#36: The final exodus (1921)

During the three days allowed us to prepare for departure, I was occupied to the limit in arranging to close up affairs and leave my official responsibilities to my able understudy and substitute, Mr. Compton. My wife superintended all our household packing, sorting the few things that could be taken with us, and piling the rest in one of the College recitation rooms. She asked how long an absence she should plan in packing and I said, "Plan that we will be back again before long". We liked and sympathized with all the people, without ill-will toward any, but as the event turned out we were never to return. We had lived in Merzifon and labored in love and good will there more than thirty years. The people were our friends and our home was there.

On Tuesday morning, March 22, 1921, with the weather still ruled by belated winter storms, two N. E. R. trucks and six small spring wagons left our Anatolia College campus, under the escort and control of mounted policemen, to cross mountain passes nearly a mile high, wallow through deep snow drifts and watch the wagons, loads, teams and drivers that along some roads we must pass had slid and rolled over the brink into the valley below.

The next day we reached Samsoun and the Sea, and it was good to see Old Glory floating over an American destroyer in the harbor, giving us a sense of real and needed protection for the time, while we were kept under guarded surveillance and really arrest. Then we were authorized to proceed by the destroyer to Constantinople. I do not remember to have heard a word of hate or fear or any vindictive expression from any American or other Christian lips during all these trying experiences. See photograph of our group.

Most of us made headquarters in Constantinople during the summer, one and another drifting away as some other opening for usefulness presented itself, while hopes of soon returning to Merzifon faded. Miss Antony and Miss Corning, however, by dint of much patient waiting and many persistent appeals, received permission to return and share in their interrupted service. In July came another sad period of bloodshed, conflagration and spoilation in our old home town, headed by Lame Osman, news being carefully suppressed for the time being. About that time the four Greek teachers and two students arrested and taken from our campus in March were executed.