The Life of Karnig Kevorkian

Karnig Kevorkian was born in Chunkoush in Central Anatolia. which is on a tributary to the Euphrates. He arrived in Ellis Island in January 1912, at the age of sixteen. He went to Chicago, where he had an uncle and where many Chunkoushtsis lived.

In 1915 as the news of the Armenian Genocide reached the west he joined the Gamavors who formed the Armenian Legion of the French Army, serving under General Joffre. The Armenians were called the "ian-ians."

At the end of World War One, he ended up in Tiflis and got involved with a Bohemian crowd of writers, poets, musicians.

He returned to America in 1919, intending to return to Chicago; his ship came to Philadelphia. He met many Armenians in the city and, one thing leading to another, he was asked if he would edit an Armenian newspaper that they felt the city needed but which none of them felt capable of editing. He used to say, with a smile, "I agreed to do so temporarily, until they found someone else."

That "temporarily" began in September 1919 and lasted until September 1962--forty-three years. He called the newspaper "Groong."

Unlike the other newspapers, which were organs of the Armenian political parties or were connected with churches or other organizations, the "Groong" was independent, and remained so until the end. It was possibly the only and, thus, most successful independent Armenian newspaper in America.

Also, unlike the other publications, it was a truly newspaper. It was the first to carry news about births and deaths, engagements and weddings, family and social events, church activities and picnics. It was also the first Armenian newspaper to use photographs. Almost from the very beginning, it serialized famous Armenian books; at the end, it was serializing the great Armenian writer Raffi's "Khent" ("The Fool"). It also carried a column of humor and an "English Page for our Armenian Youth" (actually two of its eight pages)- the first Armenian newspaper to try to appeal to the Armenian youth.

Because it was an independent newspaper it had a wide and loyal circulation in New York and Detroit as well. Some wealthy Detroit Armenians admired the paper so much they wanted the "Groong" to remove to Detroit and be underwritten by them however Kevorkian declined the lucrative offer.

He spent his retirement years writing the history of Chunkoush, the first volume of which was published in 1970. He was working on the second volume when he died in 1972.

To much of the Armenian community he was known as "Baron Groong." >

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