Monday, May 27, 2013

Setting matters straight

Several have presumed that the Watch Tower Society some how supports this project or that they feed us information. This is our own personal project. It is not sponsored by, approved by, or otherwise supported by the Watch Tower Society.

They do not feed us information. We have written or emailed them five or six time over the course of our current project, usually to ask a specific question. Most often their answer has been, "We don't know" or "We don't have that." They have sent us exactly seven pages of photocopy, some of it material we already had. In point of fact there were only three pages we did not have. We appreciate receiving that much. But, that is all we have received from them. It is wrong to suggest on a public forum or in private that they are a secret voice of support behind this project.

The research is ours. Outside help comes from interested individuals who read this or the private blog. Some of them are Jehovah's Witnesses, some Bible Students and a couple are educators who have a historian's interest. None of them are part of the official Watch Tower staff. All the conclusions we draw are our own. We are not writing a polemic; we're writing history. If there prove to be mistakes in the book, we are to blame. If we take  you places you've never been, show you history you've never seen, the praise is ours too.

A recent forum post says that Mr. Schulz is using a pen name. He is not. I write as Rachael de Vienne, and that is a pen name, an extract from a much longer personal name. That is my name, just not my first or last name. I teach and I raise children and goats.

Mr. Schulz did not write scripts for a television show. He wrote childrens' stories. They are all out of print. He used a pen name for those. They aren't relevant to the history we write.

Our next book must stand or fall on its merits. Either it is sound, well-researched history, or it is not. It does not matter who our ancestors were or who our living relations may be. Some of them are not praise-worthy people anyway.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I don't know what these are ....

Do you know? Do you have copies? Click the image to view.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I have an hour or so before I go teach my one class of the day. I’m using it to organize the mass of photocopies we received. There are maybe 200 pages, but little of it is useful for our work in progress. However, it will be useful for book three in this series.

Some short newspaper articles give names of those active in the movement, many of which are new to me.

There is an Alexander Graham of Summerville, Minnesota. I’ve never heard of him. Eventually, I’ll hunt him down. He shows up in an article from September 23, 1899.

J. H. Moffatt of Micanopy, Florida, was giving Bible lectures in 1904.

An Elder Staples and Charles N. Friend preached alternate Sundays in Richmond, Virginia, in 1901.
This one is confusing. Two Charles N. Friends, both near Richmond. One was  a druggist, the other a minister. The one we want lived in Chester VA in 1901.

Elder appears to be a first name instead of a title.

George Ceariners (or Geariners) held meetings in his home in Houston, Texas, in 1896.

C. R. Raymond of Cleveland, Ohio, lectured in St. Louis in 1903.

J. A. Gillespie was lecturing in Omaha in 1912.

Samuel Williams lectured in Huston in 1903.

S. J. Arnold was in Marietta, Ohio, to lecture in March 1900.

N. W. Mottinger led the congregation in Akron, Ohio, in 1902.
This is Noah W. Mottinger, born in Ohio in 1846 and died in Ohio in 1907. He was a Civil War veteran.

"Evangelists Williams and Howel" lectured in Houston, Texas, in 1902.
Howel is John (Jonathan) Marshman Howell, a horticulturalist and carpenter. (1849-1925). We think but don't know for certain, that Williams is A. E. Williams.

T. H. Lloyd was advertising Millennial Dawn in Salem, Oregon, in 1896.
This is Thomas H. Lloyd, a carpenter (stairbuilder), born in wales in 1851 and died in Salem, Oregon in 1901.

George H. Draper of Conde, South Dakota, lectured in Minnesota in 1908.

Mr. Anderson held meetings in his "studio" in Huston, Texas, in 1896.

J. Wyndetts was an adherent living in Huston, Texas, in 1899.

J. O. Sandberg of Grants Pass, Oregon, placed an ad for a lecture in 1904.
Appears to be the John O Sandberg burried in the Fox Valley, Linn County, Oregon Cemetery. Birth and death years are given as 1846-1926.

G. W. Hessler, a carpenter, was an adherent in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1898.

Mrs. N. E. Rolison was secretary of the congregation in Elmira, NY, in 1911.

D. W. McClay of Schenectady was lecturing in 1905.

Fredrick Clapham opened his home up for meetings in Albany, New York, in 1900.

Morgan T. Lewis of Cohoee was lecturing in New York in 1900.

James G. Hill was lecturing in Yonkers in 1908

Maurice McKinny was lecturing in Elmira, New York, in 1905.

This list continues to grow … I can see lots and lots of hard, detailed research in my future.

George Storrs in Pittsburgh

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Washington D. C. Times - 1904 [click on the image]

I hope you're not getting tired

of all the newspaper articles ... I found bunches of them that are new to  us. Some of these answer questions we've had and some are just interesting. I found one from 1888 about Viola Gilbert. We mention her twice in our upcoming book. It's brief but adds significantly to the story. As a result we'll move a footnote into main text and elaborate.

These raw, sometimes little bits of newspaper text have furthered our story in huge ways. I hope you enjoy them.I"m focused on articles published before 1910 even though that date is two decades past the cut off date for our next book. We foucus on names, slogans and catch-phrases. The history doesn't stop at 1890, though our book focuses on the years before that. It would be silly to confine ourselves to material before that date.

So ... what you're seeing is material we've just found. It's not exactly surprising, except for a few new names we'll have to track down. But it adds detail. If you think about it, lack of detail has choked the story, turning it into a myth. Our goal is to restore detail so subsequent writers can follow the trails we have and add new research or simply abreviate the story, but accurately.

The advertisement from Salem, Oregon, is especially important because it illustrates what some Watch Tower evangelists did. This is not news to us, but it gives us a usable visual. Without explaining all of the details, Russell was exposed to and part of a religious movement that struggled with names and identity. He was very reluctant to give a name to the organization that grew up around Zion's Watch Tower. We're documenting the many names used by individual groups. The articles we've found recently helps with that.

Something that did surprise me is a series of "Millennial Dawn State Conventions." These were held in the 1890s and into the early 1900s, and while Mr. Schulz did not find this "new," I did. Anyway, I hope I'm not boring you silly by posting these articles.

Salem, Oregon - 1896 [click image to view]

Huston Daily Post - 1902 [click on image]

Huston Post - Feb 22, 1903 [click the image]

We need some basic biography for Mr. Williams ....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

S. O. Blunden and other matters.

In early to mid 1888 Blunden was arrested in Harrisburg, PA, for handing out tracts in from of a Methodist church. We would like to see original records of some sort. We can't find them. Anyone?

We need a public domain photo of City Gospel Tent, New York City, as it looked between 1885 and 1890.

We need any records of "New Church of Brooklyn." It was in existance in 1892-1893. A photo would be stellar.

We need copies of any letters from or to or among Bible Students in the period before 1916, no matter how unimportant they may seem. Anyone?

Seattle Star - July 9, 1907

Russell 1902 -Click the Image to read the whole thing

On the Private Blog

We posted a chapter on early Watch Tower finances. It profiles some of the first directors and discusses early donnors and such.

We need to know J. F. Smith's middle name, and we'd love to find a photo of him and William C. MacMillan and Simon O. Blunden.

We have very little information about the sale of donated land in Florida in the 1880s. Any small detail will help.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Ross Libel Case



In 1912, J J Ross, a Baptist clergyman in Canada, published a booklet “Some Facts about the Self Styled Pastor Russell.” It attacked CTR over a number of issues, including his marital problems, his business ventures and his ordination and education or lack of same.

CTR sued Ross, but the indictment got no further than the magistrates court. As a result, Ross published an expanded booklet with extracts from the court transcript, claiming that he “won” and CTR “lost”. The accusations made in this booklet, especially over whether CTR could read or understand Biblical Greek have been re-circulated down to this day. Opponents of CTR accuse him of perjury. Others reading the limited transcript available see a far more innocent explanation; one given by CTR at the time.

Regrettably, the full transcript of the key hearing, where CTR was cross-examined by George Lynch Staunton, is not currently available. Staunton’s copy does not appear to survive, nor that of J J Ross, and the one owned by the Watchtower Society was lost for many years, then reportedly rediscovered, then apparently mislaid again.

While it might give many interesting historical morsels in CTR’s testimony, it probably covered similar ground to other trials of the day involving CTR. This can be seen by examining how the newspapers of the day reported the proceedings.

What is noteworthy is that the reporters in court never picked up on any accusations approaching perjury. Any reference to CTR’s ability to read Greek, be it letters or language, was so peripheral it didn’t merit comment. In their minds the accusations made by Ross focussed more on CTR’s marital difficulties and ordination – subjects already raised by newspapers such as the Brooklyn Eagle, from where Ross’s original booklet admitted he had obtained most of his material. And crucially, the newspapers of the day explained why Ross was not found guilty. (One must always remember that in law it was Ross who was the defendant, not CTR).

The answer is given very clearly in the cutting at the head of this article. And it reflects what CTR himself said by way of explanation at the time.

When later asked about the case, CTR made his defense in the Watch Tower, September 15th, 1914, pp. 286-7 (reprints page 5543). This was a reproduction of a letter published in a newspaper in Trinidad, apparently in answer to Ross's second booklet. The key part is as follows:

(all underlining mine):

'I am quite familiar with the slanderous screed issued by Rev. J.J. Ross. In Canada they have just two laws governing libel. Under the one, the falsifier may be punished by the assessment of damages and money. Under the other, criminal libel, he is subject to imprisonment. I entered suit against Rev. Ross under the criminal act at the advice of my attorneys, because, as he had no property, a suit for damages would not intimidate him nor stop him. The lower court found him guilty of libel. But when the case went to the second judge he called up an English precedent in which it was held that criminal libel would only operate in a case where the jury felt sure that there was danger of rioting or violence. As there was no danger that myself or friends would resort to rioting, the case was thrown out. I could still bring my action for financial damages but it would be costly to me and impotent as respects Rev. Ross.'

(CTR then discusses at some length the issues raised on Biblical languages and ordination and presents his side of the case).

So CTR states he was advised to try for criminal libel, but because of an English precedent relating to resulting 'rioting' and 'violence', it was thrown out. The English law (obviously governing Canada at this time) is put simply in Reader's Digest Family Guide to the Law (1971 edition) page 675: (underlining mine):

'Libel is normally a civil wrong - what the law calls a 'tort' -·but it can be also a criminal offense if the prosecution shows that the libel caused, or was likely to cause a breach of the peace. Such prosecutions are rare because the person libelled normally prefers to seek damages in a civil action; for even if someone is found guilty of criminal libel the person defamed does not get any damages.'

In discussing how certain rare circumstances allow for criminal libel of the dead, it states:

'If the dead person is libelled in such a way that his relatives are understandably angered into a breach of the peace, the writer might be prosecuted for criminal libel.'

So the key point in law is, will the one libelled be likely to cause a breach of the peace, or will his relatives?

This is backed up by Stones Justice Manual, 1985 edition, Section 4-5671. After the definition of criminal libel, and various decisions on whether or not the dead could be so libelled, we have the British precedent to which CTR referred: (underlining mine):

(quote) Lord COLERIDGE CJ, directed a grand jury at Berkshire Assizes, Reading, February 1889, that there ought to be some public interest concerned, something affecting the Crown or in guardians of public peace, to justify the recourse by a private person to criminal libel by way of indictment. If either by reason of the continued repetition or infamous character of the libel a breach of the peace was likely to ensue, then the libeller should be indicted: but in the absense of such conditions, a personal squabble between two individuals ought not to be permitted by grand juries, as indeed it was not permitted by sound law to the subject of criminal indictment, and he invited them to throw out the bill, which, in accordance with his suggestion, was done (33 Sol Jo 250).

In summary – if no breach of the peace was actually caused by, or threatened by, the one libelled, a private individual bringing a charge of criminal libel would have it thrown out – irrespective of the merits of the case. Had CTR brought a civil action against Ross it may have been a different result. This is what he did with actions against the 'Washington Post' and Chicago 'Mission Friend' where both cases were decided in his favour. The issue of CTR’s 'divorce/separation' was common to all cases.

The whole object of the exercise was to silence Ross, and CTR wrote to him while the case was pending offering to withdraw the suit if Ross would discontinue his (quote) "injurious slanderous course". (See Watch Tower, October 1st, 1915). On this occasion the strategy backfired!

In hindsight it would appear that CTR received flawed legal advice to go for the rare charge of criminal libel, rather than civil libel as before.

In the Watch Tower for October 1st, 1915, when answering a question about why he, CTR, took someone to court, when Jesus didn't, he stated about the Ross case: "We are not certain that we did the wisest and best thing – the thing most pleasing to the Lord in the matter mentioned."

Friday, May 17, 2013

One more. This one from Chapter One

Another Page. This one from Chapter 5

These sample pages will give you an idea of what to expect, at least in apperance, and some idea of content. We don't have a release date yet, but we're hoping for near February 2014.

We have a major chapter to finish, followed by a thorough edit and re-write. We don't know if there will be an index with the first volume or if that comes with volume 2.

Pages will look like this ...

These are from chapter 7 of the new book.

The List

Mr. Schulz made this list for someone else. I think it may be interesting to you too. It's a short description of the chapters to be found in volume 1 of the next book:

Chapter one considers Russell family antecedents and C. T. Russell’s childhood with some reference to his business ventures. We draw heavily on Russell’s accounts as scattered through the pages of the Watch Tower and Convention Reports, public and church records.

Chapter two takes us into his meeting with Wendell, Stetson and others. We provide extensive biographies of Wendell and Stetson and more brief notices of others Russell met between 1869 and 1874. We define the difference between Age-to-Come (One Faith) belief and Adventism and explore which most influenced Russell’s associates. Among those we profile and whose interactions with Russell and his associates we explore are George Darby Clowes, John T. Ongley, and George W. Cherry. We explore Stetson’s shift from Adventism to One Faith belief. Photos of the hall Wendell first spoke in and the one in which Russell met him and copies of newspaper notices and similar matters illustrate this chapter

Chapter three considers interaction with Storrs. We present an extensive biography of Storrs, emphasizing his shift from Millerite Adventism to Age-to-Come belief. This discussion is drawn from contemporary records. We also consider the Russells interactions with Eleazer L. Owen, Seventh-day Adventists and Christadelphians. We detail the history of the One Faith congregation that grew out of Wendell’s visit. We consider claims made about Russell’s view of William Miller and his connections to other, non-Adventist millenarians.

Chapter four considers the formation of the Bible Class, following the trail of their doctrinal development and connecting it to contemporary persons and articles. We discuss in some detail William Conley’s background, his connections to Peters and others, and his doctrinal differences with Russell. We leave the history of their separation and Conley’s shift to faith-cure advocacy to volume two.

Russell describes their doctrinal development several times. Combining his various statements we outline the salient points as: 1. End of the age; 2. Second Probation; 3. Ransom and Atonement; 4. Parousia and Restitution; 5. Restoration of the Jews; 6. World Burning; 7. Baptism; 8. Resurrection; 9. End-times chronology and prophetic framework; 10. The Trinity; 11. Devil and Demons; 12. Great Pyramid, and 13. Other doctrines including congregation “ordinances.” We connect their study to contemporary events, discussions and articles in journals we know they read or tracts by people they knew.

Chapter five considers Russell’s introduction to the Barbourite movement. It profiles the principals and discusses his meeting with Barbour in Philadelphia and his meeting with Paton in Pittsburgh. There is some newspaper documentation of Barbour’s activity in Philadelphia. This chapter presents a thorough biography of Paton and biographies of those most prominent among Herald of the Morning readers: Benjamin Wallace Keith; Samuel Howe Withington; Ira and Lizzie (Elizabeth) Allen; Avis M. Hamlin. It ends with a consideration of the social milieu and Russell’s commitment to the work.

Chapter six considers in detail Barbour and Russell’s ministry up to the spring of 1878. We explore newspaper articles detailing their first missionary trip. We discuss their publishing ministry and some new doctrinal developments. They abandoned belief in an earthly heaven in mid 1877, causing some considerable controversy. We look at reactions to their ministry both from Adventists and from One Faith believers, quoting from articles appearing in their journals.

Chapter seven considers their ministry’s fruitage. We profile some who were prominent in the following years. These include Caleb Davies; William Imre Mann; Joshua Tavender; John Corbin Sunderlin; and Arthur Prince Adams. We draw on private letters, church records and contemporary newspaper articles.

Chapter eight considers the atonement controversy and separation. This exists as notes only.

We plan an additional chapter considering Barbour and Russell’s households, their wives and other connections. This may be inserted between chapters six and seven. An appendix on Russell’s supposed Masonic connections is ready. A second appendix considering Russell’s preaching with evangelists connected to The Restitution is partially complete.
A rough page count of volume one is 380 pages. That will change with edits.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


We’re close to the break point for what would be volume one of our next book. When chapter eight is finished and we do a thorough re-write, we could publish it. We’re debating this. There is a huge amount of work left, almost all of it for volume two. We could put out volume one, but we’re afraid that alone it will not hold our reader’s interest.

It might. There is good stuff in it, new, well-researched and interesting at least to me. But it ends with Russell and Barbour’s separation and he controversies that followed it. We don’t expect to sell many copies anyway, but we worry that interest will wane between the publication of a volume one and the final volume.

I’m in no shape physically or mentally to make a rational decision. (I’m very sick right now.) And Bruce seems torn by a desire to get it out and wanting to tell the whole story at once. So we’re opening it up for discussion here.

Lack of interest here, and we my shelve the project.