Following is a letter
from Agnes Fenenga to Nellie Elona Thorn Freyer (25 November 1876—8
February 1953), Minnie Alice Thorn Buchanan (2 December 1880 - 11 August
1935), and Katharine Thorn Schall (11 January 1899 - 23 January 1970)
all daughters of Dr. Daniel Morrison Benonia Thorn.
Note: Miss Fenenga
was one of the teachers In the Mardin station and was very kind all
through mother’s illness caring for her every day. We were very glad
indeed that she could be with dear father during his last journey and
last days on earth. I feel sure she did everything possible to make him
Dr. Andrus wrote Dr.
Barton that she was with father most of the time and cared for him as a
daughter would. The two who are left will remain In Sivas unless the
government will allow them to return to Mardin or to Lieppo where the
Ambassador is trying to have them sent, or come to America. The latter I
feel is very doubtful.
Nellie E. Freyer, 1271
Denver Street, RFD. 1, Box 408, Pasadena, California.
There Is some discrepancy about the date of death of Dr. Daniel Morrison
Benonia Thorn, however, the official date seems to be 8 December 1915,
as indicated on the Report of the Death of an American Citizen signed by
the American Consul in Harput, Turkey).
Minnie and Katharine:
Andrus and I are sitting alone in our room, both writing and both very
lonely. Mr. is writing to Dr. Barton and I am going to visit with you
for a while. I wish I could talk to you face to face, for I am sure you
would ask many questions that won’t occur to me. Perhaps some day I
shall see you, and then you can ask your questions if you do not do so
before by letter. I can’t write at length, but hope that the censor
will be kind enough and let this letter through even if a little longer
than regulation requirement.
Today at 2:45 PM our
beloved was laid away in his stone grave. I mean of course the body, but
it looked so natural and had such a happy smile on his face that I could
not quite realize for the time that my dear “Uncle D.” was not in that
body, and that he was most happy in his new heavenly home with all his
dear ones that had gone before. His coffin under the supervision of Mr.
Andrus, was well made of strong boards, painted outside and lined with
soft white cloth his initials in brass tacks were on the lid. Mr.
Andrus put them there. Mr. Andrus conducted the service. It was all at
the grave for it was a lovely day. The order of service was as follows:
Savior Pilot Me.’
Opening sentences from the Holy Scripture.
Invocation and The Lord’s Prayer.
90, and Gloria Patri (song).
‘Jerusalem the Golden’ (song).
Reading Rev. 21:1-4 and 22:17.
of Dr. Thom’s life by Mrs. Andrus and Dr. Kerokeen.
‘Asleep in Jesus’.
Prayer for offering and Benediction.
His grave was deep,
and lined with stone that extended some six inches above the coffin; on
these stone walls rested the five stone slabs that completed the stone
vault. This was all just as Uncle Dan had ordered it. Everything went
very orderly and easily, not even a little piece of earth fell on the
wooden coffin. This had distressed him so when we buried his dear wife.
If there is ever a railroad connection between Mardin and Sivas we can
have his body put in the grave he himself prepared in the spot he loved
The typhus germ must
have begun its work in him Sunday, November 27, but we went to church as
usual and I came into their room and sat a little while. He told me he
thought he could not come up to College Hill to see me In the afternoon
as he was In the habit of doing, as it was too stormy, but said nothing
about being sick. The next morning I heard he was sick, but I thought it
nothing serious, so did not go to see him in the forenoon, and at noon I
receive word that he wished me to come to him as soon as possible. I
went at once. I found him dressed but lying on the bed. He told me he as
so anxious for me to come as he had much to tell me. I learned then that
he had become sick about midnight, had tried to get up and had fallen
full length on the floor. Mr. Andrus helped him back in bed and he got
up and dressed in the morning, but he did not try to leave the room as
he felt disturbed and had a severe headache. He told me then that he
wished me to be his “Wakeel Lutluk” (his executor) of all that
concerned him and his things; he gave orders about coffin and place of
burial. I tried to encourage him, and he said he wished to live very
much, but feared he could not, and if he became sicker he wished to be
taken to the hospital.
We put him to bed, and
I slept that night in Mrs. Clark’s guest room, and Mr. Andrus stayed in
the room with him as usual. The next day Dr. Clark became suspicious of
typhus, and we tried to have our dear doctor take much nourishment, and
conserve his strength. In the evening Mr. Andrus went to sleep in my
room on College Hill, and I stayed with the doctor. He slept very little
and was restless, and in the morning we decided he had better be moved
to the hospital. When we spoke to him about it, he did not at first wish
to go, though he himself had wished it that way. We persuaded him it
would be better, and so he was carried over on a stretcher, and placed
in a nice large sunny room. He was made very comfortable, and was
content. He kept looking for typhus spots but found none. In the evening
at 10, I said I must go as Dr. Clark had told me I could care for him
only day times, but must sleep at night. He did not like this but I felt
that I must obey Dr. Clark’s orders especially since the crisis in the
disease does not usually come till the 14th day and I could not well
give both day and night and keep well. On Thursday he was bright and his
headache a little better, but he fought against hypodermics, and
He wished to prescribe
for himself, but this of course was not to be. We called in a Russian
doctor and also two American doctors for consultation, but though they
felt sure it was typhus, they did not like to tell Dr. so, and therefore
they told him that they could not tell what it was. We talked quite a
little about Mardin, and he thought if an order should come for the
return, we could start on the morrow. He listened to the singing out in
the hall, and wondered how many more times on earth he would hear
singing, then asked me to sing ‘Abide with Me’. On Friday he asked to
have the Russian doctor come again, and wished a consultation in his
hearing, and in a language he could understand. This was done but no
conclusion reached as to what the disease was in his presence. He
wanted to take apo-morphine and morphine, so those were included in the
medicines. He was conscious until five and then his mind began to wander
and he picked at his bed clothing. All of Saturday he remained in a
semi-conscious state. Spots appeared but I think he never was conscious
of them. Sunday he was more conscious, but could not talk and at five
hard breathing began and Dr. Clark gave up all hope. He had had little
before. He was a little easier when I left him at 10, but at 2 AM, I was
called and went to him. Even then he knew me and did so until three
minutes of death. At four, we called Dr. Andrus and he read and prayed.
At five, just as Mr. Andrus and the nurse had stepped out dear, dear
Uncle D went also. I cannot tell you how desolate I feel, and I suppose
you feel equally so.