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The 1895-1896 Armenian Massacres in Harput: Eyewitness Account

Les massacres de 1895-1896 à Harput : récits de témoins oculaires
Deborah Mayersen
p. 161-183

Résumés

Cet article évoque, à travers les récits de missionnaires protestants et les archives de l’American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, le déroulement et les conséquences des massacres perpétrés en 1895 contre les Arméniens de la province de Harput, en Anatolie orientale. Il met en relief les conséquences humaines et économiques de ces violences pour les Arméniens habitant cette région dévastée, mais aussi l’expérience des missionnaires eux-mêmes, en tant que témoins et acteurs de ces événements.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Archives (ABCFM), 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8. T (...)
  • 2 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.
  • 3 The Hamidian massacres are referred to as such because they occurred during the reign of Sultan Abd (...)
  • 4 B. Merguerian, 2006, p. 243. Estimates of Armenians killed in the massacres and those subsequently (...)

1“Our sorrow is too great for tears” wrote missionary Susan Wheeler, after witnessing the massacres in Harput, Eastern Turkey, in November 1895.1 A veteran in the field, Susan Wheeler was one of a small group of American Protestant missionaries who had been proselytising in Harput for four decades, under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). These missionaries were the sole outsiders in this remote and isolated region, accessible only via a difficult travel route of more than one thousand kilometres from Constantinople. Missionary accounts of the massacres, which according to some contemporary accounts led to the deaths of approximately 40,000 Armenians in the province, thus constitute a unique record.2 This article seeks to provide insight into the massacres in Harput, through close analysis of the archival missionary records of ABCFM, alongside published missionary accounts. While there are many generalised accounts of the “Hamidian” massacres,3 very few studies have explored the local history of the massacres in specific regions. In this article, therefore, I examine the course and impact of the massacres in the province of Harput (also referred to as Mamuret-Ul-Aziz), in Eastern Turkey. Harput (also known as Kharpert), is the name of both the city and its surrounding province. Due to its remote and isolated location, few outsiders visited the region. The city of Harput was located on a hilltop, beside a rich, fertile plain dotted with villages. While population estimates are of questionable reliability, it is thought around 300,000 people lived in the province in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the figure comprising Armenians, Kurds and Turks in roughly equal measure.4 This article hopes to build a deeper understanding of the course and impact of the Hamidian massacres there, and of the lived experiences of people in the region.

  • 5 See, for examples, ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6; J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 146 (two (...)
  • 6 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.
  • 7 Ibid.
  • 8 Ibid.

2The scale of the massacres in Harput provides a strong pretext for a localised focus on the region. There are many challenges associated with identifying the precise number of Armenians killed and wounded, however. Records of the numbers killed in each village vary, and are incomplete.5 Perhaps the most comprehensive estimates are those of Reverend Edwin Bliss. According to Bliss, across the province 29,544 Armenians were killed in the massacres, with around another 10,000 subsequently dying of burns inflicted during the incendiarism, hunger and exposure in the aftermath (until the time of publication in 1896).6 This gives a total of approximately 40,000 Armenians who died as a result of the massacres in the province. Bliss reports another 8000 were wounded, that there were 5,530 rapes, and 1,532 forced marriages to Turks.7 Some 28,562 houses were burned, leaving 94,870 destitute and in need of support.8 While these exact figures can never be verified, the magnitude of the impact on Harput is clear. In the following section I examine this in greater detail, through analysing missionary accounts. After examining the context of foreign missionary activities in Harput, the article explores the periods before, during and after the massacres. It considers the role of religion and the issue of forced conversions during the violence, and the devastating humanitarian consequences of the massacres.

The Protestant Mission in Harput

3The first American Protestant missionaries commenced proselytising in Harput in 1855. They formed part of a wider movement of proselytization that emerged from Protestantism in New England in the early nineteenth century, and which sought to spread the faith globally. In 1810, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) was established, becoming the largest American missionary organisation in the nineteenth century. Between 1812 and 1840, ABCFM sent missionaries to far flung locations in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Southern Europe and beyond. The mission in Harput represented an expansion of the Turkey mission, which had been established in Constantinople in 1831.

  • 9 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 61.
  • 10 Ibid., p. 55-63.
  • 11 Ibid., p. 56; A. Wilson, 2009, p. 34-35; B. Merguerian, 2006, p. 243.
  • 12 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 64-77; U. Makdisi, 2008, p. 65-67.
  • 13 A. Wilson, 2009, p. 34.
  • 14 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 76.

4The Turkey mission had initially sought to proselytise amongst Moslems, but had been restricted from doing so by the Ottoman government. The mission’s activities came to focus on the Christian Armenian population, encouraging them to embrace Protestantism. This reflects the missionaries’ complex perception of both Armenian religious identity and their own religious superiority. On one hand, Armenia was admired “as the first nation to convert to Christianity,” in the fourth century.9 Armenia was perceived as “cradle of civilisation”.10 Associated with this perception was the location of Mount Ararat within Armenia, which many Christians at the time believed was both the site of the biblical Garden of Eden, and the place where Noah’s Ark came to rest.11 On the other hand, however, the Armenian church was viewed as flawed and inferior. While considered authentic, it was thought that its standards were backward, and that it had become tainted by its uncivilised surrounds.12 Some early missionaries went so far as to consider the Armenians as only “nominal Christians”.13 Converting Armenians to Protestant Christianity, from this perspective, was therefore essential to bring them to a higher level of Christian life, and a higher state of civilisation.14

  • 15 B. Merguerian, 2006, p. 246.
  • 16 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 31.
  • 17 The Theological Seminary only operated intermittently, when it could attract students in sufficient (...)

5For the missionaries in Harput, its proximity to Mount Ararat lent the mission a certain romantic appeal. Three families formed the core of the mission – Reverend Crosby Wheeler and Mrs. Susan Wheeler, Reverend Orsen Allen and Mrs. Caroline Allen (Caroline being Crosby’s sister), and Reverend Herman Barnum and Mrs. Mary Barnum. All arriving in the 1850s, these families remained there for forty years.15 Additional missionaries, and missionary teachers, joined the Harput mission for shorter periods. Around the time of the massacres, this included female missionaries Carrie Bush and Harriet Seymour, along with Caleb Gates and Egbert Ellis. By this period, too, some of the adult children of the missionaries, including Emily Wheeler and Emma Barnum, played an active role within the mission. The core tasks of the missionaries were proselytisation, education of the young, and missionary ‘tours’ to the towns, villages and cities surrounding the mission’s base in the city of Harput. Despite many challenges, and fluctuating fortunes, the mission experienced substantial success. By 1894, on the cusp of the massacres, the Harput station had “fifty-four outstations, twenty-six churches, 2,005 church members, [and] 68 common schools with 4,269 students.”16 It also featured a Theological Seminary for men and women, and Euphrates College.17

  • 18 A. Wilson, 2009, p. 31.
  • 19 Ibid.

6A steady stream of correspondence was maintained between the missionaries and the ABCFM board, along with a sister organisation the Women’s Board of Missions, and with missionaries in other fields. Records of much of this correspondence are available in the ABCFM archives, located at Harvard University. It is these archives that form the primary resource for this article. It is important to note that most of this correspondence was intended as private communication only, and not for publication. Some of the material examined comprised reports intended to provide information to ABCFM as the parent body, but not necessarily for wider circulation. In considering the way in which the missionaries wrote about their circumstances, the Armenian community in which they proselytised, and the wider context in which they lived, one must be aware of the ideologies and motivations that underpinned their perceptions. Their writings were heavily influenced by their ‘civilising mission’. Additionally, while they were sympathetic to the plight of the persecuted Armenians, the precariousness of their own position meant they had to take great care to avoid antagonising Ottoman officials.18 As a result, any political or revolutionary Armenian actions were staunchly opposed and condemned.19 Finally, a desire to present their missionary activities as a success potentially influenced the way in which missionaries framed their correspondence.

  • 20 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 82.
  • 21 M. Tusan, 2012, p. 36-39.
  • 22 A. Wilson, 2009, p. 34; J. Laycock, 2009, p. 81-83; M. Tusan, 2012, p. 36-39.

7The remoteness of Harput, and the long presence of many of the missionaries in the field there, also gives correspondence from Harput a special character. Missionary reports of the massacres there lack many of the sensationalist components found in published missionary accounts and newspaper reports from elsewhere. The emphasis on graphic depiction of violence in many published contemporary accounts at the time is largely absent.20 In Great Britain and the United States, to some extent, the Armenian question had also become a gendered issue. Feminist activists had adopted the Armenian cause, focusing on the plight of Armenian women.21 In addition, prominent authors on the massacres, writing in their immediate aftermath, presented a dramatic narrative of Moslem men preying on Armenian women and girls.22 As a result of these representations, lurid accounts of rape and torture of women and children abounded. The abduction of women and girls for Turkish harems was also a common theme. Yet the missionaries in Harput, somewhat removed from the wider context shaping the way in which the massacres were being represented in Great Britain and the United States, proffer a different understanding of events. Their accounts are far less focused on gender, or lurid descriptions of the violence against women. Rather there is a focus on the issue of forced conversions, the economic consequences for women and children who now lack a breadwinner to support them, and the terrible destitution of the survivors. In many respects, therefore, these records offer fresh insights into our understanding of both the massacres themselves, and the influences that have shaped their representation. In the following section, I turn to explore the records from Harput in the leadup to the massacres.

The Gathering Storm: The Massacres Approach Harput

  • 23 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10.
  • 24 Ibid.

8Missionary records prior to the advent of the massacres offer somewhat conflicting accounts of the atmosphere in Harput, defying neat categorisation. The Annual Report of the Mission for 1894 reveals awareness of the wider unrest within the empire, but a sense that Harput is far removed from the disturbances. “Perhaps no province of the Empire has been more free from disturbing elements than our own,” it remarks, although “Even here business has been at a standstill from constant uncertainty and depression”. 23 It comments on the obstacles to church building imposed by the government, but it is the everyday concerns of staffing, student numbers and finances that fill the pages, not fear for the future. One telling line, however, suggests the local Armenian population may have been more aware of the precariousness of the situation than the missionaries. “I need not mention the feverish unrest and anxiety of all the people” it remarks.24

  • 25 While no date was specified on the text of the report itself, the report indicates this to be the a (...)
  • 26 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10
  • 27 Ibid.
  • 28 ABCFM, 1871-1899, 16.9.8, vol. 3.
  • 29 Ibid.
  • 30 Ibid. The last sentence is a biblical quote. A note about the state of the archives: Some documents (...)

9The “Report of Work for Women in the Harput Field for 1894-95”, penned in the summer of 1895, offers an even more positive assessment of the state of the field.25 While it does note that, for the touring missionaries “it was not deemed wise to go very far from home, on account of the state of the country”, this is the only expression of concern.26 For the touring missionaries, the past months had been a “blessed reaping time,” and they looked forward, “with glad anticipation, to the coming autumn.”27 By contrast, missionary Caroline Allen, writing in May 1895, commented: “These are days of waiting and trial.”28 For her, the plight of the Christians was “a tale of wrong, cruelty and oppression from beginning to end.”29 She reported “The people are in a […] state of excitement. There is plenty [of] combustible material [at] hand to cause a conflagration. ‘Unless the Lord keepeth the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”30 These conflicting reports reflect the uncertainty of the time. In this period, for the missionaries, there was cause for both optimism and trepidation. In many respects, too, the relatively scant references to the wider situation reflect the non-local origins of the massacres. While Harput was caught up in the massacres as they spread through the empire, the sparks came from far afield.

  • 31 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 14.
  • 32 Ibid.
  • 33 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.
  • 34 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol 8.
  • 35 Ibid.
  • 36 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.
  • 37 Ibid.

10By late September of 1895, the perilous circumstances were clear to all. The missionaries had their new fire engine ready and under guard every night – an action that would later prove perspicacious.31 Caleb Gates remarked that the situation was so volatile, “only a spark is needed to produce an explosion.”32 Despite Harput’s remote location, the news of the violence in Constantinople and the massacres spreading through the empire in October, quickly reached the people. At the girls school, the rumours caused so much alarm that their teacher “was obliged to spend almost every waking moment with them.”33 In early November, the violence reached the Harput plain. From their vantage point on the hilltop, the missionaries watched from their windows and rooftops the villages burning, and refugees pouring into the city.34 Yet even then, they “felt safe personally, and doubted if our houses would be pillaged or burned.”35 Great fears were held for two missionaries – Harriet Seymour and Carrie Bush – on tour in Arabkir, a city more than 80 kilometres northwest of Harput. Perceiving the danger, they managed to leave Arabkir just two days before the massacre there, although the return journey was extremely perilous. Afterwards, Harriet Seymour reported: “Three times on our journey robber bands of Koords were at the roadside, and if it had not been for our resolute gendarme, we should have been robbed and perhaps murdered.”36 For Seymour, “every mile of our journey [...] seemed like a miracle of mercy.”37 No sooner had they returned safely, however, when they became caught up in the maelstrom in Harput itself.

In the Middle of the Storm: Massacre in Harput

  • 38 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.
  • 39 J. Page, 2009, p. 164; E. Bliss, 1896, p. 429.
  • 40 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 7.
  • 41 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 429.

11For the missionaries, as for the Armenians, the massacre was a deeply traumatic experience. “At one time it looked as if we should all go up in a fiery chariot together” wrote Mrs. Susan Wheeler, “We shall never forget this day the 12th and the night with the flames and clouds of smoke so dense about us.”38 After a week of watching the villages of the plain burn, by 11 November the violence had reached just a few kilometres away. From the vantage point of their mission complex, the missionaries watched as Turkish troops mounted a purported defence of the city, but one that appeared to be only a display.39 The military chief in Harput had assured Dr. Barnum of his protection just two days earlier, but the military cannon allegedly there for the city’s protection was used instead to fire upon the Armenian quarter. (Cannon balls and a bomb were later found in Dr. Barnum’s own study.40) Hundreds of Armenians began pouring into the mission, seeking protection from the onslaught. The Kurdish attackers, along with Redifs (Turkish soldiers or reserves in disguise as Kurds), began attacking the houses in the Armenian quarter of the city, plundering them, killing many Armenians, and setting many of the houses alight.41

  • 42 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

12Soon the attack spread to the mission complex itself. Over the course of the next few hours, many of the missionaries’ homes were plundered and burned, along with missionary buildings including the church and girls’ school. Initially seeking refuge in the girls’ school, the missionaries and Armenians scrambled from one location to another in the complex, seeking safety. At one point they decided to flee to the mountains, but the plan was quickly aborted as even riskier than staying. Eventually, refuge was sought in the College, at the top of the hill. Rev. Cosby Wheeler, by then an invalid and wheelchair bound, was carried up the hill in a handy rocking chair.42 There the group watched as house after house was set alight. In a letter written shortly after the events, Harriet Seymour wrote:

  • 43 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7, underlined in the original.

Soon after we entered the College building, word [was] sent that we must leave it, as the Koords were going to [burn] it: that if we would come out the soldiers would protect [us]. Dr Barnum told them that we had no longer any faith in [the chief’s] promises; that they could protect us in the building if they wished; that we had all resolved not to leave the building, and that if [they] burned it, we should burn with it. The guard was withdrawn [by] the chief, and we fully expected to perish in the flames. [But] there were no outcries; death by burning seemed desirable [rather] than [...] falling into the hands of the Turkish soldiery, especially the women and our school-girls [...]
But God sent another officer with soldiers, who set guards [about] the four buildings that remained of our twelve. The Protestant church was burned that night, and that was connected [to] the Preparatory school adjoining our refuge, so that [if] the latter had burned, the College would have been in great danger. But the school fire-engine was brought out and the building saved. 43

  • 44 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 433.

13Together, some 450 missionaries and Armenians survived the night in the college, “with little bedding and only dry crusts of bread to eat.”44 The group remained there for several days until the worst had passed, some without even so much as a change of clothing. While none of the missionaries were injured or killed in the violence, eight of the twelve missionary buildings were burned, and most of the remaining buildings plundered.

  • 45 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.
  • 46 Ibid.
  • 47 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.
  • 48 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

14As the missionaries dealt with their own calamity, stories began to pour in as to the fate of the villages, and the experiences of the Armenians. “We have horror upon horror,” Mrs. Barnum wrote.45 “We have two hundred killed [...] in Husenek [...] Six hundred were killed and wounded in Choonkoosh. 105 houses burned [there] [...] the village of Adish ‘wiped out.’”46 The missionaries report tales of murder and torture. One of Caleb Gates’ former pupils “had his arms cut off, and was then hacked to pieces,” while his wife “was killed by a bullet.”47 Women and girls were especially targeted.48 One report comments:

  • 49 ABCFM, 1817-1919, 16.9.4.5, vol. 3.

I learned only yesterday that in the village of [indecipherable], a Turkish Agha had gathered a large number of Christian women and girls of the village and was selling them to Turks and Koords, taking in exchange horses, donkeys, etc. and also giving women and girls to zaptias [police] to be kept over night.49

  • 50 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 146.
  • 51 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.

15Statistics gathered for Harput city and 73 surrounding villages (i.e. only part of the province), reported 2,300 incidents of rape and 166 forced marriages of Armenian girls and women to Turks.50 Given that such crimes are typically amongst the most likely to be underreported, these figures highlight the widespread nature of sexual violence during the massacres. Everywhere, houses were burned, and the tales of plunder were prodigious. “What a prospect for the poor villagers for the winter,” wrote Harriet Seymour, “No homes, no food or bedding, and hardly [any] clothes.”51

  • 52 ABCFM, 1817-1919, 16.9.4.5, vol. 3.

16The active role of the government in the massacres in the Harput region, and of government soldiers and officials in their conduct, is a repeated theme within the records. A mission report from Harput station written just after the events remarks: “If anyone doubts with regard to the statements I have made as to the connivance, complicity and co-operation of the government in these horrible deeds, let them come [...] and examine the facts to which hundreds can testify.”52 For some of the missionaries at least, there was also a strong feeling that they had been betrayed by their Turkish neighbours. Writing two months after the massacres, Carrie Bush commented:

  • 53 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

I do not think I have [yet] spoken of the sore disappointment it has been to us to [learn that] the Turks whom we had believed so friendly, to the very last [man, declared] themselves our enemies, or at least indifferent and [unwilling to] defend us. I had thought that many missionary stations [would] suffer, but not we, when we were all, and especially Dr Barnum, on terms of such friendship with all the Turks.53

  • 54 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.
  • 55 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.
  • 56 Ibid.
  • 57 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1 vol 12; A. Tchobanian, 1896, p. 191-94.

17Susan Wheeler, too, reflected “For nearly forty years we have been here and never dreamed that we had such neighbours. It seems to me we can never have confidence in them again.”54 At the same time, however, there were some – albeit few – stories of Turks and Kurds aiding the Armenian victims. In one case, when a woman was stopped and money demanded of her, she replied ‘“I have not a para [unit of currency], but go to our [house] and take all you can find there. I have not even a bit [of] bread here.’ To her surprise, the Koord presented her with [his] bundle of bread.”55 In another case, when a women was discovered hiding in a house full of plunderers, she turned to her Kurdish discoverer and begged for safety. The Kurd took her and her young son to another house.56 While she later chose to flee, unsure of her safety there, the Kurd had nevertheless saved her from immediate harm. Other stories of supposed protectors, notably of one Ibrahim Bey near Palu, later proved false.57 Overall, stories of rescue and protection are extremely rare, with the overwhelming narrative being one of Kurdish and Turkish perpetration.

Forced Conversions

  • 58 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.
  • 59 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

18Religion played an extremely important role within the massacres. Armenians were often given the option to immediately convert – by raising a forefinger and reciting a formula indicating their acceptance of Islam – or face death. Armenian pastors and preachers were especially targeted as Christians and community leaders, along with local churches and congregations. “How evident it is that there [is] a concerted plan to kill off the spiritual shepherds and [preacher] men, and then compel the flock to accept Islam,” wrote Seymour.58 Incidents of forced conversion and apostasy were common, and of great significance for the missionaries. In many cases, they experienced news of conversions as a personal blow. Perhaps partially for that reason, incidences of martyrdom were widely recounted and celebrated by the missionaries. For Emily Wheeler, “The sickening details of torture and murder [are] only relieved when one hears of the triumphant faith of some – [...] fifty-five of our Protestants, in one village, 25 of them women, led by the most spiritual women of the place, leap [into the] Euphrates [river] to save themselves from being made Moslems by force.”59 The story of the heroism of this group, who chose suicide over apostasy, circulated widely.

  • 60 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.
  • 61 Aboosh means “dumb” in Armenian.

19In the aftermath of the massacres, such tales of martyrdom were collected and recounted at length. Indeed, so important were these cases to the missionaries that they comprise the most detailed accounts of the fate of individual Armenians and their families within the archival records. A March 1896 report to the Women’s Board of Missions by Carrie Bush, for example, was titled “The noble army of martyrs praise Thee,” and extolled the tales and virtues of martyrs for seven full pages.60 The tale of Pastor Aboosh [sic] of Kutterbul61 provides a good example of the style in which these tales were recounted. Lying injured in a bathhouse, hiding with the survivors of his family and others, Pastor Aboosh [sic] was roused when a roving band of Kurds arrived in search of plunder:

  • 62 ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6.

[The Kurds] began to abuse some of the pastor’s congregation who had gathered there [...] The pastor over hearing them went out to try to persuade them to cease from further barbarities towards those who had already suffered so much. Perceiving that he was a ‘spiritual head’ as the clergy are called, the Kourds at once called on him to renounce his faith for Islam. He fixed a steady gaze upon them but said nothing. ‘Hal’ said one, ‘see how the Kafir (infidel) stills holds stoutly to his faith.’ Another said to him ‘Just raise one finger (this is accepted by them as a confession of one God and Mohammed his prophet) and you will not be harmed’. Instantly he calmly replied, ‘I shall never raise my finger.’ Immediately a Kourd near him made a thrust at him with a straight dagger, while another a little further away shot him, right in the presence of his flock. His firm faith and bold confession of it in the presence of death was the weightiest sermon they had ever heard from his lips. He was the most scholarly and refined amongst all our native helpers. [...] Soon after graduating from the Theological Seminary he became pastor of a church in his native village Kutterbul, and during his pastorate had erected a beautiful little chapel, the finest in our field; now, alas! used as a sheep fold while the adjoining school-building has been burned. Out of his congregation of 161 souls, 98 went with him into eternity, and of the 63 remaining, 18 of them wounded, most are scattered, some we know not where.62

  • 63 ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6.
  • 64 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.
  • 65 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.
  • 66 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.
  • 67 Ibid.

20For missionaries, honouring the martyrs through relaying detailed accounts of their deaths offered solace at a time of great trial. Despite the attention given to cases of martyrdom, forced conversion and apostasy were widespread during the massacres. The reality for the missionaries was that “Half of our pastors are fallen, ‘not accepting deliverance’; half our churches are scattered; one third of our out-stations are destroyed.”63 As one missionary remarked, “Our work has received a terrible blow.”64 In some respects, it is hard to gauge the impact of this apostasy on the missionaries, for unlike the cases of martyrdom, there is a marked reluctance to discuss it within the correspondence. Even Harriet Seymour, perhaps the only missionary somewhat open in discussing this topic, remarked: “We would draw a veil over the life of that aged bishop and those priests and preachers and laymen who, loving their life, lost it by denying the faith.”65 Yet occasional glimpses testify to the impact of the conversions. Susan Wheeler, for example, commented that when her husband – veteran missionary Crosby Wheeler – “was mourning over the apostasy of a pastor and teacher,” he “almost shouted for joy” when he was told of the group of martyrs that leaped into the Euphrates rather than accept forced conversion.66 Harriet Seymour’s correspondence suggests the matter of apostasy had been the subject of difficult discussions. She noted that in many cases, converts did so to save not only themselves, but their wives and children. Moreover, she resisted the urge to judge, noting “It is easy to say what they should have done; let us be charitable and remember that we have not yet [experienced] such an awful ordeal and such an alternative, to be sure [that] we should be ‘faithful unto death.’”67 For Seymour, at least, the appropriate response was pity for the converts, not judgement, but the tone of her correspondence suggests this was a controversial view.

  • 68 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.
  • 69 S. Deringil, 2009, p. 352. Deringil quotes the irade, the official imperial order.
  • 70 Ibid.

21The number of forced conversions was very large. One estimate suggests that there were more than 15,000 across the province, including both Apostolic and Protestant Armenians.68 Yet even for those Armenians who did convert to Islam, there was no guarantee of protection. Local officials were unsure how to respond to the conversions and sought instructions from the government. A resulting imperial order, dated 14 November 1895, gave the official position: “In order to avoid the misrepresentation of the conversion of the Armenians, if they apply again when order is restored, then their conversions can be processed according to the proper procedure. Until then the matter should be passed over with wise measures.”69 “Wise measures”, according to historian Selim Deringil, is a euphemism for “palliative” or “temporary”, leaving the position of the converted tenuous.70 There is no doubt that Armenians who converted remained fearful of their fate. For example, a few months after the massacres, Emma Barnum recounted:

  • 71 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

It is the Turkish month of Ramazan [sic], and in the places where Armenians were compelled to accept Mohammedanism, they are watched with [great] vigilance to see whether they keep the fast [...] They are obliged [to] attend the mosque, and Moslem preachers [...] teach them the prayers and tenets of their newly acquired religion [...] Many have fled from their villages and come here, saying [that] they could not [sic] longer endure the life. They all have [...] crushed faces. The Turks often tell them, ‘We know that [you] have not accepted our religion from the heart, but as you once pronounced the formula [...] you are renegades, and we shall treat [you as] such.’ Death is the fate which awaits a renegade.71

Challenging the Faith of the Missionaries

  • 72 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.
  • 73 Ibid.
  • 74 Ibid.
  • 75 Ibid..
  • 76 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.
  • 77 Ibid.
  • 78 Ibid.

22While the missionaries bemoaned the Armenians who had renounced their faith, there are also quiet hints within the correspondence that the terrible events sometimes challenged the faith of the missionaries themselves. For Susan Wheeler, after four decades in the field and at 67 years of age, the massacres led to inner struggles. “We cannot see the why,” she wrote in the immediate aftermath of the massacres, “and feel some of us like children [who] have been punished for that we are not guilty of.”72 Yet she reassured herself, “We know not how but His wisdom is infinite and He is Omnipotent.”73 Susan’s daughter Emily experienced similar inner turmoil in response to the terrible suffering of the Armenians. “What are these poor people to do?” she asks. “No arm is stretching out to aid, no food, no shelter, no beds, no clothing, winter upon us. We cry out, ‘How long, O God, how long?’ and we [get] no answer.”74 She also commented on the emotions of her parents: “Mother holds out wonderfully, but it seems as if her heart and father’s were broken [...] they feel as though their work was ruined.”75 Mrs. Mary Barnum, after a lifetime of missionary service, is similarly affected. She quietly reflected that “These are days to try our faith and courage.”76 Yet for her daughter Emma, the massacres provided an opportunity to demonstrate faith, and do the work of God. “It makes me feel very, very humble to have people [speak] of our heroism. It seems to me that it was not we at all [but] only Christ fulfilling His blessed promises to us […] it was God all about us, and His is all the honor and glory.”77 In another letter she reflected, “All we can do is to leave [the] future with God, trusting him for grace for ourselves and the poor, frightened people.”78

The Aftermath of the Massacres

  • 79 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.
  • 80 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

23The missionary records provide a great amount of detail regarding the plight of the Armenians in the aftermath of the massacres, and of the relief efforts to help them. In the immediate wake of the events, it is clear that the missionaries are overwhelmed by the suffering of the Armenians, and by their inability to provide adequate assistance to all those who need it. Harriet Seymour asked “How can the poor villagers live this winter, homeless [and] and starving. God grant that aid may come quickly.”79 A similar refrain was widely repeated in the first weeks after the massacres. The period was one of great uncertainty, adding to the strain. Rumours circulated of repeat attacks in various places, and at times it seemed as though there might be a repetition of the massacres.80 Despite the trying circumstances, the missionaries made an extraordinary effort to aid the Armenians.

  • 81 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 79.

24Almost immediately after the violence, the missionaries began providing as much basic relief as they could, such as food and clothing. Initially they were hampered by the practical challenge of getting funds into the region.81 A wider international campaign to raise funds to assist the destitute Armenians was very successful, but the sheer scale of the need meant that there was a chronic shortage of funds. Correspondence during this period is filled with stories of terrible destitution and repeated requests for financial aid. One letter to the missionaries from Arabkir, for example, from a former leader of the church and well-to-do business man reported:

  • 82 ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6.

A considerable number of wounded are in the city, who greatly need surgical care and medicine. But there are none to care for them. Consequently many of them are dying [...] The [indecipherable] Kevork quarter of the city was one of the districts where the massacre was most terrible. [From more than] 500 houses not more than ten of the male inhabitants of that quarter are now living. The dead were mutilated in the most cruel ways imaginable. Axes, meat-cleavers, etc., were used. Those killed by firearms are considered as the happiest ones. [...] Please send [clothes] on as soon as possible. You will thus save many lives from immediate death. Our family is also in great need of clothing. If you have two old flannel shirts to spare, please send them to me.82

  • 83 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.
  • 84 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.
  • 85 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 79.
  • 86 New York Times, 7 March 1896.
  • 87 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.
  • 88 M. Levandoski, 2997, p. 81.
  • 89 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

25The timing of the massacres, just ahead of the winter, and the inability to get the massive relief required in place immediately, meant that several thousand Armenians that survived the initial massacres died of hunger or cold in the following months.83 By March 1896 Emma Barnum reported “an immense relief work has been started.”84 A Central Committee for Relief was created in Mezreh (close to the city of Harput), to oversee its provision.85 In the city of Harput more than 1,600 people received daily rations of bread.86 Emma Barnum noted, “Nearly a thousand lires [...] is distributed every week, but the money [does] not anywhere meet the need, and it does not seem as if the distress were relieved in the least.”87 She wrote of villagers coming two or three days’ journey, by foot, for the meagre relief they could offer. Meanwhile Harriet Seymour and Carrie Bush hired Armenian women, many of whose husbands had been killed in the massacres, to sew clothing and bedding for the relief effort. This aided both the Armenian women themselves and the many destitute Armenians lacking basic clothing and bedding. By the end of March, aid had been provided to 54,000 Armenians.88 For thousands this had meant the difference between life and death during the harsh winter. The difficult circumstances, however, meant that the missionaries were unable to move beyond provision of the most basic items required for survival. “It is so hard to hear the many tales of woe and not [be] able to help as we would like” wrote Mary Barnum.89

  • 90 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 84-85.
  • 91 Ibid., p. 85.
  • 92 “Armenia’s Desolation and Woe”, Review of Reviews (1897) quoted in A. Kirakossian, 2004, p. 248-251
  • 93 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 147.

26During the summer of 1896, a more complex picture of the relief effort emerges in the records. On the positive side, further international relief funds began to reach the Harput region, providing additional aid. On April 29 two Red Cross teams arrived in Harput, becoming only the second group of non-missionary foreigners to visit the region in forty years.90 Having substantial funds, they were able to purchase and distribute grain, cattle, cloth, tools, clothing and bedding.91 In July, Professor and Mrs. Helen Harris arrived in Harput, as almoners of relief funds raised by the English Society of Friends.92 A letter from J. Rendel Harris, penned in Harput, highlights some of the difficulties of providing relief. There were so many villages in need of assistance, he wrote, that “One does not know where to begin, and even if one had a millionaire on the Relief Committee, one would hardly know where to stop.”93 Raphael Fontana, after visiting several outlying villages, reported:

  • 94 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1, vol. 12.

The condition of the Armenians in all these villages is one of extreme destitution [...] A little corn supplied by the Relief Committee here forms the staple of their means of subsistence: in many houses there is not even a mattress for the inmates to sleep upon. Besides this the villagers are obliged at night to crowd into such shattered tenements as still possess a roof. At Ashvan [...] in certain houses I found a quantity of grass resembling spinage [sic] which had been collected by the inmates for food as they could procure nothing else wherewith to sustain life.94

  • 95 Ibid.
  • 96 Ibid.
  • 97 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 193.

27But beyond the sheer scale of the problem was the issue of the ongoing vulnerability of the villagers, unable to defend themselves, and likely to be attacked again “as often as there is anything worth plundering.”95 This led to a hopelessness and a fear that meant many villagers were unwilling to attempt to rebuild. “Fear, Hopelessness, Helplessness! These create a mighty barrier to progress” wrote Caleb Gates in May.96 Despite these many obstacles, by the end of the summer the Armenian Relief fund had distributed relief to 74,805 Armenians in Harput province.97

  • 98 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.
  • 99 In Armenian, Agn. In Turkey today, Kemaliye.
  • 100 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1, vol. 12.
  • 101 Ibid.
  • 102 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 214.

28Just as it seemed the situation was improving a little, the terror of massacre once again arose. “Last week was one of intense fear and distress [among] the people” wrote Carrie Bush, “It arose from the threats which followed the [disturbance] at Constantinople.”98 The further massacre in Constantinople led to grave fears of a renewed round of violence in Harput. The fear was partially realised when massacre erupted in Egin99 (also known as Agn, Kemaliye) on 15 September. Within the region, the situation in Egin had been unique during the November 1895 violence. The city was prosperous, and its Armenian residents had paid a very large ransom of 1500 Turkish pounds to avoid massacre then.100 In the aftermath of the Constantinople massacre, however, they were specifically targeted. A report of the massacre states: “Killing was the first thing in order; plunder and the burning of the houses came later. It is estimated that about 2,000 Armenians were killed, that is five sixths of all the males above thirteen years of age who were in the city […] of all Armenian houses in the city proper five sixth were burned.”101 In the wake of this terrible massacre, the missionaries reported that once again “the Christians […] are unnerved by fear.”102

  • 103 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1, vol. 12.
  • 104 Ibid.
  • 105 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 87.
  • 106 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10. Capitalisation in the original.

29Despite all the efforts of the missionaries, more than a year after the massacres in Harput, fear and uncertainty dominated, and the need for relief remained great. As the winter of 1896 approached, a report by the Relief Committee in the Harput District estimated 43,500 people in the province would be dependent on charity over the winter. “I can hardly describe the pitiable condition of thousands who have no bedding,” wrote the author – a need that still hadn’t been met more than a year after the massacres.103 The needs of orphans were also desperate, with widows and fatherless children “reduced to utter helplessness.”104 Indeed, support and education of these orphans would become a major undertaking for the missionaries for many years. By 1897, the missionaries had established eighteen orphan homes and were supporting and educating 763 children.105 “The orphans are among our most hopeful pupils,” reported Caleb Gates in 1898, as “they are early in life placed under the influences of a CHRISTIAN HOME.”106 For many years following the massacres, their aftereffects continued to dominate the lives of the missionaries and the Armenians to whom they proselytised. Reports of relief, rebuilding, work with the orphans and so on take up much of the correspondence. Indeed, the massacres formed such a schism in the lives of the missionaries that in many cases they are simply referred to as ‘the events’.

  • 107 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.
  • 108 J. Page, 2009, p. 170.

30For many of the missionaries that experienced the massacres and provided relief in their aftermath, the events took a terrible toll. “My heart is sick, sick with [...] the constant ache. Sometimes it seems more than we can [bear] to hear the sorrows of others” wrote Harriet Seymour.107 For the Wheeler and Allen families, the massacres became a terrible ending to four decades in the field. Unable to rebuild, both families packed up and returned to the United States in 1896.108 Crosby Wheeler died shortly after arriving home. The Barnums chose to stay. “[There] is every reason for our staying” wrote Emma Barnum,

  • 109 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

God has a work here, and I cannot believe He would have it abandoned. I must confess that I [indecipherable] feel very much like running away, that I cannot longer [stand] the sight of these blackened walls, the fearful ruins [of our] work, the poverty, the awful tales of sorrow, the distress on all sides, the constant strain to every nerve [...] but the thought is only of self when I feel that way. Our very presence here is some restraint to wicked men and gives untold comfort and confidence to the Armenians.109

  • 110 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10.
  • 111 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 89.

31The strain of the work took its toll. In 1898, Caleb Gates reported “I wish to call your attention to the need of two missionary ladies to relieve Miss Daniels and Miss Barnum, who have been and are carrying burdens beyond their strength to bear.”110 Dr. Clarence Ussher, who arrived in Harput in 1898 to provide medical care, expressed deep concerns about the mental strain experienced by Mary Barnum, Emma Barnum, Mary Daniels and Caleb Gates.111 The relief work had been undertaken at an enormous cost to the missionaries.

*

32Harput was devastated by the Hamidian massacres. The death toll highlights the severity of the violence in the region, a region impacted more heavily than most. The numbers of homes burned, and of those made destitute provide a glimpse of the long-term impact of the massacres upon the survivors. Not even the massive relief effort could ameliorate the impoverishment caused by the prodigious plunder and incendiarism. Tens of thousands of survivors experienced hunger, homelessness and destitution. Some were fortunate enough to be able to rebuild with the assistance of relief, a few others able to find a way to emigrate. The reality for most Armenians after the massacres, however, was one of impoverishment, and ongoing fear and uncertainty.

33While they survived unscathed, the massacres were also a life changing event for the missionaries. After forty years in Harput, it was a dreadful blow to the Wheelers, Allens and Barnums to see so much of their work destroyed. Their tremendous spirit and dedication to the relief effort undoubtedly saved thousands of lives, and made many thousands more somewhat more bearable. These efforts came at a huge personal cost to the missionaries, however. Their life’s work undone, many failed to fully recognise their humanitarian achievements, and left the field emotionally, if not physically, ruined by their experiences. Nevertheless, their accounts of their experiences provide invaluable insights into the massacres in Harput.

34Despite the severity of the massacres in Harput, their remote location meant that they received relatively little attention in contemporary reports of and publications on the massacres. Subsequently, they have attracted little scholarly attention. This article has sought to address this gap. Through providing a local history of the massacres, it contributes to an understanding of how they spread through and impacted a region that was isolated geographically, but not politically, from the wider tensions in the Ottoman Empire. The events in Harput highlight the systemic nature of the massacres. It was not a local trigger that led to the massacres there, but a steady geographical progression from village to village. From their hilltop location, the missionaries literally watched the violence traverse the Harput plain below, before they too became engulfed. The role of government and military officials in the violence is also abundantly clear. With no diplomatic presence in the region, it seemed barely necessary to maintain the pretence that the government was not involved. Evident too are the deeply religious motivations behind the violence. Nevertheless, the local focus of this article means that its findings cannot be generalised beyond the Harput region. It is hoped that similar, detailed studies of the massacres in other localities and regions can build knowledge of the full impacts of the massacres on the Armenian people.

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Bibliographie

ABCFM Papers: United Church of Christ Wider Church Ministries, Cleveland, Ohio. Reprinted, by permission, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Papers (ABCFM Papers).  All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bliss Edwin, Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities, Boston: H.L. Hastings, 1896.

Dadrian Vahakn, Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian Conflict, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1998.

Deringil Selim, “‘The Armenian Question is Finally Closed’: Mass Conversions of Armenians in Anatolia during the Hamidian Massacres of 1895-1897,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 51 (2), 2009, p. 344-371.

Fein Helen, “A Formula for Genocide: Comparison of the Turkish Genocide (1915) and the German Holocaust (1939-1945),” Comparative Studies in Sociology, vol. I, 1978, p. 271-293.

Gaidzakian Ohan, Illustrated Armenia and the Armenians, Boston: n.p., 1898.

Harris J. Rendel and Harris Helen, Letters from the Scenes of the Recent Massacres in Armenia, New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1897.

Hovannisian Richard, “The Historical Dimensions of the Armenian Question, 1878-1923”, in Id. (ed.), The Armenian Genocide in Perspective, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1986, p. 19-42.

Hovannisian Richard, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.

Kirakossian Arman (ed.), The Armenian Massacres 1894-1896: US Media Testimony, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2004.

Laycock Jo, Imagining Armenia: Orientalism, Ambiguity and Intervention, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009.

Lepsius Johannes, Armenia and Europe: An Indictment, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1897.

Levandoski Michele McVay, “‘The Most Dangerous Enemies to the Social Order:’ Missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Harpoot, Turkey during the Hamidian Massacres”, Master’s Thesis, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2007.

Makdisi Ussama, Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008.

Mayersen Deborah, “Intermittent Intervention: Europe and the Precipitation of the Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896,” in Bernard Mees and Samuel Koehne, Terror, War, Tradition: Studies in European History, Unley, South Australia: Australian Humanities Press, 2007.

Mayersen Deborah, On the Path to Genocide: Armenia and Rwanda Reexamined, New York: Berghahn Books, 2014.

Melson Robert, “Provocation or Nationalism: A Critical Inquiry into the Armenian Genocide of 1915”, in Richard Hovannisian (ed.), The Armenian Genocide in Perspective, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1986, p. 61-84.

Melson Robert, Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Merguerian Barbara, ‘“Missions in Eden’: Shaping and Educational and Social Program for the Armenians in Eastern Turkey (1855-1895),” in Heleen Murre-van den Berg (ed.), New Faiths in Ancient Lands: Western Missions in the Middle East in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, London: Brill, 2006, p. 241-261.

Miller Donald and Miller Lorna, Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Page Jonathan, Ringing the Gotchnag: Two American Missionary Families in Turkey, 1855-1922, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009.

Rodogno Davide, Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815-1914, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Spry William, Life on the Bosphorus – Doings in the City of the Sultan: Turkey Past and Present, Including Chronicles of the Caliphs from Mahomet to Abdul Hamid II, London: H.S. Nichols, 1895, p. 281-282, reprinted in Vatche Ghazarian (ed.), Armenians in the Ottoman Empire: An Anthology of Transformation 13th-19th Centuries, Waltham, MA: Mayreni Publishing, 1997, p. 624-625.

Tchobanian Archag, Les massacres d’Arménie. Témoignages des victimes, Paris: Édition du Mercure de France, 1896.

Tusan Michelle, Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide, and the Birth of the Middle East, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Williams Augustus and Gabriel Mgrditch, Bleeding Armenia: Its History and Horrors Under the Curse of Islam, New York: Publishers Union, 1896.

Wilson Ann, “In the Name of God, Civilization, and Humanity: The United States and the Armenian Massacres of the 1890s,” Le Mouvement Social, 2009/2, no. 227, p. 27-44.

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Notes

1 American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Archives (ABCFM), 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8. The following notes apply to all material herein used from these archives: Used with Permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University; and United Church of Christ Wider Church Ministries, Cleveland, Ohio.

2 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.

3 The Hamidian massacres are referred to as such because they occurred during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and he has widely been accused of direct involvement in their perpetration.

4 B. Merguerian, 2006, p. 243. Estimates of Armenians killed in the massacres and those subsequently requiring relief suggest this figure may underestimate the number of Armenians in Harput. Another estimate suggests ‘the district’ had about 150,000 people, “most of them Armenians.” O. Gaidzakian, 1898, p. 237.

5 See, for examples, ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6; J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 146 (two districts of the province only), A. Williams and M. Gabriel, 1896, p. 386; J. Lepsius, 1897, p. 10-11; O. Gaidzakian, 1898, p. 237.

6 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 61.

10 Ibid., p. 55-63.

11 Ibid., p. 56; A. Wilson, 2009, p. 34-35; B. Merguerian, 2006, p. 243.

12 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 64-77; U. Makdisi, 2008, p. 65-67.

13 A. Wilson, 2009, p. 34.

14 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 76.

15 B. Merguerian, 2006, p. 246.

16 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 31.

17 The Theological Seminary only operated intermittently, when it could attract students in sufficient numbers.

18 A. Wilson, 2009, p. 31.

19 Ibid.

20 J. Laycock, 2009, p. 82.

21 M. Tusan, 2012, p. 36-39.

22 A. Wilson, 2009, p. 34; J. Laycock, 2009, p. 81-83; M. Tusan, 2012, p. 36-39.

23 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10.

24 Ibid.

25 While no date was specified on the text of the report itself, the report indicates this to be the approximate period during which it was written.

26 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10

27 Ibid.

28 ABCFM, 1871-1899, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

29 Ibid.

30 Ibid. The last sentence is a biblical quote. A note about the state of the archives: Some documents are partially indecipherable due to their poor condition. Additionally, the far left/right margins of some pages are indecipherable due to volume bindings restricting the reader’s view. Where words/phrases are indecipherable for these reasons, I have placed my best conjecture as to the word/phrase (given context, partial legibility, etc.) in square brackets.

31 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 14.

32 Ibid.

33 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

34 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol 8.

35 Ibid.

36 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.

37 Ibid.

38 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

39 J. Page, 2009, p. 164; E. Bliss, 1896, p. 429.

40 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 7.

41 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 429.

42 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

43 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7, underlined in the original.

44 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 433.

45 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

46 Ibid.

47 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

48 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

49 ABCFM, 1817-1919, 16.9.4.5, vol. 3.

50 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 146.

51 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.

52 ABCFM, 1817-1919, 16.9.4.5, vol. 3.

53 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

54 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

55 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

56 Ibid.

57 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1 vol 12; A. Tchobanian, 1896, p. 191-94.

58 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.

59 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

60 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

61 Aboosh means “dumb” in Armenian.

62 ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6.

63 ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6.

64 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.

65 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

66 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

67 Ibid.

68 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.

69 S. Deringil, 2009, p. 352. Deringil quotes the irade, the official imperial order.

70 Ibid.

71 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

72 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

73 Ibid.

74 Ibid.

75 Ibid..

76 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

77 Ibid.

78 Ibid.

79 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.

80 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 8.

81 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 79.

82 ABCFM, 1856-1899, 16.10.1, vols. 5-6.

83 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 445.

84 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

85 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 79.

86 New York Times, 7 March 1896.

87 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

88 M. Levandoski, 2997, p. 81.

89 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

90 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 84-85.

91 Ibid., p. 85.

92 “Armenia’s Desolation and Woe”, Review of Reviews (1897) quoted in A. Kirakossian, 2004, p. 248-251.

93 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 147.

94 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1, vol. 12.

95 Ibid.

96 Ibid.

97 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 193.

98 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 4.

99 In Armenian, Agn. In Turkey today, Kemaliye.

100 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1, vol. 12.

101 Ibid.

102 J. Harris and H. Harris, 1897, p. 214.

103 ABCFM, 1896-1897, 16.10.1, vol. 12.

104 Ibid.

105 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 87.

106 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10. Capitalisation in the original.

107 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 7.

108 J. Page, 2009, p. 170.

109 ABCFM, 1871-1909, 16.9.8, vol. 3.

110 ABCFM, 1890-1899, 16.9.7, vol. 10.

111 M. Levandoski, 2007, p. 89.

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Deborah Mayersen, « The 1895-1896 Armenian Massacres in Harput: Eyewitness Account », Études arméniennes contemporaines, 10 | 2018, 161-183.

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Deborah Mayersen, « The 1895-1896 Armenian Massacres in Harput: Eyewitness Account », Études arméniennes contemporaines [En ligne], 10 | 2018, mis en ligne le 10 septembre 2018, consulté le 20 septembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/eac/1641 ; DOI : 10.4000/eac.1641

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Deborah Mayersen

University of Wollongong

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