Thursday, January 7, 2016

Remember this?

From the chapter titled Out of Babylon (with slight revisions)



The Woodworths were not alone. Others represented pre-existing interest in Scranton. Among them was D. M. Hessler. We know little about Daniel Milburn Hessler. (1860-1917) He was a prominent citizen, owning a laundry business in Scranton with branches in New Jersey, Indiana and Pennsylvania. He appears once in the Watch Tower through a letter to Russell in February 1891, and he named a son born that year Charles Russell Hessler. Commenting on a new cover design for Zion’s Watch Tower, we find him expressing his strongly held belief:

I received January number last night and quickly noticed the new suit in which the tower is clothed. I feel sure that the improvement will be greatly appreciated by its readers. The emblem of the cross and crown is an appropriate and beautiful design to be worn by the tower. Its presence should ever encourage, sustain and comfort the household of faith. It should also be a warning or reminder; for as the cross and crown are inseparable in the design, so the two are to be inseparably associated in the experience of the overcomers. If we would wear the crown we must bear the cross.[1]

            Hessler drops out of the record with this letter. We do not know if he maintained his interest or how active he was within the Scranton congregation. By  July 1895, meetings were held in George W. Hessler’s home at 728 Green Ridge Street. Erlenmyer would have directed the Woodworths to this meeting. The one notice of it appears in the July 13, 1895, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Tribune:

The Watch Tower Bible class will meet at the residence of G. W. Hessler, 728 Green Ridge street, [sic] Sunday, July 14, at 10 a. m. The subject will be “Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began,” Acts, iii 21. The leader will also explain from the “Chart of the Ages” the special call of this gospel age, “The straight gate and narrow way to life, and the few there be that find it.” Matt. Vii, 14.

            We do not know who the class “leader” was, but we do know something of George Hessler. [died May 1913] He was a cabinet maker, “well known in building circles,” and a member of the Improved Order of Heptasophs, a fraternal organization. Hessler was an inventor, holding patents for a ‘book holder’ and a toilet chair.[2] A German immigrant, he became a citizen in February 1909.[3] Later in life he invested in a Cuban gold mine and he was swindled.[4] As with Daniel Hessler, we do not know if he maintained his interest. When his daughter Hazel was married in 1905, it was by the “Reverend Stahl.”[5] This cannot be taken as evidence of later belief because in this era adherents turned to clergy for weddings. Few Watch Tower evangelists were recognized by state or county officials to perform marriages.


[1]               Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1891, page 29.
[2]               U.S. Patents numbers 263,290 and 752,551.
[3]               Scranton Wochenblatt, February 25, 1909.
[4]               The Scranton, Pennsylvania, Truth, January 12, 1911.
[5]               The Scranton, Pennsylvania, Truth¸ June 7, 1905.

D. M. Hessler's son Charles Russell served at Bethel in the 1940s and is mentioned in the 1943 Yearbook. Can anyone help us connect with Hessler relations who are still Jehovah's Witnesses?

7 comments:

jerome said...

Charles Russell Hessler's death certificate from 1947 states that his occupation was as a minister for the Watch Tower Society.

roberto said...

If Charles Russell Hessler was a minister for the Watch Tower Society when he died, maybe one of his parents grew up him in that faith, and probably was his father Daniel Milburn Hessler.

roberto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
roberto said...

Any relationship between Daniel Milburn Hessler and George Hessler?

roberto said...

See also W98 08/01 page 20. Charles Russell Hessler was a travelling overseer.

jerome said...

The 1880 census shows that Daniel Hessler and George Hessler were brothers.

Miquel Angel Plaza-Navas said...

Surely you know this:
Year books of JWs lists C.R. Hessler as an "ordained minister" from 1938 to 1948.