- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Rose Lambert


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[page 42]


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

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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

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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 ap-

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pointed 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,

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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

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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 I 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

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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

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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

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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.


Miss Tschumi and a few of our Armenian orphan girls


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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

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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

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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.

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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 Missionary Graveyard

1. Adeline Brunk's grave. 2. Mrs. Maurer's grave. Miss Tschumi, Miss Honk, Rev. Maurer, Rose Lambert, Rev. Lambert

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the grave, facing the bullets, the teacher read the 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

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the firing diminished. He again informed us that by mistake the six soldiers had gone to 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

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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

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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.

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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

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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 ? "

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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 carrying 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

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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

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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

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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.


Vartavar Agha

The Telegram Bearer during the Massacre

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 vineyard. We were thankful for this opportunity of doing good and the Turks appreciated it.1

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

1 Since writing the above news has reached us of the death of the boy.

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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.

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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

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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 afraid you will leave us."


Hadjin from south east

1. Boys' Orphanage. 2. Girls' Orphanage

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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

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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

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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

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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.

The officer informed Hadjin that he arrived


Lutfi Bey and a few of his soldiers who came to our rescue


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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 for joy 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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.


Source: Rose Lambert. "Hadjin, and the Armenian Massacres"; New York, Chicago, Toronto, London and Edinburgh, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1911
Provided by: Karen Vrtanesyan
Scanned by: Irina Minasyan
OCR: Irina Minasyan

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