Here, Jacob Ekmekjian (center) with Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home Class of 1916
As oppose to the biographies you will read on Meshach and Samuel Krikorian, the biographies of Jacob E. and Hrant A. are significantly shorter. No books were written highlighting their lives and little is known about their time before and after they stepped foot on Messiah’s campus. It was difficult for me to write these next to post because I will not be given you a grand amount of information; however, I realized it is a start and hopefully one day in the future their full stories will be shared and known.
Agop Hartune Ekmekjian
Jacob Hartune Baker
Jacob was born Agop Hartune Ekmekjian on January 1, 1891 in Aintab, Aleppo, Turkey.
(H)Agop is Hebrew for supplanter; held by the heel.
In English, this name translates to Jacob.
His father was Pastor Shadrach Ekmekjian. Pastor Ekmekjian was murdered during the Armenian Genocide alongside 27 other ministers and pastors. Through his mother’ plea and the help of Miss. Rebecca Krikorian, Jacob made his way to Greece where he began his voyage to New York City. He arrived on September 21, 1911. His first few days in the United States were noted by Meshach in his book The Conquered Conflicts of My LIfe. He wrote,
Next morning Miss. Krikorian took myself and another Armenian young man (Jacob Ekmekjian) to Mount Joy, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where we were entertained at Rev. Eli M. Engle’s house. They had a meeting that nigh in Landisville where Miss Krikorian was to speak. She took for her text Rom. 8:30-39, and for her theme, “The Persecuted Armenia,” sometimes using me for the first divisio of her sermon and Jacob for the second division…This begin just before Christmas, the process went on until we were well baked to enter the newly completed Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home in Grantham, Pennsylvania.
By 1916, Jacob completed his courses at Messiah Bible School. He moved to California enrolling at Pasadena University. Each of the four first international students made their way to California following their time at Messiah. Two attended Pasadena University (Jacob and Samuel). During this time, the United States entered the First World War. Jacob would be drafted, yet it is unknown whether or not he fought in war.
In my opinion, he was exempted because he was not a naturalized citizen and he was preparing for ministry, which he notes. As a student, he worked at Hotel Maryland. In 1925, Jacob petitioned to become a naturalized citizen.
In addition to becoming a citizen, Jacob also requests that his name be changed from Agop Ekmekjian to Jacob Hartune Baker. I do not know if he ever accomplish his dream of becoming a minister or became married. There are many questions awaiting to be answered and many years unknown, but one day all of these questions will be answered.
Until the next post