Khachadour Paul Garabedian

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Khachadour Paul Garabedian
Born (1836-08-25)August 25, 1836
Rodosto, Ottoman Empire
Died August 25, 1881(1881-08-25) (aged 45)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Buried at Fernwood Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service August, 1864 – August, 1865
Rank Officer
Battles/wars American Civil War
Spouse(s) Hannah Matilda “Tillie” Wynkoop

Khachadour Paul Garabedian (Armenian: Խաչատուր Կարապետեան; August 25, 1836 - August 25, 1881) was an Ottoman-born Armenian United States Navy Sailor of the Union Army, considered the only Armenian soldier to have served in combat during American Civil War.[1][2] During the Civil War, he held the rank of officer and served aboard two ships which blockaded against the ports of the Confederacy for the Union. His first task was to go along the Atlantic Coast and reach the Gulf of Mexico.[3] In 1865 he was discharged from the Navy and settled in Philadelphia where he is believed to be the first citizen of Armenian ancestry.[4][5]


Of Armenian descent, Khachadour Paul Garabedian was born near Constantinople in Rodosto (today Tekirdağ), Ottoman Empire on August 25, 1836. In the 1850s Garabedian emigrated to the United States and settled in Lowell, Massachusetts. Garabedian worked as a machinist at the Massachusetts Mills and eventually became a naturalized United States citizen.[1][5]

It is noted that in 1868, Garabedian filed for a patent with the US Commissioner of Patents for a Pipe Coupling.[1]

On June 18, 1871, Garabedian married Hannah Matilda “Tillie” Wynkoop in Philadelphia at the Church of the Messiah.[1] They had no children.[1][4]

Garabedian died of tuberculosis at the age of 45 on August 25, 1881 and is buried in the Fernwood Cemetery near Philadelphia.[1][5]

American Civil War[edit]

Garabedian served on the USS Geranium during the American Civil War

On August 6, 1864 at the age of 28, Garabedian enlisted in the Union Navy and served on two ships as a Third Assistant Engineer and held officer rank.[1][5] A local newspaper article states that Khachadour Garabedian enlisted in the USS Home.[6] However, it is only recorded that he served on the USS Grand Gulf and the USS Geranium.[1] These ships were mainly used to blockade Southern Navy ports off the Carolina coast and in Gulf of Mexico as part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Garabedian was discharged from his services on August 19, 1865.[5]


The khachkar tombstone of Khachadour Garabedian

Khachadour Garabedian was rediscovered in a flea market by Armenian American Gary Koltookian, when stumbling upon an advertisement on a newspaper from 1855 regarding an Armenian cabinetmaker named Menas Garabed.[2][5] The discovery of Menas Garabed, who is believed to be Khachadour Garabedian's brother, eventually led to the discovery of Khachadour Garabedian himself.[5] Koltookian eventually gathered more information regarding Khachadour Garabedian through local newspapers, directories, National Archives, and records from Union Navy Officers.[2]

It was later discovered that Garabedian's gravestone at the Fernwood Cemetery outside Philadelphia had deteriorated and was removed, leaving the grave unmarked.[5] A restoration campaign led by the Philadelphia Armenian-American Veterans Association was launched in 2005 which aimed to restore the deteriorating gravestone. Donations were solicited from the community, notably a $10,000 donation by Avedis Kevorkian, and money was also received from people throughout the United States. The new gravestone was inaugurated on October 1, 2011 in a grave blessing ceremony led by the heads of the five Philadelphia Armenian churches.[5] The ceremony included an Armenian requiem service and letters read from Lowell mayor James Milinazzo and US Congressman Pat Meehan.

The gravestone was designed by Leo Hanian, an ethnic Armenian who fled persecution from Azerbaijan.[1] The gravestone is designed in an Armenian khachkar style and is made out of Indian black granite with a depiction of an ornate Cross. The gravestone carries Garabedian’s name and dates of birth and death along with two images of the Independence Hall of Philadelphia and the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia.[1] The lower part of the tombstone describes his life in detail with an image of the USS Grand Gulf.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Boltz, Martha M. (September 20, 2011). "The Civil War's only Armenian soldier to be honored". Washington Times. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Vartabedian, Tom (January 23, 2013). "Chance Discovery Leads to Rare Armenian Hero". Armenian Weekly. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Khatchkar memorial in Philadelphia for Armenian who fought in the Civil War gets go-ahead with a major donation" (PDF). Armenian Reporter. July 18, 2009. p. 18. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "'Khatchkar' Memorial for Civil War Sailor Gets Go Ahead with Major Donation". Armenian Weekly. July 15, 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pevear, David (June 11, 2011). "Salute for a Civil War sailor". Lowell Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "APPOINTMENT.". Lowell Daily Citizen & News. August 11, 1864. p. 2 Column 4. Hachadoor P. Garabedian, of this city, has lately received an appointment as Assistant Engineer in the navy, and has been ordered to report for duty on board the United States gunboat Home, at Philadelphia. We record this appointment with pleasure. The young gentleman is an Armenian by birth, but has become not only naturalized, but is thoroughly indoctrinated in liberal and loyal principles. We have no doubt at all that he will acquit himself honorably and usefully in the position assigned him. 

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