Tuesday, May 31, 2016


In Istanbul there was a cemetery with a tombstone for Paul D. Peltier.  However, I learned there some months after he was buried, his body was sent back to his mother in New York for final burial there.

What I learned about him while I was researching in 1992 those Americans who were buried in the Ferikoy-Istanbul Cemetery and had tombstones there.  Paul's name was on one of them.

Here's what I learned from a book "Story of the Near East Relief (1915-1936) New York, Macmillan, 1936, page 136.  Author James Levi Barton."

Paul, of New York, a pioneer Near East Relief worker, died on 1 Apr 1919 at Eskisehir, Turkey, following a railroad accident while he was on his way from Constantinople to the interior.  Mr. Peltier was among the first group of relief workers commissioned after the armistice.

From the College Park Branch of the National Archives I learned the following:  His mother was Mrs. Frederic Desnoyers Peltier, 144 E. 36th St. New York City.  In a letter of 27 October 1919, she wrote to the Consulate: "Can Paul's body be shipped to us soon?"  Consulate later replies the body is ready to ship on Black Arrow about 27 Nov. 1919.  This was found on Form 192 - Report of Death of American Citizen, original copy in State Dept. RG59, Decimal File 367.113 (1910-1929).

In 1975, the Consul General in Istanbul asked the Secretary for the American Board of Missions if he could prepare a list of Americans buried the Ferikoy-Istanbul Protestant Cemetery.  The Secretary, Melvin Wittler, created an up-to-date list and noted beside Paul's entry that he may have been interred in the cemetery originally and then later the body was removed for shipment to the United States.

The above information has been in my book "A Fine Place of Rest: Americans in the Protestant Cemetery, Ferikoy-Istanbul, Turkey" 1992.

Through the years that I was researching (all before the internet was available) I wondered what these people looked like, as well as what tidbit of information I hadn't found that would make them more "real" to me.

Tonight I ran Paul's name though Google Search and discovered this:young man had graduated from Columbia University, Class of 1918.  Here's what else I found on that website:

Lt. Paul D. Peltier, U.S. Army, died in Eskishehir, Turkey, on April 1, 1919, as the result of an accident.  He was sent to Turkey as a bacteriologist for the American Committee for Relief in the Near East.  

Yes, he belongs to the group of Immortal Nobodies, don't you agree?                      

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