Khachadour Garabedian

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Khachadour Paul Garabedian, notable for being the only Armenian to have served in the American Civil War. He was born outside Istanbul in 1836. He moved to Lowell, Massachusetts in the mid-1850s where he work as an engineer in one of its mills.

Engineers were in high demand during the Civil War, so in 1864 he enlisted in the United States Navy and served on two ships, the Geranium and Grand Gulf. These ships operated mainly in the Atlantic off the southeastern states as blockader ships against the Confederacy for the Union.

After being mustered out of service in December 1865 in Philadelphia, he remained there and found work. He married Hannah Matilda 'Tillie' Wynkoop in 1871 and his training as an engineer proved to be lucrative. However Khachadour had contracted tuberculosis at some point during or before the war and was ill for many years with the lung disease. He died of it in August 1881.

Khachadour now lies in an unmarked grave outside Philadelphia at Fernwood Cemetery, section 16. In 1891 his wife was able to prove in a court case that Khachadour had aquired his disease during his service (though whether that is actually the case is still debatable) and was awarded a widow's pension by the government. She was buried with him when she died in March 1917. The grave was marked at the time, however over the years the stones decayed and were eventually taken down.