- 1: From New York to Merzifon (1890)
We sailed from New York on the Scotch steamer Furnessia, October 11, caught glimpses of Glasgow with its shipbuilding on the Clyde, of aristocratic Edinburgh with its famous university, and of mighty London and the perennially friendly and generous Bible Lands Missions Aid Society. A visit to Parliament, where we saw the statue of John Selden, an alleged ancestor, in the hallway, almost made us feel as if we owned the place, and certainly prepared us to reciprocate the friendliness and cooperation of British friends and officials during succeeding years. We crossed the continent by trains with no sleeping car and made initial acquaintance with cosmopolitan Constantinople, then and naturally, the capital of the Near-eastern world, and we were especially glad to meet the hospitable Americans at the Bible House and at Robert College. Then came the small Russian steamer, Rostoff, with its characteristic crowd of deck passengers: Armenian rug merchants, Persians with their samovars and tea parties, muscular Kurdish porters, Turkish hucksters, Greek colonizers, Caucasian mountaineers with their daggers and cartridge bandoliers, and stalwart Russians commanding and respected by all.
So we reached Samsoun, and after some pushing through the slow moving Custom House and through other formalities on a Friday morning packed ourselves and our belongings into small, springless, seatless carts, quite like pocket editions of the covered wagons familiar to us on our western prairies. After bumping over rough, stone-paved roads till nightfall and far beyond, we met our first experience of an Oriental khan at Cavak. Before noon the next day at Cavsa, famous from classic times for its therapeutic hot spring, a group of thirteen young men met us. They were the senior class of the College, and as we shook hands with "our students", and heard the address given by J. P. Xenides, (later Professor) and Kevork Chakarian (later Reverend), we began to feel "at home". Soon some of the Americans came galloping up, followed at intervals by crowds on foot or with miscellaneous conveyances, all with a hearty welcome for the new-comers. The approach to the city resembled the approach to Jerusalem over the Mt. of Olives, and just where the cavalcade emerged from among 5,000 vineyards and orchards, the city lay spread out to view westward across "the brook". There a halt was called, introductions and cordial greetings were exchanged, and then in the autumn twilight our wagons rolled into the compound of the Mission Station and the campus of Anatolia College.
- 2: The college and the town (1890)
Within the enclosure were the Theological Seminary, College and Girls' School, about two hundred pupils in all. At the highest point in the premises was located the square, white-plastered, two story structure with basement below and small bell-tower above, originally erected in 1871 at a cost of Ltq. 400, or $1,760, for the Theological Seminary. This building was the authorized cradle of the College. The Girls' School was on lower ground as befitted a land at the stage of the veil and the harem. There were three American houses, part of one of which was assigned to us; a bakery already famous for its good bread; and a small self-help shop, where students could earn manhood and money and learn at the same time to keep their whiskers out of the machinery. Naturally there were spaces for games and sports, though some sedate seniors thought such amusements too frivolous for their dignity; a pleasant garden with trees and flowers; and a stable with a pair of horses and one cow. There were about 2,000 books in the Library, chiefly on theological and directly religious subjects. One of the prizes offered annually at Commencement by a native pastor was a volume of printed sermons. There were some home-made instruments and apparatus for use in the study of Physics. We were told that funds for endowment amounted to $13,433, not wholly bad for a four-year-old in far-away Turkey.
Outside of the compound, the city was primitive indeed in that remote bourne of time and space: houses and walls built generally of sun-dried brick, adobe as in the days of the Hittites; streets so narrow that I have seen a cat cross a street by jumping from roof to roof; streets sloping and draining to the middle, and between rains often clogged with garbage of every kind including the blood and refuse of butcher meat and fowls. Respectable citizens were expected ordinarily to be housed for the night by sunset and none went out later except in groups carrying oiled paper lanterns. Christian people certainly occupied Marsovan before the Turks appeared on the scene. The whole region was included in the "Armenaic Theme" of which Amasia was the capital during Byzantine Empire days, and the first Americans adopted the Christian pronunciation of the city's name. We all were familiar with the great stone wall and iron gates that enclosed the highest ground within the city as an acropolis, and within it were located the large Armenian Church and school buildings. "Unwarlike Armenians" never could have secured such a foothold after the Turks were in control. An old Turkish bath in the city was built with buttresses of evident Byzantine Church architecture, was known as St. Barbara's Church, and was authorized and used for Greek worship every year on "St. Barbara's Day".
- 3: The local people (1891)
But as we became acquainted we found the people, whether Christian or Turkish, prevailingly of a friendly, kindly, progressive type, as is often the case with simple-minded people in times of peace. I always liked the common Turkish people unless they were stirred to passion by militarists. The fields and villages of the plain were almost entirely in the possession of the Turks, though there were a few Kurds and Circassians, while nearly half of our fellow towns-people were commercial and industrial Armenians. There were also some Greeks in the city, and great numbers dwelling among the mountains round about, whither they had been driven by the invading Turks of earlier generations to seek safety.
There was not a foot of railroad nearer than Constantinople. Mail came usually once a week, after the censor had kept what he wanted. Not a single newspaper had ever been printed in the city or in our section of Turkey. It was a day of small things, crude beginnings and a few great expectations, but was all under the suspicious and repressive officialdom of Sultan Abdul Hamid.
In the College two classes were called preparatory, while four bore the ordinary college class names. The schools from which our students came did not carry them far. When Americans first came to Turkey, hardly any vernacular was taught anywhere. Instruction was in classic tongues and religious lore. But our students for the most part came with a purpose in modern life. They wanted to attain a worth-while and useful manhood and they felt that the College could give them a start.
One student told me in after years that when he came to Marsovan he was really illiterate, that is, he could not fairly read his native tongue, or any other. But he had no chance of learning more in his native village. For a number of months he was cow-boy for an American family, and eagerly studying too. Then a year or two in the lowest classes helped him toward really a creditable manhood. Dartmouth and Williams and other American colleges may boast some fairly parallel examples in their early years.
- 4: Learning Turkish (1891)
But the main task confronting us at first was to acquire a working knowledge of the Turkish language. I was glad that it was Turkish, the one general language of the government and the people, whereas our predecessors had of necessity stressed the Armenian and the Greek. Turkish was a noble tongue as we were taught it in those days, though it seemed as hard for Anglo-Saxons as both German and French. Like other Turanian tongues Turkish is agglutinative in structure. That is, various meanings are carried each by a single syllable or short word, and these are compounded in lengthened words, where our American and European speech would make separate words of the several parts. For instance, the phrase because-I-shall-not-be-able-to-come was expressed in one Turkish word of seven syllables. It was fine for telegrams, but with the difficulty that writing or reading the Arabo-Turkish of those days was essentially writing or reading rebusses, and positive and negative were often confused! The lack of relative pronouns and the use in their place of a vast and intricate system of gerunds was quite baffling to some foreigners. The phrase he (or she or it)-struck-my-heres included an adverb, used as a substantive, in the plural number, with possessive suffix, and in the dative case. But the Turkish grammar was more astonishingly regular than any other I ever studied; and I learned to enjoy the language very much and to feel measurably at home in it. I estimated in time at 14,000 the number of the verb forms that I knew and could use readily, but that seemed a possible exaggeration until I found someone else reckoning 17,000 as his range.
I never acquired the width of vocabulary, the diction and idiom of my native English, but could address or meet any group or individual up to generals, pashas and prime ministers, any ordinary audience in church or school, reasonably sure of communicating any message I had to offer, or of receiving any information offered me. I sometimes would use Turkish in my personal prayer as better suiting my mental mood than English, say at the end of a tense day or evening with some public church service, or discussion of some knotty problem with a committee or other group. Still I never mastered my Turkish with its confusing Arabic script so thoroughly as to undertake a second missionary language. I did venture to undertake preaching my first sermon in Turkish in the Marsovan Church in November 1891, a year after we reached the country. My text--was, "Beloved now are we the Sons of God," etc., a verse used as a theme of a Moody hymn."
- 5: Mountain life (1892)
"The common people of the country lived in deep poverty and often in great fear. Dinner one Sunday evening in a mountain village home comes vividly to mind. It had been a heart-warming day with those dear and simple friends of the congregation with whom we celebrated the Lord's supper, and we were invited to the leading deacon's home for the evening meal. It was a log house with just one large room over the barn and stable where they stored their tools, animals, and supplies. There was a fire smoldering on a broad hearth or fireplace consisting of flat stones in the center of the room. It was the custom for the family to sleep at night flat on the floor, with or without bedding, ringed around the heated stones and embers, with their feet toward the fire. Some, but by no means all, of the smoke escaped by a huge, square hood or chimney rising toward and above the roof. The table was about a foot high, round, and a yard or so across. We sat cross-legged on the floor and had to sit close to make room for all, with our right shoulder toward the table whereon were just three articles of food. The staple was corn bread, johnny cake, which is good at its best, but in this case was baked of cornmeal very gritty from the mill stones that ground it; half-burned on one side and half-raw on the other; then there was a dish of soured milk, much thinned with water to make it go around, from which we dipped with wooden spoons; and there were green pepper pickles. There was nothing else to eat on the table. And that was the best meal of the week, in one of the best houses of the village, and with guests present whom they wished to treat with their best available hospitality.
Leaving that village one morning I was told in advance that they lived in danger of Georgian neighbors, Mohammedans who had settled in the region as immigrants from Russia. So three of the Armenian young men would escort me beyond the danger line several miles down the mountain side. For the protection of their lives and cattle and property some of their young men were each provided with a Russian rifle which must not be seen by officials for that would involve them in danger with the government, and so we should start in the small hours of the night. My hosts provided me a horse to ride, while my three guards walked, Indian file, one ahead and two behind me. The man ahead wore white cotton pants, but so dark was the night and so dense was the forest through which we threaded our way that I could not even see the white pants moving at my horse's head along those mountain pathways with their frequent precipitous descents and small streams.
Another time I was riding alone with a Circassian, and in the talk of man to man in such companionship, asked him a bit about his occupation and his affairs. "Sometimes I get a traveller to escort, like you", he replied, "and then I take him, but my regular business is smuggling tobacco. Every man in our village has a regular job, some are smugglers, some are farmers, and some are thieves". I asked him about his chance of getting caught, and he promptly said, "There are two kinds of smugglers; one kind gets caught and one kind doesn't get caught", and he added a pious expression of gratitude to the good Lord that he never had been put to shame yet. We knew very well that the mounted police of Anatolia were largely recruited from among the robbers and smugglers of the mountain roads. One of the most effective ways of securing official employment, and who knows what promotion later, was to acquire the reputation of a daring hold-up man on the mountains."
- 6: Ugly incidents (1893)
January 5, 1893, students returning from Week of Prayer evening meetings in the city church found a placard posted on the College Gate, calling on the Turks to rise and apply the same medicine for the ills of the country that the people of India had employed. That meant to invite the British to assume control of Turkey and was clearly revolutionary and incendiary, though rather mildly put. But the Turks were furious, and charged that these placards, widely posted in Marsovan and the region, emanated from the College. They were printed on a cyclostyle, an instrument rarely found in Turkey. Dr. Herrick and the administration emphatically denied the charge of college complicity and certainly the administration was free from any knowledge of the affair. But two Armenian teachers were arrested, Professor Thoumayan and Mr. Kayayan, and sent to Angora for trial, along with scores of other alleged revolutionists. It was a dark time, trying to our souls. We Americans were strong in the consciousness of freedom from any share in revolution. We were in honor bound to our American government and to the government of Turkey in whose country we were guests. Many persons were imprisoned and there were sad echoes of beatings and torture, of threats and bribes, of alleged revolution and cruel oppression, deceit and violence. College students were in a panic; we Americans, well-nigh helpless. Ultimately our two teachers were released owing to British government pressure but were exiled from the country. Imagine it all!
About midnight February 1, 1893, we were awakened by the cry of fire, and jumped out of bed to find that our new Girls' School was in flames. The building was in process of construction. The frame timbers were completely in place, and so were the workmen's ladders and scaffolding within. Incendiaries had evidently carried tins of kerosene to the top of the building and along the foot walks under the ridgepole to the eaves, pouring kerosene all the way and carrying the stream down the central ladders and then dropped a lighted match and ran. In an instant in the quiet winter night the whole building was on fire from ground to roof, from end to end. Officials were on the ground so quickly as to rouse suspicion. But they immediately charged that the incendiaries were Armenian revolutionists whose aim was to foment trouble in the country. We had no reason to suspect any Armenian, but investigations were conducted by the American Consul from Sivas, and then by an international commission of Turks and Americans from Constantinople and ultimately the Turkish government accepted the responsibility for failure to protect our premises and paid us an indemnity of Ltq. 500, $2,200, estimated to cover the amount of our pecuniary loss. We revised our plans and rebuilt the School.
- 7: Armenian dissidents, Turkish riots (1893-1895)
To return to the thread of this narrative. Toward the end of the summer of 1893 I was summoned to Samsoun to meet Miss Gage and Miss King, new recruits for our Girls' School. On the road up from the coast we heard rumors of "war" in Marsovan. I was very anxious for my wife and babies in the home nest. It proved that Bekir Pasha had received word one nightfall of the whereabouts of the revolutionary outlaw band. He threw a heavy cordon of soldiers around that section of the city, kindly waited till morning and then ordered the attack. Several insurrectionists were killed, others captured and imprisoned, and the band was broken up.
Armenians of more substantial character and reliable judgement were relieved to have the hidden band of outlaws broken up. They disliked assassination in the streets of the city. They disliked paying levies of money to irresponsible parties. They distrusted the leadership of nihilists and atheists. They resented dictation from a remote clique of agitators living comfortably in Paris or Athens, provoking terribly dangerous hostility from the Turks but keeping themselves out of harm's way. The more level headed Armenians realized that the Turks controlled the government, the post and telegraph, the army and all military supplies; they represented preponderating numbers among the congeries of nationalities in the country. The Armenians hoped for justice and for the promised help from the concert of Europe if they were only patient, and yet patient, and still patient.
No one who was in the College in 1895 could ever forget the thrills of restrained excitement with which announcement in October was received from Turkish and American officials that His Majesty had granted the Reforms demanded in the Six Eastern "Villayets" of Asia Minor, Erzroum, Van, Bitlis, Trebizond, Harpout and Sivas. We in Marsovan were located in the province of Sivas,--and November 15 was a Black Friday. The city officials suspended animation from the noon call to prayer till about 4 o'clock. Meantime, about 70 Armenians were killed and all the Armenian shops were picked clean of their contents by the mob. Shots were fired into our premises, but no blood was shed within our walls. Teachers and students crowded into our American houses for protection. And ours was but one experience in a wave that rolled across Asia Minor and cost the lives of about 70,000 Armenian people. We must draw a veil of tenderness over those events and turn our eyes away.
- 8: After the storm (1896)
Our little city had 2,000 or more looms, weaving cheap gingham cloth out of cotton thread from Manchester. When the storm of November 15th, 1895, broke, every loom in the city perforce came to a sudden standstill; and every Armenian merchant stopped importing thread. Knowledge of the facts in the world outside brought some funds for relief from Europe and America. But if available resources were given out in doles, the end would soon be reached with nothing abiding as a result. So we formed the plan of relief work and managed to employ many of the women in the habit of weaving or bobbin winding, practically every one the bread-winner for a large family. It naturally fell to the treasurer largely to handle this business, especially the sales, and in two years we produced 150,000 yards of gingham and a quantity of Turkish towels, sold all on the common market, recovering capital invested at every turnover and eventually reducing and then closing the business, distributing the funds in direct relief and leaving the gradually recovering manufacturers to carry on again.
One feature of the aftermath was the establishment of two orphan homes for boys and for girls and the gathering up for shelter, food, and care of 150 orphan children under the special charge of Mrs. Tracy, who was kind of heart and strict in requirements. It was a touching sight, those bereaved children.
Establishment of the Home for Younger Boys, between 12 and 15 years of age, in 1894, was a marked event. It was clearly recognized that they needed different arrangements and a different routine from those of the older students. When the girls moved to their new and better building, the old quarters of the Girls' School were available for the younger boys and Mrs. Edward Riggs, who had mothered her own boys, took charge of the new Home. A few years later she was succeeded by Mrs. Smith, and then Mr. and Mrs. Getchell jointly became superintendents for twelve memorable years.
- 9: Understanding Islam (1890's)
A very suggestive point in their creed and practice was that "God Almighty never requires anything of man *the doing of which is hard*". Several commandments of the decalogue are shattered by that comforting *alibi*, and the second great command of Jesus goes glimmering. Sociology and secular law may rise above religious precepts or permission. The fact is our Moslem neighbors were really in theory fatalists. Of such events as bloodshed and pillage they said "it was impossible to prevent them for they were all written in the stars ages ago". But a fatalist has no clear ground for distinguishing between right and wrong and for the action of conscience; no real basis for moral judgements and awards.
By degrees I became quite at home in mosques, which I visited, always with feelings of real reverence, and always meeting a friendly welcome. The preachers would habitually discuss their sermons with me in talks before or after preaching, and I came to understand the language used essentially as well as English. One day a friendly caller asked me to explain the Christian theory of the divinity of Jesus, saying courteously his object was not to make me deny his divinity, but if possible for me to make him confess that divinity. Their thought of the Son of God was habitually sensual and unworthy of the Supreme Being, as their thought of human life and conduct was low and unworthy of children of God. The Apostle John said, "he that hath not the Son hath not the Father".
Mosque worship was always highly, absorbingly impressive. A thousand men (no women) standing shoulder to shoulder, breast to back, in solid phalanx, the voice of the *muezzin* rings out,--all are erect; again the voice, every man on his knees with his forehead touching the floor; another call, and again the erect position. Mosque ceremonies always seemed to me very real worship and in my place I shared as truly as I could do. I studied the first Sura of the Koran carefully and could use it in English as a prayer of my own, but I never reached a point where a Mohammedan would authorize me to use it in my worship. Translation into Turkish was taboo.
- 10: Anatolian Archaeology (1890's)
A wealth of archaeological lore lay scattered over and within the soil of our College field, much of it only half suspected, and now we came to the organization of an Archaeological Club. Some old castles partly or often wholly in ruins might be encountered on a ride of a few miles in almost any direction. Several capital cities were not far away. Our earlier Americans never had heard the word Hittite used of Asia Minor, and knowledge of that great people and their great empires was only just beginning to struggle into the consciousness of savants, but evidence of their presence among our mountains, valleys and plains was beginning to be realized. A party of us once rode through a village where we found a magnificent Hittite lion, Roman milestones, Byzantine Greek Christian tombstones, where the villagers were Shia or heretic Turks. Thus, these old stones and living people represented four different types of race, religion, language and culture of every kind, living at intervals about a thousand years apart. We grew accustomed to picking up and comparing the painted pottery which lay abundantly around old city or fortress sites, artificial mounds, hidden sanctuaries, and like places. And our children grew adept at finding and picking up fragments of cuneiform script, usually Hittite. We established relations with the British Museum and some other centers of learning where any artefact, inscription even if fragmentary, or other object of archaeological interest was welcomed if we sent it, and with such information as could be furnished us by specialists in return.
So came to be founded our Anatolia Archaeological Club. In general the mature members of our community enrolled as active members, many of the more mature students were welcomed as associates and we secured several distinguished archaeologists as honorary members. Meetings were quarterly, rather informal, and decidedly interesting. By bringing our information to a common fund and all drawing from that fund, we learned to watch for objects of interest on journeys or during vacations, wherever spent, to report to the Club. Small fees during the course of a few years provided quite a library of useful and entertaining books and periodicals. Journals, scientific or popular, usually were glad to publish information supplied to them. Our field was new, there was a wealth of discovery and varied information to work upon and report to our home-land or European centers.
- 11: Turkish introspection (c. 1900)
Our Turkish friends during these times were rather confused and unhappy. Business, trade, was developing. There were more travel, talk, education, and all that, but there was much perplexity and some doubt. One day as I was riding with a Turkish wagon driver he turned to me and said, "When a European king wishes to be crowned, he must first get permission from our Sultan and then he may be crowned; is not that the way?" Before I could quite frame a reply that would be neither impolite nor untrue he answered his own question, "Yes, of course that's the way. When a European king wants to be crowned, he must first get permission from our Sultan and then he may be crowned". That represents the old belief of Islam, with its Koran, tribute or sword alternative, but in these modern days there began to be doubt, and doubts are painful as well as confusing.
The Mufti and I often exchanged calls and we discussed freely any subject of common interest. One day in a burst of confidence he exclaimed, "You see how things are going in our unhappy country. There is no fear of God, no worshipper in the mosques; during Ramazan, people who fast by day eat so much by night that they are fatter at the end of the month than they were at the beginning of the fast; nothing anywhere but worldliness, self-seeking and vice. The fact is we will get no real settlement for our unsettled and unhappy condition until we bring in the English and set them up as they are in Egypt. I've been in Egypt and seen things and I know. We were on the pilgrimage to Mecca, and there was quarantine because there was an epidemic of cholera. About 20,000 of us pilgrims were put ashore, and all our baggage was piled in one great pile. It was guarded by just one British soldier, and he looked half-asleep, and there wasn't a thing stolen; but if it had been guarded by a whole regiment of our soldiers there wouldn't have been a thing left. The British don't interfere with a man's religion or his private life either and they provide work for everybody". Of course my caller might be regarded as a spy, but I knew my friend too well to harbor such suspicions of him.
There were officials and citizens of a different type, for example Hadji Hamdi Effendi of Gumush. A go-between came to him one day from the clique of his central town and seat of government and said, "They're cutting up a little melon over at headquarters, Hadji Hamdi Effendi, and they reckon your share at about $100. Come on over and get it". But the upright old man, not an official, but a highly respected and very influential citizen, indignantly poured out his wrath at being approached with any such proposition and refused to have anything with it. "What's the matter", asked the messenger; "aren't you satisfied with the amount? If not, we could probably make it more". I pitied the Turks and pitied most of all the really good men among them, and at the other extreme, I pitied the very poor who were almost crushed by taxes and exactions, while their ranks were decimated by military service.
One day Tatar Osman Pasha, a keen man with the deep, sad eyes of the Mongol, called at the College, as such officials habitually did when passing through our place. The General, who bore a great reputation for his military ability and was on his way to the European, or Balkan, wing of the Ottoman Empire to suppress some disturbance there, said that Turkey would be better off without the Balkans if they could but recognize facts. Those provinces were not the real Turkey, and the chief tribes and kindred were not kindred of the Turks, but the Turks had conquered that area and could not make up their minds to let it go.
- 12: Armenian revolutionaries (c. 1900)
One day Dr. Tracy had occasion to be in Amasia, the ranking city, above our Kaimaklik, less than 30 miles away. He was informed that a group of young Armenians desired to meet with him in private. According to their request, he was conducted by secret ways to a hidden chamber where he met the band, headed by a recent graduate of the College and the spokesman. Every man wore the well known headdress of a brigand or revolutionist, was fully armed with good weapons, and wore his bandolier of cartridges. The fine, tall young leader explained to his College President that patriotism was a religious duty and he led in prayer. Then he stated their purpose. The Armenians had lived for generations as bondsmen under the unjust, oppressive, and cruel Turks. They were entitled to relief from such suffering, as was so well known throughout the world that the European powers at the Berlin Conference had promised reform measures. But nothing was done. It seemed necessary for the Armenians themselves to take the lead, to create disturbances by insurrection to show the Europeans that Turks could no longer control or protect the Armenians, or maintain order in the country. They pledged their lives, their all, to the sacred cause. They would shed blood if necessary, and they would not spare their own blood. Then the Europeans would remember the Armenians and their promises in behalf of the Armenians and would come to their help.
The Christian educator was certainly in a difficult position. Wisdom, judgment, inevitable danger, probable failure, counselled peace, order, patience, in spite of some natural sympathy with the oppressed. Dr. Tracy was clear and strong in counsel and as winning as possible in manner. It was not long before the band was broken up and the leader, our alumnus, was slain.
- 13: A grateful Turk (c. 1902)
Once when the whole country-side was busy with the wheat harvest I was one of three on a ride to a neighboring city, and as we passed a village harvesting and threshing, I asked about someone who had been in our Hospital. The answer came, "You must mean Osman Agha; he's not here today, he's at another village". The next day as we came back, three men stepped into our roadway, laid hold of our bridle reins and said, "You must turn back. You must stop and see us, and accept a little of our refreshment before you proceed on your way". We answered that we were travelers, and must push along on our journey. Then the villager holding my horse stepped forward and said most courteously and earnestly, "I'm Osman Agha. I'm the man you asked for yesterday. I was in your American Hospital. And now if you should pass my village without entering my little house and partaking of my humble hospitality, it would be a lasting shame and disgrace to me." Such an invitation was not to be rejected. We were escorted to the coolest spot, furnished with the best available village carpets and pillows, and while the best meal the place afforded was prepared as quickly as possible (and such fare in its way was almost equal to a Thanksgiving dinner), our host told the listeners about his experiences. He came to the Hospital for relief from a cruel facial cancer, and an operation was prescribed. He was afraid, but when they got ready they laid him on a nice, clean bed and gave him some medicine. He went comfortably to sleep, and when he woke up his operation was all done. He was in the Hospital till the wound healed, and he did not know there could be such a place in the world. There was no quarrelling, fighting, swearing, among the people working there, but everyone was full of kindness, good nature and good will; knew his work and did it day or night on time and just as the doctor ordered. So medicine, food and care were given just as each patient needed, and the whole place was really just like heaven. Then he talked of his personal condition and affairs with a faith and a peace worthy of faithful Abraham. But the facial cancer had not been wholly cured. He said he knew it might come back any time with extreme force, but he and all his interests were in the hands of God and whatever happened it would be all right. We never met again, but I think when the Doctor approaches the gate of Paradise, he will find Osman Agha waiting and watching to welcome him.
- 14: Anatolian Hellenism (c. 1902)
Another comes to mind, a fatherless Greek youth from Marsovan, whose mother was poor and blind. He used to come to school over the stones of the snowy streets in winter, carrying his one pair of cheap shoes in his hand till he reached the fountain in the College yard, where he would wash his feet in the icy water, put on his shoes for decency, wear them during the day, and then carry them again as he walked barefoot to his house in the evening. Later he was for many years an industrious laborer and an earnest preacher of the gospel.
The Greek community in Marsovan was never large, only a few hundred souls or perhaps a thousand at most. Nor did they represent the upper levels of Greek wealth or learning. Most of them belonged to a clan of miners brought some generations earlier from the miners of the Trebizond mountains to work the silver mines of Gumush Maden at the upper end of our plain. Some digging and smelting continued to our day, but it gradually ceased to be profitable and some families of miners whose ancestors were virtually serfs at first started to seek work and bread in other places. But the Greek people had in Athens one of the world's proud historic capitals, though dilapidated then by foreign domination. They had a Greek country, though rather distant and inaccessible for the peasant stock of Asia Minor. Above all they were the chief keepers of the Byzantine heritage and the priceless treasures of the Greek Orthodox Church, though wars and oppression had almost crushed the semblance of life in some places. In ancient and ruined graveyards, it was touching to read such Christian epitaphs a thousand years old as, "Here lies the servant of God, Daniel"; "Here lies the deaconess, Maria", in regions where there were no present day Christians.
The Greek priest of our town was a kind-hearted, warm- hearted Christian man and we became good friends. For quite a time he was a familiar figure on our premises as he came to attend such Theological lessons as he could find conducted in Turkish, the only language he really knew, though, of course, he read the liturgy and conducted the church services in Greek. The Greek community school was very elementary, and to bridge the gap between it and our First Form lessons, we maintained special classes in College and Girls' School for several years. The priest was much interested in these special classes, as he was in the occasional trips of students to preach in village churches. He was not afraid of our taking any sectarian attitude. The first time I ever was invited to preach in an Eastern Church, when I questioned the priest as to his confidence in so inviting me, he said, "I know you won't say anything in my church that would be unfriendly to me".
- 15: A memorable sermon (c. 1902)
Another sermon story from the mosque begs to be recorded. Men sin, said the earnest preacher, because they forget God, and they forget God because they love the world too much. Humanity is like a man walking across a plain who finds himself pursued by a lion. Running at top speed and casting about for some refuge from the danger he finds a well with a platform half way down where he reaches temporary safety. The lion comes to the mouth of the well and threatens to tear him in pieces if he tries to escape. As he looks, he sees a huge dragon at the bottom of the well ready to devour him if he falls. And then he sees two mice, a black mouse and a white one, coming out of the sides of the well and beginning to gnaw away the supports of the frail platform on which he has found security. But the man, foolish fellow, having food and drink with him by chance, begins to eat and drink and make merry without meditating on the threatening dangers of the situation. Then the preacher said, in effect, may God Almighty have mercy upon us and deliver us from the temptations and dangers of the world, the flesh and the devil. The great assembly of hundreds of strong men knelt and rose, knelt and rose again, pouring forth earnest prayers for divine salvation and blessing.
As we walked away from the service, I remarked to my Moslem friend with whom I had visited the mosque, "That was a good story that the hodja told about the man in the well". He assented that it was a very good story. I said it seemed to me that one point was omitted. "What was that", he asked. I replied that I did not hear the preacher tell how the man could escape out of his danger. Did he point that out? My companion had not noticed or heard anything about that. "Well", I said, "what would you say? You're a Moslem. There's no doubt about the temptations and dangers for all of us in the life of this world. The question is how to escape them all. What would you say about that"? "I declare I don't know", was his answer. And Moslems do not know so far as I could ever learn from my many friends. Islam can depict the frailty and the foibles of men as vividly as it can depict the majesty and the mercy of God, but it has no available way of escape to propose, it has no way of salvation, no Savior, no Redeemer.
By degrees we came to realize that from about one- fourth to one-third of our Turkish friends and neighbors were not orthodox Sunni Mohammedans but were unorthodox Shia or Alevi sectaries. Their professed religion was largely camouflage. As a semi-separate clan or tribe, usually in separate villages of their own, they were pitiably ignorant, secretive and superstitious.
- 16: The Alevi Turks (c. 1902)
Those Alevi Turks probably came near to representing the original inhabitants of Asia Minor, with a minimum of blood strains brought by invaders. The modern culture of the country rests on earlier strata, whether that of Hittites or other Aryan tribes, Roman, Byzantine or what not. How many times soever conquered by invading hosts many of the people have survived the conquests, carrying with them what they had under the former regime, with a protective coloring or camouflage adopted in recognition of the power that for the time holds sway.
It was often supposed that the Alevis represented a Christian heritage from the pre-Turkish generations. Possibly in some hour of agony they went over by tribes or villages far enough to secure protective toleration. Alevi women did not veil their faces before Christian men, though they wore the veil in the presence of true Turks. Alevis observed among themselves a sacramental meal which was commonly believed to be a perverted form of the Lord's Supper. At certain seasons their *dedes* or priests made the rounds of their communities. The occasion was one of great importance for these simple people. Sins were confessed and absolved, transgressors received punishment, quarrels were settled, and the sacramental supper was observed with much secrecy. Guards were placed around the village, around the house, and at the door of the room. The *dede* addressed his congregation inculcating the standard virtues and explaining the sacred ceremonies. The communicants approached on their knees and partook of bread and wine together. Possibly this ceremony was a heritage from forefathers of Christian name and faith. I have heard Alevis say, "he who was revealed to you as Jesus was revealed to us as Ali".
There is a legend that when the great Ali was slain by persecutors, his head by some chance fell into the keeping of a Christian priest and was by him protected. The persecutors demanded the head that they might defile and gloat over it, but the priest refused to surrender it and with the consent of the members of his family cut off his wife's head, that of his third son, his second, and his first born, and offered these successively as a ransom for the head of Ali, but without avail. The degree of truth or error in this story is not of importance to us now but wherever it was told by father to son, as they chopped wood or herded sheep together, or when related by a grandsire to a group around the winter fire it had a very deep significance. It showed the rising generation of Alevis that in the hour of agony for their great hero, he was slain by regular Moslems, while Christians gave their dearest life-blood in his behalf.
- 17: Turkish "anastenaria" (c. 1902)
Braziers of coals were brought, and little shovels about a foot long were heated in them till the iron glowed an angry white. Then the chief called up half a dozen men, and, with stately form, placed a heated iron in the hand of each. Dervishes call this iron their "rose" because of its color in the fire, and each recipient walked about within the circle formed by the admiring, fascinated crowd, and lapped his red-hot iron. I saw the metal glow, and heard the hiss every time it came in contact with the moist tongue. As the irons cooled, the dervishes caught live coals from the braziers, placed them in their mouths, and fanned them to fiercer heat by drawing great draughts of air across the glowing embers. Then several iron spikes were produced, each set in a wooden ball nearly as large as the fist, this latter being girt about with tinkling bangles.
The sight of this instrument always makes my blood run cold, albeit the performers insist that they are insensible to pain while using it. The virtue of being a Rufa'i consists in this, that the power or virtue of the dead Pir, transmitted through the living sheikh, protects a humble man in performing feats ordinarily impossible. God is thus proved to accept the person and the worship of a Rufa'i. Taking the instrument with a deep bow, each performer kissed it, fondled it, and walked about twirling it in his hands, and growing ever more and more excited, until at last, with the cry, "Allah, Allah", he struck the point heavily into his cheek, temple, neck, breast, or other tender part of his body. He would then walk about twirling the spike by its ball until after a time he would wrench the instrument from his flesh with a jerk, and begin again with increasing frenzy. It is claimed that no blood flows from such wounds, and I have never seen any, though I have seen the cheek pierced and the tip of the spike protruding from the mouth.
I do not undertake the explanation of these "proofs". Pious Mohammedans regard them as manifestations of divine approval for certain religious men. Hypnotism, whatever that may be, perhaps accounts for some things; I find no evidence of attempts at imposture, though self-deception is quite possible.
- 18: Memories of Anatolian Gods? (c. 1902)
The impulse to offer sacrifice, substituting the blood or life or limb of one for another, was almost universal in Asia Minor and met widespread response from people of all classes and creeds. The ceremony seems to have been prompted by the monitions of conscience which suggested feelings of guilt or fear. It was of piacular rather than honorific character, that is for reconciliation with a feared and possibly alienated God, or as atonement for possible sins, rather than as a merely worshipful or convivial meal. The victim usually was a male, young and free from physical blemish. Especially acceptable animals were sheep, goats, cattle, cocks, deer and wild goats. Tradition avers that at some shrines deer used formerly to stalk out of the forest and present themselves for offering annually, but in these degenerate days such wonderful religion is realized no more. Still a true believer should renew his faith annually by eating the flesh of a wild goat caught and killed as an offering. Cattle, especially calves, were much used and abundant archaeological evidence all around us showed that in early days the people, especially the Hittites, cultivated a great system of cattle worship. Then it was with renewed interest and understanding that we read how the Israelites when they went astray from the worship of Jehovah proceeded to make and worship a golden calf with immoral Hittite orgies which were always forbidden in the Bible.
I was once in a picnic high up among the beautiful Anatolian mountains and beside a beautiful mountain spring. While we were lunching another party arrived, who built a fire, killed a goat that they had brought, and roasted the meat of which they presented some choice pieces to our party, urging us to eat, and thereby become active, or at least tacit, partakers in their petition. They did not inform us of the object of their prayers and in view of the circumstances it would not have been good form to inquire. The leader, a Redhead or Shia Turk, was accompanied by his wife and an Armenian cattle lifter. The spot was much frequented by young mothers to induce an abundant flow of milk.
In general each village or perhaps community or region had its sacred place, apart from church or mosque. This was often on some high hill, under a green tree, near a flowing stream or fountain, and beside a sacred grave with its enclosing wall of stone or near a stone pillar. The presence of the saint ensures powerful intersection in behalf of the loyal people of his parish and of any humble worshipper.
- 19: College affairs (1908)
During the twelve years ending in 1908 with the proclamation of the Constitution, 893 students entered the College, about 75 new students every year; the average attendance ranged around 250; about three-fourths were usually boarders, and fully half the twenty-eight provinces of the whole Turkish Empire as well as several foreign countries were habitually represented in the student body. The graduates in these 12 classes numbered 149.
On the whole our students were a very eager and responsive company of young men with whom to work. True, their earlier studies and culture had been limited, but that made them the more keen to use present opportunities. True, the material plant was of the cheapest style of construction, but we never heard students complain because the dormitories never had any fire, and sometimes students woke in the morning with snow spread over their bed covering. True, the table board was plain, but it was wholesome, nourishing, and tasty; and I think that criticism was less common than was common in American boarding schools. True, the Library had only a few thousand volumes, but students hardly ever read them all and so began to call for more. True, the discipline was rather rigid, somewhat Puritanic, but parents fully approved, and there were always fresh applicants for any available places. When the leading commercial firm of our region wanted all our graduates, Anatolia men felt at a premium in the country.
By this time the College had acquired sufficient momentum and resources to do more thorough work than it had been possible in the early years. Our work never was perfect but I think it never was shoddy. The achievements of graduates in American universities and after graduation there were a creditable, even honorable, testimonial. They were most of them "workmen needing not to be ashamed".