehow the mother and wounded Martha found refuge with the missionaries but after suffering for several months Martha died as a result of the wounds.
The house was burned and in it the old blind grandmother, the wounded brother and the body of the student brother. Although this news was heart-breaking to Isabelle she steadfastly looked to God for grace to bear it and the Lord strengthened her as she went about from home to home speaking words of comfort to the many who were bereaved.
Her old mother came to spend the summer with her daughter. She was so thin and weak that one could scarcely recognize her. As she told us of her sad experience she also told us what a comfort Isabelle was to her. At times it seemed as if her heart would break, but Isabelle would read a promise to her out of God’s Word and remind her mother of the fact that both brothers and father were wearing martyrs’ crowns and that God would give them grace to bear their sorrow cheerfully, for after all it could not be long, and then when Jesus came to receive His own unto Himself they should be reunited as a family and be forever with the Lord. As the old mother told us this she said, ” Then Isabelle and I kneel in prayer and she prays so earnestly that God may give me strength to bear it, that I feel sure it is all right, and say, ‘ Thy will be done, my Father.'”
We praise God that amongst these suffering ones there are at least some who know the source of comfort.
Chapter Seven – Death of Henry Mauer and D. M. Rogers
MR. TROWBRIDGE, who was the only American or European to witness the killing of his fellow-workers, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Maurer, gives a very graphic account in his letter sent to the missionaries and friends in which he says :
“Firing and fighting began on April 14th,between Moslems and Armenians, which resulted in a number of casualties on both sides. By nightfall it was clear that incendiaries were at work, for several districts of the city were covered by clouds of smoke, which rolled out far into the country, where vineyard and country houses also were burning.
“All night long the reports of firearms rang out from all sides. . . . The next morning the conflagrations had spread to such an extent that we were obliged to watch closely the environs of the building of the girls’ school. . . .
“A fresh outburst of smoke near the girls’ school showed that we were threatened by fire. The wind tanned the flames and drove them from house to house in our direction. Mr. Rogers was guarding the home of Miss Wallace and the dispensary across the street from the school. It was clear that the large school, a building of brick and wood, was in danger.
“We spent the morning in ripping off projecting woodwork and the porch posts. It soon became evident that direct efforts to put out the flames must be undertaken. Up to that time no one had dared to go on the streets because of the shooting from one end by Moslems and the other by Armenians. Moslem pillagers, armed and in desperate mood, were looting the houses opposite the buildings on fire.
“Mr. Maurer and I took a crowbar and an axe and crossed the street to destroy the wooden porches, shutters and stairways of the houses between the fire and the girls’ school. We carried pails of water, which we threw wherever we saw flames breaking out. . . . No soldiers or policemen had appeared nor had any pumps or apparatus for fighting fire been brought out. The only news we had of the soldiers was the galling rifle fire from the minarets. The shooting apparently was directed at the houses where the Armenians were resisting by a return fire.
“When I first climbed to the roofs near the flames, armed Moslems appeared on three sides within close range. When they understood that I was not firing on them, but had come back to work against the flames, they lowered their rifles and assured me with many pledges that I might go on unmolested. Then three Turks appeared at the windows of a house just across the street, and after assuring me of my safety they dropped back again to their work of plunder.
“Back of that house in a well-protected position was a turbaned Moslem covering these looters with his rifle and firing frequently to protect them. Then other Moslems appeared suddenly on my left, but perceiving my purpose they bade me feel no concern.
“In the meanwhile Mr. Maurer, who had been carrying water in pails from the yard of the girls’ school, came up to me and made use of a crowbar in throwing down a wall one side of which was burning fiercely. He worked with pails of water, the crowbar and the axe for over an hour. It seemed that we must have help. We repeatedly begged some Armenian young men who were lurking around the street corners, shielded from the Moslem fire, to put away their arms and come and save the school building.
“The real danger that pressed upon our minds was not the possible loss of the building, but the perilous situation in which our American friends, the hundreds of Christian refugees and the eighty schoolgirls would find themselves in case the building burned.
“In every direction there was rioting and shooting. There was no refuge except possibly in the Protestant church some distance away, and even this was threatened from three sides by the conflagration. [The Protestant church mentioned in Mr. Trowbridge’s letter was also burned.]
“So we came back to the school and asked for volunteers. Mr. Rogers came at once. He had been in Miss Wallace’s house and did not know how close the fire came. He carried water back three times. Mr. Maurer was using the crowbar against a wall, and I, higher up on the roof, was pouring water on places just catching fire.
“We had thus worked a considerable time without being harmed by the Moslems when the Armenians at the other end of the street commenced firing on the houses where the looters were at work.
“Suddenly two shots rang out not more than eight yards from where we were working. Mr. Rogers, who was in the street bringing water, was mortally wounded. He called to me by name, and then fell in the middle of the street. The other bullet hit Mr. Maurer in the left lung near the heart, a wound which caused him to suffer great pain. The crowbar fell from his hands. He then climbed down the ladder and collapsed at the side of Mr. Rogers.
“Immediately after these two shots several other bullets from the Moslems who had fired them whizzed past me. I dropped almost flat on the roof and made my way to the edge whence I could see Mr. Maurer climbing down the ladder with the greatest difficulty. I could also hear Mr. Rogers groaning. My first thought was to help my two comrades home to have their wounds treated. Consequently, without concealing my intention, I stepped to the lower roof and climbed down the same ladder Mr. Maurer had used. It was clear that both men would have to be carried in. I went on rapidly to the school to tell Dr. Thomas D. Christie and Mr. Frederick W. Macallum.
“Just at this time the British vice-consul at Mersin, Major Daughty-Wylie, arrived with twenty Turkish soldiers on a tour of the city. They rode up and found Mr. Rogers and Mr. Maurer lying wounded in the street. The entire neighborhood was deserted. The soldiers were ordered to the roofs to fire in several directions, but by this time the murderers had disappeared.
“Mr. Maurer died a few minutes later in the school building and Mr. Rogers lived only a few minutes longer than Mr. Maurer. He did not regain consciousness.
“Both men passed peacefully away. They died as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.”
Space will not permit me to write in detail of the many who were crucified, thrown into the river, killed with swords and axes, burned by the thousands in the churches or in their homes, and of the many who were tortured and killed in such hideous and awful ways that dare not be repeated, but it is estimated that in the vilayet of Adana between twenty and thirty thousand were slain and months later the plain was still strewn with their bones. On our trip to the coast, while resting under the large shade trees for a few moments, Armenian hands gathered the skulls and bones of their fellow countrymen and laid them at our feet.
The number of orphans and widows in Hadjin and its villages was increased to 1,100 of the former and 1,043 of the latter and amongst them a number of our married orphan girls and their babies.
While considerable relief was given at the time, it takes years for these little ones to grow up, and who will care for them ?
Oh! the untold suffering and misery of these widows and orphans. How could God look upon such scenes of wickedness and cruelty? But “He was their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted,” and as our eyes are opened we see with the prophet Isaiah that “His visage was so marred, more than any man, and His form more than the sons of man,” and our hearts cry out, “Lord! what wilt Thou have me do ?” He answers, “Lovest thou Me ? Feed My lambs, . . . tend My sheep, . . . feed My sheep.”
By the help of the many Christian friends the United Orphanage and Mission, an interdenominational board, is doing all in their power to prove their love to their Master in this way.
With the main orphanage in Hadjin and an orphanage in Everek, about 350 orphan boys and girls are being cared for, educated and taught the love of Jesus. At present our circle of missionaries at these two stations number ten, and others are preparing to go and assist in this great work while the general board at home is composed of ministers who freely give their assistance in extending this work, the treasurer being Elder O. B. Snyder, of 1123 Water Street. Port Huron, Mich.