Saturday, January 25, 2014


Mr. Schulz tasked me with writing an afterward for volume one. Here's what I have in very rough draft. Comments welcome.

What to Expect … 

            We do not have a release date for volume two of this work. If one measures by our current outline, it’s about half complete. Ultimately, this is not a good measure. Experience has taught us that we will stumble into the hidden closets and passages of history. This will force us to revise existing work and perhaps to add new chapters. But in a broad way I can tell you what to expect.

            For readers of Zion’s Watch Tower the years from 1879 to 1887 were tumultuous. They set the course for a new religious movement for decades. With some exceptions, volume two is limited to these years. Zion’s Watch Tower was launched. Russell and his associates traveled, visiting small groups, preaching their message and trying to sway their hearers to their point of view. A Year Book history asserts the formation of congregations. We will tell you what these groups were like. In most cases, they were not at all like what the Year Book suggested.

            The dispute of the nature of salvation, ransom, and atonement continued. It intensified as the movement fragmented. Paton, A. D. Jones, and others left. Each fragmentation has the unexpected effect of unifying what remained. Issues were openly debated between key periodicals.

Adams left Barbour starting The Spirit of the Word. Myers, an Age-to-Come evangelist, dropped his initial interest, starting his own periodical to advocate contrary doctrine. He published The At-One-Ment about 1883. We don’t have this, and cannot find it. We know of it from other sources. If one of our readers has this, please use the email on the copyright page to contact us.

With Russell’s blessing, Jones started Zion’s Day Star, soon to be renamed simply Day Star. Within a short time Jones was swayed by Josephite belief, the claim that Jesus was the biological son of Joseph. Jones fell into wealth, squandered it, and then turned to fraud to recoup.

W. Conley drifted into the Faith-Cure movement, becoming entangled with a rogue Christian and Missionary Alliance clergyman who seduced and molested the women connected with Conley’s Faith-Cure home. Conley had other issues. We tell you what they were and how they affected his relationship with Russell.

We consider early interest, focusing on new evangelists, their work, and the push to alter Russell’s views in key areas. We tell you of new doctrinal developments, a key one being the change from belief in a two-stage advent to a belief in a totally invisible advent. L. A. Allen played an important role in this. As far as I know, no-one has ever documented this.

We explore the publication of Food for Thinking Christians. There is a hugely unexplored story here. While this did not open the “foreign field” (There was prior interest in Canada, the United Kingdom, and France), it expanded if largely. We tell you in detail about the early work in the UK, Canada, China, Liberia and elsewhere. We explore the roots of foreign language work within the United States. These chapters restore names and biographies to people long forgotten. They give, we think, a clearer insight into the nature and cohesiveness of the earliest Watch Tower adherents.

We tell you about their expectations for 1881. Watch Tower readers were neither the first nor the only group to focus on 1881 as a year of prophetic significance. You will see that among Watch Tower readers expectations differed. The 1881 failure was disastrous for Barbour. It shook Jones loose from his spiritual moorings. Russell promulgated a new doctrine which some readers found disturbing.

This period is one of developing self view. We’ve detailed some of that in this volume. We explore it more fully when we chronicle the division between Russell and Paton.

We tell you about the publication of Plan of the Ages, exploring Maria Russell’s claim to joint-authorship. We tell you about the first booklets and tracts. We explore the influence of Smith-Warleigh. We present a biography of one of Russell’s early associates, an English writer.

The last chapter, as we have it in our outline now, is a consideration of the first congregations. We explore their nature and development. We tell you something of the individuals who helped found them. This is an interesting story that takes us to a ship’s captain, a man who fled a murder charge to become a newspaper editor, and others equally colorful.

You will find a more complex, more interesting story than is usually told. Personally, I like volume two. I think this volume is important for the background it presents, the clearer picture of Russell’s youth and of those who influenced him. But the story we tell in volume two explains the nature of the movement started with the publication of Zion’s Watch Tower, and that is the heart of this history.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I've written and rewritten my introduction. I threw everything out and wrote this instead. Rough Draft follows:

My Turn: Rachael’s Comments


Bringing this volume to print isn’t exactly like giving birth, but there are similarities. Original research has its own set of pains, agonies, and irritations. And it has its joys.




            We knew error and fabrication colored how this story has most often been told. We did not appreciate the extent to which this is true. We expected a reasonable amount of competence among those who have tackled Watch Tower history, and we found some authors reliable. Most are not. Even among the most reliable, we found a tendency to turn presumption into “fact.”

            Many of those who preceded us were polemicists. This is true of some who presented themselves as credentialed historians or sociologists, and it is especially true of most clergy who’ve written on the subject. It amazes me that these writers are taken seriously merely because they were published.

            We do not fault anyone for having a point of view. We have our own, and privately we debate issues ranging from our personal theologies to interpretation of historical evidence. However, a point of view should not lead one to turn presumption into ‘fact.” It should not lead one to fabricate.

            The works of some are characterized by logic flaws. An anonymous writer substitutes capital letters for reason, presuming that capitalizing random words proves a point. This reflects a seriously defective education on his part and on the part of those gullible enough to find this convincing. He also withholds from his readers documentation. If the antiquated psychological descriptor “anal retentive” has any validity, it applies here.

We reject this approach. We tell you what our sources are, and though that results in copious footnotes, it leaves no doubt about the trail we followed. Occasionally we tell you where to find rare or otherwise hard to find sources. Don’t ignore the footnotes. We adopted the dictum “the story is in the details,” probing and poking at original sources, following hunches and hints where ever they led.

After reading rough drafts of some of our chapters, another writer suggested that this book is destined to be the classic presentation of Watch Tower history. I appreciated the kind comment, but we see this work as preliminary, as the first step in research that should have been undertaken decades ago. We look for more and better research from others more competent than ourselves or who are willing to follow trails we could not. Where we reached “dead ends,” others may find a trail to follow.

A major flaw in previous research is willingness to parrot unfounded assertions of others. If you take up the themes we’ve opened in this volume, ask this critical question of each writer you consult: “How do you know that?” Check their sources; probe for detail.

The story we tell here is, as Mr. Schulz observed in his introductory essay, different from what we presumed it would be. We presumed a “unity of belief” among Russell and his associates that did not exist. In volume two we will detail the divisions and separations and early controversies that resulted in ecclesiastical unity, a separate religion. Our premise as it finally developed is that a group exploration of Bible teaching resulted in a settled doctrine developed out of debate, difference and controversy. The doctrinal set finally settled on created a new religious unity. It peeled off dissenters who went their own ways.

In this volume we examine the historical and theological roots of Zion’s Watch Tower. That the story is more complex and often different than usually presented should surprise no one. One largely accurate history presents this entire period in six paragraphs. We presume the author told us everything he knew or thought important. The fault isn’t in what he wrote. It is in what he omitted.

Theologically I’m a skeptical believer. I approach historical research in the same way, which means I question everything including commonly believed “facts.” Many of those proved absolutely true. Some proved false. As you explore this first volume, you will encounter the familiar and the new.

The men and women in this story, long dead though they are, produced an emotional response. I came to like some of them. Some of them are remarkably distasteful, mean spirited and delusional. No historian writes an impartial history. But we have written to the full measure of our ability an accurate one. Despite our best efforts, we have probably made some errors of fact. We hope not, but given the depth and complexity of this research – and the newness of some of it – it seems inevitable that we got something wrong. It won’t hurt my feelings if someone points out the flaw, but I expect proof, not mere opinion. I expect critics to be as competent as we are, and I hold them to the same standards of historical research we manifest here.

A number of people have taken an interest in our research, assisting in various ways. We cannot name them all, and some wish to remain anonymous.

            Institutions that were especially helpful included the Methodist archive at Wofford College through Dr. R. Philip Stone; the State University of New York at Plattsburg; Franklin County Ohio through archivist Sandy Eckhart; the Archives of the Episcopal Church at Austin, Texas, through archivist Laura Kata; Ohio State Historical Society through Elizabeth Plummer; Almont District Library though its librarian, Kay Hurd; Junita College through librarian Janice Hartman. I’ve probably left out others equally helpful. I apologize to those I’ve omitted.

            Some institutions were distinctly un-helpful, even hostile. We’re still waiting on replies to emails and letters sent to some several years ago. The Library of Congress was hostile and unhelpful. The National Archives of the United States of America sent us key documents connected to one of Russell’s early associates. They refused to help when we requested other documentation that may hold the Department of Justice in a bad light, even though the material is about a hundred years old. The archivist at Boston University refused to provide photocopies of key material based on her reading of the papers. One of the friends of this research traveled there and made the copies in person.

            Though the Watch Tower Society declined access to a key document, they forwarded nine pages of photocopy, four of which we did not have. They are, of course, not responsible for our research or our conclusions. Given the opportunity to review volume one, they made no comment. They did not sponsor this work.

            Some individuals were exceptionally helpful. This would be a significantly diminished work without their help. Some names that should appear in this list do not because of privacy concerns.

            ** and his wife took time from a business trip to photocopy archival material at an archive that was reluctant to help. This provided key documentation.

            ** provided photocopies of rare material.

            An individual we’ll leave unnamed visited the New York Public Library to view and copy documents we would otherwise not have seen.

            ** of the Netherlands provided significant research assistance, forwarding his “finds” on a regular basis. Key documentation came from his efforts.

            ** of the United Kingdom gave us access to much of the material we used to develop our profile of George Storrs. He helped us analyze a mass of One Faith material and he obtained in our behalf rare magazines and pamphlets. He carefully read our manuscript, challenging some statements and adding to our understanding of some issues. Our greatest debt is to ** and **.

            Dr. ** sent copies of key early booklets. This book would not be as accurate without access to them.

            William Buvinger allowed access to the Buvinger family archives and provided the relevant photos used in this book. Members of the Barbour, von Zech, Wendell, and J. A. Brown families forwarded important material, including wills, family papers and photos.

            Jan Stilson, editor and author of Biographical Encyclopedia, Chronicling the History of the Church of God Abrahamic Faith, 19th & 20th Centuries, shared her research with us and read a key section of this book. She helped us access material from the archives of Atlanta Bible College.

            ** of Italy transcribed the articles found in Appendix 2. He said nice things about us in the two books he edited, and he provided moral support that I found valuable.

            ** and ** helped us overcome copyright issues connected with two photographs. Additionally, we found ** research very helpful.

            ** of Austria provided key help with some of Russell’s earliest associates.

            I’m certain we’ve left off many who helped in various ways. To those not found in this list, I apologize. To those who wish to be anonymous but who helped in various ways, my thanks.


Rachael de Vienne

 If you should be on this list and don't see yourself here, email me. I didn't intentionally leave anyone off except those who should remain anonymous.




Friday, January 10, 2014


            Writing solid, well-researched history is a challenge. Success depends on persistence and serendipity. A narrow view of events will kill what may have been, given more attention to detail, an adequate history. Let me illustrate: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclamers of God’s Kingdom mentions Benjamin Wallace Keith once, saying: “Then, in 1864, Benjamin Wilson had published his Emphatic Diaglott with the interlinear reading “presence,” not “coming,” for pa·rou·si′a, and B. W. Keith, an associate of Barbour, had drawn it to the attention of Barbour and his associates.”

Keith was a contributor first to Herald of the Morning and then to Zion’s Watch Tower. He was one of their most prominent evangelists. But this is all the author chose to tell us, and it appears that this is all that he knew. When we wrote Nelson Barbour: The Millennium’s Forgotten Prophet we included Keith’s basic biography. We have enlarged it and new details will appear in A Separate Identity. Among the most basic facts is Keith’s statement that he entered the Barbourite movement in 1867. He gave the date only, no details.

Persistence and a willingness to see beyond Russell’s biography brought us solid details that help us reclaim Keith’s history and something of his personality. The latest detail is a single sentence article in a Philadelphia newspaper. It cited a New York newspapers report of a tent meeting held at Rochester, New York, in August 1867. While this only makes it to a footnote it adds detail we didn’t have. Can we place Keith at that tent meeting? No. But it was near Dansville, Keith’s residence. So while we cannot say with surety that Keith was converted at that tent meeting, we can present the likelihood.

Keith’s life was filled with accident and tragedy. He was a committed believer. He was a talented writer, but, unlike Sunderlin, he wasn’t educated for the ministry. He was a widely-read autodidact.

In another post, Rachael discusses myth busting. Detail trumps myth. The claim that various of Russell’s early associates were Millerites is the product of an imagination unrestrained by good judgment. Paton, Keith and most of the others were too young to have been Millerites. So what were they prior to their interest in Barbour’s speculations? We tell you. And to the extent we know, we tell you what attracted them to Barbour’s doctrines. We cannot penetrate the psyche of people long dead, leaving us dependent on what remains of their writing.

Another example of detail clarifying and enlarging the story is found in Russell’s association with the Plymouth Congregational Church. We’ve found fabricated details in an online encyclopedia, in dissertations, and in print. Zydeck made up details he couldn’t otherwise find. But with very little effort we found the name of the church, the names of the two pastors Russell knew, and its address. We found samples of the first pastor’s teaching. Knowing that Russell heard millennialist preaching as a young man furthers the story.

Not everything comes to us with ease. Some details resisted persistent and informed research. Uncovering Emeline Barbour’s basic biography came from a find by one of our blog readers. They sent us a link to a webpage. We contacted a librarian who in turn sent us a scan of a newspaper article. We exhausted all the New York papers we could search. We have what we have because of that assistance. It is detail we’ve probed for since 2005. Knowing what little of her biography we do places her in her proper light.

Unresolved is speculation that Barbour was previously married to a woman who died about 1870. The evidence is slight, almost non-existent. We do not mention our suspicion in Separate Identity. But we continue to look.

Recovering the biographies of the principal actors reconnects them to contemporary events. We see these details as key to a clear understanding of events and personalities. Those details that help us the most are those that explain an individual’s self-view. So there is Paton’s dream that he took for a vision; there’s Barbour’s fluffy cloud revelation, and there’s Russell’s plainly-stated self-view.

Such is historical research …


Now, if only people will read the book.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Update to the Updates

Mr. Schulz asked me to post an update. Except for the last chapter, the ebook version is formatted. We printed it out. We’ll make some changes, though not many.

Volume One of A Separate Identity has eight chapters. Before you read the main text, read the two introductory essays. Mr. Schulz’ is more important than mine, and you will find it first. Chapter one considers Russell’s family, his youth, religious experiences before meeting Wendell, and his business ventures. Obviously we don’t tell the usual story or this chapter would be a paragraph or two long. We name names. We detail events usually overlooked.

Chapter two considers his interactions with Wendell, Stetson and others. We take you into the lives of the Adventist and Age to Come evangelists we know he met. You will find characters you knew nothing about. We tell you what kind of men they were, what they taught and what they wrote. This chapter covers the years 1869-1873.

Chapter three continues this discussion. We focus on Storrs and others that appeared in the years 1874-1876. If you read the Wikipedia articles on Russell and Storrs, you will find that they are wrong. This isn’t surprising given the research standards adopted by those who’ve contributed to those articles.

Chapters two and three takes one into the complex world of One Faith belief as contrasted with Adventism. You will find that Russell’s doctrinal set is One Faith, not Adventist. We continue that theme in chapter four.

Chapter four details the formation and growth of the original Allegheny Bible Study Group. We tell you to the extent we know it who participated. We tell you what they read and discussed. We uncover their doctrinal development. We tell you that the group was not unified. We tell you the story usually told about this group is a myth, and we show you why that is so.

Chapter five discusses Russell’s entry into the Barbourite movement. We provide significant biographies of the principals with photos. You will see John Paton in a new light. This chapter introduces our readers to Benjamin Wallace Keith, Samuel Howe Withington, Ira Allen and his daughter Lizzie, and Avis Hamlin. Some of these are important to the story told in volume one; some come to prominence in volume two.

Chapter six tells the story of Barbour, Russell, and Paton’s early ministry. We tell this from Barbour and Russell’s own words and from newspaper articles that haven’t seen the light of day in 150 years. Payton G. Bowman makes a brief appearance. We address some persistent mythology in this chapter.

Chapter seven profiles their principal converts. These include Caleb Davies and wife, William I Mann (we can’t find his photo), Charles and Emma Buvinger, Joshua Tavender, John Corbin Sunderlin, A. P. Adams, and Emeline Bigelow-Jobes who became Mrs. Barbour. Some of these names will be familiar to our readers and some not. They’re all important to this history, though most of them come to prominence in volume two. We present their biographies frankly and in some detail. We tell about Sunderlin’s opium addition, Adam’s intimidating manner, Tavender’s generosity, Mann’s reputation among his contemporary. This story is told from original letters, papers from the Methodist Archives, newspaper articles, and from the Watch Tower and Herald of the Morning.

Chapter eight examines the collapse of their expectations for 1878 and the aftermath as it played out in the Atonement controversy. This takes us up to the first issue of Zion's Watch Tower. We tell you who H. B. Rice really was. We dissect the claims made by all the parties, putting some things in the trash bin and introducing events new to most of our readers.
A short article follows. It tells our readers what to expect in volume two. An appendix considers Russell’s relationship to the Masons. Another reproduces the Atonement articles from the Herald of the Morning.
We don't have a firm release date yet ... but soon.


Original research entails significant expense. Several have helped, but there is always something else to buy and our funds are very limited. Clothing and putting shoes on the feet of my five daughters comes first.

We have a limited time opportunity to purchase part sets of two key 19th Century magazines. We’re focusing on the older of these, a magazine published in the 1830s that stands in the background of the One Faith movement. If we return to the earlier years (I’d like to), and write the history of Watch Tower antecedents, we will need this. The problem is lack of money. We anticipate that the entire collection (both magazines; one with three bound volumes and the other with five) will cost about two hundred and fifty dollars. We don’t have that. I doubt we can raise the total amount.

So, now you know. If you want to donate (any amount is welcome) you may do so through the donation button on the invitation only blog or contact me at rmdevienne at yahoo dot com and I’ll tell you how.

Monday, January 6, 2014

We need ...

We need a clear, readable scan of pages 46-47 of the October 1881 Herald of the Morning. We needed it yesterday ....

In May 1881 Barbour issued a revised edition of Three Worlds. A few hundred paperback copies were printed. We've never seen this and we really need to see one. Anyone?

Obituaries and H B Rice again

by “Jerome”

Obituaries are a good source of information, although when it comes to accuracy they can leave a lot to be desired. The events involving the subject are often a long time in the past, and memory can let people down or cause them to even embroider the story; much as funeral orations tends to (in the words of a popular song) “accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative...”
So we have the obituary of Joseph L Russell, which states he came to America “about 1845.” The word of hesitation – “about” – has since been turned into a more definite statement in some writings, and also in the commentary of a history DVD. However, Joseph’s naturalisation papers, completed in 1848 show that he needed to have been in the United States for at least five years prior to signing the document.

Then there is also some detail in the obituary of Hugh Brown Rice, the main subject of this article.

Rice died in 1905, and his obituary in the Los Angeles Herald for November 3, 1905, highlighted that he was a religious man, but concentrated on his business success as a travel agent for Steamship Lines. His pallbearers were all business associates, not religious associates. There is no mention of his passing in the Restitution, a paper that once carried letter after letter from him. Anyone can check the full obituary on the Find a Grave site.
But there was another obituary published in the Obituary Record of Graduates of Amherst College, for the Academical Year Ending June 27, 1906, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1906, page 158.

This adds some more detail, and it is here that the memory of surviving relatives lets the side down. It states: “During the last twenty-five years of his life he regularly taught a large and enthusiastic Bible class in Los Angeles. He was a frequent contributor to religious publications, and for several years published a small monthly paper called The Last Trump.”
Let’s do the math here. He regularly taught a large and enthusiastic Bible class in Los Angeles for twenty-five years? That would take us back to around 1880, the time he had a brief association with CTR and Nelson Barbour. Was his Bible class large and enthusiastic and continuous? In the latter part of the 1880s many letters from Rice were published in the Restitution newspaper. They showed Rice struggling to makes ends meet as an unsuccessful farmer, and storekeeper, and bemoaning his isolation from those of like faith. They repeatedly ask for financial help so he can go preaching. On one documented occasion he leaves his family in near penury, goes preaching far away and runs out of money and has great difficulty getting home. For more details of Rice’s continuing tales of woe, see an earlier article on this blog from July 1, 2012, H B RICE - AN IMPECUNIOUS MAN.  There is also a typical letter from the period reproduced at the end of this article, which stresses both his isolation and lack of funds.

The Amherst obituary also mentions his paper The Last Trump running for several years. This would appear to be a “folk memory” on the part of his family. It ran for about three issues and then folded prior to the start of Zion’s Watch Tower. When a dramatic reversal occurred in Rice’s fortunes at the very end of the 80s, he disappears completely from the pages of extant One Faith/Age to Come publications.  For Rice to have published for several years would have meant his re-starting it when he finally got on his feet financially in the 1890s. While the old adage holds true that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, it would seem extremely doubtful.
Once Rice finally gets his finances in order, his dreams of an active ministry disappear into the relief of actually making a reasonable living for a growing family. The Los Angeles Herald obituary mentions a N W J Straub, whose Bible class he attended, but Straub is not to be found in the Restitution.
Perhaps the main thing the Amherst obituary does for us is draw two diverse pictures together. On one hand we have the financial failure – the struggling letter writer regularly pleading year after year for financial help – and on the other we have the prosperous businessman with his own travel agency. The two are so disparate, you could be forgiven for wondering if these were two different men – both coincidentally named Hugh B Rice. At least the Amherst obituary shows this was the same man – even if the details have been blurred and distorted in the telling.
Basically, Rice’s obituary highlights the major flaw in all obituaries – the one person who could verify the information is unfortunately not there to do so.

Below is a typical letter from H B Rice, as published in The Restitution for November 7, 1888, page 4.

Dear Restitution:
Although far away from any church organization and having none of that “fellowship of kindred minds” which Christians so much need and which I so much covet, I must write to express my deep interest in the movement now being towards organization of our forces. Co-operation is certainly Scriptural and wise and needful in our work. How I would rejoice could I be present in Philadelphia at the General Conference. May God direct you all in your planning and may the much needed union of effort be well begun and enthusiastically carried out.
Since it has pleased God by the “foolishness of preaching” (not foolish preaching), to save those who believe, we canst preach if we save any. Now I am too much burdened by the cares of a large and helpless family, and poverty, brought on by sundry mistakes in business enterprise and consequent indebtedness, to hope to be able to give my whole time to this glorious work soon. Some who have heard me preach in years past urge that I ought to give my attention to that work. Surely I am not a Jonah! I would rather preach the gospel than any other work. Hardships and privations for myself I mind not at all. But when my honest debts state me in the face, and a wife and five children appeal to me for bread and clothing, how can I go forth among strangers, most of whom are not in the least interested in such things, with no brethren able to aid me, no organized or systematic methods among them to sustain me while my time and labor is given to gospel work?
I do preach, not often in public, for I have no opportunity for that, but by the wayside, on the path, on the road, in private houses, to individuals, to all who will listen anywhere and everywhere. I lend books and tracts, and can see some fruit of my labor. But after various wanderings in search of a home for my family, I am at least located here on a government claim, a homestead of 160 acres, two miles from Delano. One year has rapidly passed away. I have a plain but comfortable house of four rooms, and a fence enclosing less than an acre about the house, a few grape vines and a dozen fruit trees growing misely, a two-horse wagon, a two-horse buggy, a gang plow and seeder, eight or nine tons of hay, and four work animals.
It is too dry to slow saw. We have had no rain except a light shower not sufficient to lay the dust well, since the forepart of last March! Last season was too dry to raise a crop except on irrigated land. But water is only twelve to fourteen feet from the surface on my land, and windmills would enable me to put in and raise an orchard and vineyard and a few acres of alfalfa; if I could only get them. Two or three cheap mills would be needed for ten or fifteen acres. The soil and climate are exceedingly favorable if we only had water. Rabbit-proof fencing is also a necessity. But here I am, unable to get work, without means to make these needed improvements; among strangers, no brethren anywhere near me, and, at present, no work of any kind by which I can earn a dollar. As soon as it rains I can get all the plowing I can do at good prices, but that does not supply present needs. Well, perhaps I ought not to say so much of my present condition, but it just occurred to me it might serve as an example of how some who long to preach cannot.
No one is more ready and anxious to help himself than I am, and in fact, when one reflects that a year ago I had nearly nothing and had to borrow from an old San Francisco acquaintance the money to file on my land, I feel great gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the success attained. Educated and trained for the ministry in the Presbyterian Church, having seven or eight years of practical experience as a preacher, in that church first, and then in the Christian Church or among the Disciples, having been pastor of a church for two years at Rock Island, Illinois, and then in San Francisco, California, and preached in many other places acceptably while knowing only a meagre part of the truth as it is in Jesus, I feel certain that I could do good heralding forth the “glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” were it in my power. It is my purpose, if the Lord tarries so long, to give my whole time to preaching as soon as I can get my farm into a condition that will enable my family to support themselves thereon. I am trying to teach my children (for I cannot send them to school at present) and am not neglecting the word of the Lord. This work may be more important now than any other, but of course when I get work to do I must be busy at that and may be compelled to be away from home, when such teaching will be interrupted.
In the meantime were the Lord to open any door for me to engage in my chosen work, I would try to do that rather. I have threatened several times to write to THE RESTITUTION and announce myself ready to fill calls in California to preach if any were interested and would pay my expenses to reach the place and return home. But I have been so isolated and so busy I have hesitated. This letter is written on the impulse of the moment, in view of the notices I have read concerning the General Conference and its aims. The thought came, unless the brethren know of my condition and feelings they certainly can never help me to devise ways and means to do gospel work, and perhaps, if they knew, some might be able and willing to join hands with me and so the good news be sounded out in California.
Your brother in Christ

Friday, January 3, 2014

Now's the time ...

Any material you have relevant to the era from Grew to July 1879 that you wish to share should be sent now. Attach it to an email and send it to rmdevienne [at] yahoo [dot] com.

We're formatting the ARC now. (Advanced reading copy). Its in ebook format first. An afterward and the last three or four pages of the last chapter remain to be written. Last chapter of volume one will need a good edit.

I'm typing up my introductory essay today. I'm compiling a list of people to thank. I have very bad memory, so if you helped at all and think you should be mentioned, refresh my memory. Do that soon.

Two Newly Found Newspaper Articles

This one was a poke in Barbour's eye and explains some things Barbour wrote in this period:

This one is S. O. Blunden's death notice. Notice that he had a non-Bible Student funeral.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


progress ...

There will be roughly 350-370 pages in volume one. It will contain about 100 photos, either of individuals or of original documents. While it will have a table of contents (of course), we’ll wait on an index until volume two is complete. There are eight chapters and two appendices. Appendix one considers Russell and the Masons. Appendix two reproduces the pertinent Atonement articles. 

Each of us has written an introductory essay. We’re still tinkering with those. There will be an afterward, telling some of what is to come in volume two.

The ebook version is being formatted first.  

We’re getting there … be patient.

A volunteer

We need a volunteer who can merge the several chapters into one document. We need the formatting of each chapter, including the footnote numbering to stay as is. We don’t want changes to the font, the alignment, the footnote format or anything else in the text. We just want the separate documents merged.

We need this in two formats. The first is as is with one inch margins. This will be the ebook format. The second is print as book format with variable margins. Word has a template. It must be set to’s standard. 

This is a huge chore. I thought I could do this using wordperfect, but the images are distorted by wp. Wordperfect has the advantage of a footnote continued message. 

Can you help?

Problem solved. So we don't need a volunteer after all.