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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.
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 his WATCH TOWER magazine in 1879, and BEFORE he had founded the WATCH TOWER SOCIETY 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. (A nice large home could be purchased for $10,000.00 in Allegheny in the latter 1870s. In 2021 dollars, $10,000 then was equivalent to $270,000.00 today. 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. By the way, we recently saw our record for the "highest claimed net worth" and "youngest age" for CTR that we have found in print -- $250,000.00 at 21 years-old. That's $5.5 MILLION in 2021 money.)

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 three-page Charles Taze Russell Financial Biography. We suggest first tabbing down ALL THREE webpages and browsing the various businesses owned and/or operated by Charles Taze Russell. (HINT: Our extremely popular and 2021 updated WATCHTOWER SOCIETY's SECRET GOLD MINE story is found at the bottom of Page 3 of 3.)

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.



The legend of the Charles Taze Russell merchantile empire actually begins with the story of Uncle Charles Tays Russell, and his story is only told in brief obituaries, which undoubtedly were composed from information supplied by Charles Taze Russell and Joseph L. Russell. Those short obituaries relate that Tays emigrated from Ireland to NYC in 1822, when he was around 16 years old. The obituaries then "name drop" that Tays received his first lessons in business from Alexander T. Stewart, who in 1875 was known nationwide as NYC's most successful merchant. Well, in 1823, then 19 year-old A. T. Stewart had just emigrated from Ireland back to NYC for the second time, married, and started his first business. Actually, I'm surprised that Chuckie and Joey did not have Tays giving Stewart his first lesson in business.

The short obituaries relate that Tays thereafter opened his first mercantile business in Pitt/Allegheny in 1831, and he remained in the mercantile business until 1867, when he started a real estate and insurance business, which he operated until his death in 1875. Typical of "Russell past history" as related by Chuckie and Joey, no mention is made of Tays' financial backer and "silent partner" in the 1830s, David Leche, of Baltimore, Maryland, who was a fellow Irish immigrant one generation older than Tays -- a father figure so to speak. Odds are that Tays apprenticed to David Leche, who was a successful Baltimore merchant, sometime between 1822 and 1831. David Leche cut the umbilical cord in 1839, possibly in anticipation of the soon arrival in Pitt/Allegheny, of Tays' younger brother, Joseph Lytle Russell.

The timing of Joseph Lytle Russell's arrival in America has been uncertain -- probably because researchers have been looking at the wrong point of entry and/or the wrong time period. Possibly, Joseph L. Russell also apprenticed with David Leche, in Baltimore, prior to relocating to Pitt/Allegheny, and going to work for his older brother, Charles Tays Russell. Such might explain why Tays' otherwise harmless relationship with David Leche was kept hidden. (Possibly, Joseph L. Russell knew the mother of "Gentleman Joe" Williamson. "Gentleman Joe" and "Charles Taze" certainly shared a lot of similiar characteristics and interests. (See below.) Do you really believe that Joseph Russell was celibate until his mid 30s? See "Williamson Family Friends Footnote" below. Don't laugh. In the early 1800s, 5% to 10% of people identified as their "male parent" the wrong male.)

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.) Mock us if you like, fellow researcher, BUT you must have forgotten the 1872 letter that CTR signed "Charles T. Russell, JR." Such matches the same time period as the aforementioned instances. UPDATE: We just found yet another instance of CTR signing his name as "Jr." -- again in 1872, but this time, "C. T. Russell, Jr." UPDATE: Just found another instance of CTR signing his name as "Jr.", but this time, when CTR was only 15 years old.

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.

Eventually, Joseph L. Russell started his own mercantile business, but initially he struggled in business in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and even suffered through personal bankruptcy in 1855-56. 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 got 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. Based on vague statements made by CTR and later the WatchTower Society, some naive researchers have unprofessionally perpetuated their claims that the Russell's clothing business eventually grew to a maximum of five stores, but I've never found more than the two primary locations specified below. At varying times, there also were additional smaller satellite locations scattered around the Pittsburgh area. As noted below, the most that we have found at any one time were the two stores managed by Littell and Jones. 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, there never were "five" clothing stores. A CTR associate finally acknowleged that whenever "stores" were mentioned by CTR or his associates, they disceptively were counting the Music Store (below) as Russell's fifth store. (It never ceases to amaze this researcher and editor, that for people who referred to their religion as "the truth", that is, CTR and other WatchTower officials, they almost NEVER EVER spoke "the truth" about anything which had to do with themselves or their activities. AND, it is still going on today -- in 2021 -- both from inside the organization right down to their still operating "secret agents". It is beyond me how "Jehovah's Witnesses" and even non-JWs fail to see that this organization has historically modeled itself after the morals and ethics of Satan the Devil -- and NOT that of Jesus Christ.)

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 a multi-unit apartment house purchased by Joseph L. Russell for all of them, and other tenants, 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.


HENRY CONLEY SIDEBAR: (See background info below.) INTERESTINGLY, the Russell family's sudden one-year "flight" from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia just so happened to coincide with their associate Henry Conley's 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 historian was speculating that the extremely generous 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 Watch Tower Society's first "President" back in 1881 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 -- both hiding Russell's failed and rejected relationship with the highly esteemed Henry Conley, and attempting to duplicate and surpass Henry Conley's secular and religious activities, accomplishments, and prominence. Even after Conley's death in 1897, Russell was unable to escape Conley's legacy. By the time that Russell FLED Pittsburgh in 1909, Conley's surviving family members held seats on BODs all over Pittsburgh and had become bluebloods in Pittsburgh society -- annually vacationing throughout the world and sending their own children to the finest colleges around America -- all while generously supporting numerous area charities. (Nephew William Henry Conley attended Oberlin.) Even the growth of the WBTS in Brooklyn under Russell bowed to the annual growth of "Riter-Conley", which itself was regularly in the national news due to participation in major construction projects from Canada to Mexico -- including government buildings in Wash D.C. and later, a little bridge near San Francisco. Henry's favorite nephew eventually became President of a company which competed with R-C after family members no longer participated in the ownership and/or management of R-C.

Let's just say it here and now -- Charles Taze Russell probably came to hate Henry Conley. Henry Conley was a tolerant man who held firmly to his personal religious beliefs, but whom did not require everyone around him to agree with him -- such as did King Charles. Many of the Second Adventists (and other Christian evangelists), all with differing beliefs, who visited Pittsburgh over the years were hosted in the home of Henry and Sarah Conley -- including George Storrs' two weeks stay in May 1974, and John H. Paton's multiple visits to Pittsburgh, before (March 1876 -- where was CTR?), during, and after Paton's only brief relationship with CTR. CTR's replacement of two of the ZWTTS Directors/Officers around 1892 was because those two prominent men had dared to become friendly with both Henry Conley and John H. Paton.


Millerites Not First/Only Second Adventists To Influence Pittsburghers

It was about the year 1800 that George Rapp, a farmer and vintner, who lived in the region of Wurtenburg, Germany, began to preach in secret the gospel of the Second Adventists. He was a man of great personal magnetism, with a ready command of plausible lies, also shrewd and unscrupulous; so he had strong influence over the ignorant people whom he addressed. He told them that in order to be saved from eternal damnation, they must leave the established church of their country, settle either in America, or the Holy Land, and wait patiently a few years for the second coming of Christ. Rapp announced himself to be their spiritual leader with divine authority, and in 1805, he persuaded 125 families to sell their lands, and accompany him to America. These German immigrants founded the settlement of Harmony, in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Until they reached their destination, the families had paid their own expenses, and held onto their own money; but they had hardly settled down when Rapp, by lies and threatened promises, persuaded them to put their money in his hands, "as was directed in the fourth chapter of Acts"; renounce the right to form an exclusive home for each family; and refrain from marriage as a mortal sin. ... marriage was the fruit of Adam's fall to be avoided lest ye perish. Having succeeded in breaking the last tie which bound families together, Rapp set himself up as a judge and jury, and as temporal and spiritual king over the tribe of Harmony.

... In the course of years, a few of them left the settlement at various times, but received no share of its wealth when they left. Rapp destroyed all written testimony to the sums originally "laid at his feet" by the people, and had appropriated $510,000 as his own. When Rapp died, he was succeeded by other leaders who kept up the old customs. The Harmony Society gradually grew smaller and smaller by death and desertion, until only a few aged members are left, and when they die, the property which has grown to a value of $8 MILLION ($220 Million in 2021 dollars) will go to the State, unless the claims of some of the heirs are allowed by the courts. -- Lebanon Daily News, September 26, 1882, edited.


Given the financial struggles of the Russell Family during Charles Taze Russell's early life, Russell's ambition for fame and fortune was no doubt stoked by western Pennsylvania's coal, steel, and oil and gas booms, which produced many millionaires, multi-millionaires, and even mega-millionaires -- for which Pittsburgh was famous and infamous for decades.
"When I followed ["Pastor"] Russell's trail back to Pittsburgh, I learned from the man who conducted his legal affairs, that [Russell] was ever adventuring into larger fields of financial operation -- real estate, oil properties, mines, and stocks -- '[Russell] was a good business man, but rather sharp**.'" -- W. T. Ellis, 1912.
**Being described as "rather sharp" was NOT a compliment -- especially when the speaker was once that person's personal attorney. CTR was NOT being praised as being "highly intelligent" or "well informed". Rather, "sharp practice" or "sharp dealing" is a pejorative phrase used to describe sneaky or cunning behavior that is technically within the rules of the law, but borders on being either unethical, or dishonest, or even fraudulent. Keep this in mind while reading the rest of CTR's Financial Biography.


WILLIAMSON FAMILY FRIENDS FOOTNOTE: The Russell Clan's selection of 80 Cedar Avenue for their first home purchase in 1877/78 turns out to be very "interesting". One of their neighbors then living at 77 Cedar Avenue (rental) was an "Uncle" to two nephews who years later became two of Charles Taze Russell's closest associates during the first decade of the 1900s -- Albert Edmund Williamson and Frederick W. Williamson. In fact, years later, after "Uncle Williamson" was dead and long forgotten, one or both of "Uncle Williamson's" nephews eventually became a Director and/or Officer of the WatchTower Society, and both Williamson nephews became WatchTower "Pilgrims" who traveled internationally on behalf of Russell and his WatchTower Society. Charles Taze Russell's niece, Alice Mae Land, even married Fred Williamson.

Born around 1843, allegedly in Baltimore, Maryland (from where the fatherless Williamson family members had relocated to Pittsburgh in the late 1860s and early 1870s), "Uncle" Williamson presented himself as a well-traveled "Gentleman" whom had lived in London, England, for a number of years, and whom had traveled much of western Europe mixing with Europe's social and political elite.

"Uncle" Williamson seems to be the type of person to whom Joseph Russell and Charles Taze Russell would have gravitated once they all made each other's acquaintance -- especially given the Russells' religious "hobbies" during the 1877-1880 time period that "Uncle" Williamson lived at 77 Cedar Avenue, and given "Uncle" Williamson's own interest in religious matters.

Around 1878-79, "Uncle" Williamson "authored" and self-published a number of BIBLE-BASED plays and a book of poetry, including: "The Nativity", "The Sisters of Alhama: A Drama in Two Acts", "Miriam: A Drama In Three Scenes", "Silvia's Jubilee: A Drama, in Three Acts", "Little Golden-Hair: A Drama in Two Acts", and "The Annunciation: A Poem".

We are wondering whom influenced or even mentored whom during this couple of years or so that "Uncle" Williamson and the Russells were neighbors? Assuming there was a relationship between Williamson and the Russells, it ended in 1880 when Williamson traveled to NYC to affect one of Williamson's many other business enterprises.

You see, "Uncle" Williamson -- aka "Gentleman Joe" -- was an INTERNATIONAL SWINDLER, CONMAN, and EXTORTIONIST. "Gentleman Joe" Williamson recently had spent a year in prison in England, after a failed swindle there. In mid 1880, Williamson was caught pulling multiple cons and swindles, and ended up in New York's Sing-Sing prison, where he died only a few months later. Google his name -- Eugene Edward Fairfax Williamson. We didn't even begin to describe everything in which Williamson was involved. Williamson had MULTIPLE CONS going at any given time. Williamson may have been one of America's historic con men, but noone has heard of him because most of the time he was so good at it. (Williamson plagiarized all of the above listed plays and poetry, which were actually penned by a Nun in New Orleans.) Other times, Williamson's crimes were so amateurish that he looked like he wanted to get caught. In "real life", Williamson possibly had been an "attache" in a Confederacy delegation to the British government during the Civil War, but possibly acted as a Union spy while here in the United States. It's hard to sort Williamson's fact from Williamson's fiction.

Have fun researching this one, and wondering how much "Gentleman Joe" Williamson's may have influenced the Russells, their early and latter religious pursuits, and even their later business adventures. Given the good chance that Joseph Russell lived in Baltimore sometime during the 1830s-40s, where lived the Williamson Family, and given that the Williamsons relocated to Pittsburgh around the time that JLR started to get his head above water, and given all the "coincidence" related in the first paragraph above, do you really believe that all of these path-crossings were "chance"?

Interestingly, "Gentleman Joe" Williamson's last known address in Pittburgh was not 77 Cedar Avenue. It was (unnumbered) "Fifth Avenue". As discussed below, Russell's Shirt House (managed by CTR) was maintained on/near Fifth Avenue, but changed with some frequency. In fact, during the time period "Gentleman Joe" would have registered this last address in Pittsburgh, CTR either had moved, or was anticipating moving, his store to a different location on Fifth Avenue. Folks, this story is significant to the history of the Russell Clan and its WatchTower religion business.



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.


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.
Around 1879, Joseph L. Russell, age 66-67, and Charles T. Russell, age 27-28, partnered 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 the Russells provided the financial backing. Charles Taze Russell once boasted that the business did $75-100,000.00 annually, in the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. 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, Chas T. Russell and Jos L. Russell partnered with Charles G. Redrup in PITTSBURGH SCRAP METAL COMPANY LIMITED, which was operated at a different location than Russell & Thomas. Charles Redrup, a bookkeeper by trade, appears to have been the managing partner, with the Russells providing the money. This partnership appears to have lasted about 2 years. By mid 1883, 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 STOCKwhich 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.

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".

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.
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. (Notably, in 1886, CTR publicly claimed that "over $40,000.00" had been spent from the start of the Watch Tower magazine in 1879 through the initial publication of the Plan of the Ages book in 1886.)
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 as a "business" by Charles Taze Russell in December 1884. This time, Charles Taze Russell was the corporate 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 Russell?) ZWTTS's main function was to receive 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).
Most of "Pastor" Russell's followers do not know that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is a business corporation, in which, the "pastor" holds a majority of the voting shares, and which he dominates and controls. Hardly anyone knew it before the Court of Common Pleas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, declared it to be a fact in the following language: "He has been shown to be the controlling and dominating power in the corporation. He dictates its actions and conduct. He himself says that the board does his will." -- The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov. 22, 1911.
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. 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.
"['Pastor' Russell] is making a fortune out of untruth. There are other ways besides 'collections' for getting money out of people, and 'Pastor' Russell is a smart man at the game." ... "If only a few members of [any] Church would deed to the pastor their houses and lands and stocks and bonds, he, too, would preach without salary, pay all the running expenses of the church, and advertise in the newspapers and on billboard, 'No Collection'. 'Pastor' Russell leaves nothing for the collection; he takes it all. If [pastors] could deceive but one member a week, or a month, into believing that the world was coming to an end in about three years, and thus bamboozle him into deeding us his property, [such pastors] would not know what to do with [all] the money." -- The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 18, 1911.


When it comes to raising money most pastors, board secretaries, and financial representatives of benevolent causes sit at ["Pastor"] Russell's feet. ... [Russell's] method [includes NO] repetition of the cry of the horse leech's daughters, ["Give" and "Give". ... never satisfied. ... never say, "Enough". -- Proverbs 30:15.]

[No, "Pastor"] Russell may know nothing theoretically about the science of psychology, but he is a past master of the thing itself. He might say, if he were utterly candid, "The longest way around is often the shortest way home." It is better to put an idea into people's heads that will constrain them to give of what they suppose is their own volition than to extract money by urgency.

The meetings that Russell or his pilgrims hold are prominently placarded, "No Collection." They recognize that they are appealing to people who are not in the habit of thinking things through, and who never pause to consider that every enterprise must be financed somehow, and that the self-respecting way is to pay for one's own privileges. The "No Collection" slogan is one of the insidious little ways in which Russell differentiates his work from that of the churches. He magnifies the point that no requests are made for money. It is as if he said, "Do not fail to get a firm hold on the fact that we do not ask for money." To this theme he recurs again and again, with the result, of course, that he lodges the idea firmly in the heads of the people, and subsequently gets the money out of their pockets.

Even ["Pastor" Russell's magazine] carries this statement: "This [Good Hopes] fund consists of free-will offerings of the students who have been nourished and strengthened by the meat in due season." Then he tells of the wonderful work of propagation that is done, and concludes: "No one is ever asked to contribute to this fund; all donations must be voluntary. We remind our readers of the apostle's words (I Cor. 16:1-2) and corrogate them, 'The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.'"

Obviously, ordinary church work is handicapped when it comes to securing gifts, for it has no such argument as is ever present with the Russellites; for even the densest of his followers is able to say, with a little assistance, that IF the world is to end in 1914, and the millennium begin, worldly goods will not long be of use. The best employment that can be given one's money is to make it help deliver the benighted "nominal churches" from the peril of ignorance that "the elect" may be made ready for their peculiar part in the millennium. So, the highest use of the money of a Russellite is to put it into the hands of "Pastor" Russell. Thence come the enormous sums that he has at his command for advertising purposes -- and no theatrical star on tour is better advertised than Russell -- for travel in private cars, and otherwise, and for the free distribution of his peerless writings. -- (edited) W. T. Ellis, 1912.

Pastor Russell said ... "The real objection to my Association by your local pastors and the pastors in opposition to me over the country is that ... I also get money without taking a collection. For instance, it is just this. [Pastor Russell drew an envelope from his pocket that had just been handed him, and tearing it open, pulled forth five $20 bills, unaccompanied by any explanation.] There you are, now. I do not need to take up any collection. The spirit of need and help prevails in my Association. There is a true spirit of giving in the Association. Why should we take up any collection? This is what irks the ministers. They do not get such voluntary gifts. That is the chief reason for their dislike of me." The envelope just opened by the "Pastor" was addressed to the Association, but the $100 (Over $2600.00 in 2021 dollars. Undocumented, Untraceable CASH!) was slipped down into the Pastor's ample pocket, "That's the way we get them everyday," continued the Pastor. -- CTR press conference. Reported by The Newark Evening Star and Newark Advertiser, June 30, 1914.

EDITORS NOTE: "FREE TO THE LORD'S POOR" was from the very beginning, CTR's motto for his WATCH TOWER magazine. This was a business psychology trick that CTR learned during his short apprenticeship with Nelson Barbour. Nelson Barbour nearly starved to death SELLING his magazines, booklet, and book until he started offering to send one copy of his magazine FREE to non-subscribers whose name/address were sent to him by his subscribers. To Barbour's surprise and delight, he discovered that most such subscribers would send in MULTIPLE names/addresses, along with the $$$ not only to cover those magazines, but also to cover many others whom they assumed had not sent any money. Nelson Barbour taught Charles Taze Russell that the more FREE literature that was distributed, the more MONEY that was sent to him. SHOCKINGLY, during the "Miracle Wheat" trial, Van Amburg testified that for years CTR secretly had been taking additional WatchTower "stock" equal to the retail value of such "free subscriptions" (double dipping) -- "irrationalized" as partial compensation to CTR for his writings published in the WATCHTOWER magazine.


October 20, [1914] was set as the date of the end of the world today by the convention of the Millennial Dawn sect. Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson arranged to distribute $2500 among the poor at once as evidence of her certainty that the "day is near at hand". She retained only $500 of her little fortune to sustain her until that time. -- United Press, July 11, 1914. ($2500 in 1914 is $53,000.00 in 2021 dollars. Who do you suppose actually got their hands on that money -- the "Lord's" poor?)

Elizabeth Robinson, of Sharon, Pa., ... is one of thousands who have been hoodwinked by that ridiculous tomfoolery. ... They are to be pitied for fooling away good thoughts and good time in following an old fraud ... like C. T. Russell. He has been proven to be a ... deceiver of the worst dye, and it's time his proselytes from other good churches were getting ashamed of him. -- The Phrenological Era, July-Aug 1914. 



Charles Taze Russell published the first volume of his "Millennial Dawn" series of books in 1886. The sixth, or last, volume was published in 1904. By 1904, the brand name "Millennial Dawn" had developed such a negativity with the general public that Russell's 300 commissioned salesmen, known as "colporteurs", literally were refusing to use the name "Millennial Dawn" in their sales presentations, and oftentimes FLAT OUT LIED if householders asked if the books for which the colporteur was taking "orders" were "Millennial Dawn" books. LYING and DECEPTION (hiding the covers of the samples, or not even using the sample portfolio) during the sales presentation required even more DECEPTION when the colporteur later returned with the books and asked for PAYMENT (since the covers of each purchased book still had to be hidden from the purchaser until they handed over the money).

Thus, between 1904 and 1906, as the existing stock of Millennial Dawn volumes were sold off, and new books had to be printed, Russell changed the name of the 6-volume series to "Studies In The Scriptures" in order to FOOL potential purchasers. At the 1906 WatchTower General Convention, Charles Taze Russell answered questions from his colporteurs during a special session conducted for them. Here are some of the colporteurs' questions and Russell's answers, which our readers should find very "interesting". Readers will note that some of Russell's answers are not only "shady", but some are unclear and confusing -- dispelling the "myths" of Russell's business prowess and Russell's ability to think quickly on his feet. Note that we have"edited for clarity" what was the record of that convention session, and have added some clarifying remarks:


Unidentified Colporteur: How should we deal with those who refuse to take the books after ordering them? How strong should we INSIST on their taking them?

Russell: ... We might very properly say, "Well now, lady (or sir), you certainly ordered these with full knowledge, and I really think that you are hardly considering my circumstances properly when you refuse to take them. You know it took considerable of my time to call here and talk to you on the subject, and I am not paid anything for this; it is a love for the truth and a desire to serve you. And then consider that it takes time for me to bring you the book, and the labor is worth something of course. Now all I have in this matter is an allowance by the Society that I get such a proportion of whatever comes in from those books, which are sold at cost price (PLEASE). Three books for one dollar don't amount to anything, and I should not think you would back out of this matter unless there was some misconception in your mind. It seems to me that somebody must have been saying something to you to prejudice you, and you have perhaps forgotten what I said to you about the books when I took your order. Now, my friend, let me tell you that there are enemies of this book, but as a rule you will find the enemies are those who have never read them. The enemies of theses books are people who have never studied them. I take it that you are an intelligent man (or woman, as the case may be -and that can be said of nearly everybody that would order a book); you seem to have a great deal of intelligence, and I suppose you do some thinking for yourself. Now I will say this to you, that if you will take the books and keep them for a week or a month, I will tell you where I will be, and if you then tell me, after reading them, that they are not helpful to you, and not worth much more than a dollar, I will take them back and refund your money, and that will be all that will be said about it." So I would make a very dignified argument, and if after I had said everything that I could reasonable say, they concluded they would not take them, I would just say, "Well, all right; we will leave it that way; I will take them back."

Unidentified Colporteur: I heard a brother say he asked some to pay him for his time. Would you consider that proper where they refused to take the books? (Colporteurs took "orders" for the books on their initial call. Colporteurs later delivered those orders, and collected the agreed price.)

Russell: I do not think I would ask the person to pay me for my time, unless it was a case like this If it was a party who had bought the books and paid for them, and was asking me to give the money back (as above?) again, saying he did not want to read them, then I think it would be proper to say to him: "Well, now, my friend, if you really insist on my taking them back, you certainly would be willing that I should have something for my time, and I think you will admit that a quarter for the time I spent with you in coming to canvass and a quarter for bringing them to you is little enough. But I do not want the books back; I want you to get the benefit of them; that is the reason I am in this work." By the time he has reasoned out all of that, he will be likely to allow you to persuade him to take the books. (That's because the typical sale was 3 books for $1.00. Effectively, Russell was telling his colporteurs to return only HALF the money in this case.)

Unidentified Colporteur: I have sold quite a number of the 5-cent volumes where I could not sell the others. In one case, a gentleman [complains], "You are selling these for ten cents, and they are marked five cents on the front." Is it better to sell them for 5 cents and not [make the larger profit], or should [you delete the 5 cent pre-pricing on the literature], so nobody will [know that I am selling the literature for more than retail price?] (Five cents is retail. The colporteur was getting the literature at "wholesale".)

Russell: I would just say [to the complainer:] [T]he five cents on there is all right. You can send and get as many of those you want at five cents a copy. They are published just at cost price. The [extra] five cents is what I am getting for my time in bringing them around. If you stop for a moment and think about it, you will see that I could not afford to sell them at five cents. (Russell's unclear answer -- before our editing -- is what Russell suggests to the colporteur should be said to any purchaser complaining that they are being charged more than what the piece of literature was pre-priced by Russell. Also, the colporteur had paid Russell something less than 5 cents.)

Unidentified Colporteur: In delivering a set of books ordered by a lady, I handed her husband the books, and while his wife went in after the money, he says, "Are these books anything like Millennial Dawn?" I said, "This work treats on lines of chronology, etc." I TURNED HIM OFF THE TRACK AND GOT THE MONEY AND WENT AWAY. After going away I felt a little bad, wondering if I had taken the right course. (What kind of heathens were the first "Jehovah's Witnesses", such that this question even had to be asked?)

Russell: I think probably we would have to supply in our minds part of what we supposed. We would suppose from the man's question that he has some prejudice against Millennial Dawn, and that his prejudice is unfounded. That is to say, it is founded upon some misrepresentation or misunderstanding of what Millennial Dawn is. So this is not what he thinks Millennial Dawnis, so far as we know; therefore, I think you were justified in putting it in the form you did. (Can you believe that SH!T??? And to think that 8 million dumbasses currently believe that that CONMAN was a prophet sent by Jehovah to reveal 1914 as some kind of special date?)

Unidentified Colporteur: Would you always advise [--] where people ask if those books are Millennial Dawn [--] that we pursue the course mentioned by the brother here? Sometimes they have the Millennial Dawn books in the house, and if we sell them the Studies [In The Scriptures], and a half hour after we are gone they discover they have got exactly the same thing, and must realize that we knew it was the same thing, wouldn't it prejudice them? Is it always wise?

Russell: I should say, I do not think a case such as you mention would occur once in a thousand times that the person who knew what was in Millennial Dawn would be opposed (to being LIED to and DECEIVED???). It is when they have a misconception of it when they are opposed. Therefore when you have such a question, you are merely having a question with a wrong face to it in their minds. Another brother did this way: He said, "In some respects this book is very much like Millennial Dawn, and by-the-way Millennial Dawn has a great many things in it." The party bought it, but he would not buy Millennial Dawn. I would not advise, however, that any person should violate his or her conscience in the matter. (The shyster Russell simply doubles down, and confirms to his followers that LIES and DECEPTION are okay so long as it ends in a book sale.)


James H. Cole, then Russell's top colporteur, who averaged selling 30 books per day, spoke to his fellow colporteurs at a second 1906 WatchTower Convention a few weeks later. James H. Cole also answered questions from his fellow colporteurs. The following is only "some" of J. H. Cole's advice as how to LIE to and DECEIVE householders while attempting to sell them WatchTower literature (edited for clarity):

Q. What would you do if you were presenting the Studies in the Scriptures and you saw they [already] had the Millennial Dawn books?

A. I WOULD TRY TO SELL THE BOOKS ANYWAY, because we know it is only prejudice they have. (See above.) Russell previously had introduced the ridiculous "prejudice" reasoning. What does "prejudice" have to do with selling someone a book or books that Russell's salesmen know for a fact that the householders own already? )

Q. How would you answer if they were to ask you, "Is this the same as Millennial Dawn?"

A. I WOULD TRY TO EVADE THE QUESTION by asking them, "What does Millennial Dawn teach?" They would doubtless say it taught this and that, etc., which we would know it does not teach. You could then say, "This work does not teach anything like that." (WatchTower leader James H. Cole was an inherently dishonest, deceitful, and demonic Son of Satan. Simple as that. Now we know why Russell selected Cole as one of the two front men for Russell's Secret Gold Mine. See Page 3.)

***ADDENDUM: We finally found additional Bio on James H. Cole. The handsome and youthful looking J. H. Cole was advertised as having given up a high-paying corporate position to enter the colporteur work around 1890. It was suggested that young James Cole was cerebral, and may once have had political ambitions. In fact, Cole quickly became one of Russell's top performing salesmen, and in 1908 was promoted to traveling Pilgrim and lecturer -- speaking throughout the United States and Canada. While Cole unquestionly flourished with the Cult, his job description back in 1890 was that of a contractor's worker, and he lived in what appears to have been a boarding house.

**********************                     ***********************

The Fairmont West Virginian
April 27, 1910
Letter To The Editor

The "Millennial Dawn's" Trade-Mark

"Ways that are dark and tricks that are vain" are by no means exclusively peculiar to "the heathen Chinese". Comes there a colporteur to your home selling a book entitled "Studies in the Scriptures" and "A Helping Hand for Bible Students." Who publishes it? Why, the "Watchtower Bible and Tract Society". That sounds orthodox, to say the least. "The author of the book is pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle," you are further informed. That forcibly brings up the names of Henry Ward Beecher and Talmage, who said many fine things in their day. The implication, of course, is that this must be their successor.

The book is represented as very valuable and sold at bare cost. The dedication is to "The Kings of kings; and Lord of lords;" which is not so bad; it looks like piety and consecration. Then, comes a little preface or whatever one would call it, headed "Studies in the Scriptures," in the course of which we are warned of the spreading infidelity -- "not the blasphemous atheism voiced by Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll, but the cultured kind represented in the scholarship of our day, which makes the danger all the more insidious." This warning is good.

Now, that preface goes on to say that to equip every man to meet such infidelity, and give him in condensed form such Bible teaching as will enable the "Christian people of all denominations to lend a helping hand to all perplexed inquiries with whom they may, by God's providence, come in contact," the Bible Tract Society has prepared a set of six of this kind of books, and furnishes them very cheap. "How convenient," if you can go to your bookcase, take down the proper study for your subject, when you are confronted by such inquiries, and to say to the inquirer, sit down and read that short story, and the whole matter of your question will be fully and satisfactorily settled!"

"Possibly," it says further on, "you may be a member of an Epworth League or Christian Endeavor Society, or of a Baptist Young People's Union, and may be called on for an essay on some scripture topic. How convenient to select one among these numerous studies (covering almost every topic) and to find therein the appropriate scriptures cited! Ministers use them thus when composing special sermons and addresses."

Now all this sounds very good. and I wonder how many unsuspecting souls have been caught with these smooth words. For the author of those books is a religious Ishmaelite; every man's hand is against him and his hand against every one. He is at war with all the denominations and ambitious to be the founder of a new sect, and has actually accomplished that much. His adherents are chiefly proselyted from the denominations of Christendom, and a number of simple Chrlstians have been perverted by his theories, and turned away from the Lord's church to follow his sect. He has of late aspired to bigger things and, I do not know to what extent posed as a prophet himself, and not merely as an interpreter of prophecy, but laid claim to being in a special sense "that servant" particularly mentioned and pointed out in Matt. 24:45, 46 -- a claim which his more enthusiastic followers are all too ready to accept.

But if he is a prophet, his methods declare him to be of the kind of whom Jesus said they shall come in sheep's clothing, the while inwardly they are ravenous wolves. His peculiar views consisting of a new amalgamation of errors as old as the history of Christian doctrine, with enough admixture of truth and of mutilated, misapplied, and misinterpreted scripture quotations to make it all plausible, are most heartily hated and combatted by the Christian denominations of which he speaks; and no one knows that so well as the gentleman himself.

These books he so kindly offers you for a nominal price, and that bear the fair names "Bible Studies" and "Helping Hand," are nothing in the world but the "Millennial Dawn," whose very name has been of a long time in bad savor in the Christian world, on account of which the shrewd father of them changes the name "Millennial Dawn" to "Studies in the Scriptures," and offers them afresh to Young People's Societies of Christian Endeavor, Baptist Young People's Unions, Epworth Leagues, and to all Christian people in general, as a digest of scriptural truth and a treasury of scriptural knowledge from which to draw material for essays and talks and information for perplexed inquirers with the reassuring statement that "ministers'' so use them.

Now that, to my mind, caps the climax of brazen guile and impudence and insulting trickery to all these Christian denominations that is hard to bear and ought not to be borne. If obtaining money by false pretense is felony, no less of a wrong is it to obtain confidence or even a hearing on false pretense. Such a fraud should be exposed as widely and opening as it is practiced, and every soul should be made to see the cloven foot of the author and the promulgator of these volumes, Charles T. Russell, formerly of Allegheny, Pa., and now of Brooklyn, N.Y.

If Mr. Russell or any other man wishes to present a peculiar doctrine, he has, humanly speaking a right to do so, and the sincerity of his purpose and belief is not to be called into question, without compelling reason, however false in itself the doctrine may be. And if the man wants to litter the United States and the world with his books and tracts, that also is his privilage. If he comes out like a man and says, "This is my doctrine, and I believe it to be the truth, and I wish all men to read it and test it by the Bible," it would be no less than fair. Even if he would say nothing at all, and simply sell and scatter his books without explanation, and let them stand on their own merits, it would be fair.

But when he smuggles them into the hands and homes of people of other beliefs, making by inuendo (not in so many words, for he is shrewd enough to cover his tracks) the impression on their minds that the books are in accord with their belief, and are representative Christian teaching, and thus palms off his own peculiar theory as accepted and acceptable doctrine, indorsed by "ministers," without even an intimation of any repudiations of it, but rather the opposite, it is only deception, and the tactics are of Satan, the father of lies.

Nothing else could be meant and represented by such warning as these: "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their work" (2 Cor. 11:13-15.)

Such work is not "from God". "By their fruits ye shall know them." Even granted that his ultimate purpose were to do of the good, he has by his disingenuousness forfeited all claim to consideration, and has placed himself among those whose principle is: "Let us do evil, that good may come; whose condemnation is just." (Rom. 3:8)

And since we are warned, that many deceivers are gone out into the world, we can no better than to reject these "curious books" that come to us with such pretense, and the serpent's trail of falsehood and hypocrisy on the face of them, bearing this characteristic trade-mark of the devil; and to abolish them before our minds are poisoned and our spiritual sight warped by the false plausibility of that teaching, and before others are caught in the toils and the coils of the same. After the people's eyes have been fully opened to see the deception that has been practiced upon them by this pretended successor of the Beechers and Talmages, I wonder what will be the "Millennial Dawn's" next "Trade-mark"? 

For the enlightenment of the innocent and unsuspecting, the foregoing is kindly submitted. In hope of doing good, I am yours in Christian love, ALPHA.



October 3, 1912

"Pastor" Russell, the "Millennial Dawn" man, does not succeed, whatever else may be the virtues of his cult, in teaching all his book agents to tell the truth. When Mr. Ellis was at work preparing for publication his study of Russellism which is now appearing in the columns of The Continent, he needed, of course, to have at hand a full set of Russell's writings, and the New York Office of the paper was asked to obtain the books for him, since Mr. Ellis was by that time marked "taboo" in Russell's own headquarters, and could not get the volumes on his own order.

It seemed therefore quite opportune when a soft-voiced disciple of Russell walked into The Continent office in the Presbyterian building in New York, and began her carefully prepared little speech about "Studies in the Scriptures" -- a speech designed, by the way, to conceal the fact that the books had anything to do with ["Pastor"] Russell and "Millennial Dawn". But, The Continent knew what the lady's wares were, and she must have been surprised at the ease with which she made a sale. At least, an exuberance which the facts were far from justifying entered into her later reports of the incident.

With imagination worthy of a yellow journalist, the bookseller went on through other offices in the Presbyterian building adding to her regular story the gigantic fiction that the editor of The Continent, who had just bought from her, was in the frequent habit of giving away sets of these works to his friends, and recommended them highly for all thoughtful people to read. We wonder whether there is any clause in the discipline of the Russellites providing a penalty for lying.



Keeping in mind that in 1913, West Virginia Christians should have found books and other literature sold by Seventh Day Adventist colporteurs to be far more heretical, and thus far more objectionable than WatchTower books and literature, a SDA colporteur reported that when he first went to one WV City that he initially had been entirely unsuccessful until he was able to convince the residents that he was NOT a "Russellite" pretending to represent some other religious denomination. WHY? SDA Colporteur reported that WatchTower colporteurs RECENTLY had previously worked that same WV City FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES using FOUR DIFFERENT NAMES. Once again, is it any wonder that the WatchTower Society and its members became "anathema" to the rest of the world? 




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. Readers also should know that in his 1894 mini-bio, Charles Taze Russell claimed to have owned one large store and three branch stores in 1881, yet, records in 1881 show that Russell was operating only two big stores.

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 Russell's by-then two clothing stores simply as RUSSELL & COMPANY -- RUSSELL'S SHIRT HOUSE on Fifth Avneue and QUAKER SHIRT HOUSE on Federal Street. (Note: While Joseph Russell's Quaker Shirt Store rental location was stable at 40-44 Federal Street, CTR's Russell's Shirt House relocated multiple times over the years, while attempting to stay on or near Fifth Avenue.)

PENNSYLVANIA v. J. L. RUSSELL. We may have stumbled on the stimulus for Joseph L. Russell's retirement. 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. 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.

CTR continued to personally manage RUSSELL'S SHIRT HOUSE, while also running ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine from the same rental location of 101 Fifth Avenue. Notably, in 1881, CTR began to advertise 101 Fifth Avenue as RUSSELL'S FIFTH AVENUE SHIRT HOUSE.

In mid 1884, CTR moved himself and ZWT magazine to QUAKER SHIRT STORE at the 40-44 Federal Street rental location. At 101 Fifth Avenue, the name of the business was changed to FIFTH AVENUE SHIRT HOUSE, and a couple of "peons" claimed to be the new owners and managers. INTERESTINGLY, only a few weeks prior to the sale, the building at 101 Fifth Avenue had been sold to a person planning on demolishing the building and rebuilding for other occupancy. If CTR actually sold FIFTH AVENUE SHIRT HOUSE, one can only wonder whether the purchasers knew they had a new landlord, and about his plans.

In any event, less than two years later, bankruptcy was legally filed by the new owners, but every effort was made to keep the names of the actual owners and the name of the business out of the public notices. Such had the lingering "smell" of CTR, who probably had maintained financial control of the business via mortgage, lien, etc., if not more. (The actual legal partnership could have included any number of additional partners other than just the two front men. NEVER EVER forget that the Russells were EXPERTS at using "front men", "straw men", etc.)

Charles Taze Russell continued in the clothing business until September 1889, when the single remaining 40-44 Federal Street rental 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. Charles Taze Russell maintained control of Quaker Shirt Store via a lien, mortgage, etc. In October 1895, after the death of his wife, Russell's "employee" failed to pay the annual renewal of the lease, so CTR had to step in and do so. Charles Taze Russell repossessed or otherwise resumed control of the business, and Russell thereafter put the business up for sale in January 1896. We cannot find any indication after 1897 that Quaker Shirt Store was being operated by or for C. T. Russell, or by anyone else for that matter.

As noted on Page 3, in 1911, even after haing moved to Brooklyn, "Pastor" Russell acquired as an investment another active, going Clothing Store located in a Pittsburgh suburb.




At various times in the latter 1870s, rental opportunites arose where the Russells decided to open up smaller, satellite stores -- also depending on the availability of trusted employees to run such. Relative James M. Littel and Albert D. Jones were such "trusted" employees. (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.)

CENTRAL SHIRT HOUSE was opened sometime in 1878, with Albert D. Jones managing such -- whenever he was not doing something else for the Russells -- see below. At some point around this same time, COLUMBIA SHIRT HOUSE was opened with James M. Littell as its manager.

By 1880, JONES & LITTELL partnership was formed to own and operate Central Shirt House and Columbia Shirt House. Our guess is that the Russells financed this new entity so as to maintain control, or the actual legal partnership may have had more than just two partners. Sometime around 1882, Jones & Littell added a 79 Federal Street location (across and up the street from Russells 40-44 Federal Street location), as well as a location in Wheeling, West Virginia. 1882-84 records for JONES & LITTELL show A. D. Jones' "home address" as NYC. By 1883-84, 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 (around $10,000.00 in today's money). The story continues below.


-- 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" called the "Day Star Universal Relief Fund", in NYC, Pittsburgh, and supposedly, other cities. Jones advertised that he wanted to collect both money and various items of personal property -- particularly new and used clothing -- for distribution to deserving poor persons, so that the charity could help the poor to get a job. The initial setup and operation was so unprofessional that everyone suspected it to be a financial scam, and it fizzled around 1884-85.

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 1882-83.

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. RUSSELLsometime 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???

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.
In November 1884, Charles Taze Russell "advertised" in ZWT that 400 acres in Pinellas 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.

The original land donation was made by one or more members of the wealthy Disston family (FreeMasons) of Philadelphia. While we have no clue whether anything had been done to improve those 40 ten-acre tracts, either directly or indirectly, the Disston family had paid only $100.00 for all 400 acres. 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.


Joseph L. Russell donated one or more plots of swamp land during the 1880s, so he likely was the donator of the 40 acres mentioned above. Joseph Russell also left in his Will*** to CTR a tract of 160 acres in Polk County, Florida, which JLR had for several years failed to sell. JLR also had bought and sold other Florida properties. The Russells simply could not resist purchasing swamp land for pennies per acre, and then waiting for some sucker to pay them dollars per acre.

*** In 2021 dollars, 84 year-old Joseph L. Russell's 1897 estate was appraised at nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS. JLR'S finances are proportionately as mysterious as CTR's.


FLORIDA MUTUAL BUILDING AND LOAN ASSOCIATION v. UNITED STATES INVESTMENT COMPANY, LIMITED, CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, JOHN A. BOHNET, AND ERNEST C. HENNINGES was a 1931 Florida state court action attempting to quiet title to a lot in Sylvester Subdivision, in Pinellas County, in which this lender had acquired an unknown financial interest under unknown circumstances -- probably a loan default. Bear in mind that USICL (see below) did not come into existence until 1896, so it is doubtful, but possible, that this lot was part of the above 1880s lots donation. CTR continued to purchase properties in Florida thereafter, and given CTR's modus operandi of multiple transfers to hide his interest in real estate, it is actually surprising that there were not more such lawsuits required.



In 1897, RUSSELL HOUSE was known as Tarpon Springs' best option for a lower priced year-around hotel room. Mrs. Gracie Neligh was reported to be the small hotel's proprietress. RUSSELL HOUSE, long ago demolished, initially was a "large, two story" wooden residence style structure constructed in the latter 1880s by Joseph L. Russell. Given Emma Russell's choice to become a Dormitory Mom at Bethany College (Disciples of Christ) after JLR's death in 1897, it might be assumed that RUSSELL HOUSE was originally constructed for room rentals -- despite JLR's then advanced age, and retirement status.

Around 1892-93, JLR, Emma, and Mabel relocated from Florida to the resort town of Ashland, Virginia. They lived there for only a few years before returning to live in Allegheny. Recently divorced/widowed Margaret Land and her three fatherless children moved to RUSSELL HOUSE in Tarpon Springs. We do not know who named the structure RUSSELL HOUSE, nor whether it was named after JLR, CTR, or both, or after all three Russells. Neither do we know when CTR first visited, if at all. We do know that CTR and JLR most frequently "partnered" on investments -- both formally and informally.

Margaret Land and family relocated to St. Pete in the mid 1890s. We do not know which came first -- Margaret's relocation or the sale of the property. In 1918, during the national uproar over the Rutherford Sedition Trial, the local newspaper in Tarpon Springs published that the recently deceased "Pastor" Russell still had a "strong following" in the area, including one of the newspaper's five staffers. This newspaper also published a brief extract from a St. Pete newspaper which related that, "Pastor Russell had sins enough to answer for without being held to account for some of the things in [THE FINISHED MYSTERY] book, which is represented as a posthumous work by him." 

We believe that quote to have been published after an interview with Margaret in which she criticized the Watch Tower Society and Rutherford for calling [THE FINISHED MYSTERY] book CTR's posthumous work. Who knows whether the "sin" comment was solely the reporter's thought, or whether it had been implanted by Margaret? Much of this ties CTR to Tarpon Springs. Further, CTR published a letter from JLR in the 1888 WATCH TOWER, and JLR's address was "Manitee County", not Pinellas County.

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-- THE PENNSYLVANIA YEARS: 1890s - 1910s --

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