The New York Times26 March 1915


Turkish Regular Troops at Urumiah Also Kill Four Orthodox Priests.


Mr. Allen Insulted - Dr. Packard Risks life by Showing Flag and Averting Massacre.


Men Murdered by Turks and Kurds - Christians Held Out Till Their Ammunition Was Gone.

TIFLIS, Wednesday, March 24, (via Petrograd and London, March 25.) - Telegrams and letters reaching here from Urumiah, Northwestern Persia, describe the situation of the American Presbyterian Mission stationed there as desperate. Turkish regular troops and Kurds are persecuting and. Massacring Christians. Dr. Harry P. Packard, the doctor of the missionary station at Urumiah of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, risked his life in a successful effort to prevent a frightful massacre at Geogtopa, where 3,000 Persian Christians made their last stand. They had fought for three days, and all their ammunition was gone. At this juncture Dr. Packard unfurled an American flag and advanced between the lines. His, act resulted in the saving of, all but 200 of the Persian Christians, who had been burned in a church. Fifteen thousand Christians have taken refuge under the protection of the American Mission station, while 2,000 are at the French Mission. A dispatch received at Tiflis from Urumiah yesterday said that seventy Turkish regular troops had entered. the mission, hanged the Orthodox Bishop, Mar Ella, and four Orthodox clergymen, and beaten and insulted a missionary named Allen. Shortly before that sixty refugees had been dragged from the French Mission and executed in spite of the pleas of the nuns.

Slain in Groups of Five.

At Culpashan the Kurds were particularly cruel. This was the last of a total of 103 villages to hold out, and, it was occupied a month ago. The Kurds ordered all the male citizens into the streets, tied them in groups of five, Marched them to the graveyard, and killed them barbarously to the last boy. Girl babies and the older women were then executed with great atrocity, while the younger women were carried away as slaves. As a result of the war 12,000 Persian Christians are taking refuge, in the Caucasus, some 17,000 are described as in imminent danger at the Urumiah Missions, while 20,000 are dead or missing. Furthermore, much property has been destroyed. The Christians fought their assailants bravely, and as long as they had ammunition they were victorious. The missionaries are untiring in their efforts to help the people, and they are spending money to this end freely. In Urumiah they are dispersing the equivalent of $400 dai1y. Disease is prevalent among the refugees.

Nothing Heard from Morgenthau.

WASHINGTON, March 25. - Continued reports of menace to the lives of American missionaries and refugees at Urumiah, Northern Persia; have aroused the activity of the State Department. Although only one official communication on the subject has been received, Secretary Bryan stated today that diplomatic and consular officials in Persia, Turkey and Russia had been apprised of the reported circumstances and appealed, to for any available information. Nothing was heard by the department today on the subject from Ambassador Morgenthau, at Constantinople, who yesterday was directed by the department to urge the Turkish Government to afford protection to Americans at Urumiah.

NORTH YAKIMA, March 25. - The missionary named Allen mentioned in today's telegram from Tiflis is the Rev. Dr. E. T. Allen, a brother of Mrs. E. V. Lunn of North Yakima. He was at one time pastor of a church in Portland, Ore. Dr. Allen is a naturalized American. His wife and three children are with him at Urumiah. The latest letter Mrs. Lunn received from her brother, dated December, says in part; "The very people, that we visited some months ago to help are now howling outside the city gates, waiting to shed our blood, if they can force their way in. There are thousands, and we do not have much food."

Mission Board Gets News.

At. the offices of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, 156 Fifth Avenue, it was learned yesterday that a cable had been received on Wednesday from a native Christian of the mission at Urumiah, confirming in detail press dispatches from Tiflis, but omitting mention of the part which Dr. Packard played in safeguarding the Americans under his charge. Special mention was made in the cablegram of the destruction of the French mission at Gulpashan. The American missionaries at present in Urumiah are the Rev. F. G. Coan and Mrs. Coan, the Rev. W. A. Shedd and Mrs. Shedd, the Rev. C. C. Sterrett and Mrs. Sterrett, Miss Mary E. Lewis, Miss. E. D. Lamme. Harry P. Packard, Mrs. H. P. Packard. Mrs. J. P. Cochran, the Rev. Hugo A Mueller and Mrs. Mueller, the Rev. E. T. Allen, and Miss Lenore Schoebel. Dr. Packard has been in charge of the Mission for some years, having returned to Urumiah from a vacation in the United States a few months ago. At that time it was suggested that he be transferred to another, more important mission, and a petition signed by the most powerful of the Mullahs (Mohammedan Priests) and the Sayids (Moslem nobles) was presented to the board, begging that Dr. Packard be retained. The friendship of these dignitaries was due in large part to the fact that many of them had been patients in the hospital which is a part of the mission at Urumiah. Until the telegram arrived on Wednesday no fear had been entertained in this country as to the safety of the missionaries, as it was known that the native tribes were particularly friendly to the American mission and the foreigners attached to it. Another cause for hopefulness was the fact that in October, when the situation became critical, the Russian Consul begged Dr. Packard to remain, as he thought that the moral effect of his presence might accomplish more in the way of quieting the natives than his guard of 800 Cossacks.

"Historic Nation Annihilated."

The people of Urumiah, who are members of the Assyrian Christian Church, are described as "a historic nation with noble traditions annihilated" in a letter just received by THE NEW YORK TIMES from an American minister who fled to Tiflis when the Russian Army left Urumiah and the Kurds swept down upon the district. The letter, which is dated Tiflis, Feb. 10, says in part: " From what we can gather the villages of Urumiah plain, those inhabited by Christians, some seventy in number, have been nearly all of them plundered, some burned to ashes, many young men killed, young women taken captive by Kurds and Persian Moslems, churches desecrated and demolished. Some 15,000 Assyrian and Armenian Christians from Urumiah have fled to Russia. "The province of Aderbaijan in Northern Persia, was occupied by the Russian Army, and for the past two or three years the Moslems and Christian alike enjoyed peace and prosperity, the roads for commerce were open, and there was personal security for all natives and foreigners alike. "Some two months ago it was feared that for strategic reasons the Russian Army in Urumiah might be withdrawn for other centres. Still, an effort for the sake of the Christians was made, and the Russians stayed and repulsed the Kurdish attack on every side. The Kurds were mainly and solely coming for plunder and revenge, in this the low classes of Persian Moslems became partners. "The Russian Army was suddenly recalled from Urumiah, Solmas, Tabriz and elsewhere The Baranduz and Uri River people knew nothing of this withdrawal from Urumiah, as the Russian Army was to pass westward. The eastern section of the villages knew nothing of the evacuation till the Russians had left and the roads were blocked. "The Baranduz men, true to their traditions of bravery, kept defending the villages and women after the Russians had left. They were armed already by the Russians and were doing well in keeping villages from daily attacks. The women and children of the villages had been sent to Geogtopa, the largest Christian village, five miles east of the city, and after the young men could not keep the Kurds back, they fell on Geogtopa, where they fought the hordes of Kurds for two days. The Persian Moslems, from the city, came from the rear and assisted the Kurds. "The scene that followed was horrible. The young men were killed, the young women taken by the Kurds and Moslems for themselves. The village was burned and plundered, together with all the churches. The two rich villages of Culpashan and Charojushi have not been burned, one Kurdish chief having appropriated them himself.

"We have telegraphed to the President of the United States for relief of those in Urumiah. It is to America that we look for assistance and guidance. Let our young men there know their duties to what May be surviving of their families. Money can be sent to Persia through the American Consul at Tabriz and the American Consul at Tiflis. The money should be sent, through the representatives of the districts in which men live, to the State Department. We invite the Red Cross people to come to our assistance in our deep agony."

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