Lowell and the Civil War: An Armenian from Lowell

Chelmsford’s Gary Koltookian, left, and Pennsylvania researcher Paul Sookiasian at at the grave of Lowell mill worker and Civil War sailor Khachadour Garabedian in Fernwood Cemetery, Lansdowne, Pa. COURTESY GARY KOLTOOKIAN
In yesterday’s Lowell Sun, writer and history reseacher, David Peaver continues his occasional articles related to Lowell and the Civil War. He tells us the story of local historian, collector and Lowell Historical Society member Gary Koltookian and his research attempt to find more about Khachadour P. Garabedian, a Lowell mill worker who enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1864 and is believed the only Armenian to have served in combat during the Civil War.

From the article:

The trail to a deteriorated headstone in a Philadelphia-area cemetery, and to the restoration of a Civil War sailor’s honor, started from a flea market in Hollis, N.H., in 1991.

Chelmsford’s Gary Koltookian was shopping for worthy additions to his collections of antique bottles and Lowell memorabilia. A Lowell native intensely proud of his Armenian heritage, Koltookian’s eyes were drawn to an 1855 Lowell Courier on a dealer’s table, and to an advertisement placed in that newspaper by a “Menas Garabed, Cabinetmaker.”

“Wow. 1855. An Armenian in Lowell,” he marveled.

“There were not many Armenians in America in the 1850s,” says Koltookian, 78, a retired social-studies teacher whose ancestors arrived in the early 1900s 10 years into the first great wave of Armenian migration.

 

And so the search began!

Read the full Peaver article here at lowellsun.com. Reminder: the Sun archives their stories very quickly!

 

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