Maltby Genealogy - American Lineage - Sixth Generation

Harrison and Arminda (KNAPP) MALTBIE

Harrison and Emily A. (HOUGH) MALTBIE

His Parents - Daniel and Esther G. (TAPPIN) MALTBY

Spouce's Parents -

Kids - none

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CFG-FKk. Esther Tapping MALTBIE, b. Apr. 30, 1836 (Dan.5, Benj.4, Dan.3, Dan.2, Wm.1). (Sketch of her life on following page).

     Sketch of the Life of Esther Tapping Maltby.
                                  "Samokov, Bulgaria
                                     August, 1910.

Dear Kindred and Friends:---

I received, by kindness of Mrs. C. S. Verrill, the first two numbers of the Maltby Booklet and found them very interesting indeed.

My life has been so full of work and my field of labor so far away from my family and friends that I have had little time and oppor- tunity to cultivate the acquaintance of even near relatives.

It was with much hesitancy that I undertook, at the request of Mrs. Verrill and my cousin, Miss Martha J. Maltby of Columbus, Ohio, to write a sketch of my life, for I have had very little chance to develop the little literary gift I have. Still, with the hope that some account of my past, on the great battlefield of life, may be of some interest to those of kindred blood, I send this manuscript.

It is vacation time and sitting under the pines at this beauti- ful wooded mountain resort, I have written this review of a very busy life of service. I am very glad I have had the privilege of laboring so many years for the girls of this young and progressive country of Bulgaria.

          Sincerely yours in the bonds of Kindred,
                       Esther Tapping Maltbie.

           "A Long Life Spins A Long Yarn"

In a large farmhouse in Southington, in the state of Ohio, on the last day of April, 1836, a mother looked into the face of her eleventh child and a patriarchal father thanked God for another little girl to love and cherish. The mother did not shrink from the added burden of care and anxiety when with almost its first breath the little one showed signs of the whooping-cough, but courageously nourished the feeble life that many times seemed to have taken flight until the solicitous father saw his little Esther, the mother's namesake, a happy, joyous child upon his knee at morning and evening family devotions.

Childhood glided swiftly by amid the innocent pleasures of a large group of wide-awake children and the busy scenes of farm-life. A lasting impression was made upon Esther's young mind when her father speaking to a family friend of her baby illness that so many times threatened the life of his favorite, turned and laying his hand upon her head, as she stood near him, said solemnly, 'My dear child, God has not spared your life for nothing. He has a work for you to do.'

The parents resolved to give their large family of children all the educational advantages in their power, so the older ones, besides the district school, were sent to the Academy in an adjacent town. Dissatisfied with the superficial teaching of the ordinary district school, their oldest daughter was finally installed teacher of the young children.

It was in this family school at the age of ten that Esther's mind received an impetus toward higher intellectual development and she entered with great zest into the study of mathematics and nature study. "Dick's Works," of which two great volumes were in her father's small library awakened much wonder and thought, especially his theory of the universe.

"Previously she had settled in her own mind her doubts in reference to the existence of God from the effects produced by the invisible powers of nature. If matter could be invisible why not being unembodied? At this time also her spiritual nature opened up to the Light of Truth and she began to realize the deep meaning of an endless life and turned to the Saviour of the world for forgiveness and strength.

Before she had an opportunity to go away from home to school she did considerable reading. Hume's History of England was read before the family rose in the morning. "Plutarch's Lives" interested her much and she devoured nearly all of the books in her father's library.

She commenced the study of Greek and Latin in preparation for college under a French professor at the age of fifteen, when going away to school for the first time. Her class consisted of two young boys and herself. She will always be grateful for the fatherly interest that old gentleman took in his class, whom he addressed as: "doctor, lawyer and professor." The boys fulfilled his prediction and the other life has been spent in teaching.

When Esther consulted her father in reference to going to collage, he replied "If my daughter wishes to live for herself only, the less she knows the better, for her influence will be less for evil; but if she desires to live for others to help others, the more knowledge she acquires the better, for 'knowledge is power'."

After six months of teaching in a district school she entered the preparatory department of Oberlin College, Ohio, and commenced the hard struggle to obtain an education. To help defray her expenses she taught in the long vacations and graduated with four other girls from the Classical Course in 1862, which was an unpopular thing to do for at that time it was thought unnecessary for girls to study the Classics. During all the years of preparation an inward consciousness of the truth of her father's words abode with her; whispering, "God has something for you to do," and the cry of the millions, sitting in darkness, for light echoed and re-echoed within her heart.

During the Civil War she was a missionary of the American Missionary Association to the Freedom in Virginia and afterwards taught in Wilberforce University, an institution for colored students, which was burned down on the evening of President Lincoln's assassination, April 14, 1865. After this she taught for two years near her own home and lastly in Genesee, Illinois, in the High School.

Overcoming, by the grace of God, her reluctance to leaving parents, friends and home, she made her second application to the American Board--the first was rejected because there was no money to send young ladies to the field. She met the Secretary of the A.B.C.F.M., in Chicago the last of May and sailed for Bulgaria in Turkey, the eighth day of September, 1870. Her father said, when she informed him of her purpose, "We hoped you would be the strong staff upon which your parents might lean in their old age; but we gave you to God in baptism and if He call you, go." The mother said, "You have been my care until now; you will be too far away for my help to reach you. I give you up to God. I shall never see your face again on earth, but you are His." Her last words when she bid her daughter farewell were, "At God's call go cheerfully." The daughter remembered how, often in childhood she heard her enjoin cheerful

obedience on her children, for said she, "Obedience that is not cheerful is not obedience."

For three years encouraging, cheering messages came to the exiled daughter from the mother, then six weeks of anxious waiting, the silence. Her last message was, "I am going Home, tell Etta when she comes, to bring many sheaves with her."

When the father bade his little daughter, as he fondly called her, "Good Bye," he said, "I think I shall see you again" and after six years he clasped her to his heart, and at the age of 82, he made long journeys with her visiting all his children in their distant homes.

It was a bright September day in the year 1870, that the good steamship sailed out of New York harbor with twenty missionaries on board. Fourteen days later the wide ocean had separated them from the land of their fathers. A five hours railroad ride through "Eden" -like England brought them to the wonderfully interesting city of London and a week amid its interesting sights and scenes gave zest and refreshment to the weary travelers.

Soon after arriving in Constantinople the startling news came to the new missionary that Miss Norcross, with whom she was to be associated, had suddenly sickened and died, that the school without a head was waiting for her to fill the vacancy. Words fail to express the disappointment of that hour. Good Dr. Riggs and Mrs. Riggs by their sympathy helped and encouraged the inexperienced missionary to realize that the "Strength" of her life would not fail her.

Mr. Bond came from Bulgaria to accompany her to her field of labor. At that time Bulgaria was a country very little known and her subjected people almost unheard of. Much in the beautifully situated city of Constantinople seemed strange and weird but on nearing her destination everything put on a new interest for her.

A night on the choppy waves of the Black Sea brought the travelers to the port of Borgas in Bulgaria. A rude boat received the passengers and a dangerous climb up a ladder some twenty or thirty feet landed them on a platform filled with queer looking people, in dress and manner, who gazed at the foreigners as though they thought them arrivals from some other planet. There is now a fine harbor in the place of that rude landing.

The missionary was hastened through the crowd to the tehan, where a floorless room opened to them, furnitureless, except for a stool and a straw mat in a corner. The curious villagers not satisfied with their inspection of the stranger on the street, filled the door and one paneless window with their eager faces. The first evening amid the jargon of a strange language and an almost sleepless night upon the straw matting will not soon be effaced from her memory. The morning found her seated in a springless, seatless wagon drawn by one horse. Mr. Bond rode upon his own horse and after a long day's ride, they came to a city where they were to spend the night and there she met a mother with her bright-faced daughter who had been in the mission school and received from them a cordial welcome in an unknown tongue. This made the stranger feel at home and gave her a very favorable impression of the down-trodden and oppressed people whom she had come to teach.

The evening of the third day they reached Eski Zaghra, the home of the mission school at that time. The missionary carriage with the

teachers of the school and girls on foot met them outside the city and gave the new teacher a very cordial welcome and a Thanksgiving dinner awaited them in the missionary home--a touch of American life in the far off land.

Before she was aware of it, Esther became fully absorbed in the work of the bereaved school and gradually, with the help of Miss Elenka H. Euonva, the Bulgarian teacher, who had acquired a good knowledge of English, was able to relieve the overburdened missionaries of much of the care of the school.

There were twenty-six or seven Bulgarian girls gathered in Dr. Haskell's house and the accommodations were exceedingly limited. The missionary teacher and the family occupied the second floor and the school-room and a dormitory were on the first; small out-buildings in the yard served for dining-room and kitchen while the cook and remaining girls slept in the dining room and over the horse stable, and the landlady who rented them, lived over the street gate.

Of course there was much sickness in the school and much of the new missionary's time was spent in the care of the sick. The pupils were mostly from the wealthiest and most intelligent families of the city. Bright and eager to learn, they made rapid progress.

It was the first gymnasium, or high school, for girls in Bulgaria though there then (in 1870) were some for boys. The small children of the more intelligent citizens were gathered in the cloisters of the churches and taught to read and write and a little science by the nuns and priests, but there were no schools for young girls and their time was spent in preparation for married life. Turkish officials of the city were present during the examinations and closing exercises of the school and expressed much surprise that girls could learn as well as boys, which fact was clearly shown by their examinations and compositions. It was not thought needful for girls to study mathematics and science as they were unnecessary for housekeeping.

The city of Eskizagora was one of the most advanced in the country in civilization and intelligence, but it was not long before the bigoted and fanatical priests raised bitter opposition to the school and incited the mob to stone the house, breaking windows and endangering life so that the missionaries were obliged to appeal to the Governor for protection. Some lovely Christian characters were developed during the first few years of this school. Six months after my arrival, the school was removed to Samokov, nearer the center of the missionary field. The people here were so ignorant and prejudicial against foreigners that not a Bulgarian would sell a house to the missionaries and they were obliged to buy of the Turks next to the Bulgarian quarter, and then the Bulgarian neighbor sold to them because he would not live next to the despised foreigner, and as the next neighbor was of the same mind it was possible to get all the lots the Mission required.

An addition to the missionary house was hastily built and a school room and temporary meeting house for the first Evangelical church organized here in our field of missionary endeavor. Girls from Macedonia and Bulgarian villages came to our school and gradually the numbers increased until one hundred and twenty were enrolled in all departments.

The school has passed through many vicissitudes and encountered many difficulties during the thirty-eight years I have had the charge of it. Marvelous changes have taken place in the country during the short period of freedom from the Turkish yoke and now it has taken its place among the governments that must be reckoned with, even by the great powers of Europe.

In place of the simple customs of Turkish times the cities, and some of the villages, have introduced European manners and dress and many of the modern improvements, steam and electric roads, automobiles, paved streets, modern hotels and many of the conveniences of modern life are to be found here. This school has had its share in the development of the nation.

The hundred and thirty-five or forty girls who have graduated from the school have had a wide influence as wives of prominent leading men. Those educated here are found in all grades of society and are leaders wherever found. Without doubt the thousand or more girls who have come under the influence of this school have, during the formative period of Bulgarian history, exerted a healthful influence, moral and religious.

A retrospect of the forty years spent in this land endowed with so much of natural beauty and occupied by a progressive people, brings to mind experiences of intense interest. The friendships formed here are of no ordinary type. Miss Maltbie will always be thankful that she was called to be a missionary teacher of the Gospel of Christ in this land of promise."

In Dec. 1910, Miss Maltbie wrote to Mrs. Verrill, that:

"Living has become very much more expensive, taxes exhorbitant and productiveness not increased to a great extent, so there is much suffering and need. The 'Holy Synod' is trying to get a law passed in the National Assembly to crush out Protestantism. One of the Articles is, that there can be no Evangelical Service in any place where there are not seventy-five Protestant families, and all the rest of the law in the same spirit.

We have a very full school and greatly need a new building. We have 112 pupils beside the kindergarten and we have not suitable accommodation for half the number--62 are boarders, the rest are day scholars."

Letters from Miss Martha J. Maltby, cousin of Esther Tapping Maltby.

"In 1908 the cares of the head of the 'School for Girls', (for this is the name by which the school has been known since its removal to Samokov) was resigned by Miss Maltbie but she has retained a position as teacher in the school."

"Cousin Esther is a modest, self-retiring soul and her life has been spent for others. I wish I could write how great her influence has been through this school for girls in Bulgaria, but I am not equal to the task. There has been no 'trumpet blowing' about her work but it shows in the lives of her pupils."

"At the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, in 1893, I met the Bulgarian who had charge of the exhibit of that country there and I gave him my card saying, 'I've a cousin in your country'. Immediately he said: 'Miss Esther Maltbie! I know her. My wife was one of her pupils. She is known all over Bulgaria. In Aug. 1915, she wrote "Owing to ill health Esther Maltbie has returned to the States and is now living with her nephew, Mr. John Maltby Conkling. I have such an interesting account of the parting reception given her in Sophia, Bulgaria, when she left that country in 1912, which should go with her biography." (This was never sent).

About 1915, John Maltby Conkling wrote: "Last evening I listened to Miss Ellen M. Stone tell her experiences with the Turkish bandits. She was an associate with Aunt Esther for a period in Samokov, Bulgaria, and in her lecture paid Aunt Esther a high tribute."

It is rather interesting that the compiler has a snapshot sent by Mr. Charles Farquharson Maltby of Talbot House, Chingford, Essex, (he b. 1857) of himself and wife. The Bulgarian Ambassador, who appears as an elderly gentleman with white hair, beard and mustache, apparently the host with his daughter and husband, and babe of a few months. I should judge the photograph was taken about 1900.

Mr. Maltby descends from Hugh Maltby of Farnley, near Leeds, Yorkshire. Mr. Maltby owns a Bible presented to an ancestor on his marriage, by John Wesley.

(A photograph of Esther Topping Maltbie is on p. 350 of the Maltby-Maltbie Family History).





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