7. The Miss Stone Affair

Summary

In 1901 Bulgarian revolutionaries fighting for the liberation of Macedonia from Ottoman rule kidnap the American missionary Miss Stone. Their goal is to use the ransom for providing arms, and simultaneously, to attract the attention of the world to their cause.

Miss Stone is abducted in the Pirin mountain, together with a pregnant young Bulgarian. The women are held captive for 173 until the revolutionaries get in touch with the American council in Constantinople and negotiate the huge – for its time -  ransom of $ 63 800. Meanwhile the pregnant woman gives birth to a baby girl. The three are released safe and sound.

Ellen Stone is the first citizen of the USA to be kidnapped outside of the continent. Her story captivates the world’s attention during her time in hostage just as much as after her release. The missionary returns home as an ardent supporter of the cause for the liberation of Macedonia. She is the most distinguished and influential hostage in Bulgarian, and perhaps in American history. The McClure’s Magazine pays her 44 000 for the publishing of her memoirs and for a series of lectures in America during 1903-1904.