The Itinerary of Katerina, Gregory and Elenche Tsilka in America (1904)





City and State

Source of Information



14 Feb 1904

Moline, Illinois

Davenport (Iowa) Weekly Leader, 29 Jan 1904, p. 2 “Madam Tsilka To Speak In Moline

“The interesting announcement was made at the meeting of the missionary society of the First Congregationalist church, of Moline, with Mrs. H. G. Paddock Tuesday afternoon that Madame Tsilka, the companion of Miss Stone as a captive for months in the hands of Macedonian bandits, will be brought to Moline, and that she will deliver an address at the vesper service in the Congregational church at 5 p.m. , Sunday, Feb. 14.


Mrs. Tsilka, it will be remembered, was the ladny who during captivity gave birth to a child in the rude quarters in which the two refined women were housed by the bandits.  The advent of the little stranger did not a little to soften the hearts of the bandits toward their prisoners.  There will doubtless be a churchful of people out to hear Madame Tsilka the afternoon of St. Valentine’s day.


The Missionary society is likewise planning for the holding of a missionary tea some time during the month of February, probably at the home of Mrs. H.  W. Cooper.”


10 Mar 1904

Janesville, Wisc.

Janesville (Wisc.) Daily Gazette, 8 Mar 1904, p. 1 “Madame Tsilka Is Taken Very Sick And Is Compelled to Cancel Her Lecture Date in Janesville Thursday Evening.”

Word was received today to the effect that Madam Tsilka, the Albanian missionary who was to lecture at the Congregational church Thursday evening had suddenly been taken ill and that the lecture here would have to be cancelled.  It is not considered probable that she will appear here at any other date.


18 Mar 1904

Grand Rapids, Wisc. (now Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc.)

Stevens Point (Wisc.) Journal, 12 Mar 1904, p. 1 “Will Lecture at Grand Rapids.”

Madame Tsilka, the missionary captured by bandits in Macedonia several years ago and over whom the United States and Turkey were for a time engaged in an imbroglio, will lecture before the Ladies’ Foreign Missionary society of the Congregational church at Grand Rapids on March 18.


24 Mar 1904

[not specified]

Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Evening Gazette, 24 Mar 1904, p. 4

Mme. Gregory Tsilka, companion of Miss Stone in Bulgaria and adducted and held for ransom with her, is lecturing in the American northwest as a means of gaining a livelihood.  Her husband, pastor of a Protestant church, and herself were expelled from Albania by Turkish troops.


Mar 1904


Madison, Wisc. Our Church Life, Vol. 10, #4, Feb 1904, p. 8

Please study carefully the above plan of work committed to the Branch, especially its responsibility for the support of the Kortcha school.  These Albanian girls are knocking at our doors, asking for a Christian education.  Who will open the door?  Mme. Tsilka, Miss Stone’s companion in captivity, is now touring in the interior, and will give some time to Wisconsin either in March or April.  Societies desiring her lecture will please correspond with the secretary.


28 Mar 1904

Janesville, Wisc.

Janesville (Wisc.) Daily Gazette, 28 Mar 1904, p. 2 “Madame Tsilka Is To Lecture At the Congregational Church This Evening – Will Speak of Mission Work.”

Madam Tsilka, her husband, and the little child born during her captivity among the Bulgarian brigands, will be at the Congregational church this evening.  The story has been told by Miss Ellen Stone but new interest will be awakened by Madam Tsilka’s account of the incident that stirred the whole civilized world.


6 Apr 1904

Plymouth, Ind.

Fort Wayne (Ind.) Sentinel, 31 Mar 1904, p. 1 “Madame Tsilka to Give a Lecture; Companion of Miss Stone, Will Speak at Plymouth Church

“Madame Tsilka, who was with Miss Stone, the American missionary captured in Macedonia a few years ago, will give a lecture next Wednesday evening in Plymouth Congregational church. She will give an account of the terrible privations endured by Miss Stone and herself during their captivity among the brigands and will also give an account of the missionary work which is being done in that country.

Madame Tsilka is lecturing in the United States in the interest of the American board of foreign missions.  She is a well educated woman and speaks excellent English.  She will be accompa-nied by her husband and baby and will appear in native costume.


6 Apr 1904

Plymouth, Ind.

Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette, 7 Apr 1904, p. 2

Mme. Tsilka Delivers an Address.


Mrs. G. M. Tsilka, the companion of Miss Ellen Stone during her captivity by brigands in Macedonia, gave a lecture on her imprisonment and final release at the Plymouth Congregational church last night.  Mrs. Tsilka is a very interesting speaker and her large audience was highly entertained.  Her little child, born during her captivity, was with her. and


22 Apr 1904

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City (Mo.) Star, 20 Apr 1904

Mme. Tsilka Coming Here.


The Bulgarian Woman Who, With Ellen Stone, Was Held for Ransom.


Mme. Tsilka, the Bulgarian woman, who, with Miss Ellen Stone, the American missionary, was held a captive for ransom by Bulgarian bandits in 1901, is coming to Kansas City to lecture.  She will be accompanied by her husband and their little baby, which was born while Mme. Tsilka was a captive.  They will arrive in the city Friday from Springifield, Mo.  Mme. Tsilka, her husband and their baby will be the guests of Mrs. J. K> Cravens, at Fairfax Arms, near Twelfth and Broadway, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Friday evening Mme Tsilka will lecture at the Beacon Hill Congregational church.  Sunday morning she will talk at the Clyde Congregational church and Sunday evening at the First Congregational church.


8 May 1904

Iowa City, Iowa

Iowa City (Ia.) Daily Press, 27 Apr 1904, p. 1

The heroine of remarkable adventures will be in Iowa City Sunday.  This is Mme. Katerina Tsilka, who was captive in company with Ellen Stone, the prisoner, held captive for ransom, among the bandits of Turkey.  She will speak in the Congregational church on Sunday evening, May 8.  With Mrs. Tsilka will be her bright-eyed babe, Elentcha, who first saw light in the camp of the Balkan brigands, while her mother was awaiting ransom.  There will be no admission fee charged the night of Mrs. Tsilka’s lecture, but a collection will be taken and the proceeds will be devoted to the founding of a school for Balkan girls.



8 May 1904

Iowa City, Iowa

Daily Iowa State Press [Iowa City, Ia.], 9 May, 1904,  p. 3, “Bit of a Babe Beats Brigands”

Bit of a Babe Beats Brigands




Chief's Heart Melts and His Followers Also Fail -- Thrilling Tale of Madam Tsilka.


“My baby owes her life to your prayers and the prayers of your sis ters and brothers all over this great land of America."


So spoke Madam Katerina Tsilka,  as she held up to view a little, brown-eyed, wriggling bunch of humanity, in the Congregational  Church last evening.


Then as the little one, prettily named Elentch, crooned in baby Ianguage, such as understood only by mothers, this brave mother in words that were soft and pleasing, and often thrilling, despite the peculiar old-world accent, told the story of her Macedonian captivity.


The force and fire that stirred the hearts of the Macedonians in the days of Philip were not 'Madam Tsilka's, but the power of truth and the fascination of startling facts, graphically, if simply told, were hers, and thus the audience that, assembled in the Congregational church, sat as if under a spell, and the daintily- foreign accents of the woman who was a. companion of Ellen Stone, among the brigands mingled with the soft patter of the rain drops without; and they made sweet music together.


"I remember as well as if it were tonight," said Madam Tsilka, "as the chief of the band which captured us, came and sat in front of us and said with a triumphant look on his face: ‘Your capture is something for which we have been working since last August. Do you see that mountain over

there.  We have been hiding there for months waiting for some one to pass. At first we thought of capturing Dr. Horse (a well-known missionary) who was to pass here, but he changed his plans so that we were compelled to capture you, even though it is bad luck to have anything to do with women. We needed the money and were ragged and half starved, and we simply had to capture someone.'


Many Brigands.


"Macedonia, where we were captured, is the last of the Balkan states to be under the Turkish rule and as a result it is swarming with brigands. result it is swarming with brigands. Since 1880 ninety persons have been captured by brigands there and the ransoms have been something enormous. There are two kinds of brigands. The Christian brigands are not Christians, but are men who have been forced to take to the mountains by the oppression and tyranny of the Turkish government while the Turkish brigands have taken up the life simply because they love bloodshed and cruelty and prefer that life to no other.


"The Turkish brigands are by far the worst and some of the things they do are too terrible to mention. Our party was captured by Christian brigands and when I found this out I was very glad as they are not nearly so cruel as the Turkish brigands. At the time of our capture my husband and myself were going to our native town for a visit and had decided to join Miss Stone's, party. Altogether with the muletters and the members of our party there were I3 persons.


Surrounded by Robbers.


We started out early one bright morning and had traveled about four hours when we came to a rock which jutted out on the path and hid everything in front. As we came to this suddenly two bandits sprang out and seized me compelling me to dismount. I glanced around and saw that every one of the party was held by two brigands. They flashed their daggers and threatened instant death if we disobeyed. We were then hurriedly hustled up the mountain side. At first I thought that we would only be searched and I let go and I made my husband give me his watch and some money he had, thinking that the brigands would not search a woman. I put the money in my mouth, and tried to hide the watch in my skirt but one of the robbers saw me and motioned to me that he knew where I had put the watch.


"As we were going up the mountain we heard a shot and the robbers seemed in great fear until we heard the voice of their chief calling to them to go on. We learned later that, he had told them if they heard a shot it was a signal of great danger and to hide in the rocks. This shot however, had been fired by a traveler who was following our party. When the bandits tried to capture him he fired at them but was soon taken and was brought before us and stabbed to death with daggers.


Traveled by Night.


"Then we took up our flight always traveling at night and resting in some miserable but during the day. On the second day the chief sprained his ankle and as the brigand who answered the purpose of doctor knew nothing of surgery I was told by Miss Stone to see if I could not help him.  I had taken a course in trained  nursing and was able to give him a great deal of relief although he never s much as thanked me. A few day later the chief told us the amount of our ransom and our hearts sank for he said that he must have $112,000 within 20 days or else we would all be killed.


"There was one brigand who seemed to have especial charge of us who was little more than a boy and we found later that he was only 18 years old. Miss Stone named him George and he proved to be very kind hearted doing many little favors for us from time to time during our captivity.


"To show how much danger we were in during the first.week, six of the brigands who had been sent to a village to secure food, were captured and killed by the Turkish soldiers.


To Kill the Baby.


"It was decided that the baby should be .killed and the chief had been decided upon to take its life. He came into the hut one night where we were and took it up in his arm. It commenced to cry and suddenly to our amazement he took it over to the fire and warmed its feet and then commenced to rock it to and fro in his arms. Soon he dropped it and rushed out and George told us later that he told the men that he could not kill it and if any of them could to go ahead and do it. The next night twelve of them came in and every one of them instead of trying to kill the child knelt and kissed it.


"One night we received the welcome news that the ransom had been received, but even then we were not released, but for three weeks the band took us from place to place tryng to find.a place to leave us and then make their escape before the soldiers could find out their whereabouts and capture them.


"Finally one night we were led  by two brigands disguised as gypsies to a village and turned loose and soon found our way to a city where we were known and were received with a hearty welcome. Here we were able to use soap and water for the first time since our capture and soon had ourselves presentable once more."



8 May 1904

Iowa City, Iowa

Daily Iowa State Press [Iowa City, Ia.], 9 May, 1904,  p. 8

The large audience in the Congregational church last evening, presented a purse of about $23 to Madam Tsilka, for the benefit of the missionary schools she is striving to found among the hopeless countrywomen in the old world.


22 May 1904

Shell Rock, Iowa

Waterloo Daily Reporter, 14 May 1904, p. 9

Madame Tsilka, the native Bulgarian missionary who was captured by the brigands with Miss Ellen Stone, will lecture in this city on Sunday, May 22, in the congregational church.  She will appear here on the auspices of the local missionary society. 


25 May 1904

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo Daily Reporter, 17 May 1904, p. 5


Woman Captured by Brigands to Appear in This City.


Waterloo people are to be given the opportunity of listening to the eloquent and entertaining words of Madame Tsilka, the native missionary who was kidnapped with Miss Stone in Asia some time since.  The people of this community have had the opportunity of listening to the thrilling account of the adventures and experiences of these women from the lips of Miss Ellen Stone, but they will want to hear from Madame Tsilka, too, because it was she who gave birth to a child while in the vigilant keeping of the brigands.  She is a lady of gracious manner and of eloquent words, and the people of Waterloo, who contributed something like $250 to go toward securing the release of these two ladies from the brigands will wish to hear her.  Madame Tsilka will be here on the evening of May 25, and will lecture in the Y.M.C.A. auditorium.  There will probably be a great rush for tickets on that occasion and the hall will probably be overflowing with those who wish to hear her.


25 May 1904

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo Daily Reporter, 26 May 1904, p. 5


Madame Tsilka Lectures at Y.M.C.A. Last Evening

Recites Adventures Among Brigands and Final Release

Had the Child Born in Captivity With Her


A full house greeted Mme. Tsilka at the Y.M.C.A. last night. From the moment she appeared upon the platform and introduced her baby, which she held up in her arms, saying “this baby was the key which unlocked the door of the cruel hearts of our captors,” her lecture was of absorbing interest .


Mme. Tsilka was born and reared in Macedonia.  She was converted in the Mission school conducted by Miss Stone and maintained by the American Missionary Society.  She and her husband were both educated in America.   Mme. Tsilka studied here eight years.  They then returned to their native land to teach and to preach, Rev. Tsilka being the only Christian minister among the two millions of people.




Mme. Tsilka Told the sensational and pathetic story of her five months’ and twenty days’ captivity.  How they were surrounded and carried away bodily, torn from the protecting the arms of her husband and friends and carried away at the spears’ point with the threat of instant death if they rebelled.  These Turks kidnap many beautiful daughters of Christians.  They are cruel and seem to thirst for blood and delight to persecute the innocent.   When Miss Stone and Mme. Tsilka were captured and, the latter had just $35.00 in gold which she carried in her mouth for three days.  They were placed in a cave, the walls of which were stained with the blood of former victims and told by their captors that they were held for ransom and when the ladies reached for their meager purse and were told that $112,000.00 must be forthcoming in twenty days or their lives would pay the forfeit, the helpless were seized with unutterable agony and  Miss Stone grasped the hand of her companion and whispered, “Pray pray pray,” after which she heard her repeating in hushed but unfaltering accents, “The Eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”


They were guarded by eighteen different brigands who took turns watching to see that their prisoners did not escape.  They were large, heavy set, dark, cruel-looking, powerfully built men, the very sight of whom threw Mme. Tsilka into chills and fever.  The women almost starved, often suffering for food and water.  Only one vessel was in the cave and that was used for every purpose and food cooked in it.


When the brigands saw the prisoners languish they feared they would die and took them from the cave at midnight to get some fresh air for they felt sure of the ransom money if the women lived.  A young boy only eighteen was appointed to lead the horse on which Mme. Tsilka rode.  The women named him George.  He was not allowed to answer any questions but would always say “uncertain” to every question.


One night the prisoners heard the brigands planning to kill the child and the one who was appointed to perform the act got one of his feet badly hurt, thereby making the opportunity for his own conversion, for the women bathed and dressed the injured member and gave the brigand such relief that he became their secret friend and they had the supreme satisfaction of seeing him rock the baby to sleep.  So much for the power of the spirit of God over human hearts.


One of the most thrilling and terrible experiences through which these women passed was in crossing a river on horseback when the baby was but a few days old.  Mme. Tsilka said she would never forget the agony of that our when her babe was taken from her arms and she was compelled to ride into the torrent of rushing water.  Looking back, she saw the stream dotted with men’s and horses’ heads.  Her baby was tossed into her lap and Mme. Tsilka gazed on one of her own dark tresses to see if it had not turned white with fright. 


Mme. Tsilka is a charming woman and makes her audience cry one moment and laugh the next as she tells her story of adventure, captivity and release.  Everyone who heard her felt that she was well worth the ransom which was given for her release.  Her husband is a refined and finally educated gentlemen, who seems proud and happy of the fact that through the prayers and efforts of his people he is again united with his family. 


28 May 1904

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Cedar Falls Gazette, 27 May 1904, p. 1

Mrs. G. M. Tsilka and baby Elentscha will be at the Congregational church Saturday night.  Madame Tsilka will lecture on her captivity among the Bulgarian brigands, and baby Elentscha, who was born in captivity, will be a silent spectator—at least a spectator.


Jun 1904

Dubuque, Iowa

Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, 28 May 1904, p. 12

“Mme. Tsilka, who was kidnapped by Balkan brigands with Miss Stone, the American missionary, is to lecture in Dubuque next week.”


13 Jul 1904

Decatur, Illinois

Decatur (Ill.) Semi-Weekly Herald, 20 May 1904, p. 4 “Making Ready; The Chamber of Commerce Takes Up its Work for the Christian Endeavor Chautauqua”

“Wednesday [13 July], Madame Tsilka who was in captivity with Miss Stone in the Balkans, and who became a mother while in the hands of the brigands, will tell of her experiences during that trying time.”


13 Jul 1904

Decatur, Illinois

Decatur (Ill.) Semi-Weekly Herald, 3 Jun 1904, p. 2 “The Reports are Good; Show That There Will Be Big Sale of Tickets for the Coming Chautauqua”

“Madame Tsilka and baby are expected to prove a great drawing card.  She is the woman who was with Miss Stone when captured by bandits and the baby is the one born during that memorable and exciting captivity.  The mother has with her the rags which the bandits tore from their own leggings to furnish clothing for the little one when born and tells a story that is of intense interest.”


14 Jul 1904

Decatur, Ill.

Decatur (Ill. ) Daily Review, 12 Jul 1904, p. 10

“Madame Tsilka and husband left this morning for St. Louis, where they will remain during the fair.”

[Note:  According to his Yale obituary, Katerina’s brother, Constantine Stephanove was the Superintendent of the Bulgarian Exhibit at the St. Louis Purchase Exposition of 1904.]


14 Jul 1904

Decatur, Ill.

Decatur (Ill. ) Daily Review, 14 Jul 1904, p. 7



By the request of a number of people Mr Tsilka made a talk in which he told of what became of the eleven members of the party who were not made captives at the time Madame Tsilka and Miss Stone were taken. He spoke very good English talked fast and was listened to with great interest.


He said that after the women left the party about fifteen of the brigands remained with it and ordered every one to remain perfectly motionless. They did not dare move and stayed in the same positions through the entire night. When morning came the brigands had left them and they immediately returned and reported the affair to the Turkish authorities.

Mr.Tsilka was constantly guarded by Turkish soldiers and was taken from court to court and examined for information in regard to the matter. The strain caused illness and while he was lying sick three letters were left at his door during the night, two from Miss Stone and one from his wife, stating that they were being held for a ransom.




Mr. Tsilka turned the letters over to the Turks and the brigands, becoming suspicious, refused to negotiate with him further. They had Miss Stone then write a letter some missionaries in another part of the country demanding aransom and fixing atime within which it should be paid. The amount demanded was so great that the friends of the women despaired of being able to raise it.

Seventy thousand dollars was finally raised and William E. Curtis in a manner unknown to Mr. Tsilka found a woman who was able to communicate with the brigands.



After many difficulties the brigand was offered 165,000 which he immediately accepted. Another difficulty arose as to the manner, time and place of paying the money.

The money had been demanded in Turkish gold and was taken from a bank in Constantinople in fifteen sacks and was guarded by fifty armed Turkish soldiers. They accompanied the money to the town where the brigands were to receive it, presumably to protect it, but really to capture the brigands when they came to receive it, regardless of the safety of the captives.

Acting on the advice of the brigands the gold was taken from the fifteen sacks, which were then filled with lead and left in the town with the soldiers. The gold was secreted about the persons of friends of the women and on one of their many strolls out of the town it was given to the brigands.

The Turkish authorities stated that any village in which the women were released would be held as being in league with the brigands and every village begged of the brigands not to release the women in their town. This caused another long delay in their release, but finally Mr. Tsilka received a telegram from the middle of Bulgaria to the effect that the women were there and free again.



8 Sep 1904

Madison, Wisc.

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisc.), 9 Sep 1904, p. 4 “Was Held for $50,000 Ransom

Mme. Tsilka Tells of Experiences Among Balkan Brigands


Has Baby Elentcha With Her


Thrilling Story of Capture – Six Months’ of Hardship – Final Release and Payment of Ransom

Nearly everyone is more or less familiar with the story of the capture of Miss Ellen Stone and Mme. Katherine Tsilka by the Balkan brigands.  A year and a half ago the story was on every town, and the whole civilized world waited breathlessly and incensed until the ransom of $50,000.00 was paid over in the two women were released from their six months captivity.


The experiences of one of these women were lived over again last  evening, when Mme. Tsilka held an audience in closest attention for nearly two hours   Dark and foreign looking and yet withal very attractive. Mme. Tsilka made a striking picture as she stood on the platform.  She was dressed plainly Bidwell in a black gown relieved with the touch of white at the neck.  She came here under the auspices of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary society of the Methodist church, and was introduced  very briefly to the audience by Rev.  A. W. Stalker, pastor of the church


A critical person would say Mme. Tsilka’s Introduction to her story was too long, for she went into the existing social and religious conditions of the people of Macedonia.  And yet by picturing the repression and darkness under which the people struggled she worked her audience into a better understanding of her story.


She told something of her early childhood, and of her thirst for knowledge and enlightenment; space of how she finally was permitted by her parents to go to school, how her hitherto narrow horizon spread.  After making the acquaintance of Miss Ellen Stone, Mme. Tsilka studied to become a missionary, and thus learned something in a rudimentary way of Madison, which afterwards stood her in good stead.


In a particularly graphic way, Mme. Tsilka pictured her capture by the lawless Balkan brigands.  She with her husband ( a missionary), Miss Stone, And a party of some four or five others were on their way to a mission feast.  When in a lonely and on frequent place they were overtaken by a band of brigands and she and Miss Stone, alone of the whole party were seized.


“ a kind of paralysis overcame me," said Mme. Tsilka, “for I knew Only two well the nature of the man who had seized us.  As we were born away, I saw my husband and the others surrounded by brigands with upraised daggers.  I never knew until the day of my release what became of my husband, whether he was killed over whether he escaped.  I was carried away with that awful picture in my mind.”


Of their subsequent sufferings and privations, Mme. Tsilka told in a most interesting manner.  She did not speak so much of their physical sufferings as their mental; of their prayers and hopes of release.  Of their physical sufferings, she could speak in a more humorous way, and she told of how they “lived, ate, slept and traveled in the same garments for six months.” The joy of the release, the delight in bodily comforts, such as baths, clean clothes and food, was dwelt upon.


Mme. Tsilka Declares that she and Miss Stone all their release, not so much to the paying of the ransom as to the influence of her little baby in the hearts of the brigands.  For as everyone knows her child, a little girl, was born during of the weary months of her captivity.


“One of the darkest nights I have known,” said Mme. Tsilka, “ was that on which I knew my baby was to be killed by the brigands.  I had found out that they were to sacrifice her, as she made traveling a great inconvenience.  If the baby had been a boy, they would have kept it and trained it to be a brigand, but as it was a girl, they had no use for her.  So one evening, the chief of the brigands approached the corner where I lay, and looked for a long time at baby.  There was something in the child’s face which broke him all up, for he put her down, and going outside, told the man he couldn’t do the act.  Then he returned, and taking baby in his arms, sat down by the fire and warmed her feet, and finally the two fell asleep, sitting there by the fire.”


Mme. Tsilka Spoke with a decided accent which made it an effort to understand her until one became accustomed to it.  Her accent lead one to believe that first that she was an ignorant woman, but at the close of a lecture, all felt that it was the address of an intelligent and educated woman to which they had listened.  Her manner was graphic and someone abrupt.  Through it all ran a vein of humor which was shown in several places, and produced a genuine hearty laugh from her audience.


Perhaps the most interesting point in the lecture was toward the close, when Mme. Tsilka’s Baby was brought up on the platform, and the mother finished her lecture with a little One held in her arms.  The baby was certainly a surprise to everyone.  No foreign looking child was this but a fair skinned, dark eyed child, of quite unusual beauty, as all agreed.  She was dressed in the most up to date fashion, white “French” dress, and with her brown hair cut “Dutch.”  It seemed almost impossible to believe that this dainty, intelligent looking child, could be born under such intolerable conditions, and spent the first few months of her life in such surroundings, without leaving some mark on her. At the time of her mother’s release, the child was covered with great sores and callcus spots, and was in all together a deplorable condition, all into the lack of proper care. Yet she seemed none the worse for it, and looked up at the audience with great, serious eyes. As Mme. Tsilka Continued speaking, the little creature laid her cheek against her mother’s, and stroked her cheek. This quite won the audience, composed mostly of women, and at the close of the lecture, crowded to the front, anxious for a closer view of the little one.

But she had been whisked away and only a few were admitted to see her in the lower floor of the church. Here she and her mother received a few people, for five or ten minutes.


The little girl on a closer view proved even more interesting. Her chief beauty lies in her dark unfathomable baby eyes. Her features are very regular and pretty, and the expression of her little face is exceedingly intelligent. Only when an admiring woman who leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, but she demur.  She put it on a patch of land expression, and rubbed her cheek with her hand, and her mother seeing that she looked tired, announced that they must be off. Accordingly she and the baby, accompanied by Mrs. A. W. Wellman and Miss Lulu Wellman, at whose home they are staying, left the church.


Mme. Tsilka in an interview, told of her reasons for going on this lecture tour.


“I am doing it to raise the money for a mission school in Macedonia” she said. “I am not lecturing for my own personal benefit.”


When asked as to her husband, she said:


“My husband is engaged in missionary work at home. He goes about among the people preaching and helping them.  I am anxious to return to him.”




1-3 Nov 1904

Providence, R. I.

Congregationalist & Christian World, 12 Nov 1904, p. 89

“The Woman’s Board of Missions at Providence

The central feature of the thirty-seventh annual meeting of the Women’s Board of Missions was undoubtedly a baby.  Few present among the 251 delegates, the 800 other listeners, the twenty-six missionaries, the twenty-eight board officers, who crowded Union Church, Providence, to its utmost capacity, will ever forget the sense of the reality and the vitality of missionary heroism, as they looked at the expressive face of Madame Tsilka, repeated even to the great dark eyes in the little child, scarcely a baby, who came flying down the aisle and scrambled to the platform beside her mother. 


The days of the meetings, Nov. 1, 2 and 3, were great days, and full of vivifying power, but nothing came closer to our hearts then the unexpected presence of Miss Ellen M. Stone, Monsieur and Madame Tsilka, and the little child into whose tiny hand was placed the heart of an outlaw.  In these dead-level days occurrences so dramatic, so miraculous, leave us be aware that God’s day is not over.


13 Nov 1904

Northampton, Mass.

Springfield (Mass) Republican, 8 Nov 1904, p. 9

[Northampton News Items] “Mme. Tsilka, who was in captivity with Miss Ellen Stone, the missionary, will give an address at the Edwards church Sunday evening under the auspices of the men’s club.  The daughter born to Mme. Tsilka will be on the platform.


Nov 1904

Northfield, Mass.

Record of Christian Work, vol. 24, no. 1 (Jan 1905),

p. 45

Northfield Seminary.


It was a great pleasure for Northfield Seminary to be able to entertain Madam Katrina Tsilka on the occasion of her first visit to Northfield since her captivity.  She was accompanied by her husband and little daughter.


Madam Tsilka was for several years a student at the Seminary, and among the many new faces that welcomed her, there were a number who remembered her as Katherine Stephonarch.


Mrs. Tsilka showed her loyalty to the Seminary, not only by donating the proceeds of her lecture to the “endowment fund,” but by her words of love and appreciation for all that the school had done for her.