Blegen Red Cross Diary 1918

C.W. Blegen, Diary 6 November to 3 December 1918. 
Notes on prehistoric pottery.  Refugee Notes.

[Transcribed by Jack L. Davis, July-August 2007]

Nov. 6.  Wednesday.  Left Athens 1 P.M. by the Express for Salonica with Col. Capps, Maj. Black, Maj. Barnes and BHH.  Delayed by washouts on line. Night on a train.

Nov. 7.  Thursday.  Arr. Larissa middle of morning.  Lunch on train.  Arr. Salonica ca. 7 P.M.  Col. Capps and BHH go to house of Gov. General Adossides to stay.  Rest of us scatter in rooms hired by Servian Commission of ARC.  I stay in same room with Maj. Barnes.  Maj. Black Barnes and I dined at King George Hotel with Maj. Farnam and others of Servian Commission.

Nov. 8.  Friday.  I moved to new room reserved by Servian Commission of ARC in house of a • • (?) Jew.  Very clear and comf. But no light.  Morning at Governor Generals.  We go to • in St. Sophia for St. Demetrius Day.  Tea at American Consulate General’s house.  Maj. Black, Maj. Barnes and I generally feed at King George Hotel.

Nov. 9.  Sat.  We all lunch at Governor Generals today.  Gov. Adossides is to give us a small steamer tomorrow for Kavalla and the Servian Commission of ACA has promised us 25 tons of flour and other supplies for E Macedonia.  BHH and I lay in supplies for personnel for trip.

Nov. 10.  Sun.  Lunch at Gov. General’s again.  At 4 P.M. we left Salonica on board SS. Hellespontos with 35 tons of supplements.  Mrs. Gladwin of Servia Commission comes with us.  The Gov. gave us one of his own automobiles to take with us for use in Eastern Mac.  Also 6 oxcarts commandeered for us.

Nov. 11.  Mon.  Violent head wind made us put in for the day at Porto Koupho a very beautiful little harbor with fjord like entrance near end of middle promontory of Chalcidice.  We went ashore and had a good climb in the hills (Dr. Black, BHH and I).

Nov. 12.  Tuesday.  Arr. Kavalla ca. 3 P.M. after stormy night.  We are put up in houses of American Tobacco Companies.  The Col. Maj. Barnes and Beach • Gary Col. H. BHH and I in Thelachrine house.  Very comfy.

Nov. 13.  Wednesday.  A warehouse is given to us by Major and we begin unloading stuff from boat.  Rain.  British are very kind and helpful.

Nov. 14.  Thursday.  More unloading.

Nov. 15.  Friday.  Unloading of boat finished tonight but a good deal of flour had to be put into British warehouse for the night.  Also some cases.  Our transportation depends entirely on British who have been very courtious and kind about giving us lorries.

Nov. 16.  Sat.  Steele and I went to Drama in Ford with Maj. Saundors.  Col. Capps and Maj. Barnes also went to Drama to buy buttons and thread for their sewing circle.  Dr. Black and BHH getting supplies to warehouse and making invoice.
Steele and I stayed in house of a friend of his in Drama.

Nov. 17.  Sunday.  Looked about Drama in morning.  Col. Capps and Maj. Barnes left for Xanthi along with Mrs. Adossides and others of Greek Red Cross to help deported Greeks get back from Bulgaria ot their homes.
In afternoon Steele and rode out to Kormista (or Cromista) with Mr. Andreas Djimas recommended by Arrington to help us.  We reached Cromista in ca. 4 ½ hrs.  Djima has a large farm there (rented from monastery).  An old worm eaten dilapidated building but with a comfortable room and beds for Steele and me and a dining room with a small coal stove in it.

Nov. 18.  Monday.  Conferred wih paredros of Cromista and asked him to prepare us a list of poor people of his village who had nothing to eat.  Rode to Chereplian (Τσερεπλάνη) 20 minutes distant and conferred with paredros and symbouloi to same effect.  (Between Cromista and Cherplian in a deep ravine is a vein of fairly good soft coal.  Anyone may dig who wants it and a company is said to have applied to the govmt for concession to exploit it.)  Rode from Chereplian in 1 hr. and 5 min. to Kiup Kioy (Kioupkeu) and conferred with paredros and aldermen to same effect as above.  Also saw representatives of thre villages destroyed by the Bulgars.  Several to Provista and Lakkovikia and made same request of them.  In afternoon rode to Rodolivos the largest of the villages on the side of Mt. Pangaeon.  Saw major and his council and made request for list of poor.  Spent night at house of Joachim [ ].

Nov. 19.  Tuesday.  Rode 1 ½ hrs. north to Angista a small and unprepossessing village.  Saw the paredros here and asked for list of poor.  All are poor but for the present with our limited supply of food we must try to get only the most worthy cases.  Rode ¾ h. east to Vitasta pleasantly situated little village.  Lunched here.  Saw paredros in same errand as above.  Afternon we rode 1 ½ hrs. back to Cromista.

Nov. 20 Wednesday.  Six oxcarts with supplies arrived today from Kavalla.  We unloaded them and put goods in storeroom.  Lists also began to come in and we commenced writing out tickets for families included.

Nov. 21.  Thursday.  Our first day of distribution.  We began with 1 ½ okes flour per person but when all lists had come in we found we had to reduce to 1 oke per person.

Nov. 22 Friday — Distributing all day.  Chiefly flour.  Also a few blankets and shawls and a little milk.

Nov. 23 Saturday.  Distribution finished today.  Our lists include total of 572 families and 2066 individuals.  Almost everyone of the families sent a representative and got some flour.  In the evening came a few from dugouts near Lakkovikia and we gave them double portions of flour as we had no more blankets.  They had come 6 hrs. journey to get a little flour.

Nov. 24.  Sunday.  We left at 10 and rode back to Drama.  Got in late after all British lorries had left.  Finally got ride in Greek postal lorry and went down to Kavalla after dark without lights.

Nov. 25 Monday.  Saw ship flying American flag in harbor this morning.  It turned out to be Hellespontos bringing McInnich and supplies from Mitylene.  We got a new warehouse and began unloading.  The 6 oxcarts which left Cromista Friday have turned up here.

Nov. 26 Tuesday.  Miss Gladwin left today returning to Salonika.  McInnich refused to run the sewing circle and I am unable so I closed it up for the time being to be reopened when there is more personnel.  Col. Capps came back from Bulgaria today hurrying on to Athens.

Nov. 27 Wednesday.  Lt. Gibson, Lt. Cobb and Felty arrived today from Athens. Gibson and Cobb went on in British Ford to Drama in P.M. bound for Xanthi.  Col Smythe (British Base Com) has telegram from Dedeagatch that 75 carloads of refugees are on way to Xanthi.  He furnished us a truck and we shipped ca. 3 tons more supplies to Xanthi via Drama in P.M.
Col Capps arranges for two trucks per week to Drama Mondays and Thursdays to transport our supplies for Bulgarian line.  We get Melachrino house for our HQ and move in.

Nov. 28 Thursday Thanksgiving Day.  Shipped 1 lorry of supplies for Xanthi via Drama.  Got 5 one-horse cards from civil governor to replace missing oxcarts.  They left at noon for Cromista.  Col Capps left by motor for Salonica with Felty driving.  Thanksgiving dinner with tobacco men in Steele’s house.

Friday Nov 29 Get three more oxcarts sent off with 14 cases of clothes for Cromista.

Sat. Nov. 30.  Met Lt. Welch at British Base.  Former student British School at Athens.  Dug with Evans at Knossos also in Palestine with Palest. Expl. Found.  Sent off 10 military carts of flour for Cromista.

Sunday Dec 1.  Went out in P.M. with Welch in Ford lorry (Lt. Mair also) to Dikilitash (fallen stones) ca. 14 km. out to investigate a mound just to left of road opposite cluster of houses.  We found a good prehistoric site.  Much pottery lies on ground.  We picked up pottery of various kinds: 1) hand polished and burnished monochrome black ware; 2) black ware.

Tuesday Dec. 3rd
Steele and I were taken in Ford to Pravi.  Here we found horses waiting for us with an officer as escort and set off at 11 A.M. for Cromista.  The officer (name of Liberides) was formerly φρούραρχος at Paleohori and Nikishan and rushed to visit these two villages enroute.  It was a cold rainy day but we agreed to go by that route with the understanding that we should arrive at Cromista in the evening.  Liberides promised this expressly.  We reached Palehori in the rain and sat for a while in a house there earing our sandwiches.  Heard tale of woe from wife of former schoolmaster (hanged by the Bulgars).  Later we rode on in light drizzle to Nikishan over mountain trail where we were obliged to walk part of way leading our horses.  Finally reached Nikishan at 4 P.M. in rain.  Lt. Liberides wished to stop here for night in house whee he lived as φρούραρχος but we reminded him of his agreement to get us to Cromista by evening.  He admitted he agreed to go.  Distance said to be 2 to 2 ½ hours.  We left at 4:40 P.M.  From now on it rained steadily somewhat more than a drizzle.  We were wet cold and uncomfortable.  At 5:30 it was dark and by 6 it was black as pitch. We couldn’t see the ground between our horses.  Also the ground was very muddy and wet.  We splashed through mud and water from 6 to 11 inches deep.  We couldn’t see to guide and let our horses go as they wished.  The way seemed interminable and there was no light visible save from Drama far away across the plain.  At last our horses lost the road and we found ourselves skidding through the mud in a plowed field close to the bank of a foaming stream.  The sensation of being lost revived Steele and we • our gloomy disgust at the situation.  Our journey had now become an adventure.  Our Greek friend however fell into a panic from cold and discomfort.  He reproachd me for having led him out on a night like this.  I remarked that he shared the responsibility for having taken me offtrack at Paleochori and Nikishan.  But that was an accomplished fact said he.  We had already done that.  There’s no use going back to that.  I rejoined “well it’s also an accomplished fact that we left Nikshan and that we’re here now lost in the mud. We’ve got to make the best of it and find the road again and shelter as soon as we can.”  He grudgingly admitted this fact.  We dismounted and trudged back through the mud leading our horses until at last we found the road again.  Then we went on until after a time we finally saw a light up in the hills in the direction where [Cromista] ought to be.  But we couldn’t find the trail leading up in that direction.  The crossroad being marked by two ruined Turkish springs we remembered.  We spent an hour hunting for the crossroad but in vain.  The best we could do was to find one spring also ruin but this was obviously not the crossroad.

Pagination of diary ends here on p. 125.

[The following comprise notes written on unpaginated pages near the back of the diary.]

Demir Hissar

Pop. before invasion (i.e. 1916) 35000 (24000 when Bulg. came)
Pop. when Bulgars retired 5000 (388 were orphans of both parents)
No. of refugees from Bulgaria etc.
No. of houses destroyed 1913 no record
“ “ “ “      1918 no record

2000 inhab. 36 are orphans of both F. and M.  Orphans of M. 40.  Orphans of F. 74

Bulg. 1st Co. Eng. building railway to Kossovo showed great brutality to Greek civil prisoners.

Cap. of Zich..s
500 Greek and 100 Turkish families
Ca. 3300 inhabitants

The deme of Ziliahova has 14 villages and ca. 8500 inhab.  Some of these villages in very bad shape.
Horvista for example 112 men carried off 11 came back All rest died in Bulgaria.
Nouska 156 carried off 52 died in Bulgaria.

From Zihahova 300 men carried off
50 died in Bulgaria. 50 families went to Bulgaria.

Zili. had 6000 sheep now there are only 400.  Before was a. 1000 oxen now only 60.  Horse etc. ca. 1000 before war now 30 or 40

From Toumba 60 men carried off 4 came back.

From Porna 180 carried off but only 40 came back.

[List of expenses on two pages not transcribed]



150 Turkish houses
130 Greek houses ca. 550 Greeks

Vitasta ¾ hr. from Angista

Paredros Hector Kritikos

226 families 1250 inhabit.

216 carried off to Bulgaria
83 died in Bulg.  69 came back rest unreported
180 in village died during Bulg. occupation of starvation and typhus.

Now 1043 (83 are from Thrace)
40 from ? and Provista
20 from Asia Minor

had 270 oxen now 31 poor ones
47 houses destroyed
1250 sheep now 8 left
All barns destroyed.
350 horses mules etc.  now 40 left.

Nov. 19
Angista 1 ½ hr. from Rodolivos
Paredros Kon. Arabadjis

Before war 93 families 440 souls
113 men were carried off by Bulgars
55 or 60 returned 15 died
Rest not heard from to date

5 families from Lakkovikia and Provista now here.

Before Bulgarians came the village had 80 oxen 30 mules 25 horses 237 sheep now 9 oxen 1 mule 2 horses 8 sheep

Rodolivos 1 hr. from Kioup Keui
Paredros Vasilios Paschalides
4 symbouloi

Before war 800 families 660 houss
4500 inhabitants
(Thee were of these 72 Turkish families ca. 400 souls)

Now there are 450 houses
Ca. 200 destroyed (6 or 7 by bombardment)
3000 inhabitants

850 men carried off to Bulgaria
60 families compelled to go to Bulgaria

Ca. 400 men have now returned: 150 died in Bulgaria.  Rest not yet heard from.
Ca. 10 or 12 families have returned.

Before Bulgars came this village had 1500 cattle.  Only 50 are left.
There were 30000 sheep and goats; not one left now.


Before war 370 families, 2000 inhabs, all Greek
now 1200 left all scattered
Demetrios Ath. Lykou was Paredros
Village totally destroyed
(not visited by me)

Provista 1 hr. from Sunalto

Before war 250 houses and families
200 hours Greek: 980 Greeks inhab.
50 houses Turkish ca. 250 souls
The Turks left in 1912-13 and refugees from Thrace were established
ca. 150 souls (incl. in 980)
14 or 15 Vlach families 86 souls

10 or 12 gabove family now in Kioup Kieu.  10 or 12 in Rodolivos

town entirely destroyed
(not visited by me)

Semalto entirely destroyed
2 hrs. from Kioup Keui
270 houses and families 247 Greek 10 Vlach
1050 inhab. before war
now 800 left all scattered
180 men were carried off by Bulgars
65 have come back to date
(70 are known ot have died)
400 of the inhabs are in Rodolivos
Only 4 houses left
(not visited by me)
Paredros Constantinos Oikonomou in Kioup Keui
Theodoros Goudzinis in Rodolivos

Kioup Kioy 1 hr. 45 m. from Tserepliou

500 houses 500 families
ca. 50 families of refugees from all neighboring villages
All Greeks

600 men were carried off.
150 have returned to date.

There were 10 Turkish families before 1912, none now.
Paredros Nikolaos Panagioti Achtzi

Symboulos Evangelos Pantazis
Dimitrios Kotzanis
Dimitrios Tsiota
and 3 more

They think ca. 500 women and children died during Bulgarian occupation.

Nov. 18
Tserepliou 20 min. from Kromista
Paredros Athanasios Sphetkos (absent)

40 families ?  40 men were taken by Bulgarians (20 have returned) 20 died.
32 familes of refugees.  These had scattered but 5 were taken from Tserepliou 2 of these died. 3 came back.
15 families of Vlachs
Ca. 450 persons [total of above]

In Sept. 1915 there was a massacre by Turks of 6 Greeks.  The refugees and most of natives fled to neighboring villages.  Some returned but not all.  The Bulgars destroyed vacant houses and carried off men from Tserepliou and other villages where they happened to be.

We gave 3 loaves of bread to widow of Christos Juvanis with 8 children.
1 loaf to wid. of Petros Anastasiou 2 children
2 loaves to 4 orphans of Christos Dimou

North Slope of Mt. Pangaeon Nov. 18
Kromista.  4 hrs. from Drama
Paredros.  Gianousis Christodoulou
Symboulos.  Nikolaos Abadzis

146 houses 200 familes (140 natives 60 refugees)
Ca. 900 inhabs. ca. (many men have yet returned from Bulgaria) 241 men and boys from 17 to 50 were carried off by the Bulgarians.  About 40 have returned.

Soft coal (lignite) is dug out in a ravine 10 minutes away.  Anyone who wants it goes and digs it out.

For Miss Stone
Ask Maj. Barnes to have notice inserted in one or more Ath. newspapers that Miss Florence Stone is not same person as Miss Ellen Stone the pro-Bulgarian lady.

Also ask Maj. James to have Miss Stone’s trunk removed from 40 Academy St. and ? ? to Red Cross Headquarters.

[records of okes flour dispersed at Cromista Nov. 20; not transcribed]

[packing list Dec. 9; not transcribed]

[list of villages, families, and souls on Mt. Pangaeon; not transcribed]

[various expenses and dispersements; not transcribed]

[note to forward all cables for Miss Goldman to Kavalla]

In back pocket of notebook:

Map of Pangaeon area
Handwritten chart with villages, population and number of hostages taken from each
Type-written sheet with villages, population and number of hostages taken from each
Archaeological sites in Kopaci area