Monday, October 17, 2016

The Magnificent Seven


     Well, perhaps not all quite so magnificent, but I couldn’t resist the title.

     When Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was incorporated in late 1884, there were seven directors. This article is just a brief overview of the original seven. As such, most of the material has appeared in some form before, and for details of the lives of these people you will need to consult the Separate Identity series. Grateful thanks are due to Bernhard who has supplied much of the information here. And in line with a series of past articles based on the indispensible Find a Grave site, as well as giving their dates, this article shows where all these people ended up. Literally.


     But first, here is the list of names from Zion’s Watch Tower for January 1885.


     There are, of course, only six names listed here. However, the original handwritten record of the charter lists a seventh, Simon O Blunden. When the original articles of incorporation were reproduced in the Watch Tower for November 1, 1917, all original seven names were listed.

     We will take them in the order in which they appeared in the 1885 ZWT (adding Blunden at the end) and simply document their births and deaths and when they ceased to be Society directors. In many cases, ceasing to be directors coincided with ceasing active association with Charles T Russell and Zion’s Watch Tower. To illustrate, we will show their final resting places.

Charles Taze Russell (February 6, 1852 – October 31, 1916)



     CTR remained president until his death. He is buried in the plot owned by the Watchtower Society in United Cemeteries, Pittsburgh. Visitors often photograph the pyramid on the site, but this is not CTR’s grave marker. The pyramid was originally designed to list all the names of those buried on site. Only nine names were recorded before the idea was abandoned. For a full history including the history of the “pyramid nine” check back on this blog to a series of articles written in 2014.

William Imrie Mann (January 4, 1844 - December 12, 1930)


     Mann, the original vice-president, ceased to be a Society director on April 11, 1892. He is buried in Grove Cemetery, Trumansburg, Tomkins County, New York.

Maria Frances Russell (April 10, 1850 – March 12, 1938) 


     Maria (née Ackley), the original secretary-treasurer ceased to be a director on February 12, 1900, although she actually parted from CTR back in 1897. After leaving CTR she made her home with her sister, Emma, until Emma’s death, and lived the last years of her life in Florida. She is buried in the Royal Palm South Cemetery, St Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida.

John Bartlet Adamson (1837 - January 22, 1904)


     Adamson ceased to be a director on January 5, 1895. He is buried in Mount Olive Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. There is no marker, he is buried in a garden lot which is just an area of grassland.

William Cook McMillan (October 10, 1849 - 1898)


     McMillan ceased to be a director on May 13, 1898. He resigned because he was serious ill and died shortly afterwards. He is buried in the Mechesneytown Cemetery, Mechesneytown, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. (The spelling McMillan occurs in the January 1885 ZWT, but MacMillan in the reprint of the association’s articles in the November 1, 1917 WT, whereas the family memorial spells the name MacMillen. All three forms can be found for him in the pages of ZWT.)

Joseph Firth Smith (October 28, 1849 – December 7, 1924) 


     Smith ceased to be a director on April 11, 1892, the same date as William Imrie Mann. He is buried in the Allegheny Cemetery, the same location where CTR’s parents and other family members were buried. For a history of this cemetery and the Russell family’s connection with it, check back on this blog to an article from November 2013.

Simon Osborne Blunden (September 1840 - November 13, 1915) 


     Blunden ceased to be a director on June 6, 1908. He is buried in the family grave in Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield, Essex County, New Jersey - not to be confused with the more famous Glendale Cemetery of California (Forest Lawn). The headstone reads Samuel Buchanan, who was Blunden’s son-in-law and who died in 1906. Two other family members who died before Buchanan also had their names on the marker. However, when Blunden died later, he was buried in this family plot, but the headstone was never updated.




8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice research! Especially appreciate the photos from Find-a-Grave. That's a great online resources - was even able to find some of my own relatives' graves that way.

Seems most of the early directors "parted company" with Russell, rather than dying in office, doesn't it? A far cry from more recent times. Although, after reading "A Separate Identity", I can better understand why - the belief system was much more fluid at that time.

roberto said...

Thanks Jerome!

Anonymous said...

Grazie Roby, il tuo lavoro e la tua dedizione sono encomiabili.
Bellissimo conoscere la nostra storia!

Anonymous said...

Fine work Jerome.

With thanks
Son of Ton

roberto said...

Anonimo italiano, grazie ma questo articolo ė di Jerome. Gli autori principali di questo blog sono Bruce, Rachael and Jerome. A loro vanno tutti i meriti

Italian Anonymous, thanks but this article is from Jerome. The main authors of the blog are Bruce, Rachael e Jerome. All the credit is due to them.

jerome said...

Thanks for kind words about the article. However, as far as the actual research behind it is concerned, please do note my second paragraph - "Grateful thanks are due to Bernhard who has supplied much of the information here."

Johnsc11 said...

Hello. Do you know if Maria Russell followed Rutherford after Russell's death?

jerome said...

I have never researched this, but the answer has to be no for several reasons. Maria left CTR 20 years before Rutherford became president. There is an obituary out there somewhere that shows she still claimed some recognition for the first few volumes of Millennial Dawn. The Watchtower officially ceased publishing the Dawn/Studies in the late 1920s. Her funeral was conducted by a Presbyterian minister. The obituary for her sister Emma (Joseph Lytle Russell's widow) earlier in 1929, shows Emma attending the local Presbyterian Church. You can find some extra information on Maria if you check her "Find a Grave" entry.