Jordan River Waters Shipped to the US in 1906

Fascinating photos,including one of Jewish girls welcoming the Turkish Sultan, from the Ottoman Imperial Archives.

Lenny Ben-David ,

Jewish Girls Welcome Sultan
Jewish Girls Welcome Sultan

Jordan River Waters Shipped to the United States in 1906

The Ottoman Imperial Archives includes this clipping from a 1906 New York newspaper.


Beneath the Turkish and American flags: Jordan water barrels on the way to the United States for baptism and "Negro revival services." (Ottoman Imperial Archives)

The International River Jordan Water Company was launched by Col. Clifford E. Naudaud of Covington, Kentucky, in 1906.  He secured "the sole right of shipping the water of the Jordan River from the banks of the stream in Palestine to all parts of the world for baptismal and other purposes," according to a Kentucky newspaper, The Bee, published in Earlington, KY.

From the Earlington Bee

Covington "had a great many obstacles to overcome," reads the caption above, including getting "the concession from the Sultan and then to convey the water seventy miles to the seaport across the mountains to Jaffa." 

The water "will be shipped in casks bearing the seals of the Turkish Government and the American Consul," according to The Bee. "The water will be bottled in the United States in bonded warehouses."

Did the water ever arrive? Was there ever a second shipment? We don't know.  But today "Holy Water from the Jordan" can be purchased on E-Bay for $6.25 to $12.95 per bottle.

Mystery Photo from the Ottoman Imperial Archives -- Why Were These Greek Jewish Girls Welcoming the Turkish Sultan?

Posted: 09 Mar 2015 06:15 AM PDT

The picture was taken in the port city of Thessaloniki, also known as Salonika. The Ottoman Archives provides this captionOttoman Saloniki, Visiting (sic) of Sultan Mehmed V, Jewish Students, 1911.

The brutal murder of almost 60,000 Saloniki Jews in Auschwitz by the Nazis in World War II after the invasion of Greece leaves many with the impression that the Saloniki Jews were of Greek origins. In fact, the vast majority of Saloniki's Jews were descendants of Spanish Jews who fled the Iberian Peninsula in 1492.  By 1519, the Jews were a majority of the town's population, and Saloniki Jews were a major economic force in the region, particularly Turkish-controlled areas. The Jews lived under Ottoman rule for centuries.

The surrender of Saloniki in 1912

The Ottomans surrendered their sovereignty over Saloniki in 1913 after losing to Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro in the First Balkan War.  

So, indeed, the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed V, did visit the city in 1911 as his empire began to deteriorate around him.  The Jews of the city turned out to welcome him.

In recent weeks, the Ottoman Imperial Archives has posted thousands of illustrations and photos Online. We will continue to focus on these pictures.

The Sultan's carriage in the parade

The Sultan's carriage

postcard commemorating the visit

The Jewish Merchants of Turkey, Illustrations in the Ottoman Empire Archives

Posted: 08 Mar 2015 01:47 AM PST

The Ottoman Archives include illustrations of a Jewish woman and man, labeled in French captions as merchants.


Jewish woman reseller and a Jewish agent or broker. This picture appears in several European archives and is dated circa 1820.  The word "Sensal" appears to be a combination of Persian/Arabic that entered into European languages.

Enlargement of part of the picture above

The woman stands in front of buildings with Islamic crescents and one building with a cross. Behind the man are ships, and in his hand is a document with what appears to be a Hebrew script.  At his feet appear to be cargo items.