THE INTERNET'S BEST
FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL
THE SECRET BUSINESS HISTORY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL
HIDDEN FOR DECADES BY THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY
PAGE 3 OF 3
THE NEW YORK YEARS: 1909 - 1920s
"KING" CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL'S YACHT
Extensive preparations are being made by the International Bible Students' Association to welcome Pastor Charles T. Russell, of Brooklyn Tabernacle and party of 19 on their return from a tour of Europe and the Holy Land. Bible students from all parts of the country will be in Brooklyn, Sunday, June 5, to attend the convention. By special invitation of the association, Pastor Russell is hurrying home and will be the principal speaker of the day. The subject ... has been announced as "Jerusalem."
Pastor Russell will be met at quarantine by a Welcoming Committee, representative of the Bible Students' Association and others, in the mission yacht "Angel", and will be taken aboard and brought to Brooklyn Tabernacle, where a reception will be held. As this will be the initial cruise of the "Angel", Pastor Russell will also have the distinction of being the first passenger to accept the hospitality of the International Bible Students' Association, aboard the yacht. Following the Brooklyn convention, Pastor Russell will be the guest of honor at conventions to be held in Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati. Toledo, Canton, Lima, Dayton and Muncie. -- Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau syndication. June 1, 1910 (edited).
Pastor Russell, president of the Peoples Pulpit Association, was yesterday presented, for Christian mission work, the fully equipped and seaworthy "Angel", a (gasoline powered) and (two masted) sailing yacht. She is about 125 feet over all, has seating capacity in the dining saloon for seventy persons, and is prepared for main deck meetings in fair weather. As indicated by Pastor Russell in his acceptance of the vessel, unique work will be undertaken in New York harbor. It is said the meetings on board the "Angel" will be advertised from day to day, stating her moorings as well as the language of the speaker. Thus all who desire mny keep in touch with this witness of the "gospel of glad tidings to all nations."
"Fortunately, my friends, this gift is not wholly a surprise to me," said Pastor Russell in accepting it. "I had intimations and was in touch with some of you respecting tbe 'Angel'. Nevertheless I am at a loss for fitting words wherewith to express my appreciation of your loving zeal in following a suggestion I dropped respecting the soul needs of the sailors of all nationalities visiting this great port. Let me, then, briefly say I accept your gift, not in my own name, but in the name of the Peoples Pulpit Association as its trustee, if you please. May the 'Angel' always and in every language sound forth the praises of the God of all grace!" -- The New York American, June 4, 1910 (edited).
KING CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL
RULES OVER THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION
In January 1909, when Charles Taze Russell relocated his religion business to Brooklyn, New York, to get away from the Pennsylvania courts, it was necessary to form a New York corporation in order to conduct certain business activities in the state of New York -- specifically, to hold title to real estate. At the same time, Charles Taze Russell also deemed it absolutely necessary that legal matters be arranged in such a fashion that Russell retained absolute financial control over the new corporation.
In February 1909, PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION (later renamed The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.)
was formed by Charles Taze Russell
, along with 40 handpicked loyal followers, including Bethelites, who supposedly each purchased one or more shares at $1000.00
per share. Charles Taze Russell was elected "President-For-Life"
, while all other corporate officers were to be elected annually. To further ensure Russell's absolute financial control, NO donations nor other income went to the People's Pulpit Association
. All financial income and donations went through the books of The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
. As "overkill", to make absolutely certain of such, the People's Pulpit Association
did NOT even have a bank account for several years.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania paid all debts of the People's Pulpit Association. The People's Pulpit Association was kept totally and completely in debt to The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, including the holding of full mortgages on each piece of real estate purchased by the People's Pulpit Association. Thus, if there were ever a mutiny, Charles Taze Russell controlled everything of financial worth through his control of the Pennsylvania corporation.
Interestingly, in February 1909, Charles Taze Russell indicated that "we" had recently purchased "Brooklyn Bethel", at 124 Columbia Heights, for $24,000.00 (along with two other unidentified properties and their costs), but that "friends of the truth" had had to loan the money to "we" at the "cheapest" possible annual rate of 5% interest, and that those "friends" held a $24,000.00 mortgage on the property. In 1913, during the "Property Tax" court case, Watch Tower Society Treasurer, William Van Amburgh, testified that there was still a $24,000.00 mortgage on the property, and that the mortgage holder was the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania. Additionally, Van Amburgh indicated that the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania also held a $50,000.00 mortgage on 122 Columbia Heights, but for some reason that he could not explain, that mortgage had never been publicly "recorded", thus could not be viewed by outsiders. The WatchTower Society of Pennsylvania also held a mortgage on the Hicks Street Brooklyn Tabernacle -- initially $17,500.00, but thereafter increased to $25,000.00 to cover financed improvements.
Soon after unpacking, Pastor Russell began buying up both adjacent and nearby Columbia Heights properties, including the 1910-11 construction of a 9-story residence/dining hall behind the main offices, whose construction plans had to be vastly downsized due to complaints from neighboring properties that the planned skyscraper would block their views of the river and Manhattan.
In 1912, Pastor Russell quietly made a significant real estate purchase in Manhattan -- near Broadway and Central Park. On 63rd Street, the builder of a large new three-story theater had gotten himself into financial troubles, and was forced to sale the partially completed property (does that sound familiar -- Hammondville)
. That property became Russell's "New York City Temple"
, where religious services were conducted along with multiple daily showings of the Photo-Drama
starting in January 1914. What received little or no publicity from Pastor Russell was the fact that Russell also purchased the adjacent 10-story mixed occupancy former hotel building, which was rented out as apartments, offices, and retail space. Typically, there were multiple straw transactions before the property was finally transferred into the hands of the People's Pulpit Association in November 1913. As all of PPA's properties, these two new properties also were fully encumbered with full mortgages to retain all financial power within Russell's hands via his total control of the WatchTower Society of Pennsylvania. An article in the WATCHTOWER
magazine, which did not mention the purchase of the adjacent building, boasted that the theater building was "worth" nearly a half million dollars. Actually, in 1915, the assessed value of the theater building was $220,000.00, and the assessed value of the former hotel building was only $105,000.00. Those two large Manhattan properties were cashed out by Judge Rutherford
after Russell's death, in 1917, for $330,000.00 (roughly $6,250,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL)
SOME OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL'S MANY REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS
Beginning in the 1880s, we have located a few scattered instances of Charles Taze Russell buying, selling, and renting, a growing number of residential and mixed residential/commercial properties in and around Allegheny and Pittsburgh. As indicated on Page 2 of this section, some of those properties were transferred to the UNITED STATES INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED after its formation in order to defraud Maria Russell of whatever dower rights she may have had in such. Thereafter, USICL increasingly continued to buy, sell, and rent residential and commercial properties. As evidenced below, even Russell's relocation to Brooklyn in 1909 did not stop Russell's Pittsburgh real estate investments. Keep in mind that the following real estate transactions are merely those which have been uncovered.
BARRETT v. CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL. In 1889, a prominent Pittsburgh businessman, whose business activities included rentals of both residential and commercial properties, sued Russell for damage to one of those properties. Specifics unknown. Interestingly, some of Barrett's properties "appear" to be business locations once occupied by Russell years earlier. Barrett may have purchased those properties later, OR, maybe it has been assumed that the Russells owned properties they merely had been leasing.
In late 1891, Russell purchased 8 building lots in Pittsburgh, around the time that Russell sold a 10 room apartment building. In 1894, Russell sold a house and lot in Pittsburgh.
In 1891, Pastor Russell purchased a tract of real estate investment property in an adjacent county where development had been booming due to a recent oil/gas discovery. The type of property is unknown -- oil/gas development, residential development, or commercial development??? One significant thing that jumped out at us was the fact that rather than being in on the "ground floor" of the real estate speculation, Pastor Russell was part of the later arriving crowd of "suckers", who often overpay for property already evaluated and passed over by the initial speculators who actually know what they are doing. That seems to be Pastor Russell's modus operandi. In those few, scattered instances where we have been able to follow a trail of Russell's real estate "trade/swap" transactions, every "trade/swap" resulted in a decrease in the worth of Russell's investment. Additionally, we have never come across any investment made by Charles Taze Russell which evidenced any significant profit, much less windfall, which would fit with the "myth" that Russell was a highly successful real estate or stock investor. Instead, we are coming to suspect two things. First, Charles Taze Russell actually may have been "addicted" to the GAMBLING aspect of stock and real estate investing, and most such people turn out to be poor investors. Second, just like the Mafia made its "real money" from its casino operations from the "skim", we suspect that Pastor Russell's "real money" also came from the SKIM -- with the largest amount of "skim" being the never-ending stream of money handed personally and privately behind the scenes and off the record to this unquestionable CULT LEADER by his sycophants. And, just like the individual Mafia bosses who themselves were addicted to gambling and other vices, we suspect that Russell turned around and gambled much of that SKIM away through secret stock, real estate, and other investments. And "no", the fact that Russell was tight with a penny does not contradict such. Its called "penny wise and pound foolish".
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL v. CITY OF ALLEGHENY was a 1895-97 lawsuit which Russell filed due to property damage to his by-then Clifton Avenue home caused by street repair. The lawsuit was eventually settled for $300.00 (equivalent to nearly $11,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL).
Interestingly, in 1900, Russell sold under his own name a house and lot inside Pittsburgh. In 1903, Russell sold under his own name 9 unimproved residential lots located inside Pittsburgh. The proceeds from such appear to have been used to purchase another single investment property in Pittsburgh, which was then titled in the name of USICL.
Inexplicably, in April 1902, USICL transferred into the name of the Watch Tower Society four investment properties, instead of vice versa. Also, in 1902, USICL sold six unimproved residential lots in Pittsburgh.
In 1904, USICL sold two houses and lots in Pittsburgh.
In 1907, USICL traded two three-story apartment buildings in Pittsburgh to the owner of Speer Box and Lumber Company for unknown assets. (Do FIND on "box" or "lumber".)
When Pastor Russell fled Pittsburgh to Brooklyn in 1909, most previous researchers have assumed that Russell's real estate and other business activities in Pittsburgh came to a halt -- with then existing Pittsburgh business and real estate interests gradually being liquidated. Such was not the case. (Interestingly, just three weeks before Russell fled Pittsburgh, almost as an afterthought, Russell quickly advertised the auction sale of the former Maria Russell apartment house on Cedar Avenue -- apparently because "everyone" knew that he owned that rental property. At the same time, Russell's "straw purchaser/seller", George Raymond was negotiating the purchase of an entire suburban Pittsburgh township.) From Brooklyn, Pastor Russell continued his real estate business activities in Pittsburgh under the name of George Raymond, and even expanded his real estate investments into George Raymond's hometown of Binghamton, New York. It has even been found that once settled in Brooklyn that Joseph F. Rutherford even maintained a separate office away from his Brooklyn Bethel office where Rutherford was able to perform legal work relating to Russell's investments without such being exposed to the prying eyes and ears of WatchTower Bethelites. The following uncovered tidbits should not be considered exhaustive of Russell's secret real estate operations, but viewed as what they are -- scattered examples illustrative of probable yet-to-be-uncovered additional real estate activities.
Sometime around 1908-09, when/after Charles Taze Russell was preparing to flee from Pittsburgh to Brooklyn, sometimes BETHELITE George B. Raymond (see above, below, and previous page), who by this time also was a WatchTower Society Traveling Pilgrim (District Overseer), who was advertised by the IBSA as the "Most Forceful Pulpit Orator of America", purchased an entire "township" of Hammondville, Pennsylvania (a Pittsburgh suburb), including all structures, reportedly for $233,000.00 (nearly $6,500,000.00 in 2016 money). The purchase possibly was initially in George Raymond's name, but eventually ended up in the name of the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania, which eventually transferred title into the name of the U. S. INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED, and even more possibly may eventually have been transferred into another similarly sounding entity which we have yet to confirm as connected to Russell or the WatchTower Society. Little more is known about this large investment.
In February-March 1910, George Raymond, reportedly purchased 28 single and multi-family rental properties in Binghamton, New York, which were reportedly valued at between $3500.00 to $4000.00 each -- an investment totaling around $110,000.00 (nearly $3,000,000.00 in 2016 dollars). These transactions were initially made in the name of the WatchTower Society, but later transfers included properties being put into the names of George Raymond and/or USICL.
WAITING WITH PATIENCE FOR THE WORLD'S END. BINGHAMTON NY. After waiting since Thursday for the second coming of Christ and discussing signs which convince them that the Millennium is at hand, the Saints gathered here from Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Columbus, and Canada. Adjourned tonight. The Saints are a sect separate from the Second Adventists, but who believe in the immediate coming of Christ They rented a house in this city for four days, and during that time have held services and watched for manifestations of His appearance The Saints are not discouraged by the failure of the world to end this evening. They have departed for their homes, but say that they will all come again in a short time. --San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 1902, edited.
In May 1910, George Raymond deeded the entire village of Hammondville, Pennsylvania to the person from whom the aforementioned rental properties in Binghamton, New York, were purchased. Several interesting points. First, if the properties were "traded", instead of sold for cash, then note the differences in the reported values -- $233,000.00 versus $110,000.00. Second, why in the world would someone from Binghamton, New York even want the entire village of Hammondville, Pennsylvania, when Russell, a local, could never figure out what to do with the property, and was OBVIOUSLY happy just to unload it???? Something "fishy" happened here. Money was being "washed", diverted, etc.
In 1910, George Raymond, by then a Brooklyn Bethelite and eventually the Brooklyn Tabernacle "Assistant Pastor" swapped 23,000+ acres located in Colorado, which were then valued at $125,000.00 (roughly $3,300,000.00 in 2016 dollars -- HALFHILL), to several Pittsburgh investors for cash and a large mixed residential/commercial rental property located in a Pittsburgh suburb.
In 1910, in the name of USICL, George Raymond "swapped" 50 vacant lots located in a Pittsburgh suburb, and cash, for a grouping of 17 residential homes valued at $77,000.00 in another Pittsburgh suburb. In 1913, under his name, George Raymond "swapped" those 17 residential homes and cash for a large Pittsburgh mixed residential/commercial rental property.
In 1910, USICL purchased two lots in Pittsburgh.
In 1911, George Raymond swapped a residential rental property and $22,000.00 cash for an active CLOTHING STORE located in a Pittsburgh suburb (see discussion on Page 1 as to when Pastor Russell completely exited the clothing business).
It was publicized in December 1911 that George Raymond had traded the former WatchTower Society of Pennsylvania HQ building located at 610-614 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, and the then current WatchTower Society of Pennsylvania HQ building on Perrysville Avenue, along with 10 suburban Pittsburgh residential building lots, to Esther DeBrier, of Atlantic City, NJ, in exchange for a large apartment building with ocean view located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, the transfer was not recorded until December 1912, and WatchTower Officer/Director C. H. Anderson, of Baltimore, then transferred the property to Esther DeBrier for $1.00. (Now, we know where Judge Rutherford and the other married Bethelites met up with their Bethelite and other NYC Mistresses on the weekends.) Only 18 months later, in mid 1913, Esther DeBrier traded the Tower building for 5 apartment houses in Avalon, totaling 50 rooms. (We are busy just like everyone else. For the first ever time, we finally got around to googling "Esther Debrier", and the results were quite interesting. Esther Debrier was a Jewess married to Arnold Debrier, and they operated DeBrier Credit Company, in Atlantic City, NJ. Esther "Jason" was a Pittsburgh native, and daughter of Jewish/Zionist real estate broker, Naman Jason and Clara Jason. Sister, Elizabeth Flamm lived in Brooklyn. Brother, William Jason lived in Pitt.)
In November 1910, Raymond traded two of the rental properties, plus cash, for a painting business and building located in a nearby town. Raymond publicly stated that he was acting as an "agent" of the WatchTower Society, and that the acquired business would be operated by one of his own local "agents", who just so happened to be a real estate appraiser, and a local Russellite.
In November 1910, Raymond and the WatchTower Society traded 10 of the rental properties, valued on record at $40,000.00 (1910 dollars), for a closed hardware store located in a nearby town. Curiously, the building and inventory were valued at only $17,000.00. Only one month later, in December 1910, the hardware store and inventory were traded for only one single residential rental property and cash totaling merely $15,000.00, supposedly. Interestingly, the original seller of the hardware store was a Scranton, PA investor who had purchased the closed store less than a year earlier. That seller had mortgaged the inventory, but failed to pay off the mortgage when he sold the property to the WatchTower Society. The mortgage company CRIMINALLY prosecuted the seller, but he was ACQUITTED in what was hinted at to be a half-hearted prosecution. Interestingly, the Prosecutor from Ithaca had the same uncommon last name as did the person to whom George Raymond sold the property at a loss, in December 1910 -- around the same time that the prosecution started.
In 1911, a single family unit, plus one of the multi-family rental properties, were traded for -- again -- a recently closed drugstore in Binghamton. Again, a civil lawsuit was filed against both the seller and U.S. Investment Company when a mortgage holder on the inventory was not paid off prior to the sale. The lawsuit was eventually dropped when "someone" paid off the lienholder. Only a year later, in 1912, while responding to tenants' safety complaints (does this tell us something about the quality of these rental properties), the local health department could not figure out whom even owned the residential rental property due to the multiple transfers in the names of Raymond, U.S. Investment Co., and the WatchTower Society.
In February-March 1911, there were three more property transactions in Binghamton, New York which were in the name of United States Investment Company and/or Raymond. In February-March 1912, Raymond purchased three more properties in Binghamton using his personal name. In May 1915, there was another sale of one property by Raymond.
In February 1912, U.S. Investment Company transferred the property in Union, New York, which was obtained in trade, to -- get this -- THE STANDARD SECURITIES TRADING COMPANY, of Brooklyn, New York. This transfer was listed with a value of $1.00, which likely meant that it was transferred to an associated entity. Available info on The Standard Securities Trading Company is practically nil excepting that it appears to have been newly formed in 1912. There is a good chance that this was a newly formed corporate shell behind which Charles Taze Russell and the WatchTower Society could do business, or possibly even the WatchTower Society's own stock brokerage firm. If so, the fact that little info is generated about this entity is not surprising given the focus on the Photo-Drama starting that same year, and the overall financial troubles that started in 1914. Otherwise, why would a legitimate "securities trading company", in Brooklyn, want to own one single residential rental headache out in Union, NY?
SULLIVAN v. BOHNET, WILLIAMSON, HIRSH, WATCH TOWER, ET AL was an ongoing 1910-15 Oklahoma real estate ownership dispute over land claimed by the Watch Tower Society, but purchased by an OK City attorney at a Sheriff's sale. Up and down between local District Court and Supreme Court of Oklahoma.
In 1913, George Raymond sold six Pittsburgh residential properties for $16,500.00, and a Hotel for $33,000.00.
In May 1915, George Raymond's own local Russellite "agent" was involved in a series of real estate transfers. George Raymond transferred to the Russellite what appears to be one of the WatchTower properties located in a nearby town. In Binghamton, the WatchTower Society directly transferred another property to same Russellite. Two additional properties are transferred to same Russellite by an unknown female. In November 1915, Russellite Agent sold a property not one of the above.
In 1916, after it had been legally dissolved, USICL sold a house and lot in Pittsburgh.
In 1917, after "Judge" Rutherford had become President of the WatchTower Society, and had "inherited" "Pastor" Russell's secret business operations, George Raymond continued acting as a "straw buyer-seller" for Rutherford. In January 1917, George Raymond sold a house and lot in Pittsburgh, and purchased another two-story brick home. In June 1917, Raymond sold another property in Pittsburgh for Rutherford. One can only wonder whether, during mid-1917, George Raymond had overseen the plans for the subdivision of the WatchTower Society's farm (adjacent to United Cemeteries), which was ultimately sold to North Side Catholic Cemetery. (See Page 1 of this section.)
Interestingly, sometime in 1918, George Raymond relocated to Texas -- reportedly a man of some wealth. We can't help but wonder -- given Russell's many trips to Texas -- whether George Raymond, who had no particular ties to Texas, actually had been relocated to Texas by "Judge" Rutherford to oversee some yet-to-be discovered secret business operation. (Frankly, we suspect that Russell had "several" secret business interests in Texas. However, we also feel that such will never be discovered.)
MONTAGUE MAILING MACHINE COMPANY, INC.
VIBRATOR INSTRUMENT COMPANY
Charles Taze Russell's financial connection to the Chattanooga, Tennessee based Montague Mailing Machine Company is known only to the extent that one of Russell's two frequent financial "straw men" during this time period, Clayton J. Woodworth (see below, as well as Page 1), was named as the corporate Treasurer when Montague Mailing Machine Company was incorporated with $50,000.00 capital stock around 1908. The Montague Mailing Machine Co. manufactured various types of mailing machines which folded, wrapped, pasted, addressed, etc. Why this type business would be of interest to Charles Taze Russell is rather obvious.
Clayton J. Woodworth initially also was the General Manager of Montague Mailing Machine Company, before quickly relocating back to New York City, where Woodworth then ran the company's main sales office. Lest some readers not know, C. J. Woodworth also eventually would co-author the infamous THE FINISHED MYSTERY book, also eventually would become "Editor" of THE GOLDEN AGE magazine (predecessor of AWAKE!), and also eventually would become that magazine's publisher, under the corporate name, WOODWORTH, HUDGINGS & MARTIN (along with WatchTower D/Os William F. Hudgings and Robert J. Martin). Notably, after C. J. Woodworth returned to the NYC area, advertisements for IBSA meetings conducted by Woodworth included the boasting of his position with the Montague Mailing Machine Company.
Montague Mailing Machine Company's original corporate Vice President, Charles Owens, also was a Russellite. Charles Owens later testified during the "Miracle Wheat" trial that, although Chattanooga was his home, he did not spend very much time there. Owens also disclosed in that trial testimony that "Pastor Russell" was the officially elected "Pastor" of the Chattanooga Bible Students, which gave Russell the excuse to travel to Chattanooga at least annually.
Interestingly, the Montague Mailing Machine Company did not simply market its products to its obvious existing clientele of private business and government. Montague Mailing Machine Company's sales staff also targeted politicians and the political parties, and showed them how new time and cost efficient mass mailings could reshape political campaigns. Yet, another previously undiscovered way that the WatchTower Society has significantly impacted the "last days".
The corporate President of Montague Mailing Machine Company was a wealthy local Chattanoogan named "Dwight P. Montague", who owned too many businesses in the Chattanooga area to be anything more than just a local figurehead for this small company. His status as a Russellite is unknown. Interestingly, as of 1908, manufacturing operations of Montague Mailing Machine Company were conducted at another company's Chattanooga factory where Montague was corporate President -- the VIBRATOR INSTRUMENT COMPANY.
Interestingly, sometime in 1916-17, right around the time of Pastor Russell's death and the accompanying shakeup of Russell's business empire, "someone" sold off a significant amount of stock in the Montague Mailing Machine Company -- such that a new corporate entity called Stickney & Montague Company had to be formed for the business to continue operations in Chattanooga. However, only about one year later, in 1918, the Addressograph Company, of Chicago, purchased the Stickney & Montague Company and moved its operations to its Chicago facilities.
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION OF LONDON, ENGLAND
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, INC.
Interestingly, the name "INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION" first began to be used in 1910 by Charles Taze Russell throughout the United States and Canada. More interestingly, in the September 1, 1910 issue of the WATCH TOWER magazine, Charles Taze Russell even referred to himself as the "President of the I.B.S.A.". The October 15, 1910 issue of the WATCH TOWER magazine further disclosed: "The I.B.S. Association is here at Brooklyn -- a regularly organized Association." Either the WatchTower Society thereafter hid the fact that the "INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION" was originally a legally formed "Association" entity in the state of New York, or Charles Taze Russell and the Watch Tower Society lied to and deceived its followers and the general public from 1910 until 1914 for some unknown reason.
More interestingly, the February 15, 1916 issue of the WATCH TOWER magazine made the following proclamation, which begs the question, "What happened to the 'Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society' and the 'People's Pulpit Association', and WHY?":
"Every WATCH TOWER subscriber is recognized as a member of the International Bible Students' Association. The WATCH TOWER being the official organ of the Association its yearly subscription price includes annual membership fee of all Associated Bible Students."
On June 30, 1914, the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION was incorporated in Great Britain as the legal entity under which Charles Taze Russell could legally conduct his religion business in Great Britain. Naturally, Charles Taze Russell was himself named the Corporate President, while his three most trusted British sycophants were named as Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, along with 19 other "members".
Why? In 1914, Russell needed to start leasing multiple premises throughout Great Britain for showings of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION (see below). Thus, Russell needed a legal British corporate entity for such widespread real estate activities. Starting in 1900, the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania, an unregistered alien entity, had quietly leased a series of premises in London which functioned as the London Bethel. Even when the London Tabernacle was purchased for 20,000.00(?) in 1911, it was titled in the name of the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania, even though it was then subject to forfeiture to the crown due to the Watch Tower Society being an unregistered alien corporation. Just as Russell had done with the People's Pulpit Association when he relocated to New York state (see above), Russell made every effort to keep under his personal control as many of the financial assets as possible. When the London Tabernacle was finally put in the name of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION undoubtedly a full mortgage was recorded either in the name of Russell or the Pennsylvania corporation, which he controlled. Even then, just as was done with the People's Pulpit Association in New York state, all debts incurred by the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION were paid by the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania (excepting occasional necessary governmental fees and statutory required bank account balances), and all income mis-directed to the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION went straight to the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania. (Russell's UNITED STATES INVESTMENT CO., LTD was registered in Great Britain around 1911. We can only assume that Russell used USICL in Great Britain in much the same way that he had done in the United States -- as a means of buying, selling, and managing real estate in a veiled fashion.)
Charles Taze Russell soon discovered that he could DECEITFULLY use the name of this new British corporate entity to sell his books and other products in the United States and Canada to Americans and Canadians who by that time had been turned off to all of Russell's other trademarks and brand names. We found it extremely interesting that the following newspaper advertisements were being placed under the name of the I.B.S.A. in American newspapers during the weeks preceding the Second Advent of Jesus Christ in October 1915. (Again, keep in mind that these are 1915 monetary values -- a nickel in 1915 is worth $1.19 in 2016. The "free" book that actually sold for 15 cents likely generated a profit of 10 cents ($2.38 today) each. Neither should the "genius" of this marketing scam be ignored. Not only are the retail value of the book, value of each newspaper coupon, and resultant overall savings, all highly exaggerated, but in order to bring in the Newspapers as "co-conspirators", who would publicly display the free copy of the book sent to them along with the ad order, the WatchTower Society paid for 12 ad placements, which theoretically increased sales of the newspapers due to the use of the "coupons". Serious researchers should observe that the "we ain't making no money" lie had been so ingrained in Russell's henchmen that the developer of this simple newspaper advertisement couldn't even write simple copy without including the spiel.)
No. 12 SAVE THIS COUPON. IT IS WORTH FIVE CENTS.
Send this coupon with eleven others from this paper, each bearing a different number, and 15 cents in stamps for packing and postage, to the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, Dept C, 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, N. Y., and receive FREE a copy of "BIRTHDAYS OF MY FRIENDS," price 75 cents. This beautiful book is published to do good -- not for profit. It contains an appropriate Scripture text and comment for every day in the year, with spaces for autographs opposite, etc. Handsomely bound; gilt edges. Sample on display at the office of this paper.
Interestingly, it was not until May 18, 1917, that "President" Rutherford finally "incorporated" the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK, INC. Although Rutherford then proceeded to use that corporation in much the same way that today's WatchTower Cult uses the CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, INC. entity, at some point during the "exodus" of Russell's "Bible Students" during the 1920s-30s, Rutherford stopped the use of the IBSA name as the parent organization, and returned to referring to his followers as being members of the Watch Tower Society.
INTERESTINGLY, at the January 1913 BROOKLYN EAGLE trial, Fredrik H. Robison, who held various high ranking positions in various WatchTower entities, including CHAIRMAN of U.S. Investment Co. Ltd. TESTIFIED that U.S. Investment Co. Ltd. did not then hold any properties, and did not hold any properties at the end of its fiscal year in September 1911 -- implying that all assets had been disposed prior to September 1911. That was a LIE. In 1915, another Russellite wrote a "Letter To The Editor" defending Russell in which he claimed that U.S.I.C. had been dissolved in 1913. Anyone who believes that that Russellite had not been prompted from Brooklyn to do so, and furnished with that LIE, is probably a Jehovah's Witness who believes that the WatchTower Society does not use LIES and DECEIT whenever such serves its' purposes.
Readers should be aware that Charles Taze Russell and his henchmen lied almost every time he/they testified in court, under sworn Oath, on the witness stand. Much of the misinformation about the business entities discussed in this section, which has gone uncorrected for decades, until now, resulted from past researchers believing Russell's court testimony.
Then, there was the RUSSELL DIVORCE trial, during which there were a number of indications that Charles Taze Russell was not as "asexual" as he liked to publicly promote himself amongst his religious constituency. When questioned about his relationship with "foster daughter" Rose Ball, Russell testified that Rose Ball was a "young girl in short dresses" when he routinely tucked her in bed at night and occasionally bounced her on his knee. Then, Maria Russell (that lying, mentally unstable, power-seeking lesbian) took the stand and revealed the TRUTH!!! Maria Russell testified that Rose Ball was actually in her early 20s when 40 year-old Charles Taze Russell was playing daddy with her alone in her bedroom. Rose Ball, whom Maria claimed had told her in 1894 that Russell had once embraced and kissed her, and referred to her as "My Little Wife", had conveniently been shipped to Australia in 1903, by Russell, to open up a WatchTower Society branch office, as the likelihood increased that she would eventually be called to testify at the RUSSELL DIVORCE trial. (Read our CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL DIVORCE WEBPAGE.) Then, there also was Russell's alleged relationship with a young housekeeper.
In September 1912, the City of New York attempted to tax Russell on an estimated $10,000.00 of "personal property" -- a token amount given that Russell was the "dictator" of a financial empire, and lived the life of such. Russell successfully challenged the tax based on a "sworn affidavit" that he submitted to the Tax Department, which indicated that Russell owned "NOTHING", and which explained: "Over ten years ago I assigned such property as I then had to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Since then I have acquired nothing. From the funds of the society I am entitled to support and nothing more." Actually, as outlined above, back in 1898, Russell had donated the personalty assets of Tower Publishing Company to the WatchTower Society to keep such away from Maria Russell, and as outlined on this entire page, Russell thereafter maintained an unknown amount of secret investments -- not to mention all the regular personal property that every human accumulates over the years, especially someone who was routinely given valuable personal gifts by sycophants.
THE BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE. NEW YORK, FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 1913.
"PASTOR" RUSSELL HAS "CANCER CURE"
Exploits a Treatment "Absolutely Free" in the Watch Tower.
CHLORIDE OF ZINC IN PASTE
Promise of Secrecy Obtained and Donations Expected From All Who Receive the Formula.
The "cure" is advertised in the Watch Tower in much the same manner as Miracle Wheat was exploited. Those who write for the "cure" receive the following:
"One ounce of chloride of zinc, granulated, dissolved in as little water as possible, and bottle the liquid.
"Take a little plain wheat flour, just enough to constitute a dough, or paste, plaster for the surface cancer. Make the dough, or paste, with the flour and the zinc solution. Change four times daily, making a fresh little plaster each time.
"The claimed effect is that the contact kills the cancer and that as it continues to be applied the deadening influence will extend gradually to all the roots, shriveling them, and ultimately bringing them away."
But there, are conditions. "Pastor" Russell, while a great believer in publicity, has come to fear the wrong kind of publicity. He isn't anxious to have medical societies or the public authorities know that he is peddling a cancer cure. So everyone that gets the cure must make a solemn promise not to tell anyone about it. Here is the text of the promise exacted from everyone who receives the "cure": "The undersigned solemnly and sincerely promises that he will neither give away free nor sell for any price or consideration, direct or indirect, the information hereby communicated. He pledges the same secrecy on the part of any and all who may have anything to do with the preparation of this formula."
The Eagle's informant was so reluctant to have that large part of suffering humanity which does not read the Watch Tower miss the advantages of the "Pastor's" cancer cure that he decided to ignore the promise and reveal the secret to the world.
On the back of the sheet which the "Pastor" sends out with the formula are eloquently worded advertisements of the "Pastor's" ready helps to salvation. Unlike the cancer cure and like Miracle Wheat, these are sold for real money. But the "Pastor" insists that he is selling them "at or below wholesale prices."
And if some cancer patient should feel selfish about accepting the "Pastor's" formula without making a return the advertisement printed on the back informs him that the "Pastor" features a "Voluntary Donation Fund" which "consists of free-will offerings of students who have been nourished and strengthened by the 'meat in due season.'
"We remind our readers," the advertisement concludes, "of the Apostle's words (1 Corinthians xvi:1-2) and corroborate with them: 'The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.'"
FAILED "BIBLE STUDY CLUB" MAGAZINE SCAM
In mid-1913, all across the United States, and even internationally, churches, missionaries, and other affiliates within Protestant denominations which used the "International Sunday School Lessons" in their Sunday Schools began to receive packets addressed to "Sunday School Superintendent". Those packets contained free copies of a NEW quarterly magazine named "BIBLE STUDY CLUB" to be distributed amongst the church's adult Sunday School attendees. The cover letter described the "BIBLE STUDY CLUB" as an "unsectarian" commentary on the weekly "International Sunday School Lessons" studied each Sunday across the globe, which aimed at the "harmonization of the views of Christian peoples of all denominations".
The annual subscription price for four quarterly issues was a mere "10 cents" (that's $2.39 in today's money, plus consider the number of potential subscribers). However, new subscribers could receive two issues free, and free copies would be sent to all the names submitted by the recipients of these bundles. The cover letter was signed by "V. Noble", and the mailing address was an office in a large NYC office building.
While many naive, unsuspecting recipients in rural areas may have distributed the initial supply of the freebies, Ministers across the globe began warning their peers and others that a close read of the contents of the "BIBLE STUDY CLUB" revealed it to be yet another insidious "trick" and "disguise" used by "Pastor Russell" to sow seeds of discord within the Christian community. One NYC newspaper to which inquiries had been submitted sent a reporter to the office address listed for the "BIBLE STUDY CLUB". That office turned out to be the "PASTOR RUSSELL LECTURE BUREAU". The secretary there denied knowing anything about the "BIBLE STUDY CLUB", and claimed that "Mr. Noble" simply used their office as a maildrop. One magazine proclaimed that Pastor Russell's latest attempt to dupe Christians "must provoke the admiration of Satan himself."
"MIRACLE WHEAT" SCANDAL
The MIRACLE WHEAT SCANDAL actually was a smaller offshoot scandal of the much, much larger OCTOBER 1914 SCANDAL, which the WatchTower Cult has continued to repeatedly reinvent into the 21st century. Readers should recall that "Pastor" Russell had not only prophesied that Jesus Christ was going to begin his earthly Millennial Reign in October 1914, but Russell had also prophesied that there was going to be ongoing fulfillment of related lesser prophesies during the preliminary SEVEN YEAR PERIOD leading up to October 1914.
Mr. Russell has figured out from the book of Revelation and other prophetic parts of the scriptures that the millennium will have fully come in all parts of the civilized world by the close of the year 1914. The preceding several years are to be a time of "great trouble" according to the scriptures, and into this time of trouble the world is soon to enter. It will have fully come up on the earth by the year 1909. In that year , or soon thereafter, complete religious, political, and financial anarchy will reign over the earth, with great destruction of life and the entire passing away of the present order of things. It is this time which Mr. Russell believes is meant by the passages in the scriptures which refer to the destruction of the world. ... there will be a turning of men's hands against each other and a time of trouble such as was never before seen since the world began." -- CTR personal interview, Pittsburgh Daily Post, June 17, 1901.
Thus, when Pastor Russell learned about K. B. Stoner's so-called "miracle wheat" in Spring 1908, Russell jumped on such as being proof that the Earth was gradually beginning to produce larger, miraculous harvests -- thus, proof that Russell's prophecy teachings were beginning to come true right on time. Although sane, rational, diligent "Bible Students" should have required much, much more, "Miracle Wheat" became the "pacifier" that Russell needed to keep his "babies" distracted during that preliminary seven year period which should have been experiencing mini-prophecy fulfillment after mini-prophecy fulfillment if Charles Taze Russell had been a "True Prophet" sent by Jehovah.
In 1911, the recent stress of this latest "tempest in a teapot" even caused CTR to lower his guard around reporters re other issues, as highlighted:
"I believe that the growing of this wheat goes a long way toward proving the first principle of my church, that the prophesies of the Bible shall be fulfilled. The apparently remarkable growth of the wheat is not remarkable to me. I believe that any grain may be grown similarly when properly developed by mankind." -- New York Tribune, September 22, 1911.
BOHNET, DOCKEY & CO.
In September 1911, Postal Inspectors announced that a hold had been placed on all mail to the WatchTower Society relating to the sale of "Miracle Wheat", until they could conduct a thorough inspection of this sale of grossly overpriced seed wheat, and the seeming fraudulent production claims. Thus began yet another WatchTower Society "coverup". Despite having advertised Miracle Wheat in the WATCHTOWER
magazine, and having orders for such sent to WatchTower HQ, CTR started claiming that Miracle Wheat actually was sold by a business named "Bohnet, Dockey & Co."
, which was owned by John Adam Bohnet
**, who was the United Cemeteries caretaker in Allegheny, Pa., and Daniel Dockey, who was a Brooklyn Bethelite. However, CTR did truthfully acknowledge that ALL MONEY received by this sham entity was to be turned over to him. USPS never received any formal complaints from any of the buyers because the only people STUPID ENOUGH TO BUY MIRACLE WHEAT were CTR's own followers!!!
**AMUSINGLY, when this controversy broke out in September, CTR said everything that he could to label Adam Bohnet
as an Allegheny, Pennsylvania resident. However, in typical WatchTower exaggerated fashion, when Bohnet had toured Canada two months earlier, Bohnet had been advertised as a "NOTED BROOKLYN SCIENTIST". Once again, this Editor asks readers whether CTR and his conspirators emulated Jesus Christ or Satan the Devil??? Huh??? Huh???
We have little desire to bog this webpage down in repeating much of the research which is already public concerning the MIRACLE WHEAT SCANDAL. Thus we post below a mere edited version of the final appellate court opinion. However, readers should be aware that -- like always -- the WatchTower Society's version of the scandal as published in JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES: PROCLAIMERS OF GOD'S KINGDOM is the typical "whitewash" of what actually occurred.
In fact, Charles Taze Russell's civil prosecution of his claim of libel against The Brooklyn Eagle is a much more scandalous story than Russell's promotion of "Miracle Wheat" in the pages of the WATCHTOWER magazine. Russell and his sycophants did every thing they could do -- including lying and deception during trial testimony -- to lessen Russell's connection to the sale of "Miracle Wheat" seed. John Adam Bohnet LIED, CONCEALED, and DECEIVED the court with regard to the fact that he grew "Miracle Wheat" seed on the property of UNITED CEMETERIES as part of his duties as overseer of Charles Taze Russell's remaining properties and operations in Pittsburgh. Charles Taze Russell refused to testify during the trial after it became apparent during their early cross examinations that the newspaper's attorneys had fully discovered most of Russell's ties and lies.
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL v. THE BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE
NEW YORK APPELLATE COURT DECISON
May 7, 1915
(Edited. Emphasis added.)
Action by Charles T. Russell against the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. From a judgment for defendant, and from an order denying his motion for a new trial, plaintiff appeals. Judgment and order affirmed.
The action is for damages (Russell asked for $100,000.00) for libel. The defendant is the publisher of a daily newspaper. The plaintiff professes to be an interpreter of the Bible, and is an unordained preacher. The libel alleged was published in a cartoon. The headline of the cartoon is "Easy Money Puzzle". In the cartoon is shown a building on which is printed "Onion Bank". The figure of a man appears at the door of the building. He is represented as saying: "You're wasting time. Come on in here". In the foreground is an effigy of [CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL] portrayed as carrying a small package. There is this subscription: "If Pastor Russell can get a dollar a pound for Miracle Wheat, what could he have got for Miracle Stocks and Bonds as a director in the old Union Bank?"
Contemporaneously with the publication, the Union Bank had defaulted in payment of deposits. Its failure was by the press attributed to the infidelity, inefficiency, and unlawful acts of several of its officers. They were charged with purchasing with the depositors' money bogus securities at fictitious prices from co-conspirators. A violent denunciatory newspaper campaign, in which the defendant prominently participated, was being waged against the officers. The plaintiff's plea was that the defendant's purpose was falsely to charge him with dishonest and fraudulent practices in disposing to his disciples, to their loss, of a grade of wheat, known as Miracle Wheat, at $1 per pound. The defendant pleaded THE TRUTH in justification. The learned trial court charged the jury that the publication was libelous, and left it to them to say whether the defense was established. The jury rendered a verdict for the defendant. ... ...
The plaintiff was the editor of a publication purporting to be devoted to a religious propaganda. In [ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine] he informed his sympathetic readers that one of his associates (John Adam Bohnet -- see above) had accumulated Miracle Wheat, which the associate was disposed to sell to the readers of that publication for $1 a pound. The associate promised to give the entire proceeds to a corporation organized and controlled by the plaintiff (Watch Tower Society). In the article it was represented that the yield of Miracle Wheat was 10 or 15 times as great as the yield of common wheat. The record offered in evidence tended to show, as the result of governmental experiment, that Miracle Wheat was no more prolific than brands of wheat in general use and of ordinary quality. There was independent evidence that other wheats could be purchased at prices so low, in comparison, as to make the advertised price of Miracle Wheat exorbitant. ... ...
UNITED STATES IMPROVEMENT COMPANY
PHYSICAL CULTURE RESTAURANT
In 1913, during the Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Miracle Wheat trial, Watch Tower Society Secretary-Treasurer, William Van Amburgh, let it slip that there SECRETLY existed a previously unknown entity called the United States Improvement Company, which supposedly did nothing but "hold" a few worthless shares of unsellable stock in "a" Physical Culture Restaurant. Van Amburgh claimed that he was not able to recall how or when the stock even came into his possession. Noone bothered to grill Van Amburgh as to why the need for a new, separate holding company if there were only a "few" shares in a business that he neither knew about, nor cared to know about, and which shares quickly became worthless and unsellable. Noone asked when or where USIC was legally established. Tons of followup questions ... .
First, as a Second Adventist, one of Charles Taze Russell's decades-long competitors for "customers" was the Seventh Day Adventists. CTR was thoroughly familiar with the decades-long development of the SDA's teachings on "health" and "food and drink", along with the positivity regarding such with new followers. CTR also was well aware of the potential to take in MILLIONS of dollars from health foods and drinks, medicines and supplements, books, magazines, etc., as had been done by the SDA itself, the Kellogg brothers, and other individual SDAs.
We have no intention of overflowing this webpage with a biography of one-time multi-millionaire PHYSICAL CULTURE magazine and books publisher, Bernard MacFadden, but a perusal of googled research will quickly reveal WHY Charles Taze Russell might have wanted to get in on Bernie's multiple successful money-making schemes, including MacFadden's new "Physical Culture Restaurant" chain. INTERESTINGLY, one of the few "Physical Culture" restaurants opened outside the greater NYC area was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One can only wonder how much of his gullible followers' money that CTR sunk into this typical failure.
PS: We suspect that Watch Tower Society Director, Clay "The Original Rock" Rockwell, an until now undisclosed "body builder", probably was CTR's influencer on this business matter. Interestingly, in 1908, at the main Watch Tower Convention, Rocky (Henry Clay) Rockwell delivered the talk, "Spiritual Culture, or the Development of Spiritual Strength".
One newspaper reported from the "Miracle Wheat" trial that CTR had invested in "thousands of acres" of land in the southwestern United States and along the Atlantic seaboard. That info is not in the official transcript. That info could have been part of testimony stricken from the record, or the reporter may have picked up that info from courtroom conversations????
NINEVEH COACH & CAR COMPANY, INC.
In June 1914, at a time when Charles Taze Russell, his WatchTower Society staff, and his scattered religious followers were preaching far and wide that Jesus Christ's physical Second Advent was going to result in "Armageddon" in October 1914, NINEVEH COACH & CAR COMPANY, INC., was founded in the small hamlet of Nineveh, New York, near Binghamton, New York, with an initial capitalization of $15,000.00 -- 150 shares at $100.00 par. The three "straw-men" incorporators were George B. Raymond (one of Russell's two main "straw-men purchaser/seller" -- see above), who used the WatchTower Society's main Brooklyn HQ address for corporation correspondence, and a local painter and a local mechanic, who both were probably also local Russellites. The corporation was initially described as a manufacturer and dealer of motors, engines, vehicles, boats, etc.
Interestingly, in December 1914, two vehicles owned by Charles Taze Russell, which were valued at $11,000.00 ($265,000.00 in 2016 dollars) -- the PROPHET who regularly SWEARS to his religious followers and GOVERNMENT TAX OFFICIALS that he OWNS NOTHING of value -- were destroyed by fire at the local railyard. It is not known if these were two uncompleted chassis coming in or two finished vehicles going out, but the values would suggest that they were finished product heading somewhere via rail. Would trucks for Russell's Brooklyn operations need to be purchased through this subsidiary, customized, or shipped by rail to Brooklyn? Could these two vehicles have been customized for Russell's gold mining operation in California, or even some other yet-to-be-identified venture?
In June 1915, at a time when Charles Taze Russell and his WatchTower Society Staff were publicly preaching that the Second Advent was going to occur in October 1915, capitalization was increased to $150,000.00 (outstanding shares increased to 1500), so as to expand the facilities to manufacture "automobile bodies". The company did in fact manufacture some funeral hearses, fire engines, and other motorized vehicles. However, by 1916, at least one creditor had already sued them in local court, and by 1919, the local mortgage holder on the Nineveh location had already foreclosed and had already obtained a court-ordered sale of the property.
PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION
As just one more example of the FACT that Charles Taze Russell never had an original idea in his lifetime, in November 1900, Pittsburgh Physician/Surgeon/Inventor George Shillito, presented a combination lecture and "stereopticon" presentation at WatchTower HQ, entitled "From Pittsburgh To Damascus". The subject was Shillito's recent trip to the Holy Land, Eqypt, and nearby sites of interest. Shillito ingeniously prepared the slides from photographs that he had taken during his trip. Does any of this sound familiar?
The August 1, 1914 issue of the WATCH TOWER magazine contained the following interesting manipulation and chastisement of local Russellites regarding the FINANCING for the local showings of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION:
Thus will be seen the importance of having a DRAMA Committee in each Class and of knowing just what the Class is financially able and desirous of doing toward the presentation of the DRAMA. ..
We are no longer able to proffer assistance beyond the lectures, music, picture operator, superintendent, posters, window cards, publicity aids and free scenario. The immense expense the Association is under may be imagined when we say that forty thousand dollars worth of blank paper has already been used for the printing of the free Scenario; and the printing, folding, bundling and freighting has cost still more! Otherwise, how glad we would be to meet all the expenses! ...
However, we are learning that God's way is the wiser way -- that God's people are more blessed by the DRAMA when the cost for its local presentation falls on them, and when they serve it as ushers and phonograph operators. The self-sacrifice incidental to all this brings a rich blessing. So we have nothing of which to complain.
Our enemies endeavor to hinder the work by falsely reporting that the Association is very rich (please identify one single instance) -- thus hindering charitably disposed people from proffering aid. The fact that we never solicit money seems so strange (This is a LIE. DRAMA patrons who purchased the Scenario book received the best, RESERVED SEATS. Other literature was also displayed for sale before and after showings.), even to our friends, that some have gotten the same impression. One dear sister when ushering was asked by a visitor to the DRAMA how he could best give some money to the I.B.S.A. for the forwarding of this great work. The usher answered him that there was no way, and that the money was not needed. If our friends are thus foolish or misinformed, how can we blame our enemies for saying the same things, which they would like to have others believe to be true, so that, all gifts being cut off, our work would stop? However, we are leaving the matter in the Lord's hands. If the funds cease, the work must cease proportionately. Realizing Divine supervision, we shall be thoroughly content to have it so.
AND, that is EXACTLY what happened. The MONEY dried up, and the Photo-Drama showings CEASED!!!
Generally not known is the fact that by 1915, the Photo-Drama of Creation was also quietly being rented out to some Theatres willing to pay for the showings. Russellites doing such were reminded that without exception that the Theater's payments were to be made out to: WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
Also by 1915, some of Russell's followers in California who were "volunteering" in the FREE local showings of the Photo-Drama were apparently starting to have concerns about being required to sell COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING SPACE on the handbills which they also were required to distribute to advertise those FREE local Photo-Drama showings.
Charles Taze Russell's "weasel words - double talk" response, eventually published in the WATCH TOWER magazine, reveals much about Russell's character as the then believed to be "Faithful & Discreet Slave":
It would not be proper to say to a merchant, "Advertise with us and thus contribute something to a good cause." That would not do. It would be begging for the Lord's cause, a thing we are not authorized to do. But if I were a merchant (which everyone knew that Russell was) and had an opportunity to put an advertisement into a Photo-Drama announcement, I would think it would be one of the best chances of advertising I ever had. I would think I was receiving a benefit. If for $1 or $2 I could have my business card circulated all over the neighborhood, I would say, "These little leaflets showing about the Drama will interest the people; and while reading the notes about the pictures, they will also read about my business." I would think I had good value for my money. If any man thought that he was not getting good value he ought not to put his advertisement in. It is a purely business transaction.
In soliciting the advertisement, one should not mention the religious feature. We do not do this at all. It is purely business, so far as the merchants are concerned; and I would let them advertise all that they choose. The fact that we do not permit advertisements in THE WATCH TOWER does not signify that to do so would be wrong. I see nothing wrong in a merchant's advertising his wares. ... ...
Once we put into THE WATCH TOWER a notice (but it was NOT an "advertisement") about Miracle Wheat. Many of you saw it. We believe we did right in putting that notice in. We also put in a notice (but it was NOT an "advertisement") about some kind of beans and one about some special cotton. Some of the friends were benefited by each of these notices (but they were NOT "advertisements"). We also put in a notice (but it was NOT an "advertisement") recently about a cure for cancer. We have had hundreds of letters come in from Truth friends, and hundreds from others; and a great many have reported good results. To some extent this has helped forward the Truth. People saw that we were not trying to get their money, saw that we were trying to do them good, and became interested.
Seats Free! No Collection! Free to both Rich and Poor! Over on West 63d street, near Broadway, is situated the Temple of Creation, a building erected at a cost of $500,000 for Pastor Russell of Brooklyn, but which is used by the International Bible Students' Association, of which he is President, for the purpose of presenting a series of pictures called the Photo Drama of Creation. ... While the seats are free, the Association has a plan by which purchasers of the Scenario of the Photo-Drama, comprising a series of lectures, illustrated, is sold for $1.00 ($26.16 in 2021 money), and purchasers are furnished reserved seats for three performances, which are required to give the Drama complete. The three parts are also bound separately, and sold at 25 cents each. Purchase of one of these parts carries with it a free reserved seat to see the next part. Parts are published with paper covers at 10 cents, and this also entitles purchaser to a reserved seat for the next entertainment. The Association explains this by saying that "manifestly it (the Drama) will appeal to and profit only the more intelligent" and makes provision that "the most deeply interested may have free reserved seat tickets ... in with each bound copy of the scenario" at $1 per copy. -- The New York Age, February 5, 1914, edited.
THE $100,000 MYSTERY LOAN
When Charles Taze Russell died in October 1916, only a few of the top WatchTower officials knew that CTR supposedly had "borrowed" $100,000.00 back around 1913-14 when he was producing the Photo-Drama of Creation and purchasing the TEMPLE and adjoining rental property in Manhattan. By that time, CTR already had been slowly draining his "rich" sychophants**, but typically only in increments of $10,000.00 (equivalent to $260,000 in 2021 dollars). By 1914, the fleeced flock were bound to be getting nervous, and certainly not in any mood for such a large request.
(**Included the Pierson Family of A.N. Pierson, Inc., (largest florist in U.S.) of Cromwell, Connecticut; the extended Kuehn Family of Crumbaugh-Kuehn Company (seeds), of Toledo, Cleveland, Wisconsin, NY, NJ, etc.; the large Weber Family of H. Weber and Sons (year-around fresh flowers and vegetables), of Oakland, Maryland; the Pyles Family of J.T.D Pyles (supermarket chain), of Wash D. C.; the Maxwell Family of R. B. Maxwell and Co., (general mercantile), of Mansfield, Ohio; the Anderson Family of Charles H. Anderson & Company (fruit/vegetable wholesaler, of Baltimore, Maryland; Robert and Gertrude Seibert (corporate management of railroads/mining, nationwide); etc.)
After CTR's death, even those WatchTower officials who knew about the $100,000 loan did not know who was the lender, or if they did, they weren't talking. Surviving WatchTower officials were especially concerned about re-paying the $100,000 loan, including being concerned about the loan's unknown terms.
While researching the WatchTower Society, we have always watched for answers to these questions, and finally in 2021, we POSSIBLY have found the source of CTR's "new money" around 1914, and in 1915 and 1916, when Russell's prophecies had already failed.
NEW HOLLAND MACHINERY COMPANY
Given that this reared-JW editor lived next door for the first eighteen years of life to a "New Holland" dealership, I was astounded to learn that this old farm machinery and farm equipment manufacturer was founded by a "Jehovah's Witness".
In 1895, Mennonite Abraham Zimmerman (b1869) purchased a horse barn in New Holland, Pennsylvania, and started a blacksmith business. The mechanical genius's business quickly took off as he began to improve, invent, and manufacture various pieces of machinery and equipment for rural homes and farms. Within a year, Zimmerman was employing three workers. By 1900, Zimmerman was designing and building small engines. In 1903, the New Holland Machinery Company was incorporated with the sale of $50,000.00 stock. Zimmerman purchased a local factory building and hired 40 employees to manufacture his new engines. New products were invented, and by 1911 Zimmerman had 150 employees. However, in 1914, the only 45 year-old Abram Zimmerman supposedly retired from the business.
Back in 1904, Abe Zimmerman had been intrigued by a religious tract that had been left in his frontdoor. In Spring 1905, a job applicant spouted the same message, and he was instantly hired. Zimmerman spent the day discussing the Bible with his new employee, and even took the guy home for lunch and dinner that evening. Within two years, the Zimmermans and their two children, as well as some parents, siblings, and others were "Jehovah's Witnesses".
In 1914, Abraham Zimmerman is noted as having a special interest in the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, so given his supposed "retirement" in 1914, we suspect that the by-then wealthy Zimmerman may have been CTR's source for that then extremely large $100,000.00 loan.
After the "Great Disappointment" of 1914, Abe Zimmerman quietly returned to managing the company until his second retirement in 1933, when he and his wife relocated to Virginia to join their never-married daughter in fulltime pioneering. Interestingly, the company was sold less than three years after Zimmerman's death in 1944. Did someone hear Knorr yell "cha-ching!!"
UNITED STATES v. HAROLD LOUIS ZIMMERMAN. Abraham Zimmerman's son, Ivan, married into a "Jehovah's Witness" family, and had two sons. In 1942, Abe's youngest grandson, Harold Zimmerson, was living in a frat house on the campus of Penn State, where Harold was BMOC as the nation's champion collegiate gymnast. It was not until Harold received his draft notice that Harold took his parent's religion seriously. Harold was eventually convicted of draft evasion and given a five year sentence -- of which he served 44 months. Abram Zimmerman died while Harold was in "special training" (federal prison) in Ohio. Fortunately, the WatchTower Society saw to it that Harold was regularly visited in prison by WatchTower legend Alexander H. Macmillan. It was like money in the bank! After his release, curiously, Harold and his widowed mother pioneered in Washington D.C. In 1951, Harold and his new wife were "invited to Gilead".
INTERESTINGLY, the Zimmermans were sent to Ethiopia (see early 1950s history re U.S.)
, where they were sent to OPEN A SCHOOL, rather than preach the WatchTower gospel
. When the couple's first child was born, which all JWs know gets WatchTower missionaries sent home, Harold got an exceptional job with the Ethiopian government -- INTERESTINGLY, a job with the Department of Highways that required Harold to travel all over the country, but took little time to actually perform.
The Zimmermans returned to the United States in 1955, where Harold worked for an undisclosed "company" until 1959. In 1959, the Zimmermans, along with their FOUR CHILDREN (newborn and others under five), decided to become WatchTower Missionaries to COLUMBIA -- where a CIVIL WAR was ongoing, Once again, instead of preaching the WatchTower gospel, Harold Zimmerman began working for an unnamed "international firm". Occasionally, Zimmerman would travel around Columbia while substituting as a WatchTower Circuit Overseer, District Overseer, etc.
PYRAMID FILM COMPANY
MENA FILM COMPANY
PERFECTION ADVERTISING COMPANY, INC.
These two separate but related corporations were founded by Russellites on whom was not lost the huge success of the Photo-Drama of Creation. The Photo-Drama was the WatchTower Society's "white elephant". While a huge success, the Photo-Drama single-handedly nearly brought about the financial collapse of the WatchTower Society. Not only did the WatchTower Society suffer enormous expenses from the production and showing of the Photo-Drama, but the Photo-Drama also siphoned off potential donations as local Russellites personally footed the costs of the local showings.
The Pyramid Film Company (Inc.) was founded in 1915, in Dayton, Ohio. We believe the original Directors/Officers to have been: George C. Driscoll, President (Ohio); C.L. Tobias, Vice-President (Ohio); R. Krein, Jr., Sect/Treas, (Ohio); Charles E. Kerney, Jr. (Ohio); Andrew N. Pierson (Conn); Page Noll (California); Rex Stambaugh (Ohio/Georgia); and Fredrik H. Robison (WT HQ). We have confirmed that all of these men (Tobias and Krein unconfirmed) were prominent Charles Taze Russell followers.
Eight movies were released between startup and 1918. D/Os were changed as the years passed and religious schisms occurred within the WatchTower Society. Detroit Russellite, Harold N. Nelson, soon became Vice President. By the early 1920s, capital stock was $216,500.00, and another Russellite, named Horace E. Hollister, became President of Pyramid Film Company, and aggressively marketed the company's services to groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Although we have not been able to confirm that any of the three locals named as corporate officers were "Bible Students", shortly after Pyramid Film Company was formed in Dayton, Ohio, the PERFECTION ADVERTISING COMPANY, INC. was formed in Buffalo, New York, in even later 1915, to distribute Pyramid's films within Canada and the eastern United States. If PAC was NOT another WatchTower dummy corporation, then the hiring of an even newer film distribution company by a brand new film production company was the epitome of stupidity. If PAC was another WatchTower dummy corporation, such would suggest that another similar firm was formed to distribute Pyramid's films within the western United States.
Mena Film Company (Inc.) was founded the following year, in March 1916, in New Jersey, with a capitalization of $250,000.00. George Driscoll relocated to Hollywood, California to act as the Manager of Mena Film Studios. While Pyramid Film Company produced films on a variety of secular topics, Mena Film Company was intended to produce films on Biblical topics. The original incorporators of Mena Film Company was a "Who's Who" of prominent Russellites from across the United States. Ernest W. V. Kuehn, from Toledo, Ohio, was the President. John G. Kuehn, by then a Brooklyn Bethelite, was Vice-President. Dr. Leslie W. Jones, of Chicago, was Secretary-Treasurer. WatchTower Society Pilgrim R. Robert Hollister, of Pittsburgh, was in charge of foreign distribution. Mena Film Company also had an office and production studios in Dayton, Ohio (possibly shared with Pyramid Film Co), as well as a marketing office somewhere in NYC. Mena Film Company's stock prospectus boasted: "As to the motives inspiring the directors of the Mena Film Co., the directors wish to assure you that we have taken extraordinary precautions to ascertain the Lord's will respecting this venture, and in every instance the Lord has clearly indicated to us to go ahead."
Mena Film Company was originally founded with the plan that the WatchTower Society would sell to it the Photo-Drama of Creation, which would be improved and re-released. However, with the divisions that occurred after the death of Charles Taze Russell, that never happened. Mena then embarked on making an actual silent movie loosely similar to the Photo-Drama, which would also be a depiction of human history combined with the WatchTower Society's theological interpretations. That movie took two years to make, and purportedly cost $100,000.00. The movie was released in 1918, with the name RESTITUTION, although there were other working titles. There reportedly were also multiple versions of such ranging from 75 minutes in length to 120 minutes. Apparently, just like Russell's followers everywhere else, after his death, no two Russellites at Mena could agree on anything. Critics almost unanimously panned the movie -- mainly due to its WatchTower-based theological interpretations. Little if any of the cost was recovered. RESTITUTION was Mena's first and last film, at least under "Bible Student" ownership and management.
In 1919, Mena Film's Hollywood studios were sold for only $45,000.00 to new Brentwood Film Corporation, which only one year later, in 1920, re-sold the studios to a third new company. Me suspects that several previously wealthy "Bible Students" left Hollywood with lots less of their cash and pride and morals than they had arrived.
RESTITUTION's Director, Howard Gaye, who had also cast himself as "Jesus", was deported back to England in 1924 on morals charges that he had been carrying on a sexual relationship with a 14 year-old "starlet".
PACKERS BOX COMPANY, INC.
In October 1915, PACKERS BOX COMPANY, INC was incorporated in New York City, with an initial capitalization of $10,000.00, "to manufacture boxes and deal in lumber". Of the three incorporators, the primary incorporator was a "L. F. Muntzer", who used the address of the WatchTower Society as their own address on the incorporation documents. The name "L. F. Muntzer" matches a female Bethelite whom we know worked as a legal secretary at WatchTower HQ in 1916. What is puzzling us is that the incorporation occurred after Russell had just downsized unnecessary Brooklyn Bethel staff, and after Rutherford had moved to Los Angeles, and at a time when Russell was not looking for any new NYC operations. We are wondering first, whether Muntzer worked for Rutherford prior to 1915, possibly even at his away-from-Bethel office, where he operated a secret Real Estate Investment business for Russell, and second, whether Muntzer was one of Rutherford's "mistresses". We realize that we have more questions than answers on this one.
Notably, the activities of this corporation were consistent with the activities of the WatchTower Society, as well as ancillary business ventures such as the "National Shipper's Association" (see below). The folks who actually operated this business hit the ground running -- leasing certain premises only one month after incorporation. That location must have been well selected given that that lease was renewed annually at least through 1918-19. We know that the business also operated one or more trucks given that one hit a female pedestrian in 1918. The resulting losing lawsuit cost the company $4000.00 in 1919. An insurance company also won a small judgment against the company in 1920. The company also lost another 1919 lawsuit which cost them over $4100.00.
NATIONAL SHIPPERS ASSOCIATION
In January 1916, right after Armageddon had failed to occur in October 1914 and October 1915, and at a time when Charles Taze Russell and the WatchTower Society were in their greatest financial distress, a new "publishing" corporation was formed in New Jersey, called NATIONAL SHIPPERS ASSOCIATION. The listed incorporators were three high-ranking WatchTower Society Officials: Clayton J. Woodworth, Andrew N. Pierson, and Alfred I. Ritchie. Business was commenced in January 1916 with only $2000.00 capital paid-in. Charles Taze Russell personally accompanied the three incorporators to Freehold, New Jersey, and spent the day taking care of all the legalities, which were handled by a N.J. Attorney who was also a follower of Russell. Like the SOLON SOCIETY, this was another "baby" of C. J. Woodworth, future Editor of "The Golden Age" magazine.
In March 1916, a monthly magazine, edited by C. J. Woodworth, on the topic of up-to-date postage, freight and shipping rates and information, was copyrighted under the name of "National Shippers Association". Subscriptions were $6.00 for 12 monthly issues. In mid-1916, classified advertisements were being placed in large newspapers soliciting salespersons -- probably not only for subscriptions, but also "advertising" from the numerous shipping-related businesses across the country.
The corporation was suddenly dissolved in December 1916, only eight weeks after the death of Charles Taze Russell. More interesting is the fact that "owing to business changes", until-only-recently long-time Brooklyn Bethelite Clayton J. Woodworth put up "FOR SALE" his recently newly constructed four bedroom home, in New Jersey, during the last week of August 1916 (just prior to Charles Taze Russell's two back-to-back cross-country railroad trips to southern California in September and October to see after his multiple secret south/southwest business ventures -- some failing ). While many other researchers have published lots of information about Clayton J. Woodward over the decades, they have missed the fact that C. J. Woodward studied law for one year, and did in fact work in a law office for two years, which was typically all that it took to become an Attorney in those days.
ANGELICO -- ANGELOPHONE COMPANY
RITCHIE & COOKE
In September 1916, ANGELICO was formed by Charles Taze Russell to manufacture and distribute three different models of phonographs, known as Angelophones, and also manufacture and distribute an accompanying set of 50 records, which had WatchTower Society HYMNS recorded on one side and an explanatory lecture recorded on the reverse side. (The WatchTower Society had already been selling phonographs in conjunction with the showing of Photo-Drama, and the plan to do their own manufacturing had been in the works for months prior to the actual formation of the company. A price list for the three models of the Angelophones had even been published in the June 1, 1916 issue of the WATCH TOWER magazine. A fire at the separate recording studio, in February 1916, may have delayed implementation of this scheme.)
The manufacturer Angelico, and the sales firm Ritchie & Cooke were set up in a Fulton Street location adjacent to Brooklyn Bethel in the personal names of WatchTower Society Vice President, Alfred I. Ritchie, and Bethelite, J. L. Cooke. All business activities, including the assembly of the units, were performed by 13 unpaid Bethelites. After Russell's death, Ritchie claimed that Russell initially had planned only to manufacture the records, and sell such through retail stores. However, after retail stores showed no interest in retailing the ONE MILLION records for which Russell had already contracted, Charles Taze Russell decided to also start manufacturing the phonographs so both could be sold directly to the general public by the WatchTower Society and its independent sales force -- the "Colporteurs". Ritchie further revealed that Russell had hoped to sale off ANGELICO once his followers had it up and going.
THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY'S
SECRET CALIFORNIA GOLDMINE
COLE & WHITE (1914-1917)
RUTHERFORD & KUEHN (1917-????)
Rumored to have privately claimed to have been led to it by GOD in order to financially reinvigorate his nearly bankrupt "ministry", WatchTower founder Charles Taze Russell owned and operated a secret gold mining operation at Soda Springs, near Baker, in San Bernardino County, California, from sometime prior to October 1914 (end of the Gentile Times), until his death in October 1916.
FOUNDER APPEARS AT BIBLE STUDENT SESSION. SANTA CRUZ. Sept. 3. The surprise of the big convention of the International Bible Students' Association here last night was the appearance of Pastor Charles T. Russell, the founder of the institution. With a party of friends he unexpectedly arrived at the Casa del Rey last night and walked upon the platform during an intermission. He was wildly greeted by the large audience. ... In Pastor Russell's party are E. W. V. Kuehn of Toledo, O., and five other notable students of the association from the East. Pastor Russell's headquarters are in Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, September 3, 1914.
After the death of "Pastor" Russell on Halloween 1916, and at the end of the 1916-17 mining season, on March 31, 1917, the "dummy partnership" which we believed was used by "Pastor" Russell for this secret business operation was legally dissolved. Along with the required legal postings of the "NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP" was a notification that the business itself would be continued thereafter by, and that all then existing legal obligations would be assumed by, a new partnership composed of "J. F. RUTHERFORD" and "E.W.V. KUEHN". Evidence outlined below suggests that despite the war that began among the WatchTower Society's many leaders soon after "Judge" Rutherford was elected President of the WatchTower Society in January 1917, (which eventually led to Ernest Kuehn turning against Rutherford and exiting the cult sometime around 1919-20), and despite "Judge" Rutherford being sent to federal prison in June 1918, mining operations continued at Soda Lake through 1917, 1918, and possibly into 1919.
The January 1, 1915 WATCHTOWER magazine, which would have been printed in early December 1914, with copy written in November 1914, or earlier, included the following "anticipatory" and "nervous" announcement (emphasis ours):
WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY SUPPLY?
But some may say, "Did we not read between the lines in the Society's Annual Report that the financial streams were drying up? And have we not heard that thirteen [PHOTO-DRAMAS OF CREATION] have been withdrawn, ... ."
Our reply is that these things are so, but that we have a reason to surmise that God intends to send us in His own way further financial support, that His Message may go forth with great force throughout the whole world! With this in view, we are having all the DRAMAS overhauled and put into good order, anticipating that the funds to operate them will be in our hands shortly. ...
(Amusingly, WATCHTOWER magazine readers should have understood that Russell had DECEPTIVELY authored this blurp even before readers had received the 1914 Annual Report, since the Annual Report had just been published in the previous December 15, 1914 issue.)
Then, SHOCKINGLY, in the May 1, 1915 WATCHTOWER magazine, "Pastor" Russell announced to his followers that he was drastically reducing operations at WatchTower Headquarters due to the sharp drop in "donations" (Russell's word for "gross income"). "Pastor" Russell further announced that 70 Bethelites had been asked to leave Brooklyn Bethel -- despite their receiving nothing but room, board, and a $10.00 or $11.00 monthly allowance. Then, Pastor Russell nearly confessed, but ultimately LIED, as to the source of his previous expression of faith that the financial condition of the WatchTower Society would soon improve:
When making our last Annual Report, we expressed the thought that many of the Lord's people have already invested what money they possessed, and that we would thus expect donations to be smaller than heretofore and that we would be obliged to discontinue some of the DRAMAS. Later we announced bright prospects of a full resumption. We did not tell the basis of this expectation, but will now explain:
Some Brethren informed us that they believed they were possessed of a rich gold-bearing property, that all of its proceeds were consecrated to the Lord's service, that ere long we might expect money from them in good supply, but that their names were to be kept secret. Their expectations, which were highly appreciated, were not realized. The expectation had a beneficial effect, however, in that it encouraged us to keep the work up to a high notch of speed and efficiency in every direction until the present time. Now we have gone our limit. We must conclude that it is the Lord's will that our activities be greatly curtailed, in order to bring down the expenses to a parity with the income.
While the 1914-15 mining season at Soda Lake had been a great disappointment, according to CTR, that did not stop CTR from throwing even more then-precious dollars at the next 1915-16 mining season. Here is what some outsiders had observed at Soda Lake during the latter half of the 1915-16 mining season:
TONOPAH DAILY BONANZA
May 12, 1916
MYSTERIOUS COMPANY AT SODA LAKE PREPARING FOR WORK ON A LARGE SCALE
Prospectors coming in from the southern country tell stories of a new and mysterious company that is making preparations for an extensive campaign of some kind about which nothing can be learned. They have taken over the immense acreage of the Pacific Coast Soda company at Soda Lake from which there was a great production of both soda and salt ten or twelve years ago. The Pacific company retired from the field when they found they could not compete with other better situated concerns in the same line of business. Since their departure the property has remained idle until recently when a force of men appeared and construction on a large scale began. A company boarding house capable of accommodating over 100 men was erected, an engine installed on the borders of the lake and three more buildings begun. All the work is of the most substantial character, and it is stated that a powerful dredge has been ordered.
There is no doubt in the minds of those who have been watching the operations that the company is going to ship the mud from the surface of the lake, but whether the mud is for potash or soda contents, rests with the management which is not taking the public into its confidence. The entire surface of the lake has been dug over in gridiron form and surveys have been made for a series of tight railroad tracks to cross the lake radiating from the power house. The men behind the improvements are said to comprise some of the best known capitalists of New Jersey. According to reliable advices the company expects to begin shipping by the first of June when the destination of the product may give some clue to the nature of the contents.
While not wishing to fall for the same misdirection used on local observers back in 1916, admittedly, it is possible that while expending the time and money mining for gold in the nearby Soda Mountains that CTR may also have started mining and processing the available salt, soda, etc. at Soda Lake. Reportedly, many of the laborers were "Germans", and it is believed that some or all may have been brought to Soda Springs from Germany -- possibly due to the start of World War 1. Some German miners settled in the San Bernardino area after Russell's mining operations were abandoned, and one talked about his experience decades later.
THE BROOKLYN EAGLE
September 25, 1914
J. [F.] Rutherford Strongly Pro-German.
(Interview done after Judge Rutherford Disembarked from Mauretania.)
Some pro-German sentiment was expressed by the homecoming Brooklynites, especially by Joseph [F.] Rutherford of 10 Orange Street. Mr. Rutherford was told that dispatches about the war were meager, and he replied that it was not surprising.
"London is coloring these dispatches," he said, "and I am certain that Germany has done a great deal more than reports have credited her with. By the way, have any returning Americans protested at their treatment by the Germans?"
When he was told that the majority expressed pleasure at their treatment, he said that reports in England were otherwise.
"I was in Hamburg when war broke out and I don't believe I ever would have got out of the station there if it hadn't been for German courtesy. A man in a car there told me to come with him, and that alone got me out. The German sentiment is not military, as has been reported, but is peace-loving. There has been so much intrigue, and I was in a position to know about it, in England that I suspect and believe that the breaking of the neutrality of Belgium was only an English pretext".
"Pastor" Russell's secret gold mine, along with Russell's "movie business", and possibly other Jesse Dubbs-connected investments in sulphur and asphaltum in California, were likely the reason that Russell sent "Judge" Rutherford in mid 1915 to live and work in California -- to secretly keep an eye on all of Russell's West Coast business operations, while also performing "Pilgrim" visits for the WatchTower Society.
However, by Summer 1916, rumors of Russell's secret gold mine were leaking beyond "Pastor" Russell's inner circle to his rank-n-file followers, whom Russell did not want to learn about such. So, Russell included the following "NOTICE" in the September 1, 1916 WATCHTOWER magazine in an attempt to throw the bloodhounds off the scent:
"THIS ONE THING" THE SOCIETY DOES
Brethren write us from time to time respecting inventions, patents, mining claims, etc., desiring that THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY should join with them in the development of these -- kindly offering the principal portion of all the profits.
We greatly appreciate these kind offers, the generous hearts behind them, and the love for the Truth and its service thus manifested. But we are obliged to refuse all such offers, because the Society engages in no kind of business for profit. It confines its business transactions to financing the Pilgrim Work, publishing the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, etc., and supplying them at cost or below cost; publishing THE WATCH TOWER, publishing the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, etc., and in the presentation, and formerly in the showing, of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION.
The Society engages in no kind of mining or patent business or speculations. The money under its control comes from the Lord's consecrated people, and often represents hard-earned funds and self-sacrificing economy; it is used strictly and only for the forwarding of the Truth according to the best judgment of the executive officers.
This does not mean any unwillingness to counsel with any of the brethren in respect to their earthly affairs and interests. We are glad to give such advice as we may be able to give on every matter, temporal or spiritual, involving the interests of the Lord's consecrated saints.
By the end of the 1915-16 mining season, "Pastor" Russell had gambled quite an amount of scarce assets at the Soda Springs roulette table. Who knows how much income there was? In any case, no gold -- or at least no significant amount of gold sufficient to be publicly mentioned -- was ever mined at Soda Springs. Multiple reports indicate that Russell and Rutherford ultimately lost anywhere from $30,000.00
to $50,000.00 (about $750,000.00 to $1,300,000.00 in 2021 dollars)
at a time when both bozos were in critical need of additional money -- not less. Five or more 15' x 60' wooden buildings were constructed at Soda Springs to service the miners working in the nearby hills. The concrete foundations
of those buildings still exist in 2021, as does graffiti evidencing the miner's religious preoccupation.
By Summer 1916, the big question was, "Would Pastor Russell throw even more good money after bad, and order the financing of a third mining season at Soda Springs from Fall 1916 until Summer 1917?
In September 1916
, a series of WatchTower Conventions conveniently had been scheduled for the West Coast, which "Pastor" Russell's closest sycophants followed whistle stop to whistle stop via train caravan. It was during the California portion of this WatchTower Convention tour that Charles Taze Russell, Judge Rutherford
, and the balance of Russell's "true inner circle" quietly slipped off from the main crowd, traveled to Soda Springs, and conferenced as to whether to finance a third mining season. "Pastor" Russell's inner circle was deeply split on the issue, and while Russell initially was willing to give the Soda Springs gold mining operation a third season, those followers who were against financing a third mining season were slowly wearing Russell down.
While we do not know where Pastor Russell stood on the third gold mining season at the end of that September 1916 conference -- approved, delayed, or shut down -- Russell had no more returned to WatchTower HQ in late September before he planned another trip back to the gold mine in late October. Interestingly, at the same time that Russell departed Brooklyn for California, on October 16, 1916, Russell had ordered Judge Rutherford to return to Brooklyn from California. In fact, "Judge" Rutherford was at WatchTower HQ on Saturday, October 28, when Russell and Menta Sturgeon were conducting business at Soda Springs.
"All day Saturday, under severe pain, in great weakness, with obstructions piling up before him every moment, he struggled with business propositions like a giant. ... Friends had disappointed him, and he wondered if the Lord were not against him in some things. -- Menta Sturgeon.
In one way or another, the stress and strain of this latest failure in a chain of failures was more than Charles Taze Russell could bear. This is not just our speculation, it was the speculation of some of Russell's closest followers at Watch Tower HQ after Russell's death only three days after conducting business at the gold mine -- on Tuesday, October 31, 1916.
THE BROOKLYN EAGLEJuly 31, 1917
Hint of Financial Troubles
Also, it has been learned that funds are not coming in with the readiness that was formerly one of the chief glories of Russellism. Worry about finances, many of "Pastor" Russell's followers believe, had much to do with his sudden death. When he died he was returning from a trip to Los Angeles. Some of his followers have now disclosed that this trip was largely in the interests of his mining ventures in the Soda Lake region of California. They are authority for the statement that the founder of Russellism dropped $30,000 there in a futile effort to recoup the Watch Tower treasury.
Judge Rutherford left WatchTower HQ on Sunday to help conduct a Pilgrim meeting at Oakland, Maryland on Monday. Rutherford left Maryland on Tuesday to travel to Ohio, where he conducted unknown legal business for the WatchTower Society on Wednesday. (It may very well have been this business transaction which Rutherford years later boasted of saving the Society $11,000.00.) Rutherford probably had already learned of Russell's death via media reports on Wednesday morning by the time that he received A. H. MacMillan's infamous telegram that, "The Old Man is dead." Rutherford returned back to Brooklyn by Friday, where he immediately began to plot and scheme his takeover of the now leaderless WatchTower Society ***.
Obviously, there are lots of unanswered questions, such as, "Why did Russell order Rutherford to leave California and return to WatchTower HQ at the very same time that Russell and Menta Sturgeon were leaving WatchTower HQ for yet another cross-country train ride back to the Soda Springs Mine???"
If Russell, who had ZERO TOLERANCE for disobedience and disloyalty, was displeased or even angry with Rutherford, then, "Why did Russell allow Rutherford to leave WatchTower HQ on Sunday, and apparently start "working" his way back to California, while Russell was at the same time leaving California and heading back to WatchTower HQ?" "Had Russell and Rutherford planned an even more secret meeting somewhere between California and Brooklyn?" "Were Russell and Rutherford leaders of opposing WatchTower factions (as Russellites, who hate JFR, would have us believe), or were they "partners" against an opposing faction led by someone else?"
The dummy partnership used by Charles Taze Russell
for the Soda Springs mining operation, but "dissolved" on March 31, 1917, by "Judge" Rutherford, was composed of a longtime prominent WatchTower Pilgrim named James H. Cole (whom was preaching in California the last week of March 1917)
, and another Russellite identified only as "J. White" (see "Vow")
While we do not know for a certainty that mining operations occurred at Soda Springs during the Fall 1916 to Spring 1917 mining season, the fact that "Judge" Rutherford waited until the end of that mining season before making changes to the legal entity operating the Soda Springs Mine would seem to suggest that mining had occurred during 1916-17. More interestingly, we would like to know whether "Judge" Rutherford followed through with the apparently-being-planned 1917-18 mining season, given everything that happened to Rutherford and the WatchTower Society starting almost immediately after he took over the Soda Springs Mine. Extremely interesting is the role that such continuing plans and/or operations relating to the Soda Springs Gold Mine played in the Schism and power struggle that erupted amongst the WatchTower Society leadership in the Summer of 1917, and may have played in power struggles and schisms thereafter.
Notably, we previously had paraphrased from multiple online sources that supposedly quote from a U.S. Geological Survey report which supposedly states that the Soda Springs mine site was observed abandoned in 1917. Recently, after discovering that "Judge" Rutherford had continued the mining operation in 1917, we then dismissed that report as possibly being an observation made during the mining off-season. WELL, GUESS WHAT. We just reviewed some overlooked research collected by us more than a decade ago, and we found where that same USGS field employee stated in another report that he had NOT observed the Soda Springs mine site abandoned until DECEMBER 1919. The thing about that statement that is especially interesting is that that statement leaves open the possibility that mining occurred through the previous 1918-19 mining season, which was while Rutherford and his crew were in prison. Was that why Rutherford made a beeline to California after being released from Atlanta in April 1919, which would have been at the end of the 1918-19 mining season? Was the gold mine -- either production or failed production -- the source of Rutherford's split with Ernest Kuehn?
Interestingly, in July 1918, shortly after "Judge" Rutherford had arrived at federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia, he received an extremely lengthy, detailed, and somewhat mysterious "report" from his newlywedded son, Malcolm C. Rutherford, then age 25, who lived in Los Angeles. The message of the "report" was that Malcolm and his newlywed wife had nearly DIED on a recent trip to inspect Soda Lake during the summer offseason, and had failed to get to Soda Lake.
How could that happen? Instead of taking the train from LA to Soda Lake, Malcolm and Pauline had hired a car and driver to take them roughly 125 miles through the hills to Barstow, and then another 125 or so miles through the Mojave Desert -- during JULY, on 1918 backcountry wagon trails, in a Ford vehicle that was something older than a 1918 model.
Why had Malcolm Rutherford been so stupid? According to his letter, Malcolm had successfully completed this same exact overland trip to Soda Lake only a little more than a year previous -- sometime in Spring 1917. Whenever the trip occurred in Spring 1917, there is a big difference traversing the Mojave Desert in March or April, and doing so in July -- especially traveling in a 1910s vehicle over 1918 wagon trails.
Despite the fact that Malcolm's letter about his failed trip was extremely long and detailed, Malcolm barely mentioned Soda Lake itself, and operations there. Apparently, Malcolm was not able to tell his father anything that his father did not already know. Here are the few pertinent excerpts:
Not knowing what had been removed from Soda, and being rather handicapped in sending others up to look at what I did not know for sure was there, we thought best for me to take a turn up at the first opportunity and make a new inventory. ...
At San Bernardino we ... went up over the pass, ... and went on to Barstow. ... started on our second half of the journey across that 125 miles of desolation. We found new road signs placed by the U.S. Geological Department, and these were a welcome contrast to the weather-beaten boards we found over a year ago. ...
Conjectures as to the location of ... Soda were numerous, and at last we practically admitted that we were lost. ...
Now that we know that gold mining occurred at Soda Lake in 1914/15, 1915/16, probably 1916/17, likely 1917/18, and possibly 1918/19, is not such indication that claims that little or no gold had been found TYPICAL misdirection by WatchTower leaders, while in fact, SOME GOLD -- ENOUGH GOLD was being captured to encourage continued mining efforts???
The comeback to that is, if Russell and Rutherford found sufficient GOLD near Soda Lake to continue mining for 4-5 years, then why has not someone else duplicated their success during the past 100 years? There are a couple of responses to that comeback. While the Russell-Rutherford gold-mining operation used Soda Lake as its basecamp and probably for its "washing" operations, noone now knows exactly where in the Soda Mountains that the actual mining took place. Second, using "volunteer" labor can make business operations "profitable" which otherwise would not be profitable. We actually have a third-party report that states that during at least one of the mining seasons between 1914 and 1919 that SEVERAL HUNDRED people were observed working just at the Soda Lake worksite.
The section previously posted HERE which summarized the political training of Joseph F. Rutherford, and how he misused such during his reign as Dictator of the WatchTower Society, has been relocated to the RUTHERFORD FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY
page. We also added four newspaper articles which illustrate how "Judge" Rutherford also misused his political training to affect a "coup" after the death of Charles Taze Russell.
Charles Taze Russell and the WatchTower Society were in deep business distress after the "busted" October 1914 prophecy failure, and particularly after the "busted" October 1915 prophecy failure. Even Russell himself probably assumed that his decades-old "religion business" was all but finished. The "milk cows" were "dry", and the "sheep" had been completely "fleeced". Seeing no further use for many of the dead-weights who surrounded him at Brooklyn Bethel, Russell began dismissing all but absolutely necessary staff from Watch Tower Society Headquarters -- even though the dismissed "volunteers" were receiving nothing but room, board, and a $10.00 / $11.00 monthly allowance. Even Russell's closest co-conspirator henchmen were hustling around looking for their next job.
All of this is related to readers to preface a SHOCKING FACT. Readers should further understand that this FACT does not negate anything related thus far about the financial distress of either the WatchTower Society, nor of Charles Taze Russell himself, personally. Rather, readers should attempt to reconcile the following seeming "contradiction" with everything else related on this webpage -- even the possibility that Russell may have committed suicide due to the financial distress of both himself and his empire. One last preliminary fact. Since 1898, and up until the year 2011, Russell and his followers have repeatedly made much of the fact that Russell supposedly had gradually donated all of his personal assets to the WatchTower Society, and that Russell died nearly penniless. What the WatchTower Society and Russellites never explain is that once Russell attained "Prophet" status, the elderly Russell had little need for the assets which he donated to an organization over which he also was the "dictator". As for disposable "cash", even Russell boasted of incidents where followers shoved cash and checks into his pockets. Russell related that he once found a $1000 check in his coat pocket ($30,000.00 today).
NOW, for the SHOCKING FACT. Charles Taze Russell had a small "private" safe in the "parlor" of his private quarters at WatchTower Society Headquarters. What do you suppose was found in that private safe after Russell's death? $96,000.00 in cash. Let's put that in context. In today's money, that is equivalent to $2,350,000.00 in CASH (Halfhill). Quite a nice "petty cash" fund for a 64 year old man in 1916. What do you suppose today's Jehovah's Witnesses would think and say if Benny Hinn spent all of 2021 proclaiming financial distress, and even slashed his staff and operations, and then CNN announced that Benny Hinn had just died, and $2,350,000.00 in cash was found in his private safe?
Was Charles Taze Russell just another "P.T. Barnum", or was he even something worse than that, or was Russell an innocent Prophet raised up by GOD? You be the judge.
EPILOGUE: Does anyone know to where Judge Rutherford traveled soon after Russell's funeral, and what kind of deal was undoubtedly cut to make certain that everything went smoothly with "Don Corleone's" family -- which it did, completely and absolutely. Does anyone really believe that a "payoff" did not occur? From where did the "payoff" come?
In fact, after traveling to the funeral of Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh, it was reported that Maria Russell then traveled to NYC to hire an attorney to pursue any interests that she might have in assets in New York state which had belonged to Charles Taze Russell, the WatchTower Society, or the other legal entities that Russell used to hide assets from her. It is possible that Maria did the same thing before leaving Pittsburgh regarding any remaining assets in that state.
Up until now, nearly all who have studied this period of Watch Tower Society history have scratched their heads as to how someone with the personality of a rock managed to take over a religious movement founded by a bigger-than-life, charismatic CULT FIGURE???EASY!!! Never forget the adage to, "FOLLOW THE MONEY". Rutherford was the "consigliere". Rutherford not only knew where most "all the bodies were buried", but more importantly, Rutherford knew where most all the "SKIM" had been stashed. Russell and Rutherford had kept most of that information from as many other insiders as possible. Russell died before crowning a successor. Rutherford only needed certain "captains" for a coup to succeed. With whom did Clayton Woodworth side? With whom did William Van Amburgh side? With whom did the weasel A. H. McMillan side? What happened to the "captains" like George Raymond, who had been given reign to run their own "crews", and who were now satisfied to take their "cut" and "retire" from the business? What happened to the more "moral", more "religious", and naive "captains" like Alfred Ritchie, who had never been let in on any more details/specifics than absolutely necessary, but whose "suspicions" now posed a danger. The floundering ship did not have room for everyone. Some had to go.
Readers interested in more recent "questionable" WATCHTOWER SOCIETY business dealings should read the 2006 HENWOOD v. GEORGIA-PACIFIC ET AL court case summary, which reveals some extremely interesting "goings-on" in connection with possible OVER-PAYMENTS for purchases of bulk paper by the WatchTower Society from the late 1970s until 2000.
This same webpage also contains several secret court cases in which Judge Rutherford committed THEFT and/or FRAUD -- one of which was committed while Rutherford was President of the WatchTower Society. The victim was a District Overseer whom Rutherford disfellowshipped when he demanded his money (in excess of $125,000.00) from Rutherford.
TAKE ME BACK TO PAGE 1 OF 3
TAKE ME BACK TO PAGE 2 OF 3
TAKE ME TO THE JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY,
WHICH COVERS THE YEARS AFTER CHARLES T. RUSSELL'S DEATH
ENOUGH TIME HAS PASSED!!!
Regular visitors, if you have not used the anonymous email forwarding service found below to send a LINK (suggested that selected excerpted teasors be included) to our CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY to every JW email addie that you know, then you are "blood-guilty" as we former JWs once would have so judged each other.
The "passed time" reference refers to a Reader who contacted us well over a year ago. Reader related that they had sent such anonymous emails containing selected teasor excerpts and LINK to literally DOZENS of Elders and Ministerial Servants across their Circuit. Reader relates that because they explained in their email that this Russell Financial Biography DOES NOT contain biblical-doctrinal discussion that there apparently was a high percentage of readers. Even though this months-ago "experience" involved our old, one-page edition, the result was like a nuclear bomb going off in that Circuit. Reader claims that many Elders and MSs telephoned HQ -- some seeking answers, some seeking refutations, and even some halfwits demanding that the Society sue us for printing falsehoods. More interestingly, many recipients claimed to have not received the email, although they did. Reader claims that HQ and the Circuit Overseer spent a YEAR putting out one fire after another. We won't relate what Reader told us about the effects that they have since observed amongst their Circuit's Elders and MSs, because well over a year later, there are still after effects going on with many of those readers.
We are dying to say more, but we won't. Just let it be said that this well over a year ago "circuit blitz" was the cause of recent organizational changes that severed nearly all communications between congregations except those strictly organizationally sanctioned. JUST DO IT!!!!
QUICKLY & ANONYMOUSLY FORWARD CTR's FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY TO A FRIEND.
1. COPY/CUT THE FOLLOWING TEXT ONLY:
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY
Here is the URL to "THE INTERNET'S BEST FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL":
You can safely paste that link into your own browser, or you can even more safely simply GOOGLE the phrase:
"THE INTERNET'S BEST FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL"
This webpage contains the reasons why the Watchtower Society's founder Charles Taze Russell was recently DELETED from the "Faithful & Discreet Slave Class" by the current Faithful & Discreet Slave.
2. CLICK HERE to go to a FREE ANONYMOUS email service.
Paste copied text in both the "SUBJECT" Box and the "MESSAGE" Box.
Insert recipient's email address.
Hit Send. Recipient will NOT know who sent them this email.
IF YOU HAVE APPRECIATED DISCOVERING "THE TRUTH" ABOUT CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL,
THE FOLLOWING WEBPAGE DISCLOSES EVEN MORE "TRUTH" ABOUT THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY
DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES