Thomas Cosmades



Dr. Daniel Morrison Benonia Thom

(1844 Aberdeenshire, Scotland—1915 Sivas, Turkey)

    Dr. Daniel Thom's life in the archives of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Istanbul


Dr. Thom was educated at Rush Medical College in America, graduating in 1874.  He was an American citizen of Scottish birth.  He sailed from New York on September 23, 1874, and arrived in Mardin in November of that year. 

 Only three times during his long missionary career, did he take furloughs in America, but only for a year or less each time.  His first return to the U.S. was from September 4, 1885 – September 16, 1886.  His second landing in New York was December 22, 1895; he stayed in America until September 1896.  The third time he returned to Montreal on September 7, 1907 and returned to Turkey on July 18, 1908.   Over forty years were given were given to medical and missionary work in Mardin, and they were years full of service.  No records are available of his entire life and service there, but during the first twenty-six years he treated over 290,000 patients, or over 11,000 per year.  After he got a hospital building in the nineties, he had a large number of surgical cases also.  But he was chiefly a physician.  Most of his surgical cases were for lithotomy.

 He gained a fine use of the Arabic language and was very successful in personal work for souls.  His practice covered a wide range of country as well as in the hospital and city of Mardin.  He was often called long distances to minister to some missionary colleague. 

 His life was full of interesting incidents.  He was on good terms with Turkish officials as well as with Armenian and Syrian peasants.  On one occasion he was decorated by the Turkish government ‘for long and faithful services in Mardin, also for services in Diyarbakir during the cholera epidemic in 1894.’

 One night in March, 1912, he saw a light in his office after he had left it.  Supposing it was an emergency case, he rose from his chair and crossed the hall.  At that moment, he met two men coming towards him.  Suddenly they dashed his lamp to the ground, and he realized they were robbers.  He grabbed one of them, but was struck down by the other, dragged along the hall, stabbed in the neck and was nearly killed.  However, prompt care saved his life.   

His first wife died early in 1888.  After a year and a half he married Miss Helen Dewey, who had come out from America with Dr. and Mrs. Thom a few years earlier.  For many years during the latter part of her life, Mrs. Thom was an invalid.  She passed away in September, 1915.  Soon after that, Dr. Thom with Dr. Andrus and Miss Fenenga were taken away from Mardin by the Turkish government.  They were allowed to stop at Sivas.  Here Dr. Thom aided Dr. Clark in the care of the many sick in the Mission hospital.  It was while caring for the typhus patients there that Dr. Thom contracted that dread disease.  He passed away on December 8, 1915.  His two daughters were in America at the time, one of them having married Rev. Edward G. Freyer, formerly treasurer of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut, a year before.

 Dr. Thom was in charge of a large Sunday school for a long time where some four hundred pupils gathered under his inspiring leadership.  He was fond of touring and visited the whole region many times over, in spite of having lost the toes on one foot by frostbite before coming to Turkey.   

He was a man of warm sympathies; impulsive and exceedingly frank in denouncing wrong-doing.  But the pupils knew his heart was with them and they took rebukes from him that they would not have endured from anyone else. 





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