Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today on the Private Blog

The full text of the Feb. 1881 Watch Tower Tract Society organizational document and a photo of the signatures and pledged amounts.

To apply for access, see the instructions below.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Our membership list broke today and we lost two members. One I was able to resend an invitation to; the other, "Joshua Himes", needs to send me a new request. I'm very sorry for the crash. I can't find your original email.

New on the Private Blog

A heretofor missing issue of Midnight Cry and Herald of the Morning. To apply for access see the instructions below.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On the private blog ...

New material on Jonas Wendell. to read it apply for access as noted below.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Post on Private Blog

For access to our invitation only blog, see below.

The new post is a transcription of an interview of C. T. Russell published in an Ohio newspaper in 1882.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Everything that matters will start appearing on the private blog. If you have an interest in our research, follow the instructions in the previous post to apply for blog access.


A new version of the chapter dealing with Russell's early association with Barbour and Paton in on the private blog. To read it you must be a member. To apply see details below.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Many thanks to ....

Amy Reytar of the United States National Archives for locating and sending copies of original documents re: J. B. Adamson and his wife. Yipeeeee!


The Private Blog

The new blog has been partially formatted. There are no posts yet. We're still distracted by research, but we're moving updates and comments there soon. This will be an invitation only blog. If you have an interest in our research and wish to have access to the new blog you must do the following:

1. Establish a google or blogger account. There will be no totally anonymous posts. You will need an established name. It need not be your real name; in fact I would discourage that. Just create a "name" that tags your posts to an identity. I don't care what name you choose as long as it doesn't make me spit coffee on my computer screen. Even something like Poodle Walker is okay. Be inventive.

2. Send Bruce a short email explaining that you'd like access to the new blog. Tell us why. Be aware that if you use roadrunner and live in Brooklyn your access will be canceled. You know why. [Of course if you do use roadrunner and live in Brooklyn and are an innocent party, you can always try to convince us of your pure heart and golden intentions.]

His email is BWSchulz2 [at] yahoo. com.

There are several days of formatting ahead of us. I'm a bit ill and struggling through the formatting. So there is no huge hurry. There won’t be anything interesting over there for a few days.

This is an open ended invitation. Anyone who wants access can ask. I don’t see us refusing many. The same rules that exist here will exist there. Simply put they are 1. be nice and 2. be nice. For full details see previous “rules” posts.

Expect delays. There are always delays, right? So expect them. I have children to raise, goats to feed, students to annoy, a husband to beat with a stick (not really), a book going to trade paper in a few weeks, a writing partner to stress, and cookies to bake. Expect delays.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ira Allen's Signature

From the front end sheet of his copy of Day Dawn. Courtesy of Frank Marotta. The book is currently on ebay, and Frank kindly made this scan for me.
Ira Allen was Lizzie A. Allen's father. He was an associate at various times of Storrs, Hastings, Wendell, Barbour, and lastly Russell.

Finding what you know must be there ...

The Allegheny Church, listed not as a Second Adventist Congregation but as a
One Faith Congregation.
Do you have any idea how much this alters the traditional view?
We looked long and hard for this.

Friday, October 15, 2010

From The Restitution, Oct. 10, 1877

Intersting things in Restitution. I've just started reading it. Russell promises an article on the Great Pyramid. If it was written, it does not appear in the issues to which I have access. There's a longish discussion in 1881 about the date of the memorial. Russell's views are considered. This find confirms things Rachael and I have suspected but could not prove. We're looking at a major change in one chapter and some re-writes in two others. We have such a mass of things to read through. I'll post bits of it as I can.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Many thanks ...

to Jan Stilson of the Church of God - General Conference for extensive biolgraphical information on Hiram Vaughn Reed and for putting us on the trail of scanned copies of verious age to come publications. If you haven't read any of Jan's articles in Journal from the Radical Reformation, you should do so. Many of them are available online.

Excellent help!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Russell and Joseph Marsh

For one of his early preaching tours, Russell used the general topic "things pretaining to God's kingdom." This was a borrowing from Marsh who "defined the Gospel as things concerning
the Kingdom of God, especially as the promises to Abraham were fulfilled."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A. B. Simpson and Conley

Rachael passed on bits of her research to me this afternoon. Conley met Simpson no later than December 1885 in Pittsburgh. This is, we would say, a 97 percent certainty. She's still working on it.

I'm working on the Church of God in Pittsburgh. The progress is slow, be I am making some.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hiram V. Reed

We need to see: The kingdom of God: or, The reign of Christ on earth, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. To which is added, "What is truth?" or, divine instruction to the inquirer after truth, office of the Millennial Harbinger, 1861. by H V Reed and Thomas G. Newman.

Anyone have a copy?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The ebay description of our book ...

I know he's trying to sell it, so that mitigates some of the flattery. But this is fun:

Nelson Barbour: The Millennium's Forgotten Prophet, 2009; Fluttering Wings Press, Paperback By Bruce W. Schulz & Rachel De Vienne.

Simply the most detailed information ever compiled about N.H. Barbour.

Detailed historians of Watchtower history have had trouble for many years finding any credible information on this elusive character of Watchtower past. Stated in the official history books of Jehovah's Witnesses over the years, but rarely, if ever detailed as to his life and whereabouts as they related to the influential role he was to play in the early years of Charles Taze Russell much of the mystery is now over with this publication years in the works.

Early historical works such as Royston Pikes, "Jehovah's Witnesses, Who are they, What they teach, What they do" c. 1954 and Herbert Hewitt Stroup's "The JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES" c. 1945 don't even appear to mention Barbour, whereas Alan Rogerson's, "Millions now living will never die" c. 1969 pgs 7-10, A.H. Macmillan's "Faith on the March" c. 1957 pgs 24-28 only give Barbour 3-4 pages of reference at best. Considering what a tremendous impact, in my opinion, he was to have on Russell at a critical crossroad in his history, it's hard to believe a biography or at the very least a detailed article of this man might have been penned at some point. His role in Advent Christian circles as well as Watchtower history seem to have been largely overlooked hence the most appropriate title to this recent labor of love by the authors Schulz and De Vienne.

I cannot stress enough that of all the book-length studies of Watchtower history, this is one of the most detailed and researched. Schulz has been a member of the Watchtower movement for some many years and his family has had historical ties for generations to the early days of this interesting past. His research is adept and the most objective I have ever encountered. He is to be praised for this labor of love that has probably produced less than a few hundred of these "MUST HAVE" books. You wont be disappointed by it's detailed end-notes and accuracy tracing this interesting character and explaining the age old question we inquisitive historians like to ask, "What ever happened to...?"

Find out, whatever happened to Barbour in detail. 176 pages, paperback, like new condition. Filled with nice pictures of key figures and places rarely seen.

Our thanks ...

Our thanks go to Dr. David Miano for his kind assistance in acquiring four rare tracts for us. Help like this is priceless.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Peyton Bowman

Thanks to the efforts of Dr. R. Phillip Stone we now have the record of Bowman's M. E. Church trial. People such as Dr. Stone who take an interest in our project are priceless. Thanks to him and to you all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bethany Faith Cure Home - Pittsburgh

Supported financially by Conley.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Faith Cure

Faith cures and their meaning were an issue among Watch Tower subscribers in the 1880's and into the 1890's. The issue divided Watch Tower readers into three groups. Russell felt the Pink Cottage cures and other faith cures were a sign of the millennium. Conley felt that Christians should actively promote faith healing. Some believed it all from the devil or practiced by charlatans.

Above is George Owen Barnes, responsible for the Pink Cottage faith cures.

Alton Bay Conference

Russell, Barbour, Paton, Adams all attended these conferences in 1877 and 1878.

Misc. Photos

Garr was one of the Elders of The Church of the First Born, the Watch Tower congregation in Louisville, Kentucky.

George W. Jackson was responsible for founding The Household of Faith Church, a Black Second Adventist congregation in Maryland. Peyton Bowman was their pastor.

1917 Christmas Greetings from Russell

Thanks to friends of this blog for the photos.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Voice of the Reaper

A small journal published in Illinois, probably Chicago. Any information would help.

We believe this paper was published by J. B. Adamson. It appears that his full name was John B. Adamson and that his wife's name was Amelia also spelled Emelia. So that makes finding this especially important. Anyone?

We think, but cannot prove yet, that John and Amelia Adamson were from Scotland. That John was born about 1821 and that the moved to the USA in the mid 1870's. This is all very tenuous but it looks as if we're finally on the right track. I'll be disappointed if we aren't. HELP! Please.

Dr. B. A. Garr and Dr. Walter Bell

Benjamin Allan Garr, MD. born in Louisville Ky about 1852/3. Married to an Addie last name unknown. He is named as an Elder in the Church of the First Born in Louisville, Kentucky, and as one of the hosts for Russell's 1904 speach in Louisville.

We have his photo. We need biographical information. Anything will help.

We have no information on Walter Bell at all. Dr. Bell was also an elder in the Louisville congregation. Anything at all will help.

Friday, September 17, 2010


We would very much like to see a four page tract published by Barbour in 1871. Its title is: Alarming State of the World: Can Ye discern the Signs of the Times?

It appears to have been a combination of poetry by a Rochester writer and advertising matter. That's uncertain. We looked in all the usual places and could not find it. Anyone?

Alton Bay

Undated photo - Alton Bay Camp Meeting

Camp Ground Police

Russell and Barbour were at the Alton Bay Camp Meeting, an Advent Christian Association event, in 1877. They were expelled from the camp ground by Camp Ground Police.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Household of Faith Church

This church was founded in 1877 in Blythedale, Maryland. One of the early Watch Tower evangelists was minister there for a period. We have almost no information on this church. One of the founders was a man named George W. Jackson. (1844-1927) Peyton Bowman was minister there sometimes in the 1880's. Anyone?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wish List

1. Bible Examiner 1872-3.
2. World's Hope. We have several years, but we need many more. What do you have?
3. Zion's Day Star / Day Star. We only have one issue.
4. We only have one issue of the semi-monthly edition of Herald of the Morning (June 15, 1878). We need the other issues.
5. Resitution, (Indiana) the issues for 1876-1881. Any.
6. Our Rest and Signs of the Times, also known as Our Rest: Devoted to the Subject of Christ's Second Coming and the Preparation of the Church for That Event. Issues from 1876-1882 are prime interest. Any issue will interest us. Published in Chicago.
7. Barbour: Spiritualism, 1883.
8. A. P. Adams: Bible Harmony.
9. A. P. Adams: Bible Theology.
10. Issues of Spirit of the Word after 1885. Any.
11. F. W. Grant: “Food for Thinking Christians:” A Review of a Tract So Called‎. 12 page tract, 1882.
12. A good photo of Thomas Wilson.
13. Meyer's Millenarian. Any issues
14. Meyer's Atonement. 1885 we think.
15. Newspaper articles that mention local "millennial dawn" meetings published before 1890.
16. A better copy of the Arp Tract. Black and white scan is okay. Our copy is really stained. It does not show up well. We want to use part of it in an illustrtion.
17. Any photograph of an early Watch Tower adherent, preferably from before 1900.
18. The address in Pittsburgh to which the Second Adventist meetings were moved.
20. Has anyone looked through the Herald of Life for references to Russell or the Allegheny Sceond Adventists? That would be issues from 1869-1882.
21. Solid information on the Florida land sales in the 1880's.
22. There are a number of unpublished local history manuscrips detailing the early history of Watch Tower and Second Adventist congregations. We have three of those, and they are marginally helpful. Anyone have any of these? If they touch on the 19th Century at all, they might be helpful.
23. Photo of Joseph Moffitt of England.
24. Photo of John Corbin Sunderlin.
25. Records of Clowes heresy trial.
26. Records of Peyton's heresy trial.
27. A volunteer in Washington, D. C. willing to spend time in the library of congress.

There's more on our wish list, but these things have been way beyond our reach, even if we know where the records or item may be.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm moving this here ...

I'm moving this to a main post because I think it deserves more open discussion. (It's fun, thanks.) And I'm posting it here because Blogger insists I have html code inbeded in my post and won't let me put it in the regular comment trail:

Anonymous said:

A few things you may want to consider (I say this in the spirit of friendly debate--and don't feel obligated to respond--just think about it):

1. I have not seen any evidence that Barbour separated himself from Adventists. In your book, you say that he was disfellowshipped at the Dansville conference. Indeed he was censured at the conference, but this is not the same as being officially disfellowshipped from the Advent Christian Church. It was a local decision. As you know, the timeists and the non-timeists frequently argued, and many non-timeists tried to sideline the timeists. But that doesn't make timeists not Adventist. They are probably more Adventist than non-timeists. And Barbour and his associates continued to call Adventists his "brethren." Moreover, many Adventists continued to associate with him. Barbour did not give his movement a new name either. And the Age to Come Restitutionists, despite not wanting the name Adventist (Joseph Marsh hated denominational names) were still Adventists. So when you say Barbour became one in theology, it merely means he became a different kind of Adventist. And when Russell first read Herald of the Morning, he immediately identified it with Adventism. Why is that?

2. You are right that simply believing in the nearness of Christ's return does not make one Adventist. However, Barbour's chronology was only a slight revision of William Miller's. So that make it Adventist. And Russell's chronology was basically that of Barbour.

3. The idea of the invisible presence is an idea that many Adventists took in the aftermath of the 1844 disappointment, and other Adventists took it after other disappointments. So Russell is part of that tradition. Indeed, Benjamin Wilson, one of the founders of the Church of God, Abrahamic Faith, was an Age to Come Restitutionist, which is an Adventist group. He was a chief influence on Russell and Barbour on the invisible presence idea.

4. When I said that Russell was Adventist, I did not mean to say that he joined up as an official member of put his name on the church roll. I am in agreement with you that his Bible class was not identical with the Adventist group in the area. I was simply addressing the question of whether his theology was primarily Adventist in nature.It is interesting that many people very freely say that Russell was a Presbyterian early in life, but they are afraid to call him an Adventist later. Maybe they are basing this on church membership, but there is more to being part of a denominational tradition than simply being on a membership list.

My reply:

Few Adventists continued to associate with Barbour. Barbour optimistically estimated 1000 interested people. It was probably less. Barbour and his followers saw the New York Conference decision at Springwater (not Dansville, that was a Barbourite conference) as disfellowshipping. Later the Advent Christian Times took the same view, urging its readers to not fellowship with them. The Advent Christian Association did not disfellowship in any other way in that period.

Russell identified the Herald of the Morning as Adventist from the front cover. The illustration was taken from stock Adventist illustrations. Russell wrote to Barbour stating among other things his surmise that Barbour was an Adventist. Barbour’s reply as presented by Russell shows that while he still held to Adventist beliefs they saw themselves as a separate entity: “It also explained that Mr. Barbour and Mr. J. H. Paton, of Michigan, a worker with him, had been regular Second Adventists up to that time [1874].”

After 1874 Barbour identified with Church of the Blessed Hope. Are they Adventists. Ask them. Barbour saw himself as a “true” Adventist. Everyone else wasn’t true to the millerite faith. This has nothing to do with Russell’s own view of self. He saw himself as a non-Adventist believer in the then present Lord.

Barbour borrowed his chronology from non-Adventist sources. There are only so many prophetic periods in the Bible. All chronological speculations are similar because they are based on the same time periods. 19th Century religious magazine are full of prophetic speculation.

Reading articles in the Christian Observer, published before Miller, one finds little difference between it and later Adventist publications. Yet, the Christian Observer was an Anglican paper. There are Presbyterian magazines that followed the same rout in the 1800-1830 period. The Christian Reformer, an idenpendent paper published in New York in the 1820s reads as if it were Adventist. It’s not of course. There is strong reason to think that Russell read Archibald Mason’s Saving Faith and his tracts on the last days. Mason was a Presbyterian. Rachael and I think that Storrs was exposed to A. Fraser’s A Key to the Prophecies.through an American edition published in 1802. Fraser first published in the 1790’s. He wasn’t an Adventist. We aren’t following that trail. Someone else is writing a book on Storrs; we’re going in an opposite direction chronologically.

Similarity in doctrine does not mark one as of that party. As an example, I have read and enjoyed a major portion of German Evangelical and Lutheran Bible commentary from the mid 19th Century. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found many arguments persuasive or illustrative of what I already believed. No Lutheran in his right mind would recognize me as a Lutheran.

If you focus only on Russell’s Adventist influences you ignore most of his history from that period. It is unfortunate that he focused on his close friends. We would like a bibliography of things he read. He never gives us one. Finding that Warleigh was a huge influence was difficult and the end of a long and convoluted research trail. You need to look beyond the obvious. We think Solomon King stands in the background. If he does it is through the filter of someone else. I doubt Russell ever read King’s Two Sermons (Hartford 1810). But some one of his early associates clearly did. Aaron Kinne is in the background somewhere too. We think that’s more than obvious. How one bridges the gap between Kinne and Russell, we do not know. Neither of these men were Adventists. There is a very, very long list of non-Adventist antecedents to Russell’s belief system. Before one writes him off as merely Adventist in outlook, one needs to follow that trail.

Invisible presence idea as Russell held it came from non-Adventist sources. Russell came to it from Seiss. Seiss came to it from Plymouth Brethren and through a small tract published in Philadelphia in the 1820’s with no known denominational connection. There are antecedents to the Brethren. This is the historical trail when it comes to Russell. Even if some Adventists held similar beliefs, we cannot ignore the historical trail.

Russell was baptized as a Presbyterian. He was a church member, belonging lastly to a union congregation organized by Congregationalists. The Presbyterians and Congregationalists had a formal agreement that they would recognize each other’s churches and pastors. He was a recognized member of a denomination, and when he left he requested a church session to formally separate him from the Congregational Church. (We think it was the church on E. Ohio Street, but we are not positive.)

Russell did not join any of the Adventist bodies. He was strongly influenced by Adventists, and adopted many of his ideas from Adventists. Since these doctrines were equally those of many pre-millennialist groups, we need to take him at his word that 1. He wasn’t an Adventist in any formal sense, and 2. He was more strongly pre-millennial in outlook than he was Adventist in outlook. Russell saw himself as following a fourth way. If we lose sight of his self-identity, we lose a major portion of the story.

As I’ve said here before, there is a big difference between saying that Russell was an Adventist and in saying he was influenced by them. Russell’s self-identity is a major portion of his history. We need to respect it or we distort the story.

Did others freely identify Russell as a “Second Adventist.” Yes. His views were strongly similar, even when derived from non-Adventist sources. All that means is that he was influenced by Adventist belief. If we cross the line as historians and say “Oh, Russell was an Adventist,” we ignore his self-identity, distorting the record. Stick to the facts as they can be known. He studied the bible with Adventists. He believed what they believed in key areas. He also read material by others, and in key ways was more strongly influenced by them. He identified more closely with British pre-millennialists, though he seldom give them the same credit. Storrs and Stetson were his close friends. They get credit where other authors who influenced him do not. An example is his heavy dependence on Warliegh, on Dunn, on I. D. Heath. There was a Christadelphian influence too.

Words matter. The more exacting we are with our definition the better is the history we write. It is more faithful to the records we have to say that Russell was heavily dependent on Adventists and others than it is to say he was an Adventist. We can say he was Adventist in outlook. We cannot say, and stay faithful to the records as we have them, that he was an Adventist.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A. P. Adams

Arthur Adams was pastor of the Avenue Methodist Church in Beverly when he first met Russell and Barbour


A brother and his wife took part of their valuable time to make photocopies for us. We could never have accessed this material on our own. The information is breath-taking. While most of it may not add anything but detail, the real story is often in the little details.

One document stands out. We will read and re-read it. It's a 33 page stenographic report of a sermon by Arthur Prince Adams. Other than some sermons by Russell from 1878, we don't have any examples from anyone else - until now.

I cannot thank our volunteers enough. I don't have permission to use their name on my blog, or I'd thank them by name. Excellent!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peyton G. Bowman

John T. Ongley

This Ad appeared in US newspapers in 1907/8

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moved from Comment Section on an Earlier Post

I've moved this from the comment section to here.

Anonymous said...

I am a different anonymous than the previous comment, but I agree with it. I am not aware of any time that Russell distinguishes between the Adventist congregation in Pittsburgh/Allegheny with the Bible Class. It would make the research easier if he had done so. He does distinguish between them and Wendell, and Adventists in general, but not the Adventist congregation in Pittsburgh/Allegheny. He does not even mention that there was one.

Also, Russell does NOT identify George Storrs or George Stetson as Adventists or Second Adventists. He does not mention that Stetson was the pastor of the Advent Christian Church in Pittsburgh. He does associate Wendell and Barbour with Adventism.

The name Russell, either/or J L Russell, or J L Russell and Son, or C. T. Russell appears regularly and frequently in the WC and ACT in the years 1870-1873, and we know of a specific request of C. T. Russell for literature.

Russell appears to downplay any connection with Adventism. His statement that he did not learn a single truth from Adventism, but yet unlearned errors, appears self-contradictory, and difficult to reconcile with his likely Adventist associations of some kind. Without questioning his integrity or honesty, we might consider Russell to be representative of various factions WITHIN the Advent Christian church at that time, and that their boundaries were fluid, there was tolerance of opinion, and there was a discomfort with the label "Adventist".


B. W. Schulz said...

Simply wanting the study group to be identical with the Adventist congregation doesn't make it so.

In "To the Readers of the Herald of the Morning," Russell mentions the Adventist meetings. Afterwards he says that he and some friends started a study group. Probably his friends included some from the Adventist body. But many of his early friends were not Adventists. None of the directors of the Society once incorporated were previously Adventist, but they were Russell's business and social associates. That Russell describes the Adventist meeting as he
does, and then says that he and friends started a study group is a clear distinction between the two.

We admit that there was overlap. There must have been. But there is no evidence that the study group and Adventist congregation were identical. Of his earliest associates McMillan was Presbyterian; the Smiths were Methodist Episcopal, Blunden seems to have been Presbyterian, W. I Mann was never an Adventist but was Anglican in heritage.

There is no doubt that Russell was influenced by Adventists. More, all of his beliefs were held by some Adventist body or other. Most of them were also held by other protestant bodies.

In "Truth is Stranger than Fiction," Zion's Watch Tower, July 15, 1906, page 213, Russell says he was active in more than one body. "Bible Classes," he calls them. This would cover both entities.

What you want is for Russell to be plainly identified as an Adventist. I think our chapter does that as far as it can be done. He, like Storrs, rejected the name Adventist both on principle and because Adventists were held in disrepute.

This does not mean that the Bible Class was the Adventist congregation. The congregation met every other Sunday. The Bible class met every Sunday. If it was structurally different; if the Study Group included more than Adventists; if Russell attended more than one type of meeting, then they are not the same body. In the 1890 Harvest Siftings article Russell repeats what he said, though in slightly different words, in the 1879 supplement. He mentions the Adventists meeting in the "dusty dingy hall." Then he says that he and a few friends formed a Bible Class.

An informal Bible Class composed of friends, some of whom were not Adventists at all cannot be the same as the Adventist congregation. Did the Russells attend Adventist meetings? Yes. But, there are only two verifiable occasions when they did so. It makes sense that they attended regularly. Was the Bible Class the same as the congregation. No. He distinguishes between them as I've just pointed out. He says he attended more than one meeting or "class." There was more than one body. The Adventist congregation was composed of Adventists. The Bible Class started with his immediate friends, few of whom would have been Adventists. With the exception of Keith, those in his "inner circle" after Paton left were never Adventists.

Now, let me turn this around. You prove they were the same body. Give me documented proof, not mere speculation, that they were identical.

Now to some specifics:

Also, Russell does NOT identify George Storrs or George Stetson as Adventists or Second Adventists.

Why would he? In 1890 when he wrote of his association with them, everyone who would have read the article would have known Storrs and Stetson as Adventists.

He does not mention that Stetson was the pastor of the Advent Christian Church in Pittsburgh. He does associate Wendell and Barbour with Adventism. The name Russell, either/or J L Russell, or J L Russell and Son, or C. T. Russell appears regularly and frequently in the WC and ACT in the years 1870-1873, and we know of a specific request of C. T. Russell for literature.

How would that prove that the Bible Class and the Adventist congregation were the identical? In the same period he read Henry Dunn, and Dunn was not an Adventist. He read J. A. Seiss, who was Lutheran. Merely ordering literature does not make him an Adventist. Actually, the issue isn't the Adventist nature of his belief; it is the identity of the Bible Class.

Russell appears to downplay any connection with Adventism. His statement that he did not learn a single truth from Adventism, but yet unlearned errors, appears self-contradictory, and difficult to reconcile with his likely Adventist associations of some kind.

We don't think so. We address it this way:

Their sense of profound awe and of being "led" into the truth by God's holy spirit explains Russell's conflicting comments in his biographical article. What he heard from Adventists sent him to his "Bible to study with more zeal and care than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for that leading," he wrote, "for though Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning of errors, and thus prepared me for the truth." The only way to understand this comment is in the light of his sense of being led by God. God leads one into truth. If it is not God's leading, then one is not in the light of truth. The repeated use of the phrase "we were led" and "I was led" by Russell and others in the movement verifies this.

Russell did not totally ignore Paul's advice to Timothy to recall the persons from whom he learned his beliefs. (2 Timothy 3:14-15) He mentioned both Storrs and Stetson by name, saying that "the study of the Word of God with these dear brethren led, step by step, into greener pastures and brighter hopes for the world."

While they felt God's special leading on their group, it is mere mythology to characterize them as independent searchers who worked apart from the opinions
of others. They were independent in that they did not feel bound by anyone's creed, but they were heavily influenced by others. They read the current iterature, digesting it and debating it. Much of that material was "Second Adventist" in nature, though spread across the entire spectrum of Advent belief. Some of it came from non-Adventist millenarians and pre-millennialists such as Shimeall and Seiss. They did not live in the vacuum some modern researchers suggest.

Without questioning his integrity or honesty, we might consider Russell to be representative of various factions WITHIN the Advent Christian church at that time, and that their boundaries were fluid, there was tolerance of opinion, and there was a discomfort with the label "Adventist".

The term Second Adventist did not refer exclusively to the Advent Christian Association. One contemporary source lists seven bodies under the heading of Second Adventist. Others, also contemporary, add additional groups. I haven't posted the chapter before this one yet, but I can tell you that our research indicates that there were probably three broad groups represented in the one congregation, four if one slices it thinly. There were those who would identify with the Advent Christian Association or the Life and Advent Union. There was at least one individual, a physician, who would more closely identify with Church of the Blessed Hope; there were Restitutionists (Age-to-Come) believers.

You're confusing two issues. One is the question of Russell's Adventist associations. They were real, extended, and influential. The other is the nature of the Bible Class. It was made up of his friends. Some were obviously Second Adventist. However, Conley, who is frequently identified by Witness and anti-Witness researchers as an Adventist, was in fact a millennialist Lutheran. His beliefs made him comfortable attending Second Adventist meetings, but he came into them as a friend and follower of Peters. He attended Peters' Church and was baptized as a Lutheran. He never self-identified as an Adventist, though he was sympathetic.

Several have ..

offered financial help. We usually turn that down. But if you wish to help, the Library of Congress has an issue of Jones' Day Star. We cannot afford the cost. If you are interested in having a copy for yourself it's there. You can find it in their online cataloge. If you decide to get it for yourself, it would be really nice of you to send us a copy. Anyone?

This is a later copy. The name is not Zion's Day Star, just Day Star. Jones' name in the LC cataloge shows up both as A. D. Jones and A. Delmont Jones.

Russell and Pirate Treasure

A fairly recent screed against Russell says: "Charles Tase [sic] Russell and his brother, as late as when we was in his early twenties, used to dig large holes in their yard and other pieces of property, searching for what the believed to be hidden pirate treasure."

This is silly, of course. But does anyone know the origin of this story?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Revised end to chapter on early work in China

Remember to avoid the footnote links. They take you off page. This is what we have. Can you help us elaborate? Anyone?

The work in China did not end with the exodus or death of the three prominent missionaries. A world tour touted as a fact-finding tour to examine missionary prospects was planned for 1912. Advance preparations included assigning someone to oversee a missionary witness and the preparation of special tracts:

Before the four-month world tour by the IBSA committee was completed, Brother Russell had arranged for R. R. Hollister to be the Society’s representative in the Orient and to follow through in spreading to peoples there the message of God’s loving provision of the Messianic Kingdom. Special tracts were prepared in ten languages, and millions of these were circulated throughout India, China, Japan, and Korea by native distributors. Then books were translated into four of these languages to provide further spiritual food for those who showed interest. Here was a vast field, and much remained to be done. Yet, what had been accomplished thus far was truly amazing.[1]

The Chinese tract was entitled Ming Yu Bao. Its circulation caused a stir among foreign missionaries in China. The Chinese Recorder of March 1913 warned: “Large numbers of sample copies of the ‘Ming Yu Bao’ the organ of Pastor Russell in Chinese, are being circulated among the Chinese Christians, accompanied by the statement that the paper will be sent free to anyone sending his address to the publishers. … We should like to warn our readers everywhere of the pernicious teaching which are being promulgated in these papers and the very insidious manner in which truth is mixes with error so as easily to deceive the unwary and unsuspecting Chinese. The results can but be disastrous.” Pastor Russell has been “exposed” by prominent religious journals, the editor of The Recorder sniffed, but to no avail. “We are doubly sorry that he has thought fit to try and sow discord in the ranks of Christian workers in China by the establishment of an agency for the circulation of his literature in this country. It is well that all should be on the lookout.”[2]
Efforts were made to reach English speaking missionaries too. Working through the Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau, something called The Bible Study Club was organized and a paper entitled Bible Study was published. Again The Chinese Recorder protested:

We have received two copies of a paper called “Bible Study,” and inside one is a letter signed “Bible Study Club, V. Noble, Secretary” addressed to “Fellow-servant in a foreign field,” and reading in part as follows: - “We proffer you our little journal free on receipt of a postal card request. Even postage included, the expense will not be a serious item to us,, &c”! This is followed by the intimation that on the reverse side of the letter will be found a place for the addresses of missionaries, which may be entered on the subscription list, ad libitum, but only at their request.”

The Continent, a Presbyterian journal noted for opposing Russell and The Watch Tower sent someone to visit the Bible Study Club offices located in the Metropolitan Building in New York City. The magazine reported:

The office to which Mr. Noble invited correspondents to write is occupied by a business concern of an entirely different character, which reports that “Mr. Noble” simply receives mail at that address. This firm disclaims all connection with him. On a corner of the glass in the door is the revealing line, “Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau.”

Of course “Pastor” Russell has the right to disseminate his writings as far and as liberally as the gifts of his followers enable him, and a certain measure of respect would be due his industry if he always stood out and out for what he is. But a man who so characteristically loves and uses masks, disguises, and misleading evasions is obviously governed by a spirit not at all in harmony with that sort of character which Jesus applauded – the character which comes to the light that its deeds may be revealed.[3]

How successful this effort was is unknown, though it seems to have seriously shaken Protestant missions in China and elsewhere. In 1913 The Chinese Recorder announced the release of a twelve page tract giving extracts of an American anti-Russellism tract in the Chinese language. In February 1914, A. C. Gaebelein remarked on “the appeals for help which come to my office from China India Central America Korea and other places to do something to counteract the poison circulated by Russellism …”[4] Beyond that nothing is known at this time. A gap of some twenty years leaves a blank in our story, the next missionary effort being made in 1933.
[1] Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, Watchtower Society, New York, page 421.
[2] The “Ming Yu Bao,” The Chinese Recorder, March 1913, page 134-135.
[3] Pastor Russell Again, The Chinese Recorder, August 1913, page 469. Quotation from The Continent is taken from this source.
[4] The Coming and Kingdom of Christ: A Stenographic Report of the Prophetic Bible Conference Held at the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, February 24-27, 1914, Bible Institute Colportage Association, Chicago, 1914, page 152.

Early Work in China

I'm rewriting the conclusion to our chapter on the early missionary work in China to accomodate new information. I could use some help with the following:

1. The Watch Tower Society published something called "Ming Yu Bao" in 1913. It was sent to Chinese Christians in the United States and in China "accompanied by the statement that the paper will be sent free to anyone sending his address to the publishers."

What does "Ming Yo Bao" mean in English? Does anyone have a copy of this? Have you even seen one?

2. In 1913 an organization called "Bible Study Club" issued a paper entitled Bible Study. Copies were sent to foreign missionaries, including those in China with a letter signed V. Nobel, secretary. This organization was run by the Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau. We need to see a copy of any relevant material. Anyone?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

odd and ends

I’m working on a chapter detailing the months from January 1876 to August 1876. Most of this has been on the blog in one form or another, and I don’t intend to post this chapter. There are some updates to previously published information. As usual, do not click on the footnote links; they take you off page. Bloger is strange.

On Paton’s baptism:

On March 7, 1858, John Paton was baptized by Elder William Dennison Potter, a Baptist Clergyman from Hadley, Michigan, and he “united with the Almont Baptist Church.” Potter was ordained a Baptist clergyman in May 1839. During the late 1830’s and 40’s he was Agent for the Western Reserve Branch of the American Education Society, and there is a record of him visiting the more significant churches to raise funds for the society. A brief biographical note says he was “known both far and near as a Baptist minister of great strength and eloquence. … He was a good and benevolent man and was esteemed by all who came under the influence of his teaching and example.” Unfortunately, there seem to be no printed examples of his sermons by which to measure his message.[1]

On Paton’s association with Winser:

Paton’s association with the Baptists in Almont was interrupted by religious controversy: “On August 17, 1861, I left that church because of their rejection of Eld. Wisner, their pastor, who preached anti-Calvinistic doctrine. Several of us thought of the casting out of that minister as virtually casting us out, who believed the same way.”[2]

William G. Wisner [1800-1887] is of interest because he planted seeds in Paton’s mind that would bear fruit later. Wisner settled in Michigan in 1839 and became pastor of the Jonesville Baptist Church. He believed that the Bible should be the sole guide to faith, a belief at the heart of Protestant faith, but seldom practiced by any. In 1888, shortly before his death, he wrote: “The Word of God has been my text-book. I have had no other business but to study my Bible, pray and preach as best I could. [I] Have baptized 778 persons. … The Lord has been my strength and helper.”[3] Wisner was a persuasive preacher, one notice of his ministry calling it “a most fruitful one.”[4]

Paton met Wisner in 1858. Wisner lead “an important revival”[5] in Almont and remained pastor until 1860 when he was expelled for opposing predestination doctrine, leading Paton and others to rejected predestination. This would become an important issue later.

On Elder Angell’s invitation to Paton to join the Methodist ministery: We no longer feel certain of our identification of Angell and have deleted it.

We’ve found a really good copy of Paton’s endorsement of a patent medicine

[1] Cemetery records give his birth and death dates as September 25, 1816 – December 9, 1887. He was born in New York and died in Hadley, Lapeer County, Michigan. Biographical note: Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties, Chapman Bros., 1892, pages 346-350. Ordination date: The Christian Review, September 1839, page 476.
[2] Paton: Autobiography.
[3] Marry Trowbridge: History of the Baptists in Michigan, Michigan State Baptist Convention, 1909, page 274.
[4] Manual of the Churches of Seneca County with Sketches of Their Pastor, Courier Printing Company, Seneca Falls, New York, 1896, page 39
[5] History of Lapeer County Michigan, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, H. R. Page & Co., Chicago 1884, page 39.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Russell in Boston - 1877

In answer to a question in the comments on an earlier post:

There is very little else in the way of direct testimony that bears on this period. An article in The Salt Lake, Utah, News suggested that “He came into prominence in New England in 1877, on account of his distinct views expressed on the punishment for sin.”[1] The Christian Globe told a similar story, saying that his work centered in Boston at the time.[2] This bit of detail must have come from Russell, but it is frustratingly absent context.

[1] Pastor Russell Comes Tomorrow, The Salt Lake News, June 20, 1911, reprinted in 1911 Convention Report. This was an advanced press release furnished by the Watch Tower Society and published in additional newspapers.
[2] Pastor Russell, The Christian Globe, May 5, 1910, as reprinted in Harvest Gleanings, volume 2, page 797.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Can anyone help with this ...

I received the following email. I'm soliciting your help answering it:

Bruce: I am looking at the cemetery records for the Russell family in Alleganey, and I am not sure who some of the people are. I'm sure you already have this information. The lot (9 graves) is owned by James G. Russell and the names are listed as:

1. Mary Russell 9/6/86 (who is she?)
2. Charles T. Russell 12/26/75 (CTRs uncle)
3. James G. Russell 12/24/47 (who is he?)
4. Sarah A. Russell 12/14/46 (who is she?)
5. Joseph L. Russell 12/17/97 (CTRs Father)
6. Ann E. Russell 12/24/61 (CTRs Mother)
7. Joseph L. Russell Jr. 4/24/60 (CTRs Brother)
8. Lucinda H. Russell 7/2/58 (CTRs Sister)
9. Thomas B. Russell 8/11/55 (CTRs Brother)

Do you know why Emma Russell had Joseph laid to rest with his family in Allegheny, it is my understanding that they may have been living in Florida at the time.

One last point: I have copies of the original plat maps for the WTB&TS and Russell's properties in Allegheny, Joseph Russell's home on Cedar Street shows the owner as J. S. Russell WTB&TS (1907 map) who is J. S. Russell, should it be J. L. Russell? Thanks for you time with this

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Boston ...

In 1877 Russell preached in the Boston area. He generated significant comment over his opposition to Hell-fire doctrine. We only have one source for this, a magazine article published in 1910. Anyone have any other information?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rather Urgent


We really need to see the 1872 Bible Examiners. We simply cannot afford the photocopy charge from the lone source. Do any of you have copies that you are willing to share?

We see 1872 as a crucial year. Without this material, we're left in the dark and guessing. By now you all know we hate guesses.

We know of two fair sized collections of Russell's personal letters. Neither individual is open to sharing them. Does anyone else have a collection of Russell's personal letters, or at least one or two. Sometimes detail that appear irrelevant really do help us. Anyone?

Also, did Russell's name or that of his father appear in World's Crisis? I found an old email from 1988 suggesting it did, but saying that the writer did not know the dates. We can't use what we cannot prove. Anyone?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear Anon.

You said:
I found the Church of God notice. It is in the Advent Christian Times:3/21/71 p. 2283/28/71 p. 243 4/3/71 p. 2514/11/71 p.259 John T. Ongley wrote the notice. It mentions Wendell, and that they were moving their meeting place from Allegheny to Pittsburg.

Will you please give us the exact text?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eleazer L. Owen

born about 1835. Perhaps once a methodist. One of the founding congregants of the Westfield MA Second Adventist church; later its pastor. Resident in Portsmouth NH in the mid 1870's.

Any and all information is needed. There are several Eleazer Owen and E. Owens out there. It was a family name handed down from the colonial era. Help!

Richard Cunnigham Shimeall

We need a good scan of his picture from his book The Second Coming of Christ: Or the Impending Approach of “The Restitution of all Things”. Anyone?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Storrs and Baptism

I am trying to find an article by Storrs in the Bible Examiner on Baptism. I've missplaced my note on it. Anyone know where it is?

Found it, thanks. It's in the July 1874 EXTRA.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

J. J. Bender

We have worked on J. J. Bender's identity for about four years. We belive that he is Joseph J. Bender, a traveling agent or salesman, who lived at 161 41st street. We still lack details. He may have traveled for a glass manufaturer or a pharmacy. We do not know for certain.


J. B. Adamson, Stetson, Adams

We're still struggling to discover Adamson's first name. He was in business in Ohio in the late 1870's and perhaps as late as 1880. Anyone? Help?

Also, the four letters written by Stetson to his daughter came this morning. The copies are very light, and it will take a while to fully decifer them. But that's a bit of nice in what is otherwise tough going right now. They range from 1860-1875.

Thanks to a friend of this blog - I don't have permission to post their name - we have a mass of information on the way. They took part of their personal time and copied papers related to Arthur Prince Adams. Our profundest thanks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Need good information on ...

Zion's Temple, 261 Fulton Street, Brooklyn ... in operaton late 1880's early 1890's. Anything at all would help.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Herald of the Morning

We need to see 1886-1888 if they exist. They may not exist. We're uncertain. Anyone?

We need help with German language translation

Anyone? An article from 1898. Please.

We probably only need this paragraph translated:

Eine ähnliche Sekte, die sich in neuerer Zeit aus Amerika hieher verbreitet und ihre eifrigen Anhänger, z. Th. selbst unter schweizerischen Predigern, besitzt, ist die eines gewissen Charles Russell, dessen Buch «Millennial Dawn» die gleichen, etwas phantastischen Vorstellungen von einer baldigen, oder sogar schon jetzt vorhandenen «Wiederkunft Christi» enthält.
In Wien fand Ende August ein internationaler Al1Katholikenkongress von grossen Dimensionen statt.

Plan of the Ages - UK help, please

We located a copy of the Saalfield & Fitch printing of the Plan of the Ages. I need a clear scan of the title page showing the Saalfield imprint. The book is in the UK. Anyone interested in helping?


The British Library wants £28.75 to make a one page photocopy. That seems excessive for a scan we'd only use as an illustration. If someone in the UK can show up in person, the cost is minimal.

Or, perhaps someone has the Saalfield & Fitch printing of The Plan of the Ages? I've never seen one in person. I just want a clear scan or photocopy of the title page showing the Saalfield imprint. It's not a huge loss if we don't get one. We will have many illustrations. For instance, the chapter tentatively titled "Advertising the Message" will have at least these illustrations:

1. Advertisment by Willson & Bruckner for Millennial Dawn, 1887.
2. Photo of D. W. Whittle
3. Photo of C. H. Smith (Bill Arp)
4. The Arp Tract. (quality is poor; we're looking for better)
5 DeWitt Talmage.
6. L. C. Baker. (articles by him were in ZWT)
7. Mrs. C. B. Lemuels advertisement from 1887.
8. Ad for Plan of the Ages from 1887.
9. Ad for Millenial Dawn from Open Shelf.

On our Wish list are:

1. Photo of Samuel I. Hickey
2. Photo of the editor of the Syracuse, New York, Standard (1887). We don't know his name yet, and this is low priority.
3. Photo of Charles H. Dickinson, a civil war veteran from the mid-west. He lived in various places. He left an important Civil War diary, though it's not relevant to our research. He was an early adherent.
4. Fleming H. Revell.
5. Viola Gilbert, an independent evangelist in New York City in the 1880-1900 period.

Probably we'll not find any of these. But we are looking.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Charles Henry Smith - Bill Arp

Arp Tract

Does anyone have a better copy they can scan for me?


I have the 1903 Colporteur guide, Suggestive Hints to New Colporteurs. We need to see the 1887 edition. As far as I know, it does not exist. But we're hoping it does and that you have it. Can anyone help?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Soul's Awakening.

I remember very well the period of my soul awakening. It was when I was about 15 years of age, and I thought, as I looked at that picture called "Soul's Awakening," that the young person in the picture looked to be about 15, and that gave me the thought that perhaps there were a great many of about that age when they reach thoughtful conditions. There seems to be a great change, you know, in human nature about that time, and it is a splendid time for the forces of spiritual growth to come toward these, and for parents and guardians to have in mind that it is a very favorable time for soul awakening. I do not mean to say that we should delay our endeavor to bring the child to a knowledge of the Lord. Quite to the contrary, from the time the child is born it should always be trained in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We believe the training of the child should begin nine months before it is born, in order that the child may be properly born, in order that the parental mind may have the proper influence on that child. The best opportunity you will have in the whole experience, so that the proper thoughts of justice, and love, and mercy, and kindness, and gentleness, and reverence toward God, may be impressed upon the child mind is prior to its birth. - C. T. Russell, 1913.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

herald of the morning

We desperately need to see the April and May 1876 issues of Herald of the Morning. Anyone?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Conely and Stetson

The Wikipedia article on Conley says, "Adventist minister George Stetson lived for a time with the Conleys during a prolonged period of illness until his death." The citation is to "Allegheny City census result of 1879 published in 1880."

This citation is vague. Does anyone know the actual location, name, title or full bibliographic information for the Allegheny City Census?

We found this. It wasn't a "census" but a listing in Thurston's City Directory. The Stetson name is correct. The occupation is not. So we're left with a mystery. The George W. Stetson living with the Conleys is described as a "clk," or clerk. Wouldn't someone that ill be unemployed? Had Stetson's second wife already died? Were the Conleys already operating a faith-healing sanitorium?

Monday, August 9, 2010

william c. mcmillan

also spelled macmillan, one of the first directors of the watch tower society .... any biographical information would help.

Winnowed Hymns

A song book sold through Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society into the 1890's. I'm afraid my copy is really ratty, but I'm happy to have one.

George Stetson

We need proof that he practiced medicine in Ohio. Anyone have a contemporary reference?

We need to see the Stetson-Thew letters. Anyone bother to send for those? Are you willing to make copies for us?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Really hard stuff ...

There was at least one believer in Guildford, England, in 1886. We can find no clue as to his name or any other details. Anyone out there have a clue?

One of our blog readers pointed us to the Russell v. Russell, Appellant, Transcript of Record for the 1907 hearing. Russell speaks of donated Florida lands, something we are researching. The details as he gives them in 1907 do not match the details found in the 1884 and 1885 Watch Tower. And he seems to point to more than one sale of donated property. Can anyone help clarify this? You will find this testimony on page 47 of the transcript. We really would benefit from having more data on the Florida land donations.

Also, I've had a few emails asking about copies of the transcript. The 1907/8 Transcript is 286 pages long and my copy is faint. We've been discussing retyping it and publishing it and the courts decision as a book. It wouldn't be cheap, I'm afraid. And retyping would be very time consuming. Is there enough interest out there?

We also have a copy of the defendant's paper book and some other legal material related to the Russell's marital problems. These present even greater problems with reproduction. However, if there is a significant interest, we will consider publishing this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How best to help ...

We've been getting lots of helpful comments and private emails. This is great. Keep it up.

Some things what would help us include:

1. If you have a reference, please be as specific as possible. For instance: "Bible Examiner, March 1875" is superior to "Bible Examiner sometime in the 1870's."

2. If you're telling us something you remember reading, tell us if you're not certain as to source. Memories can be faulty.

3. Guesses don't help very much. This doesn't mean we're not open to your speculation. Our guesses lead us down some fruitful research trails, and yours do too. But tell us the reasoning behind your "guess." This will help.

4. The more detail the better. "Russell wrote to Storrs" is much less helpful than "Russell wrote to Stores three times that I know of in 1874. You can find the letters in Bible Examiner of this date, that date and the other date."

6. No observation is too insignificant. Yes, we may already know what you're posting, but we may not know it. Every researcher has his blind spots. Your thoughts are important. Even wrong conclusions are sometimes helpful because they make us think, "Well, that's not right, and here is why."

7. Be willing to stretch beyond what you think you know. Most of Russell's early history has taken on the character of myth. Some long-held beliefs about early Watch Tower history have roots in reality but are not good history. Think beyond what you know. Look more widely. That's what we do, and, if you want to help, you should do that too.

8. We try to avoid pointing to motives unless one of the persons we research tells us either directly or indirectly through things they wrote what their motive was. Unless you can provide us with a quotation that indicates a motive for something, we can't use a comment that assumes motivations. We're trying to be even handed, even if we may personally disagree with the conclusions of some of the people we are profiling. Frankly, some of these guys were as disreputable as can be. A. D. Jones comes to mind, but there were others too. If it matters to the story, we'll give the details. If it does not matter and the character is incidental to the history, we probably won't. And we won't report mere speculation, even if we agree with it, if it bears on anyone's character. For instance, we believe there is enough evidence to suspect two of Russell's early associates of having an affair. We cannot offer proof that meets any sort of evidentiary standard. So we won't include our suspicions. Both these individuals are important enough to the story that IF we stumble on proof, we will say so.

Negative evidence will not meet the standard of proof. We asked for a copy of some private papers we know exist. The person who owns them refused, suggesting that they would show her ancestor in a "bad light." Fine. We have no idea what she meant by "bad light." This is negative evidence. We wont use it.

Continue to help and post. We appreciate all of the comments and suggestions, even the vague ones. They all make us think, and they all contribute to our daily exchange of ideas.

A thank you is due to everyone who's posted a comment lately. Consider it given.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tentative ID

margaret russell said: “Later, about 1877, after attending a series of services held by my brother, a prominent Pittsburgh physician remarked concerning him, ‘I should not be much surprised if he should prove to be the youthful David who will yet slay with his pebble of Truth the great ecclesiastical goliath.’"

We have tentativly identified this man as Charles Wesley Buvinger, MD, a civil war veteran, and a sometime associate of George Storrs. Anyone out there who can firm up this ID or help reject it?

George D. Clowes, Sr.

... was expelled from the Methodist church in the summer of 1871. This was detailed in The World's Crisis. Anyone know the exact issue? DO you have it? can you give us the text of the article?

Any Ideas - - -

footnote in object and manner of our lord's return:

Another brother, also of the M. E. church, and for several years a professor in one of their principal colleges, being convenient to me, I called his attention to the above. After examining the text critically, he endorsed the above rendering, remarking that it was very peculiar; then happening to glance at the 46th verse of Matt. 24 he called my attention to the fact that the word there translated cometh is elthou , and signifies after He has come . Read verses 45 and 46 with this thought in mind. Is it possible that there will be faithful servants giving meat in due season after the Lord has come? It is so stated, and at that same time the evil servant will not be aware of His presence, (verse 50).

Who was this "brother ... of the M E. Church ... a professor"?

Sunday, August 1, 2010


This Indiana paper reviewed Object and Manner of Our Lord's Return.

help ...

We’re puzzling things through. Rachael is writing first rough draft of a chapter dealing with the Allegheny Bible Class between 1871 and 1876. There is more detail than usually presented, but there are some chronological issues. Russell points to 1871 as the date the class was established, though in one place he seems to say 1872. I’m continuing to work on the first year of Russell and Barbour’s joint ministry.

Russell and his brethren spent most of 1872 considering the ransom doctrine. This seems to have been prompted by articles appearing first in The Herald of Life and later in The Bible Examiner. Our money is exhausted, and we can’t afford copies of the Bible Examiner for 1872. Anyone want to be exceptionally nice and make copies for us? We can’t reimburse you at all.

Issues with these chapters are:

1. How many people were in the founding group? Can we say from original, not secondary, sources?

2. The first issue examined by this group was the doctrine of Probation. They adopted George Storrs’ views. We have articles by Storrs from a slightly later date. Anyone have something by Storrs on Probation and Second Probation published in 1870-1872?

3. Can we list specific writers who influenced this group? Thus far we have Henry Dunn, George Storrs, George Stetson, Joseph Seiss, various Adventist publications. Russell mentions “others.” Thus far we’ve only established one name other than those listed above. I’m sure there are more. Russell’s words suggest there are.

4. The preface to the Watch Tower reprint volumes says Russell was elected pastor of this group in 1876. We consider that a secondary source because it did not come from Russell’s own pen. Can we prove this statement from another source?

5. Restitution magazine reviewed Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return. Anyone have that issue?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can you add to this ...

In the June 1882 Watch Tower Russell announced that “Bros. Leigh and Spears have started on a trip down the Ohio river in a small boat belonging to the latter. They purpose (D.V.) to visit all the river towns between here and Cincinnati or St. Louis, spending about a week at each. This will require all summer or longer.” The purpose of this trip was to circulate Food for Thinking Christians.
Identifying Leigh and Spears is difficult. The primary identifier is that they sailed from “here” or Pittsburgh. This suggests that they were residents of either Allegheny or Pittsburgh. The only Leighs in the city directories include an S. M. Leigh, a teacher at The House of Refuge, a home for juvenile offenders. Unfortunately, this is a “Miss S. M. Leigh,” thus not qualifying as “brother” Leigh.[1] A later directory lists a William Leigh, a waiter.[2] The 1880 Directory lists a Valentine Leigh, a laborer. Other directories list a Samuel Leigh, a glass molder, and an E. C. Leigh, a student living on Federal Street. It is impossible to point to any one of these as the “Brother Leigh” of Russell’s article.
We fare no better with “Brother Spears.” The 1880/81 Directory lists a number of people with the last name “Spear” but only one with the name “Spears,” and thereby we might make the connection. James Spears was a glass cutter, living on Carson Street. It may be no more than coincidence that Samuel Leigh and James Spears worked in the same industry, but I am inclined to believe these are the two we seek. There isn’t enough evidence to say with surety. James Spears drops out of the directories no long after, either moving away of dieing. As much as one wishes for more detail, it seems not to exist.
[1] 1873 Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City, G. H. Thurston, page 323; 1873/4 Directory, page 43.
[2] 1878 Directory, page 373.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sigh ...

A shill for a book keeps trying to post on this blog. They do not read this blog, only an earlier post revewing a book by Fredrick Zydek entitled Charles Taze Russell – His Life and Times – The Man, the Millennium and the Message. I've already posted my reply where he will see it, and I'm posting it here for all to see:

Time for a restatement of the rules:

IF you want me to review a book, you must send me a copy at your expense. I will decline all posts advertising a book that I have not seen. You want to shill for a book, that's your business. You want me to review it, mail me a copy.

Also, insulting me over a review someone else wrote will get all of your future comments deleted.

1. I did not write the review, but I fully agreed with the review as written.

2. I cannot take your word for anything sight unseen.

3. Questioning my 'integrity' will not make me accept your post.

4. Post under your own name, and not an assumed one, if you wish to advertise your book.

5. The review stands as written. I will not delete it.

6. You want me to review a book, mail it to me at your expense.

And finally ... I'm tolerant of many views and opinions. I'm not tolerant of rank stupidity.

Additional note:

I write young adult fiction using a pen name. Good reviews are always nice, and I get my share. Bad reviews are a fact of life. If you can't live with a bad review, you shouldn't be writing.

The publishing industry is a small world. Word gets around. Authors talk to their friends, publishers talk to their friends, agents talk to their friends. And they all talk to readers. Being self-published doesn't make you immune to the consequences of your stupidity.

Any experienced agent or author will tell you it's a bad idea to insult someone you wish to read and review your book.

The real question of integrity rests in your insulting remarks. A man of integrity would not engage in ad hominem attacks to get his way.

You may think using AOL gives you web anonymity, but it does not. You used the same "name" to shill for this book elsewhere. It won't work here.

Want to play detective ...

Starting at Rochester, New York, and ending a Louisville, Kentucky, what would have been the probable train rout in 1877? What would have been the stops? Anyone?

also ... Russell and Barbour were in Louisville in February, March or April 1877. Certainly it was no later than that. Any really ambitious person in the Louisville KY area willing to consult microfilms of old newspapers?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dispatch Building - 1876

After Food for Thinking Christians was published a Church of God clergyman challenged Russell to debate throught he pages of the Dispatch.

Sixth Street Bridge

Omnibus Leaving 6th Street Bridge on the Allegheny Side - 1876.

Friday, July 23, 2010

C. T. Russell

Russell in his study. Originally in Overland Monthly.
Courtesy of a friend of this blog.

John H. Paton - Later in Life

Photo courtesy a friend of this blog.

John H. Paton and Family

Photo courtesy of a friend of this blog.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seiss's Miracle in Stone

I have an extra copy. It's clean looking outside, but the hinges are cracked. The cover is still attached and a bit of glue would fix the problem. The text block is nice and clean. It needs a good home.

Make me an offer. Expect $3.50 media rate shipping and tracking.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

D. W. Whittle

Major Daniel Webster Whittle blocked the Plan of the Ages from the Revel bookstore and wholesale lists.

A thought ...

It occurs to me that some of my blog readers don't understand that the real history of Zion's Watch Tower has never really been told. I don't mean to diminish the work of others. I benefit from previous research. Some of them are certainly better, more readable writers than I am. The Proclaimers book comes to mind.

But most histories of the era are brief. They're dependant on one Watch Tower article and very little else. So histories that limit themselves to that source and a few other incidentals do not really tell the story. Personalities are left out. You never read about Tavender, Moffitt, or others whose names appear. You never hear what they did to further the work or why they did it. Rachael and I want to tell as much of the complete story as possible.

If you omit significant details, you change the story. What you tell becomes a kind of mythos and not history at all. Oh, it can be historically accurate. But it is incomplete, and it changes one's focus as a result. It's like describing the back side of a retreating horse without ever telling what the front side looked like or was doing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

J. H. Brown

We need a really clear digital scan of the photo of John H. Brown found in the 1908 Convention Report. Anyone?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blog Policy

While there may be exceptions, especially if the review comes from a regular contributor or a regular blog reader, I will not review books, announce their publication, revision or otherwise publicize them unless you provide me with a copy.

If you want me to mention your book or a friend's book or a book you simply want to recomend, you must send me a copy at your expense.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Asking for the moon ...

Joseph Moffitt of Newcastle on Tyne republished his 1884 Watch Tower article as a pamphlet. Does any one have, or can you find:

Ransom and Testimony will they become co extensive By Joseph Moffitt, 29 Close Newcastle on Tyne, 1885

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

from an 1886 Watch Tower article:

Another similar effort to hand-truck Christian people into the
great Omnibus of Spiritism, is a little paper published on the
Pacific Coast, which goes under various names, one of the most
popular of which is the "Father's Love." This journal selects
from other papers some good, simple articles as a sugar coating,
which with its title, we doubt not often entraps for a time at least
God's hungry children, only to feed them on no ransom, and
dispensational evolution, and to introduce to them out and out
spiritist publications.

- View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1886, page 4.

Does anyone KNOW anything about the magazine Father's Love to which Russell refers?


Monday, June 28, 2010

Fredrick Clapham

Anyone with an ancestry.com account? Lived in Albany, New York in 1900. Meetings were held in his house? Data? Anyone?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Simon O. Blunden

I no longer have an ancestry.com account. If you have one, please send me the material on S. O. Blunden found there, including the city directory information. Blunden was born in Ireland in the 1840s and died just past 1910. Anyone?

Friday, June 25, 2010

A bit of good news ...

We've finally located some of the 1877 Pittsburgh newspapers we want to examine. The library that has them is willing to lend the microfilms. This is good. No guarantee we'll find what we're looking for in either of these newspapers. We know only that it was in one of the Pittsburgh papers in 1877.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

District Messenger Boy - London

Messenger boys such as this one distributed Food for Thinking Christians


S. T. Tackabury is listed in the ohio obituary index on acestry.com. Anyone have a membership? Can you email me the information? Or post it here?

Tackabury was born about 1832 and died in 1888.

Friday, June 18, 2010


It seems that all i'm posting lately is requests for help. Here is another:

We need the exact details of a Advent and Sabbath Advocate article on parousia that appeard in 1881 or 1882. It is mentioned on page 348 of Watch Tower reprints.

Any contemporary comment by the press, a magazine or anyone about the circulation of Food for Thinking Christians would be helpful. Anyone?

A "brother McGranor" is mentioned in the reprints on page 291. Anyone have an exact name? Who was this?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

George M. Myers

Myers is mentioned only by last name in Zion's Watch Tower. We need to see a booklet he wrote in the 1880's entitled "The Atonement." It's mentioned in The Bible Advocate, December 15, 1908, 103-04.

We havent' found a copy. Anyone?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Boston; the rules; old posts; and stuff

To answer an emailed question: This site contains more material than appears on the front page. Use the “older posts” button on the bottom of the page.

Rachael continues to work on the early publishing ministry. I’m still probing the months Russell and Barbour spent traveling and preaching. There is a mass of documentary evidence to which we have no access. The problem is the amount of the material exceeds what the archive is willing to photocopy. It runs to about eight hundred pages, I’m told. I cannot afford to travel to Boston, and I certainly can’t afford to pay for 800 pages of photocopy at the through the mail rates. They are letter size pages, but probably could be reduced to photocopy as two to a page. All this material relates to Arthur Prince Adams and represents his defense during the “trial” that removed him as a Methodist minister.

If you live anywhere near Boston and wish to help, let me know either through an email or post. I am not happy with the limited material we have for this era, but I’m treading new research ground. I don’t think anyone has really followed this trail before. If they have, they haven’t published their findings.

We have good solid biographical material on most of the really significant Barbourites within the time of Russell’s association. But we lack key detail on some events. We have only one of the semi-monthly issues of Herald of the Morning. The missing issues obviously contain material we should see. Anyone know where they are?

Important material is in the 1877 Pittsburgh newspapers. The library that owns the microfilms does not share them via interlibrary loan. I’m too poor to travel and too sick.

I don’t question your beliefs on this blog. Readers take both sides of the issue when it comes to Russell. Your beliefs are not my business. Every one who behaves is welcome. I need to repeat that if you post stupid comments, they won’t make it to the blog. If you have comments or questions on facts or merely wish to say you appreciate the blog, those are always welcome.

This is hard work. I’m not sure some of our readers know just how difficult, expensive and time consuming finding the facts is. In this past week we’ve purchased something like six books, 400 pages of photocopy and written eight letters or emails to various university libraries or private archives. It takes valuable time to digest what we find and follow up on leads and hints.

Four hundred pages may not seem like much. But when a library asks an initial fee of thirty-five dollars and then charges by the page, it becomes a significant investment. I have to calculate how much I can afford on a mostly fixed income.

There’s a book out there now, used, ratty and fifty dollars plus postage. The man selling it hasn’t a clue what he has. He’s priced it solely on the basis that he has the only one for sale. I want to read this book. More, I want to own it. There simply is no way for me to spend the money. It will have to wait.

Then there are the things that seem to be gone for good: Barbour’s spiritism booklet; Adam’s Bible Harmony; issues of various magazines, many of which most Witness researchers have never heard of or read.

This week I wrote to a group notorious for not sharing its research, and I asked for the moon. I’ve tried to appeal to them on the basis that what is said about the issue is wrong and harmful. They’d do better by putting the raw material in the hands of someone who will consider it fairly. I don’t expect an answer anytime within the next few months. They’re notoriously slow to answer requests like that. But, surprisingly, they do sometimes provide help. We’ll see.

The way we handle that in the current research is to simply say in text or footnote that such-and-such a library or archive owns the material and declined to make it available. It’s time some of these institutions be exposed to their own policies.

Years ago I did extensive research for someone else’s book. I had a great working relationship with the Library of Congress. That was back in the late 1980s and early 1990’s. The people that were helpful have all retired. The current crop of Library of Congress employees leaves me frustrated. They can’t read the text of an email, only skimming what I write and answering with comments that do not match my question. It’s become an unfriendly, difficult resource, unless you are in Washington, D. C. In contrast, The American Antiquarian Society is superior, friendly, helpful. The Library of Congress should take lessons from them. Boston University seems to hate outside scholars. Rochester Public Library is helpful and the staff I’ve contacted are superior. You can see it’s a very mixed experience.

Some of these institutions and societies seem to delight in withholding material from professionals – or anyone else. My worst experience was with a staffer at the Wyoming State Library who refused to fill an interlibrary loan request because it was critical of her religion, or so she thought. The material was from 100 years in the past. This is insane.

I’m wandering from my topic. Old men do that. Sorry. We need immediate help with the material in Boston. Anyone?

Friday, June 11, 2010

William Lee Stroud

Stroud was editor of Eusebia: A Montly Journal for Bible STudents, published in Oakland, California in the 1880's and 90's. He was Born 15 Jan 1833 in New York and Died 23 Aug 1911. I no longer have access to ancestry.com. If any of you do, will you please provide me with a good copy of the two photos and other information found there.

Plan of the Ages - Saalfield & Fitch edition

Advertisement in the back of another Saalfield publication.

Publishers' Weekly

In 1892 the religious publishing house Saalfield & Fitch published an edition of The Plan of the Ages. It was advertised in Publishers Weekly (February 20, 1892) and in the after-matter in some of their other publications, but without connecting it to Zion's Watch Tower. A notice in Review of Reviews of the Saalfield edition gives Russell's name as author. There are adds and notices in scattered magazines, including the Febuary 13, 1892, issue of The Critic.

Does anyone have this edition? Have you seen it? Do you know of anyone who has it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Anyone in Boston

A significant archive related to A. P. Adams is in Boston. We need a volunteer interested enough in Watch Tower history to consult it, make photo copies, and share them with us. This would be a labor of love. What little research funds we have left have been committed to something else.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We urgently need to see ...

The Kingdom of God; The Covenant with David and David's Seed, by G. M. Myers - 1885 - 16 pages

Controversial on the Nature of Man: A correspondence, G. M. Myers and J. M. Henry
- 1885 - 48 pages

The Millenarian, published by Myers, established in 1882, circulation in 1885 said to be 2000 published at Lanark, Illinois

Anyone know the locations? Have copies?

Monday, June 7, 2010

A. D. Jones

Albert D. Jones’ embezzlement of funds is discussed elsewhere on this blog. Thanks to research by Rachael de Vienne, we know more about the back ground.

Jones’ investment in the Knickerbocker Bank went up in smoke. Other transactions reduced him to near poverty. A judgment against him for $7,044.00 was entered in January 1892, in favor of George F. Whipple on notes made in 1886 and 1887. [The New York Sun, January 19, 1892]

An article in the New York Tribune, February 12, 1892, shows that he had secured an investment with his furniture. His belongings were subsequently sold for six thousand dollars, a considerable sum in those days. He had mishandled the investments of Jane Crossley, the widow of a prominent carpet dealer.


In December 1889 many of Jones’ creditors took him to court and won judgments. The total of the December judgments approached $40,000.00. The record is found in the December 28, 1889 issue of The Real Estate Record and Guide.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Help? Anyone?

In 1900 William C. Couch of the Disciples of Christ debated a brother Whitaker. The debate was printed, but we can't find a copy. Anyone? Any details? Brother Whitaker's initials may have been "I. P." The debate is mentioned in Thomas N. Thrasher's Encyclopedia of Religious Debates, volume 1, but no details are given. ANYONE?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We Need to See This ...

With the January/February 1882 issue of Zion's Watch Tower, Russell sent as a supplement a combined pamphlet that included both Tabernacle Teachings and Food for Thinking Christians. We would like to see the title page. Anyone have this? If you do, a scan of the title page would be helpful.

Monday, May 31, 2010


John Sunderlin's first wife died in 1899. She made her home in Glens Falls, New York, and was living apart from her husband. Does anyone know why? Sunderlin would travel back and forth between Flemington and Glens Falls, maybe once a year, though I only have a record of two visits in the mid to late 1890's. .... anyone?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Research assistance needed ...

There is a strong, contemporary assertion of the presence of believers in the UK before Food for Thinking Christians was circulated. Other than one statement we have no details. Anyone know anything?

We need more material detailing public reaction to Food for Thinking Christians in the United States, United Kingdom (Including all of Ireland at that time), and Canada. Newspaper comments would be great. Anyone?

We still haven't identified J. J. Bender. We have three good possibilities, but can't connect any of them to Russell. help!

Russell's first preaching tour with Barbour took them from Rochester, New York, to Louisville Kentucky. We need a volunteer in Louisville or in Kentucky somewhere willing to look through microfilms of old newspapers from 1877 to find the advertisement for Russell's lecture in Louisville.

We need a photo of Lizzy A. Allen. Also needed are her obituary. We believe she died in Buchannan, Michigan, but can't prove it and have no details.

How shall I put this politely? Apparently there is no really polite way ... Someone has suggested that Paton took the younger Miss Allen as his mistress. We can't prove that and have no solid indication that it is so. Anyone know? We'd need some solid proof, not mere speculation.

Sunderlin was for a while a Methodist clergyman in New York. There must be a photo out there. Anyone know where?

Several people prominent in what became Church of God General Conference or cognate groups associated with Russell in the 1880s and early 1890s. Anyone know details?

We need early issues of The Millennarian. Issues before 1895 would help.