The bigoted American and Western
press naturally depicted "The Armenian Question" almost entirely
from the perspective of Armenian and WWI propaganda. But even with some of
these articles, the inconsistencies of the "genocide" tale slipped
through; sometimes the newspapers even released accounts of the Armenians'
belligerence. Little did the Western nations realize that with the immigration
of their beloved Armenians, the nations would soon be needing to deal with the
terror tactics of the extremists among the Armenians. These gruesome stories
made the headlines often enough that Armenians were even cast as villains in crime stories. Such was the
dishonesty, racism and hypocrisy of the West, however, that even though they
personally got a firsthand taste of what the Armenians were capable of, they
would still be represented as the poor, innocent victims at the hands of the
savage, Terrible Turks.
This page will spotlight articles of Armenian terror appearing in the American
press, as well as others of interest, taking place during the decade of the
1900s. (For 1900s accounts of acts against Turks, visit TAT's other 1900s news page.)
The final article is from 1933; the 1900s terror committed in the West appears
to have been dominated by the Hunchaks, and it seemed fair to throw in a
Dashnak example for good measure.
Many thanks to Gokalp.
1) Police are Baffled
2) Meets with Tragic Death
3) The Armenian Vendetta / British Ambassador's Salary
4) The Victim was a Terrorist
5) Suffocated in a Trunk
6) Priest's Murder Political Plot
7) Armenian Murder Trust
8) "Believe Me, You Die"
9) Armenian Priest is Indicted
10) Investigating Plots of Armenian
11) A "Death Warrant"
12) Society of Murderers Has a Written
13) Hunchaks' Bloodthirsty Constitution
14) Origin and Degeneration of Murderous Hunchakist Society
15) Organized Armenian Assassins Arrested
16) Hunchak Den Found Stocked Up with Weapons
17) Ringleaders Confess
18) Is Priest a Murderer?
19) Armenians in Violent Pact
20) Locate Murderers of Armenian Priest
21) Hamparsum Boyadjian or "Murad" in USA
22) Assassination Traced to New York
23) Say He Guided Assassin
24) Assassin is Put to Death
25) Archbishop of Armenian Church is Assassinated (1933)
Police are Baffled
(Emphasis in the article text is Holdwater's.)
The Connellsville Courier (Pennsylvania), Oct. 28, 1903
[Shorter version in Coshocton Daily Age (Ohio), The Daily Herald
(Ohio), Daily Kennebec Journal, all dated Oct. 28, 1903.]
POLICE ARE BAFFLED
Assassination of Armenian Revolutionist Shrouded in Mystery.
RESULT OF BITTER VENDETTA
Two Clews Left — American-Made Hat and Pistol — Boldness Creates Universal
Sensation — Armenian from United States Believed Guilty.
London, Oct. 28.— Sagatel Sagouni, president of the Armenian revolutionary
society, was murdered at the doorstep of his lodgings in Nunhead, an unpretentious
little suburb of London, late Monday evening.
The murder presumably was committed by a fellow Armenian recently from the United
States. The assassination had a political motive and was characterized by a
boldness to which London has seldom been treated. It created an unusual
sensation here since it appears to have been only an incident in a long and bitter
vendetta between factions of Armenian revolutionists. The attempted murder of
Kureghian, in Boston, the recent killing in Switzerland and the assassination of the
most prominent Armenian in London, are so far achievements credited to the Armenian
radicals here. It is said that two members of the opposition party have already been
killed in Russia, though the London Armenian, revolutionary committee denies both
knowledge and responsibility for the crime.
Prelude to Bitter Feud.
It is generally expected that Sagouni's death is only the prelude to other chapters
in the story of a bitter feud. The murderer, who has not yet been apprehended, left
In the hands of the police two clews — a soft felt hat bearing the name of an
American clothing firm and an automatic pistol of a recent American make.
Members of the Armenian committee here express themselves as certain that the murder
is the work of an Alfarist member of the radical minority. The police are following
up all clews suggested by Sagouni's associates. What may be a positive coincidence
is suggested by the fact that the Alfarist headquarters In London were recently
closed, the members scattering to Egypt. Smyrna and. America.
The Macedonian committee attempted to co-operate with the Armenian committee In an
anti-Turkish revolution in 1895, but subsequently withdrew because of the
internecine strife of the Armenians.
Armenian Sentenced In Boston.
Boston. Oct. 29.— Coincident with the murder in London of Sagatel Sagouni was the
sentencing here of Samuel Gulesian. an Armenian, to a term in state prison of not
more than 12 and not less than nine years for an assault, with murderous intent on
Peter Kareghian, editor of an Armenian paper.
Judge Stevens, in imposing the sentence, asserted that the crime no doubt was of a
political nature. Gulesian and Kareghian were members of rival Armenian societies
and the shooting of the latter on July 7 last grew out of the enmity which existed
between the members of the two organizations. Gulesian is only 19 years old and is
said to be the only one of his family who survived the recent massacres in his
|Meets with Tragic Death
The Lima Times Democrat?, Oct. 27, 1903
MEETS WITH TRAGIC DEATH
President of Armenian Society Assassinated on His Return to London.
His Society Was Entirely Passive, Devoted Its Money to Charity and Vigorously Opposed
Violence. That Is Considered the Cause of Act.
London, Oct. 27.—Sagatel Sagouni. president of the Armenian revolutionary society in
London, was murdered in the suburb of Nunhead, late yesterday evening. The crime hae
created a sensation as It has every appearance of being of a political character, and has
been preceded by the assassination of other officials or branches of the same society on
Sagouni, who only returned to London yesterday, after settling up the affairs of an
associate in Switzerland, who was recently assassinated by stabbing, was entering his
residence when a man rushed across the road and then fired [ten?] shots at Sagouni in
quick succession. the last bullet entering the region of the heart. The murderer. who
appeared to be a foreigner, fled. The only clues to the man [in possession of the
authorities] are a felt hat and a silver plated revolver, made in New York, which he
dropped in his flight,
The murdered man, who was a mining engineer, became wealthy in the Caucasus, and devoted
his money to the Armenian cause. His society was entirely passive and opposed to violence,
and it is thought this attitude [inspired?] the advanced section of the Armenians with the
desire for vengeance, the latter claiming that Sagouni's society devoted funds to
charities which would have been better applied to violent remedies for the Armenian
Sagouni is said to have moved to England from New York early in 1902, [?] stated that
Sagouni's life had been threatened on account of his participation in the exposure of the
editor of a Boston newspaper, a young Armenian, after the misappropriation of funds by a
faction of the Armenian revolutionists. These men are alleged to have collected $20,000 in
American, in 1902, and to have put the money in their own pockets, instead of pushing the
propaganda for the emancipation of the Armenians, for which the money was subscribed.
The police are of the opinion that the assailant of Nazarbeck at Lausanne and the murderer
of Sagouni, are identical.
In This Country Do Not Regard It As Very Significant.
London, Oct. 27.—The murder of Sagatel Sagouni, president of the Armenian revolutionary
society, in London is not regarded as being of great political significance by Armenians
in this country, but rather as a result of a bitter feeling which exists between two
factions within the revolutionary party itself. In support of this view was cited the
recent attempt to assassinate the Armenian leader in this city [?] members of
revolutionary party tried to hold socialist views, which he [?declined?]. At the trial of
the case an officer of the party testified that the members of the socialist wing had
taken oath to remove "all obstructions in spreading their views.
Vendetta / British Ambassador's Salary
New York Times, Oct. 31, 1903
THE ARMENIAN VENDETTA.
Krikorian, Under Arrest at Boston, Denies Any Knowledge of Sagouni's Murder in
BOSTON, Oct 20.-Before a United States Commissioner to-day Vahtan Krlkorian, the
Armenian poet, journalist, ana orator, who was arrested yesterday upon his 'arrival
from London, where Sagatel Sagouni was murdered on Monday,. demanded to know on what
charge he was being held.
Upon being told that the authorities of the country from whence he came charged !
him. with being a fugitive from justice and with having committed a political
murder, Krlkorian demanded proof. This the Commissioner was unable to give at this
time, and asked Krikorian to plead, which he did saying he was not guilty. Pending
the arrival of direct charges Krikorian was sent back to jail.
During the proceedings several Armenians were present, including Editor Kureghlan of
Young Armenia and Peter Kazeroas. The latter declared that they were in readiness to
give testimony; but were informed that they would not be needed until later. To the
local police Kureghian stated that Krikorian was the head of the London Central
Committee and that it was he who ordered his (Kureghian's) murder and attempted
personally to assassinate him several months ago when he was editing a paper in
Krikorian, while somewhat nervous, shows no great excitement over his detention.
Several times to-day he denied that he knew anything of the murder, and stated
positively that ne was never President or any officer of the Armenian Committee, nor
of any other secret or revolutionary society. He said he had once been a member of
the committee, but had severed his connection with it some time ago.
LONDON, Oct. 30.— At the headquarters of the Armenian revolutionists at Peckham, a
suburb of this city, it is believed that Vahtan Krikorian, under arrest at Boston,
is probably identical with the Armenian of that name who, with two others, named
Shahriman and Arsonian, seceded three months ago and set up a rival society at
Clapham, another suburb of London, where the Alfarists assembled. These three men
are said to have disappeared in August. and It was thought they had gone to Cyprus,
Krikorian, who was formerly an Armenian Protestant preacher, is reported to have
been hostile to Sagouni since the split in the society In 1902.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- -
BRITISH AMBASSADOR'S SALARY.
London Spectator Wants the Washington Post to be Better Paid Than Any Other.
LONDON, Oct. 31.— The Spectator to-day contends that as Washington has become the
most important station in the British diplomatic service, the salary of the
Ambassador ought to be raised to £10,000.
Should the salary of the Ambassador at Washington be increased to £10,000 a year he
would be the best paid official of the British diplomatic service. At present the
salary of the envoy at the American capital is £6.500. which is £1,000 more than
Sir Henry Mortimer Durand has been receiving at Madrid.
The Madrid position is the worst paid of all the British Embassies. After it comes
the Washington Embassy, and then the Embassy at Rome, to which a salary of £7,000
is attached; St. Petersburg, £7,800; Berlin, Vienna, and Constantinople, £8,000
each, and Paris, £9,000.
|The Victim was a Terrorist
Daily Kennebec Journal, Nov. 3, 1903
SAGOUNI'S ILL FORTUNE.
Was Connected with Burning of American College at Mersivan.
London, Nov. 2.— A former resident of Constantinople, in an interview connects
Sagatel Sagouni, the president of the Armenian Revolutionary Society in London, who
was murdered in a London suburb, last week, with the burning in 1893 of the American
College for Armenian girls at Mersivan, in Asia Minor. In an interview it is said
that the college was destroyed by the Turkish authorities on the ground it harbored
Sagouni, the interviewer says, was charged with conveying messages of the college to
the revolutionists but fled with his family to Baku, he being a Russian subject. He
afterwards came to London, where the two English professors of the American College
for Armenian Girls at Mersivan are now living.
Holdwater: Are we seeing a proud tradition, here? As
the head of a Dashnak Armenian organization, Sagouni was a terrorist himself.
Similarly, the chairman of another Dashnak organization, ANCA, Mourad Topalian, was convicted of
terrorism. The ANCA-WR chairman running the show at the time of this writing, Steven
John Dadaian, was probably a member of the L.A. Five.
|Suffocated in a Trunk
The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, May 27, 1907
SUFFOCATED IN A TRUNK
A MYSTERY IN MURDER OF AN ARMENIAN PRIEST.
Crime Was Committed in Chicago Evidently, and the Trunk With Its Grewsome Contents Is Then
Shipped to New York.
NEW YORK, May 26 — Rev. Father Casper, of the Armenian Apostolic church, of Hoboken, N.
J., was murdered in this city some time last night. The body was found to-day in a trunk
which had been left as security for their room rent by two Greeks, who three weeks ago,
engaged a furnished room of Mrs. Henry Sheerer, who occupies the third floor of a tenement
at 308 West Thirty-Seventh street. The body was in a kneeling posture with the head bound
against the knees by a heavy strap that passed over the back of the neck, and was buckled
under the shins. The murdered man was about sixty years old.
An undershirt of balbriggan and a cuff on the right wrist were all the body wore, but on
top of it had been thrown three coats of clerical cut, a white laundered shirt, two pairs
of black lace, shoes, a soft felt hat, two Roman collars and a detached cuff.
The police thought it possible that the body was shipped here by express from Chicago and
the authorities of that city were asked to follow a clew, based on a meal ticket also
found in the trunk. This ticket was issued by a restaurant at 1222 Halsted street, West
Pullman, Chicago. Because of the condition of the body the manner of death was not
immediately apparent Following an autopsy at the morgue two men were arrested on
Mrs. Sheerer told the coroner that when the two men engaged the room In her home they
described them-selves as Paul and John Sarkis, each about thirty-five years old. The men
had been visited, she said, by a man wearing a clerical garb, who looked not unlike the
murdered man. She thought that this man called at 8 o'clock last Wednesday morning.
Late Wednesday afternoon an ex press wagon brought to the house the trunk which later was
found to contain the body. The autopsy developed that the neck had been broken as had one
arm. Coroners' Physician Lehan declared, however, that death was due to suffocation.
The internal organs were congested and Dr. Lehan gave as his opinion that the man was
thrust into the trunk while alive and the cover of the trunk held down until death
A CLUE IN CHICAGO.
CHICAGO, May 26— At the West Pullman address, 12,220 (correct) Halstead street, two
Armenians conducted a restaurant until five months ago under the name of S. Ermoylan
Brothers. The Chicago police learned to-night that on February 7, of this year, a trunk
which is said to answer the description of that found in the New York boarding house, was
shipped from West Pullman by express to Sarkis Ermoylan, 426 West Fortieth street. It was
shipped by a man who gave his name as K. Konosian. Lewis B. McDonald, agent for the Adams
Evpress company, at West Pullman, said that Kenosian told him that the trunk contained
silks and was valued at $200. Search was begun at once for Kenosian.
Murder Political Plot
Trenton Evening News, May 27, 1907
PRIEST'S MURDER POLITICAL PLOT
By Publisher Press Direct wire.
New York May 27? — It Is now believed that Father Casper Haran, the Armenian
Priest whose dead body was found stuffed in a trunk In a house on west
Thirty-seventh street, was the victim of a political plot on the part of Servians
and Armenians, who have been planning to overthrow the King of Servia.
It was said that the alleged plot was forming In this country, that the priest had
secured Infomation of the plot and exposed It and that he was marked for death.
The names and an accurate description of the men who murdered the priest are said to
be In possession of the police These are believed to have been working with Chicago
Armenians for the reason that the trunk In which the body was brought here from
Chicago. The murderers are believed to have drugged the priest and then while he was
helpless forced his body into the trunk, leaving him to suffocate.
The suspects for whom the police are looking today are Paul Tiren and John
Moonellin, Armenians, who were lodgers In the house where the body was found. The
suspects brought In the trunk to the house and left it with the landlady as deposit
for their room rent which was due. They had been lodgers in the house for several
weeks and had always paid their bills promptly. The landlady was not suspicious and
accepted their excuse of not having ready money on hand. The men had been gone three
days when the trunk was opened by the police. Since then no trace of the missing men
hm been found.
|Armenian Murder Trust
The Lake County Times, July 24, 1907
CLAIM TRUST OF MURDER
Many Crimes Are Traced to Armenian Secret Society.
Chief Shippy and Chicago Police Think Headquarters Are in Chicago.
Chicago, July 24.— LIST OF CRIMES TRACED TO ARMENIAN MURDER TRUST.
As far as can be learned by the police, the following murders are the harvest of the
murder trust to date :
Apik Unjian, Persian commissioner to tho Louisiana Purchase exposition, killed In
Constantinople six months ago.
The Rev. Father Kaspar's body found cut to pieces In a trunk in New York a few months ago.
Hovhanes S. Tavshanjian, the richest Armenian in America; shot and killed in New York last
Two members of the Old Hunchakist, shot and killed in London two years ago.
In addition to this list it was learned that five years ago S. Sabahgoolian, the present
head of the Old Hunchakist in Paris, was shot at and wounded in Boston by a member of the
New Hunchakist, who was sent to prison for nine years.
The following have been marked lor death by the New Hunchakist, unless they pay $25,000
apiece to the society:
I. Gulbengian, J. Karaghensian, a nil K. Kazenjian, millionaire rug- dealers of New York.
Chicago is the clearing-house of the "murder trust."
The police learned last night that the "New Hunchakist," an Armenian secret
society which sends its murderous emissaries all over the world to take the lives of men
marked for death in its book of fate, has its central headquarters on the South Side in
this city. The greed of money is behind the organization and money alone will save those
whose names have been marked with the black cross, a symbol of the diabolical purpose of
Chief Shippy, through Detective Isaac Ter Isalan of the Cottage Grove avenue station,
learned last night that the president of the society lives on the South Side and that,
through his orders, many mysterious murders have occurred in the past, There are fourteen
sworn members of the organization, whose betrayal of the trust imposed on each of them
would mean immediate death.
Victims are Rich Men.
These fourteen men, skillful in the extreme with the favorite weapons of the New
Hunchakist society, the dagger, hunt down their prey in every large city in the world. The
men who are the victims of their blackmailing schemes are all rich men of the Armenian
In addition to the five murders that have been traced to the members of the "New
Hunchakist" the police have discovered that the society has marked for death a half
dozen Chicago Armenians of wealth, and three other merchants In New York, of whom they
have demanded as blood money $25,000 each.
In trailing the clearing-house of the murder trust to Chicago the police have been aided
by the discovery that every one of the five murders known to have been committed by the
"New Hunchakist" were the acts of assassins sent out from Chicago.
The murder of Hovhanes S. Tavshanjian, the richest Armenian in America, in New York
Monday, has resulted in disclosures which make it plain to the police that Chicago is the
nest from which the assassins of the secret Hunchakist, more powerful and dreaded than the
Italian Mafia, are being sent on their diabolical missions. Here it is that the men
employed to kill those who refuse to pay tribute to the Hunchakist are schooled and
supplied with money and passports for their murderous expeditions to all parts of the
world, according to the police.
Two Previous Crimes.
In addition to the most recent tragedy, that in which the wealthy Hovhanes S, Tavshanjian
met his end, two others within a few months have now been traced directly to the lair of
this desperate band in Chicago. The first of these was that of the Persian commissioner to
the Louisiana Purchase exposition, M. Unjin, who six months ago was killed In
Constantinople because he would not pay 525,000 into the hands of the officers of the
Chicago clearing-house of the desperate Hunchakist.
Shortly after its organization a plot was formulated by its directors for the purpose of
blackmailing an amount of money from one of the wealthiest merchants of Constantinople,
Apik Unjian, and the first attempt was successful, but upon the merchant's refusal at
their second demand he paid the penalty with his life. The perpetrators of that deed were
sent from the local organization here.
Old Hunchukist a Rebel Body.
The "Old Hunchakist," from which the subsequent organizations have sprung, dates
Its origin as far back as 1887, at which time it was organized in London by the
revolutionary Armenians for the purpose of educating their young in the revolutionary
ideas and teach them to always remain rebellious against the oppression of Turkey. Ten
years later out of the dissatisfaction there arose the organization which is now a
disgrace to the members of the old society and is a menace to the lives of the wealthy.
Their demands for money are made under tha guise of necessity of funds for the society; of
course, it is necessary to secure funds for the maintenance of the society, and the
practice of soliciting funds is in vogue even in the old society, but the money is at all
times, in the latter, requested and not demanded.
The Dashakitz, established in 1896 [HOLDWATER NOTE: the year was
1890], is one of the strongest secret societies which are so numerous throughout
Turkey and Russia, and many of the Old Hunchakists, since the desertion of the
secessionists, have joined the former.
Investigation by the police yesterday disclosed that 41 Orchard street, the house reported
once to have been the home of Bedros Hampartzooniian, the New York murderer, is occupied
and owned by W. Meyer, a German, who never knew the slayer of the New York rug importer.
The property at 41 Orchard street has been in the Meyer family fourteen years.
Within a few months came the murder of the Rev. Father Kasper of West Pullman, whose body,
chopped to pieces, was found in a trunk in New York.
A Chicago man, who resides on the South Side, is said to be the bead of the Hunchakist,
and in his hands are the records and books of the society, wherein is contained detailed
accounts of all the crimes committed and also the record of all money received in the
blackmailing game, according to the police.
Holdwater: note the line,
"more powerful and dreaded than the Italian Mafia"... they got that right! The
deadly Hunchaks and Dashnaks made the goodfellas look like pikers.
Me, You Die"
The Newark Advocate, July 25, 1907 [PIC]
"BELIEVE ME, YOU DIE"
Grim Notice Received by Wealthy Armenian Boston Merchant.
Boston, July 25 — Moses H. Gulesian, a wealthy Armenian merchant of this city,
asserted yesterday that he received a postal card, bearing New York postmark, and
signed "Committee of Revolution," informing him that he was to be killed
like Hovannes S. Tavshanjian, the New York rug importer.
The postal card read:
"My Brother — We today have killed H. S. Tavshanjian, and next Monday will
kill you. You are a millionaire and you will give nothing to our party. Believe me,
"Committee of Revolution."
Mr. Gulesian said that when he received the card he thought it was a joke, but when
he learned of the assassination of Tavshanjian he felt that the matter was serious
The message was written in English.
|Armenian Priest is Indicted
The Fort Wayne Sentinel, July 30, 1907
ARMENIAN PRIEST IS INDICTED BY NEW YORK JURY
Charged With Attempted Robbery in Connection With Murder Case.
New York, July 30.— Father Martoogesian, the Armenian priest, and former leader of
the Armenian revolutionary Hunchakist party, who was arrested last night as a result
of a police investigation following the murder of H. S. Tavshanjian, was indicted by
the grand jury to-day on a charge of attempted robbery in the second degree. His
bail was fixed at $25.000.
The murder of Tavshanjian, who was reputed to be one of the wealthiest Armenians in
the country, was laid at the door of Armenian revolutionists. It has been the theory
of the police that he was killed after he had repeatedly refused to supply money to
one of the revolutionary societies. Following the arrest of Father Martoogessian and
several other Armenians last night, however, the Hunchakist party issued a formal
statement declaring that the party is in no way involved in the affair and that the
men suspended [sic] of killing Tavshanjian long ago were expelled from the party
because of their methods of obtaining money from wealthy fellow countrymen.
Shocked and Filled With Horror.
The statement says: "Like all patriotic and law-abiding Armenians, the members
of the Armenian revolutionary Hunchakist party have been shocked and filled with
horror and consternation by the cowardly assassination of their honored countryman,
the late H. S. Tavshanjian. They are especially indignant because the disreputable
leaders of the small gang of blackmailing murderers presume to call themselves
Hunchakists, degrading thus the honored name of the patriotic party.
"For various acts of treachery and heinous crimes of blackmail, they Were
finally expelled from the Hunchakist party. Yet they have always endeavored to call
themselves "re-organized Hunchakists," exploiting thus the great name of
our old party — so loved companies be enjoined and restrained ! and honored by all
"These alfarists during their decade of existence, have done nothing for
Armenia, but bring disgrace to her fair name by their heinous crimes of blackmail
and murder. The scandal of their misdeeds reached such a point that even their own
followers protested and rebelled lately.
Want Distinction Made.
"Therefore the executive committee of America of the Armenian revolutionary
Hunchakist party earnestly requests the impartial press and the people of America
not to confound this gang of blackmailers with the old mother party, and hold her
responsible for its shameful and loathsome misdeeds.
"The Hunchakist party during its twenty years of existence has raised funds for
her heroic struggle against Turkish tyranny, only through absolutely voluntary
contributions from patriotic Armenians."
This statement is called an "unofficial declaration" and is signed by the
Arrests Are Made.
Following a searching examination of Father Martoogessian, the Armenian priest, who
has been placed under arrest, in connection with the Tavanshanjian murder by
attorneys of the district attorney's office several Armenians were taken into
custody by the police. They were held as witnesses.
A big crowd gathered around police headquarters when. Father Martoogessian and other
prisoners were being held there. By the time the prisoners were taken out of the
building on the way to court fully 500 persons were crowded around the Mott street
entrance. As the police and their prisoners came out the crowd began to hoot and
jeer. A big gang of men at work on two new buildings across the street from
headquarters quit work temporarily and joined in the demonstration against the
|Investigating Plots of Armenian Blackmailers
The Newport Daily News, July 31, 1907
JEROME ASSUMES PERSONAL CHARGE
Investigating Plots of Armenian Blackmailers
District Attorney's Forces and Police Ferreting Out Clues
NEW YORK, July 31 — District Attorney Jerome has taken personal charge of the
investigation into the plots of the Armenian blackmailers which led to the assassination
of H. S. Tavshanjian, and all the forces of the district attorney's office and the police
department worked zealously today to ferret out more clues that would lead to the arrest
of the murderer or murderers, who are believed to have masked their operations under the
name of the Hunchakists, the Armenian revolutionary society. Several Armenians appeared
today at the district attorney's office and were closely questioned as to methods of the
dreaded band of blackmailers who systematically extorted large sums of money from their
wealthy countrymen, under threats of death.
District Attorney Jerome is seeking every possible bit of information concerning Father
Levond Martoogessian, the Armenian priest who is now held in the Tombs under $25,000 bail
for attempted robbery.
A trunk is reported to have been found in Lowell, Mass., where Bedros Hampartzoomian
lived, which is said to contain papers revealing the plots of the blackmailers.
Handwriting experts examined today several letters which were sent to rich Armenians
demanding money. The district attorney will obtain the handwritings of the Armenians now
under arrest. The blackmailing letters demanded sums ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. The
police have discovered that certain Armenians not only extorted money, but ran a
"fence" where stolen funds were disposed of. The police believe that the
blackmailers have not only been guilty of extortion, but have been robbing their victims
The grand jury today found three additional indictments against Father Martoogessian; two
charge attempted robbery and the third extortion. The Armenian priest later was brought
before Judge O'Sullivan and entered a preliminary plea of not guilty. Monday counsel for
the priest will file a formal plea [?] indictments against him.
- - - - - - - - - -
Trunk Found in Khachaderian's Room in Lowell Sent to New York
LOWELL, Mass., July 31 — In an effort to learn the details of the band of Armenians who
are alleged to have conducted a campaign of blackmail and extortion, the police of this
city are conducting a rigorous investigation in the local Armenian colony. Although the
Armenians in Lowell number not more than 200, it is said that a revolutionary committee
has been very active here.
All of the acquaintances of Bedros Khachaderian, or Bedros Hampartsoonian, as he is known
in New York, the slayer of Hovannes Tavshanjian, have been interrogated by the police, but
little information could be obtained than would throw any light uon the alleged
blackmailing conspiracy. It was learned, however, that Khachadorian had been in America
about five years, and after working for a while at Providence, R. I., came to this city
where he was employed for more than a year in one of the cottonmills, leaving the city
almost three weeks ago. While he made his home at a tenement house, 4 Corbelt place. His
cousin, Stephen Martian, lived in the same building.
Yesterday, a representative of District Attorney Jerome's office came here from New York,
and after a conference with the police visited Khachadorian's room on Corbelt place. He
took from the premises a trunk belonging to the alleged murderer. What the trunk contained
is not known. The trunk was taken to New York and will be turned over to District Attorney
Jerome for investigation.
Father Martoogessian, the Armenian priest under arrest in New York, is known here.
The investigation of the Armenian plot is apparently ended here. The trunk is seized in
the room formerly occupied by Bedros Khachadorian, accused of the murder of Tavshanjian,
was sent to New York last night. District Attorney Jerome's agent left for New York this
morning. Local Armenians do not believe the report that the murder of Tavshanjian was
- - - - - - - - - -
NO HUNCHAKISTS IMPLICATED
No Branch of Organization Has Ever Threatened Armenians
BOSTON, July 31 — M. Shakinian of this city, editor of an Armenian paper, sent a letter
to District Attorney Jerome in New York today claiming to be the representative of the
Reforme[?]chakist association in America, and declaring that no branch of his organization
has ever sent any threatening letters to any Armenian. He denounces the reports that the
members of the Hunchakist association in America and [im]plicated with the sending of the
letters is malicious lies. He expresses a hope that the real instigators of the letters
may be found.
Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, Aug. 1, 1907
A "DEATH WARRANT."
Specimen of Letters Sent Out by Armenian Terrorists.
New York, Aug. 1.— Four indictments now lie against Father Levant Martoogeseian,
the Armenian, who, it is alleged, sometimes laid aside his priestly robes to
practice extortion and blackmail. The priest is just now the central figure In the
conspiracy which, he district attorney seeks to prove, had for Its object the
robbery of wealthy Armenians and led to the murder of the rug merchant, Tavshanjian,
and others who refused to be be financially bled.
From the slayer of Tavshanjian, Bedros Hampartzoomian, as he is known here, the
police hope to secure a confession establishing that the youth unwittingly was the
agent of blackmailing terrorists. He is expected to make disclosures that will make
easy the wiping out of a dangerous gang.
Of the three additional Indictments against Martoogessian, brought in by the grand
Jury yesterday, two charge attempted robbery, as did the original indictment, and
one alleges extortion. The latter charges that the priest was responsible for at
least one of the blackmailing letters which quickly followed the death of the rug
This letter was mailed In New York on the afternoon of July 22, the day that
Tavshanjian was shot. It was written in red ink in the Armenian language and was
signed by the symbol of the terrorists, three hands with daggers uplifted, poised
above a red heart. The letter Is directed to Gulabi Gulbenkian & Co. Brunswick
building, New York, and Is headed "Death War- rant." It says:
"The executive of the Constantinople Armenian Revolutionary Terrorists'
organization condemns to death Haroutian Gulbeukian, Gulabi Gulbenkian and Patrick
Gulbenkian, the three brothers who entirely have deaf ears to all appeals for
national freedom. Our executive board, having given its decision to Haroutlan and
Gulabl Gulbenkian, in America, gives them 24 hours time to decide between their duty
and death. Constantinople Armenian Revolutionary Terrorists' organization."
The letter is dated "Constantinople, June 21, 1907." Following the letter
is a postscript, also in red ink, which reads as follows:
"Although neither prison nor hanging can prevent us from fulfilling our duty to
the end, It Is necessary that you should know. If you betray this letter or cause
harm to one hair on the heads of one of us — against that consider your whole
family wiped out."
Before this letter came, Haroutian Gulbenkian, who Is the accusing witness against
the priest, had received a blackmailing letter demanding $25,000, but had not
complied with the demand. The sense of the Indictment is that tbe priest either sent
the quoted letter or caused It to be sent.
It Is also alleged that on Sept. 15 Martoogessian threatened to kill or cause to be
killed Bedros Hazanjian, a merchant of this city, unless the latter gave up $15.000
to the Armenian revolutionists. Further, it is charged that Martoogessian
represented, or caused to be represented, to Miran G. Karagenslan, an Armenian, that
he would meet death unless he gave $100,000 to the Armenian revolutionary fund.
Karagensian, it is said, received this communication in the form of a letter on Aug.
29, 1905. The letter added: "The list is not finally closed yet. There may be
several others, and you be the next."
The late afternoon developed an important witness when Magderich Lustrian, a
blacksmith, was examined by Assistant District Attorney Manley. According to
information later given out at the district attorney's office, the witness said that
he had often attended meetings of the Hunchakist society, at which Martoogessian
presided. Continuing, he is alleged to have stated that he knew of five different
cases where men had been sent from this country to Europe at the instigation of a
man named to murder persons. On two occasions. Lustrian said, he had been ordered to
do murder, but managed In various ways to shift the responsibility.
Some time ago he was told that he would have to kill Nlkolat Milack, because at that
time it was believed that Milack was a Turkish spy. According to Manley, the
blacksmith made further startling admissions and furnished corroborative evidence of
great Importance against the prisoner, who is declared by other Armenians to have
been the moving spirit in the blackmailing band.
|Society of Murderers Has a Written Constitution
The Marion Daily Star, Aug. 6, 1907
TRANSLATIONS ARE STARTLING
Society of Murderers Has a Written Constitution.
THE HUNCHAKISTS DEAL WITH ENEMIES
Life and Death Power Held Over Members.
Except in Cases of Emergency, Leaders Must Secure Authority from a Superior Before an
Assassination Taskes Place — Murder is Made a Business by This Acquisition to New York's
New York. Aug. 6 — Armenian students are completing the translation of the Hunchakist
society's written constitution, which fell Into District Attorney Jerome's hands
yesterday. The instrument is only party rendered into English and it is believed the
remaining sections will prove quite as startling as those translated yesterday. This
document gives the leaders of the various sections the power of life and death over their
own members, as well as outsiders who incur their emnity. It provides that the
"dasnabads," or leaders, must secure authority from superiors before ordering
assassinations, except, in cases of emergency.
While there has been at no time any doubt that the Hunchakists were acting along a
regularly outlined campaign, New York authorities were surprised to find that they were
acting under a written constitution. The investigators of the organization's doings are
hopeful that the work of translation, as it progresses, may reveal the identities of the
section leaders or the society's supreme head in this country.
The evidence of the written document may be supplemented within the next few days by a
complete confession from Bedros Hampartzoomian, who assassinated Hovannes Tavshanjian and
is now said to be on the verge of telling the police he committed the crime.
Fort Wayne News, Aug. 6, 1907
A BLOODTHIRSTY DOCUMENT SECURED BY NEW YORK POLICE.
NEW YORK, Aug., 6.— Armenian students are completing the translation of the
Hunchakists society's written constitution, which fell into District Attorney
Jerome's hands yesterday. The instrument is only part rendered into English and it
is believed the remaining sections will prove quite as startling as those translated
yesterday. The document gives the leaders of the various sections the power of life
and death over their own members, as well as outsiders who incur their enmity. It
provides that the leaders must secure authority from superiors before ordering
assassinations, except in cases of emergency. While there has been at no time any
doubt that the Hunchakists were acting along a regularly outlined campaign, New York
authorities were surprised to find that they were acting under a written
constitution. The investigators of the organization's doings are hopeful that the
work of translation as it progresses may reveal the identities of the section
leaders or the society's supreme head in this country. The evidence of the written
document may be supplemented within the next few days by a complete, confession from
Pedros Hampartzoonian, who assassinated Hovannes Tavshanjian and is now said to be
on the verge of telling the police he committed the crime.
|Origin and Degeneration of Murderous Hunchakist Society
The Newark Advocate, August 6, 1907
CAPTIONS for the above read (clockwise from top left):
Scene in restaurant where Armenian Hunchakists Meet
Calendar seized in the rooms of the Hunchakist. (Dated Jan. 1904)
Mugurditch I. Catholicos or Porp of Armenian National Church
Rev. Levon Martogessian
The Armenian Cathedral at Etchitiadzen, holy see of the Gregorian Armenians
ORIGIN AND DEGENERATION OF MURDEROUS HUNCHAKIST SOCIETY.
New York, August 6.— Since District Attorney Jerome began to cast his net about
that particular pestiferous nest of Armenians which appears to practice intimidation
and assassination as a business, the "Huchag," or Hunchakist, Society has
loomed-into something of the dread notoriety peculiar hitherto to traditions of the
Mafia, the Black Hand and the Camorra of Italian lineage.
It is as easy to glean conflicting stories of the origin, purposes and methods of
the Hunchakists as of the that such an organization as the Black much advertised
Black Hand enterprises usually associated with Italy's sons. Many educated Italians
insist that such an organization as the Black Hand never had a real corporate
existence in Italy or anywhere else, but that it is a mere phrase the fearsome
import of which has been welded into a weapon by irresponsible and unscrupulous
blackmailers. Similarly, many educated Armenians and Moslems, as well as Americans
whose business dealings have familiarized them with social and political conditions
in Turkey and Syria, sneer at the so-called Huntchakist Society, and maintain that
if it ever had any loftier purpose grounded either in patriotism or religion it
degenerated long ago into an unorganized system of blackmail and outlawry, devoid of
both centralized authority and patriotic inspiration.
Just as cheap swindlers have used the new inspiring "Black Hand" menace to
extort money from timid victims, these men will tell you, so a lot of Armenian
scoundrels, most of them exiles from their country for their country's good, have
sought to gratify cupidity, personal jealousies or revenge by recourse to the
Hunchakist traditions for fearsome oaths, secret plottings and death penalties.
|Organized Armenian Assassins Arrested
Daily Nevada State Journal, August 14, 1907
ORGANIZED ARMENIAN ASSASSINS ARRESTED
NEW YORK, Aug. 13.— District Attorney Jerome announces the arrest of the ringleaders of
the Hunchikist secret society and the obtaining of important confessions therefrom, which
will end their organization.
Detectives have secured much evidence regarding murders committed by men connected with
Under the guise of a patriotic organization for freeing Armenia in Asia Minor from Turkish
rule, the society has levied blackmail on wealthy Armenians for many years. Mr. Jerome
says the American headquarters have been at Lowell, Mass , and taht [sic] the members are
fanatics as reckless and indifferent to their own fate as are the nihilists of Russia.
The greatest difficulty has been experienced in obtaining information from local
Armenians. It has been necessary to send to Paris, to the headquarters of the Federation
the Armenian Revolutionary Committees, to learn the facts. This federation is called the
Drochagjst organization, and is opposed firmly to the Hunchakists. It is the Drochagists
who are actually fighting in Asia Minor and most of their members are upright and
honorable men. The Hunchakists have frequently resorted to murder in their bitter fight
against the Federation members. Mr. Jerome says it is the worst case of organized murder
and blackmail taht [sic] this country has ever known.
Holdwater: This account got a few things right... and one
thing dead wrong. "Under the guise of a patriotic organization"?
Absolutely. "Members are fanatics as reckless and indifferent to their own
fate..." That one was half right. Indifferent to the fate of other Armenians whose
lives they would be putting at risk would have been more geared to the truth. As far as
the "Drochagists," meaning the A. R. F. or Dashnaks, being "upright and
honorable men"... was the author out of his mind?
And how about the Hunchaks' getting the credit up till that point for having committed the
"worst case of organized murder and blackmail" in the history of the USA? You
Hunchak Den Found Stocked Up with Weapons
The Fort Wayne Sentinel, August 14, 1907
HUNCHAKIST DEN FOUND STOCKED UP WITH WEAPONS
Murder Tool Chest Filled With Poisoned Knives, Pistols and Bombs.
New York, Aug. 14.-When the grand jury yesterday began its hearing of the newly
found evidence which is expected to start a string of Armenian man hunters toward
the "little room of the iron door" at Sing Sing, it had something more
tangible and perhaps more convincing than the mere word of trapped conspirators to
go by. It had the deadliest collection of murder tools that has ever been found
under one roof in New York city.
Acting upon information embodied in the statement of Kissak Jelalian, a squad of
detectives went late yesterday afternoon to a dingy tenement at 317 East Forty-ninth
street On the ground floor of this building is an Armenian restaurant, where, it is
now known, many killings have been plotted by the dreaded Hunchakists.
Murder Armory in Cellar.
The detectives went straight TO the coal cellar. In a bin they found a ton or more
of hard coal. Lump by lump they removed the coal. Underneath was a cunningly devised
trapdoor. They raised the trapdoor and there was a veritable Bluebeard's tool chest.
Arranged neatly in rows were knives with poisoned tips-deadlier than a rattler's
fangs; revolvers of a certain unique type, like the revolver that killed the
millionaire rug merchant, Tavshanjian, in Union square three weeks ago; bottles
filled with drugs, the vapors of which are fatal; bombs enough to blow an ordinary
building into powder. It was the workshop of the Hunchakists that the detectives had
unearthed under a commonplace coal bin.
Medieval ingenuity had been combined with modern invention to insure a perfect job
every time agents of the society might go after a marked man. For example, there
were three slender little files, a scratch on the skin with the point of one of
which would mean death, for each file's tip had its coating of poison, just as
Jelalian had said.
Poisoned Daggers In Collection.
Three long daggers were similarly treated, so that the wounds would be fatal, even
though the blades might fail to reach a vital organ. Under the seals of three well
stoppered bottles was hydrocyanic acid, better known as prussic acid, even the fumes
of which are dangerous.
There was an iron bomb and powder to fill it, with fuses and other attachments to
set it off. Wooden molds for making bombs, a steel chisel, a bottle of sulphate of
antimony and a jar of unidentified white powder were also found.
For two hours yesterday District Attorney Jerome, three of his assistants, Nott,
Manly and Perkins, and Deputy Police Commissioner Woods examined all the Armenians
who have been arrested in the last few days. At the end of the inquiry all the
prisoners except Jelalian, who has confessed his share in the murder of Tavshanjian,
were sent back to cells at police headquarters. The district attorney took Jelalian
before the grand jury in tho afternoon.
After spending some time in the grand jury room, where he left a long typewritten
statement that had been prepared by Deputy Police Commissioner Woods, the district
attorney went before Judge Foster, in general sessions, taking with him Jelaiian and
Confessions Reveal Death Plot.
This Booznijian, like Jelalian, has admitted that he served the Hunchakists until he
discovered that he was being used as an agent to promote murder and blackmail.
However, he insists that he did not go as far as Jelalian, who guided the assassin
of Tavshanjian to the rug merchant's place of business in Union square and pointed
out the victim to him.
Judge Foster committed the two Armenians to the house of detention in bonds of
$5,000 each. It was stated that they would be taken before the grand jury again
tomorrow. Answering a question put by a reporter, Mr. Jerome said:
"The bullet that killed Mr. Tavshanjian has been examined closely in the light
of recent developments. I don't think it was a poison tipped bullet. It was a .38
caliber metallic coated bullet, but not a poisonous bullet."
It was rumored about the criminal court building that the confession of Bedros
Hampartsoonian, the assassin, now in the Tombs, implicates many Armenians in this
Jelalian, who was arrested Sunday night on suspicion of being concerned in the
murder of Tavshanjian, made the confession which started the police on the trail of
Hunchakists to District Attorney Jerome last night. Jerome questioned him for four
hours, and. it is said, got every detail of the crimes and conspiracies of the
Armenian blackmail and murder gang.
The Washington Post, Aug. 14, 1907
Hunchakists Admit Blackmail and Murder.
ORGANIZATION BLOTTED OUT
Police Announce that Kassak Jelalian, Arrested Sunday Night, Has Told that [?]Directed
Slaughter and Mutilation [?]Jartaman and Assassination of Rug Merchant — Leaders
Arrested or Fleeing
New York Aug 13 — According to an announcement by District Attorney Jerome and Deputy
Police Commissioner Woods early this morning the detective bureau officers have arrested
the ringleaders of the Hunchakist secret society and obtained confessions from them which
will end the existence of the organization.
Kissak Jelalian arrested Sunday nlght confessed to Mr. Jerome the police say. After a
grueling examination which lasted for more than six hours that it was he and no other who
had directed the murders of Father Kasper Vartaman, whose body was cut to pieces and the
wealthy rug merchant Tavshanjian killed as he was entering his office near Union square.
Pointed Out Doomed Man
He furthermore declared it is said that he has stood by while Bedros Hamptzoomian waited
for the coming of the victim and pointed out the doomed man.
It is given out by Detective Petrosino who has had the actual investigation !n charge,
that Father Martoggessian who has been under arrest in connection with the murders is not
directly connected to the society though he is still believed to have known a great deal
of its inner workings.
Lieut. Petrosino of the New York detective department recently encountered in Boston an
Armeniam named Manoojian who offered his services. Manoojian furnished information
enabling Petrosino to send a wire to this c?ty that resulted in the arrest of Borhas
Find Daggers and Bombs.
The police searched the building where Alltepunerjian lived and in the cellar under a
co?il heap? protected by boards they found poisoned daggers, small bombs, a quantity of
poisoned bullets, revolvers and several large bombs of hydrocyanlc acid and sulphate of
ammonia as well as chemists' scales bullet molds and electric apparatus of various kinds.
Taken to police headquarters the man broke down and confessed. He confirmed the police
said what they had already suspected that Kassak Jelalian was the head and front of the
Several other arrests were made during the afternoon by detectives. The police believe
that with the exception of a few unimportant members now fugitives the principal members
of the society are under arrest.
Holdwater: The author's contention in the first paragraph
that these arrests would have ended "the existence of the organization" was way
The word "ringleaders" brings to mind the Armenians arrested in Istanbul on
April 24, along with the rest of the Ottoman nation. Certainly some were innocent, but a
good percentage were composed of fanatical murderers, as the kind we've been getting
acquainted with. That is, the very men Armenian propaganda tells us were the
"Armenian intellectuals and cultural leaders."
Priest a Murderer?
The Daily News [Frederick], August 16, 1907
IS PRIEST A MURDERER?
Father Martoogessian Must Face Grave Charges When Arraigned.
New York, Aug. 16.— Father Levont
Martoogessian, who was arrested after the murder of H. S. Tavshanjian and is now in
the Tombs under $25,000 bail on indictments for robbery and blackmail in connection
with the Hunchakist society, may soon be accused of a graver offense. This was
predicted by the district attorney, when he asked that Martoogessian's bail should
be made so heavy that he could not find a bondsman.
Acting District Attorney Nott had a long conference with two Armenians whose
identity he would not disclose saying that if their names became known the
terrorists might frighten them into silence. It is known these men gave information
which will prove that Martoogessian knew more than has been suspected. It is
declared he was aware also of the sending of Hunchakists to Boston to murder two
Armenians who had displeased the terrorists.
When these two witnesses complete their story detectives will be sent to Boston to
find corroboration there. With this done and the Tavshanjian ends adjusted, further
charges will be made against the unfrocked priest.
Meanwhile Inspector McCafferty's detectives are searching for Arzoolan agent of the
foreign Hunchakists, who is said to have been the head of the conspirators on this
side of the ocean. He was last reported seen in Providence, R. I.
Mr. Nott has learned that Aram Tashlan, an Armenian recently convicted of murdering
his brother, and now in state prison for life, was a member of Martoogessian's
branch of the Hunchakists.
|Armenians in Violent Pact
Fort Wayne News, Aug. 20, 1907
ARMENIANS IN VIOLENT PACT
AMERICA HAS 700 "PATRIOTS" WHO SEEK FREEDOM FROM TURKEY.
CHICAGO, Aug. 20 — An Armenian giving the name of Monoog Curezhin, forty years of
age, who is in jail today charged with knowledge of the murder of an Armenian rug
merchant in New York, is believed by the police to he a leading member of the
Hunchakist society and efforts arc being made by the police of Minneapolis, Chicago,
New York and Constantinople, to connect him with associations of Armenians in
America and plots against the sultan. Two fingers of the prisoner's right hand are
missing and he says he lost them while experimenting with explosives in Waukegan,
Ill., preparatory to a trip to Turkey to assassinate the sultan.
Two years ago an Armenian priest and four Thessalians were found murdered in
Minneapolis and their bodies thrust into trunks and closely packed with clerical
raiment. Murders of less spectacular display occurred in the interim, culminating in
the murder of Father Kasperkut, of Chicago, whose body was found in a trunk in New
York, and the assassination of a New York rug merchant, who, it is believed, failed
to contribute to the Huncnakist society.
Curezhin, according to the police to-day, made a full confession of his connection
with the Hunchakist society and told of its purposes. Curezhin says 700 Armenian
patriots are banded together in this country for the purpose of liberating their
native land from the rule of Turkey. Every member of the society is trained in the
use of explosives and almost any one of them, he says, is willing to blow the sultan
and his entire retinue into eternity if the opportunity is presented.
Two Hunchakists exist. The oldest is devoted exclusively to acts of physical
revolution and the later one to the levying, of funds as well as to the general
plan. The prisoner has given the police the names of 500 of the members. He will ho
released, as there is no specific charge against him.
Holdwater: He ratted out 500. Quick, get Soghoman
Tehlirian on his trail; the assassin of Talat Pasha had experience in snuffing
out other Armenian finks.
|Locate Murderers of Armenian Priest
The Weekly Sentinel, Aug. 28, 1907
LOCATE MURDERERS OF ARMENIAN PRIEST
Three Armenians Who Committed Crime in New York, in Bulgaria.
New York, Aug. 28?.— Three Armenians wanted for tho murder of Father Casper, the
Arkanian, have been located, It is stated today, in the Arna, Bulgaria. They escaped from
this country by Montreal and lied to Marseilles, and eluded the police there and went to
The murder of Father Casper was one of the most atrocious In the history of murders about
New York. The country had been widely searched for his murderers, but. no definite trace
of them could be found.
Boyadjian or "Murad" in USA
The Oxford Mirror, Jan. 16, 1908
Gen. Hempartzoonian Boyadjian,
head of the Hunchakists, or Armenian Revolutionary society, is in New York to
organize Armenians in America in armed bands to help the society in its effort to
wrest their country from Turkey.
Holdwater: Since the authorities, particularly the New
York police, had a good bead on what sort of criminals the Hunchaks were, one
wonders how this mass murderer could have been allowed entry into the country in the
|Assassination Traced to New York
The Ogden Standard, Feb. 17, 1908
ASSASSINATION IS TRACED TO NEW YORK
New York, Feb. 17.— Word was received in New York last night of the assassination in
Egypt of an Armenian editor named Arplarian and the crime is traced directly to the
Hunchakist troubles In New York which have resulted In the murder of several men here,
notably that of a wealthy rug merchant named Tavshanjian, who was shot in Union Square
last summer and for complicity in whose murder Father Martgoosian, a prominent Armenian,
is soon to be tried. Armenians here say that after the murder of Tavshanjian here
Arplarian published numerous editorials In his paper in Cairo, demanding that the
perpetrators of the crime be punished. They believe that his assassination is the result
of these publications and believe that the crime was committed by several Armenians who
went to Egypt from New York for the purpose of frightening New York Armenians and
preventing their testifying against the Hunchakists here.
He Guided Assassin
The Washington Post, Aug. 13, 1908
SAY HE GUIDED ASSASSIN
New Arrest Made in Hunchakist Murder Case.
Incriminating Evidence of Armenian Blackmailing Conspiracies Alleged to Have Been
Found in His Room
New York Aug 12. — In Kisaak Jelalian arrested early to-day and taken to the
Tombs, the police believe they have the man who piloted Bedros Khachadorian to his
victim H. S. Tavshanjian, the Union Square rug merchant assassinated as the result
of an Armenian Hunchakist conspiracy.
Seven suit cases believed to contain papers of great Importance in the murder plot
were said to have been found in Jelalian s room. Translators were put to work on
them at once, but it will be some time before their contents are known. There will
be other arrests to-day the police think and they admit that sensational
developments are looked for.
Detectives are searching for evidence to connect Jelalian with Levont Martogessian
the unfrocked priest indicted for attempted robbery and extortion.
Jelajian Is thought to be the man with whom Bedros lived while he was here waiting
for an opportunity to serve the blackmailers. The prisoner was arrested by Detective
William H. Tiche of the district attorney's staff and lives in West Forty second
street, between Ninth and Tenth avenues. That Bedros came directly from Lowell,
Mass. to Jelalian and that the latter went with him to Union Square on the day
Tavshanjian was slain is the belief of the detectives. It was Jelalian they think
who sent the numerous blackmailing letters mailed immediately after the
Khachadorian attended a meeting of Hunchakists in Lowell before he left. There it
was decided to remove Tavshanjian and Khachadorian was selected as the tool.
At this meeting $300 was raised for the murderer's expenses and he left Lowell and
went to Chelsea where he remained half a-day and then came to New York.
Five days before the murder of Tavshanjian, Jelalian was seen standing in East
Seventeenth street Union Square, watching the store of Tavshanjian. He was noticed
by a man at a rug store in the vicinity who knew that he belonged to tho murderous
Hunchakist band. He watched him for about fifteen minutes.
Jelalian has been in this country for about six years. He has never been known to
work very much but seemed to have no difficulty In living without work.
He was generally known by Armenians as a member of the murderous Hunchakist Society.
In the Tombs, Khachadorian is believed to be in daily communication with
Martogessian, the priest leader of the Hunchakist. When first told that he had been
deceived as to the character of his victim, Khachadorian expressed great regret and
declared he would unfold the whole plot and give evidence against the members of the
society. Then Martogessian was arrested and confined in the Tombs, and Khachadorian
has undergone a change of heart. He seems in mortal fear of the priest.
Jelalian's arrest it is expected will be followed by several more in this city and
Boston Detectives have the suspects under surveillance.
(The following article appeared directly underneath)
BOYS HAVE "BLACK HAND."
Admit Threatening to Kill Youth Unless Mother Paid $100
Special to The Washington Post. New York Aug. 12?— Charged with attempted
blackmail and with sending threatening letters through the mails, two fifteen year
old boys Were arrested early this morning by Acting Captain O'Day of the East Twenty
second street station and sent to the Children's Society for safe keeping until
their case can be tried in the Children's Court.
The boys gave their names as Peter Boyle of 241 East Twenty-first street and Palmer
Murcha of 229 East Twenty first street. It Is charged that those boys who were
dragged out of bed by the police shortly after midnight, had written a threatening
letter to Mrs. A. C. Schupp of 204 East Twenty first street, demanding $100 and
threatening to "take away your son and kill him if the money failed to be
forthcoming" when a man with a green necktie and a white cap passed her stoop
on the night of Saturday last.
The letter read as follows "Dear Madam, If you don't give $100 to a man with a
green necktie and a white cap who will pass by your stoop tonight at 10 o'clock your
son will be taken away and killed. BEWARE."
The boys admitted to the police that they were guilty.
Holdwater: How heartwarming that the Hunchaks served as
inspiring role models for some of
|Assassin is Put to Death
The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Dec. 6, 1909
ASSASSIN IS PUT TO DEATH.
Armenian Revolutionist Dies for Murder of Countryman.
New York, Dec. 6.— Bedros Hampartzoomian. the
Armenian slayer of H. Tavshanjian, the wealthy rug merchant, was put to death in the
electric chair at Sing Sing prison today.
Hampartzoomian, an agent of a circle of a revolutionary society, the Hunchakists,
had demanded sums of money from the rug merchant to aid in overthrowing the sultan
of Turkey. Tavshanjian refused the demand and one day he was called to the door of
his establishment and shot down by Hampartzoomian.
| Archbishop of Armenian Church is Assassinated
As explained in the intro, an exception is made to the
"1900s" theme of this page, in order to provide the Dashnaks with murderous
The Fresno Bee, Dec. 25, 1933
ARCHBISHOP OF ARMENIAN CHURCH IS ASSASSINATED
Four Men Held For Christmas Butcher Knife Murder Of Leon Tourian
PRELATE SLAIN BEFORE HORRIFIED CONGREGATION
Strife Over Pro-Soviet Policy Declared Motive For Fatal Attack
(By The Associated Press)
NEW YORK, Dec. 25.— Four men were held to-day in connectlon with the murder of
Archbishop Leon Tourian, head of the Armenian Church of North and South America, yesterday
in the Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church.
Martin Mazian, 41, and Asjan Yerjianen, 42, were booked on homicide charge. Matos
Leylegian, 39, and Nishan Sarkisian, 38, were arrested a few hours after the murder, which
occurred as the archbishop moved up the church aisle.
The four men live in New York. Mazian and Yerjianen admitted being present, but denied
having had anything to do with the murder of the prelate, police said.
The Holy Cross Apostolic Church was shuttered and silent to-day amid the chorus of
Christmas hymns from neighboring houses of worship, !ts altar desecrated by the blood of
its primate, stabbed to death as he opened Sunday morning's services.
Archbishop Tourian was murdered before a .horrified congregation by a band of political
assassins as he moved up the aisle in the colorful processional march. The killers closed
in on the prelate silently and swiftly as he passed the rear pews behind his accolytes
[sic] and choir.
Stabbed Three Times
Under a rain of knife-thrusts he dropped the cross ho was holding aloft and crumpled
without a cry 1o the floor, where he died while the enraged crowd was still struggling
with his murderers. He had noon stabbed three times in abdomen.
The suddenness of the crime anrl the uproar which followed made it difficult for the
police to find out how many men, had been in the attacking group or how many had
participated in the actual killing.
One of the assailants hurled a hlood-stalned knite in the direction of the altar and
dashed toward the rear of the church, where he was turned back into the crowd by the gun
of the prelate's personal bodyguard, drawn too late to avert the killing.
A moment later a police officer fought his way through the milling worshipers [sic] and
rescued Leylegian and Sarkisian. who were being beaten by members of the congregation.
Other groups of police made surprise raids on the two principal Armenian clubs of, the
city, questioning some 300 persons. Two other men, one of them a brother of Leylegian,
were taken into custody and later released.
Pro-Soviet Policy Blamed
It seemed fairly well established, police, said, that.the cause of the attack was the
militant pro-Soviet attitude of the archbishop, against which a minority of the American
church membership have consistently fought, an antagonism which had become so acute as to
cause the archbishop to hire a bodyguard nnd to employ the utmost precautions at the hotel
in which he lived. where a complete, identification was necessary for admission into his
Archbishop Tourian, who was 55 years old, came to this country in 1931 from Armenia, where
a republic supported by and friendly to the Soviet had been established in 1920. The
archbishop had been outspoken in his approval both of the government and the Soviet.
Exiled supporters or the old regime have bitterly opposed him for this attitude.
A Christmas bazaar which was to have been held at the church last night wns postponed.
Because of the murder the church can not be used again until it has been reconsecrated.
Police are continuing their investigation. They attributed responsibility for the slaying
to Dashnag or Tashnag, a supposedly revolutionary Armenian society.
Repudiated in California
Assistant Chief inspector John J. Sullivan was told that the archbishop was recognized
throughout his archdiocese except in Callfornia.
But even in the East feeling against the prelate was bitter among a small group, witnesses
said, so much that at a recent picnic at Worcester, Mass., the archbishop was assaulted.
Two men were arrested on this charge and a fine of $50 wns imposed on one.
Two factions have sprung up in Ihe church, police were told, since the archbishop came lo
this country. On July 1st. last, he refused to speak at Armenian Day exercises at fhr
world's fair in Chicago until the old Armenian flag was hauled down. Several men were
arrested in a fight that followed.
At that time the archbishop, an imposing figure more than six feet in height and weighing
215 pounds, said he was following orders from the Catholicos, head of the Armenian Church
throughout the world.
In September a group headed by the archbishop withdrew from the annual general assembly in
St. Gregory The Illuminator's Church on East Twenty-seventh Street. The quarrel followed
charges of pro-Sovietism against the prelate.
A separate meeting was held at which feling ran so high that police protection was
obtained for the archbishop. The so-called anti-Soviet group asserted then that it would
force his resignation. Since then, it was reported, the archbishop has been under police
The primate, who came here from Manchester, England, previously had served in Bulgaria and
Syria. During the world war he left Bulgaria with his people and King Ferdinand decorated
him with the Bulgarian medal.
Archbishop Tourain was the author of seven volumes of sermons printed in England during
the last nine years.
Holdwater: "They attributed responsibility for the
slaying to Dashnag or Tashnag, a supposedly revolutionary Armenian society."
The author is assigned a story dealing with Armenian terror, and he had no idea who the
Dashnaks were. About as unprofessional and irresponsible of the similarly ignorant Scott
Simon, who hosted a genocide
"debate" for PBS.
What do you make of the fact that the murderers committed their crime so blatantly out in
the open? Either they wanted to show the community they meant business, or they weren't
thinking straight. Prof. Heath Lowry provided a little epilogue to the above (See link
...Not one individual in the crowd was able to identify a single one of the assailants.
The New York District Attorney who prosecuted the subsequent trial of the nine man Dashnak
cell responsible for the assassination, had the following to say in regard to the failure
of a single Armenian present in the Church to testify against the assailants: “The
detectives faced a wall of reticence which did not auger well for a solution of the
mysterious killing. Either these Armenians wished to settle the feuds in their own way by
murderous counterplots; or they were too much in fear for their own safety to disclose
what they know. [Spectator, December 7, 1983]
Back to the News Page
Prof. Lowry's "NINETEENTH AND
TWENTIETH CENTURY ARMENIAN TERRORISM: ‘Threads of Continuity’"