Maryville Times, (Blount Co. TN) Saturday, February 20, 1904:
"Death of Former Consul---News has been received of the death of Nageeb J. Arbeely, formerly of the District, which occurred in New York City, where he had for some years resided. Mr. Arbeely was a native of Damascus, Syria, and with his father, the late Prof. Joseph A. Arbeely, who was president of a college in Beirut, Syria, his mother and five brothers, emigrated to the United States in 1878, the first Syrian family to seek refuge in this country. They settled in Maryville, Tenn., and there the younger sons received their education. After completing his course in the Maryville College, Mr. Arbeely was appointed a professor of French in that institution. Later he engaged in giving illustrated lectures on the Holy Land, at one time accepting an invitation to present a series of oriental entertainments before the Chautauqua Assembly of Long Beach, California, and again for the Mystic Shriners in Madison Square Garden.
While in Washington he took a course in the Spencerian Business College, and when but 24 years old he was appointed by President Cleveland consul to Jerusalem. Upon his return from that post he accepted a position as interpreter in the barge office, New York City, and later was made inspector in the Bureau of Immigration at the port of New York. While thus employed he, with his brother, Dr. A.J. Arbeely, of this city, established in the first Arabic newspaper ever published in the United States, under the name Kankab American (Star America), which still exists.
Mr. Arbeely’s linguistic attainments were considered to be remarkable. He spoke and understood 14 languages. He was one of the founders and president of the Syrian Society of New York. Three years ago he was stricken with partial paralysis, from which he was many months in recovering, never, perhaps, fully regaining his former health and vigor. Not caring to return to trying responsibilities of his government position, although it was held open to him for an entire year, he pursued a course in law, and after being admitted to the bar, began the practice of his profession in New York. It was there in his private office that he received the second and fatal attack.
The funeral was held in the Greek Orthodox Church of Brooklyn, and attended by almost the entire Syrian colony of New York. He was regarded as a leader among these people and a worthy example to follow in this their adopted country. A wife and five children survive him, besides the brother above mentioned and another in Cairo, Egypt." ---Washington City Sun.
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