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Singapore - Fort Canning, Bidadari Cemetery, Garden of Memories,
Aquy esta sepullado
Tarcan filho de Ovanjan
que falleceo em 3 de Janiero
Hail to thee who readest the epitaph on my tomb! give me the news of my nation's freedom, for which I have passionately longed. [Tell me] if someone has risen among us, as deliverer and leader; which, while on earth, I earnestly desired. I, Yakobos, scion of respectable ancestors among the Armenians being their son, I received the name Chamrchamian. I was born in a foreign land, at Nor Tjoula, village of the Persians. On attaining twenty nine years of age, I came into my inheritance, in this Malala (Malacca); the seventh of July, I ended my life. In the year of the Saviour 1774, I aid myself down to rest in this grave, which I myself acquired. (Translated by M. Macler, cited in Miss J.V. (1936) 'Note on the Armenian tombstone at Malacca' in JMBRAS Vol. 14 part 3 pp.266)
Unknown showing funereal motifs including skull and crossbones, which
does not mean the deceased was a pirate.
Additional information added here May 2009.
This translation below can be found in Mesrob Seth's book, Armenians in India" P.251.
"Hail thou that readst the tablet of my tomb! wherein I now do sleep;
Give me the news, the freedom of my countrymen, for them I did much weep;
If there arose amongst them one good guardian to govern and to keep,
Vainly I expected in the world to see a good shepherd come to look after the scattered sheep;
I Jacob, the grandson* of Shameer, an Armenian of a respectable family whose name I keep,
Was born in a foreign place in Persia, in New Julfa, where my parents now forever sleep;**
Fortune brought me to this distant Malacca, which my remains in bondage doth keep;
Separated from the world on the 7th July in the year of Lord 1774 at the aged of 29.
And my mortal remains were deposited in this spot, in the ground which I had purchased."
*In Seth's book P.592 it states that Jacob was actually the son of Shameer.
**In Seth's book it states that his parents actually died in Madras. [Shameer Soolthanoomian and his wife Anna. To see the graves in Madras click and follow this link]
The pioneering Armenians of Singapore were buried in the Christian Cemetery on the lower slopes of Fort Canning. Eight of the old tombstones can be seen embedded in the memorial walls constructed when the cemetery was upgraded into a memorial park in the 1970s. Seven of these are clearly legible: those of Andrew Apcar, Simon Stephens, Mackertoom G. Mackertoom, Hosanna Seth, Gregory Seth, Aristarkies Sarkies and Sarkies A. Sarkies One nigh illegible one belongs to an Armenian buried in 1826 – probably Philip Catchick or Reverend Ingergolie from Penang.
To the memory of Gregory Seth Esq
Who departed this life at Singapore on 14 of February 1825
Aged 47 years
To the memory of Andrew Satoor Apcar Esq who departed
this life at Singapore on the 30th September 1834 aged 25 years.
A.M. Carapiet sculptor Calcutta
To the memory of Aristakes Sarkies Esquire
A respectable Armenian merchant who departed this life on the 8th March 1841.
Aged 63 years.
Sacred to the memory of Mackertoom Galoost Mackertoom
Who departed this life on the 2nd July 1864
Aged 39 years & 9 months
A tribute of affection from his bereaved widow
He hath stripped me of my glory and taken the crown from my head. Job ix:9
Sacred to the memory of Simon Stephens Esq merchant of
Aged 65y 3m 2d
Sacred to the memory of Hosanna Peter Seth
Born at Madras on the 2 August 1817
Departed this life at Singapore on the 21st of June 1863 aged 46 years
The Fort Canning Cemetery was superseded by
the Bukit Timah Cemetery in 1865. More than sixty Armenians were
buried in this cemetery. Today, twenty-four of their tombstones rest
in the Garden of Memories, having been rescued by Leon Palian in 1970
at his own expense. They were deposited on the front lawn of the
church grounds, their presence giving rise to the mistaken belief that
Armenians had been buried in the church grounds. In 1988, the
generosity of Art Ramian enabled the tombstones to be laid out in a
Garden of Memories at the rear of the church.
In 1908, the Bidadari Cemetery was consecrated, and by its closure in 1966 at least fifty-seven Armenians and their descendants had been buried there. After the Government took over the cemetery for housing redevelopment in 2002, only the tombstones of Nanajan Sarkies, Michael Martin, Mary Martin, Eleazar Johannes and Regina Sarkies were removed to the Garden of Memories.
Tombstones in the Garden of Memories
Some statues have not been attached to their correct plinths. Others lie in scattered pieces.
In loving memory of Michael M Stephens
Born 7th of May 1888
Died 3rd of February 1889
Seth Parsick Joaquim
Born in Singapore on 11th of September 1866
Departed this life on the 22nd of January 1904
"He is not dead, but sleepth." Translated A.C. Galstaun. (this is in two broken segments)
In loving memory of Agnes eldest daughter of the late
Born 7 April 1854
Died 2 July 1899
"Let her own works praise her."
Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to thy cross I cling
Brown and Company Calcutta
And added plaque
Agnes Joaquim after whom the national flower of Singapore the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid was named
Sacred to the memory of Mary, relict of the late M G
Mackertoom and the only beloved daughter of Mrs K A Sarkies.
Died 8 June 1889 aged 56.
"Jesus, my Saviour and Redeemer receive me."
On the rear is written:
Farewell my mother
I now turn away
No more to meet till the great judgment day
though absent in body
I am with you in prayer
And will meet you in heaven
There is no parting there
In affectionate remembrance of Mary the dearly beloved
wife of J G Mackertoom
Who died on the 3rd of April 1887 aged 49 years
I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. St John xi-25
[In Armenian: translated by Father Michael]
While in bitter anguish grief and sorrow are we always as parents in heart rending despair over our only daughter, Elizabeth, such an unearthly beauty, yet to fully blossom but who was taken from us so prematurely.
and now you Merkhatoon, the peace of my soul, you fly to our lovely sweet daughter and leave me here with dashed hopes and without any consolation, leaving me to burst into tears continuously over both your inconsolable deaths.
Lord who will give me and take me to the beloved in eternal life so I always may have an opportunity to come near and rest together.
So until that time when your Will will be completed, farewell to you, you the memory of tears.
Sorrow not for us beloved dear
We are not dead but sleeping here
Earth's troubles and pains do harm us no more
We are waiting for life on the heavenly shore
And Oh! Be thou faithful and true to the last
And worthy that eternal joy once more to taste
then wife off those tears dear and weep no more
We are not lost forever but gone on before.
Sacred to the memory of John Shanazar Sarkies
A prominent Armenian merchant of Batavia, Java.
Born in Julfa, Isphan, Persia
25 September 1831
Died in Singapore 16 February 1904.
"Death is the gate of life."
Erected by his loving wife.
[Armenian: translated by Father Michael]
Our precious loss which is greater than life itself
Life without him is for us one thousand deaths.
In loving memory of our daring Rosie Sarkies
Born on the 15th of February 1906
Died on the 7th of December 1906
Memorial Table to
Madam Mary Christopher who died on the 8th May 1990
The widow of the late Parsick Joaquim
Born Singapore 2 March 1828
Died 25 April 1905
Aged 77 years 1 month 23 days
"Weep not for me my children dear
I am not dead, but sleeping here
Weep not for me, but be content
Wipe off those tears and weep no more
I am not lost but gone before"
In memory of
Arratoon Parsick Joaquim
Late Deputy registrar Hackney Carriage Department Singapore
Born on the 2nd of July 1864
Died on the 15th of September 1895
Safe in the Arms of Jesus
[In Armenian]: "Lucky (blessed) are the passers by who sleep in the Lord" (translated by A.C. Galstaun)
In loving memory of Joaquim Parsick Joaquim FRGS
Born on 1st of April 1856
Died on 1st of July 1902
He was a distinguished Freemason being a member of the 31 A and AR and Deputy District Grand Master of the Eastern Archipelago in 1887 and 1888 and again from 1902 to his death.
[In Armenian] "Here rests the body of the lawyer JPJ: born in Singapore 1 April 1856; member 31 o A; DDGM 1887-1888"
Sacred to the memory of Mayil relict of the late
Johannes Mirzakhan Moses
Born at Bushire on the 13th of July 1819
Died in Singapore on the 27th of November 1895
"Many a stormy sea I've traversed. Many a tempest shock have known
Have been driven without anchor on the barren shores and lone
Yet I now have found a haven never moved by tempest shock
Where my soul is safe for ever in the blessed rifted rock'
Sacred to the memory of Parsick Joaquim, merchant
Died 17 May 1872 aged 54 years
His epitaph reads in both Armenian and English - 'a loving husband, a faithful friend and a kind parent to the end.' Plus in Armenian 'an illustrious merchant'
[translated A. Galstaun]
In loving memory of Mary widow of the late Catchick
Died 17 December 1895 aged 68 years
'A gentle & dear mother, a kind friend to the end'
'A light is from our household gone
A voice we loved is still'
Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord
In loving memory of Catchick Moses
Died 2 October 1892
Aged 80 years 1 month ?? days
'A good husband, a kind father & a dear friend'
'Rest from thy labour rest
Toil of the just set free
Blest be thy memory and blest thy bright example be'
Sacred to the memory of Johannes Mirzakhan Moses
Who departed this life on 24 September 1874 in his 75th year.
'Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him
Upon them that hope in his mercy'
In affectionate remembrance, this monument was erected by his bereaved widow
Sacred to the memory of Michael Johannes Moses
Born at Penang 10 October 1834
Died at Singapore 24 September 1837 aged 39 years 11 months 15 days
'Unto Thee O Lord do I lift my soul'
A tribute of affection from his bereaved mother
In ever cherished memory of our darling mother
Dearly beloved widow of the late
Michael S. Martin
Prominent merchant in singapore and younger daughter of John and Nanajan Sarkies
Born in Batavia Java 10.6.1863
Died in Sime Road Internment Camp 17.8.1945
Past Honorary member and president - Singapore of the Armenian General Benevolent Union
'Blessed are the pure in heart' Matt.5
In sweet and everlasting memory of Anna
Widow of Johannes Shanazar Sarkies of New Julfa
and second daughter of Agah Barsegh Johannes
Born at Basra on 22nd July 1846
Departed this life 29 February 1936
No image available
John Eleazar son of Mackertich and Irene John
1 May 1909
3 May 1909
No image available
Chatrick Moses [in Armenian] unrecognisable tile with
[In Armenian: translated by Father Michael] Son Tzarick, who did not see a healthy day, rest now in the arms of heaven; sweet life to you, free from the pains of our world.
You passerby if you are a parent of sons, have compassion: shed here one tear drop with fathers and mothers who are in bitter sorrow.
No image available
In loving memory of the late Katchkatoon, relict of
Died on the 20th of June 1895
83-85 years 5? months 14 days
"She was true to her God and kind to her friends"
Unto Thee O Lord do I lift my soul.
No image available
In loving memory of Rose Moses
The eldest and beloved daughter of the late Catchick and Mary Moses
13 November 1847
23 July 1908
Never shall the memory fade
Sweetest thoughts shall forever linger
Round the spot where thou are laid
We loved her in life and will not forget her in death
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God
No image availabe
Sacred to the memory of Malcolm Mirzakhan Moses who
died at Singapore deeply lamented by his relatives on the 12th March
1871 in his 48th year
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord"
No image available
Martyrose Johannes Carapiet died 5 February 1893 aged
73 [sic] years
"I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though we are dead yet shall he live". John xi-25
No image available
Sophia Anna Moses
28 April 1920 in her 72nd year
Erected by her loving niece Marion Manook
Several Armenian tombstones remain in the old Northam Road Cemetery
In memory of Michael Arratoon
Eldest son of the late
A A Anthony
Born at Calcutta on 2 August 1841
Died at Penang on 15 July 1878
Aged 37 years
'In the midst of life we are in death'
Sacred to the memory of Isabel Marion the beloved wife
of Joseph M. Anthony
Died 7 March 1873
Aged 23 years
'Not lost but gone before'
NB She was not Armenian but married to one
In memory of Seth Anthony
Fourth son of the late A A Anthony
Died 20th November 1895
Aged 45 years
[Armenian text: unknown, perhaps someone could translate this?]
Sacred to the memory of
The son of Aviet Agabeg Esquire late of Calcutta
Departed this life at Penang on
21st June 1853
Aged 30 years
Requiescat in Pace
In loving memory of
Stuart Robert Anthony Herriot
Son of the late Stuart Herriot
Died 21st February 1885
Aged 25 years
'I know that my redeemer liveth'
Erected by his sisters
In loving memory of
widow of the late
A A Anthony
Died 7th May 1890
Aged 73 years
Other tombstones rest in the Western Road Cemetery. They include the bones of those re-interred in a mass grave, after being exhumed from the burial ground of the now-demolished St Gregory’s Church in Bishop Street. Many of these tablets can not be read, but they include:
Sacred to the memories of
Born 3 March 1839
Died 19 June 1850
Do (Born) 3rd June 1849
Do (Died) 22nd October 1849
Do (Born) 26th June 1856
Do (Died) 7th November 1856
The beloved children of Mr & Mrs A A Anthony
Sacred to the memory of Catherine
the beloved wife of Stuart Herriot and daughter of
Mr & Mrs A A Anthony
Born at Penang
23rd January 1833
Died 4th October 1859
Aged 26 years