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Topics in Chronicling America - The Kidnapping of Ellen Stone

"American Woman at the Hands of Lawless Turks!," reports the Houston Daily Post on September 7, 1901. In September 1901, a gang of masked revolutionaries seize and hold for ransom Ellen M. Stone, a Congregationalist missionary. During her six months in captivity newspapers across the US report on her ordeal and on President Teddy Roosevelt’s attempts to free her. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • September 3, 1901: Ellen Stone, an American missionary, is captured in the Ottoman Balkans by members of a Macedonian revolutionary organization seeking independence from the Ottomans.
  • September 26, 1901: A missionary colleague of Miss Stone receives a letter from her. The letter states that the captors demand $110,000 in ransom.
  • September 28, 1901: The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions announces that it cannot pay the ransom. The U.S. government also announces that it will not pay the ransom.
  • October 1901: Stone’s relatives and a group of Boston ministers appeal to the American public to raise money to pay the ransom.
  • October 1901: C.M. Dickinson, an American diplomat in Bulgaria begins negotiating with the bandits for Miss Stone’s release. Dickinson requests that the bandits accept a lower sum, arguing that it is impossible to raise $110,000.
  • February 1902: The captors, after initially refusing, accept the reduced sum, and Miss Stone is released.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Miss Stone, missionary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonian Committee, American Board of Foreign Missions, ransom.
  • To narrow results, search between September 1901 and February 1902.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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