Monday, September 24, 2018

Our thanks,

Bruce's emails thanking those who contributed to our purchase of a very expensive but needed book seem to have bounced. So I am thanking everyone through this blog post. We received a bit more than we needed for the book in question. This allows us to pay for photocopies we have put off buying because of what I see as obscene expense. Our profoundest appreciation to you all.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

We need

We need to quickly raise $40.00 to buy an otherwise very expensive book for our research. If you can, paypal works through Mr. Schulz' email.


We would entertain articles on the prevalence of millennialist views in Scandanavia, the UK, Germany and Switzerland from the late 17th Century to 1900. We cannot pay for submitted and published articles. They must be footnoted to original sources. Some secondary source citation is acceptable. No more than five thousand words. Submissions should be reasonably well-written. If English is a second language for you we will work with you to put it in proper form.

Groups and individuals you mention need not resemble Watch Tower belief, only believe in the return of Christ and an impending millennial reign.

If we cannot use your submission we will send a simple rejection letter. If we like what you send but think it needs additional work, we will give you an opportunity to revise your work.

Send submissions to rmdevienne at yahoo.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Allegheny City

Old photos give us an idea of what living there was like. Here is one showing part of the 4th of July parade, 1907. Not directly related to Russel and the Watch Tower, but informative.

To get the 'flavor' of Allegheny in the Russell era, you may want to visit this:

Charles Taze Russell's Private Secretaries

by Bernhard

(edited by Jerome)

December 1884 – November 1897

When Charles T. Russell became president of Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, on December 15, 1884, his wife Maria Frances became secretary and treasurer. In general, she was his secretary, who proofread his manuscripts and did the usual work of an office assistant. On some chapters in the Millennial Dawn series she co-labored with Charles in arranging them in final form and especially so for volume IV, which consisted largely of quotations from newspaper clippings which they had selected for some years. In evaluating the true function of Maria, it appears that she acted in the capacity of special assistant to Charles as his loyal wife. She was studious, college trained, and capable in her own right. No doubt Charles utilized her talents to the fullest, not only in secretarial functions, but in acting as organizer and arranger of his manuscript notes.

When Maria separated from Charles in November 1897, he needed another secretary, and this was Ernest C. Henninges.

November 1897 – April 1900

Ernest was born on July 12, 1871 in Cuyahoga (Cleveland) Ohio and died on February 3, 1939 in Victoria, Australia. His father Emil Henninges (1828 – 1892) came from Germany. His mother Kate was born 1840 in Ohio. He had one brother George (born 1858). Ernest’s profession was teaching music in Cleveland at 44 Euclid Avenue.

After he joined the Bible Students he moved to Allegheny in 1891 to work and live in the Bible House. On January 4, 1896, he replaced James Augustus Weimar as a director of the Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society and in May 13, 1898, 6 months after Maria left the Bible House, Ernest succeeded her as secretary-treasurer. Russell trusted him a lot.

In the Bible House also lived Rose Ball, the foster child of Charles T. and Maria Russell. On September 11, 1897, Ernest and Rose were married at Buffalo, Erie, New York, where her parents Richard J. Ball and Elizabeth Ball still lived. 

At the beginning of 1900, Russell planned to send Ernest and Rose Henninges to England to open an office for the Society. So it was clear that another brother needed to become secretary-treasurer, and this was Otto Albert Koetitz on February 12, 1900, and also another brother, Albert E. Williamson, became Russell’s private secretary. Ernest remained a director. 

In April 1900 Ernest and Rose travelled to Liverpool and then to London, where they opened on April 23, the first office outside the United States,  at 131 Gipsy Lane, Forest Gate. They stayed there until November 1, 1901, and then came back to Allegheny. Ernest again became treasurer of the Society on February 12, 1902 and remained such until March 24, 1903. On that date William Van Amburgh became treasurer. In March 1903 Ernest and Rose travelled to Elberfeld (Wuppertal), Germany, and again opened an office for the Society in June 1903. They stayed there until October and then went to Melbourne, Australia, arriving on January 10, 1904.

In 1908 some internal troubles surfaced. James Hezekiah Giesey, Watch Tower vice-president and well-known Pittsburgh architect, along with long time director Simon Osborne Blunden, resigned as Society directors in June. Albert Williamson followed in September. Henninges also resigned as a director in January 1909, and he and his wife left Russell and the Bible Students in the spring of 1909. Henninges founded a new group and journal called “New Covenant Advocate” in Australia and those in America like Giesey, Williamson, along with hymn writer M.L. Mc Phail, formed a similar breakaway group.

 April 1900 – September 1908

Albert Williamson was born on February 13, 1878 in Oneida Township, Haldimand, Balloville, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of James and Elizabeth Bayly (born 1839) and he had a twin brother Frederik William and also a sister Annie. Albert married Hattie (Harriet) Stark (born Allegheny, December 1879) a member of the Bible House family on December 5, 1905. She lived there with her mother Britee C. Stark.  Albert and Harriet had three daughters Dorothy Eleanor (September 9, 1911), Elizabeth K. (1916) and Edith Anna (1920).

He became a member of the Bible House staff in 1899, along with his mother, and later, in 1905, his brother Fred. On February 12, 1900 he became a Watch Tower Society director. He resigned on September 28, 1908. Interesting is that his twin brother Frederick William replaced him as a Society director for one year.

When Ernest C. Henninges travelled to England in April 1900, Albert Edmund Williamson replaced him as Russell‘s private secretary.

The "Crittenden Record, Kentucky“, for February 8, 1907, contained a report about a talk Williamson gave.  Under the heading: THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR AT HAND it explained: “October 1914 is the date set for the end to come. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Alleghany, Penn., through Mr. A. Edmund Williamson, announce the above date to be the beginning of the millennium. Mr. Williamson, who is secretary to Charles T. Russell, head of the society, did not, however, announce that there would be a general conflagration of the earth and an incineration of all the wicked on that date, but rather a "great change.""

Williamson was a very eloquent speaker, but more important was his skill as a stenographer. Russell wrote about him (Souvenir Convention Report from 1908):  "In my publishing office we have ten stenoographers, but only one of them could serve in such an emergency—Mr. Williamson—and he consented to assist also. So far as I know none of these gentlemen expect or have received pay for the service, and only Mr. Williamson even has his expenses provided.“  Also in 1908 Russell wrote that he received about 500 letters every Monday and the rest of the week from 250 to 300 a day. So there was a lot of work for him and his secretary.

Sadly in late 1908 Williamson decided to leave the Bible House, but not only the house, he also split from Russell in early 1909. He died in March 1956, when he lived in Essex, West Orange, New Jersey.

 September 1908 – 1914 (?)

Much of Robison‘s history comes from Robison’s obituary in the Concordant Version magazine “Unsearchable Riches“ in 1932, because he was to leave association with the IBSA in 1922. He was born on February 3, 1885 in Greenwood, Indiana and died April 17, 1932 in Manhattan, New York. He was the only son of James A. Robison (1859-1949) and Eva J. Whitenack (1862-1955), of Oakland, California. He had two sisters named Bartha B. and May E. It was there that he spent his youth, graduating from high school at the age of fourteen. It was about this time that he affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. He entered Franklin College to continue his education and there further displayed an aptitude for languages in the study of New Testament Greek.

Later he went to Canada and took out a claim in the Rainy River district of Ontario. He resided there about one year, teaching part time and part time employed in the immigration service. He returned to Indiana in 1904 and entered Butler College in Indianapolis, remaining there until the opening of Winona Technical Institute, also in Indianapolis, and enrolled there as a student of lithography that he might be equipped not only for his present need, but to have the knowledge of a trade, for use in the missionary field. It was his purpose to carry the gospel to Japan independently.

With a year's instruction at the John Herrin Art Institute in Indianapolis and some knowledge of chemistry to his credit, he made splendid progress and in less than two years accepted a position as poster artist in one of the largest lithographing houses in the United States, located at Cleveland, Ohio. He became one of their foremen in charge of artists. It was while in this position that he pursued the reading of Pastor Russell's works, having become slightly interested during his sojourn in Canada. During all this time his linguistic talents were being exercised more or less in the attainment of a knowledge of Spanish, French and German, as well as New Testament Greek. After reading Pastor Russell's works, he employed a Japanese friend to translate some of the literature into Japanese, still thinking of the foreign mission field, but later abandoned this to become a home missionary, as a colporteur for Pastor Russell's works.
After about one year in this new field of endeavor, he prepared for secretarial service and was called to the Bible House in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. It was there that he met Miss Almeta Nation, whom he married on March 25, 1909. He became private secretary to Pastor Russell and held that position until after the Society's offices were transferred to Brooklyn, New York, in 1909. As private secretary to Pastor Russell he accompanied him on a trip around the world (December 1911 – March 1912) with a committee sent to investigate foreign missions. Japan was one of the places visited.
On his return, Robison became secretary of the foreign work and he had a good opportunity for pursuing the study of languages. His obituary stated that he could translate twenty-three in all, giving discourses in German, Greek, and English. He made week-end pilgrimages in and about New York City, addressing both public and private gatherings.
Robison was one of four men designated in Russell‘s will to be co-editors of the Watch Tower. Apart from when imprisoned with J F Rutherford and others in 1918-1919, he was one of the Watch Tower’s editorial committee until the spring of 1922 when he resigned and went to Washington, D. C., to accept secular work as a commercial artist in the art department of the Washington Post. He afterwards served the government and later became art director for the American Automobile Association, with headquarters in Washington, D. C. He returned to work in New York in 1931, and died on April 17, 1932.
When the first installment of the literal Bible translation “The Concordant Version” was issued it came to the attention of the Society’s headquarters. As the plates of the Emphatic Diaglott were worn out, they were looking for something to replace it, and Robison was delegated to call on the Concordant Publishing Concern in Los Angeles with a view to placing it on the Society's list of literature. A small booklet of the Concordant translation of Revelation was advertised in the Watch Tower for June 15, 1920, but then was dropped in early 1921.
The contact with the Concordant version group, who were Universalists, led to Robison leaving association with the IBSA, resigning from the Watch Tower editorial committee and as an elder of the New York congregation. He spent the rest of the 1920s supporting the Concordant cause and trying to attract his former IBSA associates to it. (For a fuller description of what happened and how the Watch Tower Society dealt with it, use the search facility to see an old article on this blog: The Watchtower and Universalism – the Almont Connection.)

 1914 (?) – October 1916

Menta Sturgeon was born 1866/67 in Missouri and died on April 17, 1935. He married Florence A. (born 1871 in Massachusetts) in 1888 and they had one son Gordon (born 1899).

Sturgeon graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Southern Baptist Church and studied Greek and Hebrew. In the late 1880s, he worked for the Kansas & Texas Coal Company, and lived at 4001 N. B 'Way, St. Louis, Missouri. In March 1897 the members of his church unanimously appointed him a pastor, a position he assumed until his resignation in 1904. He was reverend of a Baptist Church in the city, the Tower Grove Baptist Church, located at 4320 avenue. However, he left the church after internal dissension.

He came into contact with Russell's teachings in 1894 through a small book handed to him by his physician, but it was only 14 years later that he attended his teaching when he attended readings Biblical records given by the pastor at Arch Street: first as a simple listener, then as the pastor's interlocutor. In the meantime, he preached independently, and then added his own disciples to Russell's group. Finally, he received a letter from the pastor asking him if he could become a lecturer for him, which Sturgeon accepted, and so in 1909 he left the society in which he worked; apparently it was the Blackmer & Post Pipe Company.

He was a member of the Saint Louis Ecclesia. As a pilgrim, from 1909-1914 he visited  central and eastern states of the United States, as well as various provinces of Canada. He was a capable speaker. He came to work at the Watch Tower headquarters around 1910, where he first worked on general supervision and then conducted Bible classes and religious services.

In addition to being Russell's secretary, Sturgeon was also responsible for helping the latter in his medical treatments. He was the last of the Bible Students to see Russell alive. On Russell’s last tour, he had to replace him at times in Los Angeles, and was with him when he died on the train on the return journey to Brooklyn. Sturgeon reported in detail the last days of his life in the Watch Tower publications.

In the split that followed Rutherford’s election as president, Sturgeon supported the four dismissed directors, and was put forward as an alternative choice as president. In the subseqent referendum comparatively few voted for him.

Sturgeon was to leave both the Watch Tower Society and the alternative Bible Student groups, to join Fredrik Robison in supporting the Concordant Publishing Concern. He died on August 17, 1935 and the group’s magazine published an obituary from which some of the above has been taken.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

J. B. Keim

Keim ran as Socialist Labor candidate for New Jersey governor in 1892. Name confusion resulted in his appearing on the ballot as George B. Keim. The confusion was not cleared up until after the election. Once this is discovered, more information about Keim is revealed. Including this ...

A Newspaper 'Cut' of J. B. Keim - 1892.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Temporary Post

Rough draft of a chapter from volume 2. This has been on the blog before in an earlier form. There are mysteries remaining. They may never be solved. If you can add to this please do so. This post will have a limited life due to copyright and publication issues. The usual rules. You may keep a copy for your own use. Do not share it off the blog without our permission. Realize it may change as better information comes our way. You will note a name change from the last version. This is the result of just such an event. We do not need proof reading yet, though if you spot errors, please do note them. This is up for your comments. Please make them.

If you're going to comment Now it the Time. This comes down on Tuesday.

New Workers Enter the Field

            It is impossible to name everyone who showed interest or who became an adherent. Some of the names we encounter are those of Age-to-Come/One Faith believers. Edward Payson Woodward, whom we met in Nelson Barbour: The Millennium’s Forgotten Prophet as chairman of the Worcester Conference and found in sympathy with Barbour, wrote that several of his “personal friends … accepted Mr. Russell as their Leader and spiritual Guide.” He read Millennial Dawn (later Studies in the Scriptures), but rejected it.[1] Many more adherents came from mainline Churches. New workers entered the field almost with the first issue of Zion’s Watch Tower, but we are left with scant documentation. Despite our best and persistent efforts we cannot identify most of them. We have elected to present biographies of early evangelists even though they spill over this book’s nominal 1887 terminus. Our readers will find a mixture of personalities. Some were committed believers for life. Some had passing interest, and some left the work full of bitterness.
            There is no better explanation for varied institutional adherence than Jesus’ parable of the sower. (Matthew 13:18-23.) We do not suggest a prophetic fulfillment among Watch Tower readers. But we feel Jesus’ explanation of varied results among his followers is based on shrewd observation of organizational loyalty. He divided results into several categories: [1] Those who fail to truly understand the message. These will eventually leave. [2] Enthusiastic supporters without a firm commitment. W. H. Cassirer translated Matthew 13:20 as “He is a person without roots, one with whom nothing ever lasts.” These drop out when they meet opposition. [3] Those whose interest is choked out by daily cares or “the seduction which comes from wealth.” [4] Those who understand the organizational message and are firmly convinced by it.

The Buffalo, New York, Evening News
February 22, 1898.
Brother and Sister McCormack

            Apparently well-known to Watch Tower readers, the McCormacks are mentioned once. In July 1882 Russell noted that they were moving to Chicago:

The Chicago friends will be glad to know that Bro. McCormack is about to remove there. Chicago is a good field, and our Brother and his wife remove there in the hope of being used by the Master for the blessing of the household of faith, by disseminating the truth. When he calls on you, receive him well – he is a brother in Christ. Let meetings be commenced at once, and the Lord bless you.[2]

            The closest we have to a firm identity is an inscription on the inside cover of Food for Thinking Christians hard bound together with Tabernacle Teachings and gifted from Sunderlin to a G. L. McCormack.
          The remainder of this post has been deleted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

We need a copy of this ....

The Apocalyptic Interpretation of History of American Premillennial Groups
Ludwigson, Carl 1944

If you have this, please send us a scan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

We need more and better biographical detail for this man

Garfield, Kansas
Thursday, October 23, 1924

Don E. Aldrich, Sr. was born near Reading, Mich., September 15, 1852, died October 15, 1924, aged 72 years and one month of heart trouble.

The deceased was left an orphan at 8 years of age and continued his residence in his native state till 15 years old when he came to Iowa, where he made his home with an elder brother. From Iowa, he went to North Dakota where he stayed two years. From this state, he went to Salina, Kans., where, after remaining till 21, he filed upon a homestead in Smith county, at Smith Center. He then went to Provinceville, Nebraska, to marry Alice Williamson. They were married September 12, 1875, and returned with her to his homestead at Smith county, which was seventy-five miles from a railroad. And this was the beginning of a home in frontier life, as it was the day of the Indian and buffalo. At this home, his four children were born. He moved to Montgomery county, Mo. in 1882, remaining there about twenty-one years. His family home near Garfield, Kans., covers a lapse of twenty years. He joined the Free Will Baptist church at fifteen and later went into the Presbyterian church, which his wife and four children joined. In 1874, his attention was called to Pastor Russell's work on the Bible and he has since that date been an ardent advocate of these doctrines. His life has been that of a humble, loyal disciple of Christ. He was of a retiring disposition having little to do with society of any kind. His love and labor being given to his home and study, although his warmest hospitality was nevertheless extended to all who entered his home.

His funeral services were conducted in the Garfield Congregational church by E.R. Williams of Buffalo, Okla., an International Bible student, and the remains were laid to rest in Garfield cemetery.

Those who mourn his loss are his wife and sister and four children. The children are: Clara E. McAdams, Lewis, Kans.; Nell V. Aldrich, Neosho, Mo.; Chas. J. Aldrich, Garfield, Kan.; Don E. Aldrich, Garfield, Kan.; his sister, Mrs. Morris, Howell, Mich.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Among those reading the blog today

Tuxedo Park, New York, United States
Watchtower Bible And Tract Society Of New York ( Label Visitor
Search Referral: (Keywords Unavailable) 
Visit Page: Watch Tower History: Adolphe Weber

Friday, September 7, 2018

Research issue

Do we know who compiled Poems of Dawn?

yes we do. silly me for forgetting.

Alice Oliver

We need a basic biography of Alice Oliver, the author of the poem Women's Mission in Poems of Dawn. The name may be a pseudonym.The original title was The Rights of Woman.

In addition to the author name noted by Jerome, several sources give the combined name
“The Rights of Woman”
– poem by Miss M E Mitchek B M Kimberly
as the author.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

From Bernard

Dear Rachael!

I will clearify something from an older blog post. It’s from December 29, 2014, “A letter to Maria” which mentioned a sister J. Vero, and in your comment you say this could be the wife of Joseph Vero (Wt 1906).

I researched the Koetitz family and can tell you this: Sister J. Vero is Jennie (Jenny) Vero (see in later Wt, where her full name is found). Jennie Vero married Albert Otto Koetitz. The Joseph Vero mentioned in 1906 was Jennie's brother. So this was not a couple, but brother and sister.

So many thanks for all and nice to see your new article about Storrs.


Sunday, September 2, 2018


From the comment trail it is obvious that some see this as new material. It is in fact an extract from Separate Identity, volume one.

Leaves the Adventist Movement

            The Millerite failure and a reconsideration of Millerite doctrine took Storrs out of the movement in 1844.[1] While many within the Adventist community continued to respect him and consider him a brother in Christ, many more did not. His beliefs were purposely misrepresented and he was reviled in the Second Adventist press. This story has dropped out of most Adventist histories. You will not find it in a recent Advent Christian history. Even some of the older histories such as Johnson’s do not tell it. There is an element of shame attached to it that Adventist historians wish to bury.
            Storrs entered the Millerite movement with reservations, though we are uncertain how loudly he voiced them. He objected to Miller’s cindered-earth doctrine:

We became convinced in the winter of ‘42 and ‘43 that the view, held by Mr. Miller and his adherents, that this age would close with the conflagration of the globe, and the cutting off of all men not then prepared for immortality, and that the next age would open with the new heaven and the new earth, with none inhabiting it but the immortal ones, was an error; an error, too, calculated to make thinking men, who were governed more by reason than excitement, reject the idea of the speedy advent of Christ, altogether. They saw that much remained to be fulfilled on this earth, and that if the conflagration of the globe was to take place at the second advent of Christ that event could not be near.[2]

            Storrs raised this objection by February or March 1843, though we do not know how widely he voiced it. He preached in Philadelphia in the spring of 1843. Thousands heard him and received a specially prepared edition of Six Sermons. This was one of his first opportunities to voice his objections to Millerite theology. If he did so, we cannot find a record of it. After preaching in Cincinnati for several months (from the Fall of 1843 into the Spring of 1844), he returned to Philadelphia for a brief visit in December 1843. Storrs message was well received. He wrote to the editor of The Western Midnight Cry describing the enduring interest there:

The work there is taking a new start; about 30 were forward for prayers last Sabbath evening – some of them found peace in believing. In this city (Philadelphia) I preached a week ago last Sabbath eve, to about three thousand deeply interested hearers, and the cause here is evidently rising higher and higher – no dying away. … I believe the Lord is at the door, and we shall not have to wait long. Tell the brethren and sisters, to be strong and fear not, for our God will come, and come quickly.[3]

Leaving Philadelphia he returned to the Midwest, evangelizing in parts of Indiana. He was in Philadelphia again in November 1844 with the Seventh-Month message but with Literalist rather than Adventist beliefs. He remained there until 1852.[4]
            The sources of Storrs’ doctrine, who influenced whom, and many of the details of doctrinal shifts are issues for someone else’s research. They have little bearing on Zion’s Watch Tower’s theology. However, we do know some things. Charles Fitch started teaching “probation for the heathen after the Advent.” According to Lewis Gunn, at least by October 1844, some of the Philadelphia Adventists had adopted Storrs’ views. Gunn believed that “many of the Jews will be miraculously converted, and hail His appearing with the exclamation, ‘blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.’” They had, wrote Gunn, “changed from their former belief, and differed entirely from Mr. Miller, and the great body of advent believers in this country – but agreeing with the Literalists.”[5]
            Storrs elaborated at length on his doctrine as it was in 1844 and as it, with some modifications, remained until his death. His Literalism served as a growing wedge between him and the Adventist community:

We have since (1843) advocated the doctrine that the advent of Christ as King … is an event nigh at hand – that it will be ushered in with a great and terrible destruction of his enemies, especially among those who have heard the gospel and rejected it; but that there will be “left of the nations,” in the flesh, who will become subjects of the government of Christ and his immortal saints, who shall then rule the nations on this earth, having the seat of empire in Jerusalem, and on mount Zion, from whence “the law shall go forth” to all “left of the nations.” That under this administration “justice and judgment would be executed in the earth,” and “the whole earth be filled with the glory of God,” according to his own oath and promise …. That this period, or age, of the personal reign of Christ … on this earth, is the true millennium, which may be a thousand years; or possibly a much longer period …. That period to close with the final resurrection, judgment, and execution of the judgment on all men: at which time the age of the new heaven and new earth would be ushered in. … For holding such views we have been renounced, shunned, and avoided by a large part of the adherents of Mr. Miller’s theory, who call themselves “Adventists.”[6]

            Undeniably, Storrs was one of the leading lights in Philadelphia. Massive crowds gathered outside the Millerite chapel to hear him and others. Every event was wildly exaggerated by the press. Someone was reported to have stolen money from the Millerite treasury. This was false. Children were said to have frozen to death. This was false. The Philadelphia Ledger, appealing to its barely-literate readership, described the Millerite gatherings with scorn, ridicule, and exaggeration.[7] The Philadelphia Evening Chronicle reported:

Portions of the population of all the large eastern cities in this country, have been more or less, the victims of a singular and fantastical delusion. They call themselves Millerites, and implicitly believed the delirious and impious ravings of one Miller, who had prophesied that the second advent would certainly occur on the twenty-third instant, when this fair globe would certainly be destroyed by conflagration! Here, in Baltimore, and in Boston, the civil authorities have been compelled to close their churches by force, in consequence of hundreds of them having assembled, and thrown the neighbourhood into wild alarm by their yelling and howling cries and lamentations. On the evening of the twenty-second instant, many hundreds of these crazy people repaired to camps near this city, attired themselves in long white cotton dresses, which they called their “ascension robes,” and were seen wandering through the woods and on the banks of the rivers by moonlight, like sheeted ghosts. They left their business and their families, and many children would have perished, had it not been for the kindness of their fellow citizens. For days this flame of dangerous superstition and enthusiasm spread like wild-fire. There was no stopping it. In two or three instances the victims anticipated the end of the world by suicide: one named Culp, threw himself into the cataract of Niagara; and now that the day has passed over, many are found to be (incurably perhaps) delirious. Such scenes … have alluded to have not probably occurred for centuries, and I hope that centuries will again roll away, before such sorry evidences of the weakness of human nature, and the distress which invariably attends them, will harrow up the feelings.[8]

            Almost nothing in this article is true. The Philadelphia and Boston papers were particularly nasty, full of falsehood and ridicule. That they dressed themselves in ascension robes and similar claims were all false. Jane Marsh Parker, Joseph Marsh’s daughter, took pains to refute the Ascension Robes slander. J. V. Himes did as well.[9] Some refutation of the most scandalously false reports was made in the Millerite press, but others wanted to make plain that those in Philadelphia were not “true” Millerites. Lewis Gunn wrote to the Philadelphia papers blaming the whole thing on Storrs and others who had adopted Literalist views:

Some … were not looking for the destruction of the earth, nor for its complete physical renovation, at the present time; they looked for the introduction of the millennium by the personal coming of Christ to the earth; they think this will be the commencement of the promised restitution of all things, to be carried forward until all things shall be made new; they think that probation will close to those who have heard the gospel, but not so with the heathen and all those who have not heard of his fame; they think it will be the beginning of a new dispensation to the heathen, during which it will be emphatically true that the leaves of the tree of life will be for the healing of the nations. These were the published views of Geo. Storrs. … In these views they differed entirely from Mr. Miller and the great body of Advent believers in this country, but agreeing with the Literalists of England (Millennarians) …[10]

By 1845 Storrs “embraced the full Literalist doctrine.” Enoch Jacobs, editor of The Day Star (Cincinnati) wrote: “He has finally gone off into Judaism,” Storrs made the issue clear in 1849, writing that it was “true that we were drawn into Mr. Miller’s theory for a time, but renounced all his peculiarities more than four years ago, and some of them more than five years since; and have had no connection with his peculiar view for more than four years past.” He noted that Millerite “leaders … are among our opponents.”[11]  Sometime in late May or early June 1849, two “brethren” wrote to Storrs objecting to his comments about Millerite opposition to his work. They defined themselves as Millerites: “We are what the world, the church, and Br. Storrs calls Millerites. Why are we this? Is it not because we believe with Br. Miller that the Lord is soon coming?” Storrs replied that they had misapprehended the original article, but he also suggested that their definition of Millerite Adventism was wrong:

Whatever the “church” or ‘the world’ may understand by Millerism, I understand it to have three peculiarities, and nothing more: viz. “Definite time for the advent,” …. That view I gave up in the winter of ’44 and ’45; and time has since demonstrated that I was right in so doing. The two other peculiarities of Millerism I gave up, one in the month of Feb. ’44, and the other in June ’45. The three may be summed up thus, 1. “Definite time for the advent, not to go beyond ’47.” 2, “No return of the literal posterity of Jacob to the land wherein their fathers have dwelt.” 3, “The earth all to be melted at the time of the advent, and none of its inhabitants left upon it.”

These three points constitute the whole of what I call Millerism. … The second personal advent of Christ – that advent premillennial – nigh, even at the door – the kingdom of God on earth, or the earth the inheritance of the saints – the earth renewed, Paradise restored, and all those kindred doctrines relating to the kingdom of God, are no part nor parcel of Millerism: They had a distinct existence from his theory, and before his views were published to the world. The fact that some who embraced his theory had no knowledge that these other points had been published, by English Literalists, years before they heard from Mr. Miller, does not make them really any part of his peculiarities: they are not, and never were, any of his peculiar views. … The three points I have named are all that constitutes the peculiarities of Millerism.

The leaders in his theory did not like to retain the name of Millerites after 1843-4 passed by, though they gloried in being called so in those years. No sooner did the time pass away, and they commenced the work of organizing churches, than they assumed the name of Adventists; thus showing they were unwilling to go forward under their former one, and so assumed that which is equally appropriate to all believers in the speedy return of Christ and his personal reign on earth, of whom there are many who never were Millerites. In assuming the name Adventists they wronged this latter class of believers; who thus became, in the public mind, identified with them; and they were as really a sect as any other. Why should they have left the name Millerite, by which they were every where known, to assume another without having given up one of Mr. Miller’s peculiarities? Was it to cover their errors without “confession?” It certainly has that appearance, whatever might have been their design.[12]

Storrs pointed back to Miller’s letter as printed in Voice of Truth, saying that Miller and his associates, unable to fault his reasoning, faulted him. Attacks from Millerite Adventists continued throughout Storrs’ career. Apollos Hale and Sylvester Bliss issued a list of ten key doctrines that Storrs was supposed to have abandoned. It was largely and knowingly false. Storrs pointed out the misrepresentation, showing that Hale and Bliss did in fact know the truth of the matter. He called them “reckless in a degree and to an extent that must fill every honest mind with disgust who knows the facts.” He said that their attack “bears on the face of it the evidence of design to stigmatise [sic] us willfully.Storrs set what he’d actually written side by side with Hale and Bliss’s contrivances, pointing out that they had the original article by Storrs at hand. Their behavior was inexcusable: “This effort to blast our character and destroy our influence is not the first that has issued from the same quarter, which has been borne in silence; and it gives us pain to feel that duty now calls us to rebuke openly those who have sinned in this matter. We have long time holden our peace while a stream of slander has been poured over the land concerning us from men who, if their professions could be relied upon, are as truly the representatives of Jesus Christ as the Pope is of St. Peter. But God will judge between us.”[13]
            James White republished Storrs’ 1843 article on the return of the Jews in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, failing to note that it was not his current belief. “When an association, or individuals publish sentiments which the author has publicly renounced – and give no notice of the renunciation – all men, who have knowledge of the facts must pronounce it an act of dishonesty,” Storrs wrote. White replied in the May 12, 1853, issue of The Review and Herald:

We much regret the date of this discourse was not given. We also regret that we did not state that George Storrs had renounced a portion, at least, of the truth contained in that discourse; for we never had the least desire to conceal this fact. Our object in publishing it was for the truth it contains …

We also much regret that the Editor of the Examiner should so rashly charge us with “dishonesty,” and then withhold from us his paper containing this charge. Had it not been for the kindness of a brother in Massachusetts … we might have been ignorant of the charge to this day.

Whether the course pursued by the Examiner is, or is not, in accordance with the gospel of Christ, we now leave the sincere to judge.[14]

            Our historians’ sympathies rest entirely with Storrs. The Whites would gather well-deserved accusations of plagiarism and misrepresentation throughout their careers. White’s sniffing complaint that Storrs hadn’t sent them the issue of Bible Examiner containing his exposure of the Review and Herald’s dishonesty was a bit of misdirection. It blamed the wronged party for being wronged. Storrs was kinder than we are, “cheerfully” forgiving them upon receipt of the apology.

The 1847 Speculation and Other Delusions

            Millerites were inveterate date setters. If Jesus didn’t come in 1843, then it was 1844 or 1845 or 1847. The 1847 movement was multi-faceted and complex, but most of its history is not relevant to this discussion. Storrs reaction to it is.
As with most Adventist speculations, the 1847 date was not original to them. William W. Pym (1793-1852), a British expositor, suggested that the 2300 days and the seventy weeks ended in 1847. His Word of Warning drew mention in early Millerite periodicals.[15] Joseph Wolf, German Jew turned Christian missionary, also focused on that date as early as 1832.[16] John Hooper, an Irvingite, suggested that the 2300 days would end in 1847 in his book The Doctrine of the Second Advent Briefly Stated. First published in England in 1830, an American edition was published in 1845. In 1844 The Western Midnight Cry!!! regularly advertised a tract by Hooper entitled The Present Crisis. Johann Richter, a German expositor, ended several prophetic periods in 1847. Bishop Wilson, Ferre, and others – none of them Adventists, though Adventists were willing enough to borrow from them without credit – contributed to the discussion.
J. V. Himes took the 1847 message to England, drawing heavily from Campbellite churches, the source of most Millerite interest in the United Kingdom.  Himes and his British associates pointed to Alexander Campbell’s assertion that 1847 would mark the “cleansing of the temple,” drawing a heated response from the editor of The Christian Messenger and Family Magazine: “Campbell in his debate with Robert Owen teaches no such doctrine as they impute to him. It is true, he refers to the cleansing of the sanctuary about the year 1847, but his meaning of that event is very different from the one they attach to it.”[17] This bit of obfuscation did not serve the British Campbellites well.
In the United States new charts were made “showing wherein mistakes had been made in calculations, and confidently predicting the end of the world about” 1847.[18] Storrs raised a warning voice, repeating the objections to time-speculations he made in 1845. He appealed for good sense, writing in the August 1846, Examiner:

Nearly all the exhortations of professed “Adventists,” to saints and sinners, to serve God, are based upon this one thing – “Do it, for the Lord is coming – You will perish then if you do not serve him.”

Such exhortations are proper enough in their place: but to make them the burden of our message … in my judgment is nothing more than an appeal to the selfishness of the human heart. It seems to say – If the Lord was not coming so soon, you need not be so particular to serve him!

Every child of man on earth is under just as much obligation to serve God, with all his heart, if Christ was not coming these hundred years, as if he was coming to-day. The obligation to serve God lies much higher than the mere fact that the day is most over. … The reaction that will take place if ’46 and ’47 pass by as they may, without witnessing the advent, will be disastrous beyond all conception. Experience proves this – I mean the experience of ’43 and ’44. Where are the great majority of those now who professedly were “aroused to serve God” as they ought by the cry of time for the Lord’s coming? … Scarcely one in ten of them are now found walking so as to honor their Christian profession. … They were stimulated by wrong motives. Their selfishness was the principal thing appealed to and excited. …

For what are Christ’s disciples left in this world? Is it just to get safe out of it? Or, is it to glorify God and the Lamb upon earth? … Are they under any more obligation to do it if their Lord is to return to-day than if he was not coming for a hundred years?[19]

Other predictions came and went, and Second Adventist publications sniped at Storrs for rejecting them. Storrs noted that “one objection to the Examiner is that we do not say enough” about the Second Advent of Christ. “We firmly believe,” he wrote, “that even is now ‘nigh, even at the door;’ but we have no idea of attempting to find … an exact day or year … unless events future should shed more light on prophecy and prophetic numbers than has ever yet been elicited.” He pointed to the inconsistent, irrational thought found in the leading Millerite journals and publications, pointing specifically to Apollos Hale who was caught up in the 1847 nonsense. He quoted Hale as writing: “Those who are brought to view as the subjects of the wrath of God at the Second Advent are those who reject the testimony of God on the time of that event.”[20] Storrs observed that “the time of this leader has all failed; but his developments since have painfully shown that his uncharitableness, and that of his associates, has not failed. We see that these leaders have been mistaken both in time and in events; and yet they have severely denounced us for ‘not following’ them.”[21] Storrs reprinted his warning to serve God because it is the right thing to do when the 1854 fever, the founding event behind the Advent Christian Association, spread among Adventists.

[1]           J. Gordon Melton is in error when he suggests that Storrs was ever a member of the Advent Christian Church. (Encyclopedia of American Religions, page 615.)
[2]           G. Storrs: The Age to Come, Bible Examiner, May 1850, page 74.
[3]           Letter from George Storrs dated November 29, 1843, found in The Western Midnight Cry, December 9, 1843, page 5. Storrs residence in Brooklyn was at 62 Hicks Street. The house still exists. Cornelia Davenport, Alexander Russell’s daughter and C. T. Russell’s first cousin, was his neighbor living at 74 Hicks.
[4]           Storrs’ itinerary is given in Six Sermons, 1856 revised edition, page 14, 17.
[5]           Julia Neuffer: The Gathering of Israel: A Historical Study of Early Writings, Digital Edition, page 4.
[6]           G. Storrs: The Age to Come, Bible Examiner, May 1850, page 74.
[7]           See A. S. Braham: The Philadelphia Press and the Millerites, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, April 1954, page 189ff.
[8]           As reprinted in The Christian Messenger and Reformer, December 1844, page 205. Christian Messenger was published in London, England.
[9]           J. M. Parker: Did the Millerites Have Ascension Robes? The Outlook: A Family Magazine, October 15, 1894, page 582-583.
[10]          Wellcome, op. cit, page 382.
[11]          G. Storrs: Tour East with Various Observations, Bible Examiner, May 1849, page 73.
[12]          G. Storrs: Misapprehension Corrected, Bible Examiner, July 1849, page 106.
[13]          G. Storrs: Misrepresentations Corrected, Bible Examiner, August 1851, pages 127-128.
[14]          J. White: Hear Us; Then Judge, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 12, 1853, page 208.
[15]          An American edition was published in 1839 and was mentioned in the December 15, 1840, issue of Signs of the Times.
[16]          L. E. Froom: Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Volume 3, page 473.
[17]          James Wallis: The Christian Messenger and Family Magazine, August 1846, page 366.
[18]          Daniel McDonald, A Twentieth Century History of Marshall County, Indiana, Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1908, page 271.
[19]          G. Storrs: Why Serve the Lord? as reprinted in the February 15, 1854, Bible Examiner, page 59.
[20]          A. Hale: Harmony of Prophetic Chronology, and Time of the Advent to be Known, J. V. Himes, 1845.
[21]          G. Storrs: The Second Advent of Christ, Bible Examiner, June 1849, pages 89-90.