Thomas Cosmades



Dr. Daniel Morrison Benonia Thom

(1844 Aberdeenshire, Scotland—1915 Sivas, Turkey)

    Death of Dr. Daniel Thom in Sivas, Turkey


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 comfort­able.

 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.

 (Note: 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).


Dear Nellie, Minnie and Katharine:

 Mr. 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:

1st, ‘Jesus Savior Pilot Me.’

2nd, Opening sentences from the Holy Scripture.

3rd, Invocation and The Lord’s Prayer.

4th, Psalm 90, and Gloria Patri (song).

5th, ‘Jerusalem the Golden’ (song).

6th, Reading Rev. 21:1-4 and 22:17.

7th, Review of Dr. Thom’s life by Mrs. Andrus and Dr. Kerokeen.

8th, Prayer.

9th, ‘Asleep in Jesus’.

10th, 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 so much.                                                     

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 medicines. 

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.



 (Signed) Agnes Fenenga













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