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"For more than forty years he had left a NATION-WIDE POLITICAL CAREER WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY and devoted his life to the Lord as a Christian." -- CONSOLATION magazine, May 27, 1942, page 5. (Emphasis ours. Lies theirs.)

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"Morals cannot be enforced by law. I abhor liquor myself, but I am unequivocably against prohibition. ... I am against anything that interferes with the personal rights of men." -- NO, not Satan the Devil speaking to Adam and Eve! Alcoholic "Judge" Rutherford speaking at WatchTower Convention, Columbus, Ohio, July 22, 1924.

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Pretense Doesn't Befit Truth

THE DISTORTED TEACHINGS of the followers of the late Pastor Russell are far less obnoxious than their unethical methods of spreading their propaganda . From the earliest development of Russell's plans to publicize himself as a new religious prophet, he proved amazingly shrewd in giving his carefully engineered schemes the appearance of a spontaneous popular movement, or at other times, of undesigning and unbiased inquiry into scripture truth. His sermons were served out to newspapers all over the country as if they were the ordinary pastoral preaching of an orthodox evangelical minister. Local organizations of his disciples were always represented as interdenominational Bible classes, quite free of sectarianism. And though Russell is now dead, evidence is plenty that his successor, Rutherford, is just as adept in disguises and just as unscrupulous in using them.

There is just now being distributed on doorsteps in many cities, in true Russellite style, a sheet which purports to be a copy of the "National Labor Tribune" of Pittsburgh. Subtitles claim that the paper was "established in 1872",  is the "official organ of the American workmen", and is "indorsed by every labor organization of national importance in America". The last two of these assertions are manifestly poppycock; no publication in all the United States is or ever has been in position to describe itself as an "official organ" for all the workingmen of America, or to boast of recognition from all the many national labor unions in existence. And whatever the past history of the National Labor Tribune may have been, it is obviously now no labor organ at all. It is sheerly and simply a propaganda organ for the Russellite church and unmistakably under Rutherford's direct control . Nothing but an intention to deceive could account either for the public distribution of the sheet under the pretended character of a labor paper, or for the studied effort to maintain in every column the illusion that it is edited by persons disinterested and impartial toward Rutherford and his teachings. If anybody is inclined to think that Rutherford really has possession of theological truth, let him put to himself candidly the question, "How then it can be necessary to employ deceit to give it currency?" Does not a false teacher argue false teaching? -- THE CONTINENT, September 25, 1919, Pages 1133-34, Edited.

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"By special invitation of the officers of the United States Naval Academy, Hon. J. F. Rutherford, the well-known lawyer and Bible student of New York, lectured at the Naval Academy last evening. The lecture was well received, the entire audience applauding the speaker vigorously." -- Evening Capitol (Annapolis, Md.)



"By special invitation of the officers and Midshipmen, the Hon. J. F. Rutherford, the well known lawyer and Bible student of New York, addressed the Y.M.C.A. of the Naval Academy auditorium yesterday afternoon. ... The lecture was well received and many favorable comments were made. The entire audience applauded the speaker vigorously at the conclusion."


EDITORS NOTE: Noone today knows the actual attendance at JFR's lecture, but the YMCA at the Academy had a membership of only about 150 middies. There were additional issues. It was Christmas Break! Then, the lecture was given at around 1:00 P.M., on Sunday afternoon. The middies and staff who had not departed campus had either slept-in, or had attended services that morning and thereafter gone to lunch. How many wanted to rush back and again sitdown to listen for TWO HOURS to someone whom they had never heard of before lecture on, "WHERE ARE THE DEAD?" Besides, JFR was there that day for no other reason than what wound up occurrring. JFR wanted only to be able to advertise that he had once "lectured" at the United States Naval Academy -- even if it was only to the squirrels.


Here is an excerpt from another newspaper article about JFR which the reporter/editor condensed from WatchTower Society and/or PRLB materials given them:

Judge Rutherford is a man of commanding appearance standing six feet two inches tall and weighs 225 pounds. His title of "Judge" comes to him from having served as Special Judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri. He has likewise appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of the United States. Since 1909 he has resided in Greater New York, but has practically abandoned his general law practice to devote the major portion of his time to religious work. Some years ago by special invitation he delivered a lecture on Bible topics before the officers and midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy. -- Maryland Gazette, May 7, 1920.

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After Joseph Franklin Rutherford came to work for self-styled "Pastor" Charles Taze Russell, in 1907, to serve as Russell's private Attorney, WatchTower Society Corporate Counsel, and WatchTower Society Traveling Lecturer, Joseph F. Rutherford was deceptively publicized as "Judge" Joseph F. Rutherford to the general public, so as to add prestige, credibility, and even intimidation, to each of "Judge" Rutherford's various activities. Thereafter, whenever reporters and others inquired about "Judge" J. F. Rutherford's background, they were told that "Judge" Rutherford had "practiced law" in Boonville, Missouri since 1889, and that "Judge" Rutherford also had been the "Public Prosecutor at/for Boonville, Missouri" for four years. There is no doubt but that the impression purposefully given reporters was that Rutherford had been THE publicly elected "Public Prosecutor" in Boonville, Missouri, as evidenced by newspaper articles expressing such as "fact".

In fact, "Joe" Rutherford, as he was known by Missouri locals, had begun "practicing law" as an Attorney in 1892, not 1889. In fact, there was no such position as "Public Prosecutor at/for Boonville, Missouri". In reality, from 1899 to 1902, "Joe" Rutherford had occasionally worked "when needed" as an "Assistant" to the elected "Prosecuting Attorney of Cooper County" -- Ernest Chambers -- who was Joe Rutherford's law firm partner at Draffen & Company.

Joseph F. Rutherford's background as a "Judge" in Cooper County Circuit Court was even weaker. J. F. Rutherford NEVER, EVER served as the "Circuit Judge" of Cooper County. Joseph F. Rutherford actually had run for the office of "Circuit Judge" of Cooper County in 1900, but he had been EASILY DEFEATED in the Democratic Primary. Joe Rutherford also had run for "State Representative" in 1896, but he had been DEFEATED in the Democratic Primary. Cooper county voters KNEW what kind of man was Joe Rutherford, and most did NOT like him. Missouri Law then provided that whenever a "Circuit Judge" could not make a scheduled court date that the local members of the Bar could elect one of their own to handle some of the Circuit Judge's routine duties for that day, as well as hear minor, routine cases. That generally meant that whichever local Attorney had no business before the court that day got to be "Special Judge" for an hour or so. In reality, practically every Attorney in rural Missouri got to be a "Special Judge" for a few days during their career. None of them would have ever dared to have assumed the title "Judge" for having done so, otherwise they would have been the laughing stock of their community. In the case of "Judge" Rutherford, he had served a grand total of four times as a "Special Judge" -- 2/17/1897, 6/3/1899, 3/15/1905, and 3/29/1905. Only two of those four times included hearing of minor, routine cases.

If the WatchTower Society has been willing to LIE for decades about those items on Rutherford's resume, then we couldn't help but wonder what other LIES the WatchTower Society has included in the biographical information it has published over the decades about the third President of the WatchTower Society.

In the WatchTower Society's latest history book, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES -- PROCLAIMERS OF GOD'S KINGDOM, in the Box entitled, "J. F. Rutherford's Background", on page 67, the following biographical information is published (Notably, with each new version of its History book, the WatchTower Society makes this biographical sketch shorter and shorter):

Joseph Franklin Rutherford was born of Baptist parents on a farm in Morgan County, Missouri, U.S.A., on November 8, 1869. When Joseph was 16, his father consented to his attending college, provided that he pay his own way and that he pay for a hired laborer to take his place on the farm. A determined young man, Joseph secured a loan from a friend and managed to go to college while also studying law.

After completing his academy education, Rutherford spent two years under the tutelage of Judge E. L. Edwards. By the time he was 20, he became the official court reporter for the courts of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit in Missouri. On May 5, 1892, his license to practice law in Missouri was granted. Rutherford later served for four years as public prosecutor for Boonville, Missouri. Still later, he served on occasion as a special judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri. That is why he came to be known as "Judge" Rutherford.
First, Joseph F. Rutherford was born on November 8, 1869, on the Rutherford family farm, which was located in the rural farming community of Freedom, Missouri, in Haw Creek Township, in Morgan County, about 3.5 miles north of the county seat, Versailles. (Every other secular Rutherford Biography states that Rutherford was born in either Versailles or Boonville.) Interestingly, the Rutherford farm was located only about 12 or so miles south of where another Charles Taze Russell associate and WatchTower Society Officer and Director would be born only five years after Joe Rutherford was born.
JOE RUTHERFORD (as he was known before CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL renamed him "Judge Rutherford") had five older sisters, one older brother, and one younger brother. Joe Rutherford's parents were "pro-education", not anti-education, and despite the "born in a log cabin" portrayal sometimes insinuated by the WatchTower Society, the Rutherford family was not destitute nor even poor -- they were simply "farmers". It is believed that at least two or more of Joe Rutherford's older sisters attended a "Teacher's College", and thereafter taught elementary school. As many as three of Joe Rutherford's sisters may have married Attorneys or sons of judges/attorneys. When Joe Rutherford announced that he also wanted to attend College after he turned 16 years-old in November 1885, his father was rightfully concerned about the planting of his crops in Spring 1886, and the performance of the other regular farm chores which were labor intensive. Joe Rutherford's 20 year-old brother, Will Rutherford, likely had already left home by that point in time, and most of the girls had also already left home, or were not field laborers, and Joe's younger brother, James B. Rutherford, was only 9 years-old. Joe's father was in a "pinch" for help with the family farm, plus he probably was hoping that at least one of his sons wanted to take over the family farm -- which none did. SEE CRIMINAL HISTORIES OF CORRUPT LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY EXECUTIVE JAMES B. RUTHERFORD and CORRUPT POLICE OFFICER WILLIAM RUTHERFORD AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS WEBPAGE!!!
At some unknown point in 1886, Joe Rutherford followed his older sisters in attending a "Teacher's College" for one year -- until sometime in late 1886 or early 1887. Thereafter, Joe Rutherford taught school in one or possibly two nearby counties. We have found Rutherford teaching the Fall semester of 1887 and the Spring semester of 1889. Thus, Rutherford could have taught school for two full school years, or he could have taken off calendar 1888, and attended a "law academy" as was later claimed, but for which there is yet no available evidence.

After first preparing himself by taking a mail order shorthand course, in Summer 1889, Joe Rutherford attended the Normal Shorthand Institute, in Carbondale, Illinois for six weeks -- this time to study "shorthand" and "typewriting", so that he could pursue what would be his second career as a "Stenographer". After quickly becoming a record-setting shorthand recorder, Joe Rutherford obtained a job teaching "shorthand" and "typewriting" at Otterville College, in Cooper County, during the Fall 1889 and Spring 1890 semesters.
During Fall 1889, Joe Rutherford also began working part-time as a Court Reporter in surrounding counties. In December 1889, Judge Edwards appointed Joe Rutherford as the fulltime Court Reporter for the First Judicial Circuit, and Rutherford served as such through December 1892.
Joe Rutherford and Mary Fetzer, both age 22, were married by Presbyterian minister, Oscar Gauss, on the evening of December 30, 1891, at the home of Mary and her widowed mother in Boonville. The Rutherfords spent their wedding night at the local Commercial Hotel. CLICK HERE to see a series of exterior and interior photos of the Boonville home which the Rutherfords owned from 1895 until 1910.

Mary Rutherford's deceased father was Dr. John Fetzer, who as a German immigrant both read and spoke German, and who taught his daughter also to do so. Such likely explains why JFR and Mary later visited Germany on multiple occasions. Dr. Fetzer served as an Army Surgeon during the Civil War. and for several terms as Cooper County Coroner. Fetzer died in 1884 after 4-5 years of slow progressive illness during his only daughter's early teen years. Such may very well have contributed to Mary's alleged hypochondria in her later years. If Fetzer had lived, Joe and Mary may not have married. John Fetzer was as politically active as a Republican as Joe was a Democrat. The Fetzers were "high society" in their part of Missouri. Mary Rutherford, described as both highly educated and accomplished, also was taught to read/speak French by her mother, who also was a German/French immigrant. Unlike Joe Rutherford, Mary Rutherford maintained her Missouri connections and friendships throughout her multiple relocations, but outlived most of such. Curiously, Mary's friends and relatives remained fans of JFR during the couple's estrangement, which might not have been fully disclosed to them.
Continuing to serve as the Court Reporter for the First Judicial Circuit, Joe Rutherford finally became an Attorney in May 1892, in Cooper County, after passing the required oral exam conducted by a panel of local attorneys. Despite having continued to work as a Court reporter through 1892, by May 1893, Rutherford argued what may have been his first criminal case in Circuit Court in May 1893. (After becoming President, Rutherford's WatchTower-produced biography claimed that Rutherford had "practiced law" in Missouri for 17 years -- from 1889 until 1906.) Notably that case was presided over by Judge Shackleford, who we believe did Rutherford's baby brother a major favor during his criminal trial in the late 1890s. (See below.)
Joe Rutherford's "legal education" is somewhat a "mystery". Many researchers, ourselves included, have fallen prey to the OBFUSCATION regarding Rutherford's legal education found in the various WatchTower Society published biographical sketches. The PROCLAIMERS book states "After completing his academy education, Rutherford spent two years under the tutelage of Judge E. L. Edwards." Missing is any mention that Rutherford taught school for two years between the two mentioned events. 

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN THE DIVINE PURPOSE, which was the WatchTower Society's previous 1950s WatchTower History book, on page 65, even definitely states that Judge Edwards' "two year long tutorship" occurred between Rutherford's one year of College and Rutherford's becoming a Court Reporter in 1889:
"After completing his academy education he spent two years under the tutorship of Judge E. L. Edwards, and finally, at the age of twenty, became the official reporter for the courts of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit in Missouri."
However, we finally discovered that the "two years under the tutelage of Judge E. L. Edwards" actually occurred from Spring 1890 until Rutherford passed the Bar exam in Spring 1892, when we finally discovered that E. L. Edwards was Circuit Judge of Cooper County and Joe Rutherford was Court Reporter during that two year time period. Those discoveries also makes us wonder whether any actual legal "tutelage" of Rutherford was even performed by Judge Edwards -- beyond what naturally occurs while a Court Reporter performs his duties -- or whether Rutherford ONCE AGAIN has LIED on his resume by misleadingly mis-characterizing his employment for two years as the Cooper County Court Reporter during trials conducted by Judge Edwards as the period of Judge Edwards' "tutelage". WHY would Rutherford do so? Because, after going to work for Charles Taze Russell and the WatchTower Society, Joe Rutherford further implied that he had gained his "legal education" via the "apprenticeship" route, rather than his having attended Law School.

However, "Judge" Rutherford's claim that he had gained his "legal education" via the "apprenticeship" route conflicts with "facts" alleged in multiple biographical sketches published in WatchTower Society literature. JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN THE DIVINE PURPOSE, page 65, includes the claim that Rutherford had attended a "law academy":
"Rutherford ... was able to secure a loan ... that enabled him not only to go to college and law academy but also to pay for a hired hand to replace him on the farm."
Now, compare this excerpt from 1975 YEARBOOK OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, page 81:

"Their father wanted him to stay on the farm rather than go to college to study law. Joseph had to get a friend who would loan him money, not only to hire a replacement for him on his father's farm, but also to finance his studies in law."

Now, compare the DIVINE PURPOSE and 1975 YEARBOOK OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES statements to the most current statement in PROCLAIMERS:
"Joseph secured a loan from a friend and managed to go to college while also studying law."
An 1891 issue of The National Stenographer magazine included both a photograph and a Biographical Sketch of Joseph F. Rutherford, which stated:
"Mr. J. F. Rutherford, whose portrait appears on another page of this issue, (notes on page 272) is the official court reporter in the First Judicial Circuit of Missouri, located at Boonville. He received his shorthand education at the Normal Shorthand Institute, Carbondale, Ill. Mr. Rutherford is one of the foremost writers of the Sloan-Duployan system of shorthand; is young in the profession, but, having followed Legal work exclusively since finishing his shorthand course at the above named school, and having been a law student previous to that time, he is gradually, but surely, marching toward the top of his profession. Mr. Rutherford has reported some noted cases, among which are the Turlington murder case, Otterville train robbers, trail of Ex-treasurer E.T. Noland, and has reported several prominent speakers, including Roger R. Mills and others; all of which speaks well for his ability.-Melton."
Above, are four indicators that Joe Rutherford attended a "Law School" -- either concurrently while Joe Rutherford attended a "Teacher's College" in 1886, or sometime thereafter. The "Teacher's College" reportedly attended by Joe Rutherford did not have a law program. There was another "Academy" in that same small town, but we don't believe that it offered a Law program, either.

Don't you think that if Rutherford had concurrently attended a Teacher's College and a Law Academy, while being only 16-17 years old, that that would have been something that Rutherford would have boasted about every chance that he had for the rest of his life -- especially given that Rutherford LIED about many lessor accomplishments.
Many questions naturally follow. If Joe Rutherford had attended Law School, then why did he seek employment as a schoolteacher in 1887-89, rather than seeking employment related to the law? If Joe Rutherford had attended Law School, then why was Rutherford not admitted to the Bar until 1892. If Rutherford attended Law School, then why did he go back to school -- Vocational School -- and train as a Stenographer in 1889, and then follow Stenography as his profession? Why would an Attorney who had attended Law School later portray that he had entered the legal profession via the "apprenticeship" route? Did Rutherford flunk a previous Bar exam? Did Rutherford flunk out of Law School? Was Rutherford kicked out of Law School?
Whatever is/are the answers to those questions -- possibly reasonable answers -- those questions arise only because of the WatchTower's Society's ROUTINE OBFUSCATION with ANYTHING and EVERYTHING having to do with its past history.
Instead of being called, JUDGE RUTHERFORD, he should be called SHADY RUTHERFORD!!! Just read the Missouri Court Case summaries below.
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Incorporated in Colorado in 1897 by Joe F. Rutherford, along with four partners from Boonville and two from Colorado, the original purpose was to mine unspecified minerals in Park County. No indication of any success, other than giving JFR and CTR something to bond over during their early courtship.



BIBLE LECTURE. At the Krauss Opera House, Versailles, Mo., Sunday, November 8th., at 2:30 p.m., Mr. J. F. Rutherford will deliver a public lecture: subject, ''Is There Hope Beyond the Grave?" This will he a rare treat for the people of Versailles to hear discussed from the Bible this all important subject, by a well known and able Bible student and lecturer. For the past year or more, Mr. Rutherford has been delivering lectures under the auspices of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, of Pittsburg, Pa. He has appeared in the principal cities of the United States during that time, and his lectures have attracted large audiences. Mr. Rutherford is well known in this county, and his many friends here will be glad to avail themselves of this opportunity to hear him. The subject selected is one of great importance to everybody. No one who can go should fail to hear him. Death has always been the enemy of all and has brought great sorrow to nearly all families of the earth. Many are born weak-minded and die in ignorance; many die insane. Is there hope for these? Is there hope for the heathen? What does the Bible say? The speaker will discuss these, and many other points from the Bible, harmonizing many statements long appearing conflicting. Let us hear him. A special musical program has been arranged under the direction of Mrs. C. N. White, of this city. Admission free. No collections. Everybody is invited, and those who would get seats should go early. Doors will be open at 2 o'clock and services begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. Mr. Rutherford will also lecture at Freedom church, 4 miles north of Versailles, Sunday morning, same date, at 10 o'clock, the subject of that lecture being, "The Oath Bound Covenant." -- Morgan County Republican, November 5, 1908.


The lecture by J. F. Rutherford at the Opera house Sunday afternoon was listened to by a large and attentive audience, many not being able to find seats and many standing. It was a disappointment to all Christians present, and very small comfort to sinners as it was along the lines of the exploded "Millennial Dawn" fallacy, or "Soul Sleeping", which eliminates hell, and gives all a chance for salvation after death. It is our opinion that it did not seriously injure any believer in the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and, judging by the vast throng who rose at the Baptist church Sunday night, on the invitation of Bro. Sitton, and testified to their belief in a scriptural hell and punishment for the wicked, that the increased emigration from Versailles and vicinity to the lower regions will be small on account of it, notwithstanding that was its only tendency. -- Morgan County Republican, November 12, 1908.


Judge Rutherford Coming. Judge J. F. Rutherford, of New York City, will lecture under the auspices of Albany College on November 6th. Judge Rutherford receives no fees for his lectures and will speak two or three times on this day, his general subject being "The Bible and Its Sciences from a Lawyer's Viewpoint." The joint lecture committee of the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement furnishes Judge Rutherford to the college. -- Albany Democrat-Herald, Albany, Oregon, October 2 1911.


The WatchTower Society effectively praises JFR for acknowledging that he was wrong on "1925", as if that error was an isolated instance. BS!! JFR had been wrong about everything he preached dating back to when he joined CTR in 1907. Here is a lost 1917 prediction that we resurrect -- better than any resurrection predicted by JFR!!

The St. Joseph MISSOURI Observer
September 29, 1917 

Rutherford Says That They as a Class Are Responsible for the Great Slaughter

J. F. Rutherford of New York, who lectured to 1500 people at the Lyceum Sunday afternoon, and who is President of the International Bible Students' Association, is authority for the statement that it is the clergy as a class who are responsible for the great world slaughter now going on. In his address he made the charge as follows:

"The clergy as a class are the ones directly or indirectly responsible for the great world war.

"The Lord commissioned the clergymen to preach the gospel of His kindness, and, contrary to their divine commission, the clergy as a class (with few exceptions) haxe convinced the kings and rulers of the earth that these earthly governments and kingdoms constitute God's kingdom of peace, holiness, justice, love, and truth, and that the earthly kings are ruling by divine right as God's representatives.

"Instead of preaching the Lord Jesus and His kingdom, they have encouraged the nations in selfishness, and urged them on to war. For this cause, the blood of all the nations of the earth is upon their heads, and God will require it at their hand. Within an incredibly short time from now and onward, it will be as unsafe for a man to tell the people of the falsehoods that have led them into the fold of Babylon as it will to be a czar or emperor.

"The present war will end within less than a year, but the armies will not be disbanded. The Bible clearly teaches that thereafter revolution will follow. Increased shortage of food, high cost of living, burden of taxation followed by famine, pestilence, and a spirit of discontent among the people of the earth will bring a condition of revolution and anarchy such as was never known. The Lord declares such is necessary to prepare the way for the establishment of the kingdom of everlasting peace upon the earth."

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Starting in 1921, one of the most frequently ran advertisments for the MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER LIE lecture, which itself was one of the greatest LIES ever (only exceeded by other WatchTower Lies), opened with this blatant LIE:

"MORE THAN FORTY YEARS AGO Bible Students began to proclaim that 1914 was the year specifically marked when the 'time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation', prophesied in the Scriptures, would commence."

IN FACT, all the way back as far as 1878, internationally syndicated newspapers articles documented that Charles Taze Russell was then preaching that the "time of trouble" had started back in 1874.

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40 Years Separation Fades Into Memory as Brother And Sister Are Reunited ... Alfred Peale of Akron, Ohio, ... reunited Friday in Mrs. Patterson's home after being unaware of each other's whereabouts since their separate adoptions from a Newark orphanage more than 40 years ago. Mr. Peale's stay Friday was short, but he made the most of it ... He left Friday night to meet another sister, Mrs. Elsie Gentile, of Brooklyn, whom he similarly has not seen since his adoption. While in New York, he will see his wife off to Paris [France] on the S. S. Statendam, ... where she will attend a convention of the Witnesses of Jehovah as a delegate frcm Akron. -- The Courier-News, Bridgewater, New Jersey, July 19, 1937, edited.


Bible Student Leader ... in Binghamton (edited)

Joseph F. Rutherford, leader of the International Bible Students' Association, paused long enough over his fruit cup in the Community Coffee shop today, to ... the tall, portly leader of the Bible group which is affiliated with Jehovah's Witnesses, ... Mr. Rutherford, accompanied by two young women and a younger man, said the party had left New York by automobile this morning to motor to his farm for a rest. He declined to locate the farm other than to say it was near Binghamton. He also declined to identify his companions, waving away any attempts of the reporter to obtain their names. The two young women and the man -- all in sport dress -- sipped their cocktails and said nothing. Mr. Rutherford, in a high wing collar, said "that's not necessary" when the reporter asked the man if he were William Heath. -- The Binghamton Press, June 28, 1939.



Machinist Granted Divorce From Wife Who Had 'Call To Faith' (edited)

The name of Judge J. F. Rutherford of Brooklyn, N. Y., identified as the widely known founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, was injected into an Akron divorce proceedings today by a rubber company machinist who said his wife's response to a "call of faith" had shattered his home.

Alfred L. Peale testified that his wife (Berta) had accompanied Judge Rutherford, a male member of Rutherford's executive staff (William "Bill" Heath), and the Judge's secretary (Bonnie Boyd Heath) on a trip to London, Eng., last year. Since their return she (Berta) has visited at Judge Rutherford's ranch in Southern California, he said. Both trips were described in letters that he had received from his wife, Peale testified in Judge Ray B. Watters' court. Peale was granted the divorce.

Peale, of Hillside Dr., R. D. 4, said that he had married Berta Peale on Nov. 10, 1923, and that they had lived congenially until 1936, when she developed an interest in Jehovah's Witnesses. Peale said this followed the visit to Akron of Judge Rutherford, whom he identified in testimony as head of the religious sect.

He also testified that his wife had received a check of $1500.00 (over $28,000.00 in 2021 dollars) from Judge Rutherford's secretary shortly after Rutherford's departure from Akron. The secretary was identified as "Bonnie" in court. It was she, Peale said in later testimony, who accompanied the party of four on the London trip described by his wife.

Peale said his wife was directed to buy an automobile with the money. He testified that she did buy the car, and in June 1938, went to Brooklyn and has not returned. After receiving the letters in which his wife described her trip with the Rutherford entourage, Peale said he went to Brooklyn and made repeated efforts to effect a reconciliation. His wife, however, refused to return, he told the court. -- The Akron Beacon Journal, March 20, 1940, edited.

***Alfred (a widower) and Berta Peale were childless.

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Go to Page 2 of the RUTHERFORD FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY to read details about William Heath, who was a COCA-COLA heir, and who had other relatives connected to the WORLD BANK, MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE, etc. Bill Heath had left his wife and son in June 1937, became JFR's personal assistant at WatchTower HQ, and married the GOLD DIGGER TURNED BETHELITE PROSTITUTE/MADAM Bonnie Boyd in January 1938.


The 1975 YEARBOOK OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, page 84, quotes Bonnie Boyd telling the story of Rutherford's Memorial Talk delivered in London Tabernacle on April 18, 1924. Thus, it was in 1924, shortly after arriving at Brooklyn Bethel in 1923, with her widowed mother, Victoria Boyd, that the GOLD DIGGER TURNED PROSTITUTE/MADAM Bonnie Boyd began her lengthy history of annually "cruising" to Europe with JFR (and a few others whom he would invite along) until WW2 prevented such after 1938. (Even 1938 was to/from Australia. The only skipped year was 1928.)


The Statendam of the Holland-American Line left ... for England, France, and Holland. Her passengers include ... Judge J. F. Rutherord ... Miss Bonnie Boyd ... -- The New York Sun, May 20, 1933.


Joseph F. Rutherford, of 122 Columbia Heights, lecturer and head of the International Bible Students Association, is arriving today on the Dollar liner President Coolidge. Other Brooklyn passengers are Miss Bonnie Boyd ... --The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 23, 1932.




Well, guess who was Step-Mother of the Groom!

Guess who was still being identified as their First Husband's Wife in 1941?


The Austin American

Austin, Texas

December 2, 1941

Elaborate Marriage Rites Held Recently In Basilica of Christ the King Church in Canada (edited)

A wedding of wide interest took place ... in the Basilica of Christ the King, Hamilton, Ont., Canada, when Mr. and Mrs. John Terrance Byrnes gave their daughter, Mary Helen, in marriage to John James McKay of Austin, son of Mrs. John Green McKay and the late Mr. McKay. Officiating at the nuptial mass were Bishop Joseph F. Ryan, Monsignor George L. Cassidy, and Monsignor Richard O'Brian of Buffalo.

Presiding were Monsignor W. C. Gehl of Dundas, Ont., Rev. Father Norbett Detinger, Rev. Father O'Brian, and Rev. Father John Mettice of Hamilton. The beautiful polyphonic mass by Rene L. Becker was sung by the full cathedral choir under the direction of Mrs. Gordon Lawrence Burjaw, and during the offertory, the choir sang Arcadelt's "Ave Maria." A recital of Carillon music on the church bells by David Farr greeted the guests as they entered and was followed by an organ prelude by Mrs. Burjaw. ...


Houston Post

January 20, 1917

Former Texas Secretary of State Married to Miss Bonnie Boyd of Austin in Houston Sunday (edited)

John G. McKay, former Secretary of State, and Miss Bonnie Boyd, of Austin, were married ... at the mansion Sunday morning, and left Sunday evening for Midway, Mr. McKay's home. ... Miss Boyd resigned her position a few days ago as secretary to ... [the] state tax commissioner, a position she had held several months. Mr. McKay is now manager of Governor Ferguson's farm in Madison county.

EDITOR COMMENTS: John Green McKay's (b1872) first wife died of pneumonia in February 1916, leaving him with two or more children to rear. Bonnie Boyd had started working as a stenographer for John McKay in 1914 during the governor's race. When newly elected Governor Ferguson appointed McKay Texas's Secretary of State beginning January 1915, McKay brought along Bonnie Boyd. McKay served as Texas Secretary of State through 1916, when McKay was named Manager of the State Farm in Madison County. In mid 1916, corruption charges were filed against both Ferguson and McKay. Between the corruption prosecution and having moved to a ranch far from the political limelight, plus being a new Step-Mother, our guess is that the GOLD-DIGGER Bonnie Boyd did not stick around very much longer.

John James McKay (b1911) was only five years old in 1916. There was at least one much older brother. John James McKay eventually became Assistant Attorney General of Texas in the 1930s when the WatchTower Society began suing Texas citizens, cities, and towns right and left. 

See the gravesite of John Green McKay and his first wife, Buena Vista McKay. Apparently, their children chose to keep their own existence a secret. There must be a really, really good story there.

Had Bonnie Boyd divorced their father, or had Bonnie Boyd simply ranaway? Did Bonnie Boyd later divorce John Green McKay sometime prior to his death in 1934? Did John Green McKay and his family and friends even know what became of Bonnie Boyd after she removed herself from their lives, or did she even completely remove herself from their lives?

John Green McKay's 1934 death certificate lists him as "Married", with his spouse's name as "Mrs. J. G. McKay".

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In June 1922, while touring Europe, JFR planned a delivery of his MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE lecture in Vienna, Austria. Rutherford's propositions were met by the Austrians with laughter and heckling by a large segment of the audience described as "Communists", who eventually ran JFR off the stage, took over the meeting, and began singing, "Internationale".

In July 1924, during the protracted longest Democratic Convention in history, then being held in NYC, JFR got up the nerve to seek a meeting with his ALLEGED former political mentor, William Jennings Bryan, whom JFR claimed to have campaigned "with" in 1896, and "for" in 1900. Whatever half-truth JFR told Bryan's handlers to gain entrance to Bryan's hotel room did not gain JFR much. When JFR's MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL NEVER DIE spiel revealed him to be the infamous EX-CON preacher who had spent time in federal prison for SEDITION during the Great War, JFR was bumrushed from the premises. JFR ceased touting his supposed relationship with WJB thereafter, and such was only revived years later after JFR's death, and when WatchTower officials believed JFR's late-life dislike for Bryan had been forgotten.


On 27 April 1926, [THE FINISHED MYSTERY co-author] George H. Fisher wrote a letter to W. Nieman of Magdeburg, Germany, accusing ["Judge"] Rutherford[, accompanied by two female and one male American BETHELITES,] of attending Al Jolson's Winter Garden Theater to see the Paris Edition of the then-notorious [burlesque] show "Artists and Models". Fisher wanted to bring Rutherford, as an ex-officio elder of every Bible Student ecclesia, before the individual churches for discipline. Fisher claimed that he had the necessary witnesses to do so. But in July of the same year, Fisher died and the matter never went further. Nieman did, however, publish Fisher's letter and an analysis of his charges in a German leaflet entitled "Bruder George H. Fisher". Rutherford's lame answer to Fisher's charge was that he was too busy in the Lord's work to be bothered with replying to such criticism and, in any case, had never seen Al Jolson in his life and did not know what he looked like. -- Apocalypse Delayed, James Penton, p.416.

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The following seven MISSOURI court cases may explain why Joseph Franklin Rutherford -- known locally as "JOE RUTHERFORD" -- was more than ready in 1907 to accept the offer of Charles Taze Russell to move his family away from their lifelong home and relocate to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After having practiced law for 15 years in Boonville, Joe Rutherford's "reputation" was likely suffering greatly amongst the regular local citizens who did not view "sharp practice" and even THEFT and FRAUD as being acceptable, and the norm. If there are any lingering doubts about Joseph F. Rutherford's lack of honesty and moral character, the seventh New York court case summary should resolve such.


DAVID NICHOLSON v. CHARLES MERSTETTER and NATIONAL CASH REGISTER COMPANY was a 1894-97 Missouri appellate court case which is of interest to our readers because in this decision the Court of Appeals of Missouri CHASTISED attorney JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD for "sharp practice" committed by Rutherford -- only a year after Charles Taze Russell had published a letter from Rutherford in the April 15, 1894 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, in which Rutherford had placed an order for 20 or so of Russell's books to distribute locally -- with a promise to order more when those were gone.
In October 1894, Charles Merstetter, a saloon operator in Boonville, Missouri, purchased on credit a cash register from the National Cash Register Company. By only February 1895, Merstetter had already missed one or more payments, which contractually obligated Merstetter to pay the entire balance due NCR. NCR forwarded the account to Boonville Attorney J. F. Rutherford, for collection. Rutherford went to Merstetter's saloon, where Merstetter declared his inability to pay either the installments or the balance due. Merstetter offered the return of the cash register as satisfaction of his debt to NCR. Joe Rutherford accepted Merstetter's offer, but failed to take immediate possession of the cash register. Two days later, Merstetter turned over the keys to the rented saloon to its owner and left town. The cash register was left on the saloon's counter.
Eight days thereafter, David Nicholson (possibly the landlord) filed a lawsuit against Merstetter for monies owed, and sought an attachment against Merstetter's only available asset -- the cash register. Nicholson's request was granted that very day, so Nicholson asked a local Deputy Constable to levy the attachment on the cash register, i.e., go to the closed saloon and take possession of the cash register. The Deputy went to the saloon and started to exit with the cash register, but Joseph F. Rutherford came rushing into& the saloon waving a roll of documents and claiming that the cash register was already owned by his client, NCR. The Deputy later testified that Joe Rutherford attempted to "confidentially" counsel him that he was inexperienced with such legal matters, and Rutherford "advised" the Deputy that before taking the cash register that the Deputy should first speak with Nicholson's attorney, who upon viewing the documents that Rutherford was waving would instruct the Deputy that the cash register belonged to NCR. The Deputy agreed to leave the cash register at the saloon, but was sufficiently experienced enough to insist that Rutherford accompany him to speak with Nicholson's attorney.
When Nicholson's attorney not surprisingly did not agree with Joe Rutherford that the cash register was owned by NCR, the Deputy eventually returned to the saloon to retrieve the cash register -- only to find the cash register missing. The Deputy headed straight for Rutherford's office, where upon entering, Rutherford smugly told him, "If you want that cash register, you will have to go to Sedalia for it, because it is on the way there now." The Deputy was not as stupid as Rutherford thought and proceeded to search Rutherford's office. The Deputy found the cash register HIDDEN in a back room under a pile of office stuff.
Joe Rutherford thereafter filed this lawsuit against David Nicholson for return of the cash register, and requested a jury trial, which took place in February 1896. After hearing all the testimony, the Circuit Court directed a verdict in favor of Nicholson, which decision was then appealed by Joe Rutherford.
In this January 1987 decision, the Court of Appeals of Missouri first ruled that Joe Rutherford had failed to comply with Missouri law for such a repurchase/repossession, which under these circumstances required that the creditor take possession of the property to consummate the transaction, which Rutherford did not do until after the Deputy Constable had already made a valid levy of attachment. Finally, before unanimously agreeing with the Circuit Court's directed verdict, the court ADMONISHED:
"The facts established by undisputed testimony show a valid levy and unquestionably prove that the officer did not intend to abandon the same while he went to consult the lawyer. And it is equally clear that [ATTORNEY JOE RUTHERFORD], at the time, so understood it. It would be trifling with justice, and offering a premium to what appears "sharp practice" to hold that the constable intended to, or did, in effect, abandon the levy which he had already made."


HESS v. DRAFFEN & COMPANY was a 1900?-1903 Missouri civil court case in which the Draffen & Company Law Firm, of which JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD was one of three partners, was sued for allegedly committing FRAUD in the sale of stock in a newly formed corporation in which JOE RUTHERFORD and his two Law Firm Partners had an interest. Hess, the aggrieved party, testified that it was D. T. Draffen's misrepresentations on which he relied, but given that the Law Firm was a small firm in the small town of Boonville, Missouri, plus the fact that Hess regularly interacted with the Law Firm and its three partners, it is inconceivable that Hess would not have spoken with JOE RUTHERFORD at some point regarding the formation of this new business corporation and the sale of its' stock. It is also very unlikely that Rutherford would not have sat in on or listened in on the discussions between Hess and Draffen, or otherwise known of Draffen's representations to Hess. Regardless of what role Joe Rutherford did or did not play in the inducement of the stock sale, his later trial testimony, under sworn oath, in support of the Law Firm's position makes J. F. Rutherford's role in this matter just as egregious.

Interestingly, Draffen & Company did not merely practice law. The firm also brokered real estate, sold insurance, and made loans. Draffen & Company also owned a set of real estate abstract books, which were to be the "tools" for a newly formed abstract business. The plaintiff, Hess, alleged that he was induced to purchase 10 shares of stock in this new corporation at a cost of $1000.00 ($32,000.00 in today's dollars). Hess alleged that he was told that J. F. Rutherford and the third Partner had each paid $1000.00 for 1/3 interest in said abstract books several years previous, which were now being "sold" to the new corporation at their present market value of $6000.00. Hess alleged that he later learned that Joe Rutherford and the third Partner had actually paid the aforementioned $1000.00 for their 1/3 interest each in the Law Firm, which owned the abstracts, rather than paying that amount for the books themselves. Hess further alleged that the books were severely incomplete and not worth more than $1500.00. Hess also alleged that part of his inducement to purchase the stock was the misrepresentation that other locals, including a relative of the third partner, had already purchased shares in the new corporation at the same price offered to Hess, but such was not true.

At trial, after all testimony had been presented to the jury, the local Circuit Court judge directed a verdict for the Law Firm. On appeal by Hess, the Court of Appeals of Missouri unanimously REVERSED and REMANDED the case, stating in part:

The question presented is, whether the court was justified in instructing the jury, upon plaintiff's evidence, to return a verdict for defendants? In order to sustain the action it is admitted that plaintiff must show that the alleged representations, if made, were false; that they were knowingly made with intent to deceive; that the plaintiff had the right to and did rely upon them; and that he was damaged thereby.

If the books were such as the evidence showed them to be they did not contain a complete abstract of the lands situate in Cooper county. An abstract is defined to be: "That which comprises or concentrates in itself the essential qualities of a larger thing, or of several things; an abridgment, compendium, epitome, or synopsis." They were, at most, only an index to the books of the recorder of deeds for the county, showing the different conveyances of land and the books and pages where they might be found. They did not contain an abridgment of the contents of the different instruments including the acknowledgments of the manner in which they were executed, nor their dates. At best, they were only partial abstracts most certainly not complete. As the defendants had used them they must have known what they were and it therefore must necessarily follow that defendants knew that the said representations were untrue. And the evidence tended to show that they did not cost the sum of six thousand dollars, but much less. ... ...

... The complaint is not that the corporation, but that the plaintiff as an individual, was defrauded by the individual acts of the defendant partnership.

Under the authorities, the plaintiff, who was a stranger to the business, had the right to rely upon the representations of the defendants who were the promoters of the enterprise. ... The circumstances tended to show that plaintiff was wholly unacquainted with the business; that he relied upon the representations of the defendants as to the sufficiency of the abstracts and their cost; and that he was damaged thereby. We are therefore clearly of the opinion that plaintiff made out a case entitling him to go to the jury. For the reasons given the cause is reversed and remanded. All concur.

For those readers in urban areas who are wondering why JOE RUTHERFORD and his law partners never got into legal troubles due to their shenanigans, those naive readers need to understand that half of the attorneys and judges in any given area were related either by blood or marriage to the other half, and on those occasions when that wasn't true, the involved parties either were members of the same political party, or attended the same church/denomination or same fraternal organizations. Additionally, from 1899-1902, Rutherford's third law partner at Draffen & Company was "Prosecuting Attorney of Cooper County", and when things got busy, Rutherford helped him out as "Assistant Prosecuting Attorney". Nuff said!!!

Interestingly, sometime around 1903-04, D. T. Draffen, who had more roots in Cooper County than did a local cornfield, relocated himself and his wife to Muskogee, Oklahoma -- nearly 350 miles away. Then, in June 1905, they moved back to Boonville. Then, in September 1906, Draffen shot himself in the head. One can't help but wonder whether Draffen's problems also were the motivation for Rutherford to finally get "baptized" by A. H. MacMillan in 1906 -- 12 years after he started peddling WatchTower literature. Puzzlingly, it is my understanding that during this time period, new WatchTower Society converts were not re-baptized if they had already been "immersed", which the Southern Baptist Rutherford already had been as he himself acknowledged.


CASTLEMAN v. CASTLEMAN was a 1897-1904 SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI case which apparently has completely escaped the attention of WATCHTOWER SOCIETY RESEARCHERS AND HISTORIANS for decades -- primarily because the "good ole boy" legal system of that era stopped the Supreme Court from including Bar member JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD's full name in its decision, and more importantly, stopped both the Supreme Court and the local trial court from labeling the defendant guilty of OBVIOUS FRAUD in this matter -- which would have made local Attorney Joe Rutherford an AGENT of such FRAUD, and subject to possible sanctions or even DISBARMENT.

This complicated lawsuit involved two brothers fighting over their grandfather's 815 acre Cooper County, Missouri farm, which was then appraised as high as $32,000.00 ($1.1 MILLION in today's dollars). Their grandfather's WILL left the farm to his surviving widow and their only child -- the mother of the two brothers. When the Grandmother died, the family believed that the two brother's Mother had received a life interest in half the farm (remainder to her two sons), and full ownership of half the farm. In 1894, one of the Brothers, who had moved to St. Louis to live, and whom apparently had prospered, purchased what he believed to be his Mother's half interest in the farm. Apparently, the ATTORNEY in Boonville who handled that real estate transaction eventually discovered that the two Brothers' Mother did not own half of the farm outright, but rather held only a life estate in all the farm, with remainder to the two brothers. Thus, only the St. Louis Brother knew that he and his brother held equal remainder interests in the entire farm, while the Cooper County Brother believed that he held only a half remainder interest in the half of the farm which had no buildings or improvements.

On October 9, 1896, St. Louis Brother set up his Cooper County Brother by writing him a letter in which he offered Cooper County Brother $600.00 for his remainder interest in the farm -- which Cooper County Brother believed to be only 1/4 of the farm. At the same time, St. Louis Brother had already authorized SOMEONE in Boonville, named RUTHERFORD, to thereafter approach his Cooper County Brother and offer him $800.00 for his interest in the farm. Cooper County Brother jumped at RUTHERFORD'S higher offer and deeded his interest to RUTHERFORD and his wife on October 31, 1896. Shortly thereafter, RUTHERFORD deeded that interest in the farm to St. Louis Brother.

After Cooper County Brother learned that his St. Louis Brother now owned his interest in the farm, Cooper County Brother filed a lawsuit in Boonville seeking to undo the two property transfers -- initially only due to the FRAUD which had been perpetrated in the inducement of the sale, because Cooper County Brother had not yet discovered that he actually had owned 1/2 rather than 1/4 interest in the farm. Interestingly, St. Louis Brother sought and obtained a change of venue to Howard County. WHO DID NOT WANT THIS CASE HEARD IN COOPER COUNTY -- St. Louis Brother or "Rutherford"?

Regardless, the Howard County Circuit Court eventually found in favor of the Cooper County Brother, and the property transfers were undone. However, the Howard County Circuit Court was careful to do so on the grounds of "Mutual Mistake", and not to find FRAUD on the part of St. Louis Brother or his agent, "Rutherford". That would have been too messy and detrimental to the legal profession in Cooper County and the state of Missouri. On appeal by St. Louis Brother, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's decision and rubber-stamped its reasoning, but included sufficient info for those readers capable of reading between the lines to understand what really had occurred here.


JOHN PURSLEY v. HENRY GOOD was a 1900-1902 Court of Appeals of Missouri decision in which JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD and one of his law partners privately counseled and represented at trial a client who both committed FRAUD and LIED UNDER OATHon the witness stand.

This case involved yet another complicated sale of a farm in Cooper County which would have necessarily required constant and repeated legal advice and counsel to both parties not just during the sale in 1894, but especially so in 1898-99 when the circumstances arose which resulted in this lawsuit. INTERESTINGLY, Joe Rutherford SOMEHOW once again WON the local Cooper County jury trial, but that egregious decision was REVERSED by the Court of Appeals of Missouri, which stated in part:

The evidence of Henry L. Good, in the main, is in conflict with not only the allegations of his answer, but also with the said written agreement. However, after many equivocations and contradictions, on cross-examination he stated ... . ... ...

We are at a loss to understand upon what theory the [COOPER COUNTY JURY and] court based its finding in favor of the defendants, ... .

It seems to us, from all the evidence, the defendant Henry L. Good, the principal in the note, acted in BAD FAITH, and that his object, from the beginning, was to OPPRESS and DEFRAUD the plaintiff. An examination of his evidence shows that he not only AIMED TO WRONG the plaintiff, but that he was willing to do so AT THE EXPENSE OF TRUTH. No man intending to tell the truth was ever involved in more contradictions, and on questions of vital importance to the case, and we have no hesitation in saying that no court should be bound by his evidence.

In all fairness to Henry Good, CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, during his multiple trial testimonies under Joe Rutherford's orchestration, made Henry Good look like one of the most honest persons on the planet.


See also 1899 Supreme Court of Missouri case, ALEXANDER v. ALEXANDER, in which JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD was Co-Counsel to DESPICABLE plaintiffs in a DESPICABLE legal action. An invalid, bachelor Cooper County farmer died without making a WILL because he thought that his only surviving heir was his loving brother. However, after the farmer's death, SOMEONE with both knowledge of the law and confidential knowledge of the family's pre-Cooper County past traced down a group of half-siblings and their survivors who had been fathered by the two brothers' deceased male parent years after their parents had divorced in another Missouri county. There had never been any knowledge of nor previous contact between the two brothers and their deceased father or his other children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren after the parents had divorced many decades earlier. Thus, without SOME DESPICABLE P.O.S. from Cooper County tracing them down and informing them, that group of potential heirs would never even have known that they each had a potential share in a Cooper County farm of which they had no previous knowledge or contact. Interestingly, JOE RUTHERFORD and his out-of-county co-counsel requested and received a Change of Venue away from Cooper County, and WON at the trial court level. Thankfully, on appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, that egregious trial court decision was UNANIMOUSLY reversed.


See also 1905 Supreme Court of Missouri case, MING v. OLSTER, which was a complicated ownership dispute involving a farm located in Saline County. After a "Change of Venue" was granted to the Cooper County Circuit Court, the Plaintiff's legal team decided to hire local Boonville real estate Attorney JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD& as their Co-Counsel. At trial, the Defendants offered into evidence a "certified copy" of the Deed in question, as recorded by the recorder of Deeds in Saline County. The Plaintiff's Attorneys attempted to defeat the validity of that "certified copy" by presenting a Deed they "purported" to be the "original", which amazingly lacked the necessary signature of the Plaintiff's ex-husband, who had moved to Montana. The Supreme Court of Missouri "affirmed" the Cooper County Circuit Court's ruling against the Plaintiff, noting that all of the Plaintiff's evidence and testimony "was weighed by the court and found wanting. The original deed exhibited by the plaintiff showed that it had been tampered with and the circumstances justified the court in concluding that the erasures [to the missing signature] had been made after the deed had been recorded." Once again JOE RUTHERFORD is found representing a client who not only attempted to DEFRAUD an individual, but who also later LIED UNDER OATH at trial and attempted to DEFRAUD the trial and appellate courts.


See also 1895 Court of Appeals of Missouri case, F.P.COOK v. PETER HECHT, which was yet another OUTRAGEOUS civil lawsuit lost and later appealed by Joe Rutherford. Such cases evidence something about the moral fiber of this POS. The defendant in this civil lawsuit was the completely innocent Road Overseer of Moniteau County who had attempted to remedy a drainage problem on a county roadway which was bordered by the plaintiff Cook's farm. Cook did not like the fact that a shallow ditchline had been cut between the county road and his property line on that side of his farm, which had also cut through one or more of his entrances from that roadway into his farm, which now required culverts. At trial, the plaintiff presented testimony that indicated that there had been better ways to solve the drainage problem along that county road, while the defendant presented testimony that indicated that the way he had remedied the problem was proper. In any event, Joe Rutherford not only sought civil damages for "property damage", but even accused the Road Overseer of "malice". Rutherford lost at trial level, and on appeal, the Court of Appeals UNANIMOUSLY upheld the jury verdict, while stating that "there was no merit in the plaintiff's case", and further ruling that there was "no evidence" of malice in the Road Overseer's actions. Decent attorneys tell prospective clients that they are wrong when they are wrong -- especially back in 1895.

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ANTON KOERBER v. JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD and MATTHEW A. HOWLETT was a 1940-41 New York civil court case which was dropped either after Koerber lost an appellate court ruling in latter 1941, or more likely after Judge Rutherford died in January 1942. In this lawsuit which Anton Koerber filed against WatchTower Society President JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD, Koerber alleged that Judge Rutherford had DEFRAUDED him out of his share of the profits made on the purchase and sale of a Cleveland, Ohio radio station which J. F. Rutherford and Koerber had SECRETLY owned as "Partners".

Anton Adam Koerber was an experienced, wealthy real estate agent/investor in Washington D.C., who was also the WatchTower Society's Leader for the Wash DC area. Koerber eventually became a Bethelite and District Overseer under Rutherford before Rutherford had Koerber disfellowshipped in the latter 1930s. It is uncertain which came first, Koerber's DFing or this lawsuit. Unbelievably, Koerber was later reinstated under Rutherford's successor, Nathan Knorr, and was appointed as a Circuit Overseer. In the 1970s, Koerber's severely-edited Biography was published in the WATCHTOWER magazine, and Koerber's "experience" (see our JWE Page 2035) was discussed in "talks" at District and Circuit Assemblies, and during local KH meetings.

In 1940, Anton Koerber alleged in this lawsuit that Judge Rutherford had approached him around 1929 (it actually had been 1925) with the proposition that they become partners (joint venturers) in the purchase of radio station WHK, in Cleveland, Ohio, whose stock was for sale for $10,000.00 ($140,000.00 in today's dollars). Koerber was asked to put up the $10,000.00 purchase price, which he did. Koerber alleged that Rutherford promised to put up another $10,000.00, plus completely manage the radio station for the partnership (joint venture). Rutherford supposedly owned 51% of the stock of RADIO AIR SERVICE CORPORATION, and Koerber supposedly owed 49% of the stock. (RASC was a pre-existing corporation which owned WHK. Rutherford and Koerber apparently purchased RASC. INTERESTINGLY, in January 1926, newspapers reported that WHK had been purchased by the "National Bible Association", which the newspapers ASSUMEDLY confused with the "International Bible Students Association" -- otherwise, we have an even BIGGER STORY than just the secret purchase of a radio station. MORE INTERESTINGLY, we are unable to locate any source where the WatchTower Society ever acknowledged ownership of WHK.)

Anton Koerber further alleged that the purchase of RADIO AIR SERVICE CORPORATION's stock was made in the name of Judge Rutherford's Bethelite "Personal Assistant", Matthew Arnold Howlett, because Judge Rutherford wished to keep his ownership of the radio station HIDDEN from the WatchTower Society's followers.

The three "Howlett Brothers" were publicly advertised as the "owners and operators" of WHK. Matthew A. Howlett was listed as "President" of Radio Air Service Corporation and "General Manager" of WHK, and even served as "Secretary-Treasurer" of the National Association of Broadcasters from 1931-33. (THAT'S CORRECT, the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY SECRETLY INFILTRATED the National Association of Broadcasters in the 1930s.) Eric S. Howlett, was presented as "Station Manager". Harry Howlett was "Commercial Manager" of WHK. (Eric and Harry Howlett may have worked for WHK even prior to the purchase.) INTERESTINGLY, WHK also employed a number of young, attractive female singers. Rutherford no doubt personally auditioned each one before she was hired.

Anton Koerber alleged that Judge Rutherford sold WHK in Summer 1934 for more than $250,000.00 ($4.5 MILLION in today's dollars), without saying anything to Koerber about the sale. (Interestingly, the purchaser was the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER newspaper. More interestingly, there is reason to suspect that CPD did not acquire all of the stock, but that some of the stock remained under WatchTower control for many more years -- possibly decades.) Koerber alleged that he did not even find out about the sale of WHK until 1935, and that when he approached Rutherford about his share of the sale proceeds and his share of the operating profits from 1929 through 1934, that Rutherford became "antagonistic". Koerber alleges that he made multiple unsuccessful demands for his money from 1935 until he was forced to file this lawsuit in 1940.

Koerber filed a pre-trial motion for an "accounting" -- production of the books and records of WHK -- but Rutherford answered such with a DENIAL that Koerber and he were partners in WHK or that Koerber owned any interest in WHK. In May 1941, the New York trial court ordered Rutherford to turn over only some of the records that Koerber had requested, but that the other records could not be had until after Koerber had prove the partnership. However, in latter 1941, Rutherford appealed that decision to the NY appellate court, which reversed the lower court's ruling and held that none of the requested records would have to be produced until after Koerber established the partnership. Then, Rutherford died in January 1942. Given that Koerber had no written agreement between Rutherford and himself, and had absolutely no way to prove his partnership with Rutherford, Judge Rutherford's death ended the matter.

One must assume that if Anton Koerber had been in the wrong in filing a lawsuit against a sitting WatchTower Society President that Nathan Knorr would never have later appointed Koerber as a Circuit Overseer, and the WatchTower Society would have never published his Biography in the WATCHTOWER magazine decades later, nor decades later praised Koerber's "experience" at District and Circuit Assemblies, and during local KH meetings.

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MISSOURI v. JAMES B. RUTHERFORD was a 1898-99 Missouri criminal prosecution in which 21 year-old James B. Rutherford was convicted of Grand Larceny and was sentenced to the MINIMUM two years in prison. Suspiciously, the Circuit Judge who presided over this trial was a thoroughly experienced criminal court Judge who gave highly defective Jury Instructions which would easily cause a guilty verdict to be reversed on appeal if the Jury did in fact return a "Guilty" verdict. That is in fact what happened, and apparently the case was not re-tried, but was dismissed. Judge Shackleford notably also had very strong ties to Cooper County -- not only serving there as "Circuit Judge" for many years, but also as "Prosecuting Attorney" from 1891-92.
On December 3, 1897, 21 year-old James B. Rutherford, who had only recently relocated to Tipton to work as a Life Insurance Agent, entered the People's Bank of Tipton around 4:30 PM. Cashier Roy Bane testified that Rutherford had gotten in the habit of frequenting the Bank. At around 5:00 PM, Rutherford came behind the counter and offered to help the busy Cashier with his necessary duties to close the Bank. Rutherford made three or four trips into the vault carrying various record books. The following morning the same Cashier discovered a packet of $500.00 missing from the safe. The loss was reported to Tipton's Marshall, along with the Cashier's suspicion that Rutherford had stolen the $500.00 ($17,200.00 in today's money).
That afternoon, James Rutherford returned to the Bank supposedly to collect the premium on a life insurance policy. Rutherford was confronted by the Marshall and Bank officials, but Rutherford denied stealing the $500.00. The Marshall told Rutherford that he was going to search him to see how much cash that he had on him. Rutherford replied that he had $200.00, but produced only $165.35. Rutherford then explained that he had purchased a new suit that morning for $25.00, and had given $10.00 to his sister, Ella Newkirk, with whom he lived in Tipton. Rutherford repeated his claim of innocence, and stated that he did not want his parents to even hear of the accusation. When the Marshall repeated the accusation, Rutherford fainted. After Rutherford revived, the Marshall and Bank VP went to the Newkirk home and searched Rutherford's room. There, they found $296.00 hidden in his closet. Rutherford denied knowledge or ownership of the $296.00. Rutherford was thereafter arrested and indicted for Grand Larceny. Interestingly, at trial, the Prosecution presented evidence that James Rutherford had little or no money of consequence prior to the day in question, and that Rutherford had owed his sister for board, and had owed other small unpaid bills. In his defense, six persons came from Morgan County to testify to James Rutherford's short lifetime of honesty and integrity.
Amusingly, in 1905, apparently in an effort to repair the Newkirk and Rutherford family reputations in Tipton, when spinster-schoolteacher Virginia Rutherford married the President of the Bank of Versailles, who was also a local Morgan County Attorney, instead of holding the wedding in Versailles, or elsewhere in Morgan County, the wedding was conducted at the Newkirk residence in Tipton.
Interestingly, the Groom was a prominent Freemason in the state of Missouri, as was his host, locally. More interestingly, while Charles Taze Russell was NOT a Freemason, and had published negative comments about Freemasonry for decades, all competent researchers are aware that Charles Taze Russell did a 180 degree turn starting about 8-10 years before his death, and ultimately embraced Freemasons, who in turn embraced Russell and his "non-sectarian" religious organization. There were multiple changes in Russell's life around that same time, including the embracing of Joseph Franklin Rutherford as Russell's most intimate counselor and advisor. Am I the only one who smells "cigar smoke" as some of these court decisions are read? Interestingly, Virginia Ross was one of the few Rutherford family members to join Joseph F. Rutherford as a "Bible Student".
CITY OF FARMINGTON v. JAMES B. RUTHERFORD was a 1901-02 Missouri Court of Appeals criminal court case which James Rutherford lost at both the trial and appellate court levels. Although James Rutherford had purchased the proper license to conduct business as an Insurance Agent within the City of Farmington, Missouri, the Life Insurance company represented by Rutherford had NOT purchased the necessary license to conduct business as an Insurance Company within the City. Rutherford was convicted of a Misdemeanor for acting as the Agent of an unlicensed Insurance Company.

Around 1902-03, James B. Rutherford lived in Clinton County, Missouri, where he quickly developed a reputation as a swindler and conman while managing a local business, and dabbling in real estate and insurance sales. "Something" happened, and Rutherford quickly left town, and resumed operations in Vernon County. See below.


MISSOURI v. JAMES B. RUTHERFORD. In May 1903, James B. Rutherford was once again arrested, convicted, and fined in Vernon County, Missouri, on charges of selling life insurance without a state license. Fortunately, Rutherford, whom locals described as "slick" and "smooth" was originally charged with theft, having been accused of taking CASH of between $600 and $1000 from multiple locals, and then failing to send that cash and the insurance applications to the company Rutherford claimed to represent -- the Missouri State Life Insurance Company. Apparently, either the company and/or Rutherford made good on those applications/premium payments. Rutherford also was accused of accepting "notes" as premium payment, and then cashing out the notes. Rutherford also was accused of "tricking" people into purchasing from him by lying to spouses of those who had declined his offer. Young 26 year-old James B. Rutherford simply was a moral degenerate. Who would have thought that the fine upstanding Rutherford Family could have produced such a scumbag?


KANSAS v. JAMES B. RUTHERFORD was a 1904 Kansas criminal court case. In April 1904, James B. Rutherford was arrested in Joplin, Missouri, where Rutherford waived extradition and was returned to Galena, Kansas, where he was charged with insurance FRAUD, after a purchaser in Galena, Kansas was informed by the local examining physician that Rutherford had left town without obtaining and forwarding the medical paperwork and life insurance application to the company -- reported to be the "Indiana Life Insurance Company". Interestingly, the Kansas Branch Office of the probable "Indiana State Life Insurance Company" denied any knowledge of Rutherford as one of their sales agents. Rutherford quickly obtained his release by refunding the $82.00 premium payment ($2477.00 in today's dollars) to the Galena National Bank, to whom Rutherford had sold the purchaser's note given as payment. Rutherford was referred to by the newspapers as a "swindler" and as a "smooth one". Interestingly, by March 1905, James Rutherford was working for the Insurance Company which did not employ him in southern Colorado, and by latter 1905, in New Mexico and western Texas.
NEW MEXICO v. JAMES B. RUTHERFORD was a criminal court case which demonstrates that "staying on the move" and being "shady" and "slippery" were evidently Rutherford male traits. In April 1906, then 30 years-old James B. Rutherford was indicted by an Albuquerque, New Mexico, Grand Jury on 13 counts charging him with embezzling $1800.00 (over $50,000.00 in today's dollars) from the Indiana State Life Insurance Company, which Rutherford had formerly represented as the General Agent in New Mexico and western Texas. In November 1906, after a week-long jury trial, James Rutherford was declared "not guilty", after a Manager with Rutherford's newest employer, Capitol Life Insurance Company of Colorado(Rutherford had been employed as Capitol's GA for New Mexico and southern Colorado), but who also was a former Manager with I.S.L.I.C., testified that he personally witnessed the Western United States Manager of I.S.L.I.C. make a separate "verbal agreement" with Rutherford to pay Rutherford 60% sales commission, rather than the 40% sales commission specified in Rutherford's written contract.
I.S.L.I.C. futilely claimed that Rutherford had consistently failed to provide it with all the required accounting records, and that Rutherford's claim to higher than contracted commissions was nothing more than a smokescreen to hide the fact that Rutherford had not been submitting all monies due the company. The Prosecution futilely further maintained that "IF" the secret "verbal agreement" between Rutherford and the Western U.S. Manager of I.S.L.I.C. for additional sales commission even did exist, such would have been both improper and illegal, and would have been intended to DEFRAUD of commission the field sales agents in New Mexico and Texas who worked under Rutherford.
Interestingly, the Prosecution also had unsuccessfully attempted to prevent James B. Rutherford from testifying in his own defense in this court case on the grounds that James B. Rutherford was a CONVICTED FELON in the state of Missouri. Rutherford and his attorney proclaimed that Rutherford was "innocent" of the Missouri conviction -- apparently the "Bank" case -- and presented sufficient evidence to convince the Judge to allow Rutherford to testify in this case. Interestingly, Rutherford's attorney acknowledged during closing arguments that after that Missouri conviction that "sleuth hounds" had been following Rutherford "from place to place".
In 1909, James B. Rutherford, who by then had relocated to Colorado to work for the Colorado National Life Insurance Company, was publicly accused by a small Colorado newspaper of DEFRAUDING local farmers. Those charges were supposedly investigated by the Insurance Company and Colorado's Insurance Commissioner, and totally debunked. Poor ol' James Rutherford had once again been falsely accused, but eventually completely exonerated.
In 1912, James B. Rutherford was living in Denver, Colorado.
By 1914, James B. Rutherford was living in Phoenix, Arizona, and was the state's "Superintendent of Agencies" for the Inter-mountain Life Insurance Company of Salt Lake City, Utah. That company had just been founded in 1911, and only did business in Arizona and Utah. In 1915, Rutherford helped the company expand into California.
Although we do NOT know if this is the same "J. B. Rutherford", a 1927 Supreme Court of Alabama decision, National Life & Accident Insurance Company v. Joe Moore, mentions "J. B. Rutherford, superintendent of agencies". We mention this only for others doing research on this topic who are attempting to follow James B. Rutherford's career to its end.

Sometime prior to his death, either after his retirement or "release", James B. Rutherford and his wife moved back to Morgan County, Missouri. Readers should further understand that after Rutherford moved to the southwest that he was NOT estranged from his family. Rutherford and his wife occasionally returned to Morgan County on vacations and special occasions such as his parents' 50th anniversary.

James B. Rutherford and his older brother may have maintained a good relationship which enabled the baby brother to provide "insider" Life Insurance Company advice to his older brother. Interestingly, in 1906, Joseph F. Rutherford "somehow" managed to "settle" life insurance lawsuits against the Modern Woodmen of America fraternal organization and the Missouri State Life Insurance Company, which neither company seemingly owed.

In July 1905, John Dougherty, of Blackwater, Missouri, was killed inside the Blackwater Jail by the City Marshall, whom was acquitted during the later murder prosecution. Modern Woodmen had issued a $2000.00 life insurance policy on John Dougherty, which contained an EXCLUSION which voided coverage if the policyholder died during the commission of a crime. Joe Rutherford somehow convinced Modern Woodmen to pay the claim (roughly $60,000.00 in 2016 dollars), without even going to trial.

In May 1906, John Dougherty's son committed suicide. Missouri State Life had issued a $2500.00 life insurance policy on him, which contained the standard ONE YEAR SUICIDE EXCLUSION. Joe Rutherford somehow convinced Missouri State Life to pay $2250.00 (roughly $70,000.00 in 2016 dollars), without even going to trial.
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Joseph F. Rutherford's only older brother, William Rutherford, known as "Will", was 4+ years older than Joe Rutherford. The three Rutherford brothers, Will, Joe, and Bertie, along with their parents and five older sisters, were regular members of the nearby Freedom Baptist Church. Sunday School records list both Will and Joe as "male scholars" in 1882. Will Rutherford became an official member of the church after his eighteenth birthday, in March 1883, but Will Rutherford was "disfellowshipped" for the sin of "dancing" in January 1885. We believe that Will Rutherford left the family farm soon after that public humiliation of the upstanding Rutherford family, and before younger brother Joe Rutherford left the farm to attend Teacher's College in 1886.
Will Rutherford was the only "blue collar" Rutherford brother. Will wound up in California by the latter 1880s -- by working and continuing to work manual labor intensive jobs which took advantage of his prior experience working on a farm and handling farm animals. By January 1894, Will Rutherford had apparently developed sufficient political connections to be hired by the City of Sacramento as a new Fireman (don't forget this little tidbit). However, only 3-4 weeks thereafter, in February 1894, Will Rutherford was hired as a Police Officer by the City of Sacramento. Will Rutherford was fired from the Sacramento Police Department in May 1896 after having been indicted and criminally prosecuted three times -- for manslaughter, police brutality, and perjury -- during his less than 2 1/2 years period of employment as a Sacramento Police Officer. (In this editor's neck of the woods, there is an old adage that goes something like this, "If you want to know what kind of a person a man really is, just hand him a badge and a gun.")
There is a suggestion demonstrated below that Will Rutherford may have delusionally attempted to be re-hired by the City of Sacramento as a Fireman, but that did not happen. Rutherford returned to working manual labor jobs until around 1909, when he thereafter relocated to Oregon to work in the lumber industry. The last notable life incident we found was about 15 years prior to his death in 1931, and was another run-in with the law -- possibly a public intoxication arrest.
CALIFORNIA v. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD was a 1894-95 California criminal prosecution in which Will Rutherford was ACQUITTED of MANSLAUGHTER for the strong>May 1894 (only a few months after becoming a police officer) fatal shooting in the back of a fleeing suspect whom Rutherford had attempted to arrest, along with four others, for stealing newspapers from a "newsboy". Rutherford testified that he had not even aimed his pistol toward the 19 year-old teenager as he fled down a dark alleyway, and that he had intended no harm, but that he had discharged his pistol only as a warning for the suspect to stop. The teen died within minutes from a single gunshot wound which struck him in the back and passed slightly beneath his heart -- probably severing an artery. A cheap "Saturday Night Special" type pistol was recovered from the corpse by the Coroner. The "deeply pained" Rutherford sent his sympathy out to the boy's parents through the the local newspaper, which lamented the "unfortunate affair", which "is regretted by none more sincerely than by Officer Rutherford himself. He is a quiet man, of temperate habits and amiable disposition, and quite free from any taint of bravado or recklessness."

CALIFORNIA v. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD was a 1895 California criminal prosecution in which police officer William Rutherford was ACQUITTED of the January 1895 BATTERY on a Union Civil War Veteran -- due to conflicting testimony of multiple witnesses for both the prosecution and defense, with advantage rendered to the police officer. Adverse witnesses, some of whom had encouraged the Veteran to press charges against Rutherford, testified that while Rutherford's partner went to summon a police wagon that Rutherford threw the older, inebriated Veteran to the ground, held the Veteran down by putting his knee onto his chest, and that Rutherford then struck the "resisting" Veteran multiple times in the head and torso with his police baton. The complaining witness testified that Rutherford also struck him while in the police wagon on the way to jail. One prosecution witness testified to have previously seen on another occasion Rutherford himself passed out drunk in public. The Veteran testified that about a week prior to this incident, in January 1895, that Rutherford had spent several hours sleeping in a horse stable during his night shift.

TAMAKI v. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD was a May-June 1895 administrative hearing conducted by the Sacramento Board of Trustees on a formal complaint filed against Will Rutherford by an attorney-represented Japanese National who alleged police brutality and false imprisonment. The complaint was filed after the local prosecutor refused to pursue criminal charges against Rutherford. Tamaki alleged that, in May 1895, that as an interpreter for the suspect's employer, he had approached Officer Rutherford to question him about a second Japanese National whom Rutherford had arrested and was taking to jail, when Rutherford struck Tamaki in the chest, knocking him out of the way. Tamaki and the employer followed Rutherford and the suspect to the police station where they attempted to speak with the suspect. When Tamaki failed to stop talking to the suspect, Rutherford allegedly slapped Tamaki in the face, knocking him to the floor. Rutherford then arrested Tamaki and jailed him for a few hours before simply releasing him. After a full hearing before the Board of Trustees, they voted to dismiss all charges against Rutherford, but to issue a "reprimand" to Rutherford for any possible mis-treatment of Tamaki.
CALIFORNIA v. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD was a 1896 California criminal prosecution in which Will Rutherford was ACQUITTED of PERJURY after Rutherford "mistakingly" swore in a separate criminal prosecution that he had personally witnessed the criminal defendant, who was charged with "vagrancy", being in Sacramento on a certain date. As it turned out, the defendant had been in jail in another city on that date. Even after being faced with the defendant's testimony to that effect, Rutherford reiterated that he had seen the defendant in Sacramento on the previously indicated date. Based on Rutherford's firm stance, the defendant was convicted and incarcerated. However, after the Judge was presented with proof that the defendant had been in jail in another city on the date in question, he moved that Rutherford be charged with perjury. At trial, Rutherford was given the opportunity to admit that he may have "unintentionally" confused the dates.
FORMAL DISMISSAL. William Rutherford's luck as a Police Officer finally ran out in April 1896 when he was approached in Police Court by the Chief of Police and asked why he was there instead of out walking his beat. Rutherford actually had a good reason, but his reaction to the Chief's accusation, and Rutherford's later complaints to co-workers, amounted to insubordination. Thereafter, the Chief filed such charges against Rutherford and suspended him. In May 1896, a formal administrative hearing was held, and Will Rutherford was dismissed from his position by the Sacramento Board of Trustees after being found guilty of violating police department rules and regulations, neglect of duty, and misconduct.
WILL RUTHERFORD - PUBLIC HERO. Interestingly, exactly six months after being dismissed from the Sacramento Police Department, a house near -- but NOT too near -- Will Rutherford's own home caught fire around 1:00 AM. on a Monday morning. Fortunately for the sleeping occupant of that house and the occupant of an adjoining house, the "light" from the fire was bright enough to awakened the sleeping Will Rutherford, who ran to each of the involved houses, broke down the front doors, and dragged the two sleeping occupants to safety. The fire was reportedly "incendiary" in nature, and started in an adjoining barn -- killing a horse. Just in time for the annual January hirings at the Fire Department.
CALIFORNIA v. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD and CALIFORNIA v. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD were separate May 1899 California criminal prosecutions in which Rutherford was separately arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon and threatening the life of Rutherford's brother-in-law, who himself was some kind of "special" police officer, after the two brothers-in-law got into a physical confrontation during an argument over the ownership of some slot machines. Between Rutherford's two separate arrests, he had charged his BIL with "battery". Rutherford dropped the battery charge. BIL dropped the threatening charge. Rutherford pleaded guilty to the concealed weapon charge pressed by the arresting police officers.






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