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The New York Times
New York, New York
Wednesday, September 29, 1899


400 Persons Killed at Darjeeling
Many Drowned on the Plains
Great Havoc at Kurseong.

CALCUTTA, Sept. 28. - Lieut. Gov. Sir John WOODBURN announced to the Council yesterday that 400 persons lost their lives through the floods at Darjeeling, capital of the district of that name, in addition to those drowned on the plains.

Great havoc has been caused at Kurseong. The Margaretschope estate lost 100 acres and the Mealand factory was destroyed. Some coolies were buried in the ruins of the manager's house, which was partly destroyed. The Avongrove estate lost thirty acres and 4,000 tea bushes. The coolie lines were swept away and many persons were killed, but the exact number is not known. A factory was also destroyed at this place.

A hug landslip below St. Mary's Seminary destroyed the railroad bridge and completely blocked the road. A breach thirty yards wide has been made and the rails are hanging in the air. It is thought the break cannot be repaired within thirty days.

Telegraphic communication between Calcutta and Darjeeling has been re-established, but railroad traffic beyond Kurseong is not likely to be resumed for a long time. The road is impassable for horses and travelers are only able to journey on foot and with much difficulty.

The Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
October 2, 1899, Page 8


Miss C. J[osephine]. STAHL, Methodist missionary at Darjeeling, India, an Iowa gal and former student at the Northwestern University, Evanston, is the heroine of Darjeeling, where, as reported by cable, 400 lives were lost in the recent floods. Miss STAHL is a teacher in the Lela Villa branch of the Calcutta Girl's School. The flood brought on a landslide which left the building in momentiary danger of collapse. Already nearly exhausted from her efforts in behalf of the flood sufferers, Miss STAHL left the building at the head of a long line of children and after a hard an perilous climb, succeeded in gathering her charges to a place of safety. Miss STAHL's courage saved her pupils from the death which overtook others at Lela Villa. Miss STAHL's home is at Mount Ayr, Ia., and is is one of four women representing Ringgold County Methodism in the missionary field. Miss STAHL is a member of one of the prominent pioneer families of the Iowa county. She was born about thirty-eight years ago, near the present Town of Delphos where her father, Michael STALL, still lives. Miss STAHL was for some yearsa teacher in the schools of her home county and later inthe city schools of Corning. Her college education was began at Simpson College, Indianola Ia., and graduated at the Northwestern University, Evanston [Illinois]. For twenty years she was an active helper in revivals. She went to India under the auspices of the Northwestern branch of the Women's Foreign Missionary society of the Methodist Church. She sailed from new York in the fall of 1896, and for about six years was a teacher in the Calcutta Girls' School. Within the last year she was put in charge of the school at Darjeeling. One sister, Miss Martha STHAL, is professor of Latin in Simpson College, and a brother, William STAHL, is an attorney with offices in the [illegible] building, Chicago.

C. Josephine STAHL wrote, "After the Darjeeling disaster, when the LEE children and four others from the school lost their lives in a landslide, there was a question whether the school should not be closed. After much prayer and consideration by the authorities in India, it was decided to continue it. Miss KNOWLES, who was in America at the time, returned with reinforcements for the staff. A site was purchased and the school entered upon a new phase of its history. The site contained two substantial dwelling houses, and a new building of moderate size was erected for class rooms. As the number of pupils has increased, additional room has been obtained by renting adjoining houses. This is obviously an unsatisfactory arrangement for a girls' school. The buildings originally on the site are old and in constant need of repairs.

"Notwithstanding the handicap of a lack of proper buildings, however, Queen's Hill has grown in favor with the community and with the local government, and the number of pupils has increased until it is almost entirely self-supporting. With proper buildings it would at once become entirely so."

Woman's Missionary Friend: Vol. 49 - 50. Pp. 349-51. Methodist Episcopal Church: Women's Foreign Missionary Society. 1917.

Mission India - 2007 Vol. 1, Issue 2, Page 1
April, 2007

100 years from now - 100 years ago

What are you doing today that will matter 100 years from now? In 1892 Josephine STAHL journeyed from rural Iowa via trains, ships, ox cart, and foot to join a Methodist mission in Calcutta and then on to a school in Darjeeling, India.She taught there until 1930 when she returned to Iowa where she died in 1934. I had the honor of accompanying her great-greatgrand niece, Susan EASON, as we visited the Mount Hermon School. WOW!! Our team had completed a great week of evangelism in the villages around Siliguri. We took a side trip to Darjeeling. For most of the team it was a scenic trip on mountain roads but, for Susan EASON, it was also an answer to a dream. Could she possibly find the school her greatgreat-grand aunt (Aunt Josie) had been instrumental in establishing? The team visited a school on the original site, Queens Hill School but, the headmaster said the original school by that name had relocated in the 1920's and was renamed Mount Hermon. Its location is a few miles away. Leaving the team under the care of Temjen and with the assistance of our host, Chandan, we (Chandan, Susan, and Gary) took a taxi to the school. Susan had many old photos of the school which were plicated with our cameras. It was Good Friday so the school was closed (the good news is it is still a Christian school after more that 100 years of service), but we did meet the faculty member who was there to look after the students who had not returned home. We received a tour of the main building and looked around. This story helps placed our short term trip in a little different perspective; our 15+ hour airplane ride, staying in a hotel with irregular hot showers, and the rest compared to the effort and commitment of those who laid the foundation. Praise God for the Aunt Josie’s and the 1000s of other Christian missionaries who went before us to prepare the landscape and plant the seeds we were able to harvest. 100 years from now, if the Lord doesn’t return sooner, our decedents can look in on the work we have been involved in, thank you for also being involved in this work.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2009

The Blue and Gold, Pages 15-16


To express on paper an appreciation of the work of our beloved principal is a pleasant task - but difficult. Miss STAHL is retiring and will make her home in America, but she will continue to live here in India, and espcially in Queen's Hill School.

Miss STAHL has been a missionary in India and Burma for thirty-six years, and principal of Queen's Hill for sixteen years. She has given her best years of service working and praying over this school, and has seen it grow from the Arcadia of 1899 with its thirty-seven pupils to the present Queen's Hill with over two hundred boys and girls. She has left the mark of her influence upon hundreds of girls who have known and loved her. To be a genuine Queen's Hill pupil or teacher is to have absorbed not a l ittle of Miss STAHL'S charming spirit.

To do justice in words to the character of our principal would require the inspiration of the Muses. She has done everything and has done t well. But to help old pupils and teachers recall the one we all love, let us reminisce a bit: --

What pupil can forget Miss STAHL'S keen sense of justice combined with a sense of humour? Do you remember when you were reported to her and you saw the twinkle in her eye, which foretold a just punishment? A little girl became rather exasperating and was told: "If you aren't good, I'll send you to Miss STAHL." Little Miss Four-Year Old replied: "I don't care. Miss STAHL likes me."

Yes, Miss STAHL loves her girls (and punishes in suit [of] the offense). It is not an uncommon sight to see the little ones hanging on her or following her to show a broken doll and get a word of sympathy. And pupils of any age do no quake with fear when they are told that Miss STAHL wants to see them. She is more apt to aske them if they are feeling well and to give them some medicine than to punish them.

Miss STAHL has an abundance of sympathy for her girls. One teacher remarked: "I'd rather be a pupil under Miss STAHL than a teacher, because she is always trying to make her pupils happy." The number of her pupils who appil for posts as teachers under her is proof of her remarkable spirit. After several rainy, dismal days, it is Miss STAHL who suggests a holiday "because it is a fine day and we do not know when we'll have another." Or she allows a juggler to do his tricks to amuse the pupils, who have not been out; or she plans a hike and picnic lunch. On these occasions, Miss STAHL leads the way, and when the others are so tired they are ready to drop, she is still alert and energetic. As she informed a new teacher who was being solicitous of her welfare, "you will have to learn, my dear, that my gray hairs do not mean anything." She is as young as the youngest and as full of fun.

Do you remember Miss STAHL'S illustrated lectures after morning prayers? Sometimes she would speak of proper enunciation, sometimes of carriage; on relaxing; how to sing, or, act, or speak; and annually she has taught the pupils how to receive their prizes.

What memories are awakened by the announcement: "Has any one seen my fountain pen?"

One pupil says: "Miss STAHL is not like other principals, who bury themselves in their offices, and whom pupils never see unless they are to be punished. She knows what every pupil is doing in shcool, and often she knows our parents and this helps her to understand us."

To her staff, Miss STAHL has always been loyal and kind. When the school was moved to Mt. Hermon, she sympathized with them because they were so far from town and she did all she could to make their lives pleasant and happy. If a teacher has some new ideas, Miss STAHL says, "try them out." No teacher can have too much enthusiasm for her work. Miss STAHL appreciates their suggestions and their effords, and tries to mold the staff into a happy, united family. When a difficult situation arises, it is handled tactfully, and ironed out as only she can do it.

Some call our principal an autocrat, but she is a most loveable, charming autocrat. What loyal daughter of Queen's Hill was not proud to see her meet the queen of the Belgians so gracefully? And with what natural ease she meets and converses with those who are holding the highest positions in the city or state.

She is always mistress of any situation and seemingly at ease with those of high or low estate.

When pupils talk of Miss STAHL'S leaving Queen's Hill, they mingle laughter with tears, for she has found her way into the hearts of the children, and has won the confidence and respect of parents and patrons by her unfaltering faithfulness to what is best for the pupils and her beloved Queen's Hill.

L. K. H.

Submission by Mike Avitt, April of 2011

Josephine STAHL was born December 2, 1860, and died October 8, 1934.
Interment was at Bethel Cemetery, Diagonal, Ringgold County, Iowa.
"They rest from their labors and their works do follow them."

  • Mary B. (TALLEY) and Michael STAHL Biography

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