Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Familiar Image

We are all influenced by our surroundings, and this short article is just to illustrate how Charles Taze Russell might have been influenced by his.

The video “Jehovah's Witnesses—Faith in Action, Part 1: Out of Darkness” portrays the funeral of Ann Eliza Birney Russell, CTR’s mother. She died when Charles was about to turn nine years old. The reconstructed shot in the film has obviously been closely modelled on the Russell family plot that you can visit in the Allegheny cemetery today. 

Recent photograph of Section 7 Lot 17 - Russell family plot.

Back row - Mary Russell (no stone), Charles T Russell, James G Russell, Sarah A Russell

Front row - Joseph L Russell, Ann E Russell, Joseph L Russell Jr., Lucinda H Russell, Thomas B Russell

At the time Ann Eliza died, five interments had already taken place.  CTR’s Uncle and Aunt, James and Sarah, were there, but they died a number of years before he was born. It was James who purchased the standard plot for ten graves originally - although only nine spaces were ultimately used. Also, three of Charles’ siblings had died and were buried there. Further information can be found in an old article on this blog entitled “The Russells and the Allegheny Cemetery” from November 2013.

Young Charles may well have attended the funerals of his two brothers and one sister, and of course, then his mother. As an adult in his 20s he would likely have attended the funeral of his Uncle, the similarly named Charles TAYS Russell, who was buried in the row behind.

So, Allegheny cemetery was definitely on CTR’s radar. Below are two modern photographs of the main entrance through which you would have to travel to the part of the cemetery where the Russell plot is found. Notice the round towers on the ramparts.

Now just think what CTR did when he founded his own magazine, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.  From the first issue in 1879 until the end of 1890 it had the same graphic on the masthead. And even when the paper gained a proper cover in 1891, the graphic below was retained until December 1894 at the head of the opening article.

The tower and wall do look somewhat familiar!

I am very grateful to the author of “Watch Tower of Allegheny Historical Tour” who made this original suggestion, and who also supplied the most recent photographs included in the article.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can also see the entrance on Google using Google Street View. Thank you for this interesting piece of information. I will be purchasing your book pretty soon!,-79.957691,3a,28.3y,57.26h,90.98t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1swTR4YLLknSVn65_RLGWRlw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656