- 20: The Constitution -- hopes and clouds (1908)
Suddenly, July 24, 1908, came the proclamation of the Constitution. Liberty, Justice, Equality, Fraternity! Wonderful! Wonderful scenes of joy, happiness, and friendly feeling! So nice to like everybody! Moslems and Christians, priests, and representatives of all creeds, colors, and classes, prominent officials and common citizens, embraced one another in public, and fraternized happily in personal and private relations.
Up to the era of the Constitution no newspaper had ever been published in Marsovan, but with increased freedom, newspaper men started up in the larger cities along the coast, and College students wanted to write and to publish their thoughts also. A student who had done something with photography and toy types said he believed he could do the printing and he was right. (He owned and operated a printing house in New York City later.) The two small towers of the old main building furnished admirable editorial sanctums, and a group of Greek students began to write, manage, print and publish the first newspaper ever circulated in or from Marsovan, with careful teacher supervision, assistance and authority.
The Armenians soon occupied the other little tower sanctum with their similarly creditable publication, "A family paper issued monthly". Copies of every number of each paper were filed with government officials, and all was done with full official information and supervision. Armenians and Greeks felt that they were accorded a position in the Ottoman Empire somewhat like that of the Scotch or the Irish in Britain, or, nearer at hand, say, like Hungarians and Slavs in the Austrian Empire. About this time I gave a college address on "Victory Without War", recounting Austro-Hungarian history and suggesting without saying a model for Turkey.
After the proclamation of the Constitution, there were stories in circulation to the effect that these folk determined to take the difficult, if not desperate, chance of throwing off the masque and announcing their return to the faith of their fathers, and this they did, with stern penalties as a result.
A Stavrili and a neighbor Turk met one day, according to coffee house talk, and the Moslem said, "We hear you've turned Christian". "Well", replied the Greek, "we've always known and you've known that our forefathers were Christian, and we've decided now to recognize our heritage and confess ourselves Christian". "But", the Turk went on, "you've acknowledged yourself a true believer all the time, you've stood shoulder to shoulder with me in worship and offered the same Mohammedan prayers. How did you think you could deceive God all this time"? "I never tried to deceive God", replied the Stavrili, "He knew all the time just what I was. I tried to deceive you, and in that I succeeded".
- 21: Russian students and shadows (1910)
From the time of our first voyage on the Black Sea, in 1890, we felt the shadowy influence of Czarist Russia lying along those coasts, often quite intangible and cold but always powerful. And one who knew them could not help liking the Russian people, characteristically kind-hearted, good-natured and winning. If they were superstitious, they were also reverend; if ignorant, they were thirsty for information; if poor, belated and oppressed, there was the more reason for friendly cooperation on the part of us Americans. The Caucasus provinces were next door to Anatolia. Many of the people of the two neighbor regions were of the same blood, Turks or Tatars, Armenians, Georgians, Circassians, Greeks. And the Crimea was just beyond the Caucasus. The process of Russification was going steadily forward. Some settlers in Russia had relatives in Turkey. So it was not strange when a student or two of non-Russian race slipped over to study in our College. Following the Constitution, two students became six, Russian or non-Russian citizens from Muscovy, then rapidly increased to a dozen, a score, and with the academic year, 1910, our students from Russia numbered 31, 10 or more coming from truly Russian homes, but with Cossack, Polish, Georgian, Greek and Jewish representatives in the growing quota. Students completing our course would lay the foundation for an education, while those leaving after a shorter period could acquire an adequate use of English, French and accounting, not forgetting Russian, and could find employment on leaving school at salaries as good as were received by their college professors and better than their fathers ever earned. Young Russians were keen to get what we Americans offered.
The Russian students were well liked individually and as a group. They did not "grind" as scholars, but they got the English language rapidly and well, and that was primarily their object in coming to us. With their tall figures, blue eyes, tight jackets, and belts with brass buckles, they presented a Northern appearance quite different from some students of more southern areas, Arabs and others, whom we knew, often with loose robes and relaxed muscles. One might expect the Russians to be difficult students to control, but such did not prove to be the case. When student and teacher faced each other, the characteristic Slav in our experience was fully amenable to authority and was exceedingly courteous.
Working as Dean with the students who sought us, and visiting their homes and communities when the right time came, gave me the key as I felt to the Russian character: it was essentially youthful, boyish, sometimes seeming almost childish. Russia was the youth among the nations. Peter the Great grabbed the Russian coat collar and yanked the awkward, bashful boy forward to a place in the refined society of Europe. Russians suggested the remark of Abraham Lincoln that the Lord must love common people, or he wouldn't have made so many of them.
- 22: Turkish students (1914)
At the time when we first became acquainted with the College in 1890 there were two young Turks among the students. There were also three Turks who were members of the Protestant Church in the city. Now and then along the years a Moslem youth entered the College, but they never stayed long till the new Regime manifested a change in public spirit. The general attitude of Turks was one of superiority toward all Christians, especially toward their *Rayah* subject nationalities. The authority of government officials frequently, and certainly their influence habitually, were opposed to allowing their Turkish youth to attend Christian institutions. We never made religious connection a condition of entrance to College, nor did we ever conceal facts from officials. But our Turkish friends feared we would give their sons pork to eat, without letting them know. They were afraid we would prevent students from going to mosque or even forbid their Mohammedan prayers on our premises. But shall any man forbid a fellow human being from worshipping God in his own way and that of his fathers? We assigned our Moslem students a room where they could repeat their prayers and offer their worship at any hour of day or night, and we made it easy for them to go to the mosque on Friday. As for pork, it was never served on our College tables and seldom on our own, in deference to the ruling sentiment in the country. Turkish boys, as they became accustomed to our school life, enjoyed it all very much, and were quite happy and at home with the other students.
At another time a young Turk came whose father was a tobacco merchant in Samsoun. He wanted to learn English, for they needed it in their business, and his ability to learn was unquestioned. Warned repeatedly by city officials to return to his home, he assented but did not go. Finally one day, near nightfall, he came and told me he was called to the government building. I told him he should go, but to inform me of the result as soon as he returned. But he did not return; instead, came a note in the evening asking for his bedding as he was to be detained over the night. I sent the things requested, and went to see the governor. He had retired to his harem, his family apartment, early, leaving orders not to be disturbed by anyone. In the morning the student sent a request for all his things, as he was to be sent to his home in Samsoun, under guard, without setting foot in the College again. This time the governor received me courteously when I called, and said he was warmly in favor of education, as I knew, and was a good friend of the College, but his orders were clear and strict; no young Moslem was to attend a Christian school; so he had no option, but to send our student to his home.
The first and only Turk to complete our course, Noureddin Pehliwanzade, entered College in 1909 and graduated in 1914, saying, "I want to serve my people". He was in every way a very acceptable student. In that last year before the Great War there were 20 Moslems in the College and several more in the Girls' School.
- 23: The Great War begins (1914)
But Turkey was already at war; the struggle in the Balkans had already begun. In fact, in 1908, directly after the proclamation of the Constitution, Austria had proclaimed her annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria had followed by proclaiming her full independence. These and following events exceedingly embittered and angered the Turks. They were warriors and the Christian nations wanted war: very well, they should have it. War. *War*. WAR.
In the early spring of 1914, the Turks began mobilization. The German-trained General who arrived in Marsovan with his staff about the time the snows melted in the Balkans, to organize the forces in our district, said to me that Turkey had been quite unprepared in recent wars and added with a knowing smile that now they meant to be "ready for eventualities". The General often called on us at the College. He liked to sit in our pleasant garden and listen to our College band and the students liked to play for the authoritative Commander. Sealed circulars were placed in the hands of certain officials in the wards of the city and in the villages round about which were not to be opened pending further orders. But the curiosity of Turkish men is not less than that of American women. They opened and read the circulars on the sly and whispered the contents to their friends on the sly. After Sunday evening, August 4th, 1914, when the mobilization order was read out in the mosques, these circulars were produced and posted on the street walls where everybody could see them. They proclaimed that hostilities had begun; that the country was invaded, and the land laid waste; the villages were destroyed and the women insulted; the people, therefore, were called upon to rally to the crescent flag in defense of hearth and home and native land.
When the College opened in September, eight teachers and several employees had been drafted for military service. Of our students during the preceding year, 36, including 7 of the 14 who graduated in June, were similarly called to the colors. Twenty-two alumni who had completed medical courses had been drafted as army surgeons. These were people of whom we knew individually, whereas great numbers, beyond the reach of our communication at that time under war conditions and strict censorship, were involved, and successive levies of soldiers continued till the end of the wars.
- 24: The Armenian deportations (1915)
In the spring of 1915, we realized with sinking hearts that there was a great movement against the Armenian people. We had nothing to do directly with plans or prospects throughout the wide Empire as a whole, but we witnessed clearly what took place within our horizon. Our fine American ambassador, Dr. Morgenthau, stated that Talaat Bey, Enver Pasha and Djemal Pasha were the men chiefly responsible for the movement as a whole. The plan was to eliminate the Armenian question by eliminating the Armenians, but this was not intended by the Turkish people at first. The Armenians in general may have had their faults in Turkish eyes. For one thing, these survivors of the centuries were one of the Christian peoples of the world and not Moslem; again, though the Armenians clearly joined in the political effort under the new Constitution, in 1908, the toleration that would make them an acceptable element among the citizens of the Empire was too much for Turkish human nature to achieve at once and in a hurry; further, the Armenians were able business men, made money faster than others, and their accumulation of property was a temptation; also, among the women folks of the Near East, Armenian women and girls were accounted fair and attractive for the home or the harem. The agony of that reign of terror surpasses description or comprehension, especially for us, as our American and College attitude had been one of full friendship for our Turkish neighbors, and loyalty to the Turkish government under the clear advice of our American officials and in accordance with our own convictions. The College did not shelter revolution or revolutionists.
If ever a group of individuals struggled to protect life, the Americans in Marsovan struggled to defend their Armenian associates, students, and friends, in the summer of 1915. But we had no adequate or real resources, and our efforts were largely fruitless. Turkey had denounced the Capitulations by unilateral action, and resented foreign diplomacy. August 9th a strong telegram from Ambassador Morgenthau reached me following other messages of a similar nature, promising that our premises would not be interfered with. On the morning of August 10th, as I was holding morning prayers with such students as remained for a summer session because they could not get to their homes, the white face of Dr. Marden appeared at the door and he whispered, "They've come". I happened to be just reading from Ezekiel 34. Please read verses 5 to 16. Officials forced an entrance at our gates and on different patrols, drew up sixty-one ox-carts in a ring in the open campus, and demanded the surrender of all Armenians. For two hours we parleyed, but the armed guards were increased to about thirty men, and a search was made by the breaking down of doors, and the forcing of entrance everywhere. Finally, our Armenian friends, feeling that further opposition was worse than useless, voluntarily appeared and gave themselves up. An ox-cart was assigned to each family. A meager stock of food, bedding, and personal effects was piled upon it. The wife and mother sat with her children on the load. The husband and father walked beside the cart. As the procession was forming in the street, a pilgrim group gathered around me and I offered prayer. Soon after noon the procession, with seventy-two persons from the College and Hospital moved away.
- 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 blessed America.
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.
- 26: A difficult year (1915-16)
It was a serious question in Managers' meeting, Sept. 7th, 1915, whether the College should open at the appointed hour the next day or not. There was not an Armenian teacher left to the institution, and but one student, though a few employees and two families had been spared to us by special official favor at the time of deportation. The financial problem was exceedingly difficult. It was decided, however, to continue on as nearly lines as possible, and we thus completed thirty-two weeks of the academic year in a very rewarding way. Five men went through this period as regular members of the Faculty, three Americans and two Greeks. One young man who began teaching in September went as a soldier in October. Another continued until December, when he, too, was called to the colors. Another, who began in January, was drafted away in February. There was no regular teacher of Mathematics or Science, and the higher work in these departments was omitted. Several of the lower classes were taught by advanced students. Mrs. Getchell, Mrs. Pye, and Dr. Marden finely volunteered to share in teaching.
About sixty-five students were registered, seven Russians, eight Turks, and the remainder Greeks. The three Seniors left for military duty during the year, as did ten others. But the student spirit was earnest; discipline, easy; religious interest, fully alert. During and following the "events" of the summer, it was unspeakably difficult to preach or conduct religious exercises, but as the months went by it became easier, until it became almost easier than ever before to give the Christian message, and audiences were more responsive than ever. The Protestant Church maintained its depleted Sunday School and prayer meeting, though the pastor was lost in the deportation, with nearly 900 out of 950 members of the congregation, but its other services were merged in those of the College. Student attendance at preaching services was wholly voluntary, and habitually all attended. There was a gracious season of spiritual refreshing in the winter. Four of the six Greek pastors in the Marsovan field visited us, each for some days during the year, and each shared helpfully in our religious services. The Y.M.C.A. was the one active student organization, and to some extent it took up and carried literary and athletic interests among the students. The Greek community in the city was so straitened by war conditions that it abandoned the effort to maintain a school. The Y.M.C.A. met the need. The College readily supplied the rooms and furniture required, and the Association employed one of its members as a regular teacher, and added volunteer instructors for various lessons to the number of about twelve, thus providing a first class school of four grades with forty-eight pupils. Those student teachers were thus prepared to manage and maintain other and larger schools in later years.
About the middle of the year the officials, acting on behalf of the Department of Education, demanded the exclusion of Moslem students from Bible lessons and religious exercises. The students were excused from such attendance, and they were constrained to remain away, though several of them would really have been glad to share with the other boys. As for the common Turkish people, however, the great majority were steadily friendly, as were most of the officials personally.
- 27: Old Armenian ladies (1915-16)
There was one very interesting feature of this year's strange life and work. Some time before, the Armenians of the city in their poverty had undertaken to establish and maintain a Home for some of the old women alone in life and poor. They had rented a house and received two persons. When the deportations came, city officials, instead of troubling to send some of the old women on the road, told them to go to this Home. One by one about 50 persons tottered there, each with a bag of flour, or other food, or bedding, on her shoulder, and there they stayed. One day one of them died and I was asked to conduct a burial service. It was pitiful the way those poor human waifs crowded around me and said, "Badvelli (Reverend), won't you bury me? Won't you bury me? I'd go gladly today if I could only go to the other world with a Christian burial". After that, all through the fall and winter, I went there and held a service every Sunday. One student dared to go with me and help in the service. He could sing; he was a Russian. I was the minister and he was the choir. A good lady teacher from the Girls' School, Pampish Prapione, was often at the Home and was intimate and profoundly helpful among the lonely old women there.
Two of them were Protestants, whether Church "members" or not; all the rest were Gregorians, in the habit of receiving the communion at Easter and greatly cherishing the opportunity. They felt kindly toward me, yet I was not sure they would regard themselves authorized to receive the sacrament from an ecclesiastic of another denomination. But I announced in advance that I was a Christian minister of my church as they knew well, that on Easter Sunday I would come to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and that I heartily invited everyone to share who wanted to do so without any question as to church "membership", official denomination, or other such condition. When Easter came, infinitely solemn and yet glad, every one of those simple, kindly old women partook of the communion at my hands. I think that was for me the richest celebration of the Lord's Supper in all my life.
- 28: The Caucasus campaign (1914-16)
All the military movement from our region and recruiting post was in the direction of the Russian Caucasus frontier, a far 400 miles away. There was no railroad and the Black Sea shores were dominated by the Russian fleet. Horse-wagons were used for all transport until the horses were decimated by the strain, then two-wheeled ox-carts were pressed into service. But the patient cattle had such heavy loads and such scanty fodder, that they dropped by the way and farmers commandeered with their cattle, abandoned oxen, carts and loads along the road, and stole back home in dreadful fear of penalties for desertion. Then the camels were drafted. They endured snow and cold as well as sand and heat, and American children in the happy days gone by would often count 500 camels in a day's ride across the beautiful Anatolian plains and mountain ridges. Now, however, we heard, as an example, of one train starting with 900 camels of which only 36 reached the front. Then the military authorities called for the donkeys and then our neighbors in Marsovan shed tears, not that they were unwilling to do their bit, but they knew that poor Jack and Jenny from their little stalls under the house could not carry food enough to feed themselves all the way to the distant battle front, let alone reaching there with loads of military supplies.
Soldiers recruited and sent forward in frequent convoys marched all the way on foot and some of our young graduates, found to be capable and reliable as well as educated, were appointed subaltern officers and placed in charge of such groups of men for the long march to the war front. A convoy of recruits would reach a village toward evening and the officer in charge would requisition lodging and supplies for the night. Most of the men were away doing their own soldier service, and the village women with their children and others would neither dare to refuse their uninvited guests nor remain in their homes over night when soldiers were camping in their village. So the village families would go out to the fields or forests to pass the night and return cold and miserable in the morning to find that their hungry visitors had eaten what there was to eat; had burned what there was to burn; had carried away what there was to wear; and had left behind them a half-wrecked village. A few days later, the experience would be repeated, and this time one or more of the soldiers would be left behind sick with smallpox when the rest marched away, and soon the village cemetery would be crowded with fresh graves. Some villages were almost or entirely wiped out by such experiences. The atmosphere around us and around everybody in the country was quivering with excitement. This was war.
- 29: The first exodus (1916)
The Third College Decade ended in 1916. On the tenth of May all the principal government officers of the city visited our premises and informed us that in view of the Russian invasion by Erzroum and Trebizond, our section of Asia Minor was reckoned to be within "the zone of war". All Americans, therefore, being foreigners, must withdraw to Constantinople; and all our grounds and buildings would be requisitioned for the purposes of a military hospital.
I sent at once for Miss Willard, Dr. Marden, Mr. Getchell, and Mr. Pye, that we might receive the communication and consider it together. The officials had brought with them armed gendarmes, had posted them at all our gates, at several points outside, and had established patrols in different parts of our premises. Mr. Getchell, in attempting to cross the narrow street that separated our College and Hospital premises to call Mr. Marden, was prevented by a gendarme with the threat of using weapons.
Our Board in Boston had fully authorized its representatives to act in emergencies as their own best judgement determined, and sustained us in such decisions as we were constrained to make. After counsel at Constantinople among ourselves and with others, Mr. and Mrs. Getchell, Miss Willard, Miss Gage, and Miss Zbinden remained at the capital till they could obtain permission, after several weeks of toilsome appealing, to return and reside in Marsovan, hold the situation and render all possible service, while the others of us went on to America. Several of our American circle, for over-ruling reasons, had left for America earlier in the war.
When the five who returned to Marsovan reached "home" again, they were allowed to occupy some corners of the American grounds and buildings, while all the main structures and facilities were used by 2,000 sick soldiers, who later increased to 4,000; one American residence was occupied by typhus patients and another by those who had smallpox. But besides holding the situation, in general our associates were of immense aid and comfort to many until the end of the military occupation, April 2, 1919. The ladies soon gathered some of their pupils together and re-opened the Girls' School. Indeed, the Girls' School was never really or officially "closed". Many sick were comforted and cared for; many Greeks from along the sea coast latterly were helped to procure food and supplies, when the exigencies of war drove them from their homes as exiles.
In this great and supremely difficult service Miss Gage succumbed, worn out, and reached the culmination of her great, and at several points tragic, life-work, in the place where her life-work really began. She died July 15th, 1917, and was buried near the Girls' School in the Mission compound at Marsovan, Turkey, her grave shaded by tall poplars and dark pines.
- 30: Casualties of war (1919)
Some hundreds of unhappy Armenians who had registered as Moslems on invitation of the Turkish officials to save their lives, or often more truly to save the life and the honor of a wife or daughter, were issued fresh citizenship papers restoring their Christian names and nationality. Numbers of Armenian women and girls also were released from Moslem *harems* in accordance with the terms of the Armistice. With the gradual subsistence of warfare between Russia and Turkey, the College and Mission plant had been changed from a vast hospital with patients up to the number of 4,000 to a vast orphanage with real human children up to the number of 2,500, of which Miss Willard was given chief charge when American control was restored April 2nd. Dr. Pye took in hand the renovation of such parts of the plant and grounds as could be recovered from their use and abuse, their degeneracy and decay. The old main building, rambling and extensive, was almost beyond repair, and was ultimately torn down, as were some other smaller structures. In due season Dr. Marden came into his own, in rights and in service, at the Hospital, which had been commandeered and occupied by Turkish soldiers early in the war. The dawn of a new day was surely breaking after the dreary night of dreadful war. When my wife and I were given release from Constantinople to rejoin our associates old and new in Merzifon and re-enter our home, I asked some of my Turkish friends how many of the 3,800 men who marched away as the first levy of soldiers on the outbreak of the war, had come back, and the answer was,--six! Now at last the war was over! But was it? Probably this figure was not mathematically exact but it was certainly suggestive. And Turkey was still at war!
Another day there came to my office a young woman whose face was somewhat familiar. She had been one of the girls in our School before the war. She reminded me of herself and of members of her family whom I knew quite well, then told how she had been "taken" by one of the Mohammedans of the city to his home where she had lived as his wife. She had a child a few months old whom she loved as did the father; the husband and father was very anxious that she should remain. In general his treatment was kindly within the means at his disposal, yet she was a Christian with all that that meant in all the outlook of life and she could not bear to remain in those surroundings. So she said simply, "When he was not at home I put my baby to sleep, and I closed the door, and I came away. Will you admit me?" Mars was still driving the chariot.
- 31: Starting again (1919)
The responsibility for reopening the College inevitably pressed upon us like an Old Testament "burden" or a Quaker "concern". Normal activities had been entirely suspended since May, 1916. Four times the month of June had come and gone without a college commencement. Four times the month of September had come and gone without ushering in the beginning of a new college year. President Grant had once said of specie payments, "the way to resume, gentlemen, is to resume". Because of the many handicaps in the situation everywhere within the months following the Armistice, and because first place was given to Relief work, Anatolia's reopening was delayed until October 1st, 1919. Yet the first academic function was held September 6th, and that was the presentation of his Anatolia diploma and Bachelor of Arts degree to Mr. Timothy Papadopoulos, now of Chicago. He had nearly completed his course in 1916 and during the interval had led the life of an educated young man as bandmaster for the Turkish Army, and a special tutor of English and other lessons to a number of persons. The exercise was as interesting as it was unusual. My academic robe for the occasion was the uniform of a Near East Relief officer. Indeed, the prime obligation of every American on the grounds was in care of the orphans, the sick and the throngs still dependent on Relief. My own duties were double, in Relief work and in the College. Most of the entire college plant was used for relief purposes.
The opening week of school was both solemn and cheering. Eight of our former teachers had perished by violence; others had died; yet others had been drafted as soldiers or scattered by protracted war conditions. Many students had gone, not only from college life but from life in this world. Contingents of our students had served, most of them drafted, in Turkish, Russian, Greek, Armenian, French and British armies, with more than forty volunteers in the army of Uncle Sam. Much of our material plant was wrecked beyond repair. Much space was assigned to Near East Relief orphans. However, it was possible to pick up and go on, and Dr. Tracy would have said, "there wasn't any other way to do". "The way to resume was to resume", specie payments or meeting other responsibilities.
Students enrolled during the year numbered 166, all in the preparatory department; by classes, Fourth Forum 14, Third 22, Second 40, First 90; by nationality, Armenian 77, Bulgarian 1, Greek 75, Russian 1, Turkish 12. There were 77 boarders and 89 day pupils. These students, in the general conditions of impoverishment by war, paid into the treasury all that we could ask.
- 32: Business as usual? (1920-1921)
The school year 1920-21 opened as per calendar, September 8th. The full staff numbered 21, of whom 15 gave full time to teaching, markedly strengthening the work over the year before. Of these regular teachers four were American, three Armenians, four Greeks, one Russian, one Swiss, and two Turks. And we lived and labored together in the love of God, and the fear of God and good-will for all mankind. Two Turkish lads from the city persuaded their parents, who were not rich, to pay their bills as boarders instead of going home to live when lessons were over, because they would rather stay in the College and share in its evening studies and its sports and general life than to go to their own homes. This certainly speaks well for the companionship they met from the Christian students who were already in the College. Our relations with the local government officials were very intimate and very cordial.
During the school year 218 students entered the College, 29 of whom were Turks. This was a marked increase of 52 over the numbers of the year before and indicated the thirst of people generally for education, and their confidence in our administration. During the year students paid into the Treasury $20,000, an average of nearly $100,000 per student and these figures are a wonderful proof of the eagerness for American education on the part of the people who had lost almost everything during the war.
Relief work continued to hold the first place in all our thought and care and efforts, both in personal service and in the use of our plant. Healing the sick and cleaning up unsanitary conditions; repatriation of refugees and deportees scattered over continental areas; feeding the near-starving and clothing the near-naked; teaching multitudes of orphan children and training them toward worth-while manhood and womanhood; the share of us American Anatolians in this service claimed at least the right hand of everyone, in addition to all that was undertaken and accomplished by our fine relief recruits fresh from America.
- 33: Ataturk offers a ride (1919)
In June, 1919, the British decided to withdraw their soldiers, several score in number, from Merzifon but they were kind enough to send Colonel Anderson from Headquarters in Constantinople to inform us of their decision. The message produced consternation in our group. It was felt that such British withdrawal would lead to serious disturbances in our city and region and my associates requested me to make a special trip to Constantinople to secure a reversal of the British military order if possible. A small British detachment had been overpowered by a brigand band on our road to Samsoun and had surrendered a few days before, and Colonel Anderson and the Captain commanding the detachment in Merzifon took 28 Hindoo soldiers as a guard, with a full supply of bandages and weapons, including a machine gun or two, and we set out, with three Near East Relief trucks for transport. Before we reached Cavsa, 18 miles away, our watering place with its famous hot spring, we came to a small stream, the bridge over which was broken down, while the swollen waters were too deep for the trucks to ford. So we left the soldiers and equipment to camp there over night, and I walked with the two British officers into the town. An odd situation for a mere missionary and American College educator in a foreign field!
A Turkish general by the name of Mustapha Kemal Pasha, whose name was little known then but was to become famous afterward, was stopping in Cavsa just then, and we three men called on him that June evening. We understood that he might have been taken by the British in Constantinople and sent to Malta like many others, but he had slipped through their fingers, escaped into the interior, and was trying to start a new movement. The British officers conversed with him in French, and I in Turkish. Turkish military officers had visited and called on me almost daily along the years and I knew them as a class quite intimately. He offered us the use of his automobile for our trip to Samsoun the next day and my companion Britishers accepted his courtesy. Their comments afterward on Mustapha Kemal Pasha, later to become the "Ghazi", the "Conqueror", and Ataturk, on his intended enterprise, and the whole situation in Turkey were exceedingly interesting. That was the only occasion when I met the strong commander, who then hardly seemed to have even one soldier in his service. The facts and the prospects were not realized until long afterwards. However, the next morning at sunrise I saw a band of about twenty horsemen come riding into town at a smart gallop with a well-set-up young officer at their head, and I naturally suspected some Christian village had been raided during the night, though there was no avowed "war" then.
- 34: Hostile supervision (1920-1921)
In December a Turkish lawyer, Saduk Bey Mehami, came and announced that he had been appointed Comisser of us Americans in Relief work, and also in education. We accepted the former in view of all the circumstances, but protested the latter for the College and Girls' School had been fully authorized by the Ottoman Government for many years. Our protest was unavailing. Saduk Bey was notoriously hostile to us. He was commonly quoted as saying that he would not rest till our campus was turned into a barley field again. His bitterness was probably due, at least in part, to the fact that he had taken possession of a College house, occupied by an Armenian professor, who had disappeared in the deportation, and he refused to pay any rent until it was collected under the authority of the British. The Comisser made things trying for us beyond all precedent. Yet in January, when I telegraphed Constantinople recommending the appointment of an American to reside in Angora, at least as a *liason* representative for the interchange of information and for better mutual understanding, I received a message of thanks from the Great National Assembly at Angora. That was in 1921.
Christmas eve just before, I had received a confidential message from a visiting American to the effect that I was the next man marked for deportation. And one day when I was summoned to the government an associate asked me whether I had my belt on, meaning to inquire whether I had money on my person, so indicating his doubt as to whether I would ever come back. I offered to withdraw as Director of N. E. R., but no one criticized my management and no one wanted to accept my responsibility.
On the evening of February 12, Zeki Effendi Ketani, our head Turkish teacher, after presiding at a meeting of the Turkish students' literary society, was assassinated in the street on his way home and within twenty-four hours was dead. We had no doubt that his death was caused by Turks who could not bear to have one of their own number happy in helping us to conduct an American and Christian school.
Almost that very day the headquarters of the Army Division covering our region were brought to Merzifon with General Jemil Jahid in command. Troops were assembled in considerable numbers.
For long hours that wintry day, the officers eagerly sought for arms and ammunition in every nook and corner, without finding anything, for there was nothing to find. British officers, when they left with their soldiers, had offered us a supply of at least a few first-class weapons and recommended us to accept and hold them for some possible emergency, but we had refused to receive them. Our city governor, a colonel in military rank, who accompanied me to conduct the search of my house, was friendly and kind. He looked things over rapidly as Mrs. White escorted us about. Then the Governor and I sat down to chat, drink coffee and listen to the victrola together.
- 35: "Pontus" (1921)
There remained the question of "political" matters. In this respect, our attitude toward the Turkish Government had been careful and correct. We always recognized our obligations to the Government in authority, and our American officials in Constantinople or nearer frequently reminded us, whenever we consulted them, of our duty to maintain a neutral attitude as between contending parties with a spirit of friendliness for all and respect for authority. Our domineering visitors seemed eager to find some incriminating evidence, something that would implicate or compromise us Americans. This clear and strong impression was confirmed by our legally-minded associate, who was in my office at the time while the search was being conducted there, Mr. Theodore Riggs. When I was allowed to be also present, the General and the Judge compared notes in my office over two maps hanging on the wall on which they read the word, "Pontus". "See", they said eagerly to each other, "these are maps of the province of Pontus, which they aim to establish. See, the Pontus boundaries are not the same; on one map they are larger than on the other. They enlarge the boundaries as their ambitions increase". The wall maps were printed in Chicago some years before to illustrate the Roman provinces in the time of the Apostle Paul! But afterwards Turkish papers published statements to the effect that charts had been found in the College on which was outlined the province of "Pontus", which revolutionists connected with the College, especially the Pontus club, planned should be annexed to the Hellenic kingdom.
That evening the Executive Committee of the Greek Literary Society, consisting of three teachers, one alumnus, and two students, were arrested, with the promise that they would return as soon as they had been asked and answered a few questions. But they never came back. Much was made of the Pontus Society seal, as rebellion; it carried a device clearly showing a school boys' club for "musical, literary, and athletic" exercises.
- 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.