History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972
Part I - The First Greeks in the New World
The history of the Greek people is one of "Diaspora " – dispersion -- throughout the world from 500 B.C. to the present day.
In the days of Pericles, the Greeks left their homeland to found new colonies throughout the Mediterranean Sea and its borders, into North Africa, Asia Minor, and as far as India. Sprung from a land with limited resources of its own, and with the sea their second homeland, Greeks travelled to the far reaches of the world.
Wherever men were to be found for the past 2,500 years, there also were to be found the Greeks, if in limited numbers. Emigration from Greece has almost always been of an economic origin, except during the years of 1456, (when Athens fell to the Turkish invaders), to 1830, when Greece finally regained her independence from Turkey after almost 400 years of subjugation. In those 400 years, emigration was a means to escape Turkish rule and oppression.
This book will endeavor to portray this emigration, and to bring together some of the facts concerning the Greeks who settled in America.
Although the primary purpose of this book is to offer a history of the Order of Ahepa, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, it will also describe the beginnings of Greek immigration to this country, as a prelude to the causes and purposes of the establishment of the Order of Ahepa in Atlanta, Ga., on July 26, 1922.
The following chronicle of early Greeks in the New World, (Part I), begins with the voyages of Columbus, and continues to the first major immigration of the 1890s. Part II will deal with the problems and circumstances of mass immigration to the United States, and Part III with the establishment of the Order of Ahepa, and its history, in chronological sequence.
JOHAN GRIEGO (1492 A.D.)
Johan Griego, a Greek sailor from Genoa, was a member of the crew of Christopher Columbus. In his book "Christopher Columbus, His Life, His Work, His Remains as Revealed by Original Printed and Manuscript Records," author John Boyd Thacher mentions this sailor. The words "Griego - Grecque - Greco" were quite common in early Spanish and French writings, and always denoted a Greek.
THEODOROS - A GREEK SAILOR (1528 A.D.)
Don Pamphilo de Narvaeth was commissioned by the King of Spain to explore the Gulf of Mexico and the coasts of Florida. He departed from Spain on June 17, 1527 and reached the area near what is now Tampa, Fla. on April 14, 1528. The ships were battered by storms, and repairs to the hulls were needed. A Greek sailor on the expedition, "Don Teodoro," made the repairs to the ship hulls which he caulked with palmetto oakum and tarred with pitch, made from pine trees. Teodoro, or Theodoros, followed a trade practiced by Greek fishermen for many centuries, in making the repairs.
The expedition continued northward, and when near what is now Pensacola Bay, in October, 1528, stopped to secure fresh water. Narvaeth reached an agreement with Indians on shore for fresh water in exchange for gifts, but the Indians insisted on hostages. "Theodoros offered to go ashore, and he was accompanied by a Negro from the crew; in turn, the Indians left two of their own as hostages with the Spaniards."
"Neither Theodoros nor the Negro were ever seen again, and the ships sailed without them."
There is a sequel to the story. Twelve years later in October, 1540, explorer De Soto landed at an area then known as Mauvilla, which must have been near Mobile, Alabama. While there, he learned that a "Christian, or white man, by the name of Theodoros, had lived in the vicinity with the Indians" since the time of Narvaeth's visit in 1528, twelve years earlier. This history then relates that the Indians showed De Soto a dagger that had belonged to Theodoros. Also, on October 13, 1540, De Soto and his men passed through an Indian village called Piachi, and they were told by the villagers that "Indians had killed Theodoros, and the Negro who was with him."
From the above, it would seem evident that the first Greek to set foot on American soil was this Greek sailor, Theodoros, in October, 1528.
NIKOLAO, IOANNI, & MATTHEO (1520 A.D.)
Spanish and English historians mention three Greeks who were with Ferdinand Magellan in 1520 on his voyage to Patagonia. Their names are only listed as: Nikolao, loanni, and Mattheo.
PETROS THE CRETAN (1535 A.D.)
Petros the Cretan, a Greek adventurer and soldier, was known as Pedro Di Candia by the Spanish. He was a lieutenant of Francisco Pizzaro (1470-1541) who conquered the empire of Peru and founded the city of Lima, as the capital of Peru in 1535. Petros the Cretan lived an adventurous life as a part of Pizzaro 's expeditions and forces, and was killed in 1542, the year following Pizzaro's assassination in Peru.
IOANNIS and GEORGIO (1578 A.D.)
When Sir Francis Drake reached Valparaiso, Chile in 1578 he found there a Greek pilot, whose name was Ioannis. loannis acted as Drake's pilot as far as Lima, Peru.
Ten years later, Englishman Thomas Cavendish met a Greek pilot by the name of Georgio, who knew the waters of Chile.
Both of these Greek pilots must have been in the area for many years in order to have sufficient knowledge of the waters to act as pilots for visiting ships.
JUAN de FUCA (Apostolo Valeriano) (1592 A.D.)
The Juan de Fuca Straits
The Strait of Juan de Fuca was discovered in 1592 by Juan de Fuca, born Apostolo Valeriano on the island of Cephalonia, Greece. The Strait is some 60 miles in length, and separates the northwestern edge of the state of Washington from Vancouver Island, to the north. It leads into Puget Sound, to the south, and into the Georgia Strait, to the north, from the Pacific Ocean.
Although discovered in 1592 by this Greek ship captain, it was not until 1725 that the Russian Academy gave the name "Juan de Fuca Straits" to this open passage from the Pacific Ocean, which Juan de Fuca had thought was the western terminus of the long-sought Northwest Passage.
The story of Juan de Fuca, born Apostolo Valeriano in Cephalonia, concerns the frustrating search for the Northwest Passage through America, from Europe to Asia, which explorers from England, Spain, and France sought for many years without success.
Juan de Fuca was a ship captain who worked for some 40 years in the Spanish West Indies for. Spain. Spain ruled Mexico, and in 1592 Juan de Fuca was commissioned by the vice premier of Mexico to seek the Northwest Passage, from the Pacific side of the continent. With one ship, he set sail north along the Pacific coast, and he entered a gulf or opening at 48° Latitude North, which he explored for 20 days. He noted that the land was sometimes Northwest and sometimes Northeast, and that the sea was much deeper close to the opening of the gulf.
He stated that at different places on shore he saw people, who wore animal skins for clothing, and that there was evidence of gold and silver. Feeling that he had discovered the Passage, he returned to Acapulco with his report, and with the hope of being rewarded for his services. He received nothing for his efforts, and two years later left for Spain, where he presented himself before the King, where he received a warm welcome, but no rich rewards. He left for Italy, on the way to his home in Cephalonia, Greece.
In Italy, he met Michael Lok, an Englishman who was Consul of England at Halepi, Syria. They met at Venice, where Lok had stopped en route home to England, and Juan de Fuca related his experiences to Lok. He also offered to go England with Lok, and to work for England to find the Northwest Passage to Asia, if the Queen would give him a ship of 40 tons. Although Lok wrote to England to secure further help and assistance for such a venture, nothing came of the request. Juan de Fuca then left for Cephalonia, where he died about 1601.
The story of Juan de Fuca was told by Michael Lok, and it was printed in "Purchas' Pilgrimes," a collection of voyages by explorers, in 1625.
In his book "Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States" author George R. Stewart describes the Pacific Coast northward from San Francisco Bay as a "dangerous coast, always a lee shore against the westerly gales sweeping across the open ocean. The surf crashed at the foot of cliffs, and the fog shut down close, day after day. So, even when a shipmaster ventured there, he kept good offing, and saw only a few dim headlands, and found no harbors. It remained a region of mystery, where some men still hoped to find the Northwest Passage."
The explorers of the 16th, 17th, and 18th century failed to find the open passage from the Pacific Ocean that Juan de Fuca had discovered in 1592, and treated the story as a myth, until 1792 when Captain George Vancouver entered the passage, which he called skeptically "the supposed straits of de Fuca" as he entered them. Although the straits were not the Northwest Passage, as Juan de Fuca had believed, his story about the discovery was thus finally verified after almost two centuries had passed.
Although many historians disputed the story of Juan de Fuca, since Spanish and Mexican records of the day made no mention of this Greek captain, Alex S. Taylor set out to prove in Sept. 1859 in "Hutchings California Magazine" that such a man did exist, and he pointed out that the Spanish and Mexicans had destroyed the records. Taylor contacted the American consul in Zakintho, Greece, A. S. York for family records of de Fuca. In the records sent to Taylor was a letter of Count Metaxa, from Argostoli, who assured him that in 1854 in the village of Mavrata of Cephalonia there were three old men, 80 years of age, who assured him that their ancestors were of the family of Fuca. There was also a copy of a record of the autocrat of Byzantine, Alexiou tou Komninou Porfiroyennitou, addressed to those who resided in Herakleion, Crete, dated in 1182, in which the name "Fokas" was one of those prominent in Constantinople autocracy.
Also included was the genealogy of Georgios Fokas, from Argostoli, Cephalonia, as well as a biography of Juan de Fuca, taken from the book of a priest, A. Mazaraki, which he had written in Venice in 1843, entitled "Lives of Famous Cephalonians." Mazaraki wrote that two brothers by the name of Fokas had left Constantinople in the 15th century. One brother, Andronikos, settled in the Peleponnesus of Greece, and the other brother, Emmanuel, went to Cephalonia. Emmanuel Fokas raised several sons, Stephano, Emmanuel, Hector, Iakovos, Jacob, and Ioannis, or John. Ioannis, or John, was given the nickname of "Valerianos" since the family lived in the village of that name. The village of Mavrata, where Count Metaxa found the descendants of Juan de Fuca, and also where U.S. Consul York found several people with the name of "Fokas" is located very close to the village of Valeria nos.
Between 1840 and 1846, the discussion of the discovery of the Straits of Juan de Fuca came into prominence because of the differences between England and America over the boundaries of the Oregon Territory, and the Treaty of Washington of June 15, 1846. America sent ship captain Charles Wilkes in June, 1842 to find the boundaries of the territory. The voyage that Wilkes made was written by George Mousalas Colvocoressis, an officer in the U.S. Navy, who was born in Greece, and who had a distinguished career himself in the Navy.
MICHAEL URY OF MARYLAND (1725)
In 1725, the Maryland General Assembly adopted a legislative act entitled "An Act for the Naturalization of Michael Ury of Prince Georges Couniy, a Greek, and his Children now Residents in this Province."
Michael Ury became a naturalized citizen, by act of the General Assembly of Maryland, some 50 years before the American Revolution. Apparently Ury could not write English, for his Will is signed with a mark, and his name filled in by someone else who spelled the name "Michel Youri." In Maryland records, the name is also spelled "Urie" and "Urion."
The earliest reference to Michael Ury in Maryland records is dated June, 1724. He died in 1752, and his Will was probated September 28, 1751. He left all of his property to his wife, Margaret, which included a tract of land called "Smyrna." His wife Margaret died some years later, her will being probated on Oct. 31, 1768.
JOHN PARADISE OF WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA
John Paradise was a linguist and learned Greek scholar, who lived in both England and France where he became a close acquaintance and friend of Benjamin Franklin. He was a protege of Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, and one of the close circle of friends of Samuel Johnson of England. He met Lucy Ludwell, of one of Virginia's first families, in England, where they were married.
He became a naturalized citizen of America, and their home, the Ludwell - Paradise House, was the first of the homes restored in Williamsburg, Va., and is considered one of the finest examples of early American homes.
EUSTRATE IVANOVICH DELAROF (1783)
Alaska was discovered by Captain Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer working for the Russians, during his two voyages of 1728 and 1741. During his first voyage he discovered the strait which separates Asia and North America, named after him as Bering Strait. Thereafter, there were many expeditions to the North American coast from Russia, and one was commanded by Eustrate lvanovich Delarof, a native of the Peleponnesus of Greece, who was a factor in trading firms from Russia.
From 1783 until 1791, Delarof was in nominal charge of all Russian trading operations in the Aleutians and Alaska, where he had to resist the attempts of the English, French and the Spanish expeditions who also wanted to hunt the same land for sea-otters, sealions, and seal. Through his efforts, Russia maintained control of the area, and, subsequently, Alexander Baranov, known as the first Russian governor of Alaska, set up headquarters at New Archangel, near present Sitka, in 1799.
One of the twelve fortified stations established in Alaska by the Russians was named in honor of Delarof, and was known as Port Delarof.
NEW SMYRNA, FLORIDA (1768)
At the Peace of Paris in 1763, England exchanged newly acquired Havana, Cuba to Spain, for Florida, but when the English took over the new Florida territory, they found very few settlers. The Spanish settlers had all left for Cuba after the peace treaty. The English now faced the problem of colonizing their new land.
In his book "New Smyrna, An 18th century Greek Odyssey" Dr. E. P. Panagopoulos, Professor of History at San Jose State College in California, presents a full and absorbing history of the English attempt at colonizing Florida, the colony of "New Smyrna" on the East Coast of the state.
After a study of the soil and climate of Florida, the English decided that the type of settlers needed should be those whose religion "will be a bar to their forming connections with the French or Spaniards; and who will readily intermarry and mix with our own people settled there." Archibald Menzies wrote that:
"The people I mean, are the Greeks of the Levant, accustomed to a hot climate and bred to the culture of the vine, olive, cotton, tobacco, etc., as also to the raising of silk; and who could supply our markets with all the commodities which at present we have from Turkey, and other parts. These people are in general, sober and industrious; and being reduced, by their severe masters, to the "reatest misery, would be easily persuaded to fly from slavery (from the Turks), to the protection of a free government. The Greeks of the islands would be the most useful, and the easiest to bring away, as they are more oppressed than any others, having the same taxes to pay as the Greeks of the continent; with the addition of an annual visit from the Capitan Pacha, or Turkish High Admiral. The sums arising from their exportation of vast quantities of silk, wine, oil, wheat, tobacco, mastick, cotton, hardly suffice to satisfy their greedy tyrants, who fleece them upon all occasions. It may be observed that they are excellent rowers, and might be of great service m the inland navigation of America."
lt was reported that besides the Greeks living in Greece, and in Asia ,1inor, that there were many Greeks settled in Minorca, and the Engli,-h felt that the Turkish rulers of Greece would not object if the English enticed Greeks to leave their homeland for a new country and, hopefully, a better life.
Dr. Andrew Turnbull, who was married to Maria Gracia Dura Biu, the daughter of a Greek merchant from Smyrna, Asia Minor, secured a grant of 40,000 acres of land in conjunction with Sir William Duncan, for the East Coast of Florida, with the requirement from the English government that it be settled within 10 years in the proportion of one person for every hundred acres. Turnbull sailed for America in 1765 and in St. Augustine, Florida, he secured the grant of land from Governor James Grant. The land grant was located about 75 miles south of St. Augustine, in what is now New Smyrna Beach, Florida. He then returned to England where he secured financing for his forthcoming venture through bounties from the government and the Board of Trade, and then, sailed for the Mediterranean to search for his colonists "for a Tract of Land in East Florida on which I might settle a small Colony of Greeks," as Turnbull explained in a letter to Lord Shelburne.
In June, 1767, Turnbull arrived with his ships in the Mediterranean, and he visited Minorca; Leghorn, Italy; Smyrna, Asia Minor; the island of Melos; Mani, Koroni, Greece; Methoni, Greece; Crete; Santorini; Corsica; Mahon. He found opposition from French, Italian, and Turkish authorities, who did not want to see their subjects leave, but after persistent efforts, he finally rounded up about 1,400 colonists and left for his new colony in East Florida, which he was to name "New Smyrna" in honor of his wife, a native of Smyrna, Asia Minor.
Professor Panagopoulos' research on the New Smyrna Colony has brought to light many of the names of these first Greek colonists to the New World, such as: Gasper Papi, Anastasios Mavromatis, Demetrios Fundulakis, Maria Parta (or Ambross), Kyriakos Costas, loannis Giannopoulos, Kyriakos Exarhopoulos, Nicholas Stefanopoli, Petros Drimarachis, Petros Cosifachis, (Cotsifakis) Michael Costas, Elia Medici, Clatha Corona, Ioannis Koluminas, Domingo Costa, Maria Bross, Yorge Costa, Antonio Llambias, Marcos Andreu, Nicolas Salada, Domingo Exarcopoulos, Michael Costa.
Turnbull's fleet of eight ships with 1,403 colonists on board left Gibraltar on April 17, 1768 for the long voyage across the Atlantic to Florida. Although records are incomplete, at least 500 of these colonists were from the mainland and the islands of Greece, and the others were from Minorca, Italy, Corsica, and Mahon. Included among these latter were also a large number of Greeks whose families had emigrated in earlier years from Greece, to escape Turkish oppression. (There were more than 700 emigrant Greeks in Corsica, alone, at the time, who were from the Peleponnesus.)
During the long voyage, 148 died on board ship, and only 1,255 survived to reach Florida. They landed at St. Augustine, Fla., prior to making plans to proceed to the new colony located 75 miles south.
Originally, Turnbull had planned on a colony of only 500 for his new project, and during his earlier visit to St. Augustine, had laid plans for that number. He now arrived at St. Augustine on June 26, 1768 with almost three times that number. Provisions were insufficient, and the colonization was faced with almost unsurmountable difficulties from the beginning. Mosquitoes and malaria added to their misery after their arrival at New Smyrna, for the whole area was called "the Mosquitoes" and clouds of the insects swarmed everywhere. Food was short, sickness prevalent, and in 1768 the deaths amounted to 300 men and women, and 150 children, or a total of 450 dead out of the 1,255 who started the colony.
A quiet plan of 300 to escape by ship to Cuba was discovered, and they were turned back. Three of the ringleaders were executed for their plotting. After the rebellion, the work continued to raise crops and develop the land, but the deaths by stanation and sickness continued. Turnbull and his partners in England tried to raise more funds to continue the colony, for this was a commercial venture, intended to bring profits to its hackers.
During the life of the colony (1768-1777) 670 adults and 260 children died there -- a total of 964 deaths in nine years. Within only 24 months after the arrival of the 1,255 colonists in 1768, there were only 628 left alive; 627 had died within the first 24 months.
Although they had been promised "freedom" or discharge when they first embarked after serving their four or six years of service for Turnbull, things were going so badly for the colony's owners, that when the colonists did make application for discharge after serving their work time of several years, they were turned down and thrown into confinement. There was no way out for these unfortunate human beings, and most of them found death to be their only escape.
Finally, after repeated petitions seeking freedom, and the conditions of New Smyrna had become an open scandal within British government circles and courts, all of the colonists were set free by Andrew Turnbull's attorneys. During May and June, 1777, most of the people of New Smyrna had migrated to St. Augustine, Fla., and New Smyrna remained deserted. Turnbull, his wife and children moved to Charleston, S.C., after being imprisoned in St. Augustine for debts to his creditors in England.
The British governor allotted lands between St. Augustine and the St. John's river for the New Smyrna colonists who survived, and this area was called the '"Greek Settlement." By January 15, 1778, there were still 419 men, women and children still alive, and 128 of these were children born in New Smyrna. The Greek, Minorcan, and Italian families intermarried, and their numbers increased to 460 in 1784.
The New Smyrna colonists mostly stayed in St. Augustine, although some did return to Europe, or went to other areas, and those that remained prospered, and held title to almost 49,000 acres of land after Florida became a State. Michael (Miguel) Costa was registered in 1783 as a "Medical Doctor." Ioannis Giannopoulos (Juan Janopoli) became first a carpenter, then a teacher, although he came to New Smyrna from Mani when only 18 years of age. An old wooden structure, the "oldest wooden schoolhouse in the United States" is pointed out to visitors today as the original Ioannis Giannopoulos schoolhouse, and a street is named after the Greek teacher.
Historians of the 18th and 19th century gave the following accounts of the New Smyrna Settlement (Romans):
"The situation of the town, or settlement, made by Dr. Turnbull, is called New Smyrna from the place of the doctor's lady's nativity. About fifteen hundred people, men, women, and children, were deluded away from their native country, vvhere they lived at home in the plentiful cornfields and vineyards of Greece and Italy, to this place, where, instead of plenty, they found want in the last degree; instead of promised fields, a dreary wilderness, instead of a grateful, fertile soil, a barren, arid sand, and in addition to their misery were obliged to indent themselves, their wives and children for many years to a man who had the most sanguine expectations of transplanting bawshawship (pashaslich) from the Levant. The better to effect his purpose, he granted them a pitiful portion of land for ten years upon the plan of feudal system. This being improved, and just rendered fit for cultivation, at the end of that term it again reverts to the original grantee may, if he chooses, began in a new state of vassalage for ten years more.
Many were denied even such grants as these, and were obliged to work at tasks in the field. Their provisi0ns were, at the best of times, only a quart of maize per day, and two ounces of pork per week. This might have sufficed with the help of fish, which abounded in this lagoon, but they were denied the liberty of fishing, and, lest they should not labor enough, inhuman taskmasters were set over them and instead of allowing each family to do with their homely fare as they pleased they were forced to join all together in one mess, and at the beat of a vile drum to come to one common copper, from whence their hominy was ladled out to them; even this coarse and scanty meal was, through careless management, rendered still more coarse, and through the knavery of a providetor and pilfering of a hungry cook, still more scanty masters of vessels were forewarned from giving any of them a piece of bread or meat.
Imagine to yourself an African -- one of a class of men whose hearts are generally callous against the softer feelings -- melted with the wants of these wretches, giving them a piece of venison, of which he caught what he pleased, and for this charitable act disgraced and, in course of time, used so severely that the unusual servitude soon released him to a happier state.
Again, behold a man obliged to whip his own wife for pilfering bread to relieve his helpless family; then think of a time when the small allowance was reduced to half, and see some brave, generous seamen charitably sharing their own allowance with some of these wretches, the merciful tars suffering abuse for their generosity, and the miserable objects of their ill-timed pity undergoing bodily punishment for satisfying the cravings of a long-disappointed appetite, and you may form some judgment of the manner in which New Smyrna was settled. Before I leave this subject, I will relate the insurrection to which those unhappy people at New Smyrna were obliged to have recourse, and which the great ones styled rebellion. In the year of 1769, at a time when the unparalleled severities of their taskmasters, particularly one, Cutter, (who had been made a justice of the peace, with no other view than to enable him to execute his barbarities on a larger extent and with greater appearance of authority) had driven these wretches to despair, they resolved to escape to the Havannah.
To execute this they broke into the provision stores and seized on some craft lying in the harbor, but were prevented from taking others by the care of the masters. Destitute of any man fit for the important post of leader, their proceedings were all confused and an Italian of very bad principles, but of so much note that he had formerly been admitted to the overseers' table, assumed a kind of command. They thought themselves secure where they were and this occasioned a delay till a detachment of the ninth regiment had time to arrive, to whom they submitted, except one boatful, which escaped to the Florida Keys and were taken up by a Providence man.
Many were the victims destined to punishment, as I was one of the grand jury which sat fifteen days on this business, I had an opportunity of canvassing it well, but the accusations were of so small account that we found only five bills; one of these was against a man for maiming the above said Cutter, whom it seems they had pitched upon as the principal object of their resentment, and curtailed his ears and two of his fingers, another for shooting a cow, which, being a capital crime in England, the law making it such was here extended to this province. The others were against the leader, and two more for the burglary committed on the provision stOregon The distress of the sufferers touched us so that we almost unanimously wished for some happy circumstances that might justify our rejecting all the bills, except that against the chief, who was a villain. One man was brought before us three or four times, and, at last, was joined in one accusation with the person who maimed Cutter; yet, no evidence of weight appearing against him, I had an opportunity to remark, by the appearance of some faces in court, that he had been marked, and that the grand jury disappointed the expectations of more than one great man.
Governor Grant pardoned two, and a third was obliged to be the executioner of the remaining two. On this occasion I saw one of the most moving scenes I ever experienced; long and obstinate was the struggle of this man's mind, who repeatedly called out that he chose to die rather than be the executioner of his friends in distress, this not a little perplexed Mr. Woolridge, the sheriff, till at length the entreaties of the victims themselves put an end to the conflict in his breast, by encouraging him to act.
Now we beheld a man thus compelled to mount the ladder, take leave of his friend in the most moving manner, kissing him the moment he committed them to an ignominious death. Cutter sometime after died in a lingering death, having experienced besides his wounds the terrors of a coward in power overtaken by vengeance."
Another historian, Dewhurst, continues this narrative and tells of the outcome of the difficulties between Turnbull and these Greek immigrants:
"After the suppression of this attempt to escape, these people continued to cultivate the land as before, and large crops of indigo were produced by their labor. Meantime the hardships and injustice practiced against them, continued until in 1776, nine years from their landing in Florida, their number had been reduced by sickness, exposure and cruel treatment from fourteen hundred to six hundred.
"At that time, it happened that some gentlemen visiting New Smyrna from St. Augustine were heard to remark that if these people knew their rights they never would submit to such treatment, and that the governor ought to protect them. This remark was noted by an intelligent boy who told it to his mother, upon whom it made such an impression that she could not cease to think and plan how, in some way, their conditions might be represented to the governor. Finally, she decided to call a council of the leading men among her people. They assembled soon after in the night, and devised a plan of reaching the governor.
Three of the most resolute and competent of their number were selected to make the attempt to reach St. Augustine and lay before the governor a report of their condition. In order to account for their absence they asked to be given a long task, or an extra amount of work to be done in a specified time, and if they should complete the work in advance, the intervening time should be their own to go down the coast and catch turtle. This was granted to them as a special favor. Having finished their task by the assistance of their friends so as to have several days at their disposal, the three brave men, most worthy of rememberance, were Pellicieris, Llambias, and Genopley. Starting at night they reached and swam Motanzas inlet the next morning, and arrived at St. Augustine by sundown of the same day. After inquiry they decided to make a statement of their case to Mr. Young, the attorney-general of the province. No better man could have been selected to represent the cause of the oppressed. They made known to him their condition, the terms of the original contact, and the manner in which they had been treated. Mr. Young promised to present this case to the governor and assured them if their statements could be proved, the governor would at once release them from the indentures by which Turnbull claimed to control them. He advised them to return to Smyrna and bring to St. Augustine all who wished to leave New Smyrna and the service of Turnbull. The envoys returned with the glad tidings that their chains were broken and that protection awaited them. Turnbull was absent, but they feared the overseers, whose cruelty they dreaded.
They met in secret and chose for their leader Mr. Pellicieris, who was head carpenter. The women and children with old men were placed in the center and the stoutest men armed with wooden spears were placed in front and rear. In this order they set off, like the children of Israel, from a place that had proven an Egypt to them. So secretly had they conducted the transaction, that they proceeded some miles before the overseer discovered that the place was deserted. He rode after the fugitives and overtook them before they reached St. Augustine, where provisions were served out to them by order of the governor. Their case was tried before the judges, where they were honestly defended by their friend the attorney-general. Turnbull could show no cause for detaining them, and their freedom was fully established. Lands were offered them at New Smyrna, but they suspected some trick was on foot to get them into Turnbull's hands, and besides they detested the place where they had suffered so much. Lands were therefore assigned them in the north part of the city, (St. Augustine) where they have built houses and cultivated their gardens to this day. Some by industry have acquired large estates. They at this time form a respectable part of the population of the city."
The same historian, in commenting upon the characteristics of these people, quotes, from Forbes' "Sketches, etc." published m New York in 1821, as follows:
"I am pleased to quote from an earlier account a very favorable, and, as I believe, a very just tribute to the worth of these Minorcan and Greek settlers and their children. Forbes, in his sketches, says: "They settled in St. Augustine, where their descendants form a numerous, industrious, and virtuous body of people, distinct alike from the indolent character of the Spaniards, who have visited the city since the exchange of flags. In their duty as small farmers, hunters, fishermen, and other laborious but useful occupations, they contribute more to the real stability of society than any other class of people; generally temperate in their mode of life and strict in their moral integrity, they do not yield the palm to the denizens of the land of steady habits. Crime is almost unknown among them; speaking their native tongue, they move about distinguished by a primitive simplicity, and purity as remarkable as their speech.'"
Dewhurst, continuing his own narrative, adds:
"Many of the older citizens now living remember the palmetto houses which used to stand in the northern part of the town, built by the people who came up from Smyrna. By their frugality and industry the descendants of those who settled in Smyrna have replaced these palmetto huts with comfortable cottages, and many among them have acquired considerable wealth, and taken rank along with the most respected and successful citizens of the town."
PEDRO SAMUEL SPIRO (1814)
[ Pedro Samuel Spiro was born on the island of Hydra, Greece, in the late 18th century. With his brother Miguel Teodoro Spiro he emigrated to the city of Buenos Aires. ]
Pedro Samuel Spiro was a young Greek who commanded the small riverboat Carmen in Argentina at the battle of Martin Garcia early in 1814, as part of the fleet of Admiral Guillermo Brown. Later that year, when Brown's forces attacked the Spanish fleet at Arroyo de la China, the Carmen grounded under heavy enemy fire. Spiro disembarked his crew and blew up his ship and himself to avoid capture. Argentina issued a Navy Day stamp in 1971 picturing this historic warship, commemorating the action of Pedro Samuel Spiro.
ANDREA DIMITRY 1775-1852
The biography of Andrea Dimitry is given in the book "A Collection of Distinguished Southern families" by Louise De Bellet:
"Andrea Dimitry, a native of the island of Hydra, in the Grecian Archipelago, son of Nicholas Dimitry and Euphrosine Antonia, was known in his own country by the name of Andrea Drussakis Dimetrios Apolocorum. The family was one of the ancient Macedonian stock, one of those families that abandoned their pastoral homes and herds after the conquest of Macedonia by the Turks, and fled to the rock isles of the Archipelago. The family or tribe of Drussakis settled on the Island of Hydra, from which Andrea Dimitry landed in the spring of 1799 in New Orleans, La.
"Naturally, on arriving in a new country he sought among the residents those of the same language and country as himself, and among them he found Michael Dracos, a prosperous and wealthy merchant, to be the most prominent. Dracos was pleased to find in Dimitry a man of refinement and knowledge of the world, and requirements of trade, and also having the advantage of a good education. He therefore advanced his interests and gave him a seat at his table, and in October, 1799, he was married to the beautiful Marianne Celeste Dracos, daughter of his host. By her he had a large family, rose to wealth and prominence in the community and died March 1, 1852.
"'Andrea Dimitry took part in the war of 1812 to 1815, a:;sisting in the defense of New Orleans. The records of the War Department show that he was a private, in Captain Frio Delabostris' company (second Cavaliers), Louisiana Militia. He enlisted December 16, and served two years and twenty-five days."
The Times Delta of New Orleans carried this article on March 2, 1852, on the death of Andrea Dimitry:
"A noble veteran is gone. We have to record this morning the death of the venerable Andrea Dimitry, one of the oldest citizens, who was esteemed and beloved by a multitude of friends. Throughout his life he has been distinguished for a high sense of honor and for an integrity that brooked no thought of self. His social and domestic duties were performed with 0xemplary solicitude, and dying in his 80th year, he lived to see a posterity grow up about him, honored for their talents and their virtues. In his son, Alexander Dimitry, whom Louisiana proudly claims as her own, is reflected the purity of character and eminent virtues of his father."
ALEXANDER DIMITRY (1805-1883)
(Reprinted from The Times Democrat, New Orleans, January 31, 1883)
'"Prof. Alexander Dimitry was born in New Orleans on the 7th day of February, 1805, at No. 4 St. Anne St., opposite Jackson Square. The row of houses of which this house, the residence of his parents, was one, was demolished many years ago to make room for the present Pontalba Buildings. Mr. Dimitry's father, Andrea Dimitry, was a merchant of New Orleans for many years. He was a native of the Island of Hydra, in the Grecian Archipelago, and came to New Orleans during the last quarter of the last century.
"Professor Dimitry's maternal grandfather, Michael Dracos, was a native of Athens, Greece, and a member of an ancient family of that old center of civilization. He came to New Orleans a young man about 1766 and engaged in mercantile pursuits, becoming a merchant and importing his merchandise in his ship from the West Indies. He died in the year 1824 aged 82. His remains, together with those of his wife, Professor Dimitry's father and mother and many other members of the family, lie in the family tomb in the Old St. Louis Cemetery. His life size portrait in oil represents him as a man of stern features, of the pure Greek type and attired in the Spanish military uniform of nearly a century ago. Through his mother, the daughter of Michael Dracos, Professor Dimitry was descended from the aboriginal population of Louisiana. He was the fourth descendant from an Indian ancestress Miami of the nation of the Alibamous -- a nation long extinct -- who was born about 1690 in the land of those Indians, near the site of the Old French Fort St. Etiene, in what is now the State of Alabama.
"Professor Dimitry's parents, their means amply affording it, gave him every educational advantage and his intellect was no common one. Mr. Dimitry was sent to the school of Mr. Henry P. Nugent, a scholar and an Irish patriot of 1798. He remained there two years and when Rev. James J. Hull, an Episcopalian minister, opened his academy two years later he attended his school. Our venerable fellow citizens, General Lewis and Commander Huntes, were his classmates at Mr. Hull's Academy. At the age of 15 he was sent to Georgetown College in the District of Columbia. Here, after a brilliant course he graduated with the highest honors. He received his diploma at the commencement exercises in the presence of President John Quincy Adams, who in his remarks to the graduation class, especially commended him. Long after his day of graduation and when in fullness of his prime, Georgetown College conferred on her honored one the degree of LL. D.
"Returning to New Orleans, he studied law in conjunction with his friend, the late Christian Reselius. But he did not continue the practice of the profession. He accepted, by preference, being a devoted friend of education, a position as professor in the College of Baton Rouge. Here he stayed two years and it was from his incumbency of this professorship that he received the title of "Professor" by which he was so generally known. From the college he returned to this city to assist in editing the New Orleans Bee, having purchased a share in the paper, which was owned by Mr. Bayon and the late Mr. Delaup. The paper was at that time published entirely in French, but Mr. Dimitry gave its English side and became its first English editor. He was then 27 years of age. In the year 1835 Mr. Dimitry was married in the city of Washington to Mary Powell Mills, daughter of Robert Mills of South Carolina, for many years architect of the United States Government. He was the architect of the National Washington Monument, and of many of the great public edifices of the country at the National Capital and elsewhere.
"In 1835 Mr. Dimitry was appointed by Postmaster General Kendall to an important clerkship in his department. In 1839 he served as Secretary of the United States Commission to arrange certain unsettled American-Mexican claims. In this position his marvelous knowledge of nearly all modern languages first drew attention to his power as a linguist. At the expiration of his work with the Commission he was offered the presidency of Franklin College in this state, which, however, he declined to establish a college of his own in St. Charles parish. He conducted this institute successfully for several years, and here many of the most prominent creole youths of that day received their education. He subsequently accepted the position of Superintendent of the Public Schools of the Third Municipality in this city, and later at the request of the joint committee of the General Assembly submitted a plan for a general system of public education throughout the state. The plan was accepted and Mr. Dimitry was appointed by the Governor the first State Superintendent of Louisiana.
"A state's rights Democrat in politics, Mr. Dimitry was in those days a foremost orator of the party in this city. Always a friend and advocate of the people in all honest demands the people returned his friendship fourfold. In recognition of his services as Stale Superintendent, the Legislature, on his retirement from office, voted him a testimonial. In 1854 Mr. Dimitry was called to Washington by his old friend Governor Marcy at that time Secretary of State, to accept an office in the State Department. Previous to accepting, however, he was appointed by President Pierce to an important post in connection with the new Echota Treaty which included the removal of the Creeks and Choctaws from their old homes. These duties having been finished he was given the charge of a Bureau of Translation in the Stale Department. He continued in his position from 1855 to 1859 and his accomplishment as a linguist met the utmost demands of the vast diplomatic correspondence of foreign governments with that of the United States.
"In 1859 President Buchanan, convinced of Mr. Dimitry's abilities as a diplomatic statesman and proficiency in international law, appointed him, upon the return of General Mirabeau B. Lamar, Minister Resident and Plenipotentiary ad hoc to Central America. This double mission included the republics of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Mr. Dimitry took his family with him to San Jose the capital of Costa Rica and the seat of the legation. At a great banquet given him by the notables of the city shortly after his arrival, he astonished them and won the lasting esteem of the people by replying to a toast in the most eloquent Castilian and a fervent speech which recalled whatever was most honorable and worthv in Costa Rican history. He succeeded fully in the object of his mission to Costa Rica and doubtless would have obtained a like success in Nicaragua but for the secession of the Southern States of the Union.
"A devoted lover of his state, and her prompt and staunch champion at all times and in every place, he al once resigned as minister when Louisiana seceded. On his return to Washington Secretary Seward expressed to him his regret that he had resigned his mission as it was desired that he should remain, but Mr. Dimitry was anxious to cast his fortunes with his people and shortly after the Battle of Bull Run he managed to leave Washington without his departure being known, crossed the Potomac and repaired to Richmond.
”Here he was appointed Chief of the Finance Bureau of the Post Office Department of the Confederate States. At the evacuation of Richmond he left the Confederate Capital in the train that contained Jefferson Davis and other officials, and was present at the general breakup that followed. After the war, Mr. Dimitry lived for a few months in Fordham near New York and subsequently in Brooklyn. In 1867 he returned to his native city, which he longed to see once more, here to end his days. Since that time with the exception of a stay of a few years at Pass Christian, where he conducted an Academy, he had lived in New Orleans enjoying the society of old friends. His last connection with education in his State was with the Hebrew Educational Society of which he was President.
"For the past year or two Mr. Dimitry had been measurably failing in body, but not in mind. His almost total loss of sight aided materially in the decline of his physical faculties. His once powerful and compact figure was seen rarely on the streets of late. But the vigor of his intellect and his strong will remained unimpaired up to within a few minutes preceding his death, which was the result of old age, rather than of actual sickness. At ten minutes past 2 o'clock yesterday morning, while those members of his immediate family who are now in the city were grouped around his bedside, he passed away as gently as if he had sunk into a dreamless and undisturbed sleep.
"Professor Dimitry's reputation as scholar extended to Europe among men who took cognizance of the workers in home intellect abroad. He never wrote a book from a fixed determination not to do so; but he often, in this city and elsewhere, lectured on classical and educational themes in vein of scholarship and with an eloquence that was all his own. In his younger days he wrote many pleasant tales, but these were written for annuals and gift books to oblige friends among the Northern publishers.
"Mr. Dimitry had been a close and daily student since his graduation. Surrounded by his library which at one time comprised 15,000 volumes in all languages and most of which he had imported from Europe, he pursued his studies and investigations into the arcana of knowledge with indefatigable zeal. That theme which he had most profoundly followed and in which he seemed most absorbed, was that of the history and developments of roots and words of Anglo-Saxon origin and of languages affiliated therewith. Had he prepared from his voluminous notes a work on the subject of the meaning and origin of proper names and localities of various lands, especially of those of the British Islands, it would have included within it the history of nearly every proper name in the English language." ·
THE 1821 GREEK WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
On March 25, 1821, Greece opened its War for Independence against its Turkish oppressors, after almost 400 years under Turkish rule.
A brief insight into the Greek War for Independence of 1821 will be presented, as well as America's support and the effects of such support which resulted in the emigration of several Greek war orphans to America, who attained great prominence in their contributions to American life.
On May 29, 1453, Constantinople finally fell, and this date also marks the beginning of virtual slavery for Greece, for a period of nearly four hundred years.
Greek sailors of the myriad islands surrounding Greece had ample opportunities to fit themselves with ships, under Turkish rule, for the Turk needed this Greek commerce for himself. Because of the corsairs, or pirates, that roamed the sea at that time, it was necessary that the fishing and trading boats be armed with cannon. These small ships were a great aid to the Greeks in 1821.
Russian trading ships were allowed to come and go freely through the Bosporus or Hellespont, and through the Mediterranean without impediment or inspection on the part of the Turks. What Greek vessels sailed the sea had been required to carry the Turkish flag. However, the Greek sailors circumvented this obstacle by raising the Russian flag on their vessels, consequently escaping search and seizure. These Greek traders soon established great communities among the Russian cities on the Black Sea in Odessa and Tagani, and also in Trieste and Venice in what is now Italy. These Greek merchants grew influential and prosperous through the years, and by the day of the revolution, they had the wealth necessary to aid their mother country in her fight for freedom.
With the fall of Constantinople, the scholars in Greece immediately fled to the other parts of Europe, taking refuge in Holland, England and France. This left little source of learning for the people, for soon the schools themselves were closed for lack of teachers and because of Turkish pressure. For almost three hundred years, until 1700 and thereafter, Greece had few schools and learning was denied the people. Illiteracy was common, except for what learning the Church offered. Finally, in the 18th Century the prosperous Greek communitv of traders and merchants in Venice started its own small Greek school and Church. The Black Sea communities followed suit, and then the program was broadened to include schools in Athens, with aid from these outside communities. Schools were also established in Giannena, Levadia, Patmos, etc. The schools grew -- scholars came from them, and teachers went out from them, to teach in other cities. Among the teachers who carried on their work were Eugenios Voulgaris, Nikeforos Theotokis, Constantinos Economos, Vamvas, Georgios Gennathios, and others. These teachers not only taught their pupils the Greek language, but also taught the hope of freedom, someday, for Greece. They preached a greater and free Hellas for the future. Many of the school classes were held at night, in out of the way places, for the Turks constantly sought to do away with schools, and places of learning among the Greeks.
During these centuries, the Turkish armies were making headway into Europe, and actually had besieged Vienna twice, only to be driven back into Hungary each time. They dominated Hungary for 150 years before being driven out of that land. The states of Venice and Turkey were constantly at war with each other because of their interests in Greece. Venice controlled many cities in Peleponnesus and also the Cyclades Islands, Crete, Cyprus, and other localities. Through Venetian and Russian aid the Greeks arose in revolt many times during the 17th and 18th Centuries, but each was suppressed. However, these occurred only in restricted areas and were not widespread. The results of these uprisings were great massacres by the Turks in the cities of Thessaly, in Crete, Smyrna and in central Greece as well.
The national secret society, which was international in scope, was the Philiki Etairia. This societv was formed bv three Greek merchants of Odessa, Skoufas, Tsakaloff, ·and Zanthos. The membership was secret for it meant death at the hands of the Turks to be known as a member of the society. Headquarters were established in Constantinople, and the movement officially opened for freedom for Greece. Alexander Ypsilanti, a general in the Russian army, was chosen the leader of the Philiki Etairia. (June, 1820).
Ypsilanti's first move was the organization of the revolution against the Turks in Moldavia and Vlachia (now Romania). Russian influence in that section was great, and the revolution was started there so as to influence the Turks into believing that the revolution was backed by Russia, and also to give the Greeks time in preparing for the movement in Greece, proper. However, the revolution in Moldavia failed and Ypsilanti was later taken by the Austrians, as he tried to flee through that country, and confined in prison. In 1827, the Czar of Russia intervened on his behalf and secured his release from prison, however, the confinement had undermined his health and he died within a year of his release.
In Constantinople, the news of the revolution caused great consternation among the Turkish officials. The sultan immediately ordered a move against all Greeks in that area, to stem any further uprisings. He ordered his troops to start wholesale pillaging and massacres against reputable Greek merchants and leaders. No one was spared, not even the venerable Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory V.
On Easter Day, at the close of the services in the Greek Orthodox Churches, Turkish soldiers forced their way into the Greek Patriarchate in Constantinople, and showed papers to the Patriarch, which stated that he had been evicted from his post as Patriarch by the sultan. The soldiers then put the Patriarch in prison, where he remained for some time. The Patriarchate was given orders by the sultan, on pain of death, to select another Patriarch.
Finally, the Patriarch was taken from his prison, to the Patriarchate, and there hanged from the Inner Gate. His body was left there for three days, while all Christians hid in their homes for fear of their lives, as the Turkish soldiers roamed the city, searching for Greek Christians. Those that they found, were slaughtered. Then, the body of the Patriarch was taken down, weighted with a heavy stone, and thrown into the sea, by the Turks. However, a Greek ship captain, several days later, sighted the floating body, which had come to the surface, brought it aboard his ship upon recognition, and carried it immediately to Odessa in Russia. There, the Czar gave the Patriarch the honor due him, with a state funeral, and great mourning. After fifty years, the body was exhumed and taken to Athens, where it lies today.
This action, and others, on the part of the Turks, were made in order to suppress any movement towards revolution, however, they only served to add more fuel to the flame of revolt.
In 1821, through the efforts of the Philiki Hetairia, the secret society and under the leadership of such men as Theodore Kolokotronis, Petrompes Mavromichalis, Andreas Zaimis, Andreas Lontos, the Metropolites Palaion Patron Germanos, Gregorios Papaflesas -- the revolution opened in Greece. Kolokotronis arrived at Mani, in January of 1821, and his very presence in Greece was enough to arouse the spirit of the patriots, for his name was already knownthroughout the country, as a fearless patriot, and leader. In 1818, the Turks had evicted him from the Morea, or Peleponnesus, because of his aggressiveness and rebellious spirit.
On March 21, 1821, the patriots besieged the city of Kalavrita, and in five days had taken the town. On the 22nd, Mavromichalis and his Maniates, with Kolokotronis and others, besieged Kalames and took it on the 25th. In Patras, the Metropolites Palaion Patron Germanos, with Andreas Zaimis, Lontos and others, struck the colors for freedom, on March 25, which date is recognized as the official beginning of the Revolution. With their force, these leaders besieged the town of Patras. At the same time, Lala, Corinth, Monemvasia, Navarino, Argos, and Nauplion were besieged by the patriots. The Greek patriots finally took Navarino, Monemvasia, and Corinth, in 1822.
The revolution was raised in sterea Hellas by Panourgias at Amphissa, by Thanasis Diakos at Levadia, and by Diovouniotis at Voudounitsa. The revolution opened on May 20 in northern Greece. Because of the heavy Turkish forces in that section, the struggle did not meet with any success. In Thessaly, the uprising was quickly downed by the Turks who massacred and destroyed as they went through the countryside. In Macedonia, the heavy Turkish forces spelled defeat for the Greeks there, also. In Crete the Greeks arose in revolution, but had to flee to the hills for safety where they remained for the duration of the struggle, fighting for their lives against the Turks. In the islands, lay the greatest wealth of Greece, because of trading and commerce which they carried on. The islands joined with the rest of the country in the revolt, and on April 3, the Spetses Isles revolted, sending 58 ships to besiege Nauplio from the sea. Hydra, Psara, and Spetses bore the brunt of the revolution among the islands, since they led them in importance. Shortly after, Samos, the Cyclades, and the Dodecanesa, except for Rhodes, also joined in with the revolutionists.
The First Government
The first government of the revolutionary forces was formed at Epidaurus. A committee was selected to rule, with Alexandros Mavrokordatos as the president, and leader. From this seat, the revolution was directed, and the forms of attack were planned. However, shortly thereafter, at Peta, the Greeks suffered their first great loss, losing 3,500 men, being routed from the field, to Missolonghi, where the survivors took refuge while the Turkish forces besieged the city. The siege lasted for years, resulting in hardships and suffering for those in the city. It was here at Missolonghi that Marco Bozzaris first sprang into fame for his bravery and leadership. A Turkish surprise attack on Christmas Eve against the city, intended to catch the Greeks while attending church services, was frustrated when news of the attack became known, and the patriots were in readiness for it. The Turks were routed completely, and the patriots pursued them as far as the Achelo River, where over 500 of the enemy drowned in its icy waters, trying to ford it. At Peta, a large detachment of Philhellenes from all parts of Europe, formed together to aid the patriots, suffered almost complete annihilation. The rest of the world was already giving some response to Greece's need, although the great drive for aid and relief had not yet begun in earnest.
During these dark days it was Kolokotronis who saved Greece from being taken again by the superior forces of the Turks, for time and again, through his strategy and leadership, he constantly harried the enemy, keeping them at bay, and worrying them, keeping them disorganized. Kolokotronis asked the other Greek leaders to follow his plan, for he realized that the Turks would march towards Corinth, instead of retreating as the other leaders insisted. They scoffed at him, but he took up his position in the hills, and when the Turks did appear, on the way to Corinth, he was the actual savior of Greece, for he engaged them with his small force, until aid came from the other leaders.
When news of the Greek Revolution spread throughout Europe, the great scholars on the continent began the campaign for aid to Greece, which led, ultimatelv, to financial and material aid in soldiers and ships. In Switzerland, France, and Germany societies were formed to aid the patriots. The government of England was not in favor of the revolution at first, however after constant pressure from internal groups, she was forced to accede to the demands of the English, and favor swung towards aid for Greece. It was Lord Byron who raised his voice and power to bring material and financial aid to Greece, and he went so far as to expend his own personal fortune in aiding the patriots, and died in Greece, at Missolonghi, during the siege, of fever.
In America, Samuel Gridley Howe, and others, gave aid to Greece. Funds were raised and sent over, with shiploads of supplies. Men volunteered to fight for the Greeks.
The Turks realized that, alone, they could not overthrow the Revolution, and they called upon the Egyptians to aid them. They quickly received an enthusiastic response, and large forces of Egyptians began arriving in Greece. Immediately there followed the massacres of Crete and of Kaso. Men, older folk and children were massacred, and more than 2,000 young girls were taken to the Alexandrian slave markets to be sold as slaves. It was another example of Turkish warfare that horrified Europe.
In 1824, 176 Turkish ships sailed against Psara, which had only 3,000 soldiers, but over 30,000 women and children and old men under their protection, who had come there from the various other islands, after Turkish massacres. The thousands of Turkish soldiers landed, and soon swept the island clear of human life, for more than three-quarters of the population was massacred.
Aid from the European Powers
In 1827 when the revolution seemed doomed to failure, the European powers entered the picture. England, France, Russia and Austria had previously lent no governmental aid to Greece, nor sanctioned the revolt, because of fear of international complications. However, with the advent of Nicholas as Czar of Russia, and of Canning as prime minister of England, the scene changed for the better, for the patriots. France, England, and Russia met in London in 1827 and signed a secret treaty, agreeing to support the revolutionary government of Greece, and to rid Europe of Turkey. They also saw a sphere of influence in the Balkans that they had not molested heretofore, which had suddenly gained a great importance.
England, France and Russia immediately sent their fleets to Greek waters, and ordered the Egyptian and Turkish commanders to take their troops and their ships and vacate the Peleponnesus and its waters. The Turks refused, upon further orders from Constantinople. In the meantime, the Greek forces had taken new heart upon the good news, and the revolution sprang up anew. Ibrahim then began anew to scourge the Peleponnesus sweeping through Messenia, Arcadia and Laconia. Following this action, the French, Russian and English ships swept into Navarino and gave final orders for the Turkish-Egyptian fleets to leave the waters of the country at once. The Turkish fired and sank a small English boat. Following this action, Codrington, the English commander, gave orders to start firing. Within four hours, only 20 of the original 120 Turkish-Egyptian ships remained afloat on the water. All the rest had been sunk.
This destroyed Turkev's power in Greece forever. French soldiers were then landed in the Peleponnesus, and Ibrahim was forced to flee the country with his Egyptians, back to Egypt. Finally, on September 12, 1829, all of central Greece and the Peleponnesus had been cleared of Turkish forces.
Prince Othon of Bavaria, son of Ludovici, King of Bavaria, only seventeen years of age, assumed the crown as King of Greece on Januarv 25, 1832, and peace reigned in the land for the first time in almost four hundred years. The people welcomed him as a savior for now they were united, as a recognized nation of the world. And freedom came to Hellas, again.
American Aid to Greece
On May 25, 1821, Petros Mavromichalis, Director General of the Messenian Congress at Kalamata, wrote a letter addressed to the people of the United States, in which he asked for America's help.
This letter was translated into both English and French, and reached the attention of American Ambassador to France Albert Gallatin, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, and Dr. Edward Everett of Harvard University. A letter to Everett was also sent from Paris, and Adamantios Koraes was one of the signers, asking for assistance from America. Dr. Everett published these letters in his North American Review, and through his personal efforts, the Greek War of Independence received wide publicity in America, resulting in widespread support from the American people.
Adamantios Koraes wrote to Thomas Jefferson, from Paris, on July 10, 1823, asking for America's help, and support, and Jefferson replied with fervent hope for Greece's success, and his support, and with suggestions. In addition, there was correspondence from Lafayette to Jefferson urging American recognition of the Greek stand for independence.
Many Americans also urged Congress to immediately recognize the Greek stand for independence, but there was hesitancy on the part of Congress to interfere in European matters at the time.
However, public support among Americans became so strong that there were Greek Committees established in many cities, and private contributions were given for the aid of the Greeks with food, clothing, and medicine.
On March 5, 1827 the ship Chancellor left from New York with escort Jonathan P. Miller, with supplies worth $17,500. Miller had previously been in Greece, returned to the C.S., to raise supplies, and was now returning to Greece again.
On May 12, 1827, the ship Six Brothers left for Greece with a cargo of supplies worth $16,614, with escort John R. Stuyvesant.
The ship Jane left New York on Sept. 14, 1827, with $8,900 worth of supplies for Greece, with escort Henry A. V. Post. Post later published a book of his experiences.
From Philadelphia, two ships, the Levant and the Tontine, departed for Greece with $13,856.40 and $8,547.18 in supplies. J. R. Leib accompanied the ships as escort for the supplies.
In the spring of 1827, the ship Statesman departed from Boston with $11,555.50 in supplies, with John B. Russ as escort.
Boston, New York, Philadelphia and other cities created Greek Relief Funds, and contributions poured in. The money raised was used to buy supplies which were sent to the starving, ill-clothed, ille-quipped army and people of Greece. Instances of specific contributions are: the undergraduate students of Yale Lniversity gave $500; the Theological School at Andover College in Massachusetts collected money for the Fund, as did Columbia University students in New York. Young people's groups in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Albany, :'Ii. Y., gathered money. Two churches in Boston gave S300 each. On January 8, 1824, a large ball was held in New York City for which tickets sold for $5.00 each. Over 2,000 persons attended the affair, netting $10,000 for Greece. By the end of April, 1824, New York City philhellenes had contributed over $32,000.
Influential American families adopted Greek orphans brought from Greece, and many of these attained high rank in American political and professional life.
Although we hope to briefly recount the story of the American Philhellenes who assisted Greece during her War of Independence, tribute must first be paid to the great English poet Lord Byron, who called the attention of the world to Greece's desperate struggle for freedom and existence.
Lord Byron arrived at Missolonghi on December 24, 1823, where he was warmly welcomed by the Hellenes. He delighted in wearing the Greek foustanella. With his own money, he supported 500 Souliotes soldiers, and gave greatly of his own wealth for the cause of Greece. However, illness struck on April 6, 1824, and on April 7, 1824, he died, at 37 years of age, with these words on his lips:
"Greece, I gave you everything that any one man can give. I gave you my wealth -- my health, and now -- my very life. My sacrifice is for your salvation."
Monuments now stand to his memory in Missolonghi, and also at the Zappeion in Athens.
Because of the bitter defense, and the deeds of heroism and valor displayed at Missolonghi during the four years of siege by the Turks (1822-1826), the city has become the "Shrine" of the 1821 Greek War of Independence. There, all nations whose Philhellenes aided Greece in its cause, have monuments to the memory of those brave men from other countries who died at Missolonghi and in other battles of the revolution.
These monuments include a memorial erected by the Order of Sons of Pericles, the Junior Order of Ahepa, in 1939, and placed there in memory of the American Philhellenes.
PRESIDENT JAMES MONROE
On December 3, 1822, President James Monroe included the following words in his Message to Congress:
"The mention of Greece fills the mind with the most exalted sentiments, and arouses in our bosoms the best feelings of which our nature is susceptible. Superior skill and refinement in the arts, heroic gallantry in action, disinterested patriotism, enthusiastic zeal and devotion in favor of public liberty, are associated with our recollections of ancient Greece. That such a country should have been overwhelmed, and so long hidden as it were, from the world, under a gloomy despotism, has been a cause of unceasing and deep regret to generous minds for ages past. It was natural, therefore, that the reappearance of these people in their original character, contending in favor of their liberties should produce the great excitement and sympathy in their favor, which have been so signally displayed throughout the United States. A strong hope is entertained that these people will recover their independence, and resume their equal station among the nations of the earth."
DANIEL WEBSTER OF MASSACHUSETTS
U.S. Representative Daniel Webster of Massachusetts introduced a Resolution in the House of Representatives during the 1823-1824 Congressional 18th Session:
"That provision ought to be made, by law, for defraying the expense incident to the appointment of an agent, or commissioner, to Greece, whenever the President shall deem it expedient to make such an appointment.
"This people, a people of intelligence, ingenuity, refinement, spirit, and enterprise, have been for centuries under the most atrocious, unparalleled Tartarian barbarism that ever oppressed the human race. This House is unable to estime duly, it is unable even to conceive or comprehend it. It must be remembered that the character of the forces which has so long domineered over them is purely military. It has been as truly, as beautifully said, that "The Turk has now been encamped in Europe for four centuries. Yes, sir -- it is nothing else than an encampment. They came in by the sword, and they govern by the sword …
"Sir, while we sit here deliberating, her destiny may be decided … . They look to us as the great Republic of the earth -- and they ask us by our common faith, whether we can forget that they are now struggling for what we can now so ably enjoy? I cannot say, sir, that they will succeed; that rests with heaven. But for myself sir, if we tomorrow hear that they have failed -- that their last phalanx had sunk in its ashes and that naught remained but the wide melancholy waste where Greece once was, I should still reflect with the most heartfelt satisfaction, that I had asked you, in the name of seven millions of freemen, that you would give them at least a cheering of one friendly voice."
HENRY CLAY OF KENTUCKY
U.S. Representative Henry Clay of Kentucky spoke in the same Session of Congress in support of the Resolution introduced by Daniel Webster, as follows:
"The question has been argued as if the Greeks were likely to be exposed to increased sufferings in consequence of such measure; as if the Turkish scimetar would be sharpened by its influence, and dyed deeper and yet deeper in Christian blood. If such is to be the effect on the declaration of our sympathy, it must have happened already. That explanation is very fully and distinctly given in the message of the President to both Houses of Congress, not only this year, but last."
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
(President of the United States. Annual message, December 4, 1827)
"The sympathies which the people and Government of the United States have so warmly indulged with the cause of Greece have been acknowledged by their government in a letter of thanks, which I have received from their illustrious President, a translation of which is now communicated to Congress. We hope that they will obtain relief from the most unequal of conflicts which they have so long and so gallantly sustained; that they will enjoy the blessing of self-government, which by their sufferings in the cause of liberty they have richly earned, and that their independence will be secured by those liberal institutions of which their country furnished the earliest examples in the history of mankind, and which have consecrated to immortal remembrance the very soil for which they are now again profusely pouring forth their blood."
THOMAS L. WINTHROP and EDWARD EVERETT
From an address of the Committee appointed in a public meeting held in Boston, December 19, 1823, for the relief of the Greeks:
"We call upon the friends of freedom and humanity to take an interest in the struggles of five millions of Christians rising not in consequence of revolutionary intrigues as has been falsely asserted by the crowned arbiters of Europe, hut by the impulse of nature, and in vindication of rights long and intolerably trampled on. We invoke the ministers of religion to take up a solemn testimony in the cause; to assert the rights of fellowmen, and of fellow-Christians; to plead for the victims whose great crime is Christianity. We call on the citizens of America to remember the time, and it is within the memory of thousands that now live, when our own beloved, prosperous Country waited at the door of the court of France and the States of Holland, pleading for a little money and a few troops; and not to disregard the call of those who are struggling against a tyranny infinitely more galling than that which our fathers thought it beyond the power of man to support. Every other civilized nation has set up this example; let not the freest state on earth any longer be the only one which has done nothing to aid a gallant people struggling for freedom."
DR. SAMUEL GRIDLEY HOWE
Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who completed his medical studies at Harvard University in 1824, departed that same year for Greece, to observe the struggle for independence and to assist the Greeks. He was horn in Boston, November 10, 1801; graduated from Brown University in 1821; received his medical degree from Harvard.
He was the author of a book, "An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution" which was published upon his return to America, and which received wide readership. The Howe book has been reprinted by Dr. George C. Arnakis of the Center for Neo-Hellenic Studies, of Austin, Texas.
Dr. Howe stayed in Greece from his arrival at the close of the year 1824, until November 13, 1827, when he departed for the United States. On November 12, 1828, he arrived back in Greece at Aegina, and stayed until June of 1830, when he returned to America to continue his professional career as a doctor.
While in America between the trips to Greece, he spent almost all of his time campaigning for Greek Relief, lecturing in behalf of the many Greek Committees in the United States, and working on his book for publication.
During his first years in Greece he was a surgeon in the Greek armed forces and was given the title of "Surgeon-in-Chief" by the Greek government. Dr. Howe also took part in several engagements, wore the foustanella on some occasions, and gave invaluable service to the Greek forces.
On his second trip to Greece he escorted a large supply of American materials, which he distributed to the Greek war refugees, with the assistance of Jonathan P. Miller and George Jarvis.
Dr. Howe again visited Greece in 1844 for a brief time, and in 1867 he returned to Greece with his family, at a time when the Cretans were fighting for freedom from Turkey.
LETTER TO AHEPA FROM HOWE'S DAUGHTER
In the early part of the year 1932, Mrs. Maud Howe Elliott of Newport, R.I., sent the following letter to the Order of AHEPA, about her father, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe:
"Dear friends of the AHEPA, I send you my loving greetings and only wish I could give them in person at this meeting commemorative of the first centenary of Greek Independence. Looking back these hundred and more years I seem to see the face of my father, a young man of twenty-three years of age, who in the year 1824, just at the beginning of his career, after having been graduated from Brown University and Harvard medical school, turned away from the beaten path of his profession, and alone and against the advice of his parents and his friends, embarked on a small sailing vessel for the Mediterranean, landing near Navarino and reaching Tripolitza in the winter of 1824-25.
"In his first letter home he writes to his friend, William Sampson:
"I hope to reach Greece before the first of January. If I succeed in getting a commission in their army or navy, I shall remain in the country for some years, perhaps for my life."
"In March, 1825, he writes to his father:
"First of all I am sincerely glad I have come to Greece. My commission as army surgeon is filled out. As for my salary, I have nothing and care nothing about it; the government is not able to feed and clothe their poor suffering soldiers, and I have not the heart to demand money. I have clothes enough to last a year and at the end of that time, if not before, I shall probably put on the Greek dress."
"He did put it on, and in memory of his wearing of the uniform you all know as that of the evzones, my husband, John Elliott the artist, made several portraits of him, one of which is in Brown University, another in the Ethnological Museum in Athens.
"I quote again from a letter to his friend Horace Mann, in which he gives a vivid picture of those years, when he wore the fustanella and fought the great fight which freed your race:
"In the winter, the much-dreaded expedition of Ibrahim Pasha, with the Egyptian army, landed at Modon. Attempts were made by the Greek government to get up an army to oppose them, and Mavrocordatos came to the south of Peloponnesus with such forces as they could raise. At first there was an attempt to organize the army, and I attempted to create hospitals and to provide ambulances for the wounded. But after the capture of Navarino by the Turks, everything was thrown into confusion.
"Mavrocordatos fled to Napoli. The dark day of Greece had come. All regular opposition of the Greeks was overcome. The Turks advanced fiercely and rapidly up the Peloponnesus. I joined one of the small guerilla bands that hung about the enemy, doing all the harm they could. I could be of little or no use as surgeon, and was expected to divide my attention between killing Turks, helping Greeks, and taking care of my bacon.
"I was naturally very handy, active and Lough, and soon became equal to any of the mountain soldiery in capacity for endurance of fatigue, hunger, and watchfulness. I could carry my gun and heavy belt with yataghan and pistols all day long, clambering among the mountain passes, could eat sorrel and snails, or go without anything, and at night lie down on the ground with only my shaggy capote, and sleep Iike a log."
"As far as I have ever been able to learn Samuel Gridley Howe was the first American boy to cross the seas and volunteer to fight for freedom in any European country. He was a pioneer in this as in many other things. During the world war, when I watched the troops of young soldiers and reservists drilling, marching, preparing for their share in the terrible world conflict, I always saw with the eyes of the imagination, the picture of that handsome boy, my father, marching in the van of that great army of men among whom were the sixty-five thousand American soldiers of Greek blood, who proved so important a factor in our victorious army."
-- Mrs. Maud Howe Elliott.
The following excerpt is taken from one of Dr. Howe's letters:
"Greece is my idol, and the sufferings and privations I have endured in her cause have rendered her fate and her future to be more interesting. I can say sincerely that I have found the Greeks kindly, affectionate, truthful, grateful and honest. There is a spark left of the spirit of ancient Greece which four hundred years of slavery has not been able to blot out."
[ Read more about Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe ]
LUCAS MILTIADES MILLER
Lucas Miltiades Miller, born in Livadia, Greece in 1824, was the first American of Greek descent to be elected to the United States Congress, as a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin. He was elected in the 1890 elections, and took office on March 4, 1891. He was brought to the United States by Colonel Jonathan P. Miller, an American who went to Greece during the Revolution to assist the Greek patriots in their struggle. Lucas also achieved the rank of colonel in in the United States Army and distinguished himself during the Mexican War. He began a law practice in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1846, while also owning a general merchandise business with Edward Eastman, a fellow emigrant from Vermont. He served as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1853.
In 1824, Colonel Jonathan P. Miller of Vermont was sent to Greece by the Greek Committee of Boston, to observe conditions of the war. Jonathan Peckham Miller was born in Randolph, Vermont, on February 24, 1797. After two years of army service he entered Dartmouth in 1821 and, after a few weeks there, entered the University of Vermont, where he remained until the college buildings burned in 1824. It was at this time that the nation was aroused by sympathy for Greece, and Miller determined to join an expedition being backed by the Greek Committee of Boston. In this he was aided by Governor Van Ness. He sailed for Malta in August, 1824. He soon made the acquaintance of General George Jarvis, and that officer made him a member of his staff with the title of colonel. His exploits during two years of fighting and hardships earned him the name of “The American Dare Devil.”
Speaking of Col. Miller, Dr. Samuel Griidley Howe says in a letter to his father, dated March, 1825:
"Captain Miller you have seen. He is as brave a man as ever stepped foot in Greece; has the most sterling integrity, and an entire devotion to the cause of liberty. You would laugh to see him: he has his head shaved, has on the Greek floccata, and petticoat trousers, and with his pistols and dagger stuck in his belt, and his musquet on his shoulder, cuts a most curious figure. He serves as a captain, and if his life is spared, he will be of the greatest use to the cause."
Upon his return to America, Colonel Miller brought with him two orphans, a boy and a girl. He adopted the boy, whom he named Lucas Miltiades Miller. Lucas Miltiades Miller became the first American Congressman of Greek descent, when elected to the LS. House of Representatives in 1891.
The biographical sketch of U.S. Representative Lucas Miltiades. Miller in the Congressional Directory, 52nd Congress (1891) gives the following information on this first Member of Congress of Greek descent:
''Lucas M. Miller, of Oshkosh, was born in Livadia, Greece, in 1824; is the son of a Greek chieftain, who was killed by the Turks during the Greek Revolution, soon after his mother died, and he was cared for a short time by a woman who claimed she found him in an abandoned town soon after a battle had taken place within its streets; subsequently she applied to Colonel Jonathan P. Miller for assistance; the colonel was an American, who joined the Greek Army at the beginning of the revolution; was commissioned as Colonel and distinguished himself as a brave and efficient officer, and rendered very material service to the Greeks by securing the donation of several vessels laden with provision and clothing by the citizens of his country for the benefit of the destitute people of Greece; the colonel learning the history of the orphan boy concluded to adopt him, and when he returned to this country (1828) settled in Montpelier, Vermont; Lucas attended the schools of the town until he was sixteen, when his father was injured to an extent to be incapacitated for business, which was assumed by his adopted son; at the age of twenty-one took out naturalization papers; was admitted to the bar and soon after moved to the Territory of Wisconsin and settled in Oshkosh in 1846; purchased several hundred acres of land and soon after engaged in farming; at present resides on a portion of the land.
Soon after settling in Wisconsin, during the Mexican War, he was appointed Colonel by Governor Dodge; in 1853 he was a member of the Wisconsin Legislature; was one of the Commissioners of the State Board of Public Works; for the last ten years has been Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors of Winnebago County; at various times has been urged to run for various State offices; at the time he was nominated for Congress he was in Vermont and did not hear of it until the next day after the convention had adjourned; had he been at home he would not have accepted the nomination; remained in Vermont until two weeks before his election; on his return home he informed the people of the District that he had been nominated contrary to his wishes; if elected he proposed to attend to their interests, and if not elected he proposed to attend to his own business; was elected to the Fifty-Second Congress as a Democrat, receiving 15,573 votes, against 13,409 votes for Charles B. Clark, Republican, and 1,156 votes for George W. Gates, Prohibitionist."
As a Democrat, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing the state of Wisconsin, and served in the House from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1893.
He died in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on December 4, 1902, and was interred in Riverside Cemetery.
OTHER AMERICAN PHILHELLENES
We have previously described the work of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe and Col. Jonathan P. Miller in Greece during the Greek War of Independence from Turkey of 1821. One of their close American associates in Greece at the time was Lieut. General George Jarvis, who was the first American to join with the Greeks in their struggle for independence. He died in Greece on August 11, 1828.
Lieut. General George Jarvis was the son of an American career diplomat, and he arrived in Greece in early 1822, less than a year after the start of the revolution. With Col. Jonathan P. Miller, he fought alongside the Greek patriots in several battles; helped with Miiller and Howe in the distribution of American food, clothes and medicine, and also helped in the establishment of a hospital created by Dr. Howe, for Greek veterans. Jarvis also originated the idea of a model agricultural settlement for war refugees, which Dr. Howe established at Hexamilia, and which was named "Washingtonia." Thirty-six families were established at this settlement.
In March, 1825, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe wrote a letter to his father in America, in which he said of Jarvis:
"General Jarvis has been in Greece three years, has been in many engagements, has become a complete Greek in dress, manners, and language; he is almost the only foreigner who has uniformly conducted himself with prudence and correctness; and he has reaped his reward. He has gained the confidence of the Greeks; he has rendered great service to their cause and now is made Lieutenant General. He is a man I am proud to own as a countryman."
Besides Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, Col. Jonathan P. Miller, and Andrew Jarvis, there were additional Americans who went to Greece during the Greek Revolutionary War of 1821 and served either on land or on board Greek ships. These were:
- Captain John William Allen, who commanded the gunboat Vledusa.
- Christ Bosco, who served on board various ships.
- Lieut. George Brown, who commanded the ship Bavaria.
- Dr. John James Getty, who served both on board ship and also on land in western Greece, and who died in Greece in 1828.
- Captain Richards, who also served on board ship and in western Greece.
- Alexander Ross and John Villem.
- Lieut. William T. Washington, a distant relative of George Washington, who was killed during a bombardment in Greece.
- James Williams, a black from Baltimore, who served on board ship.
- Jonas King, John D. Russ, Henry A. V. Post, Rufus Anderson, and
- Josiah Brewer also aided the Greek cause in various ways.
Also, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, America's first foreign mission society, was formed by Congregationalists in Massachusetts in 1810. It is the predecessor to today's Global Ministries. This organization was responsible for bringing Greek orphans to be educated in the United States as well as establishing missions and schools in Greece.
Among the children brought to the United States are Lucas Miltiades Miller, Professor John Zachos, Professor Evangelinus Apostolides Sophocles, Captain George Musalas Colvocoresses, Alexander George Paspatis, George Marshall, Christos Evangelides, Photius Kavasalis Fisk, Anastasios Karavelis and the Ralli Brothers.
Gregory (Gregorios) Perdicaris was taken under the protective custody of American missionaries Fisk and King, after the Turks had attacked his native village in Greece and massacred several of his relatives. He traveled with them to Jerusalem, Beirut and Smyrna, and then came to America on board the ship Romulus under shipmaster John M. Allen in June, 1826, at age 22.
He taught ancient and modern Greek at Mt. Pleasant Classical Institute at Amherst, was a professor of Greek at Harvard University, and lived in New Haven where he was a teacher in a boarding school. While there he met Margaret Hanford, one of his pupils, whom he married.
From 1837 until 1845 Gregory Perdicaris was U.S. Consul at Athens, Greece, and it was during this period that his son, Ion, was born. In 1846 he returned to the United States and settled in Trenton, New Jersey (Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park), where he was active in the management of the Trenton Gas Light Company, the old Water Power Company, and the Star Rubber Company
In 1845, Gregory Perdicaris' two-volume book "The Greece of Greeks" was published.
The following story about the life of Ion Perdicaris, son of Gregory Perdicaris, is taken from the August 26, 1925 edition of the Trenton (N.J.) Evening Times:
”Trenton's most famous citizen of Greek extraction was the late Ion Perdicaris, who died May 31 of the present year (1925) in Chiselhurst, England, where he was living in retirement. Perdicaris was the son of Gregory Perdicaris who fled Greece under sentence of death after the Turks had attacked his native village and had massacred several of his relatives.
"Many adventures attended the flight of the elder Perdicaris, the climax of the series being a shipwreck in which Gregory was one of three survivors. For a time he was a professor of Greek at Harvard LniversitY. Later he lived in New Haven where he was a teacher in a boarding school. While there he met Miss Margaret Hanford, a South Carolina girl, one of his pupils, with whom he contracted a romantic marriage.
"From 1837 until 1845 Gregory Perdicaris was U.S. Consul al Athens and it was during this period that Ion was born. In 1846 Perdicaris came to Trenton where he was actively identified in the Trenton Gas Light Company, the old Water Power Company, and the Star Rubber Company.
"He acquired Ashley Cottage, a famous old home which for years blocked the eastward extension of East State Street beyond Clinton Avenue. Ashley Cottage stood in a beautiful park of a dozen acres which extended north and south along Clinton Avenue and east to the Assunpink Creek. A beautiful lawn sloped down to the creek, which afforded pleasant boating.
"Finally, the pressure of public opinion prevailed on Mr. Perdicaris and he consented to the extension of East State Street through his property. The old homestead was torn down and rebuilt on its present site midway between Clinton and Chestnut Avenues.
"Ion Perdicaris lived in Trenton with his father until the period of the Civil War, when he went to England, and while there met Mrs. M. Varley, an actress with grown children with whom he contracted an alliance. Perdicaris was devoted to the entire family and brought them to Trenton, where they lived in the old Cadwallader Mansion on West State Street and entertained lavishly.
"One of Perdicaris' stepdaughters had ambitions for a stage career which he sought to realize for her. He wrote a play, "The Picture," painted a huge backdrop, some 38 feet high, and hired a theater for the production in New York. Unsparing ridicule by the critics stopped the show before it had played a week.
"Subsequently the family moved to Tangier where Perdicaris purchased a former palace of the Sultan. It was from this magnificent home that he was captured, along with his step1:,on, Cromwell Varley, some 20 years later by the bandit Raisuli, who held the pair for $70,000 ransom. John Hay's laconic message "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead" brought the sultan to his knees and Raisuli received his $70,000 plus liberation of his followers, the incarceration of his enemies, and a governorship.
"When Perdicaris moved to Tangier he took along the painting he had made for his stepdaughters ill-fated entry to the stage of New York. Despite the size of the slate dining room in his newly purchased palace, its ceiling was too low for the painting so he reconstructed the room and raised the height of it at one end 12 feet in order to show his work of art. He was very popular among the Moors and was well known for his munificent hospitality and charity. He did much for the wretched prisoners in the Kasbah jail and brought about cessation of the practice of maiming wrong-doers. His love of reform led him to write a novel which so offended the authorities of Tangier that they cast him into jail for a day or two until Perdicaris' influential friends and connections were able to bring pressure to bear and obtain his release.
"During all his years in Morocco, Perdicaris remembered his boyhood home in Trenton where he had attended the old Trenton Academy, of which his father was a trustee, and Trinity Episcopal Church, of which the father was one of the founders and a vestrvman. His visiting cards bore the dual address, Tangier, Morocco, and Trenton, N.J., U.S.A.
"After his capture and incarceration by Raisuli he returned to the United States for a visit and to enjoy some of the fruits of the notoriety the exploit had given him. He toured the country lecturing and retelling the story. In Trenton his address was given at School of Industrial Arts auditorium."
Ion Perdicaris, Kidnapped by Moorish Brigands
The Chanute Kansas Sun (June 3, 1904)
Life Story of Man for whom a Fleet is Sent
WASHINGTON, June 3 – It was decided to send, not one warship, but a squadron to Tangier to effect the release of Ion Perdicaris, who, with his stepson, Cromwell Varley, a British subject, was carried off from his palace in Tangier by a band of 159 brigands. The a latest advices show the situation much more serious than at first imagined.
The records of the passport bureau of the state department show that Ion Perdicardis, the American who was kidnapped by Moorish bandits from his country piace near Tangier, was not born in Trenton, N. J., as has been supposed but in theo United States Consulate General at Athens, Grece. On a passport for himself and his wife, April 2S 1903 Mr. Perdicaris secured Ellen Perdicaris, from the Consulate-General of the United States at Tangier. In his application for this passport he says that at the time of his birth, April 1, 1840, his father was the United States Consulate-General at Athens and a naturalized citizen. Mr. Perdicaris stated that his permanent residence was Trenton, N. J., that he had no occupation, that he left the United States in 1884 and was residing temporarily at Tangier, that he itended to return to tho United States within two years, and that he desired the passport for the purpose of traveling in Europe.
Perdicaris is famous the world over for his hospitality. It is said that the I bandit chieftain, Raisuli, who has kidnapped him was one of his most frequent guests, and that often Raisuli had found refuge at tho palace when a fugitive from justice.
Perdicaris is the best-known foreignor and the wealthiest in the country. He is the best friend that Morocco ever had. He possesses magnificent estates at Tangier and in the mountains seven miles out, where for twenty-five years he has lavishly entertained European visitors.
It is through his efforts solely that Tangier has been made habitable for foreigners. He organized a sanitary commission, of which he is still president, which transformed the city from a pest hole to a healthy town. Much of the work was done at his expense. The result is that he is almost revered by the native population as well as by the other residents, and there is no man of such great influence in the country. Hence, tho bandits could not have selccted a more shining mark.
The matter is made more serious by the feeble health of the victim. He is obliged to live up to the strict medical rules and unless he is speedily rescued his life must pay the forfeit.
The Story of Perdicaris
Ion Perdicaris became a figure in Now York social life after his return from Europe where he spent some years in study. He was then a handsome young man, accomplished to an unusual degree, and with a certain talent for writing, painting and music. His father Gregory Perdicaris, a Greek refugee, who lived at that time in Trenton, gave his son a liberal allowance, and Mrs. Anna Cora Mowatt, the actress, author and woman of society -- the first of the aristocratic New York women to take to the stage without losing her the social importance -- had no trouble in making friends for him when she took tho young man under her wing.
As early as 1868, while he was still living in London; Mr. Perdicaris had written for the Galaxy "English and French Painters," "Reminiscences of French Ateliers," "The Roral Academy" and other articles on artistic studies. He was then completing an education begun at the old Trenton Acadamy. Mr. Perdicaris entered Harvard in the class of 1860, but left the university at the end of his sophomore year. In 1858 he went to Europe and studied for several years, and then he came back to Trenton to visit his family, who had occupied for several years a handsome house in the New Jersey capital.
His father had married an American from a prominent South Carolina family shortly before he was compelled to leave Greece. He obtained employment at Harvard as a teacher of modern languages, and there became the intimate friend of Cornelius C. Felton and Louis Agaasiz. Later he moved to Trenton, and by fortunate speculation and investment made the large fortune he left to his son.
In Trenton, the youthful Perdicaris was noted as a horseback rider and an athlete, and in various sports, he strengthened his naturally stallwart physique. When he went abroad the last time, his parents went with him, and the senior Perdicaris died in Tangier in 1880.
During the days of his bachelorhood in New York, when the young man popular in society, he became much interested in occult beliefs and was an early convert to spiritualism when that belief was much more prevalent in New York than it is today. He was an eager supporter of Home, spiritualist, who at that time attracted so much attention and succeeded making so many converts. Perdicaris was also an interested student of the doctrines of Swedonborg. His means were sufficient to enable him to devote his time to the subjects that interested him most.
In 1870 Mr. Perdicaris returned England. He was at this time interested in the study of electricity made the acquaintance of a prominent English electrician named Varley, who was married and had two children. Perdicaris fell in love with Mrs. Varley and after her divorce from her husband married her. The two came this country and went to live at Trenton.
The parents of Mr. Perdicaris had sold their residence and were living at the Trenton House. The reception given by his parents in honor of the newly married couple took place in this and was long remembered as the lavish entertainment of the kind given in the town. Mr. and Mrs. Perdicaris finally fitted up the old McCall mansion in Trenton and lived there until the entire family went abroad together. Ion Perdicaris ultimately found life in Tangier to his liking and in 1877 built on the side of Mount Washington, three miles from Tangier, the villa from which he and his stepson, Cromwell Varley, have been abducted. He entertained his American friends there liberally and was one of the best known foreign residents of Tangier,
In 1879,. Ion Perdicaris returned this country to produce at the Fifth Avenue Theatre a play in verse called The Picture," The climax of this drama was the display in the last of an enormous picture from the brush of the author. The drama was given first on Nov. 11, 1879, and Nard Alymane, a Greek actress who had come to this country with Daniel Bandmann; Marie Prescott and Joseph Wheelock were tho principal players in tho cast. The play was, according to one contemporaneous criticism, too exalted and lofty for the rabble and "soared sweetly in the perilous strata of the transcendental." It was withdrawn after one week.
Mr. Perdicaris had also come before the public as a painter at the Centennial Exposition, where ho showed a painting called "Tent Life." The nude figure of a woman was seen partly hidden by the folds of the tent, which fell over her face and made it impossible to verify tho story that his beautiful English wife had posed as the model.
Mr. Perdicaris accidentally played a picturesque part in the politics of Morocco some years ago, when the English governess of his children attracted the attention of the Shereef, whose gardens adjoined those of the American. This religious dignitary heard the English girl singing and was so much enraptured thdt he requested permission from Mr. Perdicaris to join the family circle occasionally and listen to the singing otherwise than at the distance rendered necessary by the garden walls. Mr. Perdicaris complied with this request and the singing was so effective that the governess informed him at the end of a few weeks that she had been invited to become the wife of the Shoreef and proposed to accept. She was told that he had already taken the utmost advantage of the Musselman law and had four wives. The governess was undismayed by that condition of affairs and later returned to Mr. Perdicaris with the report that he had prom ised to divorce his wives and eleve to her only.
So determined was she to accept the offer of marriage that her employer sent her in the custody of his butler back to her father, the superintendent of the Charing Cross Hospital in London. After a few months she was back in Tangier, bringing written permission from her father to marry the Shereef. The four wives were disposed of and the marriage took place. Now the English wife is living at Oran, protected by the French officials, and the Shereef has a fresh lot of wives to the orthodox number of four.
PROFESSOR JOHN (IOANNIS) CELIVERGOS ZACHOS
Ioannis Celivergos Zachos (John Zachos) was brought to America from Greece by Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, at the close of the Greek War of Independence, and became one of America's outstanding educators and teachers.
The following biographical sketch is taken from Thomas Burgess' "Greeks in America" (1912):
"Professor John (Ioannis) Celivergos Zachos, M.D., late curator of the Cooper Union, New York, was born in Constantinople, 1820. His father was one of the "merchant princes" of the city, and an interpreter of the Sultan's Court, ranking in the diplomatic corps of the Turkish government. His mother was a woman of superior education and connected with the best Phanariote families, as the Mavrocordato and the lpsilanti. Mr. Zachos, the father, was one of the first Hetairists (the Greek secret societies conspiring for freedom), and at the opening of the War of Independence was betrayed and condemned to be beheaded, but by a large bribe managed to escape with his family. He fled to the north of Greece, where he devoted his fortune and life to the holy cause. He fell in an early battle among the mountains of Thessaly, where his little command was resisting a whole army of Turks. Thus were left his wife and the boy Joannes, three years old, and a baby girl. It was the indomitable spirit of the mother that brought the family and a large number of relatives and dependents safely through the years of war, in a country harried by a bloody enemy and a lawless soldiery of her own race. She always carried arms and trained her retainers and encouraged them in the fight. When dangers pressed too heavily on the mainland, she bought a vessel and sought safety among the islands and inlets of the Aegean.
"So passed the boy's life until he was ten years old. Soon after the end of the war his mother married again, Nikolaos Kiliverges, secretary to President Capodistria. Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, being brought into contact, in his business of mercy, with the stepfather, advised the Kyria Zachos to send her boy to America to be educated, and promised to take care of him. Thus, Howe himself brought the boy to America. For three years the mother paid all the expenses, until the extravagant court life of her husband, who became royal treasurer of King Otho, squandered her fortune. For the nexl lwo years his American friends paid young Zachos' expenses, and then at the age of 15 he took upon himself the problem of self-support and education, at first, as a printer's boy, then al the Manual Labor College in Bristol, Pennasylvania, and then al Kenyon College, where he graduated in 1840. For three years and a half he studied medicine at Miami, Ohio, at which time he was one of the founders of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
"He did not, however, practice his profession, but took up teaching, becoming co-principal of a Young Ladies Academy in Ohio. In 1849 he married Miss Harriet Canfield. They had six children. In 1853, he was invited by Horace Mann to a professorship in Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. During the Civil War he offered himself for the service of the "Educational Commission of Boston and New York" organized to send men and women to care for and educate the "free men of the South." Next, Dr. Zachos was appointed acting surgeon in the U.S. Army and assigned to the multifarious duties of superintendency and command of Paris Island, with a population of 600 negroes, left by their former masters in greatest destitution. After two years of this work he broke down. He next was installed in the Unitarian pulpit al West Newton, Mass. In 1866 he was appointed professor of Rhetoric in the Meadville Theological School in Pennsylvania.
"Finally, in 1871, at the call of his intimate friend, Peter Cooper, he became curator of the Cooper Union in New York. Here Dr. Zachos passed the last 27 years of his life and found his greatest field of labor and influence. His talent as a lecturer on the public platform and in the classroom was of marked value to this great institution, and he remained its literary head to the day of his death. One of the most interesting sides of this versatile, scholarly, brilliant, big hearted Greek was his close association with the literary men of New York: Bayard Taylor, William Cullen Bryant, Charles Dana, and many others."
In 1864, John Zachos published his "Phonic Primer and Reader" -- a book intended for the sole use of the working classes attending night school, and for self-study. He also "worked with the negro,"" offering ways to read and write, for those who were illiterate. He achieved national recognition in this field, before and after the Civil War. Other books of John Zachos are "The New American Speaker" and "Analytic Elocution," and he also wrote books on the life of his friend, Peter Cooper, industrialist and founder of Cooper Union in New York.
[ Read more about Professor John Celivergos Zachos ]
PROFESSOR EVANGELINOS APOSTOLIDES SOPHOCLES
Another renowned educator of the 19th century was Professor Evangelinos Apostolides Sophocles (1804 - 1883), born in Greece, who came to the United States in 1828, at 24 years of age. He distinguished himself as professor at Harvard University for 41 years. When he died in 1883, he left his personal library and his entire estate to Harvard University.
The following biography is taken from the records of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences:
"Professor Evangelinos Apostolides Sophocles, LL.D. was born in 1804 in the village of Tsangarada in Thessaly on the slope of Mount Pelion. His father's name was Apostolos, and thus he obtained the patronymic Apostolides. The name of Sophocles, by which he has always been known away from home, was given him in his youth by his teacher Gazes as a compliment to his scholarship. He spent his childhood in his Thessalian home. While still a boy he accompanied his uncle to Cairo, where he spent several years in the branch of the Sinaitic monastery of St. Catherine (of which his uncle was Hegumen) visiting also the principal monastery on Mt. Sinai itself. He returned to Thessaly in 1820, where he remained a year at school, chiefly studying Greek classic authors, under the instruction of several teachers of repute, especially Anthimos Gazes, who had been 25 years in Vienna. The breaking out of the Greek Revolution in 1821 closed this school, and Sophocles returned to the monastery of Cairo.
”After a few years he left the Sinaitic brotherhood on the death of his uncle, and became again a pupil of Gazes at Syra, where he became acquainted with the Rev. Josiah Brewer, a missionary of the American Board of Foreign Missions, who invited him to go to the United States, and by the advice of Gazes the imitation was accepted.
"Sophocles arrived at Boston in 1828 and put himself under the tuition of Mr. Colton of Monson, Massachusetts. In 1829, he entered as freshman at Amherst College, but remained only a part of one year. He afterwards lived at Hartford and New Haven. All his earlier works were published at Hartford, where at one time he taught mathematics. In 1842, he came to Harvard College as tutor in Greek, and remained till 1845. He returned in 1847 to take the same office. Since that time the college apartment in which he died, No. 2 Holworthy, was his only home, serving as dining room and kitchen the greater part of the time, as well as lodging and study. In 1859, he was made assistant professor of Greek; and in 1860 a new professorship of Ancient, Byzantine, and Modern Greek was created for him, which he continued to fill until his death in 1883. This professorship has since been abolished. He received the honorary degree of A.M. from Yale and Harvard, and that of LL.D. from Western Reserve and Harvard.
"He published a number of grammatical books, but his great work was the " Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100 V2." This tremendous work of 1187 pages gives reference to 500 authors, not including those referred to of earlier periods.
"Professor Sophocles was a scholar of extraordinary attainments. His knowledge of the Greek literature in its whole length and breadth could hardly be surpassed, and he had much rare and profound erudition on many points on which western scholarship is most weak. On the other hand he treated the classic philology of Germany with neglect, if not with contempt, and he never learned German so as to read it with facility. But many things which are found in the works of German scholars came to Sophocles independently.
”He showed little or no sympathy with the attempts to resuscitate the ancient forms of Greek in the literary language of the new kingdom of Greece; indeed, for this indifference, and for his general lack of interest in the progress of Greece since the Revolution, he was often censured by his fellow countrymen. But much of this, as well as much of his show of indifference to the ordinary calls of humanity, was a part of his habitual cynicism, which was quite as much affected as real. While he refused to take part in the ordinary charities, he was really in his own way one of the most benevolent of men; and it may be doubted whether there was another man in our community whose gifts bore so large a proportion to his personal expenses. Many are the poor who will miss his unostentatious benevolence now that he is gone.
"Though he took little interest in any religious questions, he always remained faithful in name to the Greek Church in which he was born. In later years, he renewed his relations with the monks of Mount Sinai; and as his strength failed, he wandered back more and more in his thoughts to the Sacred Mountain. The monastery of St. Catherine was enriched by more than one substantial present by his kindness; and the pious monks offered solemn prayers on Mount Sinai daily for his recovery from his last sickness, and sent him their congratulations by Atlantic cable on his saint's day. Now that he has left us, we feel that a bond is suddenly broken which connected us with a world which lies beyond our horizon. Such a phenomenon as Sophocles is indeed rare in our academic circles, and we feel that it was a privilege to have him among us."
In 1908, George Herbert Palmer wrote the following article in tribute to the memory of Evangelinus Apostolides Sophocles:
"On the 17th of December, 1883, Evangelinus Apostolides Sophocles, Professor of Ancient, Byzantine and Modern Greek in Harvard University, died at Cambridge, in the corner room of Holworthy Hall which he had occupied for nearly forty years. A past generation of American schoolboys knew him gratefully as the author of a compact and lucid Greek grammar. College students -- probably as large a number as ever sat under an American professor --were introduced by him to the poets and historians of Greece. Scholars of a riper growth, both in Europe and America, have wondered at the precision and loving diligence with which, in his dictionary of the later and Byzantine Greek, he assessed the corrupt literary coinage of his native land. His brief contributions to the Nation and other journals were always noticeable for exact knowledge and scrupulous literary honesty. As a great scholar, therefore, and one who through a long life labored to beget scholarship in others, Sophocles deserves well of America. At a time when Greek was usually studied as the schoolboy studies it, this strange Greek came among us, connected himself with our oldest university, and showed us an example of encyclopaedic learning, and such familiar and living acquaintance with Homer and Aeschylus -- yes, even with Polybius, Lucian and Athenaeus -- as we have with Tennyson and Shakespeare and Burke and Macaulay.
"More than this, he showed us how such learning is gathered. To a dozen generations of impressible college students he presented a type of an austere life directed to serene ends, a life sufficient for itself and filled with a never hastening diligence which issued in vast mental stores …
"This man, then, by birth, training, and temper a solitary; whose heritage was Mt. Olympus, and the monastery of Justinian, and the Greek quarter of Cairo, and the isles of Greece; whose intimates were Hesiod and Pindar and Arrian and Basilides, -- this man it was who, from 1842 onward, was deputed to interpret to American college boys the hallowed writings of his race. Thirty years ago too, at the period when I sat on the green bench in front of the long-legged desk, college boys were boys indeed. They had no more knowledge than the high school boy of today, and they were kept in order by much the same methods. Thus, it happened, by some jocose perversity in the arrangement of human affairs, that throughout our Sophomore and Junior years we sportive youngsters were obliged to endure Sophocles, and Sophocles was obliged to endure us. No wonder if he treated us with a good deal of contempt. No wonder that his power of scorn, originally splendid, enriched itself from year to year. We learned, it is true, something about everything except Greek; and the best thing we learned was a new type of human nature. Who that was ever his pupil will forget the calm bearing, the occasional pinch of snuff, the averted eye, the murmur of the interior voice, and the stocky little figure with the lion's head. There is the corner he stood, as stranded and solitary as the Egyptian obelisk in the hurrying Place de la Concorde. In a curious sense of fashion, he was faithful to what he must have felt an obnoxious duty. He was never absent from his post, nor did he cut short the hours, but he gave us only such attention as was nominated in the bond; ...
"How much of this cynicism of conduct and of speech was genuine perhaps he knew as little as the rest of us; but certainly it imparted a pessimistic tinge to all he did and said. To hear him talk, one would suppose the world was ruled by accident or by an utterly irrational fate; for in his mind the two conceptions seemed closely to coincide. His words were never abusive; they were deliberate, peaceful even; but they made it very plain that so long as one lived there was no use in expecting anything. Paradoxes were a little more probable than ordered calculations; but even paradoxes would fail. Human beings were altogether impotent, though they fussed and strutted as if they could accomplish great things. How silly was trust in men's goodness and power, even in one's own! Most men were bad and stupid, -- Germans especially so. The Americans knew nothing, and never could know. A wise man would not try to teach them. Yet some persons dreamed of establishing a university in America! Did they expect scholarship where there were politicians and business men? Evil influences were far too strong. They always were. The good were made expressly to suffer, the evil to succeed. Better leave the world alone, and keep one's self true. 'Put a drop of milk into a gallon of ink; it will make no difference. Put a drop of ink into a gallon of milk; the whole is spoiled.'
"In the last days of his life, it is true, when his thoughts were oftener in Arabia than in Cambridge, he once or twice referred to 'the ambition of learning' as the temptation which had drawn him out from the monastery, and had given him a life less holy than he might have led among the monks. But these were moods of humility rather than of regret. Habitually he maintained an elevation above circumstances, -- was it Stoicism or Christianity? -- which imparted to his behavior, even when most eccentric, an unshakable dignity. When I have found him in his room, curled up in shirt and drawers, reading the 'Arabian Nights,' the Greek service book, or the 'Ladder of the Virtues' by John Klimakos, he has risen to receive me with the bearing of an Arab sheikh, and has laid by the Greek folio and motioned me to a chair with a stateliness not natural to our land or century. It would be clumsy to liken him to one of Plutarch's men; for though there was much of the heroic and extraordinary in his character and manners, nothing about him suggested a suspicion of being on show. The mold in which he was cast was formed earlier. In his bearing and speech, and in a certain large simplicity of mental structure, he was the most Homeric man I ever knew."
[ Read more about Professor Evangelinos Apostolides Sophocles ]
CAPTAIN GEORGE MUSALAS COLVOCORESSES
Captain George Musalas Colvocoresses, United States Navy, was born on the Greek island of Chios, and brought to the United States by Alden Partridge of Vermont with other Greek orphans in 1826 on board the American brig Margarita. At the age of sixteen, George was accepted into United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy. During the Civil War he commanded both the USS Supply and USS Saratoga. Cited for his service multiple times by the Secretary of the Navy, He was retired as a rear-admiral.
The following biographical sketch is taken from Thomas Burgess' book, "Greeks in America" (1912):
"Captain George Musalas Colvocoresses, U.S.N., was another survivor of the massacre of Chios. His father, escaping to the Austrian consulate, was able to ransom his family, though George saw his uncle killed and his aged grandmother beaten to death before he reached safety. He, only six years old, with nine other Chiote boys was placed on board an American brig bound for Baltimore On the voyage he was cared for and taught English by the mate of the brig. On his arrival he appears to have made an especially good impression upon the committee of influential gentlemen who interested themselves in these boys, and General Harper procured from President Monroe the promise of a cadetship at West Point for the little lad. Attracted by the accounts in the newspapers, Captain Alder Partridge, head of a military academy in Norwich, Vermont, took the boy and educated and provided for him. Later he entered the Navy, where he served the rest of his life with honor.
He sailed in various important naval expeditions all over the world, and in the Civil War commanded the U.S.S. Supply and later the U.S.S. Saratoga, when he won the repeated thanks of Admiral Dahlgren in general orders and the commendation of the Secretary of the Navy for his "zeal and good service to the country." In 1865 he was retired with the rank of Captain and lived till his death in 1872 with his family in Litchfield, Connecticut.
[ Read more about Captain George Musalas Colvocoresses ]
REAR ADMIRAL GEORGE PARTRIDGE COLVOCORESSES
Captain George Musalas Colvocoresses' son, Rear Admiral George Partridge Colvocoresses had made an enviable record in the Navy. He first saw service for two years in the Civil War as captain's clerk to his father. In the Spanish War he was executive officer of the U.S.S. Concord at the battle of Manila Bay. Serving under Admiral Dewey, he took part in all the Phillipine naval battles under Admiral Dewey. Admiral Dewey appointed him executive officer of his flagship, and it was he who commanded the Olympia's battalion in the several ovations that welcomed the hero in New York, Washington, and Boston. Upon promotion to Captain, he was made commandant of Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. After 48 years of active service he retired with the rank of rear admiral.
Rear Admiral George Partridge Colvocoresses died on September 10, 1932, and is buried in Litchfield's East Cemetery.
[ Read more about Rear Admiral George Partridge Colvocoresses ]
MICHAEL (ANAGNOSTOPOULOS) ANAGNOS
"The name of Michael Anagnos belongs to Greece, the fame of him belongs to the United States, but his service belongs to humanity."
With these words, Governor Guild of Massachusetts, described the loss to humanity at the death of Michael Anagnos, Greek immigrant, who died in 1906.
The following is taken from the 155 page "Memoir of Anagnos" which was published in 1907, the year after his death, by the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind, which institutions Michael Anagnos served and directed so well and devotedly:
"Michael Anagnostopoulos, or as he became known to Americans, Michael Anagnos, was born November 7, 1837, in a mountain village of Epirus, called Papingo. His father was a hard-working peasant, who had lived under the bloody Ali Pasha.
"True Greek, the boy longed and labored for an education. He began in the little village school and used to pore over his lessons as he tended his father's flocks on the mountain side, or in the evening by the light of a pine torch. As he grew older, to support himself he also taught in his spare hours. His teacher advised him to go to Janina and try for a scholarship in the Zozimaea School. Passing among the first, he was aided by the great teacher Anastasios Sakellarion. As he was too poor to buy text books he used to copy them out by hand. At last his gymnasium course was worked through, and he achieved his longing by entering the University of Athens. Of the struggles at the university writes his Boston sister-in-law, Mrs. Florence Howe Hall,
'I have heard him tell the story of four students who lived together at Athens and possessed only one good coat among them, so that they were obliged to take turns in going out. I have always suspected that he was one of the devoted quartette.'
”He worked his way by teaching languages and reading proof. He took his B.A. in philology, and also studied law.
"In 1861, Anagnos joined the staff of the Ethnophylax (National Guard), the first daily paper of Athens, writing criticisms and translations and then political essays, and was shortly made editor-in-chief at the age of 24. This paper was started to advocate popular rights against the oppressive government of King Otho. Our youthful hero was one of the most active in this opposition, even going so far as to be instrumental in introducing, through General Garibaldi and one of his sons, lodges of Free Masonry by the Scottish Rite as an element in the coming dethronement of the Bavarian monarch. Twice he was put into prison. His ardent share in the bloodless revolution of 1862 Anagnos in his later years spoke of with regret. At the beginning of the Cretan Revolution in 1866 Anagnos enlisted his pen in the cause of the devoted island; but his fellow editors of the Ethnophylax disagreed with him, and he resigned.
"Then it was that our great American, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, whom as yet Anagnos knew only by his former fame as a Philhellene, came to Greece to help the Cretans, and desiring to find a Greek secretary who should act with him in the work of the relief, was directed to the young ex-editor. He at once engaged him and left him part of the time in charge of the committee's affairs, while he himself visited schools, prisons, and hospitals in Europe.
"When Dr. Howe returned to Boston, he persuaded his Athenian secretary to accompany him and continue in the work of the Cretan Committee in New England. Finding him well qualified to teach, Dr. Howe gave him the task of teaching Latin and Greek in the Perkins Institution to the few blind pupils who in 1868 had pursued their studies that far; and also made him private tutor of his family. A year or two later he promoted his tutor's wish to become Greek professor in some western American college, writing in a letter of recommendation, 'He is capable of filling the post in any of our universities with honor.'
"Yet so had the young Greek won the affections of the Howe family that when the time for separation had come Dr. Howe could not part with him, but placed him in a permanent position in the Perkins Institution, and late in 1870 gave him the hand of his daughter, Julia Romana. She, worthy scion of Samuel Gridley and Julia Ward Howe, was 'a woman of ideally beautiful character and deeply interested in her father's work for the blind.' For 15 years they spent a happy, though childless life together, till she died in 1886. The last words of Mrs. Anagnos were: ‘Take care of the little blind children.'
"After 1870, the increasing years and infirmity of the great founder of the Perkins Institution for the Blind made it necessary that Mr. Anagnos be placed more and more in general charge of affairs, and so he became intimately familiar with every part of the establishment and its methods and ideals. Thus when Dr. Howe died in 1876, he was the only candidate seriously considered as his successor, ‘although,' says Mr. Sanborn, 'there was some question in the minds of some trustees how a native of Turkey and a subject of the Kingdom of Greece would succeed in the whole management of a Bostonian institution so peculiarly dependent on the liberality of the good people of Massachusetts, and particularly of Boston. The result of his administration (which lasted 30 years) soon solved that question. Every branch of the administration had already begun to feel the youthful energy and mature wisdom of the new director."
Writes the acting director in his report after Anagnos' death:
”Trained by intimate relations with the great father of the work in this country, Dr. Howe, Mr. Anagnos saw clearly that the methods and principles used by Dr. Howe were in the main correct, and with that complete lack of conceit and entire absence of any sense of his own importance, as great as it was rare and as rare as it was beautiful, he set himself to the task of carrying out the great work his predecessor had left uncompleted, and for three decades has labored faithfully and brought this great work to a state of efficiency that is known and admired on both sides of the Atlantic.
”One of his first acts was the promotion of a fund of $100,000 for books for the blind; six years later every public library in Massachusetts had been furnished with these books. Seconded by his devoted wife, he founded the kindergarten in Jamaica Plain for little blind children under nine. This beautiful work is his especial monument. Soon another $100,000 endowment was raised, and for many years he was weighed with the handling each year of over half a million dollars. He gave special attention and study to the perfection of the physical training department and to the training of the blind in self-supporting trades and occupations.
In none of the deeds of his life did that tenderness of heart and empathy for his fellow men that were ever the chief motive forces of his character, appear more conspicuously than in his work for the deaf-blind -- a work small in numbers, but in proportion to the completeness of the emancipation, tremendous in achievement. He had become familiar with the famous education by Dr. Howe of Laura Bridgman, Oliver Caswell and others, and in carrying on a like work he attracted the attention of the world in some respects even more than did the cases of his predecessors. The fame of his success in the cases of Helen Keller, Thomas Stringer, Elizabeth Robin, and others of the blind-deaf has gone round the world. I cannot refrain from retelling the story of one case (the others are equally miraculous) in the words of Mr. Sanborn:
"About sixteen years ago in a hospital in the city of Pittsburgh, a pitiful case was brought to light. A little boy, deaf and blind, was sent there for treatment. His parents were too poor to pay for his maintenance in any institution, and a number of appeals were sent to institutions and individuals in his behalf, but without avail. Finally the case was brought to the attention of Mr. Anagnos. In the helpless, almost inanimate little lump of clay that was brought to his doors, he saw the likeness of a human soul, and immediately took measures to bring about its development and unfolding. So the little stranger entered the Kindergarten for the Blind in 1891; a special teacher was provided for him; and the education of Thomas Stringer had begun.
'The sightless, voiceless, seemingly hopeless little waif of 1891 has now developed into the intelligent, sturdy, fine appearing young man of 1906, who, in his benefactor's own words, 'is strong and hale, and who thinks acutely, reasons rationally, judges accurately, acts promptly, and works diligently. He loves truth and uprightness and loathes mendacity and deceitfulness. He appears to be absolutely unselfish and is very grateful to his benefactors. His is a loyal and self-poised soul-affectionate, tender, and brave. He enjoys the tranquillity of innocence and the blessings of the pure in heart. He is honorable, faithful, straightforward, and trustworthy in all his relations. He is not only happy and contented with his environment, but seems to dwell perpetually in the sunlight of entire confidence in the probity and kindness of his fellow men.'
The above is a just picture of the results thus far attained in the case of Thomas Stringer, and in the closing sentence the writer unwittingly gave utterance to his own highest praise, for if this deaf-blind boy 'dwells continually in the sunlight of entire confidence in the probity and kindness of his fellow men' it is because he has known naught but perfect probity and absolute kindness on the part of the man who, amid the multifarious cares involved in the conduct of a great institution, yet found time to take this stricken waif into his heart and love him! -- who found time to be father, guardian, and friend! -- and year after year, by voice and pen to plead his cause with a generous public, and so provide for the child's future security when his guardian should have passed from the scene.
Here is the testimony of one blind graduate, Lydia Y. Hayes, on learning of Anagnos' death:
'… I have always wished for literary ability, but never so much as now, when I desire to express what Mr. Anagnos has been to one graduate of the school. Then multiply that by every life which his life has touched, and you have the result of his influence in the world. His strength comforted our weakness, his firmness overcame our wavering ideas, his power smoothed away our obstacles, his noble unselfishness put to shame our petty differences of opinion, and his untiring devotion led us to do our little as well as we could … Better than all, he taught us to be men and women in our own homes and to the best of our ability.'
And here is how his subordinates regarded him -- from the report of the acting director:
'The relation of Mr. Anagnos to his associates was in itself a beautiful thing. He asked for no comforts of living that his associates did not enjoy. He demanded of his helpers no greater length of hours or hardships of service than he took upon himself. Each morning he met his teachers at chapel and gave every one a hearty greeting and a cheery smile that lighted up their path throughout the day.
'He would never have any praise for himself, but how often in these pages and by spoken word has he shown his appreciation of their efforts, and assigned them all the credit for the work done here. And this was genuine! It rang true! And his helpers for the most part did their best, out of interest in their work and the loyalty that he inspired.'
One of the last reports of this great educator of the blind closes with the following words:
'Encouraged by the achievements of the past, we take up hopefully the duties of another year, firmly resolved to carry forward this beneficent enterprise until we reach the shining goal at which we aim, namely, the illumination by education of the mind and life of every child whose eyes are closed to the light of day. We are aware that the path of progress which we have chosen to pursue is full of difficulties; but let us keep our faces always towards the sunshine, and the shadows will fall behind us.'
Several times Anagnos visited Europe to travel about and study the institutions for the defective, and to visit his relatives in enslaved Greece and investigate the educational possibilities of its oppressed compatriots. He was present in Paris in 1900 at the International Congress of Teachers and Friends of the Blind in the double capacity of representing his own institution and also commissioned to represent the United States government.
Though he finally became a citizen of his adopted country, yet, just as every other Greek settled in a foreign country, so Anagnos remained to the end intensely interested in the progress of his native land, and made various generous donations to the cause of Greek education, and left a life bequest in his will. The epilogue of one donation of $25,000 deposited in the National Bank of Athens towards the support of schools in his native Papingo reads:
'Having lived for many years in foreign countries, neither in sorrow nor in happiness have I ever forgotten my dear country, but have always, always encouraged her in her progress and toward her happiness. My savings, earned after many years of hard work, l throw on her soil with great joy, in order that it may produce, as l hope, the very best flowers of Greek education and development, which means the civilization of this small corner of Epirus where l first saw the light of day and into whose soul I wish to pour light.'
Moreover, Anagnos did his utmost for the cause of his immigrant brethren in America. He moved freely among the Greeks of the Boston community, frequenting their restaurants and coffee houses, helping many a recent immigrant to get a foothold, contributing freely to the Greek Church in Boston and elsewhere, officiating as chief speaker at the celebration of the Greek Day of Independence. At one time he was the president of the Boston community, and as we mentioned before, he was the founder and president of the National Union of Greeks in the United States, which society, though defunct after his death, was the fore-runner of the Pan-Hellenic Union.
In 1906, Anagnos sailed for Europe, and after visiting Athens, of whose progress he wrote enthusiastically, and being present at the Olympic Games, he traveled leisurely through Turkey where he was saddened by the oppression of his people and his course was followed by Turkish spies. He proceeded through Serbia and Romania. There a disease of long standing returned upon him. He underwent an operation, and died under the surgeon's hands at Turn Severin, a frontier town of Romania, June 29th, 1906. His body was taken to his natal village in Epirus and buried there.
”Roses white and red, with lilies and pale immortelles, clustered lovingly yesterday around the portrait of Michael Anagnos as it stood, taper-lit, in the chancel of the Greek Church at the corner of Kneeland and Tvler Streets"; so writes the Boston Herald of July 16th, 1906. "Two hours were there given by the Greek colony of Boston to the memory of their revered compatriot, and for a considerable portion of that time his praises were spoken in the language which he loved so well. The interior of the church had been heavily draped for the occasion. The symbols of woe were almost forgotten in the presence of many floral offerings, which included wreaths from the Greek Union (Helleniki Kinotis) of which the deceased was president, the St. Peter's Club (Agios Petros), the Ladies' Greek Society, and the Vassara Union."
On October 24, 1906, in Tremont Temple, Boston, exercises in memory of the great Greek, were held before a most notable gathering. General Francis Henry Appleton presided. The Rev. Paul Revere Frothingham opened with a prayer; the blind school orchestra played, a choir of blind girls sang a hymn; Mrs. Julia Ward Howe read a poem; and addresses were made by Governor Guild, Mayor Fitzgerald, Mr. Franklin B. Sanborn, Professor J. Irving Manatt, and Bishop Lawrence, and the benediction was given by the Greek priest of Boston, Fr. Nestor Souslides. Here are a few words spoken:
"I, who have seen many establishments directed by able chiefs, at the head of many subordinates, have never seen one where loyalty to the chief was more marked or longer continued. He held for a whole generation a place in which he was greatly trusted, in which he accomplished grand results, and in which he was true to every trust reposed in him ... and he silently fulfilled the obligation where many Greeks and many Americans would have spoken in their own justification."
"Whatever he did was done well. It was my high privilege to know him both officially and as a personal friend, to visit and see him in his touching work among the little children, to note the kind word of cheer, the ever ready flow of kindly wit and humor, the encouragement, the almost divine patience with which the little hands were guided till those that sat in darkness gradually began to see at last a great mental light ... The name of Michael Anagnos belongs to Greece; the fame of him belongs to the United States; but his service belongs to humanity!"
"The memory of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe binds old Greece to young America; may the memory of Michael Anagnos be a strong bond of sympathy between his sightless pupils here and his young compatriots who sit in deeper darkness over there ... It was a unique career of this Greek among barbarians. Greeks have gone round the world and in every commercial center you will find great Greek merchants and bankers; now and then a Greek scholar like Sophocles at Harvard or a man of letters like Bikelas in France; but where, in the whole history of Greece, will you find another Greek who in a foreign land has achieved a career in the service of humanity comparable to the career of Anagnos in America? And what rarer reciprocity of service ever bound two lands together! While we recall ancient worthies, let us not forget this pair of Plutarch's men, Howe and Anagnos, who have dwelt among us in the flesh."
[ Read more about Michael (Anagnostopoulos) Anagnos ]
ALEXANDER GEORGE PASPATIS
Alexander George Paspatis was born on the island of Chios in 1814. Thomas Burgess gives the following biography of Alexander George Paspatis in his book "Greeks in America" (1912):
After the fiendish massacre of the population by the Turks in 1822, he (Paspatis) was carried with the other captives to Smyrna and exposed in the Turkish slave market for sale. There his own mother, who had miraculously escaped and had wandered alone up and down the coast of Asia Minor, saw him and bought him for the only two pieces of money she had managed to save. Charitable Americans embarked him on a ship and for two years he found a kind home in the family of Marshall P. Wilder of Boston.
He attended the Mt. Pleasant Preparatory School and in 1831 graduated from Amherst. Never has Amherst had a worthier graduate. He returned to Europe, took an extended course in medicine at Paris and Pisa, and for years was one of the most distinguished practitioners in Constantinople. Retiring from practice in 1879 he lived in Athens until his death in 1891.
The notice in the Amherst obituary record says:
A profound and accurate student, he was an almost unrivalled authority on Byzantine history and archaeology and an eminent glossologist. Master of sixteen languages, his literary productions were most given to the world in English, French and Greek. He, with five other scholars, planted in 1861 the Philologikos Ellinikos Syllogos, a society which is now reckoning its members by the thousands and has planted nearly two hundred schools in the Ottoman Empire and by its literary contributions has acquired a worldwide fame. He was always a devoted member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and believed that whatever was imperfect therein could be reformed or remedied from within and not from without.
[ Read more about Alexander George Paspatis ]
GEORGE SIRIAN and GEORGE MARSHALL
George Sirian was set adrift at sea in a boat by his mother to escape a band of roving Turks on the Greek island during the Greek Revolutionary War. An American ship cruising in the waters picked up the young boy, and he remained with the ship's crew, and was brought to America. He entered the U.S. Navy and became a warrant officer, and gunner.
George Sirian married the daughter of George Marshall. According to Thomas Burgess, George Marshall was a Greek who "published probably the first manual of naval gunnery used in our service."
[ Read more about George Sirian ]
CHRISTOPHORUS PLATO CASTANIS
Christoforas Kastanis (Christophorus Plato Castanis) arrived in America about the year 1831. He studied at Mt. Pleasant Classical Institute at Amherst, and then returned to Greece upon completing his studies. However, he came back to America in 1837, and traveled to many cities where he spoke before groups on the subject of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830) and the needs of Greece.
In 1851, his book "The Greek Exile" was published.
"The Greek Exile" is an autobiography and covers the war in Greece as well as his travels in America. In this book, Kastanis mentions that about forty Greek orphans were brought to the United States by American philhellenes, and that they studied at Yale University, Amherst, Princeton, Hartford, Athens, Ga., Kenyon College of Ohio, Eastern College, Penna., and at Knoxville, Tenn. He says that these 40 young Greek lads were from Chios, Epirus, Athens, Macedonia, and Asia Minor, and that most of them returned to Greece after completing their studies in America.
[ Read more about Christophorus Plato Castanis ]
Christos Vangelis (Evangelides or Vangale) was another Greek war orphan, brought to the United States where he received his education, who lived in New York City for many years and was in business there. His son, Alexandros Vangelis became a prominent journalist, editor of the Brooklyn Citizen and Eagle newspaper, a member of the Brooklyn City Council, and secretary of the Mayor's office. Christos Vangelis returned to Greece as a successful businessman, to his native village of Syra, where his neighbors called him the "Greek Yankee."
[ Read more about Christos Evangelides ]
PHOTIUS KAVASALIS FISK
Photius Kavasalis was 14 years of age and an orphan when he arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1823, as a protege of American missionary Fiske, who was in Greek territory at the time.
Fisk arranged Photius' trip to America, where he received his education. He changed his name to Photius Fiske, and from 1842 to 1864 was a Chaplain in the United States Navy. At his death, he left a small bequest for the anti-slavery cause, some of which went to aid the family of John Brown, abolitionist.
[ Read more about Photius Kavasalis Fisk ]
Anastasios Karavelis (Anastasius Karavelles), an 11 year old, arrived in Salem, Massachusetts at the same time as Photius Kavasalis Fisk, in 1823. He studied at Mt. Pleasant Classical Institute and Amherst College, where he graduated in 1831. After a short teaching career in America, he returned to Greece.
[ Read more about Anastasios Karavelis (Anastasius Karavelles) ]
THE RALLIS BROTHERS
Konstantinos and Pantias Rallis, 16 and 14 year old orphans from the island of Chios. Greece, were brought to the United States in May, 1824. They studied at Amherst College, and Yale University, graduated, and returned to Europe in the 1830s.
The two brothers went on to Calcutta, India, and eventually founded the world-famed Ralli Brothers, one of the largest trading companies in the world, with headquarters in London. In the year 1907, Ralli Brothers Company had 50 branches in the United States, alone, with many more in other parts of the world.
[ Read more about Konstantinos and Pantias Rallis ]
Athanasius Coloveloni (or Kolovelonis) was born near Missolonghi, Greece in 1815, and in the first year of the Greek War of Independence his father and family were slain. Somehow the orphan of only six years of age was rescued by Captain Nlcholson of the American ship, the U.S.S. Ontario, which was cruising in Greek waters at the time, who became his guardian and brought him to America when the ship returned to its home port.
Athanasius was raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he became a successful businessman. He was also one of the most prominent members of the Masonic fraternity, being a lecturer, organizer and a 33rd degree Mason. He died in Brooklyn on December 1, 1906 at 92 years of age.
OTHER GREEK WAR ORPHANS
Stephanos and Pantelis Galatis, brothers arrived in America in October, 1823, and were sent from Greece by an American missionary named Reverend Temple. They both eventually graduated from Yale. They later returned to Greece.
[ Read more about Stephanos and Pantelis Galatis ]
Nicholas Petrokokinos came to America in 1824, at 16 years of age, studied theology, and returned to Malta, where he became an associate of the American Theological Institute for many years at Smyrna. He later became United States Consul on the island of Chios, Greece.
[ Read more about Nicholas Pantoleon Petrokokinos ]
Other Greek war orphans included Konstantinos Fountoulakis, Christos Stamatis, Epaminondas I. Stratis.
EARLY GREEK IMMIGRANTS
George Constantine born in Athens, Greece in 1833, and came to America in 1850. He graduated from Amherst in 1859, and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1862. He spent the rest of his life until his death in 1891 as a Protestant missionary in Athens and Smyrna.
[ Read more about Reverend George Constantine ]
Constantine Karademas first came to the United States from Greece in 1843 at the age of 19, on a visit. He returned to Greece for a few short years, then re-entered America to live. He settled in Lebanon, Pennsylvania and was a business associate of Andrew Carnegie. He directed the construction of many steel mills and manufacturing plants in the east, and superintended the planting of the first telegraph poles in Pittsburgh. In 1897 the financial panic wiped out his fortune. He moved to Detroit, Michigan and died there in 1929 at the age of 105 years.
[ Read more about Constantine (Gus) Karademas ]
John M. Rodonaki of Smyrna came to America in 1850 and was the Greek Consul in Boston for 22 years. He was a respected merchant and a prominent Mason, and bequeathed most of his estate to the Boston Art Museum.
Michael Kalopathakis was born in Greece in 1825. He came to America as a young man, and was graduated from the Union Theological Seminary, and also took a course in medicine. He returned to Greece as a Protestant missionary. When Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe visited Greece during the Cretan War of 1866-68, to give aid to the Cretans with food and supplies, Michael Kalopathakis assisted Dr. Howe in his efforts.
[ Read more about Michael Kalopathakis ]
Dimitrios Kalopathakis, the son of Michael Kalopathakis, was a graduate of Harvard University, received his Ph. D. from Berlin and was a correspondent of the London Times and The Nation magazine.
[ Read more about Dimitrios Kalopathakis ]
Dr. Maria Kalopothakis, the daughter of Michael Kalopathakis, she was the first women physician in Greece. She became a prominent doctor and pioneer in defending equal rights for women. Dr. Maria Kalopothakis was a humanitarian physician and believed that medicine was above all a selfless profession.
[ Read more about Dr. Maria Kalopothakis ]
Vasilios Argyros studied at Yale College about 1840, and then went back to Greece for two years. He returned to Boston, where he worked for a short time, and left for California in 1849. He died in San Francisco in 1866.
Professor Andrew C. Zenos, D.D., LLD., was born in Constantinople in 1855. He came to America as a young man, was professor in Lake Forest University, in Hartford Theological Seminary, and professor of Biblical Theology at McCormack Theological Seminary in Chicago.
[ Read more about Professor Andrew C. Zenos ]
"C. Brumidi, artist. Citizen of the U.S." This signature on a painting in the House of Representatives Chamber of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., is that of Constantino Brumidi, who was also known as the "'Michelangelo of the United States Capitol."
Constantino Brumidi was born in Rome, Italy on July 26, 1805 of a Greek father and Italian mother. His father, Stavros Brumidis was born in Philiana, Messinia, Greece, and immigrated to Rome when a young man during the time when Greece was still under Turkish rule.
Constantino Brumidi was admitted to the Academy of Arts in Rome when only thirteen years old, had an excellent reputation as a painter, and when about 35 years of age he was given the task of restoring some paintings in the Sacred Palaces for Pope Gregory VIth.
In her book "Constantino Brumidi, Michelangelo of the United States Capitol" author Myrtle Cheney Murdock says of his early years in Rome:
About all that is known of the artist's next twenty years is that he became involved in the French occupation of Rome in the year 1849 for the suppression of Republican institutions, and when his friend, Pope Pius IX, was banished from Rome, Brumidi was thrown into prison for fourteen months.
As Captain of the National Guard, Brumidi had refused to obey certain orders against his friends which resulted in the enmity of Cardinal Antonelli, Minister of State. Pope Pius IX was finally restored to the Vatican but he was unable to save Brumidi except on condition that the artist would flee the country and never return. Finally, to save his own life, Brumidi was forced to leave Italy. He reached America in 1852.
Upon his arrival in the United States, Brumidi renounced his Italian citizenship and filed his intent to become a citizen of the United States. He took out his final citizenship papers on November 12, 1857 in Washington, D.C.
He was hired to decorate the Capitol Agriculture Committee Room in 1855, and his brush was busy in succeeding years, with the nation's Capitol building as his canvas. His work included the Senate Reception Room, Senate Appropriations committee room, the President's Room in the Senate extension (a masterpiece of paintings and frescoes on which he labored for 5-1/2 years in that one room), the Senate Floor corridors, the House of Representatives Chamber, the House of Representatives committee room, the Capitol Rotunda. The Rotunda of the Capitol contains his magnificent frescoed frieze of 15 historical groups and is capped by his huge frescoed canopy in the eye of the Capitol dome, measuring some 4,664 square feet of concave fresco.
Author George C. Hazelton, in his book published in 1897, "The National Capitol," says: "Brumidi's work so identifies him with the Capitol Building that he may almost now be called the Michelangelo of the Capitol." Hazelton quotes the remarks of a group of artists decorating the Congressional Library who saw Brumidi's work in the Capitol: "We have nothing equal to this in the Library. There is no one who can do such work today."
Constantino Brumidi, Greek immigrant to America, worked for 25 years decorating the U.S. Capitol, until his death on February 19, 1880. The book "We, the People" which is the story of the U.S. Capitol building, says this about Brumidi's work in the eye of the Capitol dome:
"Across the Dome's eye, 180 feet above the floor, spreads a gigantic allegorical painting by the artist Constantino Brumidi. The painting depicts the 'Apotheosis' or glorification, of George Washington. Surrounding Washington in sweeping circles are delicately colored figures -- some 15 feet tall. They include gods and goddesses pictured as protectors of American ideals and progress. Like most of Brumidi's work through the Capitol, the Dome decoration was done in true fresco. In this exacting technique, used by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, the artist applies pigments to fresh plaster. Brumidi, often lying on his back high on a scaffold, had to paint fast, lest the plaster dry and force him to rework a whole section."
"My one ambition," Brumidi wrote, "is that I may live long enough to make beautiful the Capitol of the one country on earth in which there is liberty."
Brumidi was 60 years old when he finished the Dome canopy, and 72 when he set up his scaffold below to begin his long-planned frieze showing scenes from American history. He completed six panels, a third of the expanse 300 feet around and 8 feet high. Then, one day, while painting the seventh, Penn's Treaty with the Indians, he suddenly lost his balance. Desperately, he grabbed the platform and clung -- 58 feet from the floor -- until rescuers came. But, Brumidi's working days were nearly over. He died a few months later, in 1880.
After his death, he was memorialized in Congress only by Senator Daniel Voorhees of Indiana, and Senator Justin Morrill of Vermont. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Washington's Glenwood Cemetery, and forgotten.
Millard Fillmore was President of the United States when Constantino Brumidi first started his work of decorating the Capitol, and he continued his work through six succeeding Presidents. His average pay was about $3,000 a year, hardly just compensation for the brilliant work he gave to the Capitol.
Through the efforts of Myrtle Cheney Murdock, wife of Arizona Congressman John R. Murdock, the story of Constantino Brumidi was brought to light in 1950, after he had been a forgotten man for almost 70 years. She published her book in 1950 which illustrates vividly almost all of his work in the Capitol, and which also includes whatever is known about this Greek genius of art. In his eulogy in 1880, Senator Morrill of Vermont said: "So long has Brumidi devoted his heart and strength to this Capitol that his love and reverence for it is not surpassed by even that of Michelangelo for St. Peter's."
Brumidi painted frescoes on the walls and ceilings of six Capitol Committee rooms more than 100 years ago, and they seem not to have faded a bit during these many years. He introduced the first specimens of real fresco painting to the United States. As Brumidi described it: "The Committee Room on Agriculture in the south wing of the Capitol was painted in 1855 as the first specimen of real fresco introduced in America. In this connection can be mentioned a curious mistake common in this country, and that is the calling all and every decoration in oil, turpentine or glue that is put upon dry walls, real fresco.
Fresco derives its name from fresh mortar, and is the immediate and rapid application of mineral colors diluted in water, to the fresh mortar just put upon the wall, thereby the colors are absorbed by the mortar during its freshness, and repeating this process in sections day by day, till the entire picture will be completed. This superior method is much admired in the celebrated works of the old masters, and is proper for historical subjects or classical ornamentations, like the Loggia of Raphael at the Vatican." (from Mrs. Murdock's book.)
The artist's supreme effort is the President's Room, on which he spent more than five years of strenuous work. I have seen this room, and it is replete with the artist's finest work, walls and ceiling, and can believe that the work did take five years.
Brumidi had his critics during his lifetime, who criticized his work as not being representative of American artistry, but the results of his artistry were not truly appreciated until Jong after his death. There was some criticism against his being hired for this work because of his foreign birth.
The ground floor corridors of the U.S. Senate extension are known as the "Brumidi Corridors" and they contain entire walls and ceilings filled with his allegorical paintings.
Constantino Brumidi married his model, Lola Germon of Washington, D.C., by whom he had a son, Laurence S. Brumidi. He also had a daughter, Elena, whom he left in Rome, when he had to leave that country to save his life.
[ Read more about Constantino Brumidi ]
The foregoing biographies of Greeks who came to America prior to 1890 is by no means complete, nor do we claim it to be a final listing. Research will, no doubt, bring to light many other names of such Hellenes who left their mark in the annals of American history.
Part I of this book is intended as a beginning source for students and researchers, with the hope that other information, more complete and exhaustive, will be given and compiled by other writers in the months and years ahead.
The Order of Ahepa offers this foregoing information for the benefit of all Americans of Greek descent, as well as for the information of others, with the hope that it will encourage many students and researchers to continue this work.
If certain names have been omitted, we offer our apologies, and point out that the original purpose of this book was the history of the Order of Ahepa
© Copyright Order of AHEPA
George J. Leber's book is copyright protected. However, any portions of this book may be quoted at length, provided that proper credit & acknowledgement is given to the book, author, publisher, and pages.
Leber, George J. History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972. Washigton DC, Order of AHEPA, 1972.