Albert Delmont Jones
Albert Delmont Jones[i] is the most frustrating to research of all of the principal contributors to Zion’s Watch Tower. Almost nothing is known of his life. The 1880 Census gives his age as 26, making him about two years younger than Russell. His birth place is listed as Pennsylvania, and his residence was in Pittsburgh’s 32nd Ward, Precinct two. He is listed as a married “store keeper” with a one year old daughter.
Jones was Russell’s employee, and it was through this connection that Jones began attending the Allegheny Congregation and reading The Herald of the Morning. Russell converted Jones about 1878: “I was much encouraged by the accession [sic] of Mr. A. D. Jones, then a clerk in my employ in Pittsburgh--a young man of activity and promise, who soon developed into an active and appreciated co-laborer in the harvest work”[ii]
Jones name appears as a monetary contributor in a few issues of The Herald of the Morning. When the Atonement controversy erupted in 1878, he wrote to Barbour trying to persuade him to abandon his new views.[iii] Jones came to brief prominence after Zion’s Watch Tower was started and would contribute articles to it. In 1881 he started a new magazine with Russell’s blessings.
Jones moved to New York to pursue business interests and be closer to some of the larger groups of Zion’s Watch Tower readers. By 1885 he was connected with the Hoosac Tunnel and Saratoga Railroad and is listed as one of the directors.[iv]
One gets the impression that A. D. Jones was less than stable. Certainly Russell showed considerable restraint in 1890 when explaining his relationship with Jones, focusing only on doctrinal differences. The most Russell said about Jones’ deflection was, “Mr. Jones ran well for a time, but ambition or something eventually worked utter shipwreck of his faith, and left us a painful illustration of the wisdom of the Apostle's words: ‘My brethren, be not many of you teachers, knowing that we shall have the severer judgment.’” [v]
Jones appropriated money for personal use that came from bonds used by Russell to back a loan to J. Blakeley Creighton who was the son of the famous admiral of the same name. The case reached the New York Supreme Court in 1891, and the record reports that the bonds were “made and endorsed to replace bonds and stock delivered to Charles T. Russell, of Pittsburgh, upon what was represented to be a loan of that sum of money obtained from him for a company in which the defendant was the owner of both stock and mortgage bonds. The notes were delivered to A. D. Jones, the treasurer of the company, to be used for that object. But he used no more than $6,000 in amount in that matter. The residue he misappropriated and used for his own benefit.”[vi]
The total amount of the bonds was $16,500.00. I can find no record of a criminal case against Jones or a record of what use he made of the money. An article in The New York Times adds very little:
Among the decisions handed down by the General Term of the Supreme Court yesterday were three in favor of J. Blakeley Creighton, who killed himself Wednesday night. Suits had been brought against Creighton, growing out of his unfortunate business transactions, by Archibald C. Haynes and Thomas Vernon, to recover $8000, representing promissory notes made and indorsed by Creighton and delivered to A. D. Jones to be delivered by him to Charles T. Russell of Pittsburgh, to replace bonds and stock delivered to Russell upon what was represented to be a loan for about $16,000. …
It appears that Jones did not use more than $6,000 of the promissory notes for the purpose for which they were delivered to him but misappropriated the remainder. [vii]
In 1914 Jones is back in Pittsburgh and listed as a notary public.[viii] Jones wrote at least one pamphlet on protectionist issues. It is undated but published about 1888. The title is Protection in America: A Speech by A. Delmont Jones, an Independent Protectionist. The full story of Russell and A. D. Jones’ separation is best told later.
[i] His middle name is given in: W. S. Gibbons, editor: New York State Reporter, Albany, New York, 1890, Volume 33, page 822.
[ii] Russell, C. T.: Harvest Gatherings and Siftings, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1890, page 4.
[iii] A snippet of his letter is quoted by Barbour: Questions and Answers, The Herald of the Morning, June 1879, page 102.
[iv] Second Annual Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State of New York, Albany, 1885, Volume 2, Page 259.
[v] Russell, C. T.: Harvest Gatherings and Siftings, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1890, page 4.
[vi] Archibald C. Haynes, Respondent v. J. Blakeley Creighton, Appellant, Reports of Cases Heard and Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Marcus T. Hun, Reporter, Volume 65, 1891, (1904 edition), page 141.
[vii] In the Dead Man’s Favor, The New York Times, October 25, 1890.
[viii] Annual Report of the State Treasurer of the Finances of the Commonwealth for the Fiscal Year ending November 30, 1913, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1914, page 247.