Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Lives of the Past Informing the Future - Page 16

Simon Antranighian First Born, First Buried 1827–1855 By Steve Pinkerton Volunteer Docent T he first known Armenian to be buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery was Simon Antranighian. “Antranig” is Armenian for “first-born,” which lends a compelling symmetry to his status as “first-buried.” Cemetery records show that he was interred on March 17, 1855, in the public “St. John Lot” on Vesper Avenue. His burial record notes that a funeral was held the same day, and his probate record notes a payment of $12.45 to a hackney for “coaches at funeral.” No records have been found of payment for purchase or installation of a monument, and his grave remains unmarked. Antranighian’s last name was mistakenly entered as “Antranagan” in the application for burial submitted by Boston undertaker John Peak, and Mount Auburn Cemetery dutifully replicated the error in interment registers. However, his name was correctly spelled in the Boston and Massachusetts death records. An unfortunate skip in the ink in filling out the burial application also rendered “Peak” as “Meak,” but the Boston death record clearly identifies the informant as “J. Peak.” Antranighian’s probate statement recorded payment of $15.50 for “John Peake, undertaker’s account.” Antranighian arrived in Boston on November 30, 1853, on the barque Sultana, along with four other passengers traveling from Smyrna (Izmir), Turkey. The passenger manifest gives his age as twenty-six. He applied for U.S. citizenship on May 6, 1854, stating that he was an “Artist,” born in Constantinople, Turkey, on February 12, 1827. His probate record identified him more specifically as a “Daguerreotypist.” He was not listed in the Boston Directory for 1854, but he did appear as Simon “Amtraniccian” in the Boston Tax Records for that year as a boarder at 116 Hudson Street in Boston’s South Bay. His occupation was recorded as “Tender,” or waiter (AKA starving artist). The property where he lived is now part of an on-ramp to the Massachusetts Turnpike. One of Antranighian’s fellow lodgers was Sarkis Hachadoorian, “Dentist,” who soon returned to Constantinople. 14