THE INTERNET'S BEST
FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL
THE SECRET BUSINESS HISTORY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL
(STILL) HIDDEN FOR DECADES BY THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY
PAGE 1 OF 2
-- THE PENNSYLVANIA YEARS --
SEE OUR BRAND NEW
The WatchTower Society, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Russellites always have portrayed the business dealings of Charles Taze Russell as nothing more than Russell's well-intentioned ancillary attempts to raise funds to support the actual focus of Pastor Russell's life --- Russell's supposed role as GOD's selected Messenger/Prophet to mankind during the "last days" leading up to Armageddon
. However, persons who GENUINELY love and seek "THE TRUTH"
-- regardless of what it is, and regardless of the personal consequences -- must look at the available evidence and decide for themselves whether the evidence points to that conclusion, or whether the available evidence points to the better probability that the secular and religious pursuits of Charles Taze Russell were a sum totality which fulfilled the innate needs of just another self-centered human seeking varying amounts of money, fame, and power. Was Charles Taze Russell just another "P.T. Barnum"
, as alleged by critics during his lifetime, or was Charles Taze Russell a Prophet raised up by GOD? You be the judge.
WILL THE REAL "CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL" PLEASE STAND UP -- FINALLY!!!
During his lifetime, Pastor Charles Taze Russell bamboozled his generous religious followers into believing that he already had accumulated all of his wealth BEFORE he had begun publishing the WATCH TOWER
magazine in 1879
, and BEFORE he had founded the WATCH TOWER SOCIETY
literature publishing and distribution empire in 1881
. In fact, 1877
was NOT the year that Charles Taze Russell STOPPED accumulating his fortune -- as has the WatchTower Society historically claimed. In fact, up until 1879
, the Russell Family had just been making a decent living. Instead, 1879
was the year that Charles Taze Russell STARTED
accumulating his fortune. After Russell's death, Judge Rutherford
continued this FRAUD
into the mid-20th century. As shown below, the current Governing Body
of Jehovah's Witnesses has continued this LIE
into the 21th century.
Developing his "religious myth", Pastor Charles Taze Russell and the early Watch Tower Society repeatedly boasted that, in 1863, when Charles Taze Russell was merely 11 years-old (the very year that Civil War fighting arrived at Pittsburgh's outskirts), that little Chuckie became a "business partner" with his father, Joseph Lytle Russell, in a "thriving" men's clothing store. (There is ZERO evidence of the existence of the partnership, "J. L. RUSSELL & SON", until around 1871/72 -- after Chuckie became 18 years old.)
The WatchTower Society later claimed, "When [Charles Taze Russell] was in his early twenties he had helped his father expand their business to several stores and was well on the way to establishing a national chain of stores when he abandoned it all to devote his entire time to the ministry."
According to the WatchTower Society, "At the age of twenty-five, in 1877, Russell began selling out his business interests and went into full-time preaching activity".
According to the WatchTower Society's 2010 video, FAITH IN ACTION, which features several members of the current Governing Body, "As a preteen, [Charles Taze Russell] became his father's partner in a growing chain of clothing stores. Charles Russell enlarged the business, eventually operating a number of stores by himself. By age 25, [in 1877, Charles Taze Russell] possessed over $300,000.00 -- the equivalent of $7 million dollars today." (Really nice homes could be purchased for $5000.00 in Pittsburgh in the 1870s. Maybe in their next video the Governing Body would be considerate enough to identify the street address of the MANSION that Chuckie would have purchased long before he supposedly retired in 1877.)
Would you like to know "THE TRUTH",
or are you content knowing far less than even the "THE HALF-TRUTH"?
Expect to spend an hour or longer reading this DETAILED two-page Charles Taze Russell Financial Biography. We suggest first tabbing down BOTH webpages and browsing the various businesses owned and/or operated by Charles Taze Russell. (HINT: Our recently updated WATCHTOWER SOCIETY'S SECRET GOLDMINE story is found near the bottom of Page 2 of 2.)
If you are really serious about discovering "THE TRUTH", and you own a copy of the WatchTower Society's most recent history book, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES: PROCLAIMERS OF GOD'S KINGDOM, then first go grab your copy. Use the index in the back to see that the majority of the businesses and people mentioned in these two webpages do not even appear in the index, and for those which/who do, practically NONE of the information we include here is included in the WatchTower Society published History book. Hang onto your hat.
J. L. RUSSELL
J. L. RUSSELL & SON
JOS RUSSELL & SON
After coming to America from Ireland around 1845, Joseph Lytle Russell struggled for decades to make a living as a retail merchant, as had his older brother, Charles Tays Russell, who had operated various dry goods and clothing stores in Pittsburgh starting in 1831 (operated as C. T. RUSSELL & CO. in late 1830s), but who had spent his last decade before dying in 1875 -- interestingly -- as a real estate agent/broker. More interestingly, between 1871 and 1875, multiple Pittsburgh directories listed young Charles Taze Russell as "Charles T. Russell, JR.", while at the same time indicating his affiliation with J. L. RUSSELL & SON. "Someone" or "something" obviously gave the composers of those directories that mis-understanding. (This Editor recently discovered that my paternal "GrandFather", whom was the primary male figure during my formative years, actually may have been my "Great-Uncle", instead. It seems that both my single "GrandFather" and his eldest already-twice-married brother were bedding the same widow, whom "GrandFather" did not marry until four years after my Father was born. "GrandFather" apparently also thought that my "Father" belonged to his eldest brother. At his retirement, "GrandFather" turned over to my Father the business which that eldest brother had turned over to him as compensation for marrying the loose widow and taking responsibility for my father's birth -- without such affecting my Father's equal share with his four siblings in GrandFather's "survivorship" estate. Just saying.)
Even more interesting is the fact that after the never-married Charles Tays Russell died in 1875, his Executor, Joseph L. Russell, was able to extract only a few thousand dollars from Tays estate, and thus was unable to fulfill all of the modest bequests that Tays had made in his 1872 WILL -- seemingly, with Joseph Russell (and his heirs) even failing to receive their own $1000.00 bequest. (Notably, other than Joseph's Clan and an elderly/infirm single sister, all other heirs who could have kept an eye on the now morally questionable Joseph Russell lived out-of-state.) Thus, whatever money Joe and Taze got from Tays, they would have had to have stolen it out from under the other out-of-state heirs.
Joseph L. Russell initially had struggled in business in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and even suffered through personal bankruptcy in 1855-56, in Pittsburgh. The fact that little Chuckie began working in his father's store in 1863 may have been out of financial necessity. It wasn't until the early 1870s that the Joseph Russell Clan appear to get their heads above water. One store became two as Charles Taze Russell grew older and gained business experience. It was around 1871 that father and son started operating their businesses under the J. L. RUSSELL & SON name. Some researchers claim that J. L. RUSSELL & SON eventually grew to a maximum of five stores, but I've never found more than two primary locations. At varying times, there were additional smaller satellite locations scattered around the Pittsburgh area. Both the primary and satellite store locations changed from year to year, which indicates that they were merely leased premises. (In the early 1870s, Chuckie even ran a "kiosk" type store in a Hotel for one year.)
In fact, for decades, the Joseph Russell Clan also lived in rental properties which also changed frequently, if not annually. The Russell Clan's first owned residence was an apartment house purchased by Joseph L. Russell for all of them to live in at 80 Cedar Avenue -- shortly thereafter including their three new spouses -- that Joesph Russell purchased in late 1877 or early 1878, after the Russells returned to Allegheny from their one year of doing business in Philadelphia as Jos Russell & Son. (INTERESTINGLY, the Russell family's sudden one-year "flight" from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia just so happened to coincide with their best-friend Henry Conley filing for personal bankruptcy in late 1876. One can't help but wonder if one had something to do with the other, or whether the Russell Family chose to run from what the Conley Family chose to face head-on? Note below proof that Henry Conley was financially backing former Russell associates and Russell relative, A. D. Jones and James Littell, in the mid 1880s. Conley also was a financial speculator during the 1870s -- even before he became a partner in Riter & Conley. Conley may have been backing the Russell's clothing business before and/or after their Philadelphia sojourn. In any event, I vaguely recall sometime in the past reading where some Russellite was speculating that Henry Conley had provided far less financial support for the founding of the Watch Tower Society, and its large literature distribution in 1881-82, than we believe. That half-wit even went so far as to claim that Charles Taze Russell had "listed" Henry Conley as the "President" of the Watch Tower Society merely because Conley was an older man. BS!!! Henry Conley was named the First President of the Watch Tower Society for reasons that we have only began to uncover. After their split in 1882, Charles Taze Russell spent the rest of his life envious of Henry Conley -- hiding Russell's failed and rejected relationship with the highly esteemed Henry Conley, and attempting to duplicate and surpass Henry Conley's religious and business activities, accomplishments, and prominence.)
Given the financial struggles of Charles Taze Russell's early life, Russell's ambition for fame and fortune was no doubt stoked by the area's coal, oil, gas, and steel booms, which produced many millionaires, multi-millionaires, and even mega-millionaires, for which Pittsburgh was famous for decades.
RUSSELL AND LEISTENSNIDER
Around 1871, the Russells took in Henry C. Leistensnider as a partner into a men's clothing store which they had been operating at that same Pittsburgh location for about two years. They doubled their leased space when they did so. The Russells had just leased their second Pittsburgh location the year previous. The Russell & Leistensnider partnership lasted only about two years, when the Russells left the partnership and that location to Leistensnider, who took in his brother as a partner for another couple years or so, before the store vanished. The Leistensniders appear to have relocated to Ohio, where they eventually entered the banking business.
PITTSBURGH MUSIC HOUSE
This business owned and operated by J. L. RUSSELL & SON may have been the first "non-clothing" type mercantile business started by Joseph L. Russell and Charles Taze Russell. As indicated in previous editions of this webpage, we discovered this Russell business many years ago long before our publishing this "business biography" was even a thought. Typically, we stored that research away where we have yet to find such. Our best recollection is that the Russells continued to operate this eventually full service Music and Musical Instruments Store well into the 1880s, or even 1890s, when they likely sold it to others who likely changed the name. We recall finding info indicating that this business was a full service store which sold a wide variety of musical instruments, including organs and pianos, to churches, schools, individuals, etc., and also provided service for such, including cleaning, tuning, etc.
Notably, the operation of this business provides us with the fact that Charles Taze Russell first ventured into the publishing business at least as early as 1872, which was long before he started publishing ZION'S WATCH TOWER and HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE
magazine in 1879. Click the link to see a photocopy of the title page of THE EVENING PRAYER
, which was a 5-page sheet music set published by PITTSBURGH MUSIC HOUSE
in 1872 for the Pittsburgh Female College. (Note the religious theme.)
In 1872, PITTSBURGH MUSIC HOUSE
was operated out of leased premises adjacent to the Russells' then leased Fifth Avenue men's clothing store location -- thus this store may have moved multiple times over the years from leased premises to leased premises.
RUSSELL & THOMAS
PITTSBURGH SCRAP METAL COMPANY LIMITED
Around 1879-80, then 66-67 year-old Joseph L. Russell became a partner with N. M. Thomas in RUSSELL & THOMAS, a scrap iron business. Thomas previously had been the Manager of Springer's Iron Yard at this same location. Apparently, Thomas provided the labor, while Joseph Russell provided the financial backing. Russell & Thomas appears to have lasted for only 1-2 years. By 1881-82, Thomas was operating this same location under his own name.
Around 1881, then 68 year-old Joseph L. Russell formed PITTSBURGH SCRAP METAL COMPANY LIMITED, which was operated at a different location than Russell & Thomas. Charles G. Redrup, a bookkeeper by trade, appears to have been the managing partner. This partnership appears to have lasted about 2 years. By 1883-84, Redrup was operating this same location under his own name.
MEYER v. JOSEPH L. RUSSELL was a 1883-84 Pennsylvania civil court case. Meyer filed suit against Joseph Russell to compel Russell to pay $1200.00 (nearly $40,000.00 in 2016 dollars) to Meyer for 1000 shares of GOLD MINE STOCK which Meyer had tendered to Russell. Russell's answer claimed that Russell merely had "tentatively" agreed to trade two building lots worth $1200.00, plus the cancellation of an unpaid $125.00 debt owed to Russell by Meyer, for Meyer's stock. Russell claimed that the transaction was contingent on his verifying that the stock was worth at least $1.00 per share, and had been increasing in value. Russell further claimed that he discovered the stock to be worth less than Meyer claimed, thus he was not compelled to complete the transaction. This matter went to trial, and MEYER WON.
NOTE: Both Joseph and Charles Taze Russell occasionally filed civil lawsuits against those whom they claimed owed them small amounts appearing to be routine business debts. We don't bother noting such cases.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER and HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE Magazine
In July 1879, ZION'S WATCH TOWER and HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE magazine was started by Charles Taze Russell and Maria Russell, his new wife of three months, as a personal business venture. (Maria F. Russell was a trained and experienced schoolteacher who eventually claimed that she edited and/or authored much of the writings attributed to Charles Taze Russell. One only has to compare the quality of Russell's writings immediately before and soon after their marriage to see that Maria was telling the truth. Maria Russell also claimed that before they were married in March 1879 that Charles and she discussed partnering in their own Second Adventist magazine as one of the main reasons for their getting married. Apparently, even his marriage was a business venture as far as Charles Taze Russell was concerned.) The ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, the Millennial Dawn series of books, and all other signature publications published up until May 1898 were all OWNED PERSONALLY by Charles Taze Russell -- NOT Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society. Simply observe that ZWT specifically directed that all non-cash PAYMENTS for ZWT subscriptions and other literature and materials regularly offered for sale in ZWT were to be made payable to "C. T. Russell".
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY
In 1879 (PROCLAIMERS inaccurately says 1887), around the time that he started publishing ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, Charles Taze Russell started the sole proprietership, TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY, for the obvious purpose of publishing ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, and other literature and books which Russell planned to publish, and which Russell planned to eventually print himself.
After the founding of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881, all "tracts", other literature, and other products distributed by ZWTTS were purchased from Russell's Tower Publishing Company. Charles Taze Russell, through his ownership of Tower Publishing Company, owned everything of financial consequence which most people assume belonged to ZWTTS, but did NOT-- including the "Bible House" headquarters building constructed in 1889, and all inventory. Literature distribution from ZWTTS was nothing but a "paper transaction", which was physically handled by Tower Publishing Company. Whatever money ZWTTS received from sales or donations was paid to Tower Publishing Company for even more literature that was again sold or given away by ZWTTS through TPC.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY
William Henry Conley and his wife, Sarah Conley, along with Joseph L. Russell, Charles T. Russell, and Charles' sister, Margaret Russell (later Margaret Land), were the "Five Original Bible Students" sometimes vaguely referenced by later WatchTower Society publications, but never all personally identified (because three of the "Five Original Bible Students" eventually REJECTED the Watch Tower Society). (The Conleys also had a young daughter whom they had adopted in 1874, but who died in 1882. Apparently, she holds the record as being the only person who ever regularly attended "meetings", but was never counted in the WatchTower Society's statistics.)
Although ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY was formed in February 1881 to act as a "distributor" of "tracts" and other literature which advocated the religious views of the Conleys and the Russells, ZWTTS was NOT a "religious" organization, but rather was a "business association", which had "no creed or confession".
By-then well-to-do Pittsburgh businessman, William Henry Conley, was named the FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE WATCH TOWER SOCIETY, while Charles Taze Russell served as the Secretary-Treasurer. (Henry Conley had filed personal bankruptcy in late 1876, but he apparently recovered rather quickly after becoming a partner in RITER & CONLEY.) While ZWTTS was founded with $7000.00 in its bank account, another $35,000.00 was needed to fund ZWTTS's exceptionally large international distribution of literature during 1881 and early 1882 -- over 1,400,000 booklets, tracts, and magazines. Most of that $35,000.00 ($1,100,000.00 in 2016 dollars - HALFHILL) is believed to have been donated by Henry Conley, who had such disposable income, while the Russells did not. Otherwise, there would be no questions regarding such, because Charles Taze Russell would have repeatedly boasted of such for the rest of his life.
INTERESTINGLY, William Henry Conley, who was an ACCOUNTANT by trade, and who had been a religious associate with the Russells for more than a decade, began to fall out with the Russells after only one year of doing "business" with the Russells. By latter 1882, the Conleys were done with the Russells and ZWTTS. Henry Conley's SPLIT from the Russells and ZWTTS had a definite financial impact on both Charles Taze Russell and ZWTTS. Russell would later remark that his signature work, The Divine Plan of the Ages, would have been published long before 1886 if not for his own lack of money.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY was incorporated by Charles Taze Russell in December 1884. This time, Charles Taze Russell was the PRESIDENT, and Maria Russell served as the Secretary-Treasurer. (FYI: Of the other four original CORPORATE DIRECTORS besides the Russells, three of them eventually REJECTED Russell and the Watch Tower Society. Are you starting to see a TREND with how good people reacted after they got to know the real behind-the-scenes Charles Taze Russsell?) ZWTTS's main function was to receive some of the donations from Charles Taze Russell's followers, and then to spend those donations by purchasing Russell's literature from Russell's own Tower Publishing Company. ZWTTS had few if any long-term assets. ZWTTS was domiciled wherever was Russell's office at any given point in time, which was always one of Russell's clothing stores until the Bible House was constructed in 1889. As stated by Charles Taze Russell in 1891, "The Society owns nothing, has nothing, pays no salaries, etc." This remained true until Russell DEFRAUDED the estranged Maria Russell by transferring (by hook or crook) most all his assets to ZWTTS in 1898 and 1900 (see below).
Despite the MILLIONS of books and magazines SOLD by Charles Taze Russell and his Tower Publishing Company, and the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of tracts and other literature distributed free by ZWTTS between the mid-1870s and 1900, only around 2600 persons bothered attending the Watch Tower Society's local Memorial celebrations in 1899. A significant percentage of those 2600 persons were Russell's "COLPORTEURS", who earned their livings selling Russell's literature for a PROFIT, and their friends and family. Charles Taze Russell was ABSOLUTELY CORRECT when he proclaimed for decades that ZWTTS was NOT a religion -- it was a BUSINESS.
Interestingly, soon after Russell published The Divine Plan of the Ages in 1886, and began selling it through traveling salesman known as "Colporteurs" (who earned their livings by selling the book at a PROFIT), Charles Taze Russell of Tower Publishing Company held a meeting with Charles Taze Russell of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, and Charles Taze Jekyll and Pastor Hyde came to the unpublicized mutual agreement that TPC would sell its products to the "Colporteurs" on CREDIT on the condition that ZWTTS would stand financially good for any defaulted accounts, but more importantly, that ZWTTS would pay TPC six percent interest on the outstanding balances. Russell only disclosed to what those interest payments amounted for the years 1894 through 1896 -- probably as a result of the 1894 REBELLION (see below). In 1894, ZWTTS paid $553.30 in interest to TPC ($19,200.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL). In 1895, ZWTTS paid $570.71 in interest to TPC ($20,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL). In 1896 ZWTTS paid $555.23 in interest to TPC ($19,500.00 in today's money -- HALFHILL). That's just one small, overlooked annual financial item.
More interestingly, during Maria Russell's 1906 trial testimony, Maria mentioned a previous large donation to ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY which she alleged had been misappropriated. Around 1893-94, a recent Russellite convert from Canada, named Hope Hay (older male), had visited Watch Tower Society HQ in Pittsburgh, and after getting caught up in Russell's "magnetism" had offered to donate $10,000.00 ($350,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL) to ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY, with the understanding that the $10,000.00 would be "invested", and that the earnings from that investment would be used "perpetually" to allow Russell to increase the publication frequency of ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine from "semi-monthly" to "weekly", without increasing the the-then existing annual subscription price to subscribers.
The already too-busy Charles Taze Russell had absolutely no intention of making ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine a "weekly" -- much less without getting additional money for doing so -- so after several years of having had to make excuses to Hope Hay for not following through with their agreement, in 1896, Russell manipulated Hope Hay into "authorizing" Russell to sell those "investments" (assuming they even existed) so that the money could be used to relieve the "growing debt" that was "burdening" the work of ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY. Apparently, Russell had NOT made clear, and Hope Hay did NOT understand that ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine was not owned by ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY, but rather was a "For-Profit" Business owned personally by Charles Taze Russell and his TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY, and that the "growing debt" which was "burdening" the work of ZWTTS was owed to Charles Taze Russell, himself.
Russell took $8,847.06 of that money to pay HIMSELF for the ACCUMULATED UNCOLLECTIBLE DEBT owed to TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY by "Colporteurs" (many of whom probably were no longer even affiliated with Russell), for which Russell had "contracted" with HIMSELF to make ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY stand good. Russell also personally pocketed the remaining $1152.94 as unspecified debts owed to TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY by ZWTTS. (Interestingly, in 1895, ZWTTS's Annual Report indicated that ZWTTS had already PAID OFF an unspecified several hundreds of dollars of "hopeless, longstanding, abandoned debts of former colporteurs" to TPC.)
Not only did Hope Hay not have a problem with what Russell did with his initial $10,000.00 donation, but in 1898, Hope Hay even "doubled-down" and made an additional "donation" to ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY -- "a loan, at low interest" -- which indications are was probably another $10,000.00. Interestingly, in January 1899, Charles Taze Russell appointed the elderly Hope Hay as a traveling Watch Tower Society "Pilgrim". Around 1905, Hope Hay went "mentally insane", and was institutionalized in an asylum in Canada. Thereafter, any time the saga of "Hope Hay" was brought up by critics, Charles Taze Russell's immediate response was that the WatchTower Society was "voluntarily" footing the expense of Hope Hay's institutionalization.
RUSSELL & COMPANY
At some still undetermined exact date around 1881, Charles Taze Russell and Joseph L. Russell officially terminated the partnership of J. L. Russell & Son -- with Charles Taze Russell continuing to operate the Russells' clothing stores simply as RUSSELL & COMPANY. We may have stumbled on the real reason for such. There may have been a good reason to delete the "J. L. Russell" name from the Russells' clothing stores, and that name change may have afforded the opportunity for the change in ownership.
PENNSYLVANIA v. J. L. RUSSELL. In March 1881, an otherwise unidentified "J. L. Russell" was convicted in Allegheny County criminal court of theft of a garment, and he was sentenced to 30 days in the Allegheny County Work House.
Most people have always assumed that Charles Taze Russell bought out his father's interest, and he may have. However, something curious occurred, which previous researchers have apparently missed. In 1894, Charles Taze Russell claimed that, in 1881, that he owned one large store and three branch stores. However, back in 1881, Russell publicly claimed ownership of only two stores -- one at 40-42 Federal, and one at 101 Fifth Avenue. There is an explanation, and it is EXTREMELY INTERESTING. The explanation will be given later in this section. In the meantime, readers should recall the WatchTower Society's multiple direct claims and insinuations over the decades that the Russells' clothing business started to be sold out in 1877, and was completely sold out by 1879.
In fact, records indicate that Charles Taze Russell continued in the clothing business until September 1889, when after 15 years, the single remaining 40 Federal Street location (Quaker Shirt Store aka Quaker Shirt House aka Quaker Store) was transferred into the name of the Russell & Company employee whom had been operating the store with Russell as a partnership for about the previous three years. In January 1896, Charles Taze Russell repossessed or otherwise resumed control of the business after the death of the aforementioned manager's spouse, and Russell thereafter put the business up for sale. We cannot find any indication after 1897 that the business was being operated by or for C. T. Russell, or by anyone else for that matter.
As noted on Page 2, in 1911, even after he had moved away from Pittsburgh, Pastor Russell even acquired as an investment another active, going Clothing Store located in a Pittsburgh suburb.
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL and ALBERT D. JONES
-- Co-Founders of the WATCH TOWER Magazine, the WATCH TOWER SOCIETY, and who knows what else --
In our quest to uncover who was the real "Charles Taze Russell" behind the scenes and out of the public's eye, an investigation into Charles Taze Russell's relationship with A. D. Jones (aka Albert D. Jones, aka Albert Delmont Jones, aka A. Delmont Jones) may serve as an excellent demonstration as to who was the real "Charles Taze Russell" -- where and when Russell thought noone would or could see what was occurring. First, readers should know that like countless other persons and events, Albert Jones and his significant contributions to its early history were "airbrushed" out of every later WatchTower Society history book, including the latest, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES: PROCLAIMERS OF GOD'S KINGDOM.
Initially, Albert D. Jones was employed as a "store clerk" by the Russells at one of the J.L. RUSSELL & SON clothing stores. Around 1877, at the age of 23, Jones joined his employers, Joseph L. Russell and Charles Taze Russell, himself then only age 26, in the Russell's religion business. When ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine was first started in July 1879, A. D. Jones was listed as one of the five "Regular Contributors" of articles to ZWT. However, the only article in 1879 which lists Albert Jones as its' author appeared in the September 1879 issue. Possibly there were "unsigned" articles, or Jones may have performed other duties in connection with the publication of ZION'S WATCH TOWER. In any event, in the December 1879 ZWT issue, Charles Taze Russell notified ZWT readers that Jones would no longer be a "special contributor" of articles to ZWT magazine, but instead, that A. D. Jones, whose younger wife either was very pregnant or had just had her first baby, had begun to travel and preach in furtherance of Russell's new religion business. Interestingly, ZWT readers also were told that while Jones traveled on behalf of ZION'S WATCH TOWER that Jones might occasionally make "business calls" in his "spare time". In fact, some time that Fall 1879, Jones had already traveled to the Michigan home of John H. Paton, who at the time was ZION'S WATCH TOWER's main contributor of articles, and had convinced Paton to stop his own traveling preaching, and author ZWT's first encyclopedic book of its' new teachings. Because Paton had no source of income other than his traveling preaching, A. D. Jones was able to convince Paton to stop and author "DAY DAWN" only by personally promising to finance and publish the book himself (Russell partnered with the expense of the initial 4000 copies.) Jones apparently continued to travel on behalf of ZWT and those mysterious "business calls" until Summer 1880. Then, from the August 1880 ZWT issue through the June 1881 ZWT issue, Charles Taze Russell published nine articles in ZWT under A. D. Jones' signature.
Reportedly, when ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY was formed in February 1881, A. D. Jones contributed $1000.00 to the startup, and pledged to donate another $1000.00 by August 1881. (C.T. Russell contributed $3500.00, and pledged an additional $3500.00. Joseph Lytle Russell contributed $500.00, and pledged an additional $500.00. William H. Conley contributed $2000.00, and pledged an additional $2000.00.)
Jones apparently restarted his "traveling" in Spring 1881 given that the May 1881 ZWT included a note which supposedly evidenced that Jones was having much success in New Jersey as a traveling representative of the newly formed ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY. The October/November 1881 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER notified ZWT subscribers that A. D. Jones had already permanently relocated to New York City, and that mail could be sent to him at the "cor(ner) of 27th and Broadway, New York City". Jones relocation to NYC was portrayed as so that Jones could be closer to the growing numbers of congregations in New York and New Jersey who were associating with ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY.
Charles Taze Russell also notified ZWT readers that A. D. Jones was going to start publishing a companion magazine, called ZION'S DAY STAR, as a response to ZION'S WATCH TOWER subscribers who supposedly had been insisting that ZWT be published more often than just one issue per month. Sample copies of ZDS were soon mailed to ZWT subscribers, and ZWT published "ads" for ZDS in subsequent issues.
However, in the September 1882 ZION'S WATCH TOWER, Charles Taze Russell openly took issue with a matter of "new light" which had appeared in the July and August issues of ZION'S DAY STAR, plus Russell took a shot at Jones for "running ahead" of him. In the December 1882 ZWT, Russell proceeded to "disfellowship" Jones and ZDS due to apostasy, but only after first stating, "We are not of those who disfellowship christian brethren on account of some differences of opinion, ... ." Interestingly, Russell also included this remark in the indictment, "... personal feelings for the Editor of the 'Day Star' are warm and strong ... ." In the January 1883 ZWT, Russell responded forcefully to Jones' own response in the ZDS that followed the previous ZWT. Russell labeled A. D. Jones and ZDS as "enemy", "poison", and "arsenic". In the February 1883 ZWT, Russell slowed down with his denunciations and addressed one of Jones' "errors". However, in this last attack on Jones and ZDS, Russell could not resist accusing Jones of believing "himself as much inspired as Jesus and the Apostles". Given the venom of Russell's denunciation in the January 1883 ZWT, most people would assume that Russell no longer had the "warm and strong" "personal feelings" for Jones that Russell had expressed in the December 1882 ZWT.
With Russell's public "disfellowshipping" of Jones, along with Russell's withdrawal of his endorsement from ZION'S DAY STAR magazine, Jones likely lost most if not all of the ZDS subscribers and financial supporters. How would Jones support his wife and child in New York City? Would the Jones family now want to return home to Pittsburgh, so as to be near both their families? NOPE!!! What Charles Taze Russell had failed to tell his own ZWT readers back in Fall 1881 when Albert Jones first relocated to NYC was that Jones had went to NYC to open up a Men's Clothing Store at the mailing address published in ZWT.
In 1883, Albert D. Jones set up a "charity" to supposedly provide financial help to deserving poor persons, which Jones called the "Day Star Universal Belief Fund". Jones apparently began soliciting funds from and affiliates in other cities scattered around the United States. In all probability, this was likely just another failed financial scam attempted by this conman.
In a previous section, we promised additional information about the Russells' clothing business. Recall that Charles Taze Russell claimed to own one large store and three branch stores in 1881, yet, records in 1881 show that Russell was operating only two stores. Around the same time that the J. L. Russell & Son business entity was dissolved and the Russell & Co. business entity took over, JONES & LITTELL appeared in the "Gents Clothing Store" business in the greater Pittsburgh area. That partnership consisted of A. D. Jones and James M. Littell -- each whom had previously operated separate branch locations for J. L. Russell & Son during the latter 1870s. (Some researchers claim that "Littell" is a variant spelling of the family name, "Lytle", or "Lytel", which was Joseph Lytle Russell's middle name, and thus, James M. Littell was a relative of the Russell family.) Records indicate that Jones & Littell started with one location around 1880-1, and then added two additional locations in 1882, and interestingly, added a 79 Federal Street location (across and up the street from Russells 40-42 Federal location) around 1883-4. 1882-84 records for JONES & LITTELL show A. D. Jones' "home address" as NYC. By 1883-4, JONES & LITTELL had moved one smaller location to larger premises and had started advertising that it was both a Retailer and a Jobber. In June 1884, JONES & LITTELL was dissolved. A. D. Jones is believed to have also sold his NYC Clothing Store location around the same time.
James M. Littell continued operating only two of the previous locations as a sole proprieter. However, in 1886, James Littell was forced into bankruptcy by his creditors, the largest of whom was former WatchTower Society First President, Henry Conley. Littell owed Henry Conley $8500.00 (nearly $300,000.00 in 2016 dollars). (Note below that Henry Conley also had been financially backing A. D. Jones' speculations in NYC.) James Littell also owed Charles Taze Russell $315.00.
In addition to opening up a Clothing Store in NYC, and in addition to acting as the east coast "District Overseer" for the Watch Tower Society, A. D. Jones apparently also relocated to NYC in order to explore "investment opportunities". Unconfirmable reports assert that Jones started off "nickel and diming" various investment opportunities during the first year or so that he was in NYC. However, using borrowed money from Pittsburgh (allegedly including $5000.00 from Henry Conley), A. D. Jones started "gambling" with various railroad stocks and possibly made as much as $200-300,000.00 in one short time period. It is alleged that Jones used his windfall to purchase a $70,000.00 mansion, a small yacht, and many other "toys" of that time period. In fact, Albert D. Jones is listed as a "Director" of the Hoosac Tunnel and Saratoga Railway Company at least from 1884 through 1886.
The newly rich and prominent A. D. Jones continued his investing/gambling, but only by a couple of years or so later, Jones had lost much of his earlier windfall. Unable to repeat his earlier gambling/investment successes, Jones began to become involved in investment activities that were increasingly more and more questionable -- and eventually even "criminal". We are interested in A. D. Jones' POST-DISFELLOWSHIPPING investment scams ONLY because lawsuits which embroiled some of Jones' victims revealed that CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL and A. D. JONES were still doing business together SIX YEARS LATER, around 1888-1890, despite the supposed public "disfellowshipping" of Jones in the pages of ZWT by Russell back in 1882-3.
Around 1887-88, while out sailing his yacht, Albert D. Jones supposedly discovered a significant "kaolin" deposit on Long Island. (Interestingly, Russell had traveled to NYC in September 1887. More interestingly, shortly after relocating to NYC, Charles Taze Russell acquired his own larger 125 foot yacht.) Falsely claiming to have purchased an option on that piece of Long Island property, Jones formed Delmont Kaolin Deposit Company, in 1888, with an initial capitalization of $300,000.00. The specifics are not known, but Jones, who apparently was the corporate "Treasurer", began pocketing some of the money belonging to Delmont Kaolin Deposit Company which had come from sales of stocks and bonds.
In October 1889, J. H. Grosjean ($3547.XX) and J. B. Creighton ($11,628.XX) had the Sheriff seize the assets of Delmont Kaolin Deposit Company to satisfy the indicated judgement amounts which they previously had obtained from the corporation and/or Jones. The two judgments were recorded as "satisfied" in March 1890. Interestingly, the Grosjean judgment had been "assigned" to CHARLES T. RUSSELL sometime between the seizure and the satisfaction.
Only a few months thereafter, lawsuits were filed against J. B. Creighton (NYC Stockbroker) by two persons possessing three promissory notes executed and indorsed by Creighton in early 1890, totaling $8000.00 ($266,000.00 in 2016 dollars -HALFHILL). Interestingly, Creighton had given those three promissory notes (and others) to A. D. Jones, who in turn was supposed to have forwarded those promissory notes to CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL. Those promissory notes were intended to replace certain unidentified stocks and bonds which Creighton had previously given to RUSSELL as "security" during a series of loans totaling $16,500.00 ($550,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL) made to Delmont Kaolin Deposit Company. Apparently, those initial stocks and bonds had lost their value, and thus no longer served their purpose as "security". Since Creighton did not then have the cash to re-pay RUSSELL's loans, all that Creighton had to offer CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL were personal promissory notes. However, instead of forwarding all of Creighton's promissory notes to CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, Jones had transferred approximately $10,500.00 to other parties -- to whom Jones apparently owed money. While the three court opinions conclude that Jones had defrauded Creighton, we are not completely convinced that such was the case. The three "worthless" promissory notes were 'bearer" type notes which could be transferred to anyone stupid enough to accept them -- which Jones was obviously able to do with most of them. How do we know that RUSSELL had not given those worthless notes to Jones for whatever reason, or how do we know that RUSSELL had not directed Jones to use those three worthless notes to pay debts accrued while Jones acted as RUSSELL's agent? Or better yet, considering Creighton's known "insolvency", RUSSELL could have directed Jones to attempt to pawn off the known worthless notes to whatever local NYC sucker would accept them (who would take or buy them in Pittsburgh?), so as to recoup some or all of RUSSELL's already obvious losses. Interestingly, one of the two Plaintiffs was a large Paper Distributor. Another thought, if A. D. Jones had also defrauded RUSSELL out of $10,500.00 ($350,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL), then why did RUSSELL not later pursue criminal charges, or even a civil lawsuit, against Jones? We may never know!!! The full facts of this case were never developed because Creighton was found dead of assumed SUICIDE -- a drug overdose -- the day before the three court opinions were filed. But-for that SUICIDE, the following trial would have publicly exposed the specifics of the ongoing business relationship between A. D. Jones and Charles Taze Russell to Russell's religious constituency. As it was, Creighton's death, and apparent insolvency, ended the matter.
How does one reconcile Russell and Jones being caught secretly doing business together -- big business -- with transactions equivalent to today's $500,000.00, or more, and transactions dependent on intimate fiduciary trust between the parties, in 1888-90, in NYC??? Were A. D. Jones and Charles Taze Russell the worst of enemies, or actually the best of friends??? Apparently, Jones' missteps may have gotten him "fired" from Russell's "religion" subsidiary, but Russell evidently did not allow such to ruin their business relationship in other areas.
In any event, it is EXTREMELY INTERESTING that while pontificating about A. D. Jones in the pages of ZWT that Russell never revealed Jones' complete business activities at Jones & Littell, nor Jones' and Russell's JOINT business activities in 1888-90. Who knows what other business activities went on between this Dynamic Duo???
PITTSBURG KAOLIN COMPANY
Interestingly, possibly around the same time, or at most, only a few years after Charles Taze Russell provided start-up financing for Delmont Kaolin Deposit Company, in New York, Russell apparently invested in another kaolin mining and processing business. By 1896-98, PITTSBURG KAOLIN COMPANY was being operated out of WatchTower Society headquarters by Charles Taze Russell. Details about the company are sparse and contradictory. The PITTSBURG KAOLIN MINING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY was founded sometime in the early 1890s by unknown Pittsburgh investors to conduct stripmining and processing operations in Nelson County,Virginia, to manufacture kaolin to be sold to the paper industry. While one source states that operations started in 1890, the corporation was not formed until 1893, and the name was changed to the PITTSBURG KAOLIN COMPANY only a few months thereafter. Operations reportedly ceased after five years of operations, when a lawsuit erupted amongst the Pittsburgh owners, which may explain an amended corporate filing in 1895. Apparently, Charles Taze Russell ended up with the company by 1898 -- possibly dating back to 1895. One source claims that operations never restarted after the lawsuit. However, a local Virginia lawsuit was filed against the company in 1897.
WANNA BUY SOME SWAMP ... errrrr ... FARM LAND IN FLORIDA?
In November 1884, Charles Taze Russell "advertised" in ZWT that 400 acres in Pinellis County, Florida, had been "donated" to ZION'S WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY. That undeveloped land was being subdivided into 40 tracts of 10 acres each. ZWT readers could PURCHASE those 40 tracts for $100.00 per tract. Thirty-eight of the 40 tracts were sold by April 1885. Amusingly, in the September 1885 ZWT, Charles Taze Russell published this brief notice (read between the lines):
Some who engaged plots of the land donated to "Z.W.T. Tract Society" at Pinellas (see Supplement), finding that circumstances do not favor their going, have donated the installments paid to the Fund and returned the land for sale. Besides this, another Brother interested in the truth, has donated to the Society near the other donated lands four ten-acre plots.Thus it comes that we have about twelve plots now for sale. Of these four have small ponds (or are underwater), and would require some ditching, and can therefore be had at half price.
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL and JOHN & WILLIAM SNEE
In 1886, which just coincidentally was the same year that Charles Taze Russell's signature book, The Divine Plan of the Ages, first began to be sold, Charles Taze Russell became one of five Pittsburgh area speculators who founded a West Virginia corporation named the U.S. LUBRIC OIL COMPANY, whose purpose was oil, gas, coal, and other minerals exploration in West Virginia. Charles Taze Russell owned 25% of that company -- 325 of the 1300 authorized shares ($50.00 par). (John Snee owned a mere 10 shares in this new venture. One of the other partners is possibly also Russell's 50% partner in the Boiler Cleaning Compound manufacturing business discussed below.)
In 1889, Charles Taze Russell, John Snee, and three others purchased 1/5 interests in William Snee's application for a patent on a steam generator. The Canadian patent was obtained in 1892.
In 1889, Russell and two others purchased 1/3 interests in William Snee's application for a patent on a hydrocarbon burner.
In 1889, C. T. Russell and two others purchased 1/3 interests in William Snee's application for another patent on a steam generator.
JOHN BALFOUR v. CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL and GEORGE RINDFUSS was a 1895 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case. In the early 1890s, Charles Taze Russell and George Rindfuss purchased an oil and gas lease on 70 acres in Butler County from JOHN SNEE, the original lessee developer (as of 1889). The lease already included one producing oil well drilled by Snee. Russell and Rindfuss drilled two more oil wells, one of which produced oil. The landowner brought this lawsuit in an unsuccessful fraudulent attempt to terminate the lease.
(Interestingly, George E. Rindfuss was a local Russellite, but more importantly, was Charles Taze Russell's personal bookkeeper and "Business Representative" who kept an office at the "Bible House" -- including buying, selling, and managing rental properties for Charles Taze Russell under his own personal name. George Rindfuss died of unknown causes in 1896, at the age of 35.)
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL v. ROCK RUN FUEL GAS COMPANY and JOHN SNEE was a 1898 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case. In August 1893, JOHN SNEE, George Rindfuss, and three others formed Rock Run Fuel Gas Company to drill, pipe, and sell natural gas to businesses located in Allegheny County. In November 1894, Charles Taze Russell purchased 300 of the corporation's 1500 authorized shares ($50.00 par), or 20% of the company, from John Snee, at an unknown price. Around 1897-8, after the company had failed to make a profit since 1894, Russell filed this lawsuit claiming fraud on the part of Snee, and collusion on part of the Board of Directors, with regard to purchases of gas leases from Snee by the company. Both the local trial court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled against Russell. Interestingly, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court labeled Charles Taze Russell "an experienced oil operator", who "had full knowledge of the property and the bargain when he was negotiating for and bought his stock". It is not known how long that Russell held on to this stock, but the company became profitable shortly after this lawsuit. In 1901, the number of authorized shares was increased from 1500 to 16,000.
During the RUSSELL DIVORCE TRIAL
, it was briefly mentioned that Charles Taze Russell was also a member of the "Black's Run Coal Syndicate"
, which was a group of Pittsburg "capitalists" who formed Black's Run Coal Company
in the latter 1890s. This syndicate reportedly paid $4,000,000.00
for over 500 pieces of coal property, totalling over 40,000 acres, located in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties. (Interestingly, during the later Russell Divorce trial, while being questioned by Maria Russell's attorney, Mr. Porter, about his multiple businesses and investments, Charles Taze Russell testified, "No, I have never had any coal interests that I know of, Mr. Porter.")
In 1902, Charles Taze Russell, along with four of the Watch Tower Society's Officers and Directors, founded the UNITED STATES COAL & COKE COMPANY, whose purpose was to mine coal and manufacture coke in Pennsylvania. Authorized capital was $100,000.00. (Interestingly, during the later Divorce trial, while being questioned by Maria Russell's attorney, Mr. Porter, about his multiple businesses and investments, Charles Taze Russell testified, "No, I have never had any coal interests that I know of, Mr. Porter.")
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL and JESSE DUBBS
Circa 1890, Charles Taze Russell purchased 25% of a small unidentified Pittsburgh company which manufactured and sold boiler cleaning compound. Jesse Dubbs was the inventor of the product and founder of this small company. Dubbs also sold another 50% interest to the Manager of the company. In Russell's own spun version of this business deal, Russell recommended the purchase of his own 25% share and Dubbs' remaining 25% share to a second Russellite who needed a way to earn a living. Russell claimed to have even financed (free) the purchase of both interests. Russell further claimed that the business was eventually a failure for the Russellite, who returned home to Virginia, and stuck Russell with the 50% interest in the business without ever repaying any amount on the loans. Russell claimed that he not only lost the money that he had admittedly overpaid Dubbs for his original share, plus lost what the Russellite had paid Dubbs for the remaining 25% share, but that he had also had to pay out even additional monies due to the failure of the business. Interestingly, records show Jesse Dubbs operating the business in the latter 1890s into the early 1900s.
In an 1893 patent application filed by Jesse Dubbs relating to lime production, Charles Taze Russell had purchased 1/3 ownership.
In another 1893 Jesse Dubbs patent application relating to sinking mine shafts, Russell purchased 25% ownership.
In 1894, Charles Taze Russell was granted 50% interest in five years of rights to a Canadian patent owned by Jesse Dubbs which was related to "Oil Refining".
Circa 1896, Charles Taze Russell purchased an unknown interest in the PITTSBURG ASPHALTUM COMPANY LIMITED. While the size of their interests are not known, there appears to have been only two other owners -- the inventor and founder, Jesse Dubbs, who also managed the business, and a second "silent partner" -- a Pittsburgh Attorney named James H. White.
The multi-talented INVENTOR and ENTREPENEUR, Jesse Dubbs, also founded the California Asphaltum Company and the Mexican Sulphur Company around the same time that he founded the Pittsburg Asphaltum Company, in 1892. During his DIVORCE trial, Charles Taze Russell admitted that he also had "an interest" in Dubbs' California Asphaltum Company. It appears that Dubbs did not really get behind these two companies until 1897 -- shortly after Russell purchased part of Pittsburg Asphaltum Company. It is not known if Dubbs received sufficient income from the partial sale of Pittsburg Asphaltum Company to finance his expansion of the California Asphaltum Company and the Mexican Sulphur Company in California and Arizona, or whether small parts of these two companies were also sold off, or whether "loans" financed the expansion? It also is not known how long Russell's and Dubbs' relationship lasted, nor the quantity/quality of such, if at all, past the late 1890s. Interestingly, however, Dubbs suffered a notable period of financial hardship around 1909, which was the same time when Charles Taze Russell "cashed out" his Pittsburgh operations and escaped to Brooklyn.
Readers should know that Charles Taze Russell published a "Recommendation Letter" from Jesse Dubbs in ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine as part of Russell's Defense to the 1894 REBELLION (John Snee is also mentioned). I'm not surprised that Dubbs would have provided such, no doubt at Russell's request, given the fact that Russell was a ready and willing "mark" for stock that Dubbs wanted to dump, as well as Russell serving as a ready supplier of loans for Dubbs' many business ventures. It is our suspicion that Russell probably lost money on the TOTAL of all business dealings he ever did with Jesse Dubbs (and probably also with John Snee) over the years, because Dubbs' (and Snee's) modus operandi was to sell off stock in operations when (further) success was doubtful, while Dubbs borrowed money for those operations which he believed were going to be successful.
This also raises the issue of Charles Taze Russell being charged with "gambling" by some of his closest Russellite followers during the 1894 REBELLION. In his ZWT Rebuttal, Russell rebutted the selling of "oil futures" via an oil broker as constituting "gambling", which may be "routine business" today, but was viewed as "gambling" back in 1894. IN FACT, in 1894, many states OUTLAWED the trading in stocks and commodities "futures" as being a form of "gambling". Whether or not Pennsylvania had or had not done so is not known, but even if it had not, Russell had many followers who lived in states where trading in "oil futures" was a FELONY. (Simply because Russell was trading in "futures" in Pennsylvania does not confirm that such trading was then legal in that state. Backroom "futures" trading parlors were set up all across the U.S. much the same way as were brothels, drug dens, and gambling parlors -- by the then same "organized crime" groups.)
It is our "suspicion" that Charles Taze Russell made lots of money in some ventures, but that Russell also lost lots of money in other ventures. Anyone familiar with investing in oil, gas, coal, and other minerals, back in the 1800s, knows that there was a thin line between "investing" and "gambling". The fact that Charles Taze Russell repeatedly did business as "friends" with Jones, Dubbs, and Snee (and no doubt others similar in character -- see John Limegrover, Jr below) has to raise questions as to Russell's judgment and Russell's personal character.
Readers should NEVER FORGET that most of these now disclosed Charles Taze Russell businesses and investments are known to us only because there was some controversy or other notable event that arose out of such that led to some type of documenting public record. Who knows how many other businesses were owned and/or operated by Charles Taze Russell for which no public record developed?
In Russell's 1894 REBELLION Defense, which Charles Taze Russell published as a separate Special Edition of ZWT magazine, Russell "spun" his own version of one business-deal-gone-bad in which Pittsburg Russellite Otto Von Zech had inherited a significant amount of money and wanted in on one of Russell's oil wells after being so persuaded by fellow Russellite George Rindfuss, who had sold Von Zech one-half of his own 12.5% share. Russell also sold Von Zech one-half of Russell's own 25% share -- supposedly only after first trying to dissuade the purchase. When that oil well stopped producing soon after the sales/purchases, Russell claimed that he eventually felt obliged to reimburse the disgruntled Russellite's loss.
THE HUETHER PATENT CHASE COMPANY
HUETHER & COMPANY
In 1890, Charles Taze Russell, Allegheny Russellite/Employee George Rindfuss (see above)
, Allegheny Russellite/Employee Otto Von Zech, and (occasionally insane)
LIQUOR DISTRIBUTOR and assumed Russellite John Limegrover, Jr.
, all joined with local inventor Paul Huether to form THE HUETHER PATENT CHASE COMPANY
-- a corporation formed in West Virginia "for the purpose of purchasing the Paul Huether patents in printers chases for the United States and Canada, and manufacturing and dealing in the same"
. Initially, Paul Huether owned 996 shares of the $100.00 par stock, with Russell and his associates owning only one share each. Paul Huether was President. Russell was Vice-President. Rindfuss was Sect/Treasurer. The "Bible House"
was the corporate address. Apparently, there was a side agreement as to how Russell and Associates would gradually acquire the balance of Huether's stock, or otherwise financially benefit from this transaction.
INTERESTINGLY, from 1890 through 1894, a PRINTING BUSINESS was operated out of Watch Tower Society Headquarters, named HUETHER & COMPANY. It was supposedly owned by Paul Huether. However, the employees were Otto Von Zech, Elmer Bryan, and other 2-3 other Russellites who just so happened to also live in Charles Taze Russell owned housing. After the 1894 REBELLION resulted in Bryan, Von Zech, and others being "disfellowshipped", HUETHER & COMPANY moved out of the "Bible House". Eventually, other "printers" were thereafter hired to work at the "Bible House", as evidenced by occasional advertisements in local newspapers advertising job printing work available to local citizens and businesses.
Decades later, an elderly William Omeis related that he had worked for HUETHER & COMPANY when he was a young boy of 12-13 years old. Omeis was hired only shortly after the 1894 REBELLION, and only shortly after HUETHER & COMPANY had moved from WatchTower HQ. Interestingly, Omeis related that Otto Von Zech had gotten him this job, because "Otto Von Ze[ch] was a partner in [HUETHER & COMPANY ], and also an associate of C. T. Russell." Despite the 1894 REBELLION, and despite the supposed split between Russell and Otto Von Zech, and despite the fact that HUETHER & COMPANY apparrently had been forced to move out of WatchTower HQ, Charles Taze Russell continued to employ HUETHER & COMPANY to do printing for himself and the Watch Tower Society. In September 1896, HUETHER & COMPANY was dissolved. At that time, it was reported that Paul Huether and Otto Von Zech were the owners -- with each of them continuing in the printing business as sole proprietors.
William Omeis related that he and some of the other workers at HUETHER & COMPANY referred to Charles Taze Russell as "Billy Goat Russell". Omeis further related that he would be sent to WatchTower HQ with "proofs" to be approved by "Pastor" Russell. Omeis related that it was Maria Russell's job to read the proofs a first time, and then, "Billy Goat Russell" would read the proofs a second time. Omeis stated that Charles Taze Russell would "snarl" at Maria Russell if she had missed anything. Omeis described Maria Russell as "a rather mousy woman", and stated that Charles Taze Russell "treated [Maria Russell] like a servant, rather than a wife".
1894 WATCH TOWER SOCIETY REBELLION
PASTOR RUSSELL CHARGED WITH PATTERN OF BUSINESS IRREGULARITIES
In Spring 1894, several of the WatchTower Society's most prominent Bethelites, Colporteurs, and even a WatchTower Society Director, whom all had worked intimately with Charles Taze Russell for several years, brought public charges before the Allegheny Congregation against Russell with regard to what they perceived to be an established pattern of unchristian, unethical, and even illegal business dealings on Russell's part. Setting the pattern for decades to come, Russell "circled the wagons" loaded with unquestioning sycophants, slandered and defamed his accusers, and "disfellowshipped" those whom had the courage to tell "Emperor Russell" that he was "wearing no clothes".
Prominent Bethelite and intimate friend of Russell, Elmer Bryan, whom had loyally served Russell for several years at WatchTower HQ, apparently had become fed up with Russell's constant "shady" and "crafty" business dealings, and posted a number of charges, some of which Russell dismissed as being petty, including Bryan's complaint that Russell had once advertised for rent in a local newspaper one of Russell's rental houses under Bryan's own name, without first asking Bryan if it were okay with Bryan. This may be a petty charge while standing alone, but there is such a thing as "the straw that broke the camel's back". (Typically, Russell advertised his rental properties under the name of George Rindfuss -- see above.)
Elmer Bryan also accused Russell of deceiving the general public with regard to the authorship, publication, and distribution of THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES shortly after its first publication in 1886. In early 1887, Russell devised a scheme to "loan" copies of THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES across the United States in hopes that those readers would eventually pay for those copies, as well as recommend Russell's book to other purchasers. Russell also schemed to obtain FREE ADVERTISING from magazines and newspapers across the United States.
Here is a self-explanatory sampling of those FREE ADS ran by countless newspapers and magazines across the United States. (Some 1887 newspapers spelled out that their readers should send their request to: "Mrs. C. B. Lemuels, Allegheny, Pennsylvania", while others assumed that their readers could decipher simple 1887 addresses on their own.) Note the subterfuge of Russell's failing to identify the mysterious "MRS. C. B. LEMUELS" as actually being his Watch Tower Society clerical staff, along with Russell's failure to even provide the title of the book in these ads so as to not harm future sales.Who knows how genuine are the "testimonial letters". Even if real, they probably were solicited by Russell and authored by sycophants.
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 18, 1887
AN ECCENTRIC WOMAN
She Offers to Send Religious Book to All Who Will Read It
Mrs. C. B. Lemuels of Allegheny has been making a generous offer through the newspapers of the country, and letters to her have been pouring in at the rate of seventy-five a day. Several men and boys are being kept busy in answering the inquiries. Her notice offers to loan free of postage to such as will return it, a book which shows the Bible to be a self-interpreted and its teachings grandly harmonious viewed in the light of sanctified reason and common sense, and to put this book into the hands of all the skeptically inclined as an aid and guard against the growling scientific skepticism.
Mrs. Lemuels identity at first could not easily be established. It was found that she received her letters at the office of of J. C. Russell, editor of Zion's WatchTower. Russell explained that Mrs. Lemuels' husband does not like the notoriety her circulars gave his wife, and besides he does not agree with her religious views. Russell said that Mrs. Lemuels possesses a comfortable fortune in her own right and felt it her duty to make as public as possible the book which had helped her.
Detroit Free Press
Monday, April 18, 1887
MRS. LEMUELS' PHILANTHROPY.
The Novel Method Pursued by an Allegheny Lady For Doing Good.
Pittsburgh. April 10 Special!
Allegheny has a philanthropist. Mrs. C. B. Lemuels has been making a generous offer through the newspapers of the country, and letters to her have been pouring in at the rate of seventy-five per day. Several men and boys are being kept busy in answering these inquiries. Her notices offer to loan, free of postage, to such as will return it, a book which shows the Bible "to be a self-interpreter, and its teachings grandly harmonious, viewed in the light of sanctified reason and common sense." "I want," says her circular, "to put this book into the hands of the skeptically inclined as an aid and guard against growing scientific skepticism, it is not dry, musty reading, but truly meat in due season to the hungry."
Mrs. Lemuels, whose identity at first could not easily be established, it was found received her letters at the office of J. C. Russell, editor of "Zion's Watch Tower." Mr. Russell said that Mrs. Lemuels possesses a comfortable fortune in her own right and felt it her duty to make as public as possible a book which helped her so much. Mr. Russell then permitted copies of a number of letters to be taken. A New York pressman writes : "Dear Lady: Seeing your good, kind, generous offer I have been thinking that now is the time for me to try and be saved and not wait until the last day. 1 am only 23, and for the past week have been troubled with kidney complaint, and am just now beginning to realize my awful fate unless I turnover a new leaf. I trust l am deserving of the loan of your valuable book."
Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York)
Saturday, April 23, 1887
Allegheny, Pa. , has a philanthropist, says the New York Tribune.
Mrs. C. B. Lemuels has been making a generous offer through the newspapers of the country, and letters to her have been pouring in at the rate of seventy-five a day. Her notices offer to loan free of postage to such as will return it, a book which shows the Bible "to be a self -interpreter." "I want," says her circular, "to put this book into the hands of all the skeptically inclined as an aid and guard against the growling scientific skepticism." Mrs. Lemuels' husband does not like the notoriety her circulars gave his wife, and besides he does not agree with her religious views, Mrs. Lemuels possesses a comfortable fortune in her own right.
Among the letters received is the following from a Portchester, N.Y., man: "For many years I was a local preacher. Even at that time doubts would often trouble me. I have taken no part in the meetings for years simply because I do not want to create doubts in others. I should be happy if I could have the old faith returned." A New York pressman writes: "Dear lady: I have been thinking that now is the time for me to try and be saved and not wait until the lost day. I am only 23, and for the past week have been troubled with the kidney complaint, and am just now beginning to realize my awful fate unless I turn over a new leaf."
Charles Taze Russell's defense to this Elmer Bryan charge of LIES and DECEPTION can be easily summarized as, "The End justifies the Means". The Allegheny Congregation Judicial Committee lambasted Elmer Bryan, and declared Pastor Russell's methods to be "Legitimate and praiseworthy."
Pastor Russell explained that the pseudonym "Mrs. C. B. Lemuels" had "represented" his wife, Maria Russell, and that "C. B. Lemuels" was a Hebrew name which Russell had interpreted to mean, "a son of God, after Christ". The obvious underlying meaning of such was either lost on or ignored by the Allegheny Congregation Judicial Committee.
In the next June 1894 issue of ZWT, Russell selected and published two Letters From Readers which praised his past marketing efforts back in 1887, including one letter which interestingly stated, "I am one that was caught by the "Mrs. Lemuels" advertisement, and am still thanking God for the light thus received. The conspirators must have failed to read, "Be wise as serpents." (Just as continues in 2016, back in 1894, WatchTower Cult followers do not understand that it is Satan -- not GOD -- whom is forced to rely on trickery, lies, and deception to gather together his "chosen". We challenge any Jehovah's Witness reading this to deny that they have ever used "trickery, lies, and deception" while attempting to "place" literature door-to-door.)
Elmer Bryan also specified multiple different examples and instances over the years of Russell conspiring to cheat the Post Office out of its proper postage. During his Defense, Russell had the audacity to openly justify past mailings of Watch Tower magazine "binders" using the Post Office's cheapest "book rate", rather than the regular merchandise rate. Russell rationalized that he had converted the binders from "merchandise" to "books" by intentionally mailing those binders with one copy of the latest ZWT magazine being inserted inside such.
Bryan's 1894 charges made absolutely no dent in the shady way that Pastor Russell conducted future Watch Tower Society business after Bryan and his fellow "conspirators" were disfellowshipped. During the early 1900s, Pastor Russell brought all the way from Waco, Texas, a Russellite husband-wife couple to work at the Pittsburgh Bible House. Interestingly, instead of living at the Bible House, or even at one of Russell's apartment houses which housed other Bethelites, that new Bethelite couple lived with a local Pittsburgh Russellite couple. After living for exactly one year in Pittsburgh, that Bethelite Man from Texas applied, successfully tested, and received a fulltime job, at the Pittsburgh Post Office. That Russellite Man continued working full-time at the Pittsburgh Post Office right up until Pastor Russell relocated his religion business out of Pittsburgh, to Brooklyn, in early 1909. At the exact same time that Russell and the WatchTower Society left Pittsburgh, that Waco, Texas Russellite Couple also packed their bags and left to a place unknown. We found them three years later working as WatchTower evangelists out in California. Undoubtedly, that Bethelite/Russellite Man was purposefully inserted into the Pittsburgh Post Office for multiple reasons, not the least of which was to facilitate the mailing of certain WatchTower materials at the cheaper/cheapest second-class rate, which should have been charged the higher third-class rate.
Pastor Russell likely had been motivated to attempt this bolder form of "industrial espionage" against the Post Office only after Russell had already successfully done so in a lessor and more troublesome form. Previously, for 24+ months, Pastor Russell had taken advantage of the conversion to Russellism of the Postmaster of a small, rural Pennsylvania Post Office located about 60 miles outside Allegheny. That Russellite Postmaster had been sufficiently stupid to author, and Russell had been sufficiently egotistical to publish in one of the issues of the WATCHTOWER magazine (Russell's readers were perfectly aware of Russell's ongoing battle with the Post Office, and Russell wanted them to know that he was still somehow sticking it to the Post Office), a Letter from that Postmaster in which he admitted having mailed out 59,000 copies of OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY magazines and other literature for the WatchTower Society within the previous 2+ years -- including mailings to multiple foreign countries.
We assume that readers fully understand the significance of the Post Office to Russell's religion business. Pastor Russell was likely the most hated person at the Pittsburgh Post Office. Almost from the start of his religion business, Pastor Russell and the Post Office began a running battle over rates, and Russell almost always WON -- but Russell did so "by hook or by crook".
When Russell's complaints to the Pittsburgh Postmaster did not get Russell whatever decision that Russell wanted, Russell went over the head of the Pittsburgh Postmaster to the Postmaster-General in Washington D.C. When Russell did not get the decision that he wanted form the Postmaster-General, Russell started mail campaigns in the pages of the WATCHTOWER magazine, in which Russell would provide multiple sample letters for his Russellite followers to copy and mail to the Postmaster-General, then later to their Congressmen and Senators, and eventually even to the President of the United States. When these honest methods failed Russell, Pastor Russell simply CHEATED the Post Office.
Few people familiar with the OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY "magazines" actually understand why they were what they were -- tracts, pamphlets, and booklets of widely varying sizes. What OTQs were -- was a POSTAL RATE SCAM. OTQs were miscellaneous WatchTower literature published in the "disguise" of a regular quarterly "magazine", so that the hoped-for later small quantity orders of such could be mailed out at the CHEAPER/CHEAPEST second-class regular periodical rate, rather than at the higher third-class rate. While the initial mailing of one copy to a subscriber could rightfully be mailed using second-class postage, later mailings of small bulk quantities of original printings and any quantities of later reprints should have been mailed at the higher third-class rate, but they were not.
Pastor Russell pulled the same SCAM with soft-cover DIVINE PLANs and THY KINGDOM COMEs -- despite being repeatedly caught by the Pittsburgh Post Office. Pastor Russell and the Post Officel went back and forth on both these two softcovers and the OTQs, with there being time periods that Russell won out and could legally mail such as second-class matter. However, Pastor Russell continued doing so even during the time periods when such was not legal. Years later, when the Post Office finally permanently stopped mailing these softcover BOOKS out at the cheaper periodical rate, Russell simply stopped publishing the two books as softcovers, and started publishing them in magazine format. That still violated the rules for second-class matter, because such were not part of a regular periodical series, but since the books "looked" like then semi-monthly WATCHTOWER magazines, postal workers never caught on to what Russell was pulling. By then, Pastor Russell had his own personal "secret agent" inside the Pittsburgh Post Office, who would either allow through the improperly classified mailings or warn/tip Russell as how to get such by other Pittsburgh postal employees.
Back in February 1896, the U.S. Attorney General's office had issued this response to an inquiry from the Postmaster-General's office, which was responding to yet another "Appeal" from Pastor Russell of the Pittsburgh Postmaster's refusal to mail certain literature at second-class rates:
"I think you were clearly right in excluding from the mails as second-class matter volumes 1 and 3 of the "Millenial Dawn Series," published by the Tower Publishing Company at Allegheny, Pa., under the title of "Zion's Watch Tower." Those volumes have all the insignia of "books" and not numbers in the series of a periodical publication. Here is a plain attempt to evade the law. Calling these volumes "Special issues of Zion's Watch Tower, representing Nos. 3, 4, 5, vol. 1886, and No. 6, vol. 12, 1891," respectively, does not change their character. They are "books" in every sense of the word, and hence chargeable with the third-class rate of postage. ...
"The company has issued, also, and claims the right to send through the mails at the pound rate what it terms "Extra No. 31, November 1, 1895," of the "Old Theology Quarterly;" ... which is beyond question a circular only, and should be charged with the third-class rate of postage. This is a more palpable evasion of the law than the volumes above mentioned. This circular calls these volumes "books," and is manifestly intended to advertise them to the public. ... ."
We don't know what happened, but after receiving this Advisory Opinion from the U.S. Attorney General's office, the Postmaster-General ignored such and granted Russell his Appeal. However, there were unknown events which years later caused this decision to be reversed. Russell eventually stopped his Appeals and his Letter writing campaigns, and instead, Russell initiated "industrial espionage" -- first with his own out-of-town Postmaster, and then more conveniently, with his own local Postal Clerk. After all, the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" ALWAYS got his way -- either by HOOK, or by CROOK.
BRAZILIAN TURPENTINE COMPANY LIMITED
Records from the late 1890s through early 1900s indicate that Charles Taze Russell had acquired the controlling interest in the BRAZILIAN TURPENTINE COMPANY LIMITED from its local founder, and began personally managing the company himself from Watch Tower Society headquarters. Russell continued to operate this business for many years, including obtaining a Canadian product trademark in 1905 and a U.S. product trademark in 1907. This business owned at least one railroad tankcar. Pastor Russell eventually started running classified newspaper advertisements in various U.S. cities soliciting salespersons for this company's multiple turpentine based household and commercial-industrial products.
SILICA BRICK COMPANY LIMITED
The Silica Brick Company was yet another typical example of the "midas touch" of that financial genius named Charles Taze Russell (see comments about Russell's real estate investment modus operandi and prowess on next page). Around 1894-95, Russell purchased an already going brick mining/manufacturing business, which was located roughly 75 miles from Allegheny in an area where raw materials were then plentiful, and where multiple other competing brick manufacturers were then already operating. In fact, the man from whom Russell purchased this business soon opened a competing mining/manufacturing operation -- just as he had previously done to another purchaser when he had opened the location he had sold to Pastor Russell. Pastor Russell's sales office at WatchTower Society headquarters generated few if any sales, and the combination mining and manufacturing location soon had to be shut down. The site remained closed. Outcome unknown.
THE H. F. BIGGAM COMPANY
In June 1896, the state of West Virginia granted a charter of incorporation to THE H. F. BIGGAM COMPANY, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This early "rent-to-own" business was formed by eight incorporators who lived in Pittsburgh and Allegheny -- including Charles Taze Russell, who lent his name and reputation, along with the name and reputation of Tower Publishing Company, to the shady operation. Authorized capital was $500,000.00. Paid in capital was only $1000.00. The stated legal purpose of this corporation was to "sell" furniture, carpet, and other home furnishings -- but actually, the business model was to "lease" inventory on "installment payment plan" to poor persons unable to purchase such items for cash. More interestingly, at the same time, this new corporation also attempted to sell stock in the company -- also sold on credit and installment payments -- which would permit customers to receive sales discounts and/or sales commissions on their purchases of home furnishings, along with a claimed 10% return on their stock investment. Within one year, poor underwriting of clientele had this company swamped with repossessions, and in trouble with its own creditors. The company soon was forced into bankruptcy, which was finalized by 1900.
In 1897, Charles Taze Russell was assigned one-half interest in a "device for converting reciprocatory into rotary motion", which had been invented by a Kansan follower of Russell.
By the late 1890s, Charles Taze Russell also owned $10,000.00 stock in a Pittsburgh bank whose name has escaped us. Was it the Third National Bank of Allegheny???
At some point, the WatchTower Society became a jobber for "Brown's Wonder Salve". Colporteurs and other followers could purchase such at wholesale prices from the WatchTower Society for their own use or resale until at least 1917.
C. T. RUSSELL v. MARGARETTA HUNTER was a January 1894 civil lawsuit which Charles Taze Russell filed against a single, 40 year-old Pittsburgh female. Requested "damages" were only $275.00 (nearly $10,000.00 in 2016 dollars), thus too small to be anything of real significance. Subject of this civil lawsuit is unknown and puzzling. "1894" was after Russell had ceased retailing. When Hunter died in 1910, she had been living with her widowed mother, which possibly eliminates Hunter as a "tenant" of Russell. Hunter was from a well known Pittsburgh family, and was described as one of Pittsburgh's long-time schoolteachers and school administrators (whom were required to maintain a scandal-free lifestyle in that time period). Hunter does not appear to be an ideal defendant for a "Minister" to be suing in 1894.
ANONYMOUS ALLEGHENY MERCHANT v. CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL (1898)
-- DECLARED FRAUDULENT BY COURT --
Starting in 1898, and ever since, the WatchTower Society has publicly proclaimed that Charles Taze Russell "donated" the "Bible House", located at 56-60 (aka 610-614) Arch Street, to the WatchTower Society, on April 1, 1898. THAT IS A LIE! In fact, Charles Taze Russell could not have donated the Bible House real property to the WatchTower Society, because such a transfer would have required the signature of the estranged Maria Russell. Thus, in order to CHEAT Maria Russell out of her dower rights to the real property located at 56-60 Arch Street, Charles Taze Russell contrived an elaborate FRAUDULENT scheme.
By November 1897, the Russells' acrimonious marriage had reached its breaking point, and Maria Russell had moved out of the Bible House, and had moved in with her recently widowed sister, Emma H. Russell. Charles Taze Russell immediately took steps to fulfill his 1895 threat that if Maria refused to agree to separate in exchange for their Clifton Avenue home, then he would make certain that she received NOTHING.
Not every specific detail and date are known, but in December 1897, Russell first mortgaged the "Bible House" at 56-60 Arch Street for $15,000.00 (nearly $530,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL). That five-year mortgage was interestingly held by the Public Library of Philadelphia.
In January 1898, Charles Taze Russell, likely counseled by one or more attorneys, conceived a scheme to defraud Maria Russell out of her rights in the "Bible House". Beginning the first week of February 1898, "Pastor" Russell began placing daily legal notices in local newspapers declaring that he would not be financially responsible for any credit given in his name to anyone but himself.
On March 1, 1898, Charles Taze Russell, with his signature only, deeded the "Bible House" real estate (lot was only 45 ft wide and 60 ft deep, and Bible House only occupied front of lot) to the WatchTower Society, and on or about April 1, 1898, Russell donated the personalty assets of Tower Publishing Company to the WatchTower Society.
Then, in March 1898, "Pastor" Russell intentionally refused to pay a charge account which had been long established with a local Allegheny Merchant, which Maria Russell was continuing to use to purchase groceries and other necessities. On March 18, 1898, a lawsuit was filed against "Pastor" Russell for the outstanding balance of $178.00. INTERESTINGLY, the Named Plaintiff in that lawsuit was NOT the Allegheny Merchant, but rather was an Allegheny Attorney acting on behalf of that Merchant. Apparently, in order to guarantee that Merchant's cooperation in this immoral scheme, the good "Pastor" Russell had propositioned that Merchant with a way to keep the Merchant's name out of the newspapers and even out of most of the court documents. Russell likely even footed the bill for the lawsuit against himself.
"Pastor" Russell did not even answer the lawsuit, and quickly lost by default. The Plaintiff-Attorney then "attached" the "Bible House" for payment of the $178.00 judgement. Russell not only did absolutely nothing to legally resist the attachment and the "Sheriff's Sale", but even proactively waived inquisition and condemnation so that matters could proceed as fast as possible. Sometime in April-May 1898, the Watch Tower Society was the sole bidder of $50.00 at the "Sheriff's Sale". Russell and his attorneys thought that the Sheriff's Sale and Russell's deed would clear any interest that Maria Russell had in the property. WRONG.
After all was said and done, the co-conspirators on the Board of Directors of the WatchTower Society appraised Russell's "donation" of all assets of Tower Publishing Company, including the building and land that had been purchased at the Sheriff's Sale, as worth $186,000.00 (nearly $6,500,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL). In addition to the mortgage on the real estate, the WatchTower Society also assumed eight "conditional loans" made to Tower Publishing Company, totaling $6966.65, from seven female Russellites and one WatchTower Pilgrim. Most of the "conditional loans" were expected to gradually become "donations". Russell was eventually credited with 16,403.365 voting shares in the WatchTower Society (per the one share for every $10.00 donation rule).
Later, during the Russell Separation-Divorce Trial
, the Court of Common Pleas in Pittsburgh declared the following regarding Russell's multiple efforts to "donate" all of his assets to the Watch Tower Society in his attempt to keep Maria Russell from receiving a penny, including the "Bible House"
scheme: "The purpose of this whole transaction was to deprive the wife of her dower interest and was a FRAUD on her. ... and the subsequent donations [to the Watch Tower Society] are plainly made with the same reckless disregard of the rights of the wife, and with intent to defeat her of any interest or claim she might have for her support. ... ... It has been adjudicated against him that his property was disposed of by him in FRAUD of his wife's rights, ... ."
Years later, Judge Rutherford alleged that some years after the 1898 shenanigans that "a" MORTGAGE on the Bible House was foreclosed (in order to make absolutely certain that Maria Russell's dower rights were totally extinguished). The Bible House allegedly was sold at an unknown second time, and the purchaser allegedly was NOT Russell nor the WatchTower Society (the 1897 mortgage may have been purchased from the Public Library of Philadelphia by a sycophant, or more likely, a second mortgage was created later). Why dumbass Rutherford would spill the beans on this later legal incident is unknown, because at some point all these multiple legal shenanigans are meaningless -- EXCEPT to demonstrate that Charles Taze Russell, Joseph F. Rutherford, and the WatchTower Society were/are SATAN'S EQUALS when it comes to SUBTERFUGE. In any event, as we have revealed on Page 2, in 1911, Russell's "straw-man" George Raymond traded the Bible House and other Russell properties for ... well, go look.
Charles Taze Russell and the Board of Directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society also committed FRAUD by issuing Russell 1200 voting shares in the corporation in exchange for the Bible House equity, because the Watch Tower Society became the legal owner of the Bible House via their purchase of the Bible House at the Sheriff's sale -- not via Russell's alleged FRAUDULENT donation. In fact, this very act by the Watch Tower Society Board of Directors was a public acknowledgment that the Merchant's lawsuit had been a FRAUDULENT conspiracy to further DEFRAUD Maria Russell. "O' what a tangled web" Satan's henchmen can conceive.
In February 1899, Pastor Russell transferred to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society around $48,000.00 (roughly $1,600,000.00 in 2016 dollars) worth of stock in the Brazilian Turpentine Company Limited, the California Asphaltum Company, and a yet to be identified coal company. Russell likely received around 4800 voting shares in the WatchTower Society.
In April 1900, Pastor Russell transferred to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society 12 miscellaneous real estate holdings valued at around $47,500.00. The WBTS Board of Directors valued those assets at $45,390.00, and credited Pastor Russell with 4539 voting shares in the WatchTower Society.
In November 1902, Pastor Russell transferred to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society oil stock valued at around $6000.00, for which he likely received 600 voting shares in the WatchTower Society.
UNITED STATES INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED
In June 1896, Charles Taze Russell legally formed in Pennsylvania the UNITED STATES INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED for his own personal use as an investment holding company. Of the $1000.00 paid-in capital, Pastor Charles Taze Russell "officially" contributed $990.00, with henchmen Ernest C. Henninges (Rose Ball's husband) and John A. Bohnet each "officially" contributing $5.00, and serving as the required other two limited partners. Thus, Pastor Russell legally owned 99% of U.S. INVESTMENT CO. LTD. (Of course, Henninges and Bohnet never shelled out a single cent of their own money. Their $5.00, which was $175.00 in today's dollars, was footed by Russell. Neither did Henninges or Bohnet have any say-so in the affairs of USICL.)
However, over the years, Pastor Russell "publicly" used the names of a constantly changing list of WatchTower Society Officers, Directors, and other BETHELITES, as being the owners and/or managers of USICL. Notably, although Ernest Henninges eventually disassociated from Russell around 1908-09, we have found no indication that any change was ever made to the legal ownership of USICL, which was finally dissolved in June 1916, shortly before Russell's unforeseen death. Notably, Russell kept as much about his financial transactions -- particularly those of USICL -- as secret as possible from WatchTower HQ staffers -- even the Secretary/Treasurers of the Pennsylvania and New York corporations. (This apparently led to many legal oversights. As late as the latter 1960s, in the states of Pennsylvania and Florida, multiple owners of real estate previously owned by USICL were being forced to file lawsuits naming as plaintiff the defunct USICL in order to quiet title to their properties.)
Shortly after the formation of USICL in 1897, in what may have been the original investment for which purpose USICL had been formed, Pastor Russell used his holding company to purchase (price unknown) a 25 acre factory site at Hammondville, Pennsylvania, on which had set, since 1892, an only partially completed steel rolling mill. That property was purchased from the Hammondville Improvement Company, of which Russellite realtor William Giffin was the "Secretary". (Giffen and his partners had purchased the site in 1892 at a Sheriff's sale.) It is not known whether Russell initially purchased the property to "flip", or whether he wanted to form a steel rolling business. In any event, despite the fact that Russell had not improved on this property, he reportedly purchased even more of Hammondville around 1909 (See next page. It is possible that the factory site was swapped for the second site of mainly residential properties.) It is not known when, or to whom, or for how much, these Hammondville properties were eventually sold.
After Charles Taze Russell and Maria Russell physically separated in 1897, Pastor Russell found a new use for USICL -- hiding real estate and other investments made both on Russell's personal behalf and that of Russell's Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which Pastor Russell did not want Maria Russell, Maria's attorneys, Russell's followers, and the general public to know about. (Russell continued to dispose of real estate that was still titled in his personal name -- selling a house and lot in January 1900.)
However, that "veil" of anonymity gradually disappeared as the connection between Russell and USICL was revealed in the publicity surrounding Russell's 1903-09 Divorce Case, and even more so during Russell's later lawsuits against various newspapers. Starting around 1908-09, when Pastor Russell was forced to flee Pittsburgh to escape the reach of Maria's attorneys and the Pittsburgh courts, Russell was forced to secretly do his real estate and other investment business under the personal names of sycophants such as Clayton J. Woodworth, George B. Raymond (see next page), and others, as well as other corporate entities formed in their names.
Initially, from 1896 until around 1902, Pastor Russell used the offices of real estate agents Gault & Giffen as the address for USICL. Russellite William Giffen also was presented publicly as "Secretary" of USICL, although there is no indication that such office was formalized. We further suspect that Pastor Russell may have used realtor and Russellite William Giffen to keep secret other real estate sales and purchases which will never be uncovered. (1896 was an extraordinary year for CTR for some unknown reason. In addition to other notables, in 1896, Gault & Giffen "sold" for CTR 500 acres in Florida, two houses in Chicago, and two houses and six lots in Pittsburgh -- all to one company whose business had nothing to do with real estate. Hmmm!!!)
Around 1902, Pastor Russell brought into the Bible House as a BETHELITE, George B. Raymond, who was an Insurance Agent, Real Estate Agent, and Attorney from Binghamton, New York. The mailing address for USICL was then moved to the Bible House from around 1902 until 1904, when Raymond appears to have temporarily returned to New York. Then, when the Russells' alimony/support proceedings got hotter around 1905, the mailing address was moved to the private residence of BETHELITE Albert E. Burgess. It seemed to disappear from public listings thereafter.
Typically, in the 1911.13 edition of the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, the always deceitful "satan", Pastor Russell, was quoted telling this OBFUSCATION and LIE about the UNITED STATES INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED:
"It is a little 'Holding Company' of $1000 capital. All business people will understand. It is perfectly legal every way. I was one of the incorporators in the interest of the Bible and Tract Society. I have not one dollar invested in it; nor have I been even nominally connected with it for many years."
Around 1904-05, Charles Taze Russell via USICL "acquired" 5500 acres of coal property located in eastern Kentucky via "trade" to an unidentified party for unidentified real estate owned by Russell.
See both previous and following sections on both Pages for scattered mentions of USICL.
ROSEMONT, MT HOPE and EVERGREEN UNITED CEMETERIES
In April 1905, Charles Taze Russell founded ROSEMONT, MT HOPE and EVERGREEN UNITED CEMETERIES, a corporation, which is still in business today. United Cemeteries actually owns and operates three different cemeteries spread over 18 acres -- Evergreen Cemetery, Mount Hope Cemetery, and Rosemont Cemetery.
The original five paper incorporators were Bethelites Clayton J. Woodworth (see below), John G. Kuehn, John Adam Bohnet, and Pittsburgh Russellites, John Messner and James Geisey. The original Board of Trustees included Charles Taze Russell, the five paper incorporators, Bethelites William Wright and Francis Winton, and Pittsburgh Russellites William Giffen and Harry Guepner. (Researchers should be aware that Harry Guepner is believed to eventually have become a WatchTower Pilgrim during the 1910s. In 1907-8, when wealthy and prominent Russellite Gertrude Seibert's husband, Robert Seibert, founded THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF ORBISONIA, Harry Guepner was named "Cashier" -- and for people unfamiliar with the "banking" industry, "Cashier" is NOT a lowly clerical position. Robert Seibert was a busy businessman, and this may indicate that he was more favorable toward Charles Taze Russell and Russellites than some researchers have previously thought, and Seibert's money may have been funding WatchTower projects even prior to his early death.)
However, there were also FOUR other Trustees. Charles Taze Russell somehow managed to "con" the four leaders of the four largest religious denominations in Pittsburgh -- Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and United Presbyterian -- to accept positions as Trustees (can you guess why).
Certain Russellites have long claimed that this property was actually a farm that Russell inherited from Charles Tays Russell, and that the current Masonic Lodge sits where the Russell farmhouse was originally located. Tays died back in 1865, and to the best of my knowledge, Tays never owned a farm, and there was no farm in his estate. In any event, United Cemeteries reportedly purchased the "Wiegel Farm" from U.S. Investment Co. Ltd., for an unknown amount, which in turn had purchased the property from Bethelite William E. Van Amburgh, for $30,000.00, who had purchased the property for $27,000.00 from the unidentified owner of "Wiegel Farm".
John Adam Bohnet was the "Manager" of this enterprise, and he moved out of WatchTower Society headquarters and operated this business out of a separate office for about a year (again, can you guess why), before then resuming his duties back at WatchTower Society headquarters, and continuing to manage the business from there.
Maria Russell alleged that United Cemeteries was essentially a stock scam. Consistent with the real estate being purchased from U.S. Investment Co Ltd for an unknown amount, plus the fact that Russell publicly appeared to have little or no actual control of this corporation, Maria Russell later claimed that the sales agreement contained terms by which U.S. Investment Co Ltd retained ultimate control of disposition of the realty, other than the piecemeal sale of individual burial lots. Maria also alleged that 90% of the "profits" went to U.S. Investment Co Ltd, while only 10% of "profits" went back to United Cemeteries stockholders. That may have effectively been true, but in actuality, the "gross receipts" of United Cemeteries were split evenly between United Cemeteries and the Watch Tower Society.
Amusingly, on Halloween 1907, a "special" was advertised of six plots for $28 CASH! In April 1908, the cemetery caretaker engaged in a "shoot-out" one night with two thieves attempting to burglarize the stables. A blood trail indicated that he hit one or both of the thieves.
We are forced to acknowledge that we apparently had NOT researched ROSEMONT, MT HOPE and EVERGREEN UNITED CEMETERIES as thoroughly as we should for purposes of this webpage. We just now stumbled across some more real estate business info that makes perfect sense -- that this farm property originally was much, much larger than the currently reported 18 acres. In mid-1917, "Judge" Rutherford made plans to sub-divide the non-cemetery portions of this property into one-acre residential building lots. However, when word leaked out regarding that new residential subdivision, North Side Catholic Cemetery stepped up and offered to purchase the entire 77 acres from the WatchTower Society -- in December 1917 -- as an addition to its adjoining Saint Philomena's Cemetery. USICL supposedly had transferred the property to WBTS in January 1916 due to USICL being dissolved effective June 1916. However, that deed was not recorded until December 1917 -- during the sale of the property to North Side Catholic Cemetery. Anyone else suspect that December 1917 also was when the deed was written and executed?
What we don't know is under what "business entity" were these residential lots going to be advertised and sold publicly by the WBTS??? It would have taken quite some time to sell those 77 lots, and we can't imagine Rutherford allowing such being advertised and sold under the name of the WBTS or under the name of United Cemeteries. Even if a straw-seller was used for the advertising, there still would have been 77 purchasers who would have eventually disclosed the name of the grantor on their deeds.
RENTAL OF THE "BIBLE HOUSE"
For years, Pastor Charles Taze Russell rented out portions of the four-story "Bible House" to whomever would pay him rent. Even the third story "Bible House Chapel", where Russell's Allegheny congregation held its religious services, would be rented out to other religious groups, and to fraternal and patriotic organizations.
The long-anticipated "Bazaar of Days" took place yesterday afternoon and evening in the Bible House, Arch Street, Allegheny. ... The booths [displaying fundraising items for sale - editor] were all upstairs. Below were 21 supper tables, all in white, and supper was served so long as the guests expressed any desire for it. The entertainment was for the benefit of the building fund of St. John's Episcopal Mission, Woods' Bun, and was in charge of the ladies of the various Episcopal churches of the two cities, ... . -- Pittsburgh Dispatch, April 1892.
Russell even rented to Northside Kindergarten for at least two years, from Fall 1889 until Fall 1891. (If YOU operated the WatchTower Society out of the first floor, would you put a "kindergarten" on top of you for nothing more than a rent check???) Interestingly, after Northside Kindergarten moved out, Mrs. Barto's Private School and Kindergarten replaced it. An otherwise unidentified "Mrs. Barto" became "Principal" of Mrs. Barto's Private School and Kindergarten at that same location from Fall 1891 until ????. Interestingly, Maria Russell's early 40's, widowed sister was named "Selina Barto". (Interestingly, Selina Barto's deceased husband had been an ordained Minister.)
Around 1901-05, a retail bakery/candy store was operated out of Watch Tower HQ on Arch Street by WatchTower Bethelite employees.
WATCH TOWER SOCIETY v. CITY OF ALLEGHENY was the 1904-05 Pennsylvania court case in which Russell challenged the taxability of the "Bible House". The court ruled in Russell's favor -- EXCEPT for those rooms of the Bible House which were "rented" to for-profit businesses, such as the three rooms "rented" to a "restaurant" during 1904. One can only wonder whether that "restaurant" was actually rented to a non-affiliated third party, or whether it was actually a restaurant operated by Russell, but "leased" to a sycophant so as to keep the true ownership of that "for-profit" business hidden from the general public -- which would have kept Russell from disclosing the true ownership to the tax investigators.
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL'S "BIBLE HOUSE"
-- cha ching --
FOURTH FLOOR RETIREMENT HOME
In January 1908, BETHELITES Francis Winton, age 79, and his wife, Susan Winton, age 76, BOTH died conveniently within two days of each other while living at Charles Taze Russell's BIBLE HOUSE. Francis Winton was a Newfoundland, Canada politician and newspaper publisher, who according to his obituary had later partnered with Horace Greeley at the NEW YORK TRIBUNE. The Wintons are believed to have been "hired" by Russell around 1903-04, when they were in their mid 70s. No known children. Estranged from relatives.
In June 1905, BETHELITE Mary Turner, age 84, died while living at Charles Taze Russell's BIBLE HOUSE. Turner was the childless widow of a deceased Federal Street merchant. No known relatives. No question where went that estate.
In 1902, the unmarried and childless William Campbell, age unknown, died while traveling to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on unknown business. Campbell was a former "Bible House" Bethelite, who received a Bethel funeral preached by Pastor Russell. Charles Taze Russell was named as "Executor" in Campbell's WILL, and the Watch Tower Society was Campbell's sole beneficiary. Assets included a $2000.00 life insurance policy (roughly $65,000.00 in 2016 dollars), and a $2100.00 interest in a Philadelphia drug business.
SALON SOCIETY -- SALON JOURNAL -- SALON ASSOCIATION
LOGAN, LAND & WHITEHOUSE
THOMPSON, HIRSH & KUEHN COMPANY
In 1904-5, Charles Taze Russell made the mistake of both perpetrating a fraud on his religious constituency, and putting that fraud in writing inside the pages of the Watch Tower magazine, where it will last for perpetuity. I'm referring to the SALON SOCIETY - SOLON JOURNAL - SALON ASSOCIATION scam, which has been reported on in detail for decades. Here is our summary, which includes both corrections and extremely interesting previously unreported information:
In the December 1, 1904, issue of WATCH TOWER magazine, Russell introduced his Watch Tower readers to a "buying club", called the SOLON ASSOCIATION, which Russell presented as being operated by "honorable and reliable" persons "well-known to us". If Watch Tower subscribers would only also subscribe to the monthly SOLON JOURNAL, SJ subscribers could then purchase through Solon Association a wide variety of household and personal products which were being sold by various national mailorder retailers and wholesalers at the WHOLESALE PRICE normally only given to retailers -- BUT only after Solon members paid a 5% COMMISSION to Salon Association. Russell stated that he was not "soliciting" WATCH TOWER magazine readers on behalf of Salon Association, but rather was merely telling readers about a way that they could save money, so as to "benefit" Watch Tower readers, and now get this -- and those working at Watch Tower Society Headquarters.
SJ subscriptions evidently were slow in coming from Watch Tower readers, because in the January 15, 1905, issue of WATCH TOWER magazine, Russell notified Watch Tower readers that all "paid" 1905 Watch Tower subscribers would receive 4 free issues of the January, February, March, and April Salon Journals. However, in the May 15, 1905 issue of WATCH TOWER magazine, Russell notified Watch Tower readers that the SALON JOURNAL was being discontinued "because its motive was misunderstood or not appreciated".
In fact, Charles Taze Russell's "sheeple" were not ALL as stupid and gullible as he and his headquarters henchmen had thought, so Russell was forced to abort this baby before it brought down his core empire. The word "FRAUD" was stamped all over this business scheme.
First, SALON ASSOCIATION was no ongoing mercantile operation located at Salon, Ohio, as had been insinuated, nor was the SALON JOURNAL an already existing magazine. ALL of the SALON entities were just in the process of being started up to target Russell's religious constituency for additional "milking", and most SALON activities were being conducted right out of Watch Tower Society Headquarters -- THE BIBLE HOUSE.
On paper, Clayton J. Woodworth (yes, that name should ring a bell), who lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was listed as President of Solon Association, and Editor of Solon Journal. The other "paper" owner was John G. Kuehn, a prominent Russellite, who lived in Cleveland, Ohio. And, while labor-intensive activities were being performed by "Bethelites" at the "Bible House", Woodworth maintained an off-premises administrative office and maildrop. Interestingly, the highly experienced former marketing executive John Adam Bohnet was brought back to WatchTower HQ from his seven-year assignment in Washington D.C. to assist C.J. Woodworth with the day-to-day running of the Salon Association scheme.
(Clayton J. Woodworth actually may have received many of his "dingbat" pseudo-medical ideas from John Adam Bohnet. J.A. Bohnet had previously worked at WatchTower HQ from 1895-1898 before being sent to Wash D.C. for seven years. Prior to 1896, Bohnet had served as a part-time WatchTower "Pilgrim" on the West Coast for several years, while working for another company. Researchers -- take a look at the "other company" for which Bohnet worked as a "manager" during his seven years in Wash D.C working "on the side" for the WatchTower Society. The obvious question is whether John A. Bohnet had been intentionally "planted" inside that other marketing organization for the purpose of secretly promoting the WatchTower Society amongst its associates. Then, there is the question as to why that company's Wash D.C. branch was infiltrated as opposed to other branches that would have better suited Bohnet's past marketing experience. Was there an "international" reason? The best question of all is why did Bohnet -- a well traveled, experienced corporate "suit" eventually "hide-out" outside Allegheny at Russell's Cemetery Farm portraying himself as a simple "farmer" to the media and general public?)
The manufacturers and other suppliers were also being defrauded. As you may have wondered, manufacturers, wholesalers, and those retailers who also sold wholesale (Sears Roebuck did in those days) did not sell at wholesale rates and ship small quantities to just anyone -- especially individual consumers. The scheme was designed so that Solon Association, via individual members scattered all across the nation, were the "consumers" to which purchases would be drop-shipped by the suppliers. Thus, there was a need for an established retailer which would act as intermediary between Solon members and the manufacturer, wholesaler, or other supplier. What to do? Just make up a second company! To keep suppliers in the dark, a phantom company was formed to conduct business with the suppliers. The name of that second company was LOGAN, LAND & WHITEHOUSE. Just by coincidence, there just so happened to be three secretaries working at WatchTower Society Headquarters named Gabrielle "Gay" Logan, Alice Land (Russell's niece), and Laura Whitehouse. They all later testified in 1907, during one of the alimony proceedings of the Russell Divorce-Separation Trial, that Charles Taze Russell had personally asked each of them individually and privately for their permission to use their names.
Interestingly, during his Divorce trial testimony, Charles Taze Russell -- after first repeatedly denying that he knew anything whatsoever about the various SALON activities -- eventually admitted that the SOLON ASSOCIATION scheme had been copied from a recently failed similar scheme that had been operated out of NYC across the U.S. -- the Consumers Universal Supply Company. Supposedly, one of more Russellites, whom Russell did not identify, had "connections" to that scheme, and had learned from that failure how to make the scheme work. In fact, an "attachment" in the amount of $520.00 ($16,000.00 in 2016 dollars) was filed in New York City, in December 1904, against the Consumers Universal Supply Company, and guess who was the Agent of Record named on that attachment -- CLAYTON J. WOODWORTH.
Once wholesalers and manufacturers discovered that the actual purchasers in the Consumers Universal Supply Company scheme were individual consumers, they stopped doing business with Consumers Universal Supply Company. To succeed in their "Solon Association" scheme, Russell, Woodworth, and other Bethelites simply had to do a better job of DEFRAUDING the suppliers.
THE FRAUDULENT "SOLON SOCIETY" SCHEME WIDENS
THOMPSON, HIRSH & KUEHN COMPANY was a new business entity which was operated from the same off-premises office (away from the Bible House) which Clayton J. Woodworth used as a maildrop for the various SOLON entities. Thompson, Hirsh & Kuehn Company appeared there at the same time that the Solon entities appeared, and disappeared from that location when the Solon entities disappeared. William Thompson was a lesser known Pittsburgh Bethelite in 1905. Robert H. Hirsh was a prominent Pittsburgh Bethellite, who was involved in various and multiple Watch Tower Society administrative activities over the years, and who eventually was elected to the Board of Directors of the Watch Tower Society. John G. Kuehn was a prominent Cleveland, Ohio, Russellite, whose name had already been used to form both the UNITED CEMETERIES and the SOLON entities, and would later be used to form MENA FILM COMPANY.
Interestingly, this entity described itself as a "Manufacturers Agent". Apparently, this FRAUDULENT business entity was BOTH being used to HIDE the fraudulent purchasing of a Manufacturers' product by private individuals rather than wholesale and retail businesses, BUT this entity was also used to EXTRACT A SALES COMMISSION from the Manufacturer for having done so. The use of this entity would shield the "Solon Society" and "Logan, Land, and Whitehouse" from having to constantly interact directly with the Manufacturers -- thereby lessening the chance of the actual identities of those entities and the fraudulent scheme from ever being discovered. At the same time, while the Solon Society was extracting a 5% sales commission from the members of the Solon Association, Thompson, Hirsh & Kuehn Company would also extract whatever was the routine sales commission from the Manufacturer for having, in effect, sold the manufacturer's product to its own subsidiary. FRAUD. FRAUD. FRAUD.
IF YOU HAVE APPRECIATED DISCOVERING "THE TRUTH" ABOUT CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL,
THE FOLLOWING WEBPAGE DISCLOSES EVEN MORE "TRUTH" ABOUT THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY
DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES