from Doriza (Arkadia) Peloponnesus Greece
(originally from Ikaria )
The photograph below shows Theodoros Tsimpidis standing in the rear wearing a fustanella (skirt) and tsarouhia (shoes). The young man is his son, Evangelos. Others are unknown. He was the son of Gregory Tsimpidis and the grandson of Georgios Tsimpidis
Three of his 8 children emigrated to Western Pennslyvania, Basili (Bill) Giorgios (George) and Efstathios (Steve). The name Tsimpidis was shortened to Pedas.
He secured a dowry for his sister when he uncovered buried gold pieces making possible his sister's marriage with the Alexopoulos family.
Family recollections include that of his grandson, Theodore of Clifton, New Jersey. He remembers his Grandfather as a tall, blind old man who sang songs at Manaraki. Unable to see he would ask those around him to identify themselves. Another grandson, Theodoros (Ted) Pedas of Farrell, Pa. recalls how his Dad (Efstathios Tsimpidis/Steve Pedas) managed during World War II to secure through the International Red Cross, at a cost of $1,000, the 'miracle drug' penicillin which was shipped to Doriza to his ailing father.
It was his grandfather, Georgios Tsimpidis, who had amassed a huge herd of goats and 5,000 sheep. Doriza provided good grazing land in summer but in winter the dried up river beds and cold weather necessitated moving the sheep closer to Argos and Naphlion.
On one occassion while en route to the winter grazing lands the large Tsimpidis herd caught the attention of the Pasha (Turkish ruler under the Turkish occupation) who inquired as to its owner and requested a meeting with Tsimpidis. The Pasha was so impressed with Tsimpidis that he named a spring for him near Kranidi. Local herdsmen would speak of taking their herds to "the waters of Tsimpidis" (tin vrisi to Tsimpidi).
How is it that during the oppressive Ottoman occupation of Greece a family of shepherds were able to amass vineyards, herds of goats and sheep and stake a claim to a coveted water source (ta nera tou Tsimpidi)? How was it they merited a song of their own, still popular today, rejoicing in the marriage of Tsimpidis's son who by the way was no slouch as he owned 1,000 sheep and 500 goats. We continue to tell the story of our proud family which has been lovingly passed down to us by our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, koumbari, godparents and their fellow countrymen with whom they journeyed to a new world.
This popular traditional demotic folk song announces the wedding of Margioro to the son of Tsimpidis - probably the son of Georgios Tsimpidis of Doriza who was one of the 3 brothers who fled Ikaria and resettled in the Peloponnesus. The song tells us that the groom comes into the marriage with 1,000 sheep, 500 goats and a few vineyards. The song continues to be sung today throughout Greece. Below are the original words of the song:
Below is the modernized version of the Tsimpidis song, Vrika Psila Sta Diasela which continues to be sung and danced as a 'Tsamiko' throughout Greece. The updated version has redefined the Tsimpidis wealth. Margioro is again the lucky bride to marry into one of the three Tsimpidis families. The groom's wealth is measured not in goats and sheep but in his factories in Patras and his real estate holdings in Pyrgos.
The below historical overview of the Tri-Tsimpidas song and the wedding of Mariori is an excerpt from the book "Barbasena" written by the acclaimed author Anthony Psarras born in Varvasena, Ilia.
Nearly two centuries ago, Mariori danced with Tritsimpidas at a wedding that became a song, a dance, a legend.
There are various opinions and popular beliefs about the legend of Tritsibidas and Mariori. One of them is the fact that immediately after their marriage, Mariori was kidnapped from the house of Tritsimpidas. Whatever may be the facts, the wedding has remained indelibly linked to Greek reality due to the hero of the revolution, Anastasios Tritsibidas, who was a chief in the revolution of 1821 and, also a landowner in the area of Varvasena. At the age of 22, he took part in the revolutionary movement in the greater region of Varvasena as a leader.
His name became widely known throughout Greece from the same name folk song. ".. in the valley of Barbasena, Tritsibidas prepares a wedding, he marries Mariori and eveyone is happy ... Mariori, will you get married to the son of Tritsibidas, who owns farms in Pyrgos and stores in Patras.... ". Its verse form and melody make the song a part of the traditional tsamiko dance of Morias and it is danced along with the Kalamatianos Dance. It was set to music by a Turk called Suleiman, who was later christened.
Nowadays, only the aforementioned folk song is left as well as the vast land in the valley of Varvasena, which was distributed to the descendants of the popular hero of the Greek Revolution. Over the years the land has changed hands and the last piece, where the events take place, is currently owned by Anastasios Dimopoulos, one of Tritsimpidas's descendants.
Mariori was a young Turkish woman called Berigie. She was the daughter of a wealthy Aga in Tripoli called Abdala. Before moving to Tripoli, Abdala lived in Varvasena. He quarreled with his brothers, Vezoul and Sehid, over land. Shortly before the Revolution of 1821, Aga Sehid secretly sent the chief Karameros Demetrios and Douro to Tripoli, where they kidnapped Berigie while she was heading to the Turkish mosque dressed in gold, ready to pray. Berigie was then 14 years old, tall and very beautiful with black eyes and hair. They took her to Lala where they kept her captive.
But in June 1821, when the Turk-Albanians were defeated by the Greeks in the Battle of Poussi, they left Lala and, while in a panic, they forgot to take Berigie with them. She was found by the Greeks, who had her baptized and named her Maria. Due to her beauty, she was called Mariorea or Mariori (greek for Maria the beautiful one).
Written by Miss Kostandina Tsimpidi
The following history of the Tsimpidis family was written by Miss Kostandina Tsimpidi whose family had settled in Greece at Manaraki in the Pelopponessus. She is the daughter of George Tsimpidi and Maria Bilida. She has recorded the family history at the urging of her grandfather John Tsimpidi and her uncles the film producers Ted and Jim Pedas (Tsimpidis) of Washington, D.C.
Kostandina Tsimpidi traces the Tsimpidi family to 1750 when "three Tsimpidi brothers from Ikaria left for the Peolponessus after one of them killed a Turkish pasha to protect their sister's honor. The Tsimpidi family dominated the island of Ikaria which today is still known as "Tsimpidia" and the inhabitants are know as 'Tsimpidianoi'. Many island/insular songs confirm this fact."
Kostandina records the Tsimpidis family history as follows:
"When the three brothers arrived in Peloponnesus - one settled in Mani, known as Laconia, the second went to Pyrgos and the third went 12-15km south of Tripolis where George Tsimpidis and other families built the village of Doriza. At first they stayed at a high ground/knoll about 1km from where Doriza is today. That place was called 'Paliohori' which was located 850m above sea level. About 1810 they left Paliohori and built another village at the foot of the mountain 'Valetsovouni' at a place known as Megavouni. George Tsimpidis's family was among the first 10 families who settled at Doriza."
"However, the difficulties were not over. During 1825, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt,who was co-operating with the Turks, burned the whole of Peloponnesus. As a result the inhabitants of Doriza, including the family of George Tsimpidi, fled to the mountains, primarily to Parnonas (a mountain located at Laconia). They settled into a village which they named 'Tsitzina' until it was safe to return to Doriza to rebuild their lives."
"On the 20th of May 1825, twenty-seven residents of Doriza fought against the Turks during the historic battle at Maniaki along with Papaphlessas, one of the greatest first-rate veterans in Greece. George Tsimpidis was one of the twenty-seven brave men who took part in this fight."
"Another day, when George was on a mountain grazing his sheep, he ran into an injured Turkish boy. Immediately, George took the boy to his home and healed his wounds, giving no thought to the long standing hatred between Greeks and Turks. The young fellow lived with the Tsimpidi family until he grew up and departed for Constantinople. There he became a Pasha and afterwards, he returned back to Greece and to Tripolis where he ordered his attendants to find George Tsimpidis, the man who had rescued him. George was located and taken to the Pasha's sarai (a palace were the Turkish Pashas resided). He had no knowledge as to why he had been summoned and did not recognize the Pasha when he saw him. The Pasha introduced himself as the young boy George Tsimpidi had saved. He asked George what gifts he would like for this deed. George Tsimpidi answered that he wanted the Fragovriso (a place with plenty of water for his sheep), the Kapsalo (a place to graze his sheep), and the Kourephtra (a place to shear his sheep). In addition, George asked the pasha to give him a deed so he could travel freely to the island of Poros (an island where he used to graze his sheep in winter). Finally, he asked for an area called Iria or Tsimpidia. The Pasha gave George everything he asked for."
"Years later, when George Tsimpidi was tending his sheep, goats and 30 horses, he met a Turkish Pasha on horseback who inquired as to who owned such a large herd. Envious of the Greek's huge herd he was preparing to kill him and seize the herd. George Tsimpidi produced the deed given him by the Turkish Pasha whose life he had saved - which in turn saved his life."
It was built in 1912 by, George (Giorgios) Tsimpidis, the son of Theodoros Tsimpidis (pictured above dressed as an evzone). George had been living in the United States but returned to Greece to fight during the "Balkanik wars" in 1912-1914." In 1924 he married and departed Maneraki again for the United States with his wife, Zaharoula. He trusted Anestis, a refugee, to take care of the house. Subsequently George permitted his brother Jim to reside in the house. During World War II (1941-1945) the Italians had taken over the house for 6 months. Jim and his family lived in the stable with the animals as they did not want to desert their home and property. The defeated Italians had all but destroyed the house. Afterwards Jim with his son John repaired the damages and resumed their lives. John Tsimpidi and his wife Dina lived at Manareky until 1994."
Photos of unknown persons from the Tsimpidis (Steve Pedas) Archives