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?