Rumored to have privately claimed to have been led to it by GOD in order to financially reinvigorate his cash-strapped "ministry", Charles Taze Russell owned and operated a secret gold mining operation at Soda Springs, near Baker, in San Bernardino County, California, from sometime prior to October 1914 (end of the Gentile Times), until his death in October 1916.
FOUNDER APPEARS AT BIBLE STUDENT SESSION. SANTA CRUZ. Sept. 3. The surprise of the big convention of the International Bible Students' Association here last night was the appearance of Pastor Charles T. Russell, the founder of the institution. With a party of friends he unexpectedly arrived at the Casa del Rey last night and walked upon the platform during an intermission. He was wildly greeted by the large audience. ... In Pastor Russell's party are E. W. V. Kuehn of Toledo, O., and five other notable students of the association from the East. Pastor Russell's headquarters are in Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, September 3, 1914.
After the death of "Pastor" Russell on Halloween 1916, and at the end of the 1916-17 mining season, on March 31, 1917, the "dummy partnership" which we believed was used by "Pastor" Russell for this secret business operation was legally dissolved. Along with the required legal postings of the "NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP" was a notification that the business itself would be continued thereafter by, and that all then existing legal obligations would be assumed by, a new partnership composed of "J. F. RUTHERFORD" and "E.W.V. KUEHN". Evidence outlined below suggests that despite the war that began among the WatchTower Society's many leaders soon after "Judge" Rutherford was elected President of the WatchTower Society in January 1917, (which eventually led to Ernest Kuehn turning against Rutherford and exiting the cult sometime around 1919-20), and despite "Judge" Rutherford being sent to federal prison in June 1918, mining operations continued at Soda Lake through 1917, 1918, and possibly into 1919.
The January 1, 1915 WATCHTOWER magazine, which would have been printed in early December 1914, with copy written in November 1914, or earlier, included the following "anticipatory" and "nervous" announcement (emphasis ours):
WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY SUPPLY?
But some may say, "Did we not read between the lines in the Society's Annual Report that the financial streams were drying up? And have we not heard that thirteen [PHOTO-DRAMAS OF CREATION] have been withdrawn, ... ."
Our reply is that these things are so, but that we have a reason to surmise that God intends to send us in His own way further financial support, that His Message may go forth with great force throughout the whole world! With this in view, we are having all the DRAMAS overhauled and put into good order, anticipating that the funds to operate them will be in our hands shortly. ...
(Amusingly, WATCHTOWER magazine readers should have understood that Russell had DECEPTIVELY authored this blurp even before readers had received the 1914 Annual Report, since the Annual Report had just been published in the previous December 15, 1914 issue.)
Then, SHOCKINGLY, in the May 1, 1915 WATCHTOWER magazine, "Pastor" Russell announced to his followers that he was drastically reducing operations at WatchTower Headquarters due to the sharp drop in "donations" (Russell's word for "gross income"). "Pastor" Russell further announced that 70 Bethelites had been asked to leave Brooklyn Bethel -- despite their receiving nothing but room, board, and a $10.00 or $11.00 monthly allowance. Then, Pastor Russell nearly confessed, but ultimately LIED, as to the source of his previous expression of faith that the financial condition of the WatchTower Society would soon improve:
When making our last Annual Report, we expressed the thought that many of the Lord's people have already invested what money they possessed, and that we would thus expect donations to be smaller than heretofore and that we would be obliged to discontinue some of the DRAMAS. Later we announced bright prospects of a full resumption. We did not tell the basis of this expectation, but will now explain:
Some Brethren informed us that they believed they were possessed of a rich gold-bearing property, that all of its proceeds were consecrated to the Lord's service, that ere long we might expect money from them in good supply, but that their names were to be kept secret. Their expectations, which were highly appreciated, were not realized. The expectation had a beneficial effect, however, in that it encouraged us to keep the work up to a high notch of speed and efficiency in every direction until the present time. Now we have gone our limit. We must conclude that it is the Lord's will that our activities be greatly curtailed, in order to bring down the expenses to a parity with the income.
While the 1914-15 mining season at Soda Lake had been a great disappointment, according to CTR, that did not stop CTR from throwing even more then-precious dollars at the next 1915-16 mining season. Here is what some outsiders had observed at Soda Lake during the latter half of the 1915-16 mining season:
TONOPAH DAILY BONANZA
May 12, 1916
MYSTERIOUS COMPANY AT SODA LAKE PREPARING FOR WORK ON A LARGE SCALE
Prospectors coming in from the southern country tell stories of a new and mysterious company that is making preparations for an extensive campaign of some kind about which nothing can be learned. They have taken over the immense acreage of the Pacific Coast Soda company at Soda Lake from which there was a great production of both soda and salt ten or twelve years ago. The Pacific company retired from the field when they found they could not compete with other better situated concerns in the same line of business. Since their departure the property has remained idle until recently when a force of men appeared and construction on a large scale began. A company boarding house capable of accommodating over 100 men was erected, an engine installed on the borders of the lake and three more buildings begun. All the work is of the most substantial character, and it is stated that a powerful dredge has been ordered.
There is no doubt in the minds of those who have been watching the operations that the company is going to ship the mud from the surface of the lake, but whether the mud is for potash or soda contents, rests with the management which is not taking the public into its confidence. The entire surface of the lake has been dug over in gridiron form and surveys have been made for a series of tight railroad tracks to cross the lake radiating from the power house. The men behind the improvements are said to comprise some of the best known capitalists of New Jersey. According to reliable advices the company expects to begin shipping by the first of June when the destination of the product may give some clue to the nature of the contents.
While not wishing to fall for the same misdirection used on local observers back in 1916, admittedly, it is possible that while expending the time and money mining for gold in the nearby Soda Mountains that CTR may also have started mining and processing the available salt, soda, etc. at Soda Lake. Reportedly, many of the laborers were "Germans", and it is believed that some or all may have been brought to Soda Springs from Germany -- possibly due to the start of World War 1. Some German miners settled in the San Bernardino area after Russell's mining operations were abandoned, and one talked about his experience decades later.
THE BROOKLYN EAGLE
September 25, 1914
J. [F.] Rutherford Strongly Pro-German.
(Interview done after Judge Rutherford Disembarked from Mauretania.)
Some pro-German sentiment was expressed by the homecoming Brooklynites, especially by Joseph [F.] Rutherford of 10 Orange Street. Mr. Rutherford was told that dispatches about the war were meager, and he replied that it was not surprising.
"London is coloring these dispatches," he said, "and I am certain that Germany has done a great deal more than reports have credited her with. By the way, have any returning Americans protested at their treatment by the Germans?"
When he was told that the majority expressed pleasure at their treatment, he said that reports in England were otherwise.
"I was in Hamburg when war broke out and I don't believe I ever would have got out of the station there if it hadn't been for German courtesy. A man in a car there told me to come with him, and that alone got me out. The German sentiment is not military, as has been reported, but is peace-loving. There has been so much intrigue, and I was in a position to know about it, in England that I suspect and believe that the breaking of the neutrality of Belgium was only an English pretext".
"Pastor" Russell's secret gold mine, along with Russell's "movie business", and possibly other Jesse Dubbs-connected investments in sulphur and asphaltum in California, were likely the reason that Russell sent "Judge" Rutherford in mid 1915 to live and work in California -- to secretly keep an eye on all of Russell's West Coast business operations, while also performing "Pilgrim" visits for the WatchTower Society.
However, by Summer 1916, rumors of Russell's secret gold mine were leaking beyond "Pastor" Russell's inner circle to his rank-n-file followers, whom Russell did not want to learn about such. So, Russell included the following "NOTICE" in the September 1, 1916 WATCHTOWER magazine in an attempt to throw the bloodhounds off the scent:
"THIS ONE THING" THE SOCIETY DOES
Brethren write us from time to time respecting inventions, patents, mining claims, etc., desiring that THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY should join with them in the development of these -- kindly offering the principal portion of all the profits.
We greatly appreciate these kind offers, the generous hearts behind them, and the love for the Truth and its service thus manifested. But we are obliged to refuse all such offers, because the Society engages in no kind of business for profit. It confines its business transactions to financing the Pilgrim Work, publishing the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, etc., and supplying them at cost or below cost; publishing THE WATCH TOWER, publishing the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, etc., and in the presentation, and formerly in the showing, of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION.
The Society engages in no kind of mining or patent business or speculations. The money under its control comes from the Lord's consecrated people, and often represents hard-earned funds and self-sacrificing economy; it is used strictly and only for the forwarding of the Truth according to the best judgment of the executive officers.
This does not mean any unwillingness to counsel with any of the brethren in respect to their earthly affairs and interests. We are glad to give such advice as we may be able to give on every matter, temporal or spiritual, involving the interests of the Lord's consecrated saints.
By the end of the 1915-16 mining season, "Pastor" Russell had gambled quite an amount of scarce assets at the Soda Springs roulette table. Who knows how much income there was? In any case, no gold -- or at least no significant amount of gold sufficient to be publicly mentioned -- was ever mined at Soda Springs. Multiple reports indicate that Russell and Rutherford ultimately lost anywhere from $30,000.00
to $50,000.00 (about $750,000.00 to $1,300,000.00 in 2021 dollars)
at a time when both bozos were in critical need of additional money -- not less. Five or more 15' x 60' wooden buildings were constructed at Soda Springs to service the miners working in the nearby hills. The concrete foundations
of those buildings still exist in 2021, as does graffiti evidencing the miner's religious preoccupation.
By Summer 1916, the big question was, "Would Pastor Russell throw even more good money after bad, and order the financing of a third mining season at Soda Springs from Fall 1916 until Summer 1917?
In September 1916
, a series of WatchTower Conventions conveniently had been scheduled for the West Coast, which "Pastor" Russell's closest sycophants followed whistle stop to whistle stop via train caravan. It was during the California portion of this WatchTower Convention tour that Charles Taze Russell, Judge Rutherford
, and the balance of Russell's "true inner circle" quietly slipped off from the main crowd, traveled to Soda Springs, and conferenced as to whether to finance a third mining season. "Pastor" Russell's inner circle was deeply split on the issue, and while Russell initially was willing to give the Soda Springs gold mining operation a third season, those followers who were against financing a third mining season were slowly wearing Russell down.
While we do not know where Pastor Russell stood on the third gold mining season at the end of that September 1916 conference -- approved, delayed, or shut down -- Russell had no more returned to WatchTower HQ in late September before he planned another trip back to the gold mine in late October. Interestingly, at the same time that Russell departed Brooklyn for California, on October 16, 1916, Russell had ordered Judge Rutherford to return to Brooklyn from California. In fact, "Judge" Rutherford was at WatchTower HQ on Saturday, October 28, when Russell and Menta Sturgeon were conducting business at Soda Springs.
"All day Saturday, under severe pain, in great weakness, with obstructions piling up before him every moment, he struggled with business propositions like a giant. ... Friends had disappointed him, and he wondered if the Lord were not against him in some things. -- Menta Sturgeon.
In one way or another, the stress and strain of this latest failure in a chain of failures was more than Charles Taze Russell could bear. This is not just our speculation, it was the speculation of some of Russell's closest followers at Watch Tower HQ after Russell's death only three days after conducting business at the gold mine -- on Tuesday, October 31, 1916.
THE BROOKLYN EAGLEJuly 31, 1917
Hint of Financial Troubles
Also, it has been learned that funds are not coming in with the readiness that was formerly one of the chief glories of Russellism. Worry about finances, many of "Pastor" Russell's followers believe, had much to do with his sudden death. When he died he was returning from a trip to Los Angeles. Some of his followers have now disclosed that this trip was largely in the interests of his mining ventures in the Soda Lake region of California. They are authority for the statement that the founder of Russellism dropped $30,000 there in a futile effort to recoup the Watch Tower treasury.
Judge Rutherford left WatchTower HQ on Sunday to help conduct a Pilgrim meeting at Oakland, Maryland on Monday. Rutherford left Maryland on Tuesday to travel to Ohio, where he conducted unknown legal business for the WatchTower Society on Wednesday. (It may very well have been this business transaction which Rutherford years later boasted of saving the Society $11,000.00.) Rutherford probably had already learned of Russell's death via media reports on Wednesday morning by the time that he received A. H. MacMillan's infamous telegram that, "The Old Man is dead." Rutherford returned back to Brooklyn by Friday, where he immediately began to plot and scheme his takeover of the now leaderless WatchTower Society ***.
Obviously, there are lots of unanswered questions, such as, "Why did Russell order Rutherford to leave California and return to WatchTower HQ at the very same time that Russell and Menta Sturgeon were leaving WatchTower HQ for yet another cross-country train ride back to the Soda Springs Mine???"
If Russell, who had ZERO TOLERANCE for disobedience and disloyalty, was displeased or even angry with Rutherford, then, "Why did Russell allow Rutherford to leave WatchTower HQ on Sunday, and apparently start "working" his way back to California, while Russell was at the same time leaving California and heading back to WatchTower HQ?" "Had Russell and Rutherford planned an even more secret meeting somewhere between California and Brooklyn?" "Were Russell and Rutherford leaders of opposing WatchTower factions (as Russellites, who hate JFR, would have us believe), or were they "partners" against an opposing faction led by someone else?"
The dummy partnership used by Charles Taze Russell for the Soda Springs mining operation, but "dissolved" on March 31, 1917, by "Judge" Rutherford, was composed of a longtime prominent WatchTower Pilgrim named James H. Cole (whom was preaching in California the last week of March 1917), and another Russellite identified only as "J. White" (see "Vow").
While we do not know for a certainty that mining operations occurred at Soda Springs during the Fall 1916 to Spring 1917 mining season, the fact that "Judge" Rutherford waited until the end of that mining season before making changes to the legal entity operating the Soda Springs Mine would seem to suggest that mining had occurred during 1916-17. More interestingly, we would like to know whether "Judge" Rutherford followed through with the apparently-being-planned 1917-18 mining season, given everything that happened to Rutherford and the WatchTower Society starting almost immediately after he took over the Soda Springs Mine. Extremely interesting is the role that such continuing plans and/or operations relating to the Soda Springs Gold Mine played in the Schism and power struggle that erupted amongst the WatchTower Society leadership in the Summer of 1917, and may have played in power struggles and schisms thereafter.
Notably, we previously had paraphrased from multiple online sources that supposedly quote from a U.S. Geological Survey report which supposedly states that the Soda Springs mine site was observed abandoned in 1917. Recently, after discovering that "Judge" Rutherford had continued the mining operation in 1917, we then dismissed that report as possibly being an observation made during the mining off-season. WELL, GUESS WHAT. We just reviewed some overlooked research collected by us more than a decade ago, and we found where that same USGS field employee stated in another report that he had NOT observed the Soda Springs mine site abandoned until DECEMBER 1919. The thing about that statement that is especially interesting is that that statement leaves open the possibility that mining occurred through the previous 1918-19 mining season, which was while Rutherford and his crew were in prison. Was that why Rutherford made a beeline to California after being released from Atlanta in April 1919, which would have been at the end of the 1918-19 mining season? Was the gold mine -- either production or failed production -- the source of Rutherford's split with Ernest Kuehn?
Interestingly, in July 1918, shortly after "Judge" Rutherford had arrived at federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia, he received an extremely lengthy, detailed, and somewhat mysterious "report" from his newlywedded son, Malcolm C. Rutherford, then age 25, who lived in Los Angeles. The message of the "report" was that Malcolm and his newlywed wife had nearly DIED on a recent trip to inspect Soda Lake during the summer offseason, and had failed to get to Soda Lake.
How could that happen? Instead of taking the train from LA to Soda Lake, Malcolm and Pauline had hired a car and driver to take them roughly 125 miles through the hills to Barstow, and then another 125 or so miles through the Mojave Desert -- during JULY, on 1918 backcountry wagon trails, in a Ford vehicle that was something older than a 1918 model.
Why had Malcolm Rutherford been so stupid? According to his letter, Malcolm had successfully completed this same exact overland trip to Soda Lake only a little more than a year previous -- sometime in Spring 1917. Whenever the trip occurred in Spring 1917, there is a big difference traversing the Mojave Desert in March or April, and doing so in July -- especially traveling in a 1910s vehicle over 1918 wagon trails.
Despite the fact that Malcolm's letter about his failed trip was extremely long and detailed, Malcolm barely mentioned Soda Lake itself, and operations there. Apparently, Malcolm was not able to tell his father anything that his father did not already know. Here are the few pertinent excerpts:
Not knowing what had been removed from Soda, and being rather handicapped in sending others up to look at what I did not know for sure was there, we thought best for me to take a turn up at the first opportunity and make a new inventory. ...
At San Bernardino we ... went up over the pass, ... and went on to Barstow. ... started on our second half of the journey across that 125 miles of desolation.We found new road signs placed by the U.S. Geological Department, and these were a welcome contrast to the weather-beaten boards we found over a year ago. ...
Conjectures as to the location of ... Soda were numerous, and at last we practically admitted that we were lost. ...
Now that we know that gold mining occurred at Soda Lake in 1914/15, 1915/16, probably 1916/17, likely 1917/18, and possibly 1918/19, is not such indication that claims that little or no gold had been found TYPICAL misdirection by WatchTower leaders, while in fact, SOME GOLD -- ENOUGH GOLD was being captured to encourage continued mining efforts???
The comeback to that is, if Russell and Rutherford found sufficient GOLD near Soda Lake to continue mining for 4-5 years, then why has not someone else duplicated their success during the past 100 years? There are a couple of responses to that comeback. While the Russell-Rutherford gold-mining operation used Soda Lake as its basecamp and probably for its "washing" operations, noone now knows exactly where in the Soda Mountains that the actual mining took place. Second, using "volunteer" labor can make business operations "profitable" which otherwise would not be profitable. We actually have a third-party report that states that during at least one of the mining seasons between 1914 and 1919 that SEVERAL HUNDRED people were observed working just at the Soda Lake worksite.
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 $2,091,000.00 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 2013 proclaiming financial distress, and even slashed his staff and operations, and then CNN announced that Benny Hinn had just died, and $2,091,000.00 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.
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.
GEORGE W. BUTTERFIELD
"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?
BAUERLEIN BREWING COMPANY
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.
THE COUP BEGINS
GET YOUR OPPONENTS RELAXED AND OUT-OF-TOWN
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
November 26, 1916
ALL "PASTOR" RUSSELL ACTIVITIES CONTINUE
REINS TO A. I. RITCHIE
Latter Will Probably Be Elected President of Watch Tower Bible Society
10,000 MEMBERS CAN VOTE ON IT
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.
COUP AT WATCHTOWER WORLD HEADQUARTERS UNLEASED
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
July 31, 1917
FACTIONS IN FIGHT TO CONTROL SOCIETY
RUTHERFORD ENEMIES OUSTED
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.