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Van has had about a dozen well known ancestral families, some political, some national, some charitable, and some in education, but all of them very beneficial.

One of the patriarchs of the Natanian ancestry was Garabed Natanian who, though not a literary person, had supported education to the extent of his means. Garabed Agha was born in about 1846, by nature stubborn and active. He received some education at the Khrimian seminary, and he was one of the active workers of the Paulist party of the time and the main supporter of M. Portukalian and his national programs. For that reason, he was twice exiled by the Turkish government, being named by the opposition party.

On his return in 1887, he was exiled the second time in 1892 (during the times of the governor Bahri) to Dikranagerd and Akkia.

Garabed Agha was the primary advisor of the Assyrian Khalil Pasha, and with his strong influence became a supporter of members of the newly organized Armenagan party, during the times of the Turkish despot, by getting Karekin Manugian and others released from prison. The Armenian youth owed much to him for his help. He was an advisor to Khrimian and Portukalian when they were in danger for their political activities. He helped also in the improvement of education. He died in Constantinople at the age of 80, in 1926. His brother, Harutiun, engaged in commerce, also not highly educated, was a supporter for education. His sons, Kapriel, Mikayel, and Rapayel became national figures, as we can see in the following pages.
He was born in Aygestan, Van, in 1866. He received his early education in the Araruts school. He attended the normal school established in Van by M. Portukalian, representative of the Araradian Society of Constantinople, and graduated successfully along with classmates M. Avedisian, Dr. Kalusd Aslanian, Karekin Manugian, Yeghishe Kondakjian, Ghevont Khanjian, and others, who would later become intellectual and national stars. On the suggestion of his uncle, Kapriel went to Constantinople and entered a school of law, and on graduating successfully, returned to Van as Van’s first accredited attorney. He defended those who were illegally being held, and freed them from the claws of the bribe-taking Turkish attorneys and from the threat of imprisonment and government fines.

He lectured in a number of schools as an expert in the Turkish language. Let us mention that when the constitution and program of the Armenagan party were first being written, he, with his legal knowledge, introduced some corrections. He became an active member of the party. He died in 1905, in Van, in the cholera epidemic.

We offer the biography of the second brother, Mikayel, below, but before that we mention the third brother, Rapayel, who in his early youth was killed in the well known fighting of 1896 with the Avedisian group -- the last Avarayr.


He was born in Aygestan, Van. His primary education was received at the Araruts Holy Translators school principally under the teacher Hayrabed Janigian.

He studied together with this writer at the United-Araradian school which closed a year later, and opened as the Portukalian school with the help of Khrimian, Garabed Natanian, and Krikor Ardzruni, of the “Mshag” paper of Tiflis. When Khrimian and Portukalian were sent to Constantinople in 1885, that school, along with the Varak press, was closed by the Turkish government. Mikayel’s class was to graduate that same year, and that ceremony took place in the hillside forests of the ‘Haynguys’ [foreigners] group over the next few months.

Portukalian started the publication of the ‘Armenia’ newspaper in Marseilles in 1885. The students of the Central school dedicated themselves to the national movement for freedom, under the leadership of M. Avedisian, who, with a number of other teachers, occupied an important place in the schools of Van and surroundings.

Mikayel Natantian, in order not to be left out of that movement, and along with M. Avedisian and Kevork Odian (later Der Arsen kahana of Salmasd), planned to open a Sunday school in order to bring in those of Van’s youth who until then had spent their time eating and drinking, and being of no use to the community. Under the urging of the Paulist group, the government imprisoned Mikayel Natanian, K. Odian, and a follower of the school, Hovhannes Kankanian, and exiled them to three counties of Konya: Mikayel to Aksera, Kevork to Arabison, and Hovhannes to Urgib. The three remained in exile until 1891 when Mikayel’s uncle, Garabed Natanian, used his influence over Khalil Pasha and succeeded in getting a pardon from Sultan Hamid. The youths returned to Van.

The three exiled ones found Van to be significantly changed. Under the urging of the “Armenia” paper published by Portukalian, in 1886, the Armenagan party was organized. The battle between the government and the party had started -- prison, exile, and killing. The killing of the policeman Nuri by Panos Terlemezin and H. Kankanian had enraged the government, a victim of which was Manug Shadvorian (an innocent one), who was hung in 1893. His entire family was imprisoned and unmercifully tortured.

Because of the persecution, especially his father’s being exiled a second time to Akkia, Mikayel was obliged to become a fugitive, living in hiding. with a sentence over his head of ten years imprisonment and death.

During the Sasun events of 1895-96, Natanian was able to escape and find some relief in the Caucasus in Yerevan (where this writer met him), and in Tiflis, where he was imprisoned again, along with Panos Terlemezian and Karekin Manugian in the Medekh prison.

On being released from prison, Natanian, on Khrimian’s advice, went to France to study agriculture, graduating from the Nice school in 1903. He then went to Egypt, where for a time he was manager of the large lands held by Garabedian. He then went to Cairo as superintendent over government lands until the promulgation of the Ottoman Constitution, at which time the United Society of Constantinople was reorganized in 1909, and Natanian was sent to Cilicia. There he became the educational supervisor of the Deort Yol Kelegian orphanage opened by the Armenian General Benevolent Union, until 1913. In 1914, with the start of world War I, he was sent to Konya, and from there to Aleppo, where he remained in hiding until the end of the war.

During the investigations of the Aleppo massacre of 1919, he was designated examiner for the Armenians along with Barkev Papazian. In 1928, Mikayel was designated by the A.G.B.U. as general examiner for its schools in Syria, as well as for its benefactions and the reopened orphanages. In 1923, he was sent to Greece to organize and oversee the relief activity. When he returned, he resigned from those duties and went to Alexandria, where he became assistant editor for the “Arev” paper being edited by Vanetsi Hovhannes Hagopian. He continued in that capacity until 1933 when he once again was designated by the A.G.B.U. as supervisor for its 170 schools of Syria and Lebanon, a duty which he carried out faithfully and conscientiously until 1945.

Natanian had reached the age of 77, and he needed rest. The Union was kind enough to grant him retirement. Although M. Natanian does not have literary works, however, his signed series of articles to newspapers numbers nearly one thousand. His articles appeared in “Arevelk” of Constantinople, “Armenia” of Marseilles, “Lusaper” and “Arev” of Egypt, “Mshag” of Tiflis, “Zartonk” of Beirut, “Sion” of Jerusalem, “Hasg” of Cilicia, and “Hayasdani Gotchnag” and “Baikar” of America, and still many other papers. He continues now to write and write.

Even with such an adventurous life, M. Natanian, especially during his fiery transition from early youth to maturity, has brought his family, the people of Vasburagan, and the Armenian nation knowledge and, especially, formal education through his selfless devotion to his work. As such he is worthy of being given an honorable place in our constellation of stars.
He was born in Aygestan, Van in 1862, from the multi-branched ancestral family that produced a number of statesmen, attorneys, teachers, and other professionals, many of whom have appeared in this work. Margos, as with his brothers Boghos and Ohannes, received his education locally. Margos, a bright seeker of knowledge, had teaching positions in schools of Mush, Constantinople and its surroundings, and other places where there was a need. His younger brother, who was a comic and a sociable person, was a teacher in the lower grades.

Boghos was the most sharp-witted and capable of the brothers. Starting in 1877, he was a teacher in the village of Aliur, and then in 1879 in the normal school of the Araradian Society of Van where he later became assistant superintendent. As the right hand of Portukalian, he taught history, in which he was a specialist. He left a strong impression on his students. M. Natanian, together with another teacher (who first proposed physical training in the military manner), being regarded by the government as being revolutionaries, were summoned to Constantinople and from there sent to Jerusalem in exile.

In 1887-90, Natanian taught history and geography in the Zharankavorats school in Jerusalem. Earning a pardon in 1891, he visited Egypt with the intent of returning to Van. At that time, I was in Cairo, planning to come to America, and for his being my teacher it was my duty to honor him and take him on visits. We traveled on the Fellah pack-horses. When we stopped at the base of a large pyramid, I treated him to tea. He joked that tea had admirable health benefits, and that it relieved constipation. We climbed to the top of the pyramid and marveled at the wonderful views that passed before our eyes.

The Natanian family established itself in Constantinople in 1895. He dedicated himself to teaching, which he continued until 1915, when he accepted the position of supervisor for the school of Constantinople. He miraculously escaped the deportations of 1915. In 1923 he settled in Paris, and lived there until his death in 1930.

As an educator, activist, delegate, public speaker, publisher, correspondent, and especially a historian, Natanian had many students and listeners. In Van he was one of the founders of the Progressive League, secretary in the diocesan office, correspondent with newspapers of the Caucasus, Constantinople, and elsewhere. He wrote countless historical, philological, and educational articles, and he was recognized in the nation for his work. The veteran writer Mr. Arshag Chobanian gave the following description of the deceased Margos Natanian in the 1931 issue of “Anahit.”

“Margos Natanian died of a hemorrhage in the brain while at a cultural meeting in Paris of the Ramgavar Liberal club. He was a dedicated person, as was Lalaian, and as a dedicated one he gave up his life. He, a son of the beautiful land of Van, immediately on receiving an education, threw himself into the field of teaching, and for nearly 40 years he wore out all his energy and his heart in that consecrated arena, which field he regarded not as a position, but as a mission. His chosen field was history -- historical events and figures -- offered with enthusiasm, and conveying the ideas of bravery, faithfulness, selflessness, idealism, and especially patriotism with warmth and tenderness. He spread moral principles and developed fine character. He started in Van, in the St. Garabed school, and then he traveled throughout the Turkish Armenian cantons from one end to the other as a supervisor for the schools of the United Society. Later he went to Constantinople as a teacher. After the tragic years he went to Paris where he visited the youth in Armenian organizations, and to his last days offered classes in Armenian history. Countless Armenian youths were ennobled by his words and person. . . .

“He was particularly a right-minded, clear-thinking, and courageous person, with a right view for managing national projects. And despite his mild and gentle manner, he knew how to battle unwaveringly and firmly for those purposes and principles that he believed in. He was one of the first members of the Ramgavar Liberal Organization, and, after joining, he remained one of the most knowledgeable and faithful members, until his death. . . .

“As a delegate he preached and defended those principles he believed in before the Armenian National Assembly in Constantinople, and as a correspondent he wrote brilliant articles for several newspapers on various topics. It is worth having the most significant of those articles published as a collection in a volume, with cost to be borne by his friends.

“The premature death of his son had shattered him, and his advanced age had weakened him, but in that frail body he still carried the vigor and enthusiasm of youth, and his ability to produce. He wrote, he lectured, and he wanted to participate in every worthwhile gathering. Even on the day before his death, he was fulfilling his duties as an Armenian and as a believing party member by going to lecture before a group of young stalwarts. And on the evening just before his death, he had gone to that meeting where I was lecturing on the subject of our nation’s history and traditionalists. After I had completed my talk he was the first to comment, on three points, on Yeghishe, Ghazar Parbetsi, and another, when he was about to faint. He was taken to a hospital where the attending physician said that he was having a severe hemorrhage. He died that night. He died, as a soldier does on the bulwarks of battle...”

One of the outstanding homes on one of Aygestan’s beautiful streets belonged to the blessed Ajemian ancestral family.

During Khrimian’s times the well known Hampartzum Agha was engaged in commerce, and although he was not highly educated he was a lover of writing, being a backer of a number of Khrimian’s works, as well as a moral and financial supporter of various educational and cultural activities.

He was succeeded by Krikor Ajemian, a well talented teacher who for many years was a teacher and sometimes supervisor of parish and central schools. He had a sharp mind and often made joking remarks. He was a member of the Armenagan party, the heart and soul of the local leadership. He was a ready speaker, a bold critic of wrong action. Sadly, his enemies could not bear him for that and had him killed, even at the hand of his wife’s brother. The people bemoaned his death.

His son, Kurken “Mahari,” in addition to schools in Van, received his education in Armenia, and became a fine poet. But, alas, during the early days of the revolution he, along with a number of other intellectuals of the time, was purged by being “exiled.” Just where and how, no one knew. He has left behind a number of poems.

Mgrdich Ajemian, son of Hampartzum’s bother Vartan (who was also fond of literature, and a supporter of education), served in Van’s parish schools as a faithful teacher. He later moved to the Caucasus with his family. He was the keeper of supplies for the “HOG” organization, and worked at various jobs. He made sure that his two sons, Vartan and Khoren, received an education. They engaged in theater activity and attained high positions. Unfortunately we do not have information on their lives to report to the reader. Let us say, in brief, that we have heard that Vartan became a stage director in one of Yerevan’s theaters, which fact we gleaned from the February 17 issue of “Baikar” telling of an evening dedicated to the art of stage director Vartan Ajemian’s creations, as reported by the president of the theater guild, K. Janibegian. At that time Vartan Ajemian had “promised hereafter to present material written in a more vibrant and contemporary style and staged more artistically.”

His brother, Khoren Ajemian, as far as we know, is to be found in the same way in a Leningrad theater. His one writing, on Vahram Papazian, was sent by wireless to Baikar contained in a brief biography of him.

Levon Ajemian, the son of Krikor Ajemian’s brother Kevork, is an editor, teacher, writer, but see his biography [see below].

Thus see how the many branches of the family tree have produced fruit of value to the race.

He was born in Van and received his early education there. He then went to the National Central school in Constantinople and graduated in 1912. He went on to Cilicia and served as principal of the Deort Yol Kelegian school until 1914.

He was conscripted in the Turkish army and sent to the Palestinian front where he was captured by the British army and sent to Egypt. He carried on work there for the nation until 1920. He was sent to Cilicia by the Ramgavar organization, and he served on the editorial staff of the “Hay Tzayn” paper of Adana. In 1923 he married a teacher of Adana. In 1924 he went to Alexandria and arranged the publication of the children’s journal “Punj,” and served for many years as a teacher in the Kalusdian school of Cairo. He was also the author of the “Yearbook,” (1925-26), as well as of classroom texts and brief histories of Armenia. He wrote a tale “Sihuni Chure Bghdor E.” He was an assistant editor of the “Arev” paper, and later a correspondent.

He was chairman of the executive committee of the Vasburagan Union of Cairo. He was a correspondent for the paper Baikar, and other papers.

In September, Levon and his family joined the First Egyptian caravan, along with the editor of “Arev,” to Armenia. Levon was the nephew of the Van teacher, bemoaned Krikor Ajemian, who was a principled leader in the Armenagan party and who was shot down by the Tashnag group, by the very hand of his wife’s brother.

Levon’s father Kevork and I were classmates in the Portukalian school. At that age he was a kind and innocent youth, and entertaining. We have no doubt that Levon, with his experiences in life and his alertness, will earn the approbation of the scholars of Armenia and will occupy an enviable position in their midst.
Unfortunately we do not have details of his biography, except to know that he was a native of Van and, judging from the foreword of his historical and fine work “Hayots Hairig” [Father of Armenians], that he was probably a tireless investigator in philology, and possibly an adventurer and participator in the revolutionary movement. From his brief foreword we extract that he was born in Van, that he attended the Yeramian school 1909-15, that he first looked into the life of Khrimian, and that he was helped by a number of books and by contact with teachers, being encouraged by them.

In 1915, Van was under the control of the Russians, and the famous Russian scholar, Prof. Nicholas Marr, well informed about Armenia, was in Van in June 1916 to make scientific excavations and studies. Haig Ajemian, working under him, traveled in cities and villages to gather ethnological information, about ancient figures and places, language of the vernacular, traditions, legends, etc.

Upon completing that work, and satisfying Prof. Marr, Haig prepared a detailed report on “inhabited and uninhabited places” satisfying himself as well.

In Varak, on meeting the aged Bedros, who was faithful to Hairig, Haig received from him a number of unpublished letters of Khrimian’s.

The second retreat of Van took place on July 25. Ajemian, loading all he had gathered in a bag and carrying it over his shoulder, went to Echmiadzin and succeeded in entering the Kevorkian seminary. And there, with what he had, and with the rich resources of the monastery library, he proceeded on his great work, “Hayots Hairig,” and brought that literary treasure to light. But it was only after delays caused by the events in the Caucasus, the changes in the government, and his going to Tabriz that he published the work in 1929. His other works, which are of great value, were also published there.


He was the son of a well-to-do family, born in the city. Unfortunately he was born deformed and was subject to stuttering. Despite that he devoted himself to study and entered the Yeramian school. With his aptitude, he was able to satisfy his appetite for knowledge and to teach at Varak. He loved his pupils, and for many years he would gather about him students and other teachers who would benefit from his knowledge and his good communicative ability. He died and was buried in the courtyard of the monastery. He always entertained listeners with his humorous talks. Yet, while serious, he displayed full wisdom.

We know only of two songs by Mihran Yesaian, but we are sure that he has written others. The first song, which is familiar to many, “Grvetsek Dgherk” [Fight, Boys]. was written on the occasion of the fighting by the Armenians against the men of the chief of the Kurdish tribe of Boghazkese. Some have erroneously ascribed it to the invasion of Khanasor.
Fight, boys, fight bravely. Stand before the enemy courageously.

For us, noble death is preferred, the adversary’s terror is remote from us.

Let us boldly advance to death, let no bullet be wasted.

We shall be feted by our former braves, our unlucky brothers await us.

We were not born free, at least let us die free, let us keep hearts and souls pure.

Let us again show our enemy what Armenian power and bravery are.
There are still two more verses to the poem, written with words just as fearlessly, that is still being sung in the diaspora, just as it was always being sung in the homeland.
The brother of the teacher we mentioned above, Khachig, was not part of the literary arena, but he had a bright mind, was a loyal patriot, and a lover of knowledge. As such he tried to give his children an education that would bring honor to their race and their friends. His wife Dikranuhi gave him strong support in realizing that ideal. One of their children, Mihrtad, was born in Pawtucket, RI, America, and it was there that he received his early education. He entered Providence College and graduated in 1925 with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. He then attended the Philadelphia Manmen Medical School and graduated in 1933. After serving a year or two in hospitals he opened his own office in Providence, benefiting all, Armenians and others.

Dr. Yesaian [Dr. Mark Yessian] was called to serve in the Medical Corps in World War II, in the Pacific Theater, and he was dismissed in 1946 with the rank of Major.

He continued his studies in Internal Medicine at Harvard University and now practices medicine in Providence, RI.

His older brother, Shavarsh, is a pharmacologist. Two married sisters have also received a high education, thanks to their father and mother. It is a tragedy that their father died in an accident, and could not see the day-to-day advancement of his children.


He was born in Van in July 1856. His early education was received in the foreigners’ school, and then through self-study, he became a teacher in a number of parish schools, and served for many years. After being ordained a priest he served in two positions at the same time. He was a kind and devoted pastor, as well as being friendly, joking, quick-witted and hospitable. For a time he served as a pastor in Adrianopolis in 1912. He found himself in a difficult position along with the now-deceased teacher Krikor Beozigian, through a betrayal. Compatriots in America called on him to serve as a pastor, but he did not succeed and returned to Van where he resumed working in the two positions, until the fighting in 1915. At that time Der Kevork, as a new-era Ghevont Yerets, traveled around and preached, encouraging, blessing, and inspiring young men to be heroic and not to lose hope in their just protests against their unequal treatment.

After the fighting he joined the caravan to Yerevan, but soon after, his fatigued and worn out body was consigned to the grave, along with a number of other clergy from Van.

The bemoaned kahana has written his memoirs three times, but they are lost and only fragments of a report have reached us: “ The Life and Works” of kahanas, vartabeds, and bishops of Van. It included information on monasteries, monks, churches and their parishes, inhabitants, great ancestral families of old and their public services, discoveries, trees and flowers, and everything else that was worth mentioning. He wrote of the Shakarian ancestry and their arrival in Van going back two hundred years. He also prepared a work on sayings, axioms, wise observations, and a variety of other things. A number of his children, some deceased, had been caught up in the general dispersion, in Constantinople and the Caucasus, and one daughter is now living in Michigan.

Several of Der Kevork’s works have reached us.
You are just, O Lord. Your judgment is sacred.

Your punishment of this sinner was just.

We did not carry out Your commandments,

We abandoned You. We were lustful.

Some of us violated Holy Matrimony.

Your sacred Sunday we continued to defile.

We scorned religious services and the Divine Liturgy,

And refused to hear sermon and counsel.

We forgot our God-given Armenian tongue,

And acquired the language of the Turk and the French.

And so, our cup was filled with the bitter potion,

And we all, due for punishment, shall drink of it.

Yet, O Lord, have pity upon us,

Spare us, we sinned, we beg of you.

David Shakarian was born in April 1859, and died in June 1896. We regret that we do not have details of the life of this prolific writer in hand, but we know that he received his education in Van, and enhanced his learning in Constantinople. He was exiled to Van , and, as many others did during the familiar events of 1896, he too sought protection in the environment of the missionaries. But the Turkish government demanded that all Armenian revolutionaries leave the protection of the Americans. Dr. Reynolds took David by the collar and expelled him, and in a few days, under the terror of great fear, he died.

David Shakarian was a self-made genius beyond his formal education. He had innate skill as a writer, poet, effective pedagogue, researcher, and the courage of his convictions. He was above bribe. He had a collection of more than three thousand examples of regional dialects. He wrote a novel, “Sapet,” for publication by the Vienna Mechitarists, but because their price for the printing was too high he kept the manuscript so that he might later publish it himself. But, unfortunately, the manuscript, and other writings, were stolen in Constantinople. The thieves, intending to enter Hovhannes Terlemezian’s room to steal his valuable papers, by mistake entered David Shakarian’s room and stole all his materials.

On returning to his “exile” in Van, he wrote a different “big book” in collaboration with Hmayag Noroian (who also was a victim of the 1896 fighting), but what the book was about we do not know.

David Shakarian wrote frequently for Constantinople papers, especially the “Dzaghig” monthly. His “A Refugee’s Last Night” article was reprinted in the “Artzakank” and “Horizon” papers of Tiflis.

He wrote a historical novel about “Hars U Pesa” [Bride and Groom] of the Agopi mountains, which was so fine and moralistic that it is said to offer a fine lesson for contemporary young men and women. Unfortunately, none of the author’s works has been available to us, except for one which we offer below.

(At the grave of the child Setrak Konkanian )

Poor deceased one, my heart goes out to you. What pitiless hand erased your

beautiful vision?

Virile youth, glowing light of your paternal home, illuminate your darkened sun.
Son of an unfortunate race, it was only in the spring of your life.

Newly had the dawn come, and your sweet hopes had just begun to bud.
Where are those gentle, sweet eyes, sometimes calm, sometimes fiery,

But always vengeful against the unjust verdict decreed against your brother. (2)

Heaven was silent, silent too was the earth; the moon went secretly into hiding,

While your innocent blood spilled like flashes of red lightning.
Heaven was silent; stars were helpless at your desperate moaning,

Unspoken witnesses of the black tragedy under the black, black clouds piled high.
It was there, O God. Did you not see it? Were your eyes also asleep?

Did you ignore it, the unclean acts of vile men?
The rays and mist of the dawn thrice dulled your sun.

The golden sunset thrice spread over your body
The nation’s unblemished, hallowed victim, a victim of the evil enemy.

Grief and grudge died out, the moon viewed your wounds thoughtfully.
Do not cry, mother. Do not spill tears, friends, over this casket.

He died for the sake of the fatherland. He will mount the throne of immortality.
Poor martyr, noble soul, let my heart go to you.

A single hand erased your beautiful vision.
You are immortal for us; may your blood declare vengeance

For thousand upon thousands of innocent victims.
Nerses Shakarian was born in Van in the 1860’s. He now lives in a suburb of Marseilles, France. He has five children, and grandchildren; they are a large family. Though Nerses did not have a very high talent in writing, it is possible to judge from his numerous letters that if the circumstances had been favorable he would have become just as his deceased brothers were, especially the middle brother, David. Each of those letters could have been an article in itself, for newspapers. They were constructive and logical, the product of a mature mind with good judgment. Often, we suggested to him to write articles for the newspapers with that same style and logic, but he was uncomfortable about it, and in this way a gold mine remained unquarried.

The uncle [father’s brother] of the three Shakarian brothers had three children, one, Sahag who went to the Caucasus, and contact with him was lost. One sister became the wife of teacher Hagopos, the brother of Bishop Karekin Srvantzdiants. The other sister is my wife, who, I confess, was my mentor, and often helped me in the task of getting this work into print.

(As a revolutionary, known as Askanaz Melkonian)
He was born in Aygestan, Van, in 1870, in the Norashen parish. He received his primary education in the parish school. After 1885, when he and Dikran Pirumian, Sherga, and others, had graduated and become teachers in the same school, they turned out competent teachers for the same school.

In 1890 he succeeded in becoming a teacher in the Missionaries’ high school, but when Dr. Reynolds recognized him to be a revolutionary, he was dismissed in 1891 along with his colleague Pambagizian, a teacher in the village of Akhorig. He then, along with other revolutionist acquaintances, went to the monasteries of Dereg and Apostle Thaddeus, which were more secure places.

In 1891-91 he was a teacher in the Arark school, but the affair of the killing of policeman Nuri led to his being arrested and imprisoned with a sentence of five years. But with the 1895 decree of amnesty issued by the Sultan he was released, and in the fall returned to teaching in the Arark school. He was especially skilled in mathematics. He became one of the leaders of the defense group in 1896, and he took part in the fighting against the Kurds in the region of the villages of Dere and Akhorig.

He went to Salmasd in 1896-97 where he taught, and in the following year he went to Tabriz, and taught in the Lilava parish school. There, on the demand of the Russian consul, he was imprisoned along with a number of members of the Armenagan party. In 1900 he went to Bulgaria, then to Egypt, and then to America. He entered Boston Technology [probably Massachusetts Institute of Technology] and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin from which he graduated, with a Master of Arts degree in engineering.

Avedis was one of the organizers of the Van Usumnasirats in America, in 1904, as well as of the “Hairig Fund” for the building of an agricultural school in Varak. He died in Fresno in 1922.
He was born in Aygestan, Van, in 1882, in the village of Norashen, as was his brother Avedis. He too received his early education in the parish school. In the 1896 event he went with the Avedisian group to Giuzel Dere, as his brother did, but he returned to Van with a few friends. He was later criticized by some.

In that same year Sahag went to the Caucasus, and from there to Salmasd Payachug where his brother was a teacher.

In 1897, he went to Yerevan and entered the diocesan school, in the third class, and then entered the Echmiadzin Seminary from 1898 to 1902, when he completed the sixth class and the first session of the lecture series. He then came to America, and in 1909 entered the University of Wisconsin where he studied electrical engineering, until 1915.

From 1915 to 1918 he was editor of the “Hairenik” paper, and a worker for the Dashnag party and the National Union. In 1918-19, he was a teacher in political science at Chicago University. In 1920, he left the Dashnag party, and in 1935, as head of a delegation of American Armenians, he went to the Soviet Union. On his return he became engaged in a personal business. During this time he was writing articles for the newspapers, as well as a series of articles for the “Baikar” paper raining fire on Simon Vratsian on the occasion of his critical writings on Khrimian. Sahag Chechian, at the age of 68, still has the spirit for battle, though he has left political activity, and holds to his own political thoughts. He sees Soviet Armenia as having both positive and negative aspects, but he is 80 percent supportive. Good or bad, Soviet Armenia is his only faith. We hope that for the sake of truth and justice, from now on, he does not spare his sharp pen in his attacks on the unjust.

He was born in Van on January 24, 1878. He received his intermediate education in the American school. During the 1895 days of terror, he came to America with his family, first in Norwich and then in Chelsea. After studying on his own for a time he entered Tufts Medical School in 1904, and completed it in 1908, receiving his medical degree. He interned at the Holyoke hospital for a year, and then opened his own practice in Chelsea. In addition to his medical practice, he gave lectures on scientific topics, and did his part in public service.

Unfortunately, he was unable to continue enduring that regimen. Mr. Yervant Der Mgrdichian, editor of “Ardzvi Vasburagan,” wrote the following about him.

“The severe weather of New England and excessively demanding duties have exacted a heavy physical toll on this young doctor born and blossomed under the bright skies of Van... Seeking to regain his health he went to California, but sadly the mild climate there and the effort of physicians were unable to bring about his recovery, and he died May 20, 1918, in Selma at the age of forty years.”

He wrote “Azad Grtutiun,” and “Serayin Aroghchutiun,” and a number of other articles for Armenian papers in America and Constantinople, as well as for periodicals.
He was born in Van, in 1872, and received his early education in the local missionary school.

After the death of his father, mother, and sister, he was obliged to work for a living. But his love for learning led him to flee from his house in Avants and go to the school he loved. It was in 1890-91 when, in that same school, we met one another. I was there, teaching, and learning English. But that arrangement did not last long, for the branch of the Armenagan party that we organized was betrayed by one of the teachers. Dr. Reynolds, superintendent and founder, suggested, saying, “it is either to give up politics or the school.” We preferred the latter. We were leaving together for America, but we parted at the Pontus. I was going first to Cairo to see my brother, while he was going directly to America, Chelsea. He was to stay at the house of a preacher W. Davis, to work and to study. This writer, not satisfied, in 1892, with the education being received, left the Middle West and returned to Boston in 1904, to study medicine. While Nalchajian, in 1905, was entering the Medical School of Boston University, he was also working outside in order to pay for his schooling. In this way, by working and studying he completed his schooling in 1899 [sic]. In July of that same year Nalchajian passed his state examinations and entered medical practice in Chelsea, where he still is.

For fifty years he was a tireless and helpful worker for the people of the local community, especially for his compatriots. He finds deep satisfaction in what he is doing.

He is a member of the medical staff of the city of Everett, and was also a founder of the Chelsea Savings Bank.

Dr. Nalchajian has helped the children of his sister and his brother to become doctors, doctors’ assistants, etc.
He was born on June 28, 1907. He received his early education in the public schools of Chelsea. He entered Harvard University in 1930 and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then attended the Medical School of Boston University, and in 1935 was awarded the MD degree.

In 1942 he continued his education, entering the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At present he is practicing medicine in Chelsea. He married in 1931 and has four children.

He is a member of several organizations, such as the Boston Harvard Club, Odd Fellows, Delta Omega, and others.

Dr. Willard Nalchajian, having received his education after his father, has benefited from the latest technical information. Because of his skills, he can expect in the future to gain fame. We wish him success.
He was born on March 21, 1888, in Aygestan, Van, and received his early education in the missionary school during the time of Dr. Reynolds and the supervisor Sahag Tarpinian, his uncle. The Turks, meaning to making it a symbol, burned down a number of homes in the foreigners’ parish, and, as a result, Hovhannes and his mother sought refuge near the missionaries.

In the following year, when the fighting started, they took refuge in the vineyards surrounding the American consulate, where mother and son had to bear the rain and the cold with nothing more than threadbare clothing, and with bullets of the fighting falling all about them. Sickness claimed his mother, but Hovhannes survived. With his father being in Russia, Hovhannes was not being cared for and he was left in the care of his mother’s sisters, Dinoian and Tarpinian.

The lad continued his schooling until he was a little over ten years of age, and then, with some other orphans, he was sent on the way to Persia. But along the way they were robbed by Kurds. When he reached Salmasd, he was taken into the care of Khachig Tarpinian, his other uncle, who was a teacher there. After a few weeks there, the four orphans set out for the Caucasus. They crossed the Arax River on “kelegs” [rafts supported by air-filled animal hides], passed through Yerevan and Echmiadzin, and finally reached Tiflis, where a kind person led them to Ekatarinabad to find his father. Unfortunately, his father was unable to care for him, so the boy had to apprentice himself to a barber, receiving only the midday meal as recompense... and occasionally help from customers. Being an alert lad he was attentive to Russian speech around him, which amounted to being a school for him. Dr. Dikran Nalchajian, his uncle in America, hearing of the boy’s escape from Turkey and his father’s inability to care for him, made an effort to get him to America and succeeded in making the necessary arrangements in 1901.

The father took the boy from Ekatarinabad to Odessa, and handed him over to the captain of a ship bound for Marseilles, with a plea to take care of him. In a restaurant the boy met a compatriot, Dr. Boghos Der Bedrosian, who was on his way to the same place (Chelsea), and who promised to take good care of the boy. So it was that they took off, through the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, reaching Marseilles. From there they went to Paris and Havre where they boarded a ship, and in 13 days reached New York. The next day they went to Boston, and Chelsea, their destination.

Dr. Der Nalchajian placed the boy in an American household, so that he might become familiar with English, and in two months the boy was admitted to the fourth grade of a primary school. In 1905, he entered high school, following a scientific curriculum so that he might enter M.I.T. to study electrical engineering.

But on becoming interested in dentistry, he went Tufts Dental School and graduated in 1913. He started at once in practicing his profession, which he continues to the present time. Being by nature a just person, Dr. John captured the hearts of his clientele, and day by day he enlarges his practice, with enviable success through his clean and quality work.

He has been married for 28 years, and has two adopted sons, Donald, who is 23, well educated and in architectural drafting, and John, 17, is continuing in high school.

Dr. John Nalchajian’s success brings high honor to the Armenian people. We wish him ever more success.


He was born in Van on May 10, 1882. He received his early education in the missionary school. His brother, Mr. Nerses, succeeded in 1906 to send him (and his younger brother Kevork) to America, to Chelsea where he worked for a time in Boston. Then he went to Michigan and entered the Battle Creek school, and then to the University of Illinois to study medicine.

Having successfully completed his studies and on receiving his diploma in 1921, he set up his medical practice in Ionia, Michigan. He served in the Providence Hospital of Detroit in 1919-20.

In 1920 he visited Glasgow and Paris in connection with specialization in surgery. On his return he became the physician-surgeon of the Ionia government hospital. During the war he served in the army as a military physician.

He joined a number of medical societies, and in 27 years of practice he participated in 2768 births. He died suddenly on May 4, 1948, in the Grand Rapids Blodget Memorial hospital from a blood clot in his brain that occurred while he was examining a patient.

His funeral services were conducted with great ceremony at the Ionia Methodist Church, and he was buried in the Highland Park cemetery.

Dr. Hovhannesian had married in 1924, and he had a son named Raffi. He left behind two brothers, Nerses and Kevork, who are now living and who are blessed with children. The deceased also has a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Hovhannesian.

On the occasion of the death of Dr. Hovsep Hovhannesian, the local American newspapers reported on his activities, that he was a member on the staffs of a number of hospitals, of one of which he was chairman, that he built a hospital where he lived, and of his extremely busy movement from one hospital to another. His having the confidence of the people was especially pointed out. The papers mentioned the drinking fountain that he had built in front of the city hall for the use of passersby. The reports pointed out the grief felt at his passing, and bless his memory, as do we.

Along with the extremely varied activities ,the deceased also published a number of medical tracts, and although he lived far from where there were Armenians, he was always committed to Armenian life. He wrote for the “Armenian Mirror-Spectator” weekly.

He supported the A.G.B.U. and its many projects. He left a legacy of $5000 worth of interest-bearing certificates, and provided that on his wife’s death other bequests be made to the A.G.B.U. and the University of Armenia.

The deceased’s brothers, Nerses and Kevork Hovhannesian, of Boston, who cared for him as a father, especially in providing material help for his education and advancement, wanted to set up a memorial for him. They have made a donation to the St. James [Hagop] Church of Watertown, and with it the social hall of the adjacent activities building is being named the “Hovsep Hovhannesian Hall.”
He was born near Khach street, of Van, in 1896, in a well-to-do family. He received his early education in the parish school, and then in the Yeramian intermediate school, graduating in 1911.

He went to Constantinople the next year in order to enhance his education, but unfortunately, because of the Turk-Bulgarian war, he was unable to proceed, so for the next year and a half he worked in the Terzibashian and Der Boghosian bank as an accountant and secretary, while at the same time putting emphasis on furthering his education.

He came to America in 1913 and occupied himself for two or three years in various positions. In 1916 he entered the Southern California Dental School in Los Angeles, and in four years received his diploma. He settled in Fresno, joining a dental group, and he lectured on branches of dentistry according to his specialties At the same time he was active in various Armenian national groups. For many years he was a member of the Fresno branch of the Vasburagan Union, sometimes as its chairman.

For more than 25 years he was a member and an executive of the Fresno branch of the A.G.B.U., and chairman for the last two years. He was always very active in the work of the Union.

His brother, Arshavir, has been similarly active in the Union.

Dr. Alexander married in 1924 and has two daughters. Thanks to his friendly and helpful manner he is liked by his compatriots as well as by the general local population. we wish him continued success, and advancement in his profession.
He was born in Van in 1871. He graduated from the local missionary school in 1887. He taught conscientiously in the same school until 1895. He came to America both as a worker and a teacher. Having graduated from one of the local schools in Worcester, and reinforcing himself through self study, he entered Harvard Dental School in 1902, and completed his studies successfully in 1905.

For a time he lectured in the Tufts Dental School, and then opened his own practice in the city center of Worcester, where he practiced for nearly forty years, giving his patients full satisfaction through his fine and dependable work. He married in 1911, to Mrs. Vartanush, a former teacher from Cairo, and they had three daughters for whom they provided a good education. They now live in Worcester, and are occupied in various positions.

Dr. Pazeian was a tireless worker, both mentally and physically. A central feature of his character was his rightmindedness, as attested to by all those who came in contact with him, for he was ready always to point out their faults, without flattery and without hesitation. But in character he was also simple, demanding little and being content with what he had. Perhaps it was a vestige from the time of his childhood in his family of little means. He was modest, forthright, and fun-loving, all without evil.

In Van, Dr. Reynolds urged him to use his talent by giving an occasional sermon. He would answer, saying, “But, Badveli, if I do not believe in those things, how can I give a sermon?” That answer cost him much, for, instead of receiving an increase in his pay, he had a decrease, and the unfortunate teacher was left to make do with “bread and cheese,” for himself and for his three brothers, sister, and mother.

In America, outside of his work, he attempted to undertake a study, for his mind was truly a broad-based “encyclopedia.”

He was lavish in telling others about things out of his knowledge, and, whether it was a clergyman or a layman, he was blunt and outgoing. But both groups were helped by his knowledge, even though they were being criticized and admonished by him. Yet, they still came to him, for they were being helped, and they liked him, because they knew that Dr. Pazeian had a sincere soul, though somewhat a skeptic. He had an internal love for national issues. His judgment was sound, well-based, and he was a capable critic, yet sympathetic. He was a defender of social issues. This writer was well acquainted with all aspects of his life, and was suddenly shocked on receiving news of his death in 1943.

The deceased, in addition to his conscientious teaching and work, has left some published and unpublished writings. Some were written in the regional dialect, such as “Usta Giuron,” “Talal Antaram,” “Badveli Anturian,” as well as some poetry, “Lalgan Urenin,” “Hashdutiun,” etc.

These two poems might have been a foreboding of his passing from this world.
When I was a lad, lively with play, enthusiastic, and full of hope,

All nature for me was full of fire, a paradise of joy.
When by chance the sun of my life became somber,

Death would whisper to me, in a deathly manner, “You are mine.”
Or when I worked enthusiastically for others, oh, for good,

That enfeebling death’s whisper, sounded, “You are mine.”
When I grew up, became a man, endowed with knowledge,

I chose work, family, ancestral land as my existence world.
Now I am old, have lost strength, and my desires have been fulfilled,

I lived, always giving satisfaction to me and to my friends.
I am now tired of this life, threat of death? Not at all!

What I want is Nirvana, let us be reconciled, “Now you are mine.”

Seated in the shade of a weeping willow,

I bemoan my grief, with warm tears.

Alas, my tears quench not my fire,

Nor even the sea’s waters my extreme thirst.
Tell me, willow, why do you always look down?

Why do you, sad and quiet, stare at me?

Can it be that you too are in love with someone

Who scorned you, and trampled on you?
[Would it be that your love lies here below, (a needed line added by translator)]

And I am seated over her grave?

Is it that the falling rain is being mixed in

With your tears of pain that you spill below?
Weeping willow, come, let us be friends,

And relate to one another the pain in our hearts.

Come, let us blend your lament with my woe.

Come, let us dispatch our complaint to the just heaven.
Should the boundless desire of our hearts

Cause us to topple into the bottomless void,

Then, whether we live or die, let our word be

Tirelessly to continue our lives to the end.
The sharp thorn of love is more sweet

Than a rose’s beauty and aroma for a loveless life.


He was born in Aygestan, Van, in the St. Hagop parish. We have not learned of his primary education. He first appeared in Constantinople, then went to Athens, and then to Cairo, to be with his sister, teacher Miss Vartanush Malkhasian (later married to Dr. Simon Pazeian). She now lives in Worcester, with her adult and educated daughters. Dr. Malkhasian studied in the national school in Cairo, and then entered a Fine Arts school until 1909 when he reached America and settled in Lynn, where his sister had come earlier.

In 1915 he graduated from the Lynn Classical high school and went to Harvard dental school, graduating in 1918. While at Harvard he edited a student paper, “Mirror,” and was selected to prepare drawings for the yearbook of his class.

He was elected to the Beta Xi Omega fraternity and was a member of the Harriet Newell Lowell research society. A member of the Army Medical Corps and of the army training corps, Dr. Malkhasian, after World War I, set up his practice in Springfield where for many years he satisfied his patients.

Dr. Malkhasian maintained membership in a variety of organizations, and in particular in the American Dental Society.

Dr. Malkhasian was one of the founders of the Longmeadow Masonic Lodge, and one of the leading members. He edited the Connecticut Valley Dental Society news letter. It was decided that he would write the “History of Dentistry,” for the century 1850-1950, on which he is now working. It is an exceedingly demanding task, and it is to be his crowning achievement. There were other offices he has held, but we are not including them now.

Dr. Malkhasian has maintained an enviable family home. His son (with same name as his father), after having graduated from the local high school was named the main advisor of the Springfield branch of the De Mollay. During world War II he served in the United States Navy, and he is now in his last year at Yale University Medical School. We wish him well.

His sister has completed Classical High School, and was honored for placing third among her hundreds of classmates. She is now studying at Duke University. She too has membership in various societies, and she promises a bright future, for the joy and pleasure of her parents.

In this way Dr. Malkhasian, both personally and through the education he has assured for his children, brings honor to his compatriots and to all who knew him. To him too we wish continued success.
I found him in the Portukalian teachers’ school to be different from all of his classmates. He was as mild mannered as a lamb, and if there were twins in nature, I would say that he was the twin of Khoren Khrimian. So mild and laconic was he.

After completing his course of study, he taught for a while and then went to Constantinople and Salonica to dedicate himself to the field of medicine. He became an important and active physician and returned to Van where he became famous in his specialty. Turkish officials of the time, envious of him, forced him to leave. Arslanian served effectively in

Salonica until his death on March 16, 1932.
He was born in Aygestan, Van, on June 28, 1902. He received his early education in the local American school, and in 1915 he went to Yerevan. After a year he came to America through the help of his relative, Dr. Nalchajian, and entered the local high school, which he completed in 1925. He then went to New York and entered Columbia University, and after a year of preparation he entered the Long Island School of Pediatrics and Chiropractic, graduating with a diploma in 1929.

He set up his practice in 1932, in Washington Heights. At the same time he married, but his wife died a year later. He married again in 1939, and had a child.

In addition to his practice he became involved in writing and in music. He translated Armenian poems into English, especially poems of Hovhannes Tumanian and Vahan Derian, which appeared in English language weeklies between 1935 and 1945.

In 1949 he published a volume of music, Arman Tokatyan’s “Ay Vart,” “Sirun Aghchig,” “Anchadum,” etc. He was commended for that work in the American and Armenian papers. Dr. Kurken is now working on a collection of children’s songs. He is a bright and energetic person, and we look forward to seeing the benefit of his work.
He was born in the foreigners’ Chortanian parish in about 1876. He was the brother of the revolutionary Shahen, who died on the Bartholomew battle field along with M. Avedisian.

Hovhannes received his primary education in the parish school, under teachers Shakarian, Saghoian, and the Akhigian brothers, In 1892-94 he taught in the same school that he had attended. In 1895, he went to the Kevorkian Seminary at Echmiadzin, and after graduating he went to Tabriz as a teacher.

In 1897, on the demand of the Russian ambassador, he was arrested and imprisoned along with other Vasburagan revolutionaries K. Beozigian, A. Chechian, Murad of Shadakh, and others. But through the intercession of Primate Sarajian, they were released.

H. Hagopian went to the Caucasus, and from there to America in 1899. His first assignment was to edit the paper “Tzayn Hayrenyats.” He then went to Wisconsin University and graduated in the department of history and literature with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and his thesis was on “The Invasion of the Crusaders.” In 1906 he became editor of the paper “Araks,” which was under the auspices of the Vasburagan Educational Society, some of whose founders, H. Russian, K. Manugian, A. Chechian. this writer [Levon Kazanjian], and H. Hagopian, were trying to strengthen the Armenagan Party within the Vasburagantsis in America. And to that end they invited M. Portukalian to America. The meeting took place in this writer’s home, and despite the strong urging of those in the meeting, Portukalian took a position opposing the wish of the others, insisting that more important was support for Armenia, and to propagate its principles.

In 1908 on the occasion of the promulgation of the Ottoman Constitution, Hagopian went to Constantinople as a national delegate and as a teacher of the Central school. In 1915 he went to the Caucasus (Tiflis) where he was elected a member of the Council of Armenians of America, along with Ardag Tarpinian (now deceased). He edited the “Van Dosp” paper. He was advisor for founders Kalantarian and H. Arakelian, of the People’s Party. In 1920 he went to Yerevan.

He went hurriedly to Constantinople and became an organizer for the [local branch] of the Ramgavar Liberal Party [Ramgavar Azadagan Gusagtsutiun]. He went to Egypt and accepted the position as editor of the “Arev” paper, and in 1933 he went to Yerevan as a representative of the A.G.B.U.. He started to establish a multi-language school for the A.G.B.U., but the death of Aghasi Khanjian put the matter on hold.

In America Hagopian published a dictionary. He had a number of novelettes, as well as a large volume on Soviet Armenia in 1944-45, and a number of other works. Information about his death remains obscure, and we received no details. This tirelessly working person is known to us as a teacher, an editor, a public servant, and an organizer of three societies. (Thanks to Mr. Sahag Chechian for getting a biography of this great patriot to me in time for publication).
He was born in the village of Kavashi Paykhner, during the 1896 troubles. Because he was left an orphan, he was accepted in the missionary school where he completed intermediate and high school education in 1912. He was well liked and encouraged, mainly by his teacher Hovhannes Avakian, for his modesty and alertness. While still a student, he did some teaching in the lower grades. On completing his studies, he was named as teacher in the City school. After the fighting of 1915, he went to Armenia and taught in the orphanage in Leninakan. Some time later, he went to France, and from there to Syria. He taught in the local schools for many years. At the time of the start of repatriation [nerkaght], he wanted to go to Armenia, but fate decreed that he remain in Cyprus, at the Melkonian institution, to be helpful in the field that he liked, which was the teaching of children. He was liked both by students and fellow teachers, for his polite, gentle, and friendly manner.

N. Hovhannesian’s intellectual field, as was evident, was pedagogy, and when the opportunity presented itself, he wrote on that subject, five books, two of which were published, and are now out of print, and the other three unpublished.

He wrote for the Arev, Zartonk, Abaka, Yeprad, and Hayasdani Gochnag papers. To fill the need of schools he converted a number of works for theatrical presentation, namely, Siamanto’s “St.Mesrop,” Terenig Demirjian’s “Vartanank,” Stepan Zorian’s “Bab Takavor,” Also “Hay Dibar Mayrer,” “Anarag Vortin,” “Haygagan Yeghern.”

He also published a textbook titled, “Kaghakagan Grtutiun.” He has a good quantity of topics on “Hay Badmakrutian Hamar,” but the subject matter was unsuitable for publication because it would not have been profitable. Notwithstanding, Hovhannesian remained attached to the calling he loved, and in turn he was loved by his students, calling him “The child-loving teacher.” He was unassuming, not wanting to be pretentious, considering himself to be a modest servant of the nation. He found happiness, contentment, and reward in the clear and sincere feelings of approval by his students toward him.

Once he had written me, “I have only one purpose, that my dying gasp would be in school.” He meant by that that his ardent love was for the burning fire of learning and the light it emitted. We wish this dedicated and giving intellectual many long years of life to continue to lead Armenian children to become desirable and glorious builders of Armenia’s future.
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