Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Really Important

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, but drifted away by 1903 when we find him involved with the Masons and on his way back to Macedonia to fight against the Turks. A religious journal calls him a General in the Macedonian resistance. 

We need a more solid biography. Anything, no matter how minor, will help.


We don't often find photos of the characters who play their part in Watch Tower history, but ... Here is Basil Stephanoff ...

Another newspaper picture of  Stephanoff



jerome said...

I will send Rachael some documentary proof in due course, but following the trail in Ancestry, Basil traveled to America in January 1892. His occupation is laborer. He gets married on April 11, 1892, to Annie Brook, from England. His marriage listing gives his father as Stephan Boginoff. His wife is a dressmaker, and he is now "a minister of the gospel." He is 31. His only son, John Basil Stephanoff, is born on January 26, 1893 (exact date from John's WW1 draft card). In the 1900 census the family of three now have Basil as a shoe dealer, his wife is still a dressmaker, and the son John is aged 7.

Now it gets a bit weird. On October 8, 1902, a Basil Stephanoff, of the right age, and the same job (Shoe dealer) marries Alavesta Nagle from Ohio. He gives his parent's name as Mona Steffanoff (which appears to be OUR Basil's mother's name according to his death certicate).

Then it gets more weird. In the 1916 trade directory we find Annie Stephanoff living with her son, John B Stephanoff. She is down as wid. of Basil.

But on OUR Basil's death certificate (he dies on May 19, 1925 and is buried the next day) he is down as a widower, but the name of his late wife is not known. But his parents' names are known. His father is Bogin Stephanoff (a nice variation on Stephan Boginoff above) and his mother is Mona.

His son John Basil S lived on until the 1970s and a grand-daughter lived on until around 1980.

Andrew Martin said...

Here's a tentative guess: try the Balkan Wars of the 1912 era: the war reporting of American artist Francis D. Millet may have mention of him. April 1912 would be the latest Millet could have reported, since he died in the Titanic disaster April 15 of that year. I'll try to scout around this weekend to see what I can find.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

He returned to Macedonia as a 'General" in the rebel forces in 1903.

roberto said...

Traduzione italiana (Italian Translation)

Basil Stephanoff ha una piccola menzione nel libro "Proclamatori" (pagina 406). Operava in Macedonia (nella Turchia europea) e in Bulgaria sul finire degli anni 1880. Venne arrestato perché (lui dichiarò) dei falsi fratelli avevano diffuso false notizie sul suo conto. Fuggì in America e si stabilì nel Michigan. Era ancora un aderente alla Watch Tower nel 1894, ma se ne era separato nel 1903 quando lo troviamo coinvolto con la massoneria e sulla via del ritorno in Macedonia per combattere contro i turchi. Un giornale religioso dell'epoca afferma che era un generale della resistenza macedone.

Stiamo cercando di ricostruire una solida biografia del personaggio. Qualsiasi cosa potreste aggiungere, anche piccola, sarà di grande aiuto.

P.s. - Non sempre riusciamo a trovare immagini dei personaggi (specialmente minori) che ebbero un ruolo nella storia della Watch Tower, ma in questo caso abbiamo trovato due ritratti di Basil Stephanoff!