#25: The Armenians "depart" (1915)
As Prof. Hagopian and myself drew aside and kissed each
other goodbye, he said to me: "Dr. White, I want you to
understand and remember that I am going on my own choice.
I have friends among the officials and influential Turks.
They promised me a traveling permit for Constantinople.
I could have gone there and have been safe. But I did not
want to separate from my own people. I wanted to share in
whatever experiences were in store for them. So I go now,
because I would not try to escape". I have no doubt that
was fully true. Twenty-five years we had worked shoulder
to shoulder. He was a true and able man. "Except a corn
of wheat fall into the ground and die" .....
Prof. Sivaslian, whose study of Mathematics and Surveying
fitted him splendidly for city engineering, had been
invited by the commander of gendarmes to accept his
special protection, at the cost of a nominal adherence
to Mohammedanism, and serve as city engineer in the
extensive plans for new streets, grading, and building,
on which the Turks were seriously at work. He refused to
consider the invitation.
Of the Armenian members of the Faculty in 1914-'15, seven
were dead, together with the much respected head of the
Self Help Department, and the young superintendent of
grounds and buildings. Not one of the 72 persons deported
from our loved College campus ever came back.
The deportation of sixty-two persons from the Girls' School
and King School for the Deaf Children, August 12th, with the
return of forty-eight from Sivas, rescued by Miss Willard
and Miss Gage, forms a story second to none in the history
of the Western Turkey Mission in significance. But that is
another story, and has been told elsewhere. Perhaps it is
only right to add that every school boy was a potential
soldier, possibly hostile to Islam, as the girls were not.
Every school girl was a potential member of a Moslem home
or harem, as had been the experience with unnumbered
Christian girls. During these days, girls were bought and
sold in our town for three or four dollars a piece. I heard
the conversation of men engaged in the traffic. Indeed, I
procured the release of three myself for a ransom of one
gold lira, $4.40.
I was permitted to ride my horse with the mounted guards
of the Girls' School convoy for their first day's journey.
One of them was a friend of my dear daughter, who had been
taken to America by her mother not long before, and before
the public situation had grown so acute. This nice Armenian
girl, with a sheet over her person for protection, took a
ring from her hand and asked me to give it to her friend,
my daughter, who was comfortable, happy and *safe* in
At the season for fall plowing and planting, we saw with
sad hearts the Armenian burying ground plowed by the
officials and sowed to grain and saw the green grain
growing, as their way of giving public notice that they
did not intend to allow enough Armenians to live in the
city to need a place for one of them to be buried. There
had been about 14,000 of that race resident in the homes
of our city the preceding spring.
NEXT: A difficult year
to "NEOTURKISH ANATOLIA"