The Storm of Life: A Missionary Marriage from Armenia to Appalachia

Author(s): Gretchen Rasch

Biography / Memoir

The Reverend Robert Stapleton (1866-1945) and Doctor Ida Stapleton (1871-1946) were American missionaries in Erzerum in the late Ottoman Empire and the years leading to the rise of modern Turkey. They were part of the extensive missionary community that sought to help Ottoman Armenians, using the influence of New England Protestantism along with Western education and culture. They witnessed the deportation of the city s Armenian population and the great battle for Erzurum between Turkish and Russian forces during World War I. They also participated in the great effort by Near East Relief to aid the destitute peoples of this region after 1918. Like other missionaries, their service to Armenians ended in the early 1920s after the establishment of modern Turkey. They continued their charitable work back in the United States among another disadvantaged group the Appalachian poor in the Kentucky mountains during the Great Depression of the 1930s. This book uses the Stapletons private papers, as well as other primary and secondary sources, to draw a picture of the missionaries everyday lives and struggles.

About the author: Gretchen Rasch (MSc, Auckland University, New Zealand) is a science editor at the Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand. She grew up in New York State near her grandmother Elinor Stapleton Rasch, who was born in Erzerum in 1903 to Robert and Ida Stapleton. Gretchen has a keen interest in history and genealogy, which led to her research on the lives of her great-grandparents and the other missionaries of the Eastern Turkey Mission, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

    Preface (vii)
1. Family Beginnings (3)
2. Preparation (17)
3. The American Board, Turkey and Erzerum Station (31)
4. The First Year in Erzerum (43)
5. Early Struggles (57)
6. Settled In 69)
7. Productive Years (85)
8. War Approaches (107)
9. Prelude to Massacre (117)
10. Bearing Witness (133)
11. The Battle of Erzerum (155)
12. Return to the City (167)
13. Near East Relief (181)
14. Tempest and Turmoil (197)
15. The Nationalists Take Control (211)
16. Oberlin Interregnum (227)
17. Line Fork and the Mountain Folk (235)
18. Hard Times: Medicine, Moonshine and Murder 257)
19. Into the Haven (271)
     Acknowledgements (277)
     Sources (279)


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General Fields

  • : 9781909382237
  • : Gomidas Institute
  • : Gomidas Institute
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Gretchen Rasch