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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):


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:

May 12, 1916


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.

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:


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.

July 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.

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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.

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For Jehovah's Witnesses and other readers who have NO CLUE about the REAL history of the WatchTower Society and its principal characters, Joe Rutherford, as he was known in Missouri, had an extensive background in rural Missouri Democrat Party politics that extended back to his formative years. Joe Rutherford had intensely participated in not only intra-party primary elections and inter-party general elections, but also intra-party elections, appointments, and other dirty political manuverings.

When Rutherford had been only 26 years-old, he ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic Party primary for a seat in the State Legislature, and four years later, Rutherford ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for "Circuit Judge". In intra-party politics, Rutherford had been County Chairman of at least one Presidential campaign (possibly two), and of at least one Gubernatorial campaign.

Years of firsthand involvement in dirty, crooked intra-party politics, including rigging county and state conventions and political platforms, had prepared Rutherford perfectly for pushing out the passive half-wits whom Charles Taze Russell had kept on the WatchTower Society's Board of Directors and in WatchTower Society management positions.

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"Judge" Rutherford directed the writing of "THE FINISHED MYSTERY", as well as its publication and printing without the knowledge of the Board of Directors. As part of Rutherford's deceit, he did not want to access Society funds for the hired printing of "TFM" lest his conspiracy be discovered -- enter "mysterious" George W. Butterfield. Identified during the Sedition Trial as being originally from Iowa, but by 1917, living in Colorado, who was this "wealthy" older man who had not previously made a ripple in the small pool of WatchTower wealth? Yet, George Butterfield was, in mid 1917, someone apparently known to Rutherford whom would fork over cash anytime such was needed. Butterfield gave Rutherford $5000.00, which was equivalent to $85,000.00 in 2021 dollars.

Interestingly, in 1919, soon after Rutherford was released from federal prison, Butterfield hand-carried another $10,000.00 in CASH to Pittsburgh HQ to jumpstart Society operations. Interestingly, Butterfield's mission apparently was not known to Rutherford, because Rutherford had left Pittsburgh for California.

Obviously, Butterfield simply could have been yet another "fool" with more money than sense, but our "smoke alarm" is starting to chirp. Could Butterfield have been a fake Russellite or Rutherfordite, whose financial bolstering of WatchTower operations had larger political intentions?



The Bauerlein Family once boasted that patriarch Adam H. Bauerlein was Pittsburgh's first brewer, and that he had established his commercial brewery in 1845. Another German family claims their patriarch arrived in Pittsburgh in 1838, and established a brewery in 1844.

Probably around the time of the death of Adam H. Bauerlein, sons Christian Bauerlein and Adam A. Bauerlein relocated the Bauerlein Brewery to the suburb of Millvale, in 1869. In 1897, the two brothers sold Bauerlein Brewery to newly formed Pittsburgh Pure Beer Company, which dropped the Bauerlein Brewery name. In 1899, Bauerlein Brewery was purchased by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, and the use of the name Bauerlein Brewery was restarted -- until 1920. While the two Bauerlein brothers undoubtedly sold out their majority interests back in 1897, and retired, one can only wonder whether one or both brothers had retained a minority shareholder's interest in the family business, or re-purchased such in 1899?

By 1908, Adam A. Bauerlein's son, John A. Bauerlein was a WatchTower Society "Pilgrim". John A. Bauerlein also became a Brooklyn Bethelite sometime around 1916-17, and worked at WatchTower HQ until his death.

In 1923, "A. Bauerlein" was elected a corporate "Director" of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. While it easily is assumed that "A. Bauerlein" was 40 year-old Bethelite "John A. Bauerlein", there remains the possibility that it was his 74 year-old father, Adam A. Bauerlein. Why? Because he was 74 years-old. Bequeathals have always been one of the WatchTower Cult's sleaziest sources of money. Con-artists know that elderly, long-ago retired businessmen (1897) are suckers for deathbed (December 1925) acknowledgments of their business successes, and such acknowledgments are often reciprocated with a bequeathal. Notably, Adam A. Bauerlein was buried in the Allegheny Cemetery.

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The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
November 26, 1916

Latter Will Probably Be Elected President of Watch Tower Bible Society 
Meeting To Be Held In Pittsburg in January 
"Pastor's" Will Not Filed

That A. I. Ritchie, Vice President of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, will be the next President and directing force of the "Pastor" Russell religious enterprises, is the belief expressed by certain persons high up in the councils of Russellism. It is also hinted that the will of the late "Pastor" will possibly convey some suggestion as to whom he would wish to suceed him. The Will has not yet been filed for probate, but it is stated that the document will express a number of the late Mr. Russell's wishes and suggestions as to how that he would prefer to have some branches of the work conducted. "Pastor" Russell did not desire that his Will be filed until some time after his death. He died October 31.

One of the provisions of the Will, according to authoritative information, calls for the appointment of an editorial staff to carry on the publication of the Watch Tower, one of the Russell papers. It is understood that the "Pastor" named the persons whom he wished to serve in this capacity. It is said that the "Pastor" has left enough unpublished matter from his own pen to fill the body of the Watch Tower for several years to come.

According to a statement made yesterday by A. H. Macmillan, of 122-124 Columbia Heights, who was personal assistant to "Pastor" Russell, the death of the leader will not halt or retard the activities of the organization in the slightest degree. "In fact," he said, "we are receiving hundreds of letters and telegrams every day from contributors, stating that they have absolute confidence in the officers of the organization. Many of them say that they are going to continue their donations, and others express an intention of increasing the amounts they have been giving." ...

In reference to the prospective new President, Mr. Macmillan stated that he had no means of knowing who would be chosen. He explained that every person who contributes to the work is entitled to one vote for each $10 given. There are upward of 10,000 persons in the United States who are eligible voters under this provision, and they will assemble, or such portion of them as desire to do so, at Pittsburgh during the first week of January, and vote for a president. Notices of the election are now being mailed to the 100,000 shareholders, so called.

Although Mr. Macmillan did not wish to comment on the possibilities as to who would be elected, he agreed, when the question was put to him, that there was a decided feeling in favor of Mr. Ritchie.

J. F. Rutherford, one of the Directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, which is incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for President of the Society, but Mr. Macmillan said that he doubted whether Mr. Rutherford would care to take the position. He is a resident of Los Angeles, Cal., and the work of his office would necessitate his moving to Brooklyn, which Mr. Macmillan doubts he would care to do. He is at present time in Florida (paying off Maria and Margaret).

Mr. Ritchie is (being kept) out of town, and his personal views in the matter were not directly learned.

Mr. Macmillan explained that under the provisions of the charter of the Society, it becomes the duty of the Board of Directors to act in an executive capacity in case of the death of the President, who was "Pastor" Russell. There was no provision whereby the Vice President became the executive head. The work of the Society is now being conducted by the Board of Directors. To facilitate the work, they have appointed an Executive Committee, answerable to the Board. This committee consists of Vice President Ritchie, Chairman; W.E. Van Amburg, Secretary and Treasurer; and J.F. Rutherford, Director.

"Pastor" Russell has been the only President of the Society. Up to three years ago, he controlled the votes of the organization, owing to the fact that he was the largest contributor. It was stated by Mr. Mamillan that the "Pastor" had given $300,000 to the work during the past thirty years, however, the number of smaller contributors wiped out the "Pastor's" control, and he did not voted at the elections, although he was re-elected. At the present time, according to Mr. Macmillan, there is no combination of votes large enough to control an election, and the outcome rests entirely with the voters at the annual meeting in Pittsburgh, in January.



The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
July 31, 1917 

Old Followers of "Pastor" Russell Expelled
"Bethel" and "Tabernacle" Under Guard

After months of smouldering jealousies, trouble has broken out in full force among the followers of the late "Pastor" Russell. At the present time, the "Bethel" established by the founder of Russellism at 122-124 Columbia Heights and the "Tabernacle" at 17 Hicks Street, closely resemble armed camps and two factions are engaged in a bitter fight to hold control of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the holding corporation, in effect, for the various business enterprises and associations "Pastor" Russell established.

Guards are stationed at all the doors of the various Russell homes and at the offices in the "Tabernacle." The guards have strict orders that the malcontents, those opposing Judge J. F. Rutherford, are to be kept out. The little colony on Columbia Heights which "Pastor" Russell founded ten years ago is fairly seething and bubbling with the accusations and recriminations each faction is directing against the other.

According to Judge Rutherford, "the Evil One is again trying to disrupt the Society." On his orders, some of the oldest followers of the late "Pastor" have been expelled from the Society, and the scheme of running the Society's publications by an Editorial Board selected in "Pastor" Russell's Will has been almost entirely upset. Four Directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, according to Judge Rutherford, have no right to sit in its councils. These four Directors, among them Robert Hirsh, are credited with being the leaders of one faction in the present bitter fight for control, and Judge Rutherford and A. H. Macmillan, credited with having brought about Rutherford's election as "Pastor" Russell's successor, are the leaders of the other. It is under the orders of Rutherford and Macmillan that every door of the "Bethel" and the "Tabernacle" has its "sister" or "brother" constantly on hand doing sentry duty just now. 

Enemies of Rutherford Evicted.

Let one of those suspected of working against Judge Rutherford go out into the street and his personal belongings are at once packed up and sent after him. On his return, he finds the door barred, and he is told that the "Bethel" can be his home no longer. Because of this state of affairs, four members of the Society are now barred in their rooms at the "Bethel". They have told the Rutherford followers that only physical force can put them out, and the Rutherfordites are hesitating to resort to this.

Thus far, physical violence has been threatened only once in the row. This came about a week ago when Judge Rutherford directed the Rev. Mr. Macmillan that four Directors of the Watch Tower Society should not be permitted to enter the Society's offices in the "Tabernacle." The four Directors insisted on their right to enter and Macmillan held them off forcibly, at the same time directing a small boy to run for a policeman. When the officer arrived, Macmillan said something about kicking his ministerial brethren into the street, but the policeman failed to back him up, and a verbal battle alone resulted.

Judge Rutherford was asked today to explain the causes back of this row, but said that he had no statement to make.

That serious trouble has existed in the society for several days was, however, admitted by a Mrs. Hudgins, who said that she was Judge Rutherford's secretary, but who was classed by the Judge as one of his three stenographers. "All the differences have been amicably adjusted," was Mrs. Hudglns' word.

Trouble Dates Back to "Pastor's" Death.

The present disturbance dates back to the time of "Pastor" Russell's death last fall. Ever since his death, bickerings and rivalries as to who should occupy the chief council seats have been in progress. A deadlock developed among the ministers of the sect over which of them should have the honor of delivering the eulogies at the Russell funeral. Some speakers, after having been selected and notified of their appointment, were not permitted to go upon the platform.

Beginning at that time, the present dominant faction grew up in the Society under the leadership of the Rev. Mr. Macmillan. It developed later that he was secretly working in the interests of Judge Rutherford, and where It had been generally accepted that A. I. Ritchie, Vice President of the Watch Tower Society, would succeed "Pastor" Russell as President of the society, at the annual meeting, the "Judge" was found to have been elected. His election was announced as unanimous, and there was surprise among certain members of the Society when it was later determined that a number of people had voted against him. 

"Judge" Rutherford gained his title as probate Judge in a Western State (WRONG!). For several years before "Pastor" Russell's death, he acted as the founder's legal adviser. The charter of the Watch Tower Society provided for a President, a Vice President, and a Board of Directors to govern all the rest, and Judge Rutherford pronounced it all legal. Now, it is charged, that he refuses to recognize his former legal opinion, and also refuses to accept the legality of the papers which he formerly passed upon. Judge Rutherford holds that the People's Pulpit Association -- or one of the associations of this name -- is the supreme body in Russellism. 

Among other factors that are now said to be creating unrest in the Society is the questioning of the prophecies of the late founder. Many years ago, "Pastor" Russell devised a unique program, which he named, "The Divine Plan". Connected with this, there was a chronology so arranged that the great prophecies of Daniel and Jeremiah were due to begin their fulfiullment not later than 1910. To this, he held unswervingly until about 1908. When asked about prophetic matters after that date, he felt less and less certain, and at the time of his death he answered, "I don't know," to three very important and vital questions affecting the well-being of the sect he had founded. The facts connected with this are just coming out in the Society, and are affording one of the bases for unrest. 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.



The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
September 5, 1917

Elected for Life by "Pastor" Russell
They Are Forced Out by New Leader

Following months of factional disturbances within the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the unusual religious sect founded by the late "Pastor" Russell has restored peace among its members, it was learned today, by the simple expedient of expelling all those who were opposed to the authority of its new head, Joseph F. Rutherford.

Four of the "big" men in the councils of the "Bethel", at 122 Columbia Heights, have recently been forced out, with their families. It meant that about thirty persons, all told, were compelled to leave the sanctuary provided for them by the late "Pastor." The four leaders were members of the Board of Directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and supposedly, should have held office for life in guiding the affairs of what used to be "Russellism".

The laws of the Russellites, and the express direction of the late "Pastor", stipulated that the Directors were elected for life, and could only be removed by a two-thirds vote of all the shareholders in the Society. Despite this, President Rutherford, the successor to "Pastor" Russell, instituted a vigorous campaign against the authority of the four Directors concerned. They were, A. I. Ritchie, Vice President of the Society, and mentioned last fall as the probable successor of the "Pastor"; R. H. Hirsh, a member of the Editorial Committee of the Watch Tower; and J. D. Wright and I. F. Hoskins.

Each of the four was immensely powerful in the affairs of the Society, and was thoroughly conversant with some of its innermost secrets, and it is understood that this was the reason for the drive against them made by the new "Pastor," Judge Rutherford. For a time, the four were able to make a stand against the attacks of President Rutherford. They gained a number of adherents among the Watch Tower members, and the "Bethel" on Columbia Heights, and the "Tabernacle" at 13 Hicks Street, took on the aspect of armed camps.

The four alleged malcontents on the one hand, and Rutherford and his adherents on the other, issued a number of circular letters and booklets reciting a history of the case, but the legal acumen of the new President finally won the victory. His ground for expelling the four men was that the Board of Directors had been illegally constituted under its charter. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is a Pennsylvania corporation, and was established as such by "Pastor" Russell under the advice of Rutherford.

But, after the death of the founder, his successor asserted that it was impossible for a Pennsylvania corporation to elect Directors for life in New York state, and to be self-perpetuating, as the charter provided. Although eminent legal advice was obtained by the four [Directors] as to the propriety of their position on the "Board of Directors", Rutherford and those associated with him, adopted "steam roller" methods, and the four [Directors] were by resolution of the three other Dlrectors notified that they had been removed. This was late in July.

The four still held on at the "Bethel," however. Rutherford and those with him could not get the four to leave, so that finally a guard was set with instructions to bar any one of the four from re-entering the Bethel should he leave to get supplies. A sort of "cat and mouse" game went on for several weeks at the Bethel, as the four had been informed by sympathizers of the plans of the Rutherford followers and therefore so arranged matters that they could guard the entrances and exits of one of their number who was daily delegated to go for food. They played this game until two weeks ago, but then some sort of compromise was reached, the nature of it being kept a close secret, by which the four agreed to leave.

They were ousted, bag and baggage, with all the members of their families, and peace once more descended on the Bethel. According to some members of the Society, this is not a permanent peace, however. There is said to be still a measure of opposition to the tactics of Rutherford, and those conversant witn the affairs of the Society assert it is because the new President is breaking away from many of the tenets of the late "Pastor" Russell. Instead of "Russellites," it is said, the members of the sect are now recognizing themselves as "Rutherfordites".

In line with this idea, it has been learned that the traveling lecturers employed by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society have received new and rigid instructions direct from President Rutherford. These instructions provide that they must, in all their teachings, emphasize the rule of implicit obedience to Rutherford. Any opposition to him, it has been stated, no matter of what kind, is to result in the instant expulsion of the offender from the Watch Tower Society.



The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
January 10, 1918

All Opposed to Judge Rutherford Defeated in Election of Elders and Deacons

"Judge" Joseph F. Rutherford demonstrated efficient leadership last night at the meeting in Brooklyn of the followers of the late "Pastor" Russell to elect elders, deacons, and other officers for the local congregation. The meeting was held at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Not one of those members who were opposed to Judge Rutherford made any headway. Each time a member tentatively arose, after his nomination as an elder or deacon, to say that he was opposed to the "Seventh Volume", a barrage of machine gun fire was turned on him from the platform by Brother Rutherford, who would say:

"Under the circumstances, it will not be necessary to vote for you, but we will take a vote anyway," and then after the member had been swept to pieces, Brother Rutherford would run a "tank" over him by adding: "The brother is not elected," or "The brother only got four votes," as the case might be.

Early in the meeting, [recent Vice President] A. I. Ritchie, one of the Directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society ousted by Rutherford, opposed a motion that had been made to require the elders and deacons nominated to answer three questions affirmatively. The last and apparently most important of the three was whether the nominee would accept and teach the "Seventh Volume". 

Mr. Ritchie protested that this was not in accordance with the rules laid down by the late "Pastor" Russell as one of the requirements for the servants of the church to carry on the harvest, and inadvertently mentioned something about deposed brothers. "I am not going to listen to any more references to deposed brothers," interrupted Rutherford. "No one has been deposed."

Mr. Ritchie subsided. The original list of candidates for the position of "elder" numbered 73 men, all of them selected by the old board of elders and deacons. As Rutherford read the names one by one, the candidates stood up, and answered the three questions specified in the resolution. Every candidate answered "Yes" to the first two. The third question, "Are you willing to teach the 'Seventh Volume', or 'The Finished Mystery'", was the rock upon which the opposition to Rutherford split.

A dozen or more insurgents, among them [longtime Charles Taze Russell associates] A. I. Ritchie and J. D. Wright, two of the authors of the pamphlet attacking Rutherford's financial methods, declared that they could not accept the "Seventh Volume" as genuine. By the terms of the resolution, this statement automatically eliminated them as candidates. Rutherford gathered assurance after the first two or three of his opponents had been weeded out without disturbance. He declared that "though it was contrary to the resolution, he would put their names to the vote anyway." 

The result completely justified his confidence. Whenever a candidate even hesitated over the question about the "Seventh Volume", the show of hands in favor of him was well under a dozen. "Contrary minded by the same sign," Rutherford said, and the whole auditorium rustled as nearly every hand was thrust in the air. Rutherford smiled and called the next name. The election of the elders took more than an hour and a half, and so many extra names were proposed from the floor that Rutherford cautioned the congregation lest "there be nobody left to elect as deacons." The roster of elders elected was 100 per cent for Rutherford and the "Seventh Volume".

Less interest was taken in the election of the deacons because of the fact that they have relatively little power in the organization. As with the elders, however, the oppostion was weeded out by the question regarding the seventh and disputed volume of the Russell publications. 

When the business of the meeting had been finished, Rutherford made a plea for harmony in the organization. One nominee said: "I am not sufficiently satisfied that the 'Seventh Volume" is Scripture." "You are clearly out of order," interrupted Brother Rutherford. The nominee refused to stop speaking. "Will the brother please be in order?" insisted Brother Rutherford. "That shows that you have not the proper qualifications for an elder, for you can't be in order." "Thank you," sarcastically replied the nominee. He was not elected. Comments of others who were not elected were: 

B. D. Cook: "My judgment leads me to believe that the book is not Scripture." 

Mr. Ritchie: "I do not recognize the book as the one 'Pastor' Russell told us to expect."

G. Wiley: "I have already expressed my protest."

William Hollister: "I could teach parts of the book and could just as conscientiously point out errors." 

J. Perrall, Dr. Cahoon, and J. Berry withdrew their names. F. G. Mason also refused to accept "Seventh Volume." Of B. F. Mitchell, Brother Rutherford said: "This brother has expressed himself entirely out of harmony with the truth." 

In his closing address, [and evidencing that he simply had been imitating what he had learned years earlier during Democratic Party political conventions] Brother Rutherford said: "The time has come to forget our differences. We should be a help and blessing to each other. When the majority speaks in a decided manner we ought to take that as the Lord's will. If I have done anyone an injury, I humbly and publicly apologize. I have no feeling against anyone and love everybody. We should have no other view than to hold fast to what the Lord has given us, and not lose what we have."

Mr. Ritchie, when asked whether he would take legal action to enforce the demands that the ousted directors have made on Brother Rutherford, [NAIVELY] replied: "The matter is in the Lord's hands, and we feel that he will settle it in his own way and own time better than the courts could do." 

Judge Rutherford refused to comment on the criticism of his management of the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society, issued in pamphlet form over the signatures of former directors. "I am not going to dignify them by discussing them. They are wholly irresponsible," he said. "Any irresponsible persons can make an allegation. I won't talk about them all." 

When the statement that the finances of the society had not been audited, was related, he called for a number of the Watch Tower containing the annual financial report. "You will see that we had an auditing committee of experts." [Yes, the same ignorant yes-men as above.]


Joe Rutherford's past experience with rigging local intra-party elections also came in handy in 1920, when Rutherford decided to re-organize the WatchTower Society's Branch Office in Germany. After traveling to Germany, Rutherford called a meeting of the then seven German "Pilgrims" to supposedly allow them to nominate and elect a new Branch Manager of their own choosing.

Of course, "Boss Rutherford" had no real intention of allowing anyone to be the German Branch Manager except for the person whom Rutherford already had decided on. Pilgrims Bernhard Buchholz and Paul Balzereit (Rutherford's choice) were nominated. Rutherford had the seven German Pilgrims cast secret ballots. Rutherford then "counted" the ballots himself, and announced that Paul Balzereit had won "nearly unanimously" by a vote of 6 to 1 -- making it appear that Paul Balzereit also was "Jehovah's Choice". (Joe Rutherford had to assume that Bernhard Buchholz would vote for himself.)

Days later, when the German Pilgrims began talking amongst themselves, the other five German Pilgrims discovered that each of them had voted for Bernhard Buchholz. Bernhard Buchholz actually was the winner of the election -- either by a vote of 5 to 2, or 6 to 1. NONE had the courage to confront "Judge" Rutherford.

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As with any "Mafia" organization, when there is a change in leadership, the "Captains" and "Soldiers" do not inherit the assets which they held in secret partnership with the former Boss. The former Boss's share goes to the new Boss -- as best as he can discover and figure such out.
In the case of the Soda Lake gold-minng operation described above, as soon as "Judge" Rutherford was elected President in early January 1917, and as soon as he had things somewhat situated at WatchTower HQ, Rutherford headed to California in mid-February 1917. There, Rutherford set in motion the legalities to take over Charles Taze Russell's interest in the Soda Lake gold mine. Rutherford thereafter scurried back to WatchTower HQ in early March 1917.
Frankly, we were not only surprised, but shocked, when we found that "Judge" Rutherford had put his personal name on this then still mostly-secret business operation (How many of you 21st century readers knew about the Soda Lake operation before you read about it here, or from one of our multiple earlier disclosures over the past decade?) Apparently, there was something going on with either Cole and/or White such that "Judge" Rutherford needed to remove them from the picture. Neither did Rutherford trust Kuehn and others enough to leave Rutherford's interest legally undocumented.
Ernest Kuehn was left behind not only to oversee the windup of the 1916-17 mining season at Soda Lake, and preparations for the upcoming 1917-18 mining season, but also to oversee the operations of Mena Film Company. In fact, Ernest Kuehn, whose background was in agricultural seeds, in Ohio, spent a large portion of 1917 in California overseeing both businesses. 1917 was an extremely hectic year at Mena Film Studios with the shooting and production of RESTITUTION, (and no expense was spared).
Researchers will note that Charles Taze Russell's name was never officially listed amongst the corporate owners of Mena Film Company, Inc. or Pyramid Film Company, Inc., nor their distribution affiliates, Perfection Advertising Company, Inc. and other yet-to-be discovered companies. However, anyone who believes that Charles Taze Russell did not have his finger in those highly desirable "pies" are simply naive, dishonest, or both -- as is anyone who believes that "Judge" Rutherford did not "inherit" Russell's secret interest in those operations. ("Pastor" Russell micro-managed everything having to do with the production of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, and Russell thoroughly enjoyed this new-fangled movie business. There is no way that Russell didn't have a financial interest in his DRAMA's "offspring".)
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).
As outlined in our CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY, Russell's main real-estate "straw man buyer-seller", George Raymond, continued buying and selling real estate investment properties in and around Pittsburgh after "Judge" Rutherford became President in January 1917. In fact, in mid-1917, Rutherford apparently approved plans to sub-divide into 77 one-acre lots the balance of the United Cemeteries property not already designated for cemetery purposes. Just as "advertising" was being readied for such, North Side Catholic Cemetery stepped in and offered to purchase the entire tract, which was accepted.

Over the decades, the WatchTower Cult has published hundreds of "experiences" glorifying the sacrifice of common Jehovah's Witnesses around the world who have gone to jail or prison rather than violate the written and unwritten dictates set forth by the leaders of the WatchTower Cult. Going to jail or prison for sake of the beliefs and practices of the WatchTower Cult has long been considered a noble act, even a "privilege", by the vast majority of rank-n-file Jehovah's Witnesses. Over the decades, the WatchTower Cult has reinforced this mindset in its followers by never missing an opportunity to repeat a varying length account of the time when WatchTower President Joseph F. Rutherford and seven of his followers were "privileged" to have served nearly nine months in federal prison during 1918-19.
Keeping with the tradition of these two sister websites of peeling back the layers of WatchTower History, and discovering what is actually "lying" beneath the painted-on surface, we now ask this question, "Just how anxious were Judge Rutherford and his crew to 'suffer' for their beliefs?" We discovered that just as is most of the WatchTower Cult's self-reported "history", the various attributions of bravery, faithfulness, loyalty, and other "greatnesses" heaped onto Judge Rutherford and his crew are typically "mythological".
When Judge Rutherford and his crew were jailed at time of conviction and thereafter shipped off to federal prison, they had been convicted of federal crimes, and they had no choice in the matter. However, a segment of the Rutherford imprisonment story has been overlooked. There was a point in the prosecution of Rutherford and his crew when serving time in jail was actually "optional", and Rutherford did not face up to such in the noble manner that has been portrayed over the decades by the WatchTower Cult.
When federal marshalls arrested Judge Rutherford and five other Bethelites at Brooklyn Bethel in May 1918 (Woodworth and Fisher were later arrested at their homes in Scranton), they were quickly taken before a federal judge and arraigned. All pleaded "Not Guilty". Bail was set at $5000.00 for each of the four corporate officers, with $2500.00 set for Robison and DeCecca -- totaling $25,000.00. Did Rutherford and his crew nobly accept their fate and sing hymns on their way back to jail while they waited patiently for their family or friends to arrange bail for each of them?
HECK NO!!! Joe Rutherford immediately attempted to put up all of the property which the WatchTower Cult owned in Brooklyn for bail. However, the USDC refused to accept as collateral real estate legally titled in the name of the People's Pulpit Association religious corporation.
What would Joe Rutherford do? Had this failed attempt to post "Jehovah's Property" as his bail given Joe Rutherford time to re-think such an ill-conceived decision. Would Joe Rutherford now decide to wait in jail until bail could be properly arranged?
HECK NO!!! Fully exercising his fiduciary responsibility as a corporate director and officer of a religious not-for-profit organization, Joe Rutherford right there and then decided to deed all of "Jehovah's Property" located on Columbia Heights to an individual Brooklyn Bethelite named J. F. Stevenson. Once the property no longer belonged to "Jehovah", but legally belonged to a human, it was accepted as collateral for bail of Rutherford and his crew. All that legal maneuvering must have taken hours, but it accomplished what Rutherford hoped it would accomplish. Neither Rutherford nor his five crew members had to spend that night in jail. Interestingly, Judge Rutherford either LIED to the USDC about the recorded and unrecorded mortgages mentioned in the section above, or Rutherford had removed those multiple mortgages from the People's Pulpit Association's properties by May 1918.
Just for background sake, J. F. Stevenson, who was then a 38 year-old Bethelite and occasional WatchTower Pilgrim, was the son of a prosperous Washington D.C. businessman, who coincidentally was FreeMason (as was his brother/business partner). J. F. Stevenson was not the only WatchTower Pilgrim with FreeMason connections. Starting back in the 1890s, Charles Taze Russell had begun choosing FreeMasons as WatchTower Pilgrims and for other prominent positions. Thereafter, Pastor Russell continued to add FreeMasons to prominent positions in his "non-sectarian" religious organization. Not by coincidence, over the years, Masonic Temples across the United States began to open their doors to both occasional and regular meetings of the non-sectarian "International Bible Students Association". (Notably, in 1903, Pastor Russell presided over the funeral of a Pittsburgh area "Bible Student", and well-to-do businessman, whom also was a FreeMason. The deceased's FreeMason brothers attended the funeral en masse, and are presumed to have conducted FM rituals at the funeral and internment. Russell received a $1000.00 -- over $31,200.00 in 2016 dollars -- bequest in return.)
Most interesting is the fact that Charles Taze Russell found much support among FreeMasons living in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Before long, meetings of the Washington D.C. "International Bible Students Association" were being held regularly at the Washington D.C. Masonic Temple -- either on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings, or on Sunday evenings and Thursday evenings. After a second new Masonic Temple was constructed in Washington D.C., probable/onetime FreeMasons and prominent Bible Students General William P. Hall and J.T.D. Pyles (both accompanied Russell on his infamous "world tour" that visited the Great Pyramid in 1912) formed a new IBSA group to meet regularly in that "New" Masonic Temple on Sunday Mornings for "public services", while Sunday/Thursday evening IBSA sessions continued to be held regularly at the "Old" Masonic Temple.
In January 1913, Charles Taze Russell was named "Pastor" of this new "Washington Temple Congregation". In addition to himself regularly appearing to preach for the "Washington Temple Congregation", Pastor Russell also sent to Washington D.C. a steady stream of his most prominent speakers from WatchTower HQ in Brooklyn. Attendances reportedly ranged widely from 400 to 1200 persons per session -- probably depending on the local popularity of the visiting WatchTower HQ dignitary. After the "Great Disappointment of 1914", attendance fell off such that Washington D.C. Bible Students discontinued their "public" meetings at the new Masonic Temple, and returned to holding Sunday and Thursday meetings at the old Masonic Temple.
CAUTION to those researchers attempting to locate evidence that Charles Taze Russell became a FreeMason at some point during his lifetime. First, IF such did occur, it happened later on in his lifetime, when occurred Russell's 180 degree change of attitude regarding FreeMasons and FreeMasonry -- not early in his lifetime, when Russell was openly "anti-FreeMasonry". Second, IF such did occur, Russsell likely would have chosen to have been "raised" in a Lodge which could guarantee secrecy -- probably during one of his multiple trips to Scotland , and not in the United States. Third, IF such did occur, there is practically no chance that any record of such exists. There are "public" Freemasons, and then there are "private" FreeMasons. There are no publicly accessible membership records of FreeMasons who have never wanted their membership known outside Masonic circles.(For instance, prior to the ***21st century, the vast majority of attorneys throughout the United States -- thus "judges" at every local, state, and federal level -- were/are Freemasons. That legal/judicial influence was abundantly exercised both inside and outside the courtroom. One thing that restrained the FreeMasons' exercise of legal/judicial power from going nuclear was the large number of opposing attorneys and opposing litigants who were all FreeMasons. We personally know of one "ultimately sanctioned" FM attorney who made the "ultimate mistake" of backstabbing his own client as a favor to an opposing FM attorney and opposing FM litigant, without exercising due diligence and discovering his own client's relative's even more influential FM connections.)

Naive are those persons whom publicly state that Charles Taze Russell was never a FreeMason simply because Pennsylvania FM officials sent them a letter stating that Russell was not a FreeMason. We have made multiple similar inquiries of multiple persons whom we knew for a certainty were FMs, even providing the name/names and dates of the Lodges they attended, and we received the same "no record" response.

Fourth, ignorant and naive are those persons who believe that 21th century FreeMasonry is no longer proactively maneuvering FreeMasons into positions of high authority in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government of the United States. We know for a fact that unquestionably unqualified judges who are Freemasons have been elected and appointed to the state and federal trial, appellate, and supreme court levels around the United States -- ***within the past decade.

When this Editor was in college, he/she/it discovered that the leaders and older members of one of the largest/leading frats on campus consisted of ALL Freemasons. After college, after entering the business world, this Editor discovered several international businesses in which it was required for upwardly mobile employees to be FreeMasons. In one state, FreeMasons controlled the Jaycees and Lions Clubs by joining and electing only FreeMasons to the other Org's local and state leadership. Recently, the FreeMasons have nationwide made a move to control --- wait for it, wait for it ... a major liberal legal organization best known by its four initials. Why do you think the major philosophy change over the past decade? I am assuming that they already control the Democrat party. They long have controlled the Republicans. Their goal is to make certain that it does not matter whether they bet "black", "white", or "red". And, to make certain that I make the eyes cross of those readers who are mental midgets, this Editor -- personally -- has visited on multiple occasions the U.S. HQ of the "BIG I", even if that fictional label is not and never has been used. The label may not exist, but so does everything for which the label stands. The NEW WORLD ORDER is no longer COMING. Its already HERE!!! It may be the prophetic ANTI-CHRIST. Simply have to wait and see.

In 1919, George Driscoll and Page Noll, former "Publicity Agents" for Charles Taze Russell, who had once worked out of the offices of the by-then defunct "PASTOR RUSSELL LECTURE BUREAU" and the "I.B.S.A. RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE", along with three others, formed KINEMO KIT CORPORATION in Los Angeles, California, with the ridiculously low paid-in investment amount of $90.00. Given those facts, this corporation was obviously a post-Russell front corporation carrying on Russell-era California business activities. In fact, the October 1, 1921 issue of the WATCHTOWER magazine included this "ANNOUNCEMENT":
In the August 15, 1920, issue of The Watch Tower announcement was made concerning the making of certain films to be exhibited on a miniature projecting machine suitable for use in parlors of homes, small halls, and schoolhouses, in connection with teaching the truth. Following that Brother [George] Driscoll and Brother [Joseph F.] Rutherford visited Europe, Egypt and Palestine and made a number of films. Films have also been made of the Imperial Valley (California). These pictures have been exhibited on standard projecting machines at a number of places, namely, Oklahoma City, Boston, Detroit, Buffalo, and some other places, and many of the friends have expressed themselves enthusiastically in favor of them.
As heretofore announced, the [Watch Tower] Society cannot engage in the manufacturing business; hence the manufacture and sale of the projecting machines and the film must be done by a separate corporation. Brother Driscoll is the manager of the Kinemo Kit Corporation and has put forth his best endeavors; together with others who have assisted him, to produce films and a projecting machine that would be useful in teaching the message of present truth. While the Society cannot engage in the manufacture and sale as above mentioned, yet it is the desire of the Society that every possible means for teaching the truth be employed.
The Imperial Valley film is produced for the purpose of showing fulfillment of prophecy in the reclamation of the desert land and interesting people in the truths concerning restitution. The films made in Palestine more particularly relate to the return of the Jews to that land and the rebuilding of Palestine, while those made in Egypt have reference to the Great Pyramid and the lessons it teaches. The general subject matter, of course, has the endorsement of the [Watch Tower] Society; and the effort of the Kinemo Kit Corporation to produce a satisfactory picture has the endorsement of the [Watch Tower] Society.
From this time forward the Kinemo Kit Corporation will assume all responsibility of production, handling, sale and distribution of the machines and film. The price, as we are informed by the Kinemo Kit Corporation, will be announced in the near future. All orders received heretofore by the [Watch Tower] Society, will be transmitted to the Kinemo Kit Corporation for filling. Future orders should be sent direct to the Kinemo Kit Corporation at 1842 Gordon St., Los Angeles, California.
The Kinemo Kit Corporation will continue to produce films from time to time for the purpose of teaching the message of present truth and which will be available for use upon the machines it will manufacture for sale. The price of the future films will be regulated according to the length of the story and will be duly announced by that company from time to time.
As indicated in the above article, KINEMO KIT CORPORATION and its activities had first been announced 14 months earlier, in the August 15, 1920 issue of the WATCHTOWER magazine. In that article, Rutherford stated that the manufacturing output of KKC would be controlled by the WatchTower Society -- thus making it clear to readers who actually controlled this "separate corporation". It was posed that these projector outfits would be something that all WatchTower followers would want to buy for use in their homes and use in their ministry. Rutherford stated that the target cost of the projector and 4 films would be $30.00, and he solicited unpaid pre-orders be sent directly to the WatchTower Society so that they would know how many units to manufacture. Rutherford also stated that additional films would be produced at the rate of one or more a month so that his followers would have a constant monthly outlay of money for KKC product.
Apparently, some unknown problems developed, because it wasn't until two years later, in 1922, that box advertisements began to be published in THE GOLDEN AGE magazine notifying WatchTower followers that shipments of the projectors and three films would begin on August 1, 1922. Available films included the exact three topics discussed in the above 1921 WT article. Interestingly, instead of the price being $30.00 for the projector and 4 films, the price was 250% higher. Projectors were $30.00, and the three films then available were $12.50, $12.50, and $10.00 each.

As disclosed in our extensive FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, "Pastor" Russell's real estate holding company, UNITED STATES INVESTMENT COMPANY, LIMITED, was dissolved in June 1916. At some point thereafter, "Pastor" Russell's successor as "President" of the WatchTower Real Estate Tract Society, Joseph F. Rutherford, formed a similar real estate holding company called "Jehovah's Kingdom Corporation". It is unclear exactly for what all types of transactions this corporation was used, but the following "NOTICE"was quietly slipped into the January 15, 1936 edition of THE GOLDEN AGE magazine:
"The JEHOVAH'S KINGDOM CORPORATION was organized with best intentions of aiding brethren. A brief experience shows that it was not always used properly and has not had the blessing of the Lord. Its operations will be discontinued."
Interestingly, Jehovah's Kingdom Corporation can still be found to be doing business 3 1/2 years later, in 1939. In September 1939, five properties in the Binghamton, New York area were transferred from the name of Jehovah's Kingdom Corporation into the name of the WatchTower Society.

In January 1921, Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Ohio Secretary of State for THE DAYTON CARBUR-AID COMPANY, of Dayton, Ohio. Initially, there was $10,000 capital stock. The listed shareholders were: J. L. McVay, J. F. RUTHERFORD, F. A. Schultz, H. Schultz ***, and Dr. A. P. Pottle (See "The Power of the Mind", GOLDEN AGE magazine, February 25, 1925.)
The "Carbur-Aid" was an internationally patented automotive gasoline engine after-market "add-on" device, which was touted as not only increasing the power of the engine, but particularly saving of gasoline and increasing mileage by as much as 30% to 70%. This Editor has zero mechanical/engineering knowledge, but the description of this device sounds as if this device may have worked on the same principles as do modern turbochargers and/or superchargers, and thus may have been a predecessor of those devices.

Starting only a few weeks after this company was incorporated in January 1921, advertisements for BOTH Sales Agents and mail order retail sales of this device ran regularly in the WatchTower Society's semi-monthly GOLDEN AGE (later AWAKE!) magazine. Such advertisements were headed, "WORLD'S GAS ECONOMY RECORD BROKEN". Results were "GUARANTEED". There are indications that "Bible Students" and GOLDEN AGE subscribers across the United States, and eventually internationally, rushed to purchase this product, and to sign-up as sales managers and sales agents.

Advertisements for Sales Agents and mail order retail sales were ran in newspapers across the United States, and eventually even as far away as AUSTRALIA, where this device was patented, and an Australian HQ was established in Sydney. It is thanks to a January 1927 advertisement in THE SYDNEY MAIL that we learn that the international patent rights allegedly had recently been sold to an American group of "motor car manufacturers".
*** Notably, "H. Schultz", of Cincinnati, Ohio, was the owner/operator of the RADIUM APPLIANCE SALES COMPANY, of Cincinnati, Ohio, which was the regional distributor of the "Radio-Active Pad", which was a "medical quackery" device manufactured by the Radium Appliance Company, of Los Angeles, California.
In the June 23, 1920 issue of the GOLDEN AGE (later AWAKE!) magazine, WatchTower Society President Joseph F. Rutherford stated that he had previously used and benefited from a "Radio-Active Pad". Rutherford further stated that he already had been privately recommending the product to others. Now, with this published endorsement and recommendation, "Bible Students" across the U.S. probably wanted one, too. Thereafter, later in 1920 and in 1921, the WatchTower Society ran multiple advertisements for the "Radio-Active Pad", and its' manufacturer and its' distributors, in multiple issues of the GOLDEN AGE magazine. One version of the commercial advertisement even included a testimonial written by Bethelite O. L. Sullivan.

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In 1922, the Watch Tower Society founded what was referred to as its "Branch for the Blind" in Logansport, Indiana. J. F. Rutherford was listed as "President". Local "Bible Student" A. L. Ball was listed as the "Executive Secretary". The location on Spear Street was a residential home. Ownership of the structure is unknown, but after the "Blind Branch" disappeared from Logansport, the building served as the Logansport, Indiana Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses until 1957.
Interestingly, listed at this same Logansport, Indiana location also was a for-profit commercial business named Pax Publishing Society For The Blind, which was founded not before founding of the "Blind Branch", but afterwards, in 1925. A. L. Ball was BOTH "President" and "Executive Secretary". PAX published and sold a variety of Braille materials which were advertised as being manufactured on the machinery owned by the Watch Tower Society. This certainly sounds as if this later for-profit business was established to help pay the way of the Watch Tower Society's Branch Office, which served only about 54 blind "Bible Students" during the late 1920s.
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The following short article (edited) was published in the December 20, 1922, issue of THE GOLDEN AGE magazine. The title of that short article, as well as the name of its prominent author, sets the mood for the article's readers. Don't miss the "Messiah comparison" at the end:

Rulers -- Past, Present and Future

Following the public discourse delivered by a Pilgrim (Bohnet?) to about 800 people ... in Denver ... a movie picture was shown ... at which the pictures of President Harding, Woodrow Wilson, and Mr. Hoover were successively thrown upon the screen without eliciting any demonstration whatsoever on the part of the audience. Immediately following these pictures there was flashed upon the screen the picture of Judge Rutherford amid prolonged applause -- handclapping and cheering -- by the audience, which had sat in silence up to that moment. ... the people are hearing gladly as in the time of our Lord.

Was the showing of that "movie", and the staged adoration of "Judge" Rutherford, a one-time event, or was such a regular part of most WatchTower events of that day? Have the researchers for this website discovered yet another part of WatchTower history that has been successfully hidden for decades, until 2020?

It would be only a few short years before "Judge" Rutherford declared that the followers of the WatchTower had and still were making too much of deceased founder, Charles Taze Russell. Rutherford stopped republishing Russell's writings, and began cleaning out Bethelites and Pilgrims professing any remaining loyalty to Russell. No longer would "Judge" Rutherford tolerate split loyalties amongst WatchTower followers. 




The Golden Age Publishing Company was formed as a partnership in 1919 to publish THE GOLDEN AGE magazine. The original partners were Woodworth, Martin, and Hudgins, with replacements after Martin died and Hudgins resigned. This entity was incorporated in 1933 when CONSOLATION replaced TGA. Woodworth was President, Knorr VP, Emery Sect/Treas. Why the separate entity? Our guess is to keep insiders from knowing how much Rutherford and Woodworth were skimming -- not that it was a cash-cow, but still enough that $10.00 month insiders would have raised cane.

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Following are proofs of three -- probably four -- radio stations either founded, solely owned, or partially owned by "Judge" Rutherford, which have never been claimed to be owned by the WatchTower Society --then or now. SIGNIFICANTLY, just like Charles Taze Russell secretly founded an Automobile Manufacturing business only months before Jesus Christ was supposed to return in October 1914, only one decade later, in 1924, Russell's successor, Joseph F. Rutherford was secretly negotiating to found or purchase radio stations in Ohio, California, and probably Virginia, only months before Rutherford and his loyal followers were supposed to be raptured to heaven in 1925, while Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were resurrected to rule over the earth's remaining riff-raff. These two "revelations" fully demonstrate what the WatchTower organization is TRULY all about, and always has been TRULY all about.

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RADIO AIR SERVICE CORPORATION was a "dummy corporation" -- NOT on behalf of the WatchTower Society, but on behalf of Joseph Franklin Rutherford, personally. Radio Air Service Corporation was formed for the purchase of radio station WHK (AM), in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1925. "Judge" J. F. Rutherford's "straw purchaser" was Rutherford henchman and WatchTower Society Pilgrim and Bethelite, Matthew Arnold Howlett.
Bethelite Matthew A. Howlett was transferred from WatchTower HQ to Cleveland, Ohio, to become "President" of Radio Air Service Corporation and "General Manager" of WHK. Also given this "assignment" were Matthew Howlett's two brothers, Eric S. Howlett and Harry C. Howlett, who also moved to Cleveland to work at and help manage WHK. Eric Howlett also was a WatchTower Bethelite, who had been appearing for a couple of years or so on WBBR, while Harry Howlettp was a Bethelite and Pilgrim.
After this 8+ years long money-making venture was over, Matthew Howlett and the wife whom he had married in Cleveland, in 1928, returned to WatchTower HQ, in August 1934, where he became the Manager of the WatchTower Society's radio station on Staten Island, WBBR. Matthew Howlett did NOT cease to be a WatchTower "Bethelite" (vow of poverty) during his 8+ years in Cleveland, but instead referred to that time period as his "assignment out west". M. A. Howlett was a "Bethelite" and "Pilgrim" continuously from 1917 until sometime during the 1940/50s.

Extremely interesting is the FACT that during those latter 1920s and early 1930s, while "Judge" Rutherford was using every single opportunity he could find to CONDEMN "Babylon The Great", its ministers, and its members, over every other radio station across the United States from which he could purchase air time, back at his own "for-profit" radio station in Cleveland, Ohio, "Judge" Rutherford and Matthew Howlett were doing everything they could to kowtow to "Babylon The Great", and to encourage "Babylon The Great" to use the facilities of WHK to broadcast its own supposedly "false religious" message. (This, despite the fact that Rutherford published in a Yearbook that the WatchTower Society had a contract with WHK to be its exclusive source of "biblical" content.)
Jehovah's Witnesses and others, who may be somewhat aware that the WatchTower Society once owned two small American radio stations of its own back in the 1920s-1940s (WORD in Chicago, and WBBR in NYC), which broadcast only WatchTower propaganda during limited broadcast hours, should understand that WHK was NOT one of those stations. WHK was a for-profit, public AM radio station SECRETLY OWNED by "Judge" Joseph F. Rutherford -- unbeknowst to federal government regulators and Columbia Broadcast System (CBS), which franchised WHK into its chain in 1928. This "fraud" was so successful that Matthew Howlett even served as "Secretary-Treasurer" of the National Association of Broadcasters from 1931-33.

In 1932, "Judge" Rutherford and the owners of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER newspaper each purchased an unknown percentage of Associated Radiocasting Corporation, which was the holding company of a radio station in Columbus, Ohio -- WAIU. "Judge" Rutherford again used Matthew Howlett and his brothers as "straw men purchasers" to keep Rutherford's ownership interest a secret. Eric Howlett left WHK and went to WAIU as "Station Manager". At the same time, Rutherford sold/traded a "minority" interest in RASC to the owners of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER newspaper -- probably in exchange for Rutherford's share of ARC.

Two years later, in 1934, Rutherford sold/traded his stock in both ARC and RASC to the owners of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, who formed United Broadcasting Company as the new holding company.for WHK, WAIU, and two other area radio stations that they already owned all or part.

Even before we discovered Rutherford's purchase of WAIU, we had already found reasons to "suspect" that Rutherford had not completely divested himself of all financial interest in WHK in 1934. Now knowing that "Judge" Rutherford had also owned part of WAIU, there is even more reason to suspect that, besides cash, "Judge" Rutherford also had taken stock in United Broadcasting Company as unknown amount partial/full payment for his share of WHK and WAIU. Since the WatchTower Society undoubtedly managed to get hold of any UBC stock in Rutherford's hands at his death, such would explain why both the owners of UBC and the Plain Dealer seemed to kowtow to the WatchTower Society and local Jehovah's Witnesses for decades thereafter -- more so than even typical liberal media owners.

June 21, 1933
When Grown Men Play the Cry-Baby 

... For some unknown reason the spokesmen for the Roman Catholic church seem to have about as much manhood as the five-year-old boy that bawls for mamma every time he stubs his toe.

... A petty, cry-baby letter to each of the three Cleveland radio stations that carried Judge Rutherford's splendid address, begging them to deny him henceforth the use of their broadcasting facilities. These Catholic spokesmen cannot answer Judge Rutherford's arguments; they cannot take it on the chin like men; and so they cry like babies and beg sensible business men to disappoint their patrons and sacrifice their revenues because, forsooth, Judge Rutherford makes it clear that the "holy year" is just what it is, a holy humbug.

One of these radio managers made the following sensible reply to the letter of Peter J. Zimmerman, news editor of The Catholic Universe Bulletin, who entered the plea that Judge Rutherford be expelled from the air:

May 10, 1933.


Your letter of May 9th carefully read. You have asked that we withhold the use of our facilities from Judge J. F. Rutherford because of his statements made in a nation-wide broadcast meeting with the disapproval of so many of those of the Catholic faith. In this you have asked me to assume a responsibility that I feel is not mine.

In this time of distress, hundreds of thousands of people are inquiring what the Word of God has to say relative to these conditions. Evidently Judge Rutherford believes that that Word very definitely advises relative to these conditions and is seeking to call attention of his fellow-men to the seriousness of these times. Upon inquiry, I find that within the last ten years his writings have exceeded a total distribution of a hundred and forty million copies. This evidences a very considerable number of people interested in the same line of thought. To assume the responsibility of withholding expression from this large number is something of more serious consequence than I would dare to assume.

I would suggest that The Catholic Universe Bulletin appoint someone to refute the statements of Judge Rutherford or accept the challenge to debate, which was made during his nation-wide broadcast, and to this end we offer the facilities of the station. The truth on any subject as discussed by radio does not require any more definite censorship than the right of the individual to turn the dial of his radio, and that right I believe must be left to him.

May we hear from you regarding the acceptance of our offer.

Very sincerely yours,

M. A. HOWLETT, President and General Manager, WHK, Cleveland

ANTON KOERBER v. JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD and M. ARNOLD HOWLETT (1940-42). In 1940, Washington D.C. real estate mogul, and former WatchTower Bethelite and Pilgrim, Anton Adam Koerber, filed a lawsuit against "Judge" Rutherford and his stooge, Matthew Howlett, in which Anton Koerber alleged that he had been "Judge" Rutherford's partner in the original purchase of Radio Air Service Corporation and WHK, and that "Judge" Rutherford had cheated Koerber out of his share of both the multi-years operating profits and the proceeds from the eventual sale of the business.
Anton Koerber alleged that he had secretly furnished the original purchase price for WHK -- $10,000.00 ($140,000.00 in 2016 dollars) -- to Rutherford in exchange for 49% of the ownership. Koerber alleged that he had never, ever received any of the annual operating profits from Rutherford. Koerber alleged that it was not until 1935 that he heard about the sale of WHK in 1934. Koerber further alleged that when he approached Rutherford for his share of the operating profits, and his share of the sale proceeds, that "Judge" Rutherford both "ignored him", and became "antagonistic" towards Koerber.
More specifically, Anton Koerber alleged that "Judge" Rutherford actually had told Koerber that the purchase price for WHK was $20,000.00. Rutherford told Koerber that he would put up the other half -- $10,000.00 -- plus completely manage the operation in exchange for 51% ownership. Koerber further alleged that Rutherford had received more than $250,000.00 for WHK, in 1934. (Note that Koerber apparently did not even know that Rutherford used WHK stock to buy into WAIU in 1932, much less know that Rutherford probably received stock in UBC when Rutherford sold out his interests in WHK and WAIU in 1934.)
Curiously, Koerber's legal complaint alleged that the formation of the "joint venture" between Rutherford and Koerber had occurred in 1929. As noted above, Rutherford actually had purchased WHK in 1925. We only can speculate at this discrepancy. Maybe, "1929" was a typographical error made at Koerber's attorneys office, or a typo made at the courthouse. While it is also possible that Koerber simply may have forgotten the correct date, readers should understand that Anton A. Koerber was a highly successful real estate agent, broker, speculator, and developer, whom was experienced with sophisticated and complicated business transactions. (Try sorting out the Depression Era high-dollar federal court case MILO MANOR v. WOODARD.) If "1929" was the correct year that Rutherford approached Koerber for money, then Rutherford was an even bigger CONMAN than we thought.
Neither do we know where Koerber got the amount of $250,000.00 ($4.5 MILLION in 2016 dollars) for Rutherford's alleged proceeds from the sale of WHK. Koerber and his attorneys undoubtedly had researched the matter as best as could be done in 1940, and made their best guestimate for purposes of the initial legal complaint. In fact, the two recorded 1941 New York appellate court decisions relate to Koerber's multiple attempts thereafter to force Rutherford to provide an "accounting" for the alleged "joint venture" between Rutherford and Koerber. "Judge" Rutherford denied the existence of the "joint venture", and refused to provide that "accounting", or even submit to questioning. Koerber initially "won" that decision, but Rutherford appealed, and the decision was partially overruled in latter 1941. As a result, Rutherford never provided the necessary "accounting", and never submitted to questioning.
Then, in January 1942, "Judged" Rutherford DIED of rectal cancer. While Koerber had named Matthew Howlett as a co-defendant, Howlett was not privy to Rutherford's and Koerber's behind-the-scenes conversations and agreements pertaining to their formation of this "joint venture". While "Judged" Rutherford's death would seemed to have ended any hopes that Koerber had of proving the allegations in his lawsuit, something VERY INTERESTING occurred only three months later.
On May 1, 1942, KOERBER & BAER, which was identified as a Washington D.C. firm headed up by Anton Koerber, was named as the "grantee" of the 161 unit Morrowfield Apartments complex, which was located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The listed value was $850,000.00 ($12.7 MILLION in 2016 dollars). The "grantor" was a subsidiary of the Philadelphia Fidelity Trust Company. Notably, other than this transaction, we find no further evidence of a Koerber & Baer. HHHMMM!!!!

Interestingly, after this large investment in Pittsburgh -- far away from Koerber's home base of greater Wash D.C. -- Koerber began to invest in speculative oil drilling in Montana -- where the WTS possibly was still involved in minerals speculation since their silver mining ops there during the 1890s-1900s. HMMMM!!!! Was Koerber financially "stalking" an enemy, or was the WTS of the 1940s-50s simply copying Charles Taze Russell's modus operandi of first making an investment partner to look like an enemy so as to hide later investments with that "enemy"? (see A. D. Jones)
PART 2 of our story about Anton Adam Koerber continues below. (Readers, if you do not already know what happened next, you are in for a real treat. Go read Part 2 below, and then come back here and continue down the page.)

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Although we have yet to locate any statement of ownership which could prove or disprove the secret involvement of "Judge" Rutherford in the ownership of this Virginia radio station, it is EXTREMELY INTERESTING that a WATCHTOWER PILGRIM named Dr. Robert Gamble filed for a radio station to be established in Petersburg, Virginia, around the same time that "Judge" Rutherford was purchasing WHK in Cleveland. Dr. Robert Gamble was a PROMINENT "Bible Student" in Virginia and North Carolina. Gamble also was the "Chairman" of at least two major WatchTower Conventions, including one held in Washington D.C.
Notably, in April 1925, the WatchTower Society's GOLDEN AGE magazine (later AWAKE!) published an article authored by Dr. Robert Gamble, in which Gamble announced and advertised for sale a better and improved version of Albert Abram's ERA "medical device" that Gamble had invented, called the ELECTRONIC RADIO-BIOLA. That same GA issue also included a nearly half-page display advertisement from which GOLDEN AGE readers could order Robert Gamble's medical quackery.

WLBG (AM) was granted a federal license in December 1926, and went on air sometime in 1927. Interestingly, sometime around January 1931, WLBG INC. was formed as an incorporated holding company for this single radio station. Soon thereafter, WLBG INC. applied for more power and a change in its call letters to WPHR, which was granted in 1932. In 1933, Robert Gamble was killed in an automobile accident. In 1936, whomever then owned WLBG INC. sold it to the owners of the Richmond, Virginia NEWS LEADER newspaper. Modus operandi sound familiar???

More interestingly, just as above -- in the previous sale of the two Ohio radio stations -- IF "Judge" Rutherford had a financial interest in WLBG INC. at the time that it was sold/traded to the owners of the Richmond, Virginia NEWS LEADER newspaper, we can't help but wonder if Rutherford may have taken stock in that media holding company in full or partial exchange for his stock in WLBG INC. Not long after the acquisition of WLBG INC., the owners of the Richmond, Virginia NEWS LEADER newspaper acquired the competing TIMES-DISPATCH. Just as in the case of the two Ohio radio stations, over the decades, these Virginia newspapers seemed to have a greater than normal affection for the various causes of the WatchTower Society and its Jehovah's Witness members. We had actually previously attempted to research possible reasons for such, and discovered that a number of JWs have been employed over the decades, including one prominent southern newspaper man. (That "southern newspaper man" was NOT Marley Cole. However, speaking of Marley Cole, does anyone know how/why Marley Cole left his career as a small-town newspaper reporter, and eventually wound up "President" of UNITED QUARRIES CORPORATION, in 1954 -- not long after he began researching his pro-WatchTower history books?)

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With corporate names like that chosen for the ownership of a radio station, is there any doubt that these corporations also served as a "cover" for "Judge" Rutherford's next secret purchase of a commercial radio station? Like the radio stations discussed above, it was much easier to determine the time of purchase than it was to figure out when did Rutherford finally dispose of all of his ownership interest.
KFWM-AM in Oakland, California was licensed as a commercial radio station, and went on the air for the first time in July 1925, under the ownership of the Oakland Educational Society. KFWM was devoted exclusively to religious content provided by the WatchTower Society -- Bethelites and Pilgrims from WatchTower HQ, and "Bible Students" from congregations all over southern California. Part of the Oakland Educational Society building (formerly the Pilgrim Congregational Church) contained the equipment and outside tower for KFWM, while the large sanctuary and other portions of the building served as Oakland's first owned "Kingdom Hall". Online sources refer to the Oakland Educational Society building specifically as the "International Bible School", the "I.B.S.A. Auditorium", and the "I.B.S.A. Temple".
KFWM's corporate "President" was Henry P. Drey, a WatchTower Pilgrim and onetime Bethelite, while the corporate "Vice-President" was W. R. Fraser, who was a known "Bible Student". Other station employees included another WatchTower Pilgrim, Gordon R. Pollock. Readers should review all of their WatchTower history sources to understand that the WTBTS has never, ever claimed ownership of KFWM. The WTBTS merely has claimed a "contractual relationship" with KFWM to provide "biblical content" for this radio station's programming, which was the "excuse" provided to the government and general public for the station's religious format, and the fact that every person connected with KFWM was also somehow connected either to the WTBTS, or one of its local affiliates. In 1925, whom is the sole person who had the authority and ability to bring all of this together -- only "Boss" Rutherford. It is a certainty that all of these WatchTower Society personnel and local "Bible Students" served as "straw-men" to keep "Judge" Rutherford's personal ownership of KFWM a secret from both the general public and the government. (Click here to discover how President Henry P. Drey had "earned his bones" within the WatchTower Mafia in order to receive this prominent "secret agent" assignment. Noted that Drey's father was both a "Bible Student" and a "Freemason".)
Frankly, online ownership info pertaining to KFWM is so contradictory, sketchy, and incorrect, that we will not attempt to provide a definitive history of such (no doubt partially caused by efforts to hide Rutherford's changing ownership interests over the years). What we do know is that over the years that KFWM grew and flourished. From its founding in 1925 through 1929, for all intents and purposes, KFWM was WBBR-WEST. However, in January 1930, "Judge" Rutherford sold part of the operation to unknown parties (probably once again a local newspaper), which again resulted in the formation of a new corporate owner -- EDUCATIONAL BROADCASTING CORPORATION. Thereafter, additional real estate, including satellite locations, were acquired, and the station's call letters were changed. Notably, however, "Bible Students" H. P. Drey and W. R. Fraser continued to run the station as corporate "President" and "VP. However, with the addition of non-JW owners, KFWM ceased being WBBR-WEST, and simply became one of many radio stations that occasionally broadcast WatchTower programming. Finally, in 1939, there was another major sale, and this one appears to have resulted in the departure of most of the "Jehovah's Witnesses" left at KFWM. But, who knows. Even after some other group took over management of the station, Rutherford may still have retained a minority interest.
GEORGE AND ELLA RICHARDSON v. OAKLAND EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY was a 1928-29 WRONGFUL DEATH lawsuit. In May 1928, William Richardson, an 18 year-old high school student who apparently was a local "Bible Student" who occasionally volunteered nights at KFWM, was electrocuted while in the radio station's generator room. Richardson somehow made contact with some of the high voltage electrical equipment. KFWM's attorneys blamed the boy's death on his own contributory negligence -- allowing exposed nails in his shoe soles to create a path to ground for electricity that escaped after Richardson's elbow brushed a piece of electrical equipment. Interestingly, the electrocution occurred while KFWM broadcast a live segment entitled, "Does Man Go to Heaven Immediately After Death?" Outcome of both this case and Richardson's landing unknown. Richardson's parents had asked for $50,000.00 in their complaint. Whatever they received by settlement or trial may have been enough to have required sale of part of Rutherford's stock in January 1930.

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June 20, 1941

Mr. Henry P Drey,
Oakland, California.

Dear Brother.

A need for refuge appeared to some of God's people, and an effort was made to provide a refuge organization.

PURPOSE: The purpose was and is to provide a place where children of the consecrated, who have been expelled from school, might receive instruction and where shelter and food could be produced and provided for that purpose, and where all concerned, including the children, would work to carry out the purpose.

A committee was formed to attempt to carry out that purpose. That Committee presented the matter to various brethren assembled at various places. It now appears that many who heard the Committee misunderstood the purpose and confusion has resulted. Some appear to have understood that everyone of the consecrated should sell or give up all their property and donate their all to the Refuge Organization, and that a place would be provided for all to be housed and fed and live together as a community. That understanding is entirely erroneous. With such misunderstanding , some have contributed their money to the general fund and probably some have unduly denied or burdened themselves in doing so.

SOCIETY. Numerous letters have been received asking if the Society is backing this Refuge Organization. As this office has repeatedly stated, the Society is organized and incorporated to proclaim this gospel of the Kingdom and therefore cannot undertake to provide schools, houses and other places of refuge. Therefore the Society can assume no responsibility whatsoever concerning the same. Seeing the need of help to be provided for some that are in need the Society certainly would not object to brethren acting independently and together putting forth a joint effort to make provision for the needy, but the responsibility for so doing must rest upon those who attempt to do so. While the Society does not and could not object, it cannot assume the responsibility. The Society is ready and willing to cooperate in any way possible, which includes the formulating of rules and regulations and the appointment of some suitable person to manage the refuge, but as to carrying the expense of such organization, that cannot be done.

Many wild, unauthorized and extravagant statements have been made and many unnecessary and silly letters have been written and circulated concerning such organization, and this has resulted in many letters of inquiry showing a misunderstanding.

The commission of God's people is to proclaim this gospel of the Kingdom, and each individual must do what he can to provide the things decent and necessary for himself and dependent ones and to help others in need insofar as it appears to him that he can do so. It is not for anyone else to say what he shall or shall not do. 

ADVICE. My advice is that those who have received an advance from the Refuge Committee money with the view of advancing the organization, and have received the same without the approval, in writing, of the Auditing Committee, should return such sums of money to the treasurer of the committee who hold the funds; that the necessary and legitimate expense incurred by the committee in their endeavor to organize a refuge organization be paid out of the funds on hand; that the money remaining be returned to the contributors in proportion to the amount contributed, or disposed of in such a manner as each contributor may request.

You are hereby authorized to transmit the information contained in this letter to any person who desires to know the situation, and further to inform all inquiring ones that while the Society feels very sympathetic toward some provision being made for the needy, and will be glad to see such done, the Society as such cannot undertake it because its commission is to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom. The witness work now is the alI-important thing. The attempted effort to create a refuge organization has greatly enlarged the correspondence in this office, and I therefore ask you to undertake the transmitting of the information here contained to inquirers, that the time of our office workers here may be given entirely to the carrying on of the work which the Lord has commissoned them to do.

No doubt all have acted in good faith with the hope of providing some help, but the effort has not been attended, it appears, with the Lord's blessing.

The Society has heretofore issued a letter to the effect that where brethren who own property, and could reasonably do so, provide a place for pioneers to park their trailers while engaged in the service, and which pioneers might assist in doing some work on the premises when not engaged in the field service of the Lord, that might be done; but that was merely advisory. It appears to be easy for some to misunderstand an effort put forth to help others and to make many extravagant statements, without authority, which causes confusion. I hope you may be blessed by the Lord's grace to assist in putting this matter clearly before those who may inquire.

Wishing you the Lord's blessing, I remain 

Very sincerely,

Your brother by His grace, 

J. F. RUTHERFORD, President 

[NOTE: To avoid unnecessary correspondence at this office further inqulries about the Refuge Organization should be addressed to H. P. Drey, 1604 Webster St., Oakland, California]


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