Friday, September 30, 2016

Hart or Ling


The last post raised some questions when attention was drawn to a 2000 Yearbook that captioned a picture as Tom Hart. Tom Hart and Jonathan Ling are usually mentioned together as early Bible Students in the London area in the 1880s.

The photograph on the left is Jonathan Ling and was supplied by his great granddaughter from family archives. If you check back in the blog you can see that the original is captioned with some family history details. The photograph on the right was sent to me as a picture of a much older Jonathan Ling from a German publication, but the above mentioned Yearbook says this is Tom Hart.

You can examine both pictures side by side here. Personally, looking at features like mouth and ears, they appear to be the same man but several decades apart. It would be all too easy to have material about Hart and Ling in a file and assume a photograph is one of them without corroborating evidence.

I could of course be wrong. Maybe Hart and Ling just looked alike. What do you think?





Jonathan Ling


In June this year the blog ran a short article on Jonathan Ling, an early Watch Tower adherent in Britain, publishing a photograph of him supplied by one of his great-granddaughters.

Courtesy of Bernhard another photograph of Jonathan has now come to light, as a much older man. I had actually seen this photograph before, but cannot remember where. If any readers also recognises it and can give a source (other than Bernhard), I would be interested to hear.



Thursday, September 29, 2016

Contact.


Our emails are attached to our blogger profiles. I'm on twitter. Mr. Schulz does not use any social media.

There are some rules. We do not debate theology. Our work is all about history and only about history. Do not email us to promote your beliefs. Do email us if you have something to contribute to our historical research.

We usually do not have time to assist you with your personal research, but if you have a question that concerns the era we research, we will consider it. Direct  your questions and comments first to me. I'll pass them on to those most likely to answer in an informed way.

Most of what appears on the internet as 'Watch Tower History' is nonsense. We do not have time to correct every wild speculation and fabrication floating on the internet. But if you have a specific question, we will do our best to direct you to the facts as we know them.

We accept blog article submissions. Submissions must be in Word format with indented paragraphs, preferably fully justified. Articles must be footnoted to original sources. While you may reference secondary sources, your facts should be derived from primary sources. Submit photos in .gif format. Blogger loves .gif best.

Expect your article to be edited. Expect it to be rejected without explanation. We may return your article for a rewrite, a revision, or further research. If this will damage your ego (You'd be surprised how many find the editing and submission processes ego wounding.) don't submit to us. We will consider articles covering the  Russell years and sometimes the early Rutherford years. Send submissions to Mr. Schulz. I'm busy with a handful of things and no longer manage blog issues.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A bit more on Basil


by Jerome

Rachael mentioned in a recent post that I had several articles in the planning stage for the blog. This is true and they will eventually cover what I hope others may find profitable lines of research.

However, this is not one of them. This is just an incidental post covering some material uncovered when researching Basil Stephanoff. It will not have a place in the forthcoming book, because it is irrelevant to the religious history. But still - I, at least, found some of it fun.

Many early associates of CTR, like people in general today, had what can only be called “feet of clay.” Lapses from moral grace don’t have to be the exclusive preserve of religious people, but the contrast between theory and practice is often fodder for the tabloid press. And this is history - these people aren’t our relatives to cause us any embarrassment today, so that is Okay.

Quoting from an earlier post by Rachael, “Basil Stephanoff gets short mention in Proclaimers. He was active in Macedonia (European Turkey and Bulgaria in the late 1880s. He was imprisoned because (he claimed) false testimony at the hands of false brethren. He escaped to America, settling in Michigan. He was still a Watch Tower adherent in 1894.”

The 1894 reference is to a letter of support he sent CTR as published in the special Conspiracy Exposed and Harvest Siftings Watch Tower extra.

Basil’s personal history has its mysteries. At one point in researching this article, I rather gleefully assumed we had a case of bigamy here, but alas, a discovery of not one but two divorces settled that in Basil’s favor - if that is the right expression to use. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The fuller chronicle of Basil that makes the history book explains he was in the United States in the 1880s, although on census returns he only ever admits to entering the country in 1891 or 1892. We know from passenger lists that he travelled from England to the States in January 1892, giving his occupation as laborer.

Within a short space of time Basil gets married to Annie Brook, on April 12, 1892, in the Children of Zion Church, and his marriage certificate (registered in Kent County, Michigan) gives his occupation as minister of the gospel. The officiating minister at his wedding is H A Olmstead, Pastor Children of Zion Church.  Annie is a dress maker and comes from England. A 1900 census return says she came to America in 1886, six years before Basil, and a 1920 census return says she became a US citizen in 1892.

At the time of the marriage Basil is 31 and Annie is 28. His father’s name is down as Stephan Boginoff, which suggests the registrar had a silly moment, since the correct name in all other documents is Bogin Stephanoff. Basil’s mother’s name is Mona. Annie conceives almost immediately and their only son, John Basil Stephanoff is born on January 26, 1893 (information from John B’s WW1 draft card). John B becomes a judo instructor during WW2 and lives until 1976. John B married and had one daughter, whose married name was Jean Schmit, and who died in 1980, but there the trail ran cold for this researcher.

In trade directories for the late 1890s through to 1901 the family are in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Basil is listed under Boots and Shoes, or shoe dealer in the 1900 census.

But all is not well in the Stephanoff household. On November 5, 1900, Annie files for divorce on the grounds of Basil’s cruelty and the uncontested divorce is granted on June 18, 1901. Annie will stay in Grand Rapids. In quite short order, and while still giving his residence in Grand Rapids, Basil ties the knot again, this time marrying Alvesta S Nagle of Bellevue, Ohio, on October 8, 1902. The marriage is registered in Kent County, Michigan. Basil is still a shoe dealer, Alvesta has no profession, and Basil’s parents are down as Stephanoff and Mona. But just four months later there are divorce proceedings again. This time the uncontested charge is cruelty plus fraud, and the decree absolute is granted on June 30, 1903.

Alvesta disappears from the record, but first wife Annie with son John B continue to appear in Grand Rapids directories, she as a dress maker and John B when he leaves education as a salesman.

Basil then reappears in Marion County, Indiana, in the 1910 census. The age, place of origin, and year of immigration show it is our man. He has now become a lawyer. And the census specifically asks him whether he is single, married, widowed or divorced. His answer is plain - SINGLE.

Whereas Annie in the Grand Rapids trade directories for 1915 and surrounding years puts herself down as the widow of Basil.

Basil dies of nephritis in Marion County, Indianapolis, on May 19, 1925. He must have kept certain documents with him because his death certificate lists his parents as Bogin and Mona. But he is now listed as a widower, with the name of his former partner unknown.

Basically Basil dies alone, and out of touch with his son.

I suppose I was looking for a “bad boy” in Basil, and these snippets from records show someone who could bend the truth at times, along with two failed marriages and the accusation of cruelty.

It makes me think of another “bad boy” who lived at the same time and who also associated for a while with the Bible Student movement. That was Albert Royal Delmont Jones, who was the editor of Zion’s Day Star before his fall from grace. Jones deserted his first wife, the mother of his children, and married a society beauty. She in turn dumped him when he lost his fortune, and his third attempt at matrimony was to someone later convicted of bigamy, who featured in the Fatty Arbuckle scandal. If that wasn’t enough excitement for one life, somewhere along the line there is a possible fourth marriage, which if true, suggests a less than truthful response to the registrar. All of this can be read by newer readers if you track back on this blog to when Albert was dissected a few years back.

There are some similarities in the stories of former Watch Tower adherents, Albert and Basil, although Albert wins the prize for major league “bad boy”. But with their tangled personal histories, there is one thing they do both have in common. Both had family who survived them. Both died alone. Maybe they deserved it, but I still find that rather sad.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An overview





            Clearly, Separate Identity will see a third volume. While we are sometimes disappointed by lack of detail or an inability to find documentation, the amount of detail we have is unexpected and pleasing. The story, as you’ve been told it, doesn’t always change much, but it is more meaningful for the details.
            Let me tell you about volume two as we see it. Unwritten yet is a chapter about starting Zion’s Watch Tower and the continuing controversies over the Ransom -Atonement doctrine. It exists only as notes. It is probably the last chapter we’ll write. We consider the evolution of a lay-preaching ministry and of the publishing ministry. Usually, all that is said about this is that Russell called for ten thousand preachers. There is a more complex story. And as usually told this is out of social context. We restore that, making the story conform to what really happened. The circulation of Food for Thinking Christians gets its own chapter. This was first written sometime ago, but needs a re-write to accommodate new information. The circulation of Food led to an enlarged international work. We tell in separate chapters about the work in Canada and the United Kingdom. China, various other lands, and Liberia are documented in a single chapter. The foreign language work in the United States led to international mission work. That gets its own chapter. Appended to the discussion of early evangelism in the UK is a short section profiling one of the key, but overlooked, exponents of Watch Tower doctrine in the UK. We discuss the organization and financing of the work from the unincorporated tract society to its incorporation, profiling the early directors.  As with many of these chapters, the story takes us places no-one else has gone.
            We tell in some detail the work of the earliest Watch Tower evangelists. Some of that has appeared as temporary posts on this blog. New Workers in the Field tells of somewhat later evangelists. Out of Babylon tells of efforts to separate from doctrines and churches they believed failed Christ. We tell the story of clergy who took up the new faith. One of the faults of more favorable ‘histories’ of the Watch Tower movement is a tendency to ignore those who left the faith. We do not do that, believing it distorts history.
            We know there was some sort of evangelism in France. Beyond a name and a letter or two, we cannot document it. This is true of Norway and Denmark. The effort was so small I do not believe any of that is recoverable. We have a single mention of Ireland. Again, I do not believe we will find more.
            Currently, we’re researching and writing a chapter entitled “Approach to 1881.” Adherents saw that as a year of prophetic fulfillments. We put their prophetic expectation in historical context. If considered at all, most researchers say Watch Tower adherents expected the end of the world in 1881. This is uniformed at best and a purposeful misrepresentation at its worst. But much that followed swung off the hinges of 1881. This will be a very blunt chapter and probably upsetting to some of our readers. We managed to displease some with volume one and others with our biography of N. Barbour. Why should volume two be different?
            As it is now, volume three will consider the divisions that followed; the writing and circulation of Millennial Dawn, a chapter on the Watch Tower movement in historical context; a chapter on Historical Idealism; a chapter on the Watch Tower movement’s connection to other, unexpected movements.
            We only cite contemporary documents except when we consider some key comments by later writers. Do not expect us to cite secondary sources. While this may play into your desire to lead readers to opposition sources, it is not good practice. A sociologist might do that; a historian should never do it.



           We restore as nearly as possible the warts, bumps, unlovely and lovely of the personalities who appear in this history. We do not write sanitized history. If you want a paean to Russell, this is not the book for you.
           

Catholic End of the Age Predictions


We are aware of Charles Arminjon's book. We need other Catholic produced end of the age books written in the 1860-1890 period.

Monday, September 26, 2016

I'm returning ...

I'm returning editorship of this blog to Mr. Schulz. I'm not leaving the project, but this blog is a total waste of time. It exists to elicit comments and suggestions. We receive almost no meaningful comments. As far as that goes, we receive almost no comments. I spend time on this blog best spent on other aspects of this project.

More Barbour

Cambridge Chronicle, Volume XXVII, Number 8, 24 February 1872 — SUNDAY SERVICES. FEBRUARY 25.

Canada


While I'm not posting any of the chapter on early work in Canada (It's a waste of time), we need the names of Canadian adherents from before 1890. Don't presume we know what you know.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Last Ditch Effort


Other than rewrites and edits, we're saying our chapter on the early work in Canada is finished. We're unsatisfied with the results, but out best efforts have produced limited results. If you can find relevant material from before 1890, please pass it on.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

John Henry Paton


We need a volunteer to

We need a volunteer to transcribe the short article by J. H. Paton found in this newspaper

http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn85042400/1908-01-12/ed-1/seq-7/

We need


We need an extract of every reference to prophetic events in 1881 appearing in  Herald of the Morning and in Zion's Watch Tower.

Can you help?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Your task, should you accept it,



Okay ... These six articles exemplify issues that arise when writing history. Analyze them. Tell us the story they tell. Submit your comments. If I get an exceptionally good one or two or seven, I'll pull them out of the comment trail and make them a main post.

More newish stuff - Barbour




Newish Stuff - Barbour




Saturday, September 17, 2016

Writing History II



Writing History II

            Those who write about controversialist movements are often partisan or swayed by partisan statements. Having a point of view is ethical and acceptable. It is unethical to slant your writing to fit your point of view while ignoring contrary evidence.
            I see this most often in the thesis or dissertations written by wannabe sociologists and historians. They cite secondary sources without verifying accuracy. They do not weigh the merits of their sources. They are willing to uncritically accept the word of former adherents. Or they presume their conclusions are factual without verification.
            There are numbers of examples, but one that makes me frown is the attribution to the Adventists of every End-Times view. Adventism, especially original Millerite Adventism, has a very narrow doctrinal set. Belief in the return of Christ is First Century Doctrine, and seldom falls within the “Second Adventist” world view. In Zygumnt’s dissertation, individuals are called Millerites and old-time Millerites who weren’t born until decades later.
            Another example is the ready and uncritical acceptance of a ‘voice’ that supports a defamatory view. Many writers do this. The Brooklyn Eagle was in the early 20th Century little more than a yellow-journalism rag. It was unreliable, partisan and as willing to lie as any other newspaper. It was Catholic in outlook, and willing to trash without grounds any other point of view. Because its articles support a point of view, they’re repeated, quoted and referenced as if they were the first-hand observations of participants. They aren’t. They’re slanted and inaccurate.
            Quotations from New York State newspapers about the arrest of Jonas Wendell are quoted on the Internet without critical comment. All of them are derive from one source, and all of them are false. None of those citing these articles tried to find an original arrest record. (You can’t find one, because it didn’t happen.) None of them report Wendell’s denials, and none of them identify Miss Terry, the daughter of a Second Adventist family living in Connecticut. The story is there, maybe without enough original documentation to satisfy the very curious (who as I do, always want to know more), but with enough detail to tell an accurate story.
            One well-known historian and former adherent called Russell a plagiarist because he believed similarly to someone else. This is, as we point out in Separate Identity Vol. 1, a misuse of the word. If you write history, do not borrow other’s mistakes. Word definitions matter. You must know the definition of the words you use. And you must know connotation of words. It is unethical to use a word that implies a bad act without clear evidentiary warrant.
            Some writers begin with the assumption that the characters whose history they present were bad people. They don’t like the doctrine or philosophy of someone, so they portray them in the worst light possible. Ethically, a historian should presume that the least offensive cause for an act or belief is the correct one unless there is clear, first-hand evidence to the contrary. One of the Wesleys was accused of adultery, apparently without any grounds. And in his lifetime that was repeated but without evidence.
            Yes, some have bad motives. No-one is a true saint totally without blame in their life. A historian should not accept accusations at face value. An example we deal with in one of our books is the claim that Russell ‘stole’ the Herald of the Morning subscription list. Russell was co-owner. He paid to restart the magazine, purchasing the type for it and financing it when it did not pay its way. There are contemporary notices of his ownership. So this is a lie, fabricated by a former adherent who paints everything in the worst possible light – totally without evidence. This is a moral failing. It is wrong. And it is very poor work.
            The opposite problem exists. Some writers alter the facts to fit a prophetic scheme or set of religious doctrines. This is called Historical Idealism. It is as wrong to claim positive events and views that did not happen as it is to frame someone in a bad light without clear, valid, verifiable evidence.
            We will not stop this by what we write. People are not willing to abandoned narratives in which they’re personally invested ... that validate personal decisions they’ve made. But we can present an accurate history and let it contrast with the false narratives that circulate so widely.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

On Writing History



Writing History

by R. M. de Vienne
            There are two kinds of history: What the British call Public History and Americans tend to call ‘popular history’; and academic history. Unwarranted snobbery finds a home among those who write academic history. But finding original documents and writing footnotes doesn’t elevate academic history above its cousin.
            Though it colors your style, the audience one writes for does not matter. What matters is an honest, rational approach to the subject. Dr. Schulz and I write about controversial religions. Those who read our books have preconceived notions, often wrong. Not every reader is willing to accept new evidence. Some want to write your book for you. One of our readers believed we should cite former adherents’ books and pamphlets. Almost none of them are relevant. They do not cover the era accurately if at all. They are all secondary, sometimes tertiary sources. They do not present an accurate picture. Often they lie.
            Which brings me to my first point. If you write history, don’t lie to your readers. Some historians misrepresent their subject because their research lacks depth. Want an example? Of course you do. How many of you think that Juan Ponce de León went looking for the fountain of youth? It’s a common myth in American history books. But ... buster, it ain’t so. So ... this is what I wrote in a limited circulation school history:

As a result of political moves by Columbus’ son, he lost his governorship in 1512, but the Spanish king found ways to help him. King Ferdinand sent him out to explore new lands. Ponce de León heard of an island called Bimini. The story as it’s often told says he heard that the fabled Fountain of Youth was there. Drinking its miraculous waters would restore health and youth.  Many writers say that seeking this fountain was the reason for his exploration northward. But this story was invented by a man who wanted to discredit Ponce de León. None of the original records mention a quest for a miracle fountain. Many years after de León’s death Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, a partisan follower of Diego Columbus, wrote that Ponce was gullible, egocentric and dull-witted. Oviedo told the fountain of youth tale in his book Historia General y Natural de las Indias. It was a literary device meant to make Ponce appear foolish. de León’s real motive was wealth. The king promised that he would hold exclusive rights to the lands he discovered and that he would become their governor.

            Do not lie to your readers by repeating a story you did not verify from original sources. ... Ever.
            When sources conflict, the tendency of some writers is to accept what the majority say, even in preference to an eyewitness. This is argumentum ad populum, one of the major logic flaws. Sometimes the majority view is wrong. Never reject the opposition account without solid reason. And never discount opposition views on an unfounded basis. Age, status in life, and similar things do not, without strong evidence, account for an alternative view. Never adopt a speculation as firm evidence.
            If a character says something different from others, and you do not know why, do not rush into a Non Causa Pro Causa argument. Do not adopt as a reason your speculation. If you cannot find in the original documents a supportable reason for the difference, simply note it. It is fair to balance that person’s testimony against that of others. If you do, only contrast it with eyewitnesses. False testimony comes from repeated use of the comments of one or two people. An example is the endless repetition of J. J. Ross’s claims against Russell. If you take only Ross against Russell and others who attended the trial, Ross is not sustained. However, the bulk of what has been written is derived from Ross because he represented what opposition writers wish the events to be.
            Do not use every document as if it were valid, accurate and the rock-foundation of truth. This is especially so of contemporary newspaper and magazine articles. Give them appropriate weight. If they contradict known facts, reject their testimony. Pay attention! This is important. If you accept a newspaper or magazine article, even contemporary with the event, merely because it supports your point of view, you’re a ‘dork.’ Stop it. Check further. Check your facts to ‘the bitter end.’ Bad writers don’t. Good historians do.
            Historians should be ‘truth detectors.’ If the story develops in a way that differs from your pre-conceived belief, you are ethically bound to follow the facts. You are prohibited by ethics from making it up, casting someone in a bad light because you oppose what they believed or coloring the story to justify your own acts and beliefs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We need ...

First edition of Separate Identity made it to press with typos and such. We need a list of them all. We continue to work on getting an ebook out, though it's 'paused' because of another issue.

There is a possibility that a well-known university press will take on the books. Don't count on it. We have several 'issues' to overcome. One is cost. As it's published now, the cost is moderate. It would increase perhaps by an overwhelming amount. George's book costs about 150.00 USD. We want our book to be read. So we're just 'talking' with nothing at all settled. If you don't hear about this again, assume we couldn't reach an agreement.

But we still need to clean up the book. So read through it; note the typos; send me a list.

Also, if you really want to help, recommend the books to your friends, and leave a review on Amazon, googlebooks and lulu. Reviews are important. Those we have are good, but we don't have many.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Help find this?

The Flaming Sword of March 1898 said:



The Morning Star says that Mr. C. T. Russell, the editor of the Watch Tower, Allegheny, Pa., "is one of the numerous so called Messiahs with which this country is so amply surfeited.” His claims amount to this; he has not yet mustered up sufficient courage to make the claim emphatically; it would interfere with his revenues. He has a hobby, and is riding it for all it is worth, but it is not worth much. His observatory is out of shape the tower is not high enough, and it limits his horizon; its foundation is crumbling, and will no longer bear the huge, cross-eyed telescope which he employs.

We need the original Morning Star article, but we can't even identify the magazine. HELP!

With Jerome's expert help: 

 

Amateur films from the 1940s and 1950s


Rachael suggested that these might make a nice "filler" for the blog, although far too recent for the era being researched. These two films have turned up on YouTube. They come from Britain.

One is a series of amateur films of the witnesses' conventions and preaching work from the 1940s. There is a commentary of sorts from someone who was "there". I wasn't "there" but I knew personally some of those featured. The other is a film of the 1955 international convention at Twickenham. I was definitely "there" - somewhat shorter than I am now - but alas, am not preserved on celluloid on this occasion. For any British readers of this blog of the right age - enjoy!



Monday, September 12, 2016

Roberto's analysis of the Greek Handbills

... with slight English language help from Rachael ...



Ioannis Derziotis

The name of the speaker is Ioannis Derziotis, the lecture is "The Desirable Government."  In the lower part of the bill we have day and month, Sunday October 19, but no year. "A Desirable Government" was a booklet written by Rutherford in 1924 and translated in several  languages. (I have a copy in Italian language dated 1924.) So the day must be Sunday, October 19, 1924. The other possible date is far-off, Sunday October 19 1930.

So the only correct date of the bill can be Sunday, October 19, 1924. 

Nick Konstantopoulos

The name of the speaker is Nick Konstantopoulos, the lecture is “Organization of Satan’s Empire.” In the lower part of the handbill we have day and month, Sunday 25 January, but no date. In the years 1922-1925 there were a series of resolutions at the Bible Students Conventions against Satan and his Empire (See W56 8/1 pp. 467-74). The handbill can be related  to a doctrinal change in progress about Armageddon. In the Watch Tower of July 15, 1925, the leading article entitled “The Remnant” set forth for the first time that Armageddon is not a disorganized “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” or a violent, anarchistic battle between capital and organized labor, but is a universal fight between Jehovah God and the entire organization of Satan the Devil in heaven and on earth.  Note that in those years the “System of things” was called “Empire of Satan”.

Well, the only possible date for this bill is: Sunday, 25 January, 1925 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Useful purpose ...


Without engagement from blog readers, this site serves no useful purpose. We will no longer publish research for volume 2 here, but will share it with a couple of informed fellow researchers. If you do not comment here, you will not find a place on the mailing list.

This blog will not die. But it won't present the meat of our research, only side issues or requests for research help.

Posting long, complex research is time consuming, sometimes difficult. Those posts are not appreciated, seemingly not wanted. If they were appreciated, we'd get a comment from you. We don't. I'm not wasting my time presenting that kind of material.

Jerome has several articles in preparation that you will find interesting. Watch for them. That kind of article will continue to appear and so will interesting illustrations. The complex material is going away.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Facebook


The Facebook issue never goes away. Facebook is not a secure and safe site. You compromise us and yourself when you link to this blog. DO NOT LINK TO THIS BLOG VIA FACEBOOK. SHOW SOME RESPECT. STOP IT.

Facebook compromises your privacy. It is paternalistic, intrusive and dictatorial. DO NOT BRING IT HERE.

The point of it ...


We post some of our current project here for comments. Hopefully, the comments are educated and informed, though often that's an unreasonable expectation. However, it takes little time for our readers to say whether they liked or hated or were confused by what we post. It hardly seems worth while posting extensive bits of work if it goes unread and unacknowledged.

I don't foresee us continuing the practice. Our readers seem to like fluff history rather than meaty stuff. 

Our research is almost totally self-funded from the sale of our book or out of our own pockets. You can help by recommending our books and by leaving reviews on Amazon, Google Books, and Lulu.

Rutherford Speech - Uncertain Date

Mike C. identified this as an Ink Blotter from the 1923 NYC convention.
Thanks Mike.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Basil Stephanoff and the work in European Turkey

Rough draft, temporary post. This will change. Don't rely on it. It's preliminary. Usual rules. You may make a copy for yourself. Do not circulate it. Use this information cuatiously, knowing it will change in final form.

updated:




European Turkey

            The map of Europe as it was in 1880 hardly resembles that of today. Much of Eastern Europe was controlled by an oppressive Turkish government whose representatives robbed, raped and murdered Christians. Regional nationalism embroiled western governments. And at first autonomy and then independence came to that area. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, a nominally anonymous Watch Tower publication, reported that, “During the late 1880’s, Basil Stephanoff had preached in Macedonia, in what was then European Turkey. Although some had seemed to show interest, certain ones who professed to be brothers made false reports, leading to his imprisonment.”[1]
            This is all drawn from two letters appearing in Zion’s Watch Tower. The real story is far more colorful and certainly more complex – and in places very hard to follow. Born in May 1862, in Macedonia,[2] then ruled by Turkey, we encounter him first in the June 1888, Watch Tower. Writing to Russell, he reported on his mission work in Macedonia:
remainder of this post has been deleted

My German is very poor

But here is what I get out of the post below. Please refine this if you can:



A letter from Macedonia.

Several years ago, Basil Stephanoff, a citizen of Macedonia in the European Turkey, came to this country to learn English and to learn the religion and the laws and statutes of our country. He visited Elkhart and spent some time here. He visited the various communities and preached in several places. Afterwards, he returned to his home. We publish a letter we recently received from him, which will no doubt interest our readers.

Monastir, Macedonia, European Turkey,

January 31, 1888.

Beloved brother in Christ:

I thank you for your kindness in regularly sending me the "Herald of Truth.” It offers much that is interesting. It contains articles full of encouragement and truth. The Lord bless your faith and life’s work.  

Our work is progressing well. In the near future, I intend to support one or two [???Onlyborn???] and four other American missionaries. We trust in God for all our needs. Even though I've already been through fiery trials, so far the Lord hasn’t left us. God’s grace is sufficient and the cross is my protection and fortress.

Last Sunday morning (29 Jan) I preached from Acts 17 about the "unknown God". About two hundred listeners gathered under my roof. The subject was principally about God, nature, and the Bible. In the evening the missionary accompanying me discussed GAL. 3. 18. The people were very interested. God be praised that the truth which was once proclaimed by the Saints in the dear old Macedonia again will be preached! I hope that yours are all healthy. I am glad to know that your work is thriving. Could you send me a copy of your new book 'Martyrs Mirror' (MärtyrerSpiegel)?... Continue to send me the "Herald." We intend to publish soon a tract explaining our beliefs, but we don't know if the Turkish Government will give us permission to do so.

We need a good English translation of this


Ein Brief aus Macedonien. – Vor mehreren Jahren kam Basil Stephanoff, ein Eingeborner von Macedonien im europäischen Theile der Türkei, nach diesem Lande, um die englische Sprache zu erlernen und mit der Religion und den Gesetzen und Ordnungen unseres Landes bekannt zu werden. Er besuchte Elkhart und hielt sich einige Zeit hier auf. Er besuchte die verschiedenen Gemeinden und predigte an mehreren Stellen. Nachher kehrte er wieder nach seiner Heimath zurück. Wir veröffentlichen hier einen Brief, den wir neulich von ihm erhalten, welcher unsere Leser ohne Zweifel interessieren wird.
M on a stir, Macedonien, europäische )
Türkei, 31. Januar 1888.
Geliebter Bruder in Christo:
Ich danke dir für deine Güte, daß du mir den „Herold der Wahrheit“ regelmäßig zusendest. Er bietet mir viel Interessantes dar. Er enthält Artikel voller Aufmunterung und Wahrheit. Der Herr segne dich in deinem Glaubens- und Liebeswerke. Unser Werk hat guten Fortgang. Ich habe vier andere Missionare aus Amerika bei mir und gedenke in Bälde einen oder zwei Eingeborne zu unterstützen. Wir vertrauen auf Gott für alle unsere Bedürfniffe. Bisher hat uns der Herr nicht verlaffen, obwohl ich schon feurige Prüfungen durchgemacht habe. Die Gnade Gottes ist genügend und das Kreuz ein Schutz- und Bergungsort für mich.
Letzten Sonntagmorgen (29. Jan.) predigte ich über Apftg. 17 von dem „unbekannten Gott“. Es hatten sich circa zweihundert Zuhörer unter meinem Dach versammelt. Der Gegenstand war hauptsächlich von Gott, der Natur und der Bibel. Abends redete der mich begleitende Missionar über Gal. 3. 18. Das Volk war sehr interessiert. Gottlob, daß nun wieder die Wahrheit, die einst den Heiligen im lieben alten Macedonien verkündigt wurde, nun wieder vorgetragen wird! Ich hoffe, daß die Deinigen alle gesund sind. Es freut mich zu erfahren, daß euer Werk so gutes Gedeihen hat. Könntest du mir ein Exemplar eures neuen Buches “Martyrs Mirror” (MärtyrerSpiegel) zuschicken ?..... Schicke mir den „Herold“ noch ferner zu. Wir gedenken bald ein Blatt nach unserem Glauben zu veröffentlichen, doch wissen wir noch nicht, ob die türkische Regierung uns Erlaubniß dazu geben wird. Mit herzlicher Liebe und Gruß verbleibe ich euer
Bajil Stephan off.

David D. Paterson

We do not have details yet, but believe he associated with Barbour up to 1878. If you have the pdf files of the Herald of the Morning for the early years, will you please read through them for any reference to D. D. Paterson.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Basil Stephanoff again.

We now know that Stephanoff was in America in 1885. We do not know how or when he got there? Anyone?

We need a volunteer to ...

transcribe the article entitled Mrs. Gilbert's Mission found here
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1889-02-24/ed-1/seq-3.pdf