Death of Henry Maurer and D. M. Rogers
MR. TROWBRIDGE, who was the only American or European to witness the killing of his fellow-workers, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Maurer, gives a very graphic account in his letter sent to the missionaries and friends in which he says :
"Firing and fighting began on April 14th,between Moslems and Armenians, which resulted in a number of casualties on both sides. By nightfall it was clear that incendiaries were at work, for several districts of the city were covered by clouds of smoke, which rolled out far into the country, where vineyard and country houses also were burning.
"All night long the reports of firearms rang out from all sides. . . . The next morning the conflagrations had spread to such an extent that we were obliged to watch closely the environs of the building of the girls' school. . . .
"A fresh outburst of smoke near the girls' school showed that we were threatened by fire. The wind tanned the flames and drove them from house to house in our direction. Mr. Rogers was guarding the home of Miss Wallace and the dispensary across the street from the school. It was clear that the large school, a building of brick and wood, was in danger.
"We spent the morning in ripping off projecting woodwork and the porch posts. It soon became evident that direct efforts to put out the flames must be undertaken. Up to that time no one had dared to go on the streets because of the shooting from one end by Moslems and the other by Armenians. Moslem pillagers, armed and in desperate mood, were looting the houses opposite the buildings on fire.
"Mr. Maurer and I took a crowbar and an axe and crossed the street to destroy the wooden porches, shutters and stairways of the houses between the fire and the girls' school. We carried pails of water, which we threw wherever we saw flames breaking out. . . . No soldiers or policemen had appeared nor had any pumps or apparatus for fighting fire been brought out. The only news we had of the soldiers was the galling rifle fire from the minarets. The shooting apparently was directed at the houses where the Armenians were resisting by a return fire.
“When I first climbed to the roofs near the flames, armed Moslems appeared on three sides within close range. When they understood that I was not firing on them, but had come back to work against the flames, they lowered their rifles and assured me with many pledges that I might go on unmolested. Then three Turks appeared at the windows of a house just across the street, and after assuring me of my safety they dropped back again to their work of plunder.
"Back of that house in a well-protected position was a turbaned Moslem covering these looters with his rifle and firing frequently to protect them. Then other Moslems appeared suddenly on my left, but perceiving my purpose they bade me feel no concern.
"In the meanwhile Mr. Maurer, who had been carrying water in pails from the yard of the girls' school, came up to me and made use of a crowbar in throwing down a wall one side of which was burning fiercely. He worked with pails of water, the crowbar and the axe for over an hour. It seemed that we must have help. We repeatedly begged some Armenian young men who were lurking around the street corners, shielded from the Moslem fire, to put away their arms and come and save the school building.
"The real danger that pressed upon our minds was not the possible loss of the building, but the perilous situation in which our American friends, the hundreds of Christian refugees and the eighty schoolgirls would find themselves in case the building burned.
"In every direction there was rioting and shooting. There was no refuge except possibly in the Protestant church some distance away, and even this was threatened from three sides by the conflagration. [The Protestant church mentioned in Mr. Trowbridge's letter was also burned.]
"So we came back to the school and asked for volunteers. Mr. Rogers came at once. He had been in Miss Wallace's house and did not know how close the fire came. He carried water back three times. Mr. Maurer was using the crowbar against a wall, and I, higher up on the roof, was pouring water on places just catching fire.
"We had thus worked a considerable time without being harmed by the Moslems when the Armenians at the other end of the street commenced firing on the houses where the looters were at work.
"Suddenly two shots rang out not more than eight yards from where we were working. Mr. Rogers, who was in the street bringing water, was mortally wounded. He called to me by name, and then fell in the middle of the street. The other bullet hit Mr. Maurer in the left lung near the heart, a wound which caused him to suffer great pain. The crowbar fell from his hands. He then climbed down the ladder and collapsed at the side of Mr. Rogers.
"Immediately after these two shots several other bullets from the Moslems who had fired them whizzed past me. I dropped almost flat on the roof and made my way to the edge whence I could see Mr. Maurer climbing down the ladder with the greatest difficulty. I could also hear Mr. Rogers groaning. My first thought was to help my two comrades home to have their wounds treated. Consequently, without concealing my intention, I stepped to the lower roof and climbed down the same ladder Mr. Maurer had used. It was clear that both men would have to be carried in. I went on rapidly to the school
to tell Dr. Thomas D. Christie and Mr. Frederick W. Macallum.
"Just at this time the British vice-consul at Mersin, Major Daughty-Wylie, arrived with twenty Turkish soldiers on a tour of the city. They rode up and found Mr. Rogers and Mr. Maurer lying wounded in the street. The entire neighborhood was deserted. The soldiers were ordered to the roofs to fire in several directions, but by this time the murderers had disappeared.
"Mr. Maurer died a few minutes later in the school building and Mr. Rogers lived only a few minutes longer than Mr. Maurer. He did not regain consciousness.
"Both men passed peacefully away. They died as good soldiers of Jesus Christ."
Space will not permit me to write in detail of the many who were crucified, thrown into the river, killed with swords and axes, burned by the thousands in the churches or in their homes, and of the many who were tortured and killed in such hideous and awful ways that dare not be repeated, but it is estimated that in the vilayet of Adana between twenty and thirty thousand were slain and months later the plain was still strewn with their bones. On our trip to the coast, while resting under the large shade trees for a few moments, Armenian hands gathered the skulls and bones of their fellow countrymen and laid them at our feet.
The number of orphans and widows in Hadjin and its villages was increased to 1,100 of the former and 1,043 of the latter and amongst them a number of our married orphan girls and their babies.
While considerable relief was given at the time, it takes years for these little ones to grow up, and who will care for them ?
Oh! the untold suffering and misery of these widows and orphans. How could God look upon such scenes of wickedness and cruelty? But "He was their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted," and as our eyes are opened we see with the prophet Isaiah that "His visage was so marred, more than any man, and His form more than the sons of man," and our hearts cry out, "Lord! what wilt Thou have me do ?" He answers, "Lovest thou Me ? Feed My lambs, . . . tend My sheep, . . . feed My sheep."
By the help of the many Christian friends the United Orphanage and Mission, an interdenominational board, is doing all in their power to prove their love to their Master in this way.
With the main
orphanage in Hadjin and an orphanage in Everek, about 350 orphan boys and girls are being cared
for, educated and taught the love of Jesus. At present our circle of
missionaries at these two stations number ten, and others are preparing to go and
assist in this great work while the general board at home is composed of
ministers who freely give their assistance in extending this work, the
treasurer being Elder O. B. Snyder, of 1123 Water Street. Port Huron, Mich.