The story of a community
Two cousins George Perrin and Thomas Perrin both from Shipbourne in Kent, England - more from the family history web site arrived in Smyrna to work on the construction of the Smyrna Cassaba Railway when it was started in 1864 [views of the terminus station]. They had some experience in railway construction as they had worked on the first railways in Portugal in the early 1860’s. They started working as carpenters for the railway because they were trained in the Perrin family business of building and carpentry which had already been established for over one hundred years. George was soon promoted to foreman and the fact that he joined the freemasons in Smyrna might have helped him. From “Freemasonary in the Holy Land” by Robert Morris. There is a description of a meeting of a lodge at Smyrna with a list of names of people in the lodge. The list includes George Perrin as one of the main members.
George is mentioned by name in a summons to a meeting of the freemasons of Smyrna in 1868. Thomas was not at the meeting because he was visiting London at the time, following the completion of the first sections of the railway at the end of 1866. Thomas had returned to Smyrna by 1869 but George usually had more luck than Thomas whose family mostly died within a few years. Thomas’s daughter Sarah Anne died in 1865 about the time of the cholera epidemic among the railway workers. Thomas’ other children usually did not live long and Thomas himself died in 1873. Their gravestones can still be seen in the graveyard of Buca, (Boudjah) Church.
Thomas Perrin and his family.
Thomas PERRIN baptized 10-08-1834 Shipbourne, Kent, England, died 12-12-1872 Smyrna, Turkey, (certificate at Smyrna vol 5 page 1930 or 1931), married 1859 Poplar, Middlesex, England (certificate at Poplar Jun 1859 vol 1c page 1068) to Charlotte HAWKINS bapt. 15-04-1838 Leigh, Kent England, died c.1877 Smyrna, Turkey ?
Children of Thomas PERRIN and Charlotte HAWKINS
1. Tom PERRIN born 24-06-1860, Poplar, London, England, (certificate at Poplar Sept 1860 vol 1c page ….), died 1862 ? Portugal ?
2. Arthur PERRIN born 05-07-1862 Vale De Mos, Portugal, registered at Lisbon 26-09-1862 (by his uncle George), died 1951 Paddington ?.
3. Sarah Ann PERRIN born 25-01-1864 Portugal (birth not registered), died 05-12-1865 Smyrna, Turkey (certificate at Smyrna vol 4 page 1426). Buried at Buca Anglican Cemetery.
4. George PERRIN born 11-02-1866 Smyrna, Turkey, registered at Smyrna 02-02-1867, died c. 1940 England.
5. Lottie PERRIN born 07-11-1867 Limehouse, Middlesex, England, (certificate at Stepney Dec 1867 vol 1c page 514) died c. 1950 Middlesborough, England.
6. Frances Annie PERRIN born 03-12-1869 Smyrna, Turkey, (certificate at Smyrna vol 4 page 1483), died 1870 Smyrna, Turkey, (certificate at Smyrna vol 4 page 1420). Buried at Buca Anglican Cemetery.
7. Edith Mary PERRIN born 20-08-1871 Smyrna, Turkey, registered at Smyrna 12-10-1871, died 1871 Smyrna, Turkey, (certificate at Smyrna vol 5 page 1929). Buried at Buca Anglican Cemetery..
8. Thomas Edward PERRIN born 12-1872 Smyrna, Turkey, (certificate at Smyrna vol 5 page 1923),died 18-01-1873 Smyrna, Turkey (certificate at Smyrna vol 5 page 1933). Buried at Buca Anglican Cemetery.
Charlotte Perrin remarried in Smyrna after Thomas died to Edwin Hunt Williams about 1873. Charlotte died about 1877 and Edwin died about 1883 both in Smyrna.
Only three of Thomas children are known to have survived. They all moved back to England.
2. Arthur PERRIN; born 1862, engineer fitter, (son of Thomas, millwright and carpenter), married 19-01-1888 at Frant, Sussex to Jane PRATT (daughter of Edward PRATT, farmer and dairy man). Thanks to Maureen for the photo of her ancestor Arthur Perrin.
4. George PERRIN, born 1866, marine engineer, (son of Thomas) married 26-10-1899 Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England, to his first cousin, Sarah Catherine SAUNDERS born 06-07-1866 Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
5. Lottie PERRIN born 1867, (daughter of Thomas) married Dec 1894 (certificate Tynemouth 10b 364) to Edmund TATE.
Boudjah was not the only English cemetery in the area, George was also involved with another:
Bournabat had had a small plot in the corner of the cemetery used for Roman Catholics since at least 1793, but it was inadequate, and at a vestry meeting of St. Mary Magdalene Church held on June 27th, 1871, under the chairmanship of the Rev. James D’Ombrain, it was unanimously resolved that a new piece of ground, in a different part of the town, should be obtained, and that the cemetery placed thereon should be consecrated by the Bishop of Gibraltar, and administered by trustees on behalf of the Church. Messrs. Turrell and F.C. Whittall were chosen as a sub-committee to look for a site. At a meeting on July 12th it was reported that Mr. Whittall had given a piece of ground, about half a mile to the south-west of the village, for use as a cemetery.
During the next two years, money for the necessary work was raised, and on November 9th, 1873, a building committee (the incumbent, with Messrs. Turrell and C. Whittall) and Trustees (the incumbent and churchwardens, Messrs. J.B. Paterson and G.F. Whittall) were appointed. Though the money collected was some £40 short of the £125 estimated as the cost of enclosing the ground and erecting a tool house, it was agreed early in 1874 to proceed with the work, and Mr. George Perrin volunteered to supervise it. Though the cemetery was intented for the British community, Protestants of other nationalities have, as a matter of courtesy, been allowed burial therein; and in September, 1874, permission was given for a portion to be consecrated according to the usage of the Roman Catholic Church for the burial of the members of the Perkins family - recent views of this cemetery.
George would have been well known by the time the second section of the railway was completed to Alashehir in 1875, as he had been promoted again to clerk of works for the railway a few years earlier.
During the later 1870’s and early 1880’s, new railway building declined and George expanded his activities to other areas. Various records describe George as an engineer and architect who built some of the interesting buildings in Smyrna.
George was also a religious person and when the consular chaplain at Smyrna resigned in 1880 to go back to Britain, George was appointed as lay reader for the consular church at Smyrna (if he was not already the lay reader). When the new consular chaplain was appointed in 1883 George Perrin continued as an assistant in the church.
The source is the letters of the Bishop of Gibraltar which were issued as circular editions over several years and which show George’s position each year;
Author: Church of England. Diocese of Gibraltar. Bishop (1874-1903 : Sandford)
At the same time George was building a new church for the Americans in Smyrna as mentioned in the annual report of the American Board of Commissioners for foreign missions published in 1881 - this church is almost certainly had a proselytising nature and location of this church was in the Armenian quarter, referred to as the American Protestant Church.
A neat church edifice has been built in Smyrna: for the plan and for superintending its erection, the mission is indebted to Mr George Perrin, an English engineer, without whose aid, the cost must have been much larger and the result far less satisfactory.
After the American church was finished, George immediately started building the Beaconsfield Memorial Hospital at Smyrna for the Church of Scotland. The whole building project is described in detail in the book called “The story of the Smyrna Medical Mission - in connection with the Church of Scotland” by Prinski Scott which says;
All the legal formalities were duly gone through, and I received the title deeds, had them formally registered in Government House, and we became the rightful “owners of the soil”. Now we prepared for building by getting a government permit, after which we were fortunate enough to secure a Christian gentleman, Mr George Perrin to undertake the building. He has done his work most conscientiously and to the great satisfaction of all concerned.
There were two main buildings. The other was the Mission House. The Mission House is quite close to the Hospital, occupying a part of the original garden. It has been newly built, and is fairly commodious and comfortable.
The book also contains some of the financial details and there is a drawing of the building soon after it was opened early in 1882 - this Mission Hall was also in the Armenian quarter, so a missionary purpose was clear, and images show it was heavily damaged by the 1922 fire.
In 1883, the Evangelical Christendom circular, by J. S. Phillips, mentioned the New Evangelical church “belonging to the Americans” which George had just built and the New Dutch Chapel, both of which were used for a series of services in January and then: On Sunday January 14 the closing service was held at the Scotch Chapel. The Revs J. M. Epstein, W. Charteris, G. Constantine, M. Bowen and J. B. Smith (the British Chaplain), Mr G. Perrin and Mr Prinski presided or gave addresses at several meetings, while many other brethren took part in the proceedings. The languages used on these occasions were Turkish, Greek and English.
A few years later George is mentioned by a visiting preacher in “the churches of Asia” written by Somerville which contains letters written from Smyrna about 1885. One of these mentions Mr Perrin gathering railway employees to listen to a sermon at the British School. It says;
Railway employees and sailors, (were) assembled by Mr Perrin, an excellent man, connected with the Cassaba Railway, who, with his family, here conducts a Sabbath School.
George Perrin and his family
George PERRIN baptized 28-04-1833 at Shipbourne, Kent died 20-04-1916 aged 83 (certificate at St Columb, Cornwall Jun 1916 vol 5c page 105) married at London in 1858, (certificate at East London Dec 1858 vol 1c page 69) to Mary Anne JENKINS. born c.1838 died 1907 aged 68 (certificate at St Columb, Cornwall Jun 1907 vol 5c page 62)
Children of George PERRIN and Mary Anne JENKINS
1. Samuel Perrin of Smyrna ? born c.1859. Died after 1897, place unknown.
2. Emily Kitturah PERRIN born 06-08-1861 Vendas Novas, Portugal, registered at Lisbon 09-09-1861, died after 1911 place unknown.
3. unknown daughter PERRIN born c.1863 in Portugal, known to have died.
4. unknown daughter PERRIN born c.1864, in Portugal, died after 1911
5. George PERRIN born 06-07-1866 Smyrna, Turkey, registered at Smyrna 06-08-1866, died c.1866 Smyrna, (certificate at Smyrna vol 4 page 1424).
6. Annie Elizabeth PERRIN born c.1868 Smyrna, Turkey, (certificate at Smyrna vol 4 page 1473), died place unknown (we know who she married through this document created by one of the contributors to this site, Joyce Cully.).
7. Henry George PERRIN, born 7-12-1870 Smyrna, Turkey, and registered at Smyrna 04-02-1871, died Athens 11-04-1931, buried at St Paul’s Anglican Cemetery, Athens, on 12-04-1931 - view listing.
8. Alfred Thomas PERRIN, born 29-10-1872 Smyrna, Turkey, registered at Smyrna 28-12-1872, died after 1898, place unknown. Alfred was a student of engineering at London University 1891-1899.
9. Edith Fossie PERRIN born c.1875 Smyrna died after 1911
10. William Oliver PERRIN born c.1878 Smyrna died after 1901
The final phase of railway building took place between 1887 and 1890. It was probably when the railway was sold to a French company in 1893 that George decided to retire and return to England, where he lived until 1916.
When George returned to England, his children 2) Emily, 9) Edith and 10) William returned with him. 8) Alfred was already at London University and lived at Lewisham near the High Street Congregational Church where 6) Annie Elizabeth had just married William Stephens of Devoran, Cornwall on 11 June 1892. So when George retired, he moved to Truro in Cornwall to be near his daughter Annie who also lived there.
Two of the children had died; 5) George and 3) an unknown child.
Samuel and Henry George remained in Smyrna and possibly the unknown daughter 4) also remained in Smyrna.
Samuel PERRIN was married in Smyrna about 1883 (certificate at Smyrna vol 7 page 1021) and he is probably the S PERRIN on the Punta list in 1898 with a household of 6 people. His wife could be Louisa Anneta SMITH and their children were;
Children of Samuel PERRIN registered 1886 – 1890 in Turkey
1. Bertram Samuel PERRIN, born Smyrna, the locomotive engineer, died 1953 Kent, England.
Bertram Samuel Perrin was admitted to the Institute of Locomotive Engineers in London in 1913. By 1919 he was back in Smyrna and by 1929 he was the manager of the locomotive works of the Smyrna Cassaba Railway at Halkabounar (now Halkapınar). When the railway was nationalised in 1933 he left Turkey and briefly visited Canada.
2. Eliza Annie PERRIN, born Smyrna, died place unknown
3. Ethel Nettie PERRIN, born Smyrna, died in Turkey 1896-1900
4. Winifred May PERRIN, born Smyrna
In the Boudjah register we see that, Amand Henry Steyskel Weber and Winifred May Perrin had their child Reginald Amand Weber baptized in 1912. Reginald Webber later became a commander in the Canadian navy as revealed in the story by his son:
From the cemetery records from the Buca cemetery, it is apparent that Edward Onslow Webber was a merchant who moved from London to Smyrna in 1891. Two of his sons were baptized at Boudjah in 1891 and 1893. The three Webber gravestones at Boudjah are Edward (died 1921) and the two sons. Edward had other children before he arrived in Smyrna. One of them was Henry Armand Webber the engineer who married Winifred May Perrin.
Finding him in Canada has also proved the marriage of Samuel Perrin to Louisa Annetta Smith in Smyrna which I suspected earlier. Louisa moved to Canada with her daughter Winifred Perrin / Webber in the 1920’s. The family always spell Webber with two bb’s. Although the family names look French and German Winifred’s husband Armand Henry Webber was born in London in 1885 so they used the English spelling.
The registers of the Boudjah All Saints Church also record that Agnes Perrin aged 46 was buried in 1917 so she would have been born about 1871. She married Henry George Perrin about 1903 when the marriage between him and Agnes Albon was registered.
It is not known where Samuel lived at the end of his life, unless he is the Samuel Perrin who died at Sevenoaks, Kent in 1924, but it is known that after 1922 Henry George Perrin lived in Athens and also owned property in England. When he died on 11 April 1931, he left several thousands of pounds of property in England to his sisters Emily and Edith who had never married. Henry George was buried in St Paul’s Anglican Cemetery at Athens - view listing – on 12 Apr 1931.
submission date 2010-11