Genealogy of Caleb W. Lawrence & Family
Chancing to meet two of my old boys one day in the city who were friends of Grant while in College and who were then in Turkish Military Service with the Censor’s Department, they greeted me to say, “We are glad you have good news from Grant, but if any more p.c.’s come we will be afraid to pass them in case we may be discovered and get into trouble”.
Not until Grant came back after the war did we learn the mystery of the postal cards. He had learned in some way that my friend, Rev. Dr. William Chambers, a Canadian Missionary in Turkey, was then living in Lausanne. He was able to get Swiss postal cards in Belgium and so wrote his messages on them and signing them addressed the envelope to Dr. Chambers as an “American Missionary” care U.S. Consulate, Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Chambers realizing “Grant” meant our son, addressed the cards to me at Smyrna.
A FURTHER STATEMENT OF SOME OF THE IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES OF THE LANDING OF THE GREEK ARMY AT SMYRNA ON MAY 15TH, 1919 WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO SOME OF OUR TURKISH FRIENDS
THE SEA GIVES UP ITS DEAD A TURKISH APPEAL FOR HELP
SOME OBSERVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES DURING THE PERIOD OF THE ARMENIAN MASSACRE
WHY THE ARMENIAN REVOLUTIONARY ORGANISATIONS?
SEIZURE OF THE IMPERIAL OTTOMAN BANK IN CONSTANTINOPLE
THE BURNING OF SMYRNA
The British Courts having decided that the burning of the city in which British Insurance Companies were deeply involved was an “act of war” or its equivalent, which released these companies from all liability, the question of responsibility for the fire may now be regarded as purely academical. In view however of the fact that reports of the fire prevalent at the time ascribed the burning of the city to the Turks, and that evidence believed to support this claim was presented when the case was before the Turkish courts in London, I propose briefly to review the salient facts in the situation which in my view places the responsibility for the great disaster, so far as human agency was concerned entirely upon other shoulders. (Let me say here parenthetically that during the greater part of the fire I was not actually in the city. The fire started about 2 o’clock Wednesday afternoon September 13, 1922, and I was not in the city until about 11 a.m. Friday, by which time the fire was pretty completely under control. During this period I was hors de combat and could only watch from my bed at a distance of perhaps a mile and a half, as the crow flies, the smoke and glare from the burning city as they rose from behind the rocky ridge that lies between the College and Smyrna. I was however, constantly receiving news of the progress of the fire from students and members of the staff returning from the city).
First of all let me refer to the report reaching the outside world at the time, to the effect that the Turks had burned the city. Even if there were no evidence to the contrary, is it conceivable that the Turks would wish to destroy the Commercial Metropolis of their country which had been forcibly wrested from their possession nearly three and a half years previously under such tragic circumstances, and for the repossession of which they had fought throughout those years and made such great sacrifices, now that it was again securely in their possession?
Nearly four days had passed since the Greek army in great confusion and demoralization had been driven out of their country, and there was no possible danger of the enemy attempting to recapture it.The greatest calamity that could happen to Turkey and her people in this their hour of triumph and rejoicing over the recapture of Smyrna was to see the prize for which they had made such supreme sacrifice go up in flames. Having said this, it is only fair to add that there is one respect in which it may be fair to say that the Turks, being in possession of the City at the time of the fire were responsible for permitting it to be burned. More than four full days had passed since Capt. Thessiger representing the Allied Powers, had formally notified the leader of the Turkish army, as it entered the city on Saturday morning at 11 o’clock, that the Greek civil authorities had abandoned the city two days previously; and on behalf of the Allies he had handed it over to the Turks. The battle of Paradise on Sunday afternoon and other sinister causes had, however, seriously delayed the reorganization of the city and that of the Fire Department under efficient control; thus making it possible for evil disposed persons or groups who wished to create difficulties for the Turks, to carry into effect their nefarious designs. There is no shred of evidence to implicate either the Greek populace or the Greek army in the burning of the city.
No part of the Greek army had been in the city for three or four days before the fire started and it was the Greek quarter of the city that suffered most seriously by the fire. Nor is there any evidence or suspicion attaching to the Armenian Community, as such, for being in any way responsible for the disaster. Indeed the visit of the two Armenian gentlemen to General Noureddin Pasha, shortly after the reoccupation of the city on Saturday the 9th September, and the important information they conveyed to him regarding the existence of a desperate revolutionary group, fully exonerated the Armenian Community, as they clearly intended it should, from any complicity in the calamities that overtook the Turkish patrols and the city during the next few days.
It is however in the disclosures made to General Noureddin Pasha by these two Armenian gentlemen that we are to discover the clue to the guilty perpetrators of the crime that brought financial ruin and great human suffering upon tens of thousands of the population of Smyrna. These miscreants had the advantage of a high wind that was blowing during the early hours of the fire to assist them in their diabolical purpose, and what was lacking they supplied by articial means, designed to transfer their guilt to that of the Turkish soldiery. I understand evidence was presented during the court hearing of the case in London that seemed to prove beyond question the guilt of Turkish soldiers. This evidence I understand, was presented in good faith by persons whose testimony is entirely trustworthy and who saw persons in Turkish military uniforms using petroleum and other inflammable material to spread the fire. There seems, however to be convincing that the persons wearing these uniforms were members of the revolutionary group reported to Noureddin Pasha by the two Armenian gentlemen already referred to above and on page fourteen. The military uniforms worn by them were those taken from the bodies of the Turkish patrols they had destroyed with bombs on the Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday following the occupation. During the fire one of my friends on the quay observed what appeared to be a Turkish soldier trying to set fire to the passport and customs offices on the landing stage and called the attention of the police to what was happening. The culprit was seized and turned out to be one of this Armenian revolutionary group in Turkish uniform.
Some weeks afterwards an Armenian graduate of one of our Near East Colleges, and a man of high standing and business reputation came to see me in Greece. I had known him intimately for many years as the managing head of a large business firm and owning a beautiful home, elegantly furnished. He had lost his home and was completely improvished. In answer to my inquiry regarding his family came his response, “Thank God I have my wife and children, but we have nothing but what we are wearing, and to think that it has all come about through those d---d revolutionaries”.
I said, “Of course you mean the Turks”, and very deliberately came his reply “No, I don’t mean the Turks, I mean those d---d Armenian revolutionaries who burned the city.
”Further evidence, if it were needed, to establish the complicity of this revolutionary group, is provided by the vigorous measures taken by the Turkish authorities through Armenian channels to discover and seize the perpetrators of the crime. An evidence of this came to me shortly afterwards in Greece. Our former Armenian College cook Ohannes Manoushagian was the Mukhtar (a kind of official liaison) of the municipality in the quarter where the fire started. His report to me of the severe measures taken by the police authorities to compel him to confess to them who the Armenian culprits were who started the fire in his mahal [mahalle = quarter]. His firm insistence of his entire ignorance as to the real culprits saved him on two or three occasions when he was taken from prison before a firing squad. Other Armenians in the neighbourhood where the fire started shared a similar fate, and evidence of their experiences confirms the Turkish view that the bombing of their patrols and the burning of the city originated with the same revolutionary group reported to the Military Governor a couple hours after the reoccupation of the city as recorded on page 14 of these notes. While there is evidence that a considerable number of these were seized and summarily disposed of, it is also clear that many of them escaped such a deserved fate.
Every possible effort was made by the Turks to prevent the spread of the fire and to control it. When I was brought into the city on Friday forenoon the fire was pretty completely under control; but the fire brigade was still fully engaged, and as we passed along the quay our car passed over a number of their hose drawing water from the sea.
OUR PIONEER ANCESTRY
As these sketches are written primarily for my children and at their request, it is a part of my desire that they be informed of our immediate family background at least from the time of its transplanting from the old world to Canadian soil.
On my father’s side the MacLachlans came over from Scotland in 1821 from the Brig O’Johnstone near Glasgow. The family consisted of Grandfather Daniel MacLachland, his wife, Mary MacDonald of the MacDonalds of Skye with their family of five children, including Malcolm, my father, then seven years of age. They crossed in the sailing ship “Young Norval” and made the journey to Quebec in six weeks and four days. The ship had a full complement of Scotch pioneers, all bent on making new homes for themselves in the back woods of Canada. There were two other families from the same parish, Kirkwoods and Patullos, all three planning to maintain their neighbourly relations in the new land of their adoption. Grandfather was taken ill on the passage across and had to be left behind in Quebec in hospital for some weeks. Grandmother and her five bairns [Scottish for children] pressed on west with the Kirkwoods and Patullos to “Muddy York” on the northern shore of Lake Ontario where the city of Toronto now stands. There a study of localities suitable for farming revealed a Township called “Caledon” in the County of Peel, some thirty-five miles north west of the hamlet of Muddy York. Caledon was of course called after their native Caledonia and the name of the township fixed their choice of a locality in which to plant their new homes. There were as yet no roads and with their meagre equipment they set out following “the blaze” as their only guide through the primeval forest to Caledon. There they settled in close proximity on what was to become their homesteads in the western portion of the Township - the MacLachlans midway between the Kirkwoods and Patullos....
NOTES ON THE GENESIS AND DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE, SMYRNA, TURKEY
A personal reference Graduating at Union Theological Seminary, New York, in 1887, I left Canada for Tarsus, Asia Minor, in the autumn of that year, under the appointment of a New York Corporation to establish there a Christian Training School, as a memorial to the Apostle Paul at his birthplace. Associated with me in that service was Rev. Haruntune Jenanian, an Armenian who was a member of the Class of ’87 at Union Seminary. In 1890, finding it impossible to continue my association with my Armenian Colleague, I resigned my post with the intention of returning to New York.
At this point another classmate at Union, Rev. J.P. MacNaughton, an American Board Missionary at Smyrna, Turkey, who had heard of my plans to return to America, wrote me that he and his missionary associates there were endeavoring to persuade the Western Turkey Mission and the American Board of the importance of establishing at Smyrna a school that would afford educational facilities for the youth of Western Asia Minor and Greek areas, similar to those provided by American schools in other parts of the then Turkish Empire. And he further suggested that if I were willing to head up such a project, it would, in his view, greatly strengthen their appeal to the Mission, and also to the American Board to sponsor and finance the school.
I had by this time acquired some freedom in the use of the Turkish language and as the work would be educational, along the same lines that I expected to follow at Tarsus, I replied to my friend’s appeal, that if the American Board would undertake to adequately finance such a school and wished me to establish and take charge of it, I would be prepared to cancel my plan to return to America. When this was reported by my friends in Smyrna to the American Board, I received a communication from one of the secretaries expressing the hope that it might be possible to have the school project approved, and suggesting that in the meantime I accept missionary appointment under the Board, and await official approval of the plan by the Western Turkey Mission at the approaching Annual Meeting, after which it could be brought regularly before the Board for official consideration and action.
It was not, however, until the summer of 1891 that final decision in favour of the project was taken by the Prudential Committee of the American Board in Boston, and in September of that year Mrs. MacLachlan and I arrived in Smyrna to establish the school which was to be our life work for the following thirty-five years.
Our Arrival in Smyrna
We were somewhat disappointed to learn, after our arrival in Smyrna, that the sum of One Thousand Dollars, “special appropriation” of the Board to establish the school and finance it during the first year, would not be available until January 1892. It was indicated, however, that this limited grant would be increased from year to year as the school developed. As it was important the school should open that autumn when the other city schools reopened, and as the building occupied by the Bartletts as their home, and in which their daughter, Miss Bartlett, had been carrying on Kindergarten [nursery school] work and training, and which had also been occupied by the Boys’s School sponsored by Mrs. Bartlett was available as a rental for the new school, it was decided to announce the opening with as little delay as possible.
The First American Boys’ School in Smyrna Sponsored by the American Board
A brief word on this point is necessary to clear up a misapprehension based on the fact that the original Government permit for this school was issued in 1891 required all private schools to have official authority. Faced with this requirement, it was realized serious difficulties would probably be encountered in obtaining an official permit. In earlier years private schools sponsored by missionaries of the Board in Smyrna and known as American Schools had functioned for longer or shorter periods. One of these functioned in 1879 and we felt justified in taking advantage of this fact to facilitate the obtaining of our official permit, especially as that school or its successor had been functioning the previous year. None of these earlier schools, of which there had been at least three, was sponsored or financed by the American Board.
A Personal Tribute to a Godly Woman
While it may not be fairly claimed that these earlier schools enhanced the value and importance of American Educational methods in this community, the local administration of the new school has always regarded its progress and prosperity as due in a considerable measure to the prayers of a Godly woman of great faith and clear vision, Mrs. Lyman Bartlett, who sponsored the last of those private schools. Her prayer vision was a Christian College in Smyrna. When we arrived there she was a great sufferer from a disease which shortly afterwards proved fatal, but she was in our coming, as she expressed it, the beginning and the promise of an answer to her prayers.
Many years later, as plans developed for our ever widening service on the new Paradise Campus, our local Board of Governors decided the preparatory building, then being planned for, be designated “Barlett Hall” in memorial tribute to Cornelia Bartlett.
Planning for the Opening
Teachers, some material equipment, and publicity were therefore immediate necessities. The limited equipment of Mrs. Bartlett’s Boys’ School was the private property of the Bartletts [Lyman Bartlett was a graduate of Amherst College in whose web site there is basic biographical informaion], and was available for the Kindergarten training classes of their daughter. The two Armenian young men who had been in charge of the earlier school were graduates of the Bythinia High School; and teachers of higher academic standing would now be necessary for the new school. For publicity, in addition to press notices, a small fly leaf was published announcing the opening of the “American Boys’ School”; for distribution in the city and along the two railway lines reaching far into the interior. A few discarded pine desks used in the former school were available for immediate use and as our Thousand Dollar appropriation established a credit with the purchasing department of the Board in Boston. I at once ordered a supply of text books, modern school desks, and a few small maps.The law forbidding Turks to enter foreign schools limited our prospective patrons to Armenians and Greeks, almost exclusively; and the first statement in our publicity fly leaf “This School is Christian but non-Sectarian”, met with strong opposition from my missionary associates in Smyrna Station, who insisted on the designation “Protestant” should be used.
My contention as to the folly of using a word that was an offense to those of the old Christian Communions who were our prospective patrons, especially as I was not in the least concerned whether any of our students ever became protestants; and that the designation “Christian” contained everything that I planned to do in the way of religious training finally won out, but not until I had made it clear that I was unwilling to proceed with the project, if it was to be used as an instrument of propaganda among the old Armenian and Greek Christian Communities. This initial declaration was continued in all subsequent catalogs for many years.
I was less successful, however, in my second difference with my missionary associates. Tuition fees in the new school were to be much higher than in the earlier private schools, in which very few indeed paid even the full nominal tuition, and some paid no fees whatever, especially children of protestant parents. In view of our very meagre resources I proposed to insist on our new full rates from all applicants, and that there be no beneficiaries, unless special funds for that purpose were provided. My missionary associates insisted that any boys from the earlier private school applying for entrance be received under the old conditions. As the financial handicap would thus be temporary and the question involved no serious vital principle, I finally agreed. Those who so registered were only a small part of the full enrollment that first year and only one of these remained to graduate some five years later in our then somewhat more advanced course of study.
Budgeting for the first year
My missionary associates, basing their views on the experience of the earlier private school, advised me, in working out my budget for the first year, that while I would probably obtain a somewhat larger income it would be unwise to reckon on more than forty-five Turkish Liras for that year, say, about $200.00. Our actual income from students reached a total of 250 Liras, say $1100.00.
The Special Grant of $1000.00 from the American Board is discontinued
The School Nevertheless Survives this Early Calamity
The Demand for Increased Accommodation
Where did the Ten Thousand Dollars come from that purchased the original Home of International College?
A Veritable “Windfall” for the College
Our Fire and the Consequences
Enlarged Accommodation again Neccessary
pOur Changeable Designation and First Graduating Class
The Staffing Problem
The School a Pioneer in Athletic Field Sports in the Near East
Our Greatly Restricted Playground
Additional Outside Financial Help During this First Period
We Ask to be Incorporated as “International College”
NOTES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE DURING THE SECOND DECADE OF ITS HISTORY
A Dissappointed Hope
Another Threatened Calamity Averted
My visit to Skibo Castle - A Fool’s Errand
We further enlarge our accommodations
Mrs. Kennedy comes to our Rescue
The First Electric Lighting Plant in Turkey
A young Greek Electrical Engineer, learning of our desire, came to consult with me on the question. He was most anxious to establish himself in this line in Smyrna and saw a prosperous future if he could introduce himself by putting an electric lighting plant in the American College. Our conferences resulted in a contract in which the young engineer assumed entire responsibility for bringing in and installing a complete modern electric lighting outfit, including storage batteries, payment to be made when the installation was complete and functioning to our satisfaction. Settlement of all possible difficulties with the Government authorities after the installation was completed was our responsibility. We later learned of some of the devices resorted to by this Greek contractor to bring his equipment into the country. He was well aware that the central government restrictions against the introduction of electrical equipment did not enjoy the warm approval of the Customs officials and he was equally well aware that many of these officials had “itching palms”. His “declarations” therefore as to the various parts of the equipment were not seriously questioned by those in authority at the Customs. The large glass jars for the storage batteries were listed as jars for preserving fruit. Wiring was for the manufacture of broad-rimmed hats for the ladies, then a la mode in Paris female attire, which was closely followed in Smyrna by the ladies of the large European communities.
Coils for the Dynamo with an iron rod specially attached came in as lightning rods for buildings to meet the requirements of fire insurance companies. The heavy and cumbersome leads for the storage batteries were landed in a cove on the coast of Asia Minor opposite the Island of Samos and were brought to the College by Camel Caravan in large wicker baskets. It was by such devious ways and means, we learned later, that our contractor brought in the electrical equipment for our installation. It would be fair to ask if the possibility of such devices succeeding was not an evidence of the weakening of the centralized government at Constantinople and a portent of its overthrow in the approaching revolution of 1908. This view would seem to be supported by the fact that contemporary with our installation the Pera Palace Hotel at the Capital was carrying out a similar installation which began to function only a fortnight later than ours. The local Government sequel to our installation seems to lend further support to the above view.
Within a month after our plant was in use a friend in the Government gave me a timely advice that the following afternoon a deputation from the Government would visit the College to investigate the rumours that we had installed an electrical lighting plant. I therefore made special arrangements to receive them cordially. The Cavas at the front entrance was instructed to bring them direct to the Administration Office and the cook to have special refreshments ready to be served in the most approved manner, at an arranged signal. The power plant would also be in operation. They came as per private information and received a very warm welcome. After the usual oriental formalities were exchanged, and without waiting for the spokesman to announce the purpose of their visit, I forestalled with an announcement that I had something of very special interest to show them and which I was sure would greatly please them. A brief word or two as to the wonderful uses of electricity in various parts of the world was followed by a demonstration of its use for lighting purposes there in the office. Expressions of wonder and approval, with many questions, followed. Special refreshments were now served and while these were being enjoyed my quick ear caught some interesting asides, such as, “Why can’t we have these things in our homes?”, “Imagine foreigners in our country having such things and yet we can’t have them!” - etc, etc.
Warm interest was aroused and good fellowship thoroughly maintained. Further demonstrations throughout our premises followed and were climaxed by a visit to the power plant where the engine and dynamo were producing the current and the storage batteries were storing supplies to be used when the engine and dynamos were not working. The use of a large tank filled with water for cooling the jacket of the engine was also fully explained. Much time was spent in the engine room answering questions and in further demonstrations. This finished, the deputation was invited back to the office where other palatable refreshments now awaited us before our friends took their departure with many expressions of appreciation and gratitude. A few days later I received an official note from the City Engineer calling my attention to the fire risk involved in the large tank in our premises filled with petroleum. I replied by a personal call on the Governor General and showing him the note from the City Engineer, explained that the tank contained only water for cooling the jacket of the engine. He made no reference to our electric lighting plant, nor did complaint of any kind follow.
We Co-Operate with the City Authorities in Carrying Out a City Improvement Project
I have a Personal Issue with the American Board
Another Great Hope Disappointed
Our First Large Legacy
6Continued Demand for Increased Accommodation
NOTES ON INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE DURING THE THIRD DECADE OF ITS HISTORY
My Second Furlongh, July 1910 - July 1911
It is impossible for me to describe my immediate reaction to this wholly unexpected announcement and for a few moments I was dumbfounded. Soon, however, I recovered my equilibrium and tried to express my gratitude. Among my first words were, “My dear Mrs. Kennedy, do you really want to commit yourself to such a large gift just at this time? I know the estate (Mr. Kennedy’s) is not settled, and I am for the present quite satisfied to know of your keen interest in the College and its work.”
To this came her prompt response, “Oh, Yes, I’m quite sure it’s all right; Stephen (Baker) was in here this morning and and told me I could begin to give away the money, and I want my first gift to go to your College.” Meantime I noticed her old school friend was dabbing her handkerchief to her eyes and I’m afraid I followed her example. Anyway for some little time there was complete silence and I am quite sure it was a case of eloquent silence. The date was October 25, and as I began to clearly comprehend the significance in the life history of the College of two such splendid and unexpected gifts in a single day there came to the thought which at once found expression,
“This is surely ‘Founders’ Day’ for International College”, and such indeed it became officially when our local Board of Governors in Smyrna received the good news of my experiences that day in New York. I proceeded to Boston shortly afterwards with these first fruits of my second furlough and turned them over to our Treasurer at the American Board Rooms. These, together with Mr Kennedy’s recently announced legacy of 20,000 Dollars, meant that we had now in our Treasurer’s hands the sum of $75,000.00 in available cash resources.
By this time I was beginning to see the possibility of realizing my day dream of a College Campus of adequate proportions somewhere outside the city limits. In any case it was already apparent that none of these resources should be devoted to further improving our equipment on the old, already overcrowded premises on Meles Street in the City, where there was no possibility of further expansion.
The Question of a Dean and Understudy
Further Substantial Encouragement for Realizing my Day Dreams
Finding the New Site
An Imperial Firman
Construction Work on the Paradise Campus
Inaugural Ceremonies in January 1914
The Greek College Students Go on Strike
Our Lady Bountiful and Beautiful Visits to Campus in May 1914
One of the most outstanding features of our College story was the visit of Mrs. Kennedy and the members of her yachting party near the close of this first year to the beautiful Paradise Campus with its splendid equipment, all of which had been provided by her generous gifts.About the time of the Inaugural Ceremonies I received a letter from her telling of the proposed two months’ cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean, and asking me to be one of a party of eight of her personal friends whom she was inviting to accompany her. For many reasons I was only too glad to have in prospect the pleasure of sharing in what I knew would be a unique experience, especially as the other members of the party were all old and very warm friends of mine. In addition to our hostess, the party was to be composed of her sister, Mrs. Fred Schauffler and her husband Dr. Fred Schauffler, Dr. and Mrs. John Henry Jowett, then Mrs. Kennedy’s pastor at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, and Dr. and Mrs. Halsey of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, all of New York.
The yauct chartered for the cruise was the S.S. “Alberta” formerly owned by the King of the Belgians and now owned by a well-known Englishman, and flying the Standard of the Royal Yacht Club of London - a large, seaworthy vessel with a crew of seventy-two. I joined the party at Naples in April and for the next two months enjoyed one of my life’s most delightful experiences. The joy of sharing the fellowship of such a choice group of friends was in itself an unforgettable inspiration.
Our itinerary included visits to Palestine, Asia Minor, Greece, Austria, Italy, with week-ends in the harbours of Beirut, Smyrna, Constantinople, Athens, and Venice, including many shorter calls and visits along our route. During the last week of our cruise along the incomparable Dalmatian Coast we chanced to meet the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand, only a few weeks before his assassination at Sarajevo - the match that set on fire the Great World War.
For me and my associates on the Campus the great highlight of the cruise was our week-end in the Harbour of Smyrna where we arrived on a Friday evening and left the following Monday. Most of Saturday was spent visiting the ruins of Ephesus whither we were conveyed by special train in the private coach of the General Manager of the Ottoman Aidin Railway Company, Mr. Barfield, who generously placed it at our disposal. Sunday the great day of high privilege was spent on the Campus. Dr. Jowett conducted divine service in the College Chapel which, seating four hundred, was overcrowded largely with members of the British Communities in Smyrna and its suburbs, all available extra space being taken by our Campus Community and students of the upper college classes. Dr. Jowett’s sermon on “The Halo” is still remembered and spoken of by many of those who were inspired by it on that occasion. The whole party lunched with us in “Kenarden Lodge”, the beautiful home provided by Mrs. Kennedy for the President of the College. The rest of the day was spent visiting the buildings and some of the campus homes.
The War and its all but Fatal Consequences to International College
We Do Our Bit in the War
“Pray for the Americans”
We Co-operate with the Government in its City Relief Project
The College Fills Another Important International Wartime Role in 1918
Financial and Other Assistance from our Boston Headquarters
The Agricultural Department
Our Social Settlement House
The Paradise Christian Students Conferences 1915-1922
The Pledge of $15,000 a Year that Failed
NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE IN SMYRNA, TURKEY - Fourth and Last Decade in Smyrna
Much of this last decade story of the College in Smyrna is “Contemporary History”; and as the direct concern of the writer is limited to the first three or four years of the period only, i.e. 1922-1926, when he retired, these “Notes” will not be carried beyond the latter date.Educational work in the College following the 1922 disaster scarcely survived, but throughout the Collegiate Year 1922-23 important services were rendered by members of the staff in Asia Minor and also in Greece.
Another Plan that Failed
During the writer’s convalescence in the Island of Malta whither he was conveyed an invalid on a British Battleship about the middle of September 1922 following the Smyrna Disaster, he prepared an agricultural plan to submit to the Turkish Government. While the College could not function along educational lines it possessed resources which we believed could be made available for relief and other purposes. Our agricultural equipment was intact, the Director of that Department, an Englishman, was available, and if a considerable group of about thirty of our Armenian students, partially trained in agriculture and then in a prison Concentration Camp in the interior, were made available for service, we would have sufficient man power, expert leadership, and modern agricultural implements to provide much needed food supplies for Government hospitals and other relief projects. The Government’s cooperative share in this plan would be to place at our disposal abandoned lands, formerly owned by Greeks, to the extent of 1000 acres adjoining our Campus, together with twelve yoke of oxen and their fodder.
When I was physically able to return to Smyrna about the middle of November accompanied by the Director of the Agricultural Department and with all details of the proposed plan carefully worked out, we were afforded every facility for presenting it to the provincial Governor General and also to two members of the Ankara Cabinet who happened to be in Smyrna. The provincial Government and these members of the Cabinet warmly concurred in our proposal and it was submitted to the Ankara Government. Some nine days were occupied in presenting and discussing the plan but at this point, owing to a critical international situation at Chanak, between the Turkish and British Governments, the few Britishers who had ventured to return to Smyrna after the Disaster were forced to leave clandestinely by British Naval officers detailed for that purpose.
The writer, however, went out openly with official Turkish permit. The day following our departure official authority for our plan came from Ankara, and placing at the disposal of the College one thousand acres of choice farm lands surrounding the Campus. But here again, “The best laid plans o’ mice and men, etc.,”
Activities in Greece
After four days of wandering about the Aegean in a British ship we were landed at Volo, and from there made our own way to Athens, or rather Kephesia, a summer resort for Athenians. Here we remained until it was possible to secure passports visa from British Consular authorities in August 1923 for our return to Smyrna.
A New Role for Educational Missionaries
During the next ten months of our voluntary “exile” in Greece we were strenuously occupied with two important services which pressed themselves upon our notice and claimed our warm sympathy and help. Organized succor for the hundreds of thousands of Greek and Armenian refugees from Asia Minor was being provided by the American Near East Relief with its large staff of workers. Our sympathetic efforts in relief were attracted to a large body of Turkish civilians imprisoned in Greek Concentration Camps, mainly in the neighbourhood of Athens. During the Greco-Turkish war in Asia Minor Turkish civil officials and many other influential civilians were seized by the Greek Army as it pushed its conquest eastward toward Ankara, and sent over to concentration prison camps in Greece. From time to time we had observed these civilian prisoners in Smyrna as they were being conveyed under guard of Greek soldiers along the water-front to be embarked on Greek ships. The conditions under which they were living in these prison camps had come to our knowledge and my son-in-law, Cass Reed and I made application to the Greek Military authorities through the Greek Red Cross for permission to visit these camps.
After some delay permission was granted but with certain restrictions which we gladly accepted, as our interests were purely humanitarian. Turkish speaking Greek soldiers must accompany us on these visitations to insure observance of these restrictions. We found these Concentration Camps pretty much what they are generally supposed to be under war time conditions. All the prisoners were men from comfortable homes and among the civic officials, some thirty-four Kiamakams (Mayors) were reported to us. On entering one of the larger camps containing hundreds of prisoners for the first time we were warmly greeted by former patrons of the College whose sons had been with us, and in one case by a former student himself.
Many of the older men, some of them of considerable wealth, lacked comfortable clothing and the more general complaints were that no charges of any kind had been brought against them by either the military or civil authorities; and that they had not heard any word from their families during the two or three years of their imprisonment. Could we find out for them if their wives and children were alive and well, was a frequent appeal. They had written many times but never got any response.
As a result of these visits we appealed to the Greek authorities to hand us letters written by these prisoners, after they had passed the Government censorship, and also to permit us to hand sufficient money to them from their friends in Asia Minor to provide necessary clothing and bedding. On our part we undertook to secure similar privileges from the Turkish Government through the Red Crescent Society for Greek Civilian War prisoners in Concentration Camps in Asia Minor. When these negotiations were satisfactorily arranged Dr. Reed assumed the role of International Courier between Greece and Turkey, and during the next few months carried many thousands of dollars in Turkish and Greek currencies and also many hundreds of letters which were delivered to prisoners in both countries with the co-operation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He traveled almost exclusively by American destroyers, sometimes by way of Constantinople but more usually by direct route across the Aegean.
An American College for Athens
The Smyrna Disaster Relief Committee
Asa Jennings, the Liberator
Personal Contacts with the Trustees of the Hall Estate
The Entire Reorganization of the College Following the Disaster of 1922-23
The loss of our entire non-Turkish student body, together with the newly planned National System of Education under the rejuvenated and regenerated Turkish administration in 1923-24 at Ankara, changed entirely not only the International spirit and character of the College, but also placed on its administration the necessity of reorganizing its curriculum from foundation to capstone. To accomplish this important service with the warm support of our purely Turkish constituency, and the active co-operation of the Government Educational authority, would have been a pleasurable though perhaps somewhat slow and difficult process. It became an increasingly difficult task with a group in the student body, and an active body of opinion in the country generally, that had become so radically nationalistic that it was essentially anti-foreign.
While the official attitude of both the local and Central Government was correct, rather than sympathetically co-operative, there was a radical anti-foreign section of the public press that persisted in frequent open hostility to the College. The College administration continued to pursue a policy of ready and friendly conformity with all new government regulations and restrictions even when these requirements seemed to limit our efficiency along educational lines.
In due course therefore, following my retirement in 1926, International College became in its educational policy and practices an integral part of the National System of Education. The ultra nationalistic body of opinion in the Country as well as the anti-foreign element in the press continued its policy of open criticism, to the extent eventually of attacking patrons of the College with disloyalty to Government institutions in paying heavy tuition fees to a foreign college while equally good government institutions afforded free education.
It was this attitude of criticism continued and intensified that in due course of the next seven or eight years led the Board of Trustees at their Annual Meeting in 1934 to decide to discontinue the services of the College in Turkey and to transfer it to some other location in the Near East, where it would be free from similar restrictions and criticism.
An official Farewell Banquet in 1926
It was I believe an unique experience for an American Board Missionary in Turkey to be tendered a farewell banquet on his retirement from active service by Government officials. Throughout nearly forty years of missionary service in Turkey I had cultivated friendly relations and a spirit of co-operation not only with the Christians and other subject races, but also with the dominant Turks and especially with government officials.This attitude had won for the College many facilities and considerations, especially during the eight war years, 1914-1922.
When it became known to the local government authorities in the early summer of 1926 that we were retiring, I was waited upon by a delegation to inform me of the desire of the Government to express in some formal public way the appreciation of my services to their country along educational lines and suggested a choice from two or three proposals, e.g., a mid-day luncheon, an evening banquet, or what they call “Chai Ziafet” or Tea Banquet, to be held on the grounds of the New Club near the Point, in the afternoon. I expressed preference for this last.
When plans were completed I was shown a list of guests to be invited, which included the Governor General of the Province, the Mayor of Smyrna, Heads of all Government Departments, and my American and Turkish colleagues from the Campus with their wives. The list also included some of the earlier outstanding Turkish graduates of the College. I was asked to suggest any other of my personal friends, Turkish or foreign, whom I would wish to have present, and I added the name of the War-time Governor General of the Province. The function proved a most delightful social gathering and was put over in the most approved fashion. Mrs. MacLachlan was seated on the Mayor’s right, while I was given the special place of honour on the right of the Governor General. Elaborate table decorations and an abundant supply and variety of refreshments left nothing to be desired in the way of table equipment and supplies. Toasts and speeches followed in the usual way, all in warm appreciation of my friendship and educational services to the Country. The following morning a group of former Turkish graduates came out to the Campus and presented me with a large, handsome Turkish rug with a silver plate attached suitably inscribed. The same afternoon when we were leaving the Mayor sent his new seven seater Buick up to the College to bring us and the Reeds into the city.
When we reached the quay we were greeted by a large crowd of citizens, among them all the guests of the previous afternoon’s “Tea Banquet”. Awaiting our service was a large Government launch to bring us and the College staff out to our steamer. In addition to the guests of the tea party who accompanied us on board, provision was made for fifty of the upper students from the College.Perhaps the most touching incident of the royal “send off” was the refusal of the Turkish hamals (porters) to accept payment for handling our many pieces of baggage from the quay to on board the launch and again from the launch to our steamer in the harbour. I need scarcely add that we were all but completely overcome by all these evidences of warm appreciation by our Turkish friends.
Some Additional Help from the American Board
YOUR ANGLO-AMERICAN AND REVOLUTIONARY ANCESTRY
Having written of “Our Pioneer Ancestry” on the MacLachlan-MacDonald side, it should be of equal interest and concern for our children to know something of their ancestry from the Family Trees on the Blackler-Routh side of the family. Grandfather Francis Chipman Blackler of Marblehead, Mass., was a product of Pilgrim Fathers and American revolutionary stock. His grandfather, Captain William Blackler, of the same town, raised one of the first companies for service in the revolutionary war; and it was he who took George Washington across the Delaware the night before the battle of Trenton.The Blacklers came from Dorset [or Devon], England, to this continent and at the present time apparently do not number more than about one hundred souls in both the old country and in North America.
Grandmother, Annie Boucher Routh, wife of Grandfather Blackler, on the other hand belonged to the very numerous English family of Routh whose progenitor, Richard de Surdeval came over with William of Normandy and was present with him at the battle of Hastings in 1066. His great grandson, Simon de Surdeval, settled in Routh in Holderness, and his descendants henceforth were known by that name. The Routh lineage is a long and interesting one as represented in the Family Tree, which about thirty years ago was brought up to date and where names of the children of the Blackler grandparents, including that of your mother, Rose, appear in the twenty-seventh generation after Richard de Surdeval of Normandy. It is also indicated there that at least two of your Routh progenitors, Robert and his brother, Sir John Routh, were with Edward I at Bannockburn on June 24th, 1314, and consequently fought there against our MacLachlan and MacDonald ancestors; and the record states that Sir John was killed in that ever memorable battle, the brief story of which in our school history book used to fire my highland blood.
And now after a lapse of nearly seventy years I find myself repeating from memory the paragraph of some fifteen or twenty lines in “Colliers British History” describing the battle. It is also interesting to note that Sir Robert de Surdeval, son of the original Richard of Normandy, accompanied the Duke of Normandy in the first Crusade and was present at the capture of Jerusalem in 1097. Under the name of Routh the descendants of this Sir Robert de Surdeval are today found in great numbers in every part of the English-speaking world. It is also of interest to observe that your grandmother Routh’s great grandmother, Abigail Eppes of Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.A. was the first cousin of Marha Wayles, wife of Thos. Jefferson, President of the United States after George Washington.
I SURVIVE AND LATER DISCOVER MY “OBITUARY”
MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Notes: 1- The issue of American missionaries is long and complex, analyzed in an online article by Çağrı Erhan, in his ‘Ottoman official attitudes towards American missionaries’, viewable here:2- The continuation of the International College of Smyrna is the one established in Beirut and an article celebrating its centenary is viewable here:3- It appears the Alexander MacLachlan died 2 years after penning this autobiography as seen in this archive newspaper obituary of his death in Sept. 1940: Francis Chipman Blackler (1825-1875)