5. In All the Earth
The United Kingdom was the target of the first concentrated international missionary activity. It is impossible to gage interest in Britain before the publication of Food for Thinking Christians. Previous to its publication the only letters appearing in Zion’s’ Watch Tower were doctrinal, and few names and few or no locations were noted.
There had been some notice of the work in The Rainbow. A British clergyman, Elias H. Tuckett, a Barbourite, and written two articles for Rainbow. There may have been some small residual interest from that.[i] Later the magazine reviewed The Three Words, though somewhat negatively. If that book saw any circulation in Britain, it was very small. There is also some indication that Paton mailed material to his relatives in Scotland, but this seems to have born almost no fruitage.
Russell asked John Corbin Sunderlin and J. J. Bender to travel to the United Kingdom to publish Food for Thinking Christians and to direct a massive circulation campaign. Sunderlin had prior experience as an itinerate photographer and may have been chosen on that basis. Less is known of J. J. Bender. Historians including Watch Tower writers have never profiled him.
There seem to have been two Pittsburgh residents using the name J. J. Bender. One was Jonathan J. Bender, a Homeopathic Physician. He was Treasurer of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the Cumberland Valley and was a Free Mason.[ii] The other J. J. Bender, assuming they aren’t the same individual, was a publisher and book collector. He seems the most likely candidate as Russell’s representative in Britain. This J. J. Bender had published The Standard Class-Book for Sunday-School Teacher’s Minutes in 1871, which was favorably reviewed by The Sunday School Journal that year.[iii] In May 1886, He and a partner purchased The Bookmart, a magazine published in Pittsburgh devoted to book and autograph collecting.[iv]
Sunderlin and Bender were in Britain by July 11, 1881, when Sunderlin registered with Gillig’s American Exchange in London, “a familiar and popular resort with Americans in the English metropolis.”[v] He would receive their mail and make currency exchanges at Gillig’s.
It appears that the British edition of Food for Thinking Christians saw publication before the American edition of September 1881, but this is uncertain. Sunderlin returned to America probably in late October 1881, suffering from what was called “over-exertion incident to the arrangements for the distribution of ‘Food’ in Great Britain and Ireland.”[vi] This left Bender with sole responsibility for completing the work. He sent a report to Russell dated from Edinburgh, Scotland, October 1, 1881:
I write in haste a few words. Arrived in Glasgow on Wednesday, and spent the day in hunting up some party, but could find none. Advertised in paper my wants and left for Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, to extreme north, intending to distribute at each place. I succeeded without delay and returned in the night to Glasgow, having 18 replies to my advertisement. The first I called upon I made a contract with, and came here again to hear from London, but received no letter.
I telegraphed to learn how things were getting along, and enclosed find a favorable reply. So far—
100,000 pamphlets for London,
30,000 pamphlets for Glasgow,
20,000 pamphlets for Edinburgh
10,000 pamphlets for Dundee,
5,000 pamphlets for Aberdeen.
I will now go to Carlisle and New Castle next, which will be distributing on my way down as near right geographically as I can to Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Leeds, etc. Think I can get through all well.
I had time to call on Mr. Robert Young, critical translator of the Bible and author of “Young's Analytical Hebrew and Greek Concordance,” and I asked his opinion of the text in 2 John 7, in regard to the Coming of Christ in the flesh, and he says that there is no doubt about the passage referring only to Christ's first Coming. I mentioned the quibble regarding the Rochester phase of it, and he said: “O no, no, it means only the first Coming.”
Am enjoying good health, of which you may inform any inquiring friends and trust you are enjoying the same. Working in hope that the labor bestowed will fall upon good ground, and produce many fold to the glory of God.[vii]
The advertisements Bender mentions were for people to distribute the booklet. In London nearly five hundred boys were employed as distributors with other cities employing numbers in proportion to their size.[viii]
Before he totally succumbed to exhaustion Sunderlin sent from London some reflections on Christian duty: “Do you say or think: ‘I fear this race will be the ruination of all my worldly prospects?’ Of course it will so far as having any pleasure in them is concerned. You will be a very foolish man to divide your energies now, or thoughts either. … But do you say: ‘Why, there's my reputation right there in the dust.’ Poor fellow! How sorry I am you noticed it; but it's only the reputation you once had. Don't you know that none of those who are noted racers on this course have any reputation? The greatest racer who ever stepped on it ‘made himself of no reputation.’ But do you say: ‘This awful run will be the death of me?’ Yes; of course it will; but you are a poor culprit under sentence of death any way, and if you undertake to save your life you will lose it, but run yourself to death and you'll have a life that is life everlasting, and more -- immortal. Don't be foolish now. Press on.”[ix]
Even before Food for Thinking Christians was circulated in Britain Elias Tuckett had obliquely criticized the view of Christ’s parousia held Zion’s Watch Tower. In a letter he wrote to The Rainbow which was published in the January 1881 issue he said:
“There are sects and parties in whom we recognize the spirit of Antichrist, who yet firmly believe that Christ has come in the flesh; but these do not … believe that Christ is again coming in the flesh. Yet the words of the Apostle John written some sixty years after the ascension of Jesus, seem to demand this view; as also does the fulfillment of the law by the Great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, how Himself declared that not one jot nor tittle of the law should ass til all be fulfilled … We can, therefore, scarcely fail to perceive that The Christ, the perfect Second Man Adam, must come and meet His Church—His own body—in the flesh.”[x]
Because he didn’t name Russell, Paton or Zion’s Watch Tower, it is doubtful that his letter did much damage to the work in Britain when it started later that year.
One of the first to take notice of Food for Thinking Christians was the spiritualist journal The Psychological Review. The December 1881, issue contained a mixture of criticism and approval:
An American religious paper, published in Pittsburgh, Pa., rejoicing in the cognomen of “Zion’s Watch Tower,” has recently issued a free supplement in the form of a book of 160 pp., of which I am informed upwards of a quarter of a million copies have been printed for gratuitous distribution. Some of these have found their way to England, and one to myself. … It contains dissertations on various theological and other topics, amongst them Spiritualism, supported in the main by numerous textual quotations from the Bible. Now while desiring to recognize and appreciate the general temperate tone taken by the writer of the book in question, I contend that there is no more delusive and ensnaring source of erroneous and false deductions than the dangerous habit of Bible text quotation. You can prove anything and nothing by it, and the writer under consideration has fallen into this error when treating Modern Spiritualism.
He found certain agreements with Russell’s treatment of Christ’s spiritual body but in the main took exception to his treatment of Spiritualism, writing: “I must join issue when he comes to deal with Spiritualism. The claim put forward is that ‘what is at the present time called Spiritualism, is a counterfeit of the true as taught in the Bible.’” Still, the editor felt that “the general tone of the book is so moderate that I am induced to take up the gauntlet, believing that ignorance of the truer and higher aspects of Spiritualism is the basis of the condemnation, and new light on the subject will not be rejected without effect.”[xi]
Even less welcoming was the reaction of the English clergy. A very bitter and denunciatory comment appeared in the February 1882, issue of The Prophetic News and Israel’s Watchman. Though the article does not name Food for Thinking Christians, it is evident that it is meant. N. S. Godfrey, at one time the Incumbent of Worley, Leeds, and a prolific pamphleteer on the subject of spiritualism, preached a sermon against “a pamphlet which has been very widely distributed amongst the congregations of the various religious denominations in the borough.” He sent a report of his sermon to Prophetic News:
His advice was, and he repeated it, “Burn it.” He had now looked through it and examined it. At first sight it seemed to read fairly well, and to contain many of the views which were known as those of the Plymouth Brethren. But, after careful examination, he had no hesitation in pronouncing it to be the most damnable book he had read in his life. It was Spiritualism in the most refined subtlety of its Satanic character … the teaching of demons or spirits and wicked men and women …. He pointed out the free use of the Scripture and the Satanic perversion of its meaning and application which they found all the way through the book, giving it a colouring of good, although they only need to read half a dozen lines to see how full of mischief it was. …
Having read a number of lengthy extracts from the book, Mr. Godfrey said there was enough mischief in it to require a hundred sermons to dispose of. There was no difficulty about it to those who knew the Word of God. Again, pointing out the subtlety with which it was put together, and the Scriptures quoted, he announced that on an early occasion he proposed to answer the question, How was it that Holy Scripture seemed to have so many meanings?[xii]
The October 1882 issue that was sent to over ninety thousand Sunday School teachers and Food for Thinking Christians reached James Leslie, once a fairly influential Toronto resident but then living in Eglinton, Ontario, Canada.[xiii] He forwarded the special issue to the editor of The Rainbow in England with the comment:
There seems among the believers in the second coming and reign of Christ upon the earth, a strong tendency to return to what appears to be the simplicity of believers in the Apostolic age. I send you a number of one of their papers published in Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S., giving indication of this, but embracing some views not clearly taught in the Scriptures. They believe that Christ has come in one sense, and that the dead in Christ are being immortalized now. Yet this does not harmonize with the teaching of Paul in this first epistle to the Thessalonians, for to precede those events the “shout, the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God” will be heard. Such is the zeal of these brethren that they are sending 90,000 of the paper I send you, “Zion’s Watch Tower, and Herald of Christ’s Presence,” to that number of superintendents of Sunday schools in the United States. The same parties have issued and circulated about a million or more of a good-sized pamphlet entitled “Food for Thinking Christians,” on both sides of the Atlantic.[xiv]
Still, some of the British clergy did show interest. A letter from a minister in Nottingham appears in the June 1882 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. It contained a request for a dozen copies of Food and a like number of Tabernacle Teachings. “Eternity alone will reveal the good these books are doing,” the clergyman wrote, “and several of my friends here are hungering for more information upon these great themes. I lend my Watch Tower every month, and look eagerly for each new one. May God continue to bless the work.”[xv]
Other interest from Nottingham was revealed in letters published in Zion’s Watch Tower. A letter dated November 8, 1881, seems to be from another clergyman. Though the writer, whose name is omitted from the letter as printed, said he found a few minor points in which he differed from Russell, he requested more copies:
I can never feel sufficiently thankful that out of the thousands of copies of your book, “Food for Thinking Christians” distributed in this town--a copy fell into my hands: apparently it was the merest accident; but really I regard it as a direct providence. It has thrown light upon subjects which have perplexed me for years; and has made me feel more than ever, what a glorious book the Bible is, how worthy of our profoundest study. At the same time, I came from the study of your book with the conviction that a very large proportion of the Theology of our Churches and Schools, is the merest scraps of human notions, and that our huge systems of Theology upon the study of which, some of us have spent so many laborious years--only to be the worse confused and perplexed--are infinitely more the work of mistaken men, than the inspiration of the all-wise God.
However, I may differ from the book in a few minor details, I found the main argument to be resistless, commending itself to both my head and my heart. Again let me thank you on my own behalf, for the good I have received.
I find at the close of it, you make an offer to send copies to any who have reason to believe they can make a good use of them. In my church and congregation, there is a number of intelligent persons who are interested in the second coming, and who would be only too glad to read your book, I could distribute 60 or 70 copies with advantage, you say, “ask and ye shall receive”--I have faith in your generosity.[xvi]
Russell sent not only more tracts but a copy of Day Dawn and of Tabernacle Teachings along with issues of Zion’s Watch Tower. The clergyman remains unnamed, but he wrote thanking Russell:
I thank you most sincerely for what I have received from you this last few days. The “Day Dawn,” reached me … and what I have already seen of it, has both pleased and instructed me. Like its fellow – “Food for Thinking Christians,” it needs much careful thought; but I am sure it will amply repay it. … I received the “Watch Tower” and “Tabernacle supplement,” and I am looking for more blessing through the perusal of this valuable paper, as each month brings me something fresh.
Tears came to my eyes this morning, as I read the letters of your correspondents who had received so much help and comfort from the December number. To me also it was indeed a “feast of fat things.” … I feel as though I must read my Bible all over again, for the difference between Ransom and Pardon, pointed out in your closing article, had never struck me, though obvious enough when you put it before your readers. I wonder if it will ever be my lot to come over to some of your meetings. I very much long to see this happy type of Apostolic Christianity Revived --for such I think it must be--in the persons of its professors and preachers. The books and papers I regard as a blessing sent to my house; and which will bring forth fruit in my own soul, and I trust in my people also.[xvii]
Another Nottingham letter praised Food for Thinking Christians and praised it highly: “I am indeed grateful to you for the manner in which you have explained several of the most difficult points in theology. God … must have opened your eyes to see these wonders of His divine plan, and I am thankful that I have lived to see this day. I may say that I fully indorse a great deal of the new teaching, and shall adopt it for the future. I pray God to abundantly bless you for your great philanthropic resolve to bless the world by giving away these pamphlets.”[xviii]
One of the Nottingham correspondents wrote again in September 1883, saying that “the work here is progressing amongst my own congregation, and also amongst outsiders. … The work makes no great show at present, but it is advancing in many minds. I have little trouble with those people who have been accustomed to go straight to God’s Book and abide by that …. To let go old prejudice is comparatively easy to a mind made receptive by the Spirit of God. I have endeavored to act wisely, and not to ride roughshod over old views, as that might have aroused opposition and have defeated my object, which is to ‘lead into the light.’ Acting upon this method, I think I am finding my reward in a more ready reception of the truth than one might have expected.”[xix]
Despite early interest and hopeful comments from readers, interest in Nottingham grew slowly. A report from 1914 shows only fifty-five attending the Lord’s Supper.[xx] Nevertheless, Nottingham produced one of the first zealous workers, Aaron Powell Riley, a teacher connected with the recently opened Buttler’s Hill School in Nottingham.[xxi] He was a fairly young man, born in 1856 according to the 1881 British Census and twenty-five that year. His father was an unemployed coal miner, and Aaron was probably the main support for the household. He had an older brother in the Methodist ministry. By the 1891 enumeration he is married to a Pedwell C. Riley, and they have three small daughters and a thirteen year old servant girl. He is listed as a school master.
It is tempting to connect some of the other letters to him, but the first that is definitely from him appears in the September 1885 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. It’s apparent from his letter than he spread the message found in Food for Thinking Christians by word of mouth, by loaning Food and other tracts, and by preaching to what ever group would have him. His reputation served him well, and though he disconnected himself from his previous religious associations, they were unwilling to see him go.
It is probable, though not certain, that Riley’s first contact with Russell was through a letter dated April 5, 1882. His name isn’t attached to the letter as printed, but the circumstances are similar. The writer of the April 5th letter says: “I have a brother, a D. D. in the Methodist Church, and have been always told I was called to preach the blessed glad tidings, but I never have felt satisfied with orthodoxy, although I have been a member for twenty-five years. I threw out the doctrine of natural immortality five years ago, the Trinity three years ago, and with the Em Diaglott and Bible with other helps have been feeling after the truth.”[xxii]
A letter printed in the September 1885 issue of The Watch Tower is not identified with his name, but in the next month’s issue Russell referred to it, saying it was from “our dear brother Riley.” His letter, sent from a village not far from Nottingham, reveals some of the difficulties encountered by those who sought to separate themselves from their past religious associations:
Since I last wrote to you, my brother who was in the Methodist ministry, has come out of her," not being able to hold the traditions and dogmas of the deceived elders. He will not accept all my views, but is very much more in favor of Zion’s Watch Tower, "Food" and "Tabernacle" teachings than he was some time ago.
My position is a most peculiar one. I have had my name taken off the books and refuse to subscribe towards the connectional funds, but the people with whom I have labored so long are not willing that I should leave them. They know my views, in some measure at any rate, and are willing for me to teach them, saying we are Christians, brethren in Christ, and on that ground we claim your fellowship; we don't care what you believe; we know you are a Christian and that is enough for us. It is the fellowship we desire not the name.
They are a most loving little band of people, and you may rest assured that the grains of truth let fall and those scattered, are not lost. If I am doing wrongly I only want the Lord of the vineyard to show me and give me something to do somewhere else. I cannot live without working for the Master, but it seems very slow work.
I have to preach for these people next Wednesday, and intend taking "The Lord's Coming" (discourse) from the Tower, with additions. May the Lord of the harvest separate the wheat. I have had some severe conversations with one of the ministers here which only confirms my faith in God's word and the Watch Tower’s interpretation; it is by such things we are made strong.
I do long for the manifestation of the Son of God, though I am by no means certain of being amongst specially favored ones. I was only a very nominal Christian until after 1881. I am totally unworthy and unfit for such a glorious high calling, but I know my joy will be full if I'm only a meek inheritor of the earth.
It is a great trial for the members to be separate. I don't know how others feel, but I do long for the fellowship, face to face with another who holds Zion’s Watch Tower's teachings as fully as myself; but organizations are not to be desired, therefore, we must wait patiently and if the Lord will, I'll praise him in company with the other brethren in his kingdom.
I would not part with my Towers for their weight in gold. I am reading all carefully through again and making notes. May the Lord bless you ever more and more abundantly.
Another letter from Riley found its way into print after the publication of Millennial Dawn was announced. He sent money for “as many copies” as it would pay for, apparently sending British money in payment, but expressed some disappointment in the results of his missionary effort: “I am sorry I cannot report any marked improvement in the work here, but every number of the Tower encourages us to go on quietly doing what we can, leaving results, though we are thankful for some evidences of good being done. If men will not come right out, they confess we are right.”[xxiii]
Aaron Riley continued his active support at least until 1895, writing periodically to Russell. He is mentioned for the last time in the January 1, 1895, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. Russell explained that Riley had been supplying libraries with sets of the Millennial Dawn series. In a letter to Russell, Riley mentions actively seeking subscribers for their magazine. He was ill and trying to work around it. He had a history of illness, mentioning a stay in a "convalescent home” in a letter to Russell ten years previously. He seems to have died shortly thereafter; an online ancestry site gives his death date as 1896.[xxiv]
A letter noted as being from Ulcely, Lincolnshire, a misprint for Ulceby, appears in the March 1885 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. It reveals its writer to be active in an informal ministry:
I was requested to give a reading, at what is called the Mutual Improvement Society composed of members from all sects in the town, the president knowing somewhat of my views asked that the title might be, Advanced Religious thought. I did not decline, and with the pamphlet, Food, and the various numbers of the TOWER which I have, I made quite a long essay. After the reading, a discussion was freely entered into and I was branded by all sorts of names, such as Materialist, Universalist, Calvinistic, Baptist, etc. Although the Wesleyan minister, who had the Scriptures in his hand, could not find any mis-quotations, he was surprised at the different light given to them to what they are used to give them. Others said I had given the best paper that had been given during all the sessions. I hope by God's help to speak at any time, the truths of the Scriptures as I have received light on them through the TOWER, so that I may be the means of turning some from errors of doctrine.[xxv]
By April 1882 interest was great enough that Russell extended a call for preachers in England: “We have many inquiries from England, relative to preaching—if there are among those interested in these things there, some who can declare them publicly, they have a great and grand field. Let us hear from you. Some one or two should be in London.”[xxvi] If there was an immediate response, I cannot find it.
A ‘brother from London’ wrote to Russell in late 1882 suggesting that the ideas from Food for Thinking Christians were affecting the sermons and thought of British clergy. He visited Spurgeon’s tabernacle and came away with these impressions:
It was on an occasion in which his audience was supposed to be entirely of strangers, and we were very gently led to suppose that possibly if we were not brought to the light in this age, there might be a chance in another, but that after all it is better to be converted at once so as to make sure of it. This man has vastly changed in regard to what he preaches since I have known him. He has evidently read the book “Food” and is breaking it gently. It may be bias, though I think not, but I fancy that the “Food” must have been read in many thinking quarters, because I very distinctly recognize in many of the leaders of pulpit thought, the spirit of the work. I believe that the fruit is ripening.[xxvii]
Other interaction with Spurgeon’s temple was reported. One cannot say with certainty if it was through the same individual since neither letter was printed with a signature, but in May 1882 a British correspondent wrote:
I have held up the thoughts given in your works of “Tabernacle” and “Food” to some of Spurgeon's people, and they were unable to gainsay me. It does seem to be too good to be true, but nothing is too hard for God, and I confess I see a harmony between the infinite Creator and created (fallen) man, given in the Bible as brought out by the light from your exposition that I never have seen before. It satisfies my understanding and my longing spirit. Can I with fair speaking ability be exalted by our dear Lord to the high honor of telling or preaching the glad tidings, which are to all people, that Jesus anointed tasted death for every man, and all may look and live? Whatever tracts and instructions you have in the divine mysteries of truth will you have the kindness to forward by return mail, as I may be required to leave London by the 1st of May, and please instruct me how and what to preach so as to accomplish the blessed work God wishes done.[xxviii]
Among the many requests for additional tracts was one that said, “Will you please send two or three copies of the Tabernacle and its Teachings, for which we shall wait, with great desire, to be fed with more food from our Master's table. Will you please send also another copy of Food, because the one that we have is getting so much worn, that we have to paste some of it together. If we had many copies of it we could judiciously give them away. We pray that the Lord will bless you more abundantly. Though strangers in the flesh, we can say we are one in the bonds of the Lord Jesus.”[xxix] This letter is especially interesting because it reveals an inclination among readers to circulate the tracts. Much of the work in the British field would be accomplished by “clubbing” subscriptions and loaning publications.
Elizabeth Horne and her husband, residents of North London, became interested by 1883, according to A. O. Hudson’s The Bible Students in Brittan, and a group met in their home:
In the year 1883 … a study group to discuss these things was commenced in the North London home of a rather remarkable woman and her husband.
Elizabeth Horne was the type of person, who having acquired an exposition of the Divine Plan which resolved all her theological doubts and misgivings, must needs tell it out to others. Within a few years she, in common with others in her group, was conducting open-air meetings in Hyde Park—perhaps the very first of the "public meetings" which became so pronounced a feature of the fellowship in later years. It is recorded that this redoubtable lady preached in the Park for three hours at a stretch, to "attentive, respectful crowds of orderly, thoughtful looking people gathered to listen," to quote the records. At a slightly later date, 1891, she organized the meetings for the first visit of Pastor Russell to this country, entertaining him at her home, from which she appears to have been as good an organizer as she was a preacher. This Elizabeth Horne must have been quite a girl![xxx]
I cannot independently verify that Elizabeth Horne and her husband became interested in 1883. The earliest mention of her is found in the October 1886 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower were a letter from her expresses her pleasure with Millennial Dawn: The Plan of the Ages. She is presented as an active evangelist, writing that “I have already had five copies and now want forty more. I want to do what I can to put this book into the hands of truth seekers.”[xxxi]
Elizabeth Horne and Aaron Riley became correspondents, and cooperated in the work. By 1892, Riley had a group of twenty to thirty men that met regularly for Bible study, and he exchanged letters regularly with “sister Horne.” The both met Russell during his visit that year, and the Russells stayed in Elizabeth Horne’s home.[xxxii]
The practice of preaching in parks is verifiable from The Watch Tower, but there is insufficient biographical information to tell which of the many Elizabeth Hornes resident in London she was. Her husband’s name is never given.
Among the first permanent associations built off receipt of Watch Tower pamphlets was a small group in Islington, London. The brief history in the 1973 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses says:
Tom Hart of Islington, London, wrote for and received three pamphlets. He also received Zion’s Watch Tower regularly for nine months, all without charge—a new experience in the religious field. From then on he became a regular subscriber. He was struck by the theme that ran through each issue, namely, “Get out of her, my people”—a Scriptural call to leave Christendom’s religious groups and follow Bible teaching. He and a fellow railwayman, Johnathan Ling, began studying together. This led to Hart’s formally resigning from the chapel in 1884, soon to be followed by Ling and a dozen others who began to meet together. This appears to be the first record of regular meetings of this sort in Britain. Many who shared in such meetings also showed a willingness to engage in the work of spreading enlightenment to others.
Thom Hart was born in Calcutta, India, in 1853. At the time of the 1881 Census he had moved his family from the Islington address to 5 Lavinia Grove, Middlesex, London. He was “a carman” for one of the railroads. In another place he is called “a railroad shunter.”[xxxiii] He and his wife had three children, two sons and one daughter, all under the age of four. I can find no helpful information about Johnathan Ling.
The Yearbook is mistaken in its view that the group organized by Tom Hart was the first in the U.K., but a small group was meeting in London by March 1884. It may have been Tom Hart who wrote a letter appearing in the March issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. Whoever the writer was, he expressed his continuing appreciation of the Watch Tower. He always prayed for its safe arrival and was thankful that he had not missed one issue in two years. “I am able to report a little progress for the last twelve months,” he wrote. “Our meeting is the most liberal that I know of; brethren who are expelled from other meetings for change of belief find refuge amongst us. I have gained the attention of two young men who live near me, and they visit me two or three evenings a week, to enquire ‘what is truth?’ One comes oftener than the other and makes more progress. He goes and spreads the good news as a steward of the manifold grace of God. These two enclose subscriptions with me for the Tower.”
The same letter reported continuing opposition to message in Food for Thinking Christians: “Some time ago I heard read in my presence in a most solemn manner 2d Pet. 2:1, in condemnation of ‘Food for Thinking Christians.’ If I had not seen the tower explanation of the ‘image of the beast’ I should have been frightened out of my wits.”[xxxiv]
Another letter from London dated January 1885 shows those interested using every opportunity to share their beliefs:
I had the pleasure of finding a man preaching in the Park, who had been a member of a chapel 8 years, and had left it and despaired of finding a church what it ought to be. He was preaching against the hypocrisy of the Church of England, and the oppression of the poor. … He was so delighted after about two hour’s conversation, you would think he had had a fortune left him. He preached tower views the following Sunday, read parts of Food for thinking Christians to them, showed them the plan of the ages, and quite interested the people generally. “The Christian Evidence Society,” sent out to oppose him, but they had no good news for the people, and as he had, they were anxious to hear it. He was about emigrating to Australia, so we did not have his company more than three weeks. He told the people how he would spread the ‘glad tidings’ in Australia and borrow a barn or shed to keep the rays of the sun off himself and his hearers. As soon as he is settled there he will write to you and order the watch tower. … We have interested another in the tower, who is now in Liverpool. He has ordered and received it. We have some profitable times, about a dozen of us, but have not yet begun to preach or lecture to the public, although our hall will hold about three hundred.[xxxv]
A letter dated June 29, 1885, seems to come from the same correspondent. The letter thanks the Russells for the literature sent and recounted both the spiritual benefit received and his practice of loaning it out. He asked for more. His practice of approaching individuals or small groups somewhat estranged from the established church continued. He told of this encounter:
At one place, having found a quiet earnest body of believers on a retired street--belonging to no particular sect, I offered to lay before them all that I myself had learned. They received me cordially, and requested me three times to meet them, once at a general assembly. Having made a large wall copy from your Chart of the Ages I hung it up on the wall and sat amidst those earnest thirsty people to tell them the good news, inviting them to question me afterwards, which they did; some very sharply, and as if to trip me; but let the Lord receive all praise! It was given me to answer quietly, and one of the most arrogant of my opponents came up afterwards wrung my hand and thanked me begging I would return again. But the Salvation Army, it seems had begun to influence these Christians so that my teachings offering to go further than it’s teachings made them afraid, I think, to give ear beyond the time I was with them. I left a copy of “Food” which they promised to meet together and study with the Scriptures; but curiously enough so soon as I had left for London --the book was lost. However, many men and women have become interested in the teachings, to whom I distributed the sample towers. My work lies chiefly at the present time among detached individuals; and in writing to the absent. Only one, truly enlightened, lives near me, a police constable, who is too poor to send the money he would, to you, having a large family. He longs for a Diaglott of his own: I have lent him mine occasionally. Before long I could buy him one I think, and if so, will send the money to you; but can you supply him with regular towers and some of the books? He has a wide means of working; at present, he has my papers to read and that is all.[xxxvi]
Another letter in this series appeared in the October 1885 issue of The Watch Tower. Meetings were more regular, but small. Interest was increasing:
Our little Bible class does not grow very large, but we are not building on numbers. We find we get some very precious seasons with about four, and I think up to the present our best meetings have been the smallest; and during the week when two or three meet for a few minutes we often part with some new thought or reminder of the grandeur of the plan or character of God, and go forth with renewed energy to serve him. I find the experience vastly different from my previous experience in the nominal church, then doubting and fearing with a very indefinite idea of what was future both for the servants of God and those who did not serve him.[xxxvii]
By 1887 another small group developed in London. A man signed in The Watch Tower as “Fred S. D____” wrote that he had “been … reading and praying with friends over the truths contained in the book entitled ‘Food for thinking Christians.’” He felt guided to the book by “our loving Father.” He explained that he had the book for about five years and “never thought of reading or becoming in any way, interested in it … but blessed be God! He has caused us (a few young men and women) to thirst and hunger after righteousness, and also implanted within us a desire to ‘come out and be separate,’ and to fully consecrate ourselves to Him who has redeemed us: and also to know of the things of God that we may be the better able to serve Him.” He asked for more literature.[xxxviii]
Zion’s Watch Tower first noted interest in Birmingham in March 1883 with a letter from a correspondent there. The letter reveals that at least one person was street tracting in Birmingham: “The book was put into my hands last winter as I passed up a main thoroughfare in the above town, on my way home from work.” The writer recalled setting Food for Thinking Christians aside to pursue what they then thought was more interesting reading, but had returned to it. He found it lucid, easy to understand and convincing, and asked for literature to circulate among his friends.[xxxix]
Another letter from Birmingham appeared in the August 1883 issue. The writer referred to prejudice against the material because it came from the United States, apparently connecting it to issues remaining from the American Civil War. Nevertheless, they found the message in Food for Thinking Christians to be consoling and instructive. The writer said “the good news appears to be most acceptable to ‘Dissenters,’ and still more so to those who are sectarians in name only, but to the ‘Orthodox’ ones it is most objectionable. ... A great stumbling block to many is the fact that we have no sectarian badge, and while seeing but little truth in many so fettered, they cannot realize any in those who are absolutely free.”[xl]
Albert O. Hudson, editor of Bible Study Monthly a British Bible Student publication, says that the first organized meetings were in Glasgow starting in 1883. He presents no other details.[xli] It appears that Hudson is correct or nearly so. A letter dated 1884 from an unnamed Glasgow correspondent reported that “the brethren and sisters in Glasgow” met in their house to celebrate “the Passover,” meaning the Lord’s Memorial Supper.[xlii] Also, a “brother in Christ” reported meeting with four sisters and six brothers in Glasgow. Their meetings seem to have very irregular. He reported only two meetings within the month previous to his letter, but he stated their intention to meet for the Memorial meal.[xliii] In a follow-up letter he reported an attendance of twelve, though he observed that “One brother remarked there were thirteen present, Jesus being in the midst of us.”[xliv]
One of the first letters to Zion’s Watch Tower was from Edinburgh sent by a missionary and divinity student “in the last session” of his course. He expressed a desire to preach on the themes found In Food for Thinking Christians and asked for additional copies, and some copies of the booklet Tabernacle Teachings.[xlv]
The message reached Halifax at least by 1885. A letter found in the July 1885 issue said its writer was greatly interested by Food for Thinking Christians. He wrote that “It has greatly instructed and interested me, and led me into a new region of biblical teaching, presenting many aspects of truth altogether overlooked, the importance and scripturalness of which appear to me most clear and well founded. I have a strong desire to receive further teaching in the same direction.” He requested a copy of Tabernacle Teachings.[xlvi]
A letter headed simply Yorkshire came from someone “working in an empty house” who found a copy of Food for Thinking Christians minus its title page. He was persuaded by reading the lose pages and found Russell’s address. He asked for more literature.[xlvii]
In most localities organization was spontaneous. People shared the tracts, discussed them with others, and, finding some agreement, met together. This left individuals and small groups disconnected from fellow believers.
As early as July 1882, there was a call for organization. An individual from Sunderland, England, asked: “Could you not arrange some plan by which we, who rejoice in the same blessed truths, might have the opportunity of at least corresponding with each other, on this side of the Atlantic? You see there may be others only a short distance from me who, like myself, are yearning to find some with whom they may hold sweet communion on our blessed hope.” In the same issue of Zion’s Watch Tower was a letter from Sunderland noting that some where meeting together regularly: “we have now a Bible-class every Monday at 7 P.M. ‘The Food’ we keep circulating in ‘good ground,’ so far as human judgment can discern; and it is delightful to hear their expressions of surprise and gladness at our kindness in thinking of them. One brother here tells me he lent the ‘Food’ and ‘Tabernacle’ to one of their ministers, and the subjects have laid hold of him.”[xlviii]
Russell was not immediately forthcoming with an organizational plan and made no printed reply to the request for one. We can safely suppose that he provided the correspondent who felt isolated with the address of the regular meeting in Sunderland. However, a “Brother Boyer” who had been active in Temperance work in the Pittsburgh area prepared letters of introduction meant to enable Watch Tower readers in the United Kingdom to contact each other. They are mentioned in an untitled announcement in the July 1882 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower:
Bro. Boyer has prepared and mailed to our readers in Great Britain, letters of introduction wherever two or more reside in the one town. Each of London's five districts are treated as distinct cities, and listed accordingly. This was requested by many, and we doubt not will be beneficial to all, enabling them to assemble together and edify one another. The Lord bless, comfort, and strengthen you, and build you up in the most holy faith. May the Comforter comfort your hearts with an understanding of the exceeding great and precious promises. Be strong in the Lord—in his truth, and in the power of his might--yea, be strong.
Similar requests for organization came from elsewhere in the United Kingdom. A letter sent from Glasgow dated February, 16, 1885, probably stands for the feelings of many: “The monthly visits of the tower are so highly prized by me that I would feel the want of them very much. They are my only comfort now, being cut off from all the sects called churches.”[xlix] As remarked before, meeting sprang up spontaneously in Glasgow, prompted in part by a need for fellowship with those of like faith.
In October 1885 Russell reflected on the interest from the British field and found it disappointing. He tended to measure success against cost, figuring that each of the three hundred British subscribers had cost about forty dollars in expenses, not counting the cost of voluntary labor in the work. Perhaps measuring success in this way was natural for a businessman, but he quickly reconsidered. “These were discouraging thoughts,” he wrote, “and then we though of the great cost—of the Master’s sacrifice—of what the expense of our salvation had been; not in silver or gold, but the precious blood of Christ.”[l]
Russell’s statement brought a number of responses from readers in Scotland and England. They pointed out that “interest there is probably much beyond our appreciation or the number of names on our list; because there it is quite customary among the middle classes for several persons to take papers in partnership and read by turn.”[li]
The financial situation in Britain that lent itself to clubbing magazine subscriptions helped form a de facto organization at least on a neighborhood basis. Conversations and meetings would be the natural result of discussing a shared subscription.
When Bender and Sunderlin were in the United Kingdom, the plan was to circulate Food for Thinking Christians in Ireland too. The March 1882 issue of The Watch Tower, already quoted, suggests they did. There is no surviving record. Any work in Ireland in the 1880’s produced little result. By 1904 there was a small group in Dublin and another in Belfast. The 1988 Yearbook history suggests they were the result of Russell’s visit to Ireland in 1891. This seems unrealistic. Any growth probably derived from previous interest, particularly among Irish Protestants.
By 1893 Watch Tower evangelism in the United Kingdom was such that some clergy felt it essential to reply. Perhaps as a result of the visit of S. D. Rogers, an American-born Colporteur sent by Russell to train those who wished to circulate Watch Tower Publications,[lii] a British Church of Christ evangelist, James Anderson, held a series of meetings to refute Millennial Dawn:
In 1893, a few of our members who lived in Bellshill began to meet as a Church there. After some time, this Church moved from Bellshill to Uddingston. These places being in the district round which I laboured, I now and again helped them in Gospel work. But I had not many uncommon experiences in connection therewith. I may mention one thing. The Millennial Dawn people tried to make themselves felt in Uddingston, and I was asked to give a few lectures in reply to them. Our people engaged a hall, and I delivered four lectures, in which I touched upon the main points in Mr. Russell's plea. It is better named Russellism than Millennial Dawnism, for beyond all question Mr. Russell is the inventor and promoter of the whole thing. I left myself open for questions for an hour at the close of each lecture. They went in for questioning with some vigour the first evening, but they became milder as the lectures went on. When we got to the "Future of the wicked," though it is such a favourite subject with Mr. Russell, I passed very easily out of their hands.[liii]
Church of Christ evangelists have ever declared victory on the slightest pretext, even when no discussion actually takes place. One must take Anderson’s assessment of his presentation in that light, and if his “refutation” of Watch Tower teachings on the state of the dead is a sample, his presentation would not have stood a face to face debate. Anderson’s opposition probably stands for that by others of the British clergy, and was probably neither more nor less effective. The fruits gathered from the circulation of Food for Thinking Christians and following publications proved enduring.
The Work in Canada
There was interest in Canada during the Barbourite era. Some from Canada attended the Worchester Conference in 1872. Russell’s booklet Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return saw circulation in Canada. A profile of his work done when he died said: “Many students of the Bible throughout the United States and Canada responded to the information derived from that book, and his correspondence became voluminous.”[liv]
It is very likely that Canadians were on the original subscription list. Russell felt no need to send special representatives of Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society to Canada to circulate Food for Thinking Christians, so there must have been sufficient pre-existing interest upon which he could rely.
The two most significant examinations of Watch Tower history in Canada both gloss over the 1880’s, and the writers seem to have not seen the period as worthy of extensive research or they simply lack the resources. Almost exclusively, documentation of the work in Canada is found in the pages of Zion’s Watch Tower. Finding other documentation is very difficult, and the lack of thorough treatment of the period is understandable. Almost the only external reference to preaching in Canada is the letter sent to the editor of The Rainbow mentioned in the section on the United Kingdom.
The earliest correspondence from Canada noted in The Watch Tower is a letter from Ontario published in the January/February 1882 issue. The writer is, as was usual, unnamed. He thanked Russell for sending “the papers,” asked to be entered as a regular subscriber and asked, “Will you kindly advise me in regard to severing my connection with the church of which I am a member?” He explained that he could no longer attend his previous church “because it would be consenting to their teaching, which I do not now believe.”[lv]
A letter from Galt, Ontario, found in the May 1883 issue shows some missionary activity on the part of at least one individual. The writer thanked Russell for copies of Food for Thinking Christians and Tabernacle Teachings and said: “I am now endeavoring to feed the ‘Heavenly Food’ to my hungry fellow-Christians. Two others and myself are meeting three or four times per week to make ourselves more thoroughly acquainted with these great truths, and to satisfy ourselves that these teachings are based on the Word of God. As soon as we get through this, we intend to begin a systematic course of teaching out of ‘Food for Thinking Christians’ for all in this place whom we can interest and who are hungering and thirsting after the precious truth of God.”[lvi]
In December 1883, Russell published a letter sent from Eglington, the city from which The Rainbow correspondent had written. No hint as to the writer’s identity appears in the letter, but it stands as proof of some evangelical success in the Eglington area. The writer mentions a diagram from an earlier Watch Tower article and says: “I am desirous to use the Diagram to awaken interest in the coming of the Lord among professing Christians.” [lvii]
A letter from Ayrshire, New Brunswick appears in the December 1884 issue. It reveals and active missionary effort in Canada, though the details are not included in the letter. The writer isn’t identified either, but using the subtitle Why Evil Was Permitted instead of Food for Thinking Christians, the writer says:
SIR:--In the goodness of God I have got a look at your pamphlet, "Why Evil was Permitted." I have been deeply interested in the subjects therein presented for some time. Please to favor me with a copy of ZION'S WATCH TOWER with the supplement already mentioned, and any others of a like description. Christians cannot but note to what an extent the power of God is being put forth in the calling of one here and another there. In striking contrast is the way in which the devil, knowing that his time is short, is using every effort in his power, and so the conflict is going on, while the so-called Church of God is sound asleep. Let us realize our position. By faith having received the blessed Christ and realizing the guiding and teaching of the Holy Ghost, may we grow in grace and in the love of God.[lviii]
While tracing interest among Canadians during the 1880’s is difficult, there are hints of it. In October 1883, Paton included a notice in his magazine that he couldn’t use Canadian postage for subscription payments.[lix] Since most of Paton’s early readership came from those who also read Zion’s Watch Tower, this notice presupposes Canadian interest. By 1889 interest is noted in Manitoba, but with no indication of when it developed.[lx]
A “Pastor Brookman” appears in the pages of Zion’s Watch Tower first in 1886, as one of the principal evangelists associated with the Watch Tower movement. He attended a meeting of evangelists in Allegheny held in connection with the Lord’s Memorial Meal in April that year.
William Brookman, originally an Anglican clergyman, was born in England. After living in “the East Indies” for a period, he immigrated to Canada in the late 1840’s.[lxi] He is listed in a Gazetteer published in 1869 as a traveling agent for The Upper Canada Bible Society.[lxii] One source claims an association with Methodism from which he separated “on the eternal torture question,” and another with a Baptist congregation.[lxiii] The connection to Methodism is a misstatement. Brookman, balding and with a huge fluffy beard, was briefly pastor of the First Baptist Church at Brantford.[lxiv]
Brookman organized “a purely undenominational organization, not possessing any distinctive appellation” in June 1881, “when about thirty of the present members with their families nearly all of whom had seceded from the Yorkville Baptist Church formed a new congregation, unattached to any religious sect.” The history just quoted says:
Previous to the separation—which was based upon the rejection of the doctrine of endless life in misery being the punishment for sin—Mr. Brookman had been in charge of the above-mentioned church for about a year, and prior to that again had ministered in the Church of England for nearly a quarter of a century. The main features of the belief professed by this little congregation, which numbers only fifty-six members [in 1885] , are, in addition to that already mentioned; the adoption of the great central truth of life only in Christ; the acceptation of the Word of God as the sole rule of faith and practice, and, whilst holding alone to the immersion of believers as true baptism, practicing loving-fellowship with all who love the saviour.[lxv]
The exact date of Brookman’s introduction to Watch Tower theology is unknown, but it was at least near the time he and those with him started their independent chapel. He continued his association with Russell into at least the 1890’s and maybe to his death in 1907, but he also corresponded with Paton and wrote an occasional article for The World’s Hope usually neutral or critical of Paton’s views. The earliest article from him that I have thus far found is one entitled “Eternal not Endless” printed in the January 1884 issue of The World’s Hope.[lxvi] Brookman continued to write to Paton into the 1890’s, and there is a record of him sending money to aid Paton during an illness.[lxvii]
It is likely that the small congregation led by Brookman was responsible for the circulation of Food for Thinking Christians in Toronto mentioned in the Rainbow article. Certainly Brookman was circulating Watch Tower material by 1886.
When he attended the memorial and conference in Allegheny, April 18 and 19, 1886, he spoke on the Ransom doctrine. Russell found his sermon interesting and edifying. The morning of the memorial gathering, Brookman and others active in the work “in a more or less public way” related “how they each found the work to progress in their hands, and the methods they found most successful in their efforts to ‘preach the Gospel to the meek.’”[lxviii]
A brief letter addressed to Brookman from “one of the Toronto brethren” appears in the same issue of Zion’s Watch Tower that reported his presence in Allegheny for the memorial and conference. It suggested a certain amount of hesitation on the part of some to accept both the invisible presence views and Russell’s belief in the heavenly resurrection of the saints.[lxix] Whoever was agitating these objections did so for some time. Another letter of nearly identical import appears in The World’s Hope [insert reference]
Little more is heard from Brookman. A member of the Toronto group wrote Russell in 1891 that “Bro. Brookman is very desirous that you should be with him at his hall.” Russell spoke to the group “by urgent request” on February 22, 1891. No hint is given either as to the urgency.[lxx]
Russell addressed a public meeting twice before speaking to Brookman’s congregation. Four hundred heard him speak on Restitution and on the Kingdom of God. That evening he spoke to the Toronto Believers at their meeting place, Jackson Hall at the corner of Young and Blood streets. No topic is mentioned, but from comments made by S. D. Rogers, a colporteur working in Toronto, the church there was suffering under some form of opposition:
While the harvest work is thus progressing, and the wheat is being gathered, we cannot expect that the tares will all be gathered into bundles for burning without some resistance, and so we are not surprised to find some gnashing of teeth and gnawing of tongues. And this will no doubt be seen more and more as the servants of the Master are the more faithful and enterprising in proclaiming the message of present truth. The “hirelings” say: It is all right for you to hold these views but you should not go about telling them to others. The Good Shepherd says: “Feed my sheep.” And the more we feed the sheep so much the more will the false shepherds complain. In Canada, as well as elsewhere, some of the would-be shepherds are speaking all manner of evil things against the messengers of the truth. They do not understand us a bit better than the Jews understood our Lord and his little band of disciples. Light hath no concord with darkness. At least two nominal ministers in Ontario have publicly burned the Millennial Dawn, and heaped all kinds of reproach on the author and those who are circulating this peculiar book.[lxxi]
The last reference to Brookman is in the September 1, 1892, Watch Tower where appears an article by him entitled “Future Probation for the Dead.”[lxxii] Certainly not all of the Toronto Believers were favorably disposed toward The Watch Tower. The memorial report for 1899 returned a figure of twenty-one who participated. One is tempted to speculate that the urgent request for Russell’s presence in 1891 had been the fragmentation of the Toronto Believers into those who were favorable to the Watch Tower message and those who were not.[lxxiii]
The little congregation in Toronto had the same difficulty finding a suitable name as did the rest of those associated with The Watch Tower. Eventually they adopted the name Church of the Baptized Believers. It was dissolved by his request when Brookman died on April 2, 1907.[lxxiv] He is known to have written at least one tract or small book entitled The Future of the Non-elect Dead: The Vast Majority of Mankind in All Ages, published in 1906. He edited an eighty-seven page hymnal entitled Hymns of Faith and Love, published in 1897. While still an Anglican, he wrote The Scripture Alphabet in Verse, which was published in Canada in 1847. I haven’t been able to examine any of these publications.
Brookman and others were active in Canada from an early period. Even if the period is poorly documented, the activity of small groups and individuals can be presupposed. Russell mentions no extraordinary efforts in Canada, probably because he had a small but active base of fellow believers.
The 1979 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses briefly profiles a Thomas Baker, saying he accepted “Bible truth at an early date”:
Thomas Baker (was) a sawmill operator of Elba, Ontario, a small community about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Toronto. A very religious man, Baker had been the superintendent of the Anglican Sunday school. But his buzzing sawmill became a place that also buzzed with the grand news of God’s kingdom. As his daughter Annie puts it: “Every customer who came in was given a tract or booklet or book. I don’t think he missed anyone!”
Since Thomas Baker was so well known, his departure from the established church in the community raised plenty of questions. In fact, so many people asked about this that he published a booklet giving the reasons for his action. Baker died in 1906, and the funeral talk was delivered by a person to whom he himself had taught the truth of God’s Word.[lxxv]
Baker was born March 20, 1848, in Ireland, and immigrated to Canada in 1850. His wife was twelve years his junior and born in Ontario. Her maiden name is unknown. I haven’t been able to examine Baker’s booklet, and a letter from Jehovah’s Witnesses says that while they know of the booklet, they don’t have a copy.[lxxvi]
Dating Baker’s introduction to the Watch Tower message is not possible without examining the booklet. The Bakers took to the message sometime before 1891. Local census records show the Bakers as members of the Church of England in 1881. In an 1891 census they are listed as “Bible Christian,” which was originally the name of a Methodist-oriented sect, but may have also been one of the many names used by readers of Zion’s Watch Tower.
The same census lists a Thomas Smith, then seventy-eight, and a William Young, a thirty-three year old blacksmith, as Bible Christians as well. Young’s children are also listed at “Bible Christian,” though his wife is not.[lxxvii] It is unclear whether these were associates of the Bakers or not.
A letter from Thomas and Harriet Baker appears in the June 1, 1894, Watch Tower. It doesn’t date their association beyond an indefinite reference to the period “since we came to a knowledge of God’s plan.”[lxxviii] In the 1901 Census, Baker is listed as a “Restitutionist,” a name some applied to those adhering to Zion’s Watch Tower.
In an age when the foreign missionary activity of Christendom was at its peak, it is not surprising that Watch Tower publications found their way to many lands often sent by friends or relatives. In May 1883 Russell wrote:
Letters are constantly coming to hand, from out of way places, telling how truth has been recognized and appreciated and is feeding the consecrated ones wherever they may be. We cannot doubt that every consecrated child will be brought in contact with the light now shining on the sacred page. During the past month we have heard from two deeply interested Indians, one of them a preacher; also, from a missionary in China. It is glad tidings of great joy to the ends of the earth, wherever God has children unfettered by traditions of men.
There are many inquiries for preaching --many from out of way places where we could not send. All should remember that, the fact of a necessity for preaching is a call to those who have truth, to freely give what they have freely received of God. It is a call to preach, of the genuine sort, and each child of God is a witness -- a light bearer. Let your light so shine as to glorify your Heavenly Father.
There are a number of ways of preaching. Among the most telling methods is private conversation, backed up with well chosen articles marked for their reading and study. One sister writes us from Virginia that she began to tell what she had recently been learning to a few neighbors privately, and so many came that presently a schoolhouse was needed to accommodate them, and it even was crowded. So, each one willing and anxious to labor in the vineyard will find the master ready to use his service, and a door of some sort will open. Make use of small pportunities, and greater ones will come in due time. Only, be sure you do all in the love of the truth, and not in a spirit of combativeness. Then assuredly you will be blessed while blessing others.[lxxix]
Most of the early international mission work was done by individuals with no particular training but much faith who felt the urgent need to pass on what they had learned. Russell made this point in an article entitled “Seed Time and Harvest”:
The Lord shows his truth to a humble soldier in the British navy, and his heart is filled with … zeal to tell it to others. The Lord then sends him to India at the expense of the British Government, and gives him abundant leisure to herald the good news there, to strengthen and establish some in the faith, and from there to write letters and scatter printed matter in other distant parts. Thus the trumpet tones of present truth … are sounded in India, and we may be sure that in due time it will reach, through this or some other means, every saint in India who is worthy to be gathered with the elect. And so several sailors are bearing the good news to distant parts, and through them saints are being gathered, cheered and comforted. One occasionally finds his way to South America, again to Australia, and again to England, always watching for opportunities for harvest work. Through the efforts of another of the Lord's missionaries the truth reached some of the saints in China, who rejoice in its light. The Lord wanted to gather some saints in Sweden, and he raised up some earnest Swedes in this country, who by private letters and translations communicate the good tidings to other Swedish saints. And so with the Germans. … Thus through the press, by private correspondence, by traveling brethren, and by the special efforts of those whose sphere is more limited, the Lord is carrying on his great harvest work. He is sending forth these reapers with a great sound of a trumpet, to gather his elect together.[lxxx]
By 1884 Russell could report a significant foreign correspondence. He urged the isolated ones to take comfort in knowing there were others in similar circumstance and to stand firm, using every opportunity to spread the message of the Present Christ and impending Millennium:
Many interesting letters from various parts, both across the waters and in our own country, give evidence of the fact that though iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold, still the Lord has a people consecrated and endeavoring to carry out that consecration in their daily life.
It is comforting to those who stand isolated in their own neighborhood to realize this. There are many such isolated ones, and all have much the same experience--in the world, tribulation; in Christ, peace. It is also a source of encouragement to learn that while we realize that the harvest is great the laborers are being multiplied, and that so far as we can learn, the saints are realizing their call to make known the glad tidings, and that though their talents be many or few they are not to be folded away in a napkin. We have learned that there are as many ways to preach the Gospel as there are talents among the saints.[lxxxi]
A letter from Chefoo (now Yantai), China, was printed in the May 1883 issue. Miss Calista B. Downing, the missionary who wrote to Russell wasn’t the one to whom an issue of Zion’s Watch Tower was mailed. Instead, it was shown her “as a curiosity.” She read it carefully and with interest, explaining to Russell that she was “somewhat out of the orthodox ruts”:
If you will send me the paper I will try and get the subscription to you in some way--for, though a self-supporting missionary, I cannot quite call myself one of the “Lord's poor” to whom you offer the paper gratuitously, for Our Father has bountifully supplied all my needs, since I gave up my salary, three years ago. I think I can get a few subscribers among my friends in China, for I find not a few who are trying to reconcile the “mercy that endureth forever” with the final irrevocable doom of all who, since the fall, have died without a knowledge of the Redeemer of the world. We have no “Post-Office Order” arrangements here, else
I would send the subscription at once.[lxxxii]
Her name isn’t associated with the letter; as was most often the case the letter was published without signature. But, in 1900 another missionary and physician, Horace A. Randle, recalled:
There has been in China for years one solitary witness for the present truth, Miss Downing, of Chefoo. This lady was formerly a missionary of the Presbyterian Board and she chanced to meet with a stray Watch Tower, about the year 1883, in which she read an article on restitution, and at once decided to subscribe for the paper.[lxxxiii]
C. B. Downing was viewed as a bit odd by other missionaries. “Amongst the missionaries of Shantung I am afraid Sister Downing was considered a queer old lady having some odd notions,” Randall wrote.
As with many of the early Watch Tower readers, finding biographical information on Miss Downing is difficult. She was born in Vermont about 1829 to Dyer and Mary Jane Downing.
Calista Buck Downing graduated from the St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont sometime near 1846. While attending the Academy she was a member of The Excelsior Club, a literary society.[lxxxiv] In 1859 and 1860 she served as a missionary to the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians.[lxxxv] The Civil War made missionary work dangerous, and she had to leave it.[lxxxvi]
Her brother Richard lived in Red Wing, Minnesota, and she was a school teacher there before becoming a missionary. When she entered the mission field she was supported with contributions from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.[lxxxvii] She arrived in China in 1866 as part of the American Presbyterian Mission, to help found a girl’s boarding school at Chefoo which she did by the next year.
Downing participated in The General Conference of Missionaries in China, and she was a delegate to their convention held in Shanghai May 10-24, 1877. She was associated with C. W. Mateer’s mission in Tung-Chow (now Tongzhou) and assigned to the station at Chefoo. The mission at Chefoo, “the chief foreign port of the province of Shantung” was established in 1862, the year after the mission in Tunchow.[lxxxviii]
She most closely associated with Hunter Corbett and his wife, and the Corbetts saw her arrival as an answer to prayer. “During the year we were permitted to welcome Miss Downing as a member of Chefoo Station, as well as to our family. In this our prayers were answered, and we hope that she will be blessed of God in winning may souls for Christ,” Corbett wrote.[lxxxix] Calista Downing and Mrs. Corbett had worked together in the Native-American mission field in the United States.[xc]
China’s population lived in abject poverty and superstition was rampant. It was heart wrenching. Probably, seeing conditions in China as they were in the mid to late 19th Century had some influence on her ready acceptance of the message of the Millennial Restitution, the restoration of an Edenic earth.
Writing to the journal Woman’s Work for Woman in 1872 she recounted some of the heart-breaking and difficult situations she met: “In my visits from home to home I see many girls growing up in sin and ignorance whom I long to get, but their heathen relatives would ‘rather they starve’ than let them come to use. Many times they reject our offers to train their girls in our school, and sell them for slaves or for worse than slaves. Poor ignorant people. They will not believe we will keep our word with them, but think we want their girls ‘to take to foreign countries or to make medicine of them.’”[xci]
Two years later, another letter from Miss Downing addressed the issue of child prostitution and slavery. The letter was addressed to a group that “had undertaken the support of a child in her school.” She wrote: “This little girl was a slave bought from a bad woman who had become ill and sold this child to get money to buy medicine. I do not know, nor does she, what her father’s name was. … I have another little slave girl who is very pretty. Of her parents we know nothing.”[xcii]
She gave up her association with the American Presbyterian mission in China by 1894, and perhaps as early as 1880.[xciii] The Directory & Chronicle for China, Japan, Corea, Indo-China, Strait Settlements, ect. for that year lists her as independent.[xciv] She moved from being principal of the Presbyterian girl’s boarding school to the teaching staff of Temple Hill Anglo-Chinese College in Chefoo. The educational directory that lists her as on staff says: “This school is not directly under mission control. It is self supporting. The strong religious character of the school and the establishment of similar schools in the city have somewhat retarded its growth.” With a Mrs. W. C. Booth, Downing was one of two foreign teachers. There were also six Chinese instructors.[xcv]
Though her most obvious missionary work was loaning or giving away Watch Tower publications and discussing the message of the impending Restitution of All Things with European and American missionaries, it is certain that her message went to her students too. A contemporary publication, The Encyclopedia of Missions, said of the boy’s and girl’s boarding schools at Chefoo: “Many have been received into the church who became interested in Christianity through what they heard from the children in these schools.”[xcvi] So while it is true as observed by Carolyn Wah, that Watch Tower missionary activity in Asia “did not start among the Asians, but among foreign missionaries,” the push of Calista B. Downing’s activity was to reach her Chinese students.[xcvii] Even if her contemporary missionaries and teachers saw her as a bit odd, The China Mission Handbook reported that under her care, “the school has been a great blessing to our work.”[xcviii]
Still, her primary mission field using publications was among English speaking missionaries. Writing to Maria Frances Russell in 1887 she said: “I am giving away and lending my copies of Millennial Dawn and my papers, and any time you can send me extra copies of the Watch Tower I can use them to advantage. I expect to see a good many missionaries from other parts of the country during the summer, as this is a health resort, and I shall scatter my Towers, and lend Millennial Dawns. The last bound copy I gave away before taking the wrapper off.”[xcix]
Still later, in 1888, she explained her work more fully:
The Dawns reached me on the 23d of September, for which many thanks. Three of the books are now in Shanghai. The good and thoroughly orthodox Methodist sister, to whom I gave one, said, “The restitution theology is very interesting, and I am glad you have found such rest and peace in believing it.” I am sure she will read the book carefully, and be benefited by it. Another book has gone into a Baptist family. And the third I gave to Rev. Dr. W., who believes in the Millennial coming of Christ, and is, I think, somewhat prepared for Dawn. One book has gone to Ching-chew-fu into the Eng. Bap. Mission. The others I shall send--one to Peking, one to Amoy, one to Tang-chon, etc. The papers also arrived in due time and will soon be scattered over China. The books ordered came by last mail, received two or three days since. Since writing the above, the Concordance and Diaglott came. I cannot thank you enough for the kind letter received at the same time. I am using my Dawn, and the others and the papers are being scattered broadcast over the land. The Rev. Bp. S. (probably Right Reverend Bishop Schereschewsky, of the Protestant Episcopal Church) has a Dawn. You may be sure I lose no opportunity to tell the glad tidings.[c]
Miss Downing is last listed as a missionary in 1903.[ci] She at least died at Chefoo (Yantai) July 22, 1911.[cii] News of her death spread slowly. An announcement finally appeared in Woman’s Work for Woman in October 1911. It avoided mentioning her association with Millennial Dawn, focusing on her other activities. It is a measure of the esteem she generated that at the hour of her funeral the flag at the United States Consulate was lowered to “half mast.” The Presbyterian Church bell “tolled, and a large company surrounded her grave, singing ‘Heaven is my Home’ in Chinese.”[ciii]
There is no practical way to measure the effects of Calista Downing’s preaching on the Chinese who were her principal interest. One would like to know if her adopted daughters maintained an interest in Millennial Dawn. There seems to be no record of them after Miss Downing’s death.
She succeeded in interesting at least two other missionaries, and perhaps more. William Robert Fuller, a Methodist minister, was one of these. I’ve found little in the way of early biography. He was born November 1, 1834, in Chelmsford, Essex, England, to William and Elizabeth Fuller and christened in the Wesleyan Methodist Church about a year later. One picks him up in London in 1864. He is married to Harriet Peachy, a practicing clergyman, and prominent enough to have been on the platform at the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Methodist Free Church Mission Society.[civ]
The impetus toward a Free Church China mission came from J. Hudson Taylor who proposed the mission in the early 1860’s. Because of the Taiping rebellion, action was postponed until later. Fuller was sent out from the United Kingdom to Ningpo, (now Ningbo) China, by The Missionary Society of the United Methodist Free Churches in1864 as its first missionary.[cv] A nearly contemporary account says:
The Committee considered that the time had come for making a beginning. It had reason to believe that ‘specially favourable circumstances’ presented themselves for opening a Mission in Ningpo, one of the treaty ports; and it resolved to send two Missionaries to Ningpo as early as possible. The Rev. J. H. Taylor kindly undertook to give instruction in the Ningpo dialect to the brethren who might be selected. The London Fourth Circuit recommended Mr. W. R. Fuller, who on inquiry, was thought suitable and designated to the work. He had the advantage of Mr. Taylor’s instructions; and he also became a medical student at the London Hospital, the managers of which kindly remitted the usual fees. No second offer of a suitable kind seems to have been made, and in the summer of 1864, Mr. Fuller, accompanied by his wife and family, sailed for Shanghai, en rout for Ningpo. Mr. and Mrs. Fuller arrived safely at Shanghai; though they encountered a dreadful typhoon on their passage, and had to commit to the mighty deep the body of their youngest child, who died at sea. Mr. Fuller soon commenced preaching and conversation services at Nigpo, and was cheered by seeing some pleasing fruit of his labours. On account of serious illness, Mrs. Fuller, after a few months, returned to England with her children. Mr. Fuller remained to prosecute his work. … In conducting the services … Mr. Fuller did not preach. A native preacher delivered the address, Mr. Fuller reading the Scriptures and giving out the hymns.[cvi]
He opened a “dispensary” at Ningpo and ministered to health needs as well as spiritual needs.[cvii] Fuller returned to England in 1866, apparently to care for and collect his family, “but again went back to China, and for a time laboured at Ningpo, and afterwards at Chefoo” where he met Calista Downing. She placed Zion’s Watch Tower and Millennial Dawn in his hands. He quietly preached the new teachings and did not come to Russell’s notice until about 1892, some years after he espoused Watch Tower teaching. His letter to Russell dated March 2, 1891, appears as an appendix to The Time is at Hand, volume three of the Millennial Dawn series, and incidentally shows C. B. Downing to still be an active Watch Tower missionary in that year:
It is now several years since an apparently incidental conversation … led my good friend, Miss Downing to place a number of Zion’s Watch Tower in my hands. Above I say incidental—I will now correct myself and say providential; for this I most firmly believe it to have been, inasmuch as from that day to this I have been … truly blessed, comforted, enlightened and strengthened. …
Is it not wonderful to observe the ways and means which God, by his Spirit, has been employing … in bringing numbers of his people into a clearer understanding of Bible truths, cleansing the Word, as it were, from the dust of centuries, bringing out things new as well as old to the forefront for examination, clinching and dovetailing its various books so that it can be seen that not a single one can in anyway be done without, and causing the whole Scripture to shine forth in all its undimmed glory …
In my humble opinion, your works … furnish the very best commentaries and helps I have met with, on the Scriptures texts and prophecies relating to the second coming of our Lord. I read them again and again with ever increasing pleasure.[cviii]
Fuller followed Miss Downing’s lead in withdrawing form previous church affiliation. Little information exists to illuminate his separation form the Methodists. A short statement is found in one history of the Methodist mission to China, saying: “Eventually he retired from the ministry, and we understand, as subsequently practiced successfully as a medical man.”[cix]
Fuller remained in Chefoo, supporting Calista Downing in her ministry. There is some slight evidence that Fuller wrote letters to other missionaries and circulated Watch Tower literature among them. In 1894 Fuller operated The Chefoo Dispensary and General Store and, though an English citizen, he served as American Vice-counsel in Chefoo.[cx] He died at Chefoo September 19, 1894.
It is to Horace Andrews Randle that we should refer a comment found in May 15, 1898, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower: “A shipment of Dawns and tracts of nearly six hundred pounds goes to China, to a brother, a missionary there, who has recently become interested in the harvest message and who believes that he sees opportunities for some of the elect to be sealed in that far off land.”[cxi]
Horace Randle was another missionary to China converted through C. B. Downing’s work. Most of his history is more appropriate to another discussion since his interest came after the period of Watch Tower history we’re considering. He was born in 1854 in Chelsenham, Gloucester, England to William and Harriet Randle and was one of at least four children. His father is described in the 1861 Census Returns of England and Wales as a “corn dealer,” a grain wholesaler. The 1871 Census Returns report him as employed as a clerk and one of his sisters employed as a school mistress in a private religious school.
He was sent out by The China Inland Mission April 5, 1876, and arrived there on May 22nd of the same year. In March 1880 he married Ellen Boyd, also a missionary with The China Inland Mission.[cxii] She and her older sister Fanny Boyd arrived in 1878, and within eighteen months she and Horace Randle were married. Ellen was about three years his senior according to the 1871 Census.[cxiii]
Randle worked hard and cautiously to make converts. He found opposition to their work pervasive among the ruling and intellectual classes in China, and he made only slow progress:
During the nine years of my work in China I have been permitted to baptize thirty-three converts. I tell you these numbers, not because I wish to boast; it is a very small number, but it may show you, perhaps, the average of a man’s work. … We have the opposition of the literary classes and the mandarins. This we found to be universal. The character of the people and their reverence for old-time customs is a difficulty. The very construction of the language is a serious difficulty, and makes it by no means easy to express spiritual thoughts to the people. But Confucianism I consider to be the greatest obstruction; although the opium traffic, I should say, is the saddest.[cxiv]
In 1885 Randle was sent to the United States for medical training and he graduated with an M.D. His medical credentials are often listed as: “Horace A. Randle, M.D. (U.S.A)” and on that basis he was occasionally taken for an American. The listing was given in that form because the qualifications for an M.D. in the United States differed from those in the United Kingdom. After graduating from an American medical school he enrolled for similar education at Edinburgh, graduating from that program in 1888, and he and his family returned to China on November 16, 1888. In 1890 he moved to Chefoo.
He began preaching the Watch Tower message in the early 1890’s, making several trips to the United States to meet Russell and to preach. A brief article in the June 30, 1900, New York Times announced an address by him at the Harlem YMCA. By 1901 he was resident in England, the census of that year describing him as a “medical missionary preacher” associated with “Millennial Dawn Christians.”
Though associated through his medical work with a Baptist mission, he remained affiliated with The China Inland Mission. He formally resigned his association with them On April 20, 1894.
In the context of this history, the brief summary of his activity found in Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom will suffice:
Horace Randle … had his interest further stimulated by an advertisement for Millennial Dawn that appeared in the London Times, and this was followed up by copies of the book itself—one from Miss Downing and another sent by his mother in England. At first, he was shocked by what he read. But once convinced that the Trinity is not a Bible teaching, he resigned from the Baptist Church and proceeded to share with other missionaries what he had learned. In 1900 he reported that he had sent out 2,324 letters and some 5,000 tracts to missionaries in China, Japan, Korea, and Siam (Thailand). At that time it was mainly to Christendom’s missionaries that the witness was being given in the Orient.[cxv]
Though after accepting Watch Tower theology Randle’s focus was on fellow missionaries, his primary interest was those the missionaries taught. He saw reaching missionaries as the surest way to reach native-language converts. There is no record of any result of Randle’s Millennial Dawn teaching on his previously made Chinese converts.
Reaching Foreign Language Fields within the United States
A request for a German language tract “setting forth the glad tidings” was sent to Russell in late 1882 and it appears in the December Watch Tower. Russell called for “a German brother with the necessary ability” to translate the October 1882 issue, a missionary issue, into that language. He also remarked that “a Swedish translation is also much called for. … Here is a place in the harvest field for someone.”[cxvi]
Financial problems delayed the work in both languages. Russell explained:
As will be seen below, the Fund is in debt over $2,500, and of course no further work can be undertaken by the Fund until this debt is paid. We regret this exceedingly, and partly because in our last issue we held out a hope to some, who have long desired it, that we would soon issue the October TOWER in German and in Swedish.
A plan suggested to us is the only way out of the difficulty which we can see. It is this: We can start two sub-funds, one for the German and the other for the Swedish papers, and those desirous of contributing specially to these can thus do so. A Swedish brother has already sent $8.50 for the latter, and a German sister $3 for the former fund. When either of these funds shall amount to $200, we will commence to print and go as far as we can. Meantime we will, by the assistance of brethren, have translations prepared.[cxvii]
Contributions to the Swedish and German Tract funds came slowly. This isn’t surprising considering the difficult financial condition of most recent immigrants. In June 1883 Russell reported: “Our regular Tract Fund is still behind and the special
Swedish Tract Fund, started some time since, has not flourished thus far and contains less than thirty dollars. It would require about three hundred dollars to issue a proper edition. Our Master is rich -- he owns the cattle upon a thousand hills, as well as the hills themselves, and all the gold and silver are His. If he deems the work necessary he will make the necessary provision. The German Fund has made even less progress, but as the interest in that direction is less we shall for the present be most interested in the Swedes.”[cxviii]
The first significant work among Scandinavians is noted in 1883 with the publication of a letter from a Charles Seagrin, a native of Sweden. There almost no record of Charles Seagrin. Even his name is a puzzle, since it appears to be Anglicized. It may be that his birth name was Carl Sjögren. An individual of that name was born about 1859 in Hellstad Östergötland Län, Sweden and emigrated to the United States. He departed Göteborg on April 15, 1880, bound for New York.[cxix] There appear to be two or three all of the same name who arrived within months of each other. It is pure conjecture that any of these are the Carl Seagrin mentioned in Zion’s Watch Tower. Of these, the most likely are a man who left Sweden in 1879 bound for Chicago and one who left in 1873 bound for Cleveland.
Seagrin entered the work in late December 1882 or January 1883, “some six months” before he wrote to Russell. He saw a conflict between usual religious doctrine and practice and what he believed the Bible to teach. “Some time ago,” he explained, “finding my Bible teaching one thing and sectarianism quite another, I determined to go out as a lay Evangelist to preach the truth as nearly as I could understand it, among my own countrymen, the Swedes, and in my own language.”
His introduction to Watch Tower theology was by means of Food for Thinking Christians. While in Iowa someone brought him a copy and asked his opinion of it. He tried to explain away its teachings but became convinced instead:
I spent a whole evening trying to explain away its teachings, and afterwards retired to spend much of the night in thinking over the subject. The next morning I got the "Food" and my Bible, and began in earnest to compare the two to see if these things were really true-- after careful study of the Bible I came gradually to see the beauty of this real glad tidings.
I began in my preaching to introduce the teachings; yet to avoid reproach and secure the favor of men, I was tempted to limit or explain away these glorious Bible truths. Once on a text involving Restitution I had begun to explain it in the old manner, but the Spirit cut me off; I then thought to avoid saying anything to the point, but God did not forsake his Jonah-like servant. I saw at once the evil of so doing, and conquering the tempter, I did plainly preach "the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began." I have never since compromised with error.
I find many who will listen for hours with close attention. Some reject the truth, but many hear with joy. Some that I thought slow to receive it were only trying the foundations thoroughly, and some of these are becoming its most firm and able defenders, many of these humble teachers with their Bibles in hand, are able to overthrow the wise and learned preachers of traditions. For nearly a year I have preached this truth with more or less fullness as I gradually came to a knowledge of it.
I have suffered much reproach and some trials and persecution for the truth's sake, but never since the time mentioned have I faltered or mixed truth with error to make it palatable to formal Christians. I find some infidels who, hearing the truth, are beginning to think the Bible is true, and some have accepted the truth and are telling the good news to others, showing that the Bible is reasonable when understood.
During the time that I have preached this truth some two hundred Swedes have received it and are rejoicing in it and telling it to others.[cxx]
Seagrin asked that translations into Swedish progress as rapidly as possible. Of Seagrin himself, nothing more is heard. There is no indication that he persisted as a Watch Tower evangelist, and his association appears short-lived.
It is difficult to read motivations into one hundred year old correspondence, and even more difficult to find clues to personality in a single letter. However, at the risk of falling into the trap of psychoanalyzing the dead, Seagrin’s letter impresses me as the writing of a less than stable but zealous preacher. More documentation is needed, and I would be happy to revise this opinion if it is ever forthcoming.
When publishing Seagrin’s letter, Russell explain that the Swedish Tract Fund had not prospered. The fund contained less than thirty dollars, he said. “It would require about three hundred dollars to issue a proper edition.”[cxxi]
Still, the Swedish tract work came to fruition first. In October 1883 The Watch Tower requested the names and addresses of “of all the moral and religious Swedes and Norwegians you can gather; for samples of the Swedish paper.”[cxxii] When a list was compiled, Russell announced the publication of twenty thousand copies of a sample issue of The Watch Tower in Swedish:
The Swedish tract fund reached such a sum as to justify the publishing of a sample copy of the Tower in the Swedish language, to be used as a tract, among the Swedish and Norwegian Christians, here and in Sweden. The notice in our last issue, that we were ready for lists of addresses of religious Swedes and Norwegians, brought to us many responses, and we will be mailing sample copies to the same, about the time you receive this paper. Whether there will be in the future, a regular edition of the Tower in Swedish, will depend upon the interest awakened amongst that people by these sample copies and upon the supply of needful means for the additional expense involved.[cxxiii]
Exact details of the first Swedish Watch Tower are lacking. It was issued irregularly. In February 1884, Russell reported that requests for the paper continued to arrive in his office, but said he couldn’t publish it regularly “until about 1,500 subscribers are pledged.” He reported that they had “plenty of sample copies … so continue to send for them.”[cxxiv]
By October 1884, Russell found interest among Swedish immigrants gratifying. He reported that “thousands of papers in English and Swedish are printed and sent forth continually. We mention this that you may know that you have a supply to draw from so long as the Master shall supply the funds. Order as many ‘sample copies for distribution,’ as you think you can use to advantage in preaching the ‘glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.’”[cxxv]
The work entered Sweden through the irregular publication of the Swedish language Watch Tower. In October 1884, a Swedish immigrant woman wrote to Russell asking for three copies of each issue so they could forward them “to Sweden, to some persons whom I know for sure are thinking Christians and Bible students.”[cxxvi]
By January 1885, Russell could report that they had published “four numbers of the same size as the English TOWER, containing selected articles—translations from English numbers.” He said there were about eight hundred interested Swedish immigrants interested in the work, but “the number of … would not justify … the regular publication of the Tower in that language.”[cxxvii]
An urgent request for “some Swedish brother, whose heart is filled with the love of the truth and with a desire to serve it, who … has no family; one who has a good Swedish education and a fair understanding of the English language” appeared in Zion’s Watch Tower in January 1886. One presumes this was to fill the need for continued translation and evangelization among Swedish speakers in the United States.[cxxviii]
As with the British and American fields, most missionary activity was informal, a point Russell makes frequently. His view of the work was that every child of God would use every opportunity to speak the Good News. The letters he selected for publication often reflect this. For instance in the September 1886 Watch Tower, he wrote: “The Lord wanted to gather some saints in Sweden, and he raised up some earnest Swedes in this country, who by private letters and translations communicate the good tidings to other Swedish saints.”[cxxix]
Those efforts produced fruitage. None of the names of those in Sweden who expressed interest in the 1880’s survive as far as I can tell. Yet, Russell mentioned letters of interest from Sweden[cxxx] One such letter signed only as M. N. O. appears in the February 1887 issue of The Watch Tower.
While Russell intended the Swedish material to address the needs of Norwegian immigrants too, it failed to do so. What ever led him to that idea, a letter from a Norwegian resident in New Orleans disabused him of it: “I believe that the Norwegians are a still more religiously inclined people than the Swedes in general. In short, I believe the truth would meet with a still better reception among them. You will probably question: ‘Do not the Swedish publications meet the demand of the Norwegians also?’ I answer, ‘No; the two languages differ so much that the Swedish number of the Tower is almost of no use to the Norwegians, and will hardly be read by any of them.’ There is also a little prejudice existing between the two nations. I pray God to open a way to have it published in Norwegian. The ‘Food’ and the ‘Tabernacle’ would, I know, be a great blessing to the saints in Norway.”[cxxxi]
Russell’s reply was that translation into Norwegian should be done as soon as possible, but it would be some years before Norwegian publications were available.
German Language Immigrants
The first interest noted among German speaking immigrants is found in the December 1882 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. Apparently in response to the November issue, which was a special missionary issue with a printing of 200,000 copies, Russell noted that “one German brother” sent one hundred dollars to support the work. The same issue contained a letter from Bern, Pennsylvania, requesting a German language tract.[cxxxii]
Plans for sample or missionary issues of Zion’s Watch Tower in both Swedish and German did not materialize as hoped. Russell started the tract funds for each language in January 1883. The German fund grew very slowly. When presenting Charles Seagrin’s letter about his work among Swedish immigrants, Russell remarked that “The German Fund has made even less progress, but as the interest in that direction is less we shall for the present be most interested in the Swedes.”[cxxxiii]
In August 1883, Russell printed a letter from a young German immigrant then living in Omaha: “I have a perfect knowledge of the German language, and I am meditating upon what I could do. When the German people are won, they are faithful.
I am assured there will be a way opened to them by our divine Lord somehow.”[cxxxiv]
Even though no German language publications were forthcoming, small German speaking groups existed. In November of that year Russell, citing Amos 8:11, suggested that the German brethren were suffering from spiritual famine. “We shall give some special attention to the German Fund,” he wrote. “It will be remembered that this fund was started some time ago and then permitted to rest until the Swedish Tract-paper should be issued. Now we are ready, so far as in us lies to preach the glad tidings to our German brethren and sisters also. The German Fund contains about $25. When it grows to about $300, we shall begin to make a start, in this direction.”[cxxxv]
The German fund continued to languish for the next two years. In January 1885 it contained only $126.54, about a third of the Swedish tract fund. “We published nothing in German,” Russell explained, “the fund being insufficient for even a start, but, growing gradually, it may be of use some day; meanwhile, we have obtained the addresses of some, able and willing to assist, by translating, when we are ready.”[cxxxvi]
Russell’s accounting of the German tract fund drew at least one contribution from a German speaker who had been reached with Food for Thinking Christians. He sent a contribution to be used to address what ever need Russell felt most urgent, and he expressed himself as ready to preach the message:
How I long to have all the back numbers of the Tower. Is there no way of procuring them? Any price! I am preparing to work among my (German) countrymen, and would like to have them on that account.
The glorious truth which since a year ago shone on my heart through the “Food,” becomes brighter and brighter. I had the “Food” three years in my possession, but never found time nor opportunity to read it, but always saved it. Last winter I got poor and lean and all creeds and dogmas seemed to leave me. I searched and found “Food.” No book ever took me like that. I forgot meals and all. I could not sleep for joy. O, the blessedness I have enjoyed since then. God is still revealing more and more to me by the Tower and Scriptures. Diaglott and Young's Concordance are great helps to me. I would like this glorious truth to be spread among my people. I find much opposition with some, but some take it readily. I am still in the Methodist Church (German), but preach and talk in private and openly of the glorious truth. What will become of me the Lord knows--I expect to be thrown out. I would much like to see you personally and talk to you about plans which I have. If any way possible, I will see you.[cxxxvii]
Russell wanted to have the October 1882 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower translated into German for use as a missionary tract. This never happened.[cxxxviii]
In March 1885 The Watch Tower printed a letter from a German speaker who was preparing to work among his countrymen. Neither a name nor a location is attached to the letter so there are no clues to this person’s identity. They were still associated with a German Methodist church but said they “but preach and talk in private and openly of the glorious truth.” They expected to be expelled from that church and wanted to meet Russell and discuss their plans for German language evangelism.[cxxxix]
The message reached Otto Ulrich Karl von Zech, an Evangelical Lutheran Clergyman,[cxl] in November 1885. Von Zech was born in 1845 and was “a member of a landed family from Thuringia who immigrated to the United States to escape military service in 1865.”[cxli] He became a German Evangelical Lutheran pastor, apparently after immigrating.
Zech was the pastor of Saint Paul’s Congregation Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, founding the congregation in 1871 with twenty members. He returned again as its pastor in 1883, serving in that capacity through 1884 when he moved to Allegheny.
He received the Watch Tower message through a gift subscription. In late 1884 or early 1885 Russell started sending the magazine to all the clergymen in Allegheny, and von Zech was included in the list. He regularly discarded it until the November 1885 issue “to which his attention was called providentially” caught his interest.
Russell issued Zech’s statement to his former church which was published as a special eight page booklet and sent out as a supplement to the December 1886, Zion’s Watch Tower. It was entitled
Erklärung: Warum der Unterzeichnete seine Verbindung mit der ev. Luth. Kirche, Respective mit der Synode von Ohio und seiner Gemeinde lösen musste, nebst Angabe einiger Gründe.
His open letter explained his new doctrinal stand and opened with the statement that he felt explanations were owed to his former associates in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio. It was a scriptural due, he said, in the light of 2 Peter 3:15. A note at the end of his Explanation directed readers to Zion’s Watch Tower, giving the 101 Federal Street address.
The record of his troubles drew some sympathy from Watch Tower readers. A brief letter from a sister in Texas asked Russell to “please present the enclosed amount, $5.00 in the name of our dear Lord and Master, to our brother, Otto Von Zech, who has left all to follow Him.”[cxlii]
Von Zech assumed responsibility for the German language work, preparing several issues of Zion’s Watch Tower for use among German speakers, and the first issue was ready by January 1886:
We take pleasure in announcing to our German friends, that we have commenced a German edition of the Tower, the first number of which goes forth this month. It will be a monthly, of eight pages, smaller than the English edition: price, 25 cents per year. The Lord seemed to set before us an open door in this direction, and to the extent of our ability we go forward to enter it by starting this paper. You also have a privilege in connection with this work. It is for you to scatter sample copies, and to awaken an interest in it among earnest German Christians. Do your part well, and while you pray, labor also and sacrifice in the spread of the “glad tidings.” Send in subscriptions and orders for sample copies at once.[cxliii]
The April 1886 issue encouraged their use: “We have now issued several numbers of our German edition, composed in the main of translations from the English edition, by Bro. Von Zech. We want to get it into the hands of all the truthseeking Germans possible. You can thus help in ‘bearing up’ and ‘washing’ and making ‘ready’ the members of the body among these. Will you do it? Order all the sample copies you can use judiciously--Free. Those who are canvassing with sample packets of ‘Food’ and Tower should have samples of the German with them for such.”[cxliv]
With the August 1886 Watch Tower, Russell urged his readers to send in the names of those who “might have a hearing ear for the truth, for samples of English, German or Swedish Towers.”[cxlv] The German language version of The Watch Tower edited by von Zech never had a large circulation, reaching only about six hundred by 1894, and some of those were English language readers who subscribed to help forward the work.[cxlvi]
When Millennial Dawn: The Plan of the Ages was released, von Zech translated it as well. A notice that he was “now engaged in translating it” appears in the August 1886 issue of The Watch Tower, but his translation wasn’t released until 1888 as Millennium Tages-Anbruch: Der Plan der Zeitalter. He also prepared and published his own material. A letter printed in the February 1886 Tower suggests as much when it thanks him for two printed sermons he sent to the writer. No copies are known to exist.[cxlvii]
Enough German language interest followed von Zech out of the Lutheran Church that at least by August 1886 meetings were held in the G.A.R. hall over the Third National Bank at 101 Federal Street in Allegheny City. The German group met at 1:30, followed by two English language meetings.[cxlviii]
[i] Any residual interest would have been nearly insignificant. In a letter to Barbour appearing in the March 1883 issue of The Herald of the Morning, he says that very few in Brittan held the views similar to Barbour’s. (page 47)
[ii] Barratt, Noris and Julius Sachs: Freemasonry in Pennsylvania: 1727-1907, Philadelphia, 1919, Volume 3, page 423. Transactions of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania: 1866-1867, Taylor & Hickman, West Chester, 1867, page 13.
[iii] The Sunday School Journal 1871:47.
[iv] See the notice of sale in the June 1886 issue, page 28.
[v] Americans in London, The New York Times, July 12, 1881. Quotation is from the article “Current Literature,” The Literary World, March 6, 1886, page 86.
[vi] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1882, reprints page 325.
[vii] From Brother J. J. Bender, Zion’s Watch Tower, October/November 1881, page 6.
[viii] Russell, C. T.: In the Vineyard, Zion’s Watch Tower, October/November 1881, page 5.
[ix] Sunderlin, J. C.: Words from Brother Sunderlin, Zion’s Watch Tower, October/November 1881, page 6.
[x] Tuckett, E. A.: Correspondence, The Rainbow, January 1881, page 40-41.
[xi] Notes and Comments: Spiritualism and the Religious Press, The Psychological Review, December 1881, pages 234-237.
[xii] Godfrey, N. S.: Latter-Day Spiritualism, The Prophetic News and Israel’s Watchman, February 1882, page 60.
[xiii] The only reference to James Leslie I can find is in History of Toronto and County of York Ontario, C. Blackett Robinson, Toronto, 1885, Volume 1, page 295. It says that “the Toronto Mechanics’ Institute was established in January, 1831, at a meeting of influential citizens called by Mr. James Leslie, now of Eglinton.” The Mechanics’ Institute library formed the basis for the Toronto Library system.
[xiv] Leslie, James: Denominational Creeds, The Rainbow: A Magazine of Christian Literature, February 1883, pages 90-91.
[xv] Letter headed Nottingham, England, April 13, 1882, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1882, reprints pages 356-357.
[xvi] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1881, page 2.
[xvii] Letter headed Nottingham, Eng., Feb. 24th, 1882, Zion’s Watch Tower,May 1882, page 2.
[xviii] Letter headed “Nottingham, England,” Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1882, page 1.
[xix] Letter headed “Nottingham, England,” Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1883, page 1.
[xx] The Memorial Celebration, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1, 1914, page 143.
[xxi] See The Practical Teacher: A Monthly Educational Journal, February 1882, page 596.
[xxii] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1882, reprints page 346.
[xxiii] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1886, page 2.
[xxiv] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1885, page 2 and Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1, 1895, page 24. Ancestry.com entry for Aaron Powel Riley, retrieved 2008.
[xxv] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1885, page 2.
[xxvi] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, Aril 1882, page 1.
[xxvii] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1882, page 1.
[xxviii] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1882, page 1.
[xxix] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1884, page 1.
[xxx] Hudson, A. O.: The Bible Students in Brittan: The Story of a Hundred Years, Bible Fellowship Union, 1989, as reproduced at http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/history/british%20history.htm .
[xxxi] E. Horne as quoted in “Kind Words of Commendation,” Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1886, page 8.
[xxxii] Riley, Aaron and P. C Riley: Encouraging Words from Earnest Workers, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1, 1892, pages 93-94.
[xxxiii] 2000 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Watchtower Society, New York, 2000, page 69.
[xxxiv] Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1884, page 1. This letter is omitted from the reprints.
[xxxv] Extracts from Interesting Letters,
[xxxvi] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1885, page 2.
[xxxvii] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1885, page 2.
[xxxviii] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1887, page 2.
[xxxix] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1883, pages 1-2.
[xl] Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1883, page 2.
[xli] Hudson, A. O.: Letters from Readers Re: January/February Diamond Anniversary Issue, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, May-June 1994.
[xlii] Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1884, page 2.
[xliii] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1885, page 2.
[xliv] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1885, page 2.
[xlv] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1882, page 2.
[xlvi] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1885, page 2.
[xlvii] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1885, page 2.
[xlviii] View from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1882, pages 1-2.
[xlix] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1885, page 2.
[l] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1885, reprints page 785.
[li] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1885, page 1.
[lii] Rogers placed special emphasis on “the smaller cities of England. See the letter from him found in the February 1, 1894 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower, page 34. This letter is not in the reprints.
[liii] Anderson, James: An Outline of my Life, or Selections from a Fifty Year’s Religious Experience, Publication Committee of Churches of Christ, Birmingham, 1912. see all of chapter 14.
[liv] Biography, The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, December 1, 1916, page 357.
[lv] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, January/February 1882, reprints page 312.
[lvi] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1883, page 1.
[lvii] Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1883, page 2.
[lviii] Extracts From Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1884, page 2.
[lix] See the notice in The World’s Hope, October 1883, page 8.
[lx] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1889, page 1.
[lxi] Finley, Mike: Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide, Canada, no date, page 51.
[lxii] McEvoy, H.: The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory, Robertson & Cook, Toronto, 1869, page 478.
[lxiii] Methodists: C. Pelham Mulvany: Toronto Past and Present: A Handbook of the City, W. E. Caiger, Toronto, 1884, page 184. Baptists: History of Toronto and County of York, C. Blackett Robinson, Toronto, 1885, volume 1, page 318.
[lxiv] Shenston, Thomas S.: A Jubilee Review of the First Baptist Church: Brantford 1833-1884, Bingham & Webster, Toronto, 1890, pages114-115. He served them from April 3 to May 6, 1880.
[lxv] History of Toronto, pages 317-318.
[lxvi] Brookman, W.: Eternal Not Endless, The World’s Hope, January 1884, pages 57-60.
[lxvii] Brookman, W.: Extracts From Letter, The World’s Hope, March 15, 1892, page 94.
[lxviii] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1886, page 1.
[lxix] See: View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1886, page 1; Blessed Dying—From Henceforth, same issue, page 3.
[lxx] See: Extracts From Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1891, page 30, and see the announcement Meetings in Toronto that follows.
[lxxi] Harvest Work and Meetings in Canada: A Word from Brother S. D. Rogers, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1891, page 47.
[lxxii] The article is on pages 282-285 of that issue.
[lxxiii] Memorial Widely Celebrated, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1, 1899, page 95.
[lxxiv] Finley, Mike: Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide, Canada, no date, page 51.
[lxxv] 1979 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, pages p 78-9
[lxxvi] Letter from Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, June 11, 2008. “Brother Baker’s daughter Annie told the brothers, when they were preparing the 1979 report on Canada, that her father had published this booklet. However, they do not have a copy of it in their files, nor do we have a copy in our files.”
[lxxvii] Email from Steve Brown, archivist at Dufferin Museum, Ontario, to Bruce Schulz, dated June 18, 2008.
[lxxviii] The letter from Thomas and Harriet Baker appears in the June 1, 1894, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower on pages 178-179.
[lxxix] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1883, page 1.
[lxxx] Russell, C. T.: Seed Time and Harvest, Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1886, page 6.
[lxxxi] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1884, reprints page 645.
[lxxxii] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1883, page 1.
[lxxxiii] Randal, Horace A: Present Truth in the Far East, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1, 1900, page 150.
[lxxxiv] Fairbanks, Edward T.: The Town of St. Johnsbury VT: A Review of One Hundred Twenty-Five Years to the Anniverasry Pageant 1912, Cowles Press, St. Johnsbury, Vermont, 1914, page 238.
[lxxxv] Historical Sketches of the Missions Under the Care of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, Philadelphia, 1881, pages 33-34.
[lxxxvi] Smith, Harold Frederick & Charles Hodge Corbett: Hunter Corbett And His Family, College Press, Claremont, California, 1965, page 47 identifies this as the reason she left her missionary work among native Americans.
[lxxxvii] School teacher: Rasmussen, C. A.: History of Red Wing, Minnesota, 1933, page 217. Church support: Fifth Annual Report of the Woman’s Presbyterian Missions of the North-West, Chicago, 1876, page 92.
[lxxxviii] Records of the General Conference of the Protestant Missionaries of China, Held at Shanghai, May 10-24, 1877, Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai, 1878, pages 2, 5. Survey of Missions of the Board, The Foreign Missionary of the Presbyterian Church, January 1871, page 203.
[lxxxix] Corbett, Hunter: Review of a Year’s Work at Chefoo, China, The Home and Foreign Record of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, March 1867, page 59.
[xc] Smith, Fredrick F. and Charles Hodge Corbett: Hunter Corbett and His Family, College Press, Claremont, California, 1966, pages 166, 185.
[xci] Woman’s Work for Woman, September 1872, as quoted in Margaret E. Burton: The Education of Women in China, Fleming H. Revell Company, pages 45-46.
[xcii] Woman’s Work for Woman, January 1874, as quoted in Margaret E. Burton: The Education of Women in China, Fleming H. Revell Company, pages 50-51.
[xciii] Email from R. Gary Tiedemann, Senior Research Fellow, King’s College, to B. W. Schulz dated November 16, 2008 states: “She was associated with the American Presbyterians from 1866 to 1880,”
[xciv] Hong Kong, The Daily Press, 1894 edition, page 100.
[xcv] Nathaniel Gist Gee: The Educational Directory for China, Second Issue, Education Association of China, 1905, page 22.
[xcvi] Bliss, Edwin Munsel, editor: The Encyclopedia of Missions, Funk and Wagnalls Company, New York, 1891, Volume 2, page 252.
[xcvii] Wah, Carolyn R.: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Empire of the Sun: A Clash of Faith and Religion During World War II, Journal of Church and State, January 1, 2002. The article contains several errors of fact. She identifies William T. Ellis, a noted opponent of Russell’s, as a Watch Tower representative. She dates missionary activity outside the United States to “as early as 1892,” at least eleven years after it began.
[xcviii] The China Mission Handbook: First Issue, American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai, 1896, page 199.
[xcix] C.B.D.: A China Missionary Writes, Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1887, page 2.
[c] C.B.D.: The Truth in China, Zion’s Watch Tower, Febrary 1888, page 2.
[ci] Protestant Missionaries in China, The Gospel in All Lands, February 1903, page 87.
[cii] Death date is given in an emails from R. G. Tiedemann to B. W. Schulz, November 16, 2008. The China Monthly Review, Volume 6: pages 422, 503 discusses her will. Her death is noted in The Chinese Recorder, volume 42, pages 429, 529.
[ciii] Untitled Notice, Woman’s Work for Woman, October 1911, page 231.
[civ] Marriage: The John Henry Hinton Photographs, Edmonton Art Gallery, 1977, page 7. Meeting: London District Missionary Activity, The United Methodist Free Churches’ Magazine, June 1864, page 385.
[cv] United Methodist Free Church Missionary Society, The Christian Witness and Church Members’ Magazine, Volume 21, 1864, page 272
[cvi] Kirsop, Joseph: Historic Sketches of Free Methodism, Andrew Crombie, London, 1885, pages 104-106.
[cvii] Samuel Couling, editor: The Encyclopaedia Sinica, Oxford University Press, 1917, page 583.
[cviii] Letter from W. R. Fuller to C. T. Russell found in an Appendix The Time is at Hand, Millennial Dawn, Volume 3, Special Issue of Zion’s Watch Tower representing Vol. 12, No. 6, June 1891, pages 377-380.
[cix] Kirsop, Historic Sketches of Free Methodism, page 106.
[cx] The Directory & Chronicle for China, Japan, Corea, Indo-China, Straits Settlements, Malay States, Siam, Netherlands India, Borneo, the Philippines, &c. ; with which are incorporated "The China Directory" and "The Hongkong Directory and Hong List for the Far East" for 1894, Daily Press, Hong Kong, 1894, pages 97-98.
[cxi] Views from the Watch Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 15, 1898, page 150.
[cxii] All the unreferenced statements in the biographical sketch of Randle are derived from a research summary prepared by David Hails, an archivist with OMF International, and included in an email sent to B. W. Schulz on November 11, 2008. OMF International is the successor to The China Inland Mission.
[cxiii] The Boyd family is noted in Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK: Public Record Office, 1871. Fanny was six years older than her sister Ellen. “In 1878 I went out to China with a younger sister, now Mrs. Randle, and we worked together for the first eighteen months or so at Gank-k’ing …. After my sister was married we went to Kiu-chau.”—Fanny Boyd in J. Hudson Taylor, editor: China’s Millions¸ Morgan and Scott, London, 1886, page 95.
[cxiv] Horace A. Randle in China’s Millions, pages 94-95.
[cxv] Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, Watchtower Society, Brooklyn, New York, 1993, page 418.
[cxvi] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1882, reprints page 415.
[cxvii] Watch Tower Tract Fund, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1883, page 2.
[cxviii] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[cxix] Swedish Emigration Records, 1783-1951, found at ancestry.com
[cxx] Brother Seagrin’s Letter, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[cxxi] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[cxxii] See untitled announcement on page 1 of that issue.
[cxxiii] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, November 1883, page 1.
[cxxiv] Requests, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1884, page 1.
[cxxv] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1884, page 1.
[cxxvi] Extracts from Interesting Letters,. Zion’s Watch Tower, November 1884, page 2.
[cxxvii] Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 1.
[cxxviii] Untitled announcement, page 8.
[cxxix] Seed Time and Harvest, Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1886, page 6.
[cxxx] Answers to Your Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1887, page 7.
[cxxxi] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 1.
[cxxxii] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1882, page 2.
[cxxxiii] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[cxxxiv] Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1883, page 3.
[cxxxv] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, November 1883, page 1.
[cxxxvi] Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 1.
[cxxxvii] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1885, page 1.
[cxxxviii] Watch Tower Tract Fund, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1883, page 2.
[cxxxix] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1885, page 1.
[cxl] Von Zech was born December 4, 1845 in Kleinballhausen, Kingdom of Saxony. He immigrated to the United States, settling in Pennsylvania. He died March 5, 1908 in Philadelphia.
[cxli] Charles H. Lippy, Peter W. Williams: Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience, 1988, page 630.
[cxlii] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1886, page 2.
[cxliii] The Tower in German, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1886, page 1.
[cxliv] The German Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1886, page 1. (omitted from reprints)
[cxlv] Untitled Announcement on page 1 of that issue. Not in reprints.
[cxlvi] O Give Thanks Unto the Lord, for He is Good, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 11, 1894, special issue, page 165.
[cxlvii] The Trial of our Faith Necessary, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1886, page 7.
[cxlviii] Pittsburgh Church Meetings, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1886, page 8. Omitted from reprints.