My father came of a Greek family whose ancestors had emigrated from Byzantium, having left their country to escape the persecution by the Turks which followed their conquest of Constantinople.
At first they settled in the heart of Turkey, but later, for certain reasons, among which was the search for more suitable climatic conditions and better pasturage for the herds of domestic cattle forming part of the enormous riches of my ancestors, they moved to the eastern shores of the Black Sea, to the environs of the town now called Gumush Khaneh. Still later. not long before the last big Russo-Turkish war, owing to repeated persecutions by the Turks, they moved from there to the Georgia.
In Georgia my father separated from his brothers and moved to Armenia, settling in the town of Alexandropol, the name of which had just been changed from the Turkish name of Gumri.
When the family possessions were divided, there fell to my father’s share what was considered, at that time, great riches, including several herds of domestic cattle.
A year or two after he had moved to Armenia, all this wealth that my father had inherited was lost, as a result of a calamity independent of man.
This happened owing to the following circumstances:
When my father settled in Armenia with all his family, his shepherds and his herds, he was the richest cattle of owner of the district and the poorer families soon gave into his charge—as was the custom—their own small number of horned and other domestic cattle, in exchange for which they were to receive from him during the season a certain quantity of butter and cheese. But just when his herd had been increased in this way by several thousand head of other people’s cattle, a cattle plague came from Asia and spread all over Transcaucasia.
This mass pestilence among the cattle then raged so violently that in couple of months or so almost all the animals perished; only an insignificant number survived, and these were merely skin and bones.