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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Carrapit Thomas from Ancoolis, died in Calcutta 1789

This story is brought to you with the support of the
AGBU UK Trust.
Carrapit Thomas died in Calcutta 1789, a native of Ancoolis.
The Armenians Wills at the British Library are a constant source of surprising detail and information.

Today I am presenting Carrapit Thomas. He made his Will in Calcutta on the 21st March 1786[1], he was a long way from his family some of whom were living in Constantinople.  His Will is one of the more interesting; with a number of bequests and legacies it gives us a glimpse into his life and who and what he considered important.

Carrapit Thomas a native of Ancoolis (I believe this should read Agulis) died in Calcutta on the 30th July 1789[2]. He made his will on the 21st March 1786, it is an unusual occurrence that the date of the will and the date of his death are separated by nearly 3 years, most wills were regularly written only days, sometimes hours before the demise of the testator. This will is full of detail, I have highlighted bequests which include to constantly burn candles in his memory. He was a long way from home.

“That I Carrapit the son of Thomas a native of Ancoolis, but at present an inhabitant and a merchant of the town of Calcutta, having no sort of disease whatever, but being in perfect health in body and in full possession of all limbs thereof of sound mind understanding and of perfect memory, considering and thinking the uncertain and temporary life of mankind, and that all men are once to die. I therefore have written this my will with my own hand and confirm the same, that after my departure from this world (that is after my death) this my will may be of effect and remain uncancelled immoveable and unalterable. It being my duty to explain and declare by this my will, the last pleasure of my heart and regulate in this manner.”

He goes on to appoint his executor: “First of all I appoint my successor and executor of this my will my well beloved and faithful Godson Aga Moses Cachick I did a spiritual service to him now it is his duty to serve me a little in a temporal way. He is to be the master and executor of this will.

First of all, I give a full power and free authority to him the said Aga Moses, that after my death he is first to cause my body to be entered in the ground of Saint Nazareth Church, masses and funereal ceremonies to be properly performed and then all such other matters as ought to be discharged he may discharge………”

He bequeathed several items of silver, instructing they should be made and presented according to his wishes.

“To be made a silver lamp for the use of Saint Nazareth’s Church of Calcutta which is to burn continually and for the charge of the oil, I will under write – 500 …….
To the Church at Chinsura – 100
To the Church at Dacca – 100
To the Church at Saydabad – 100”

“Secondly. I leave my dwelling house as a memorial and heir of mine the value of which is 14,000 Sicca Rupees which I dedicate and make a present of to Saint Nazareth’s Church of Calcutta, but upon this condition, that no person shall have any power to sell or mortgage the house. It shall remain as a memorial for ever.”

“……………..I therefore beg of Mr. Cachick that he will use his power to order and to excuse the same to be done and fully performed. This is my last pleasure which I have written in this my will.  I request this my will be approved and confirmed by all the opposers of the same are bound to answer me before the impartial tribunal of Christ and the approvers of it as just and right blessed be God I wrote of my own hand.  That is

Carrapit Thomas of Ancoolis.

Calcutta Shemes 1st the year 1786 or 171…….”

Although Carrapit was from Ancoolis it is clear from his will and the bequests he left that he held the Armenian Churches, particularly in India, in high regard.

Even though he had appointed Aga Moses Cachick as his executor and Moses’s father Catchick Arrakiel to oversee him and the responsibilities of fulfilling Carrapit’s instructions, Admon of the Will was granted on the 22nd October 1789 to Astwasattoor Gregory and Jacob John. It is likely that Moses and his father ultimately declined to act as executors.

The 19 page Inventory[3] of sale gives an insight into a wealthy successful merchant.  The first page of the inventory shows a selection of the items Carrapit owned with the name of the purchaser on the right along with the price paid.

Randomly reviewing the extensive listing, I came across this. It is quite rare to find on an inventory list 12 pairs of spectacles for one individual, yet here they are, made of silver and gold.

The second column is a list of the names of the respective purchasers of the items at the auction sale.

Nine pairs of silver jointed spectacles were sold to: Isaac Malchus, Aga Emneaz (3 pairs, one with a silver case), Rajahram Baboo, Simon Georgean, Carrapiet Chattoor (1 pair with a silver case), Aviet Astwasattoor. Three pairs of silver jointed spectacles with a gold case were sold to: Mr. Narcess, Mavroody and Carrapiet Chattoor.

The jewels and precious stones from the inventory were sold at the same auction. There were various ruby, agat, diamond and emerald items sold in 1790.

Item                                                     Purchaser
1 diamond cross with a gold chain      Given to the Church by the order written in the last will
1 Agat cross set with diamond            Aga Catchik
1 Agat set with emerald and ruby       Arrapiet Dionysuis
1 Agat cross set with stones               Peter Suckias
1 diamond ring                                    Peter Suckias
1 diamond ring                                    Abraham Pogose
1 diamond ring                                    Mr. Moses Joseph
1 diamond ring                                    Abraham Pogose
1 diamond ring                                    Simon Phanuse
1 diamond ring                                    Jacob Joseph
1 diamond button                                Zackariah Johannes
1 emerald ring                                     Greek Georgey
1 emerald ring                                     Abraham Pogose
2 emerald rings                                   Mr. Simon Phanuse
2 emerald rings                                   Arratoon Petruse
1 emerald ring with diamond sparks   Aga Morraud Elias
1 ruby ring                                           Aga Catchik
1 ruby ring with diamond sparks         Jacob Joseph
1 ruby ring                                           Moses Joseph
1 pair diamond breast buttons Alexander Mirzacan
1 pair diamond earring                        Hajee Abdul Rakman
1 Nilloom ring                                      Abraham Pogose
2 rings 1 topaz and 1 loll                     Hajee Abdul Rakman
3 rings                                                 Isaac Malchus
3 rings                                                 Simon Georgean
2 atterdanies and 1 breast pin Gorgin Georgean
1 stone cross                                       Simon Georgian
3 rings                                                 Hajee Abdul Rakman
2 Agat crosses set with stones           Arrapiet Dionysius
1 pair emerald buttons                        Arrapiet Dionysius
2 rings                                                 Jacob Joseph
1 diamond champakully 32 pieces      Mr. Simon Phanuse
5 emeralds in one box             Alexander Mirzacan
1 box containing 6 large and
4 small pearles                                    Arrapiet Dionysius
1 box                                                   Peter Suckeas
1 bundle of pearles                             Gorgin the Gerogean
1 Mahak stone                        Isaac Malchus

With no mention of a wife or children in Carrapit’s Will, his family line died with him. However, he did mention two nephews, children of his sister and a cousin who was a child of his father’s brother.

Carrapit Thomas died on the 30 July 1789 and is buried in the compound of the Armenian Holy Nazareth Church, Calcutta. “…………..that after my death he [the executor] is first to cause my body to be entered in the ground of Saint Nazareth Church, masses and funereal ceremonies to be properly performed and then all such other matters as ought to be discharged he may discharge……..
His final wishes were executed.

This is the tombstone of Karapet, the son of Tome from Agulis, who passed away on 12 Ghamar (30 July), 1789[4].  [His will gives his name in English as Carrapit Thomas]

[1] British Library Ref: L/AG/34/29/6/40 – Bengal Wills 1780 - 1938
[2] See his grave at the Armenian Church of Holy Nazareth, Calcutta
[3] British Library Ref: L/AG/34/27/12/108 – Inventory and Accounts of Deceased Estates Bengal 1780 - 1938
[4] Photographed by Liz Chater, transcribed by Alina Salnazaryan

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