Saturday, June 20, 2015


The death of Henry Ross on 10 Dec. 1861 was reported in a letter from the American Consul in Constantinople:  "He was discharged by me from the Hermaphrodite Brig "Hugh Barclay" of Chicago on December 2 and sent at once to the hospital on application of Charles T. Chadwick, Master, having arrived at this port November 30 from Sulema at the mouth of the Danube where he contracted dysentery of which he died."

Before we go any further, let's find out what a Hermaphrodite Brig looked like and a description of its rigging:

So this ship came into port at Istanbul with a young man near death.  Let's continue with the American Consul's letter:

"I visited him daily and found that he received every possible attention from the Protestant Sisters who manage that Institution.  Yesterday I attended his funeral at which one of the American Missionaries officiated.  He was decently buried in the Dutch Protestant Cemetery in Pera.  The flag of his country accompanying his remains to the grave.  It appears by the Ship's Registry that the deceased shipped at London on 8 Jun 1861, aged 23.  He informed me he was never married and has no parents living unless a brother, John Ross, from whom he has not heard for 5 years.  His protection from the Collector of Boston and Charleston dated 13 Dec 1860 certifies that he was a native of Buffalo, New York which he considers his residence.  He leaves nothing but his clothing and the balance of his wages and extra pay, for which I will account.  Under the circumstances I have not deemed it necessary to publish a notice in any newspaper here."

                                                Signed:  C. W. Goddard, Consul General."

I lived in Istanbul for almost two years and one of the things I did was to try to identify all the Americans who were buried in the Ferikoy-Istanbul Protestant Cemetery.  Until I came home from Turkey I had no idea who Henry Ross was, but I had learned that when an American dies in a Foreign Country the State Department in America receives a notice of his or her death.  Early on it was just a written notice; later it was called a Form 192: Report of Death of American Citizen.  All such reports are eventually turned over to the National Archives.  So in 1995 I went to the College Park Branch of the National Archives where the state department's material to be archived is kept, and after a week of searching I found a Consular Dispatch file from that time period (1861) and in it was the letter from the Consul General.  No other information on Henry is available, but there surely was a great deal of information on other Americans buried in that cemetery.

As it happens, the cemetery that Consul General Goddard speaks of is no longer there and those buried in that cemetery were removed and reinterred at the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy. Unfortunately the man does not have a tombstone.

I was never able to locate any family for him here in the United States using simple genealogical tools, but perhaps with this exposure someone who has been looking a long time for young Henry Ross will recognize him here.  Until then, keep in mind that there are a lot of Immortal Nobodies buried in cemeteries all over the world.

Rest in Peace, Henry.

American Section of the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy-Istanbul

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