Monday, October 27, 2008
Personally, I think our time is better spent elsewhere. We need to hear from those interested. Without sufficient interest (we'll know it when we see it) this blog is going away or going into hibernation.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Russell and his associates reacted to Barbour’s assaults by seeking to persuade and unify the small groups that had been sympathetic to The Herald of the Morning. Paton traveled extensively while Russell remained in Allegheny preparing for the release of Zion’s Watch Tower, but as soon as the new magazine was up and running Russell arranged preaching tours of his own.
The first issue of The Watch Tower included the announcement of a new hymnal, Songs of the Bride, edited by William I. Mann, and an advertisement for Russell’s booklet, Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return. The lack of other publications meant that their new magazine was their primary voice.
The basis for their unity was a broad agreement on the nature and time of Christ’s return and a semblance of agreement on the Ransom. Differences in viewpoints would reveal that their unity on Ransom doctrine was more of a united opposition to Barbour’s views than an actual theological agreement. Russell was aware of some differences and inserted an announcement on the first page of Zion’s Watch Tower disclaiming responsibility for the views expressed by contributors: “In no case will the Editor be responsible for all sentiments expressed by correspondents, nor is he to be understood as indorsing every expression in articles selected from other periodicals.”
In the second issue, Russell noted that he had sent out six thousand copies of the July and August issues and invited subscriptions. He noted that he couldn’t continue sending free copies because:
First, it is expensive, and second, we have no desire to waste truth by sending where it is not desired and would not be appreciated. We would like therefore to hear from all who want the paper regularly before the tenth day of August, that we may know what number of copies to publish for September.
The price is very low in order to suit the purses of the majority of the interested ones, among whom are “not many rich,” (for “God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom.”) and unless a good large list of subscribers are had, fifty cents will fall far short of paying for printing, &c.
Do not suppose these remarks to be an appeal for money. No, “Zion’s Watch Tower” has, we believe Jehovah for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: “All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine,” fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.
Do not put off until to-morrow what you can do to-day. If you want the September No. take your pen at once. Remember that the paper is as free to you if too poor to send the fifty cents as though you could afford it and paid for it, but we cannot know your circumstances --You must write also.
Recently anti-Russell polemicists have insisted that Russell stole The Herald of the Morning subscription list from Barbour. While the names on that list were probably included among the six thousand to whom The Watch Tower was sent, seeing Russell as a thief is ludicrous. Though Barbour later denied it, Russell was part owner of The Herald. There is no clearer indication of this than the statement found in the earlier issues that The Herald was published jointly by Russell and Barbour. On researcher suggests that the Russell’s very close friend George Storrs may have made the names on his subscription list available. While this may seem likely, Russell never explains how the list was developed.
With the second issue, Russell explained that the magazine’s sub-title, Herald of Christ’s Presence, explained their message. Christ was present and had been since 1874 and they were in the Harvest Age: “We think we have good solid reasons -- not imaginations -- not dreams nor visions, but Bible evidences (known to the majority of our readers) that we are now “in the days of the Son;” that “the day of the Lord” has come, and Jesus, a spiritual body, is present, harvesting the Gospel age.”
Russell’s long-time friend George Washington Stetson died on October 9, 1879, after a prolonged illness. Stetson’s dying request was that Russell give the funeral oration, and, though other ministers participated, Russell was the principal speaker. An unintended consequence was enlarging the sphere of those who heard his message. Because none of the churches were large enough, the funeral services were held at Normal Hall on the grounds of what was then Edinboro State Teachers College: “About twelve hundred persons attended the funeral services, thus giving evidence of the high esteem in which our brother was held,” Russell wrote. By comparison, the Second Adventist congregation at Edinboro numbered about one hundred in 1873.
The funeral brought Russell to the attention of Second Adventists. A brief notice appeared in The World’s Crisis of October 11, 1879, saying that “words of comfort were spoken by Bro. C.T. Russell, of Pittsburgh, Pa.” This reminded readers that Russell was still actively preaching his message.
Albert Delmont Jones left Russell’s employ in November 1879 to expand his preaching activity and to pursue business interests elsewhere. An announcement to that effect appears in that month’s Watch Tower:
We lose this month one of our special contributors. Bro. A. D. Jones felt a strong desire for some time to give more of his time to preaching the glad tidings. He started out this month, going wherever the Lord may open the way. God will bless him in his endeavor to bless others. May he be used to the glory of our Lord.
Our brother has other [business] calls upon whatever spare time he may have, and asks to be excused as a regular correspondent; so what is the people’s gain is the Watch Tower’s loss. We hope, however, for occasional brief articles from his pen.The same issue contained a request of spare copies of the October 1879 magazine. Russell sought about fifty copies to fill a shortage caused by new subscriptions. Also found in the November issue was the statement that “Almost all the brethren whose names appear on our list as regular contributors, the editor, and three others who do not write for Zion’s Watch Tower, but who are in sympathy and accord with its teachings, are preaching the good news wherever the Lord of the Harvest opens the way.” Requests for preaching services could be made directly to the Watch Tower office or to the individual speakers.
Reader response to the request for extra copies of the October issue encouraged him. Many of the copies received were heavily marked and well studied. Russell was pleased with this:
Russell quoted from two letters. The first explained how deeply they treasured The Watch Tower. The writer, a sister V. N. J. from Springfield, Massachusetts, said, “I read them over and over, lend them, but never give them away for they are as choice to me as gold dust. As I read, I mark and comment for my own benefit.” The second correspondent recounted that a friend had given her copies to read, and she had subscribed. This represents the most typical form of Watch Tower evangelism in the era. Interestingly, the last writer said, “As I am 83 years old and unable to canvas I have secured the services of a young lady to do so for me.”
Very many of the papers returned were liberally underscored etc., and gave evidence of interest and careful and prayerful reading which was very interesting and pleasant for the editor to notice. Although not laboring for the “praise of men” nor “seeking praise one of another;” yet every such indication of your interest in the work we have so deeply at heart, gives us fresh strength and joy.
The kind words received from many of you during the past six months have been duly appreciated also. Although we have not been able to answer you, they have afforded your editor pleasure and comfort, and that was doubtless your object. We seldom publish letters, of correspondents, because firstly, we have no room to spare, and secondly, they generally contain personal allusion to the writers too complimentary to admit of publication.
Paton proposed a preaching tour in the Midwest. He scheduled a two month trip through parts of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, strongholds of the Second Adventist movement. The trip was delayed while Paton prepared a book stating their commonly held beliefs. When announcing the delay, Russell explained that the planned work would “be a careful exposition of our views regarding fulfilled prophecy; our hopes of present and future; as well as the scriptural evidences of the presence of the Son of Man, and that we are now in “the day of the Lord,” &c.”
In March 1880, Russell again offered the last few hundred copies of Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return. They were made available at sixty cents a dozen, thirty cents for six, or free to those who couldn’t afford them and would “use them judiciously.” And another small announcement was included saying that “Invitations to hold meetings may be addressed either to the editor (mentioning whom you wish to have), or direct to the brethren.”
Seeking Unity Among Scattered Believers
Russell proposed a major preaching tour eastward from Pittsburgh. He wanted it to effect unity among scattered believers. In many places subscribers were “totally unacquainted with each other” and thus lost “the sympathy and comfort which our Father designed should come to them by ‘The assembling of themselves together as the manner of some is.’” Russell hoped that “The proposed meetings … might conduce to personal acquaintance.”
His itinerary was fixed in time to announce it in the June Watch Tower.  Included were Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where Henry Elias Hoke, Sr. hosted the meetings. Hoke is profiled in an earlier chapter. No report of this meeting survives, but there we enduring interest in Chambersburg, and the group would receive a subsequent visit by Benjamin W. Keith in 1882. Reading, Pennsylvania, was next on the itinerary. Meetings were hosted by a J. B. Kine, about whom nothing is known.
Amos Hunt hosted the meeting at Lynn, Massachusetts. Almost nothing is known about him. He was a shoemaker and worked in a factory at Lynn, not surprisingly since Lynn was a center of American shoe manufacturing. He was born in New Brunswick, Canada, about 1836 to Roswell Hunt and his wife the former Fanny Stiles, and was the only boy among their six children. He and his wife Lizzie later moved to Anoka, Minnesota, where he contracted “consumption.” He traveled to California for his health, dying in a San Francisco hospital from the tuberculosis on June 22, 1889. When he first met Russell and his degree of interest are unknown.
Lynn was by the standards of the day a large city with a population of about twenty-five thousand.  There was long standing Adventist interest in Lynn, though in 1891 there was only one small Second Adventist church there.
The meeting at Lynn was probably typical of them all. What sparse record remains gives us with some insight into Russell’s manner of shepherding the congregations. The meetings were long, almost continuous, part sermon and partly give and take. Questions were entertained, and their import analyzed. Some of the discussion at Lynn focused on “the number of the beast.” Russell was asked what it was, and he confessed that he was dissatisfied with the available answers. Writing about a year later, he said:
I spoke on the subject of this same chapter to the name-less little company of “this way,” in Lynn, Mass., and concluded my remarks by telling them that I had never seen a satisfactory explanation of the 666. And, though I thought I had given a correct analysis of the symbols of the chapter, yet I could not claim it to be wisdom, since I could not interpret the number. I suggested, however, that if oursbe the correct understanding of the time in which we are living—the “harvest” of the age--and if our general application of these symbols be correct, the number should soon be understood. I urged examination on the subject by all, for the Lord is sometimes pleased to give wisdom through the weakest of his children. “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast ordained praise.”
Among those who thus openly mark themselves in their forehead (by their creeds) are Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and others. But others give a seeming support (mark in their hand) to the general principal by organizing under various sectarian names. After these are blended in the IMAGE, (and no one would be admitted to membership in the Evangelical Alliance, unless he be a member of some such sect), they all are collectively known as the “Protestant Churches,” ….
If we for instance were to organize, though we protest more than all others against the errors of Rome, and also against the errors of the Image and second BEAST, yet be would not be reckoned one of the “Protestant churches,” because we would not be recognized as orthodox--They would not count our organization a church.
Should you inquire for our meetings and ask--Is that a protestant church which meets here? The answer would come--Oh, no; they are not Evangelical. They have
no creed to mark them, so that the Alliance can decide whether they are an Evangelical Protestant Church or not.
While in Boston I was told of a sister at Winchester, about seven miles from Boston and I went to see her. Some eleven years ago she was a lawless Roman Catholic rum-seller there. Her conversion (a most remarkable one) occurred in the prison, where she was confined for repeated violation of the liquor laws. When she was released, she poured to waste all of her liquors and renounced the Roman Catholic Religion. As she lived in the midst of an Irish Catholic community, her persecutions were terrible. Her children were hooted, pelted with stones, and abused in every conceivable manner. She was cursed and slandered before her face and behind her back.
They even soaped the stairs of her dwelling to cause her to fall and maim or kill herself. The priest visited her, and when he found that she was firm in her determination to serve Christ rather than the devil, he cursed her and persuaded her husband to abandon her and declared that she should never have a Catholic dollar, and said they would drive her from her home. They broke the window panes in her house, and for two years she was obliged to keep them stuffed with rags, etc., being too poor to afford to replace the glass. She united with the Baptist church and was most zealous in her missionary efforts to bring others into that “communion.” She soon ceased to have her hunger satisfied with the husks of the less popish branch of Babylon and longed for more truth, for she saw and deplored the same spirit in Protestantism as in Romanism. About nine years ago, hungering and thirsting for the Word of Life, she heard that there were a series of meetings held at Lynn. You were the preacher and she was so well fed that she eagerly inquired, where she could continue to hear you. A friend told her that she could hear you through Z.W.T. every month. Ever since that God has fed her through your paper. When she was rejected by every body, that spoke peace to her heart. All was written in such a sweet spirit. The very pages seemed illumined by the spirit of God. She cannot write at all and can not read writing. [*]
… When her boy lay dead in her house, a crowd collected opposite and cried that they wished it was the old devil that was dead, instead of the young one, or she along with it. Well, the next day after that she got the Tower. For all the sorrow she had had, it brought great joy, and she felt lifted up. She could not describe the gladness God sent her through it. The Lord anointed her eyes, and she came out of the Baptist church, and her persecutions at the hands of the Protestant religionists were harder to bear than those of the Roman Catholics--a refined cruelty. She attempted to reason with them out of the Scriptures, but was called an ignorant Irish woman and was rebuked for her insolence in presuming to teach them who had been studying the Scriptures all their lifetime. But she knew she had the truth, and counted it all joy--even her severest trials--for they brought her nearer to God, and taught her dependence upon Him. She was overjoyed at the thought that at last you should know of her and of the joy you had been the means of imparting to her.
[Develop: Preaching tours 1880-1881]
Day Dawn, Or Gospel in Type and Prophecy
Paton’s book was the first connected statement of belief since the publication of Barbour’s Three Worlds, or Plan of Redemption.
In 1890 Paton recalled the circumstances behind the book’s preparation:
In the Autumn of 1879, Bro. A.D. Jones, then of Pittsburgh, urged me to write the substance of my lectures and have them published in book form. He said, ‘We need such a book, to give the people who hear these lectures the evidience in permanent form, as well as to reach many who have not the opportunity of hearing; and I am convinced that you are the one to write it. Have you not thought of writing such a book?’
I confessed that I had thought of it, having realized the need of it in my work, and having often been moved in spirit to write these things, but had never ventured even to speak of it, because, for certain reasons, it seemed impracticable.
‘Are the reasons of a financial nature? He asked.
I admitted that such was the case; that being dependant on the fruit of my labor for the support of myself and family, I had no means to invest in publishing.
‘Well,’ he said, ‘I am willing to publish such a book, paying all the expense, if you will write it.’
It seemed to be of the Lord, and after further deliberation, I decided to make the effort. I left off traveling, except to fill my regular Sunday appointments, and devoted myself five days in each week to writing for the book, and in about seven weeks, Day Dawn was ready for the press. Then followed the care of proof-reading while it
was being printed.
Though Russell advertised Day Dawn through the pages of Zion’s Watch Tower, and it was sold by Watch Tower speakers, it did not sell extremely well. Paton still had remainder copies of the first edition in 1890.
The first pre-publication announcement has already been noted. By the end of March 1880, Russell had the table of contents at hand, and wrote a brief notice encouraging advance orders:
We are pleased to know that it will soon be ready--probably about May 1st. The table of contents before us, show it to contain 28 chapters … on subjects of deepest interest to all of us. It will we doubt not supply a long felt want, viz: A book containing a connected and well expressed account, of our understanding of the prophecies their import and teaching as well as their harmony with the other teachings of God’s word. …
We cannot but be benefited and strengthened by going over the Time arguments which establish our whereabouts on the stream of time. Our foundations are so strong, the evidences so many and so weighty, that when fully comprehended, it is easier to believe than to doubt, the presence of the heavenly Bridegroom. It will strengthen and build you up in your most holy faith, we hope. Again it is a pleasure to have a book to hand to your neighbor and friend written in a simple but scholarly manner. (Though we have not seen the MSS. we have reason to expect all of this from our brother’s pen.) Bro. Paton of Almont, Mich., one of our regular contributors is the author. Bro. A. D. Jones, Pittsburgh, Pa., also a correspondent is the publisher.
It is a more exhaustive and elaborate work than we had at first expected; more so by far than anything ever presented on the above topics, from our standpoint. It contains 334 pages in clear and distinct type. To give an idea of its size, we would say that it contains about three times as much matter as the “Three Worlds,” a book familiar to most of our readers, now out of print.
From the first hasty examination we should say it is a work which will do an inestimable amount of good, and to many, will be an instructor second only to the Word of God. It is written in a plain, unassuming manner, seeming to indicate that the writer had learned that “great I and little you” are no part of the Good News. Both the I and you are as far as possible dropped from notice, and the subject is made so beautifully plain and clear, that many, we believe, will bless God for having been permitted to read it.
Russell encouraged every Watch Tower reader to buy a copy, offering it for fee to those who could not afford it.
Finding any sort of public review is almost impossible. The lone print comment on the book that I have thus far uncovered appears in The Kingdom and The Restoration, an anonymous book published in London in 1882. The author, writing only as “A Student of Prophecy,” believed the two witnesses of Revelation to be individuals. His belief drew forth strictures on the contrary claim made by Paton in Day Dawn and by J. P. Weethee in the March 22, 1882, issue of Restitution:
Notwithstanding the strong evidence, throughout the account of the two witnesses, of their individuality, some think it is all figurative. One writer, J. H. Paton, in his work called, “The Day Dawn,” explains the two witnesses to represent the two estaments, the Old and the New … Now if we are at liberty to interpret the word after this fashion, it seems to us that we may prove any thing we like from the word. Figures and symbols we know are sometimes used, and used very frequently in this book – The Revelation – But they are always used to represent something. And there is always consistency between figures or symbols, and the things they represent, and what is said. But what consistency is there here on the principle of these writers?
was “pushing things far beyond where the spirit of revelation will sustain him.” Sometime in the early half of 1881, his brother sent his a copy of Paton’s book. In a letter to his brother dated May 18, 1881, he wrote: “I have devoted all the few spare hours I have had since you kindly sent me Mr. Patton’s [sic] book to its perusal, and have been greatly interested in it. He certainly has a great deal of truth, some of which is new to me and very valuable. But I fear he goes farther in some things than the Word, fairly read, will sustain him.”
The letter as printed is truncated, and we do not learn the particulars of Gray”s objections, but he continues: “It fact, we must always be entirely ready to stop and unload the most attractive theory when we collide with a plain statement of the Word. Our theories may easily be wrong; but the Word cannot be. Let us hold ourselves perfectly subject to it, even though that leave us to wait in great confusion and ignorance. More light will come, if our hearts be right before God.”
In a follow up letter dated August 24, 1881, Gray wrote: “I have chanced to learn a little, lately, of those people in Pittsburgh (“Zion’s Watch Tower”) with whom Mr. Patton [sic] seems to be in sympathy. I think I saw one of their tracts in your possession. I have read a little of Mr. Russell’s writing, myself – perhaps the same tract I saw you have. It is very significant that, here and there through the country, we are seeing a breaking away of earnest, hungry souls from the corruptions of the professing church. There is a movement of similar kind just now in Chicago[†] … But alas! I find the Pittsburgh Watchmen of Zion do not always seem to be content
simply with what is written. They want to know more than is revealed, and draw on their imaginations to make up the deficiency. At least that is what I am bound to think of much of their teaching (and Mr. Patton”s) as to the destiny of the unsaved dead, and various “orders” and classes of saved, and some other subjects. But, with this, they have much of the inspiring truth which has been brought out among our so-called “Plymouth” friends, and this activity of inquiry is surely better than the spiritual death we find inside churches”
Day Dawn targeted those already associated with the Barbourite movement and interested “Second Adventists.” Yet, the book did a certain amount of missionary work outside that narrow group. An individual identified only as N. L. P. of Petersville, Kentucky, wrote to Paton, saying: “The first time that I saw the Lord’s will and plan clearly as revealed in the Bible was by the aid of Day Dawn published by Bro. Jones …. I had been brought up a Missionary Baptist, and among the good Methodists, sects who rely mostly on church creeds and traditions of elders, giving their hearers but a confused idea of the Scriptures.”
Ultimately Day Dawn would prove an unsatisfactory instrument. Despite repeated advertisement in The Watch Tower, the public did not take to the book. This seems to be the fault of its author and publisher. Neither of them seems to have invested the time or money necessary to get it before the public except by loaning it or selling it at small evangelical gatherings. The only advertising they relied on was that provided freely by Zion’s Watch Tower. Though in 1890
Russell would suggest that it was long out of print, in actual fact there were remainders still in Paton’s possession.
Bible Students Tracts and an Expanding Ministry
Very little other than The Watch Tower was initially offered to adherents and interested persons. A few remaining copies of Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return were made available. The song book prepared by W. I. Mann was sent out. By January 1880 Russell was offering several Bible translations cheaply to Watch Tower readers. Included in the list were Emphatic Diaglott, in two bindings, The American Bible Union New Testament, and Tischendorf”s New Testament. At least by 1883, and maybe as early as the initial offering in 1880, a message entitled “The Emphatic Diaglott: A Friendly Criticism” signed “Editor of Zion’s Watch Tower” was pasted into each copy sold through the magazine, the main point of which was to highlight the translator’s bias in certain areas:
Like all things made and done by imperfect mortals, we think this valuable work not without its faults. It would seem to us that the authors must have held the view that Jesus had no pre-human existence, and that there is no personal devil, i.e., that when devil is said—evil principle—is meant; also that Jesus is still a man and flesh.
In commending this work to you as a whole so highly as we have done, we deem it
but a duty to draw your attention to a very slight bias which we think pervades the work in the directions named.
There was some sort of delay producing the proposed tracts, and Russell expressed his disappointment in a brief announcement in the December 1880 issue. He advised readers to expect them within a month: “We advise that you make a list of all Christian people whom you may have any hope of interesting, and send them the tracts in rotation, as numbered, so that they will get hold of the subjects in a connected manner. Make out your lists at once.” When issued they appear to have been small thirty-two page tracts.
The first of the tract supplements, entitled Why Will There Be a Second Advent, was duly released with the January 1881 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. It was a reprint with slight revisions of an earlier Watch Tower article of the same title. Russell outlined his plans for circulation in the announcement:
With this number we send Tract No. 1. We have arranged for quite a number of them, and you may expect one or two a month for several months. They will all be free, on condition that you order no more than you will wisely use.
We will not send more than 25 at one time. You can re-order when they are gone. This is a way in which all can “both labor and suffer reproach,” as well as give the “glad tidings” to some who have ears to hear and hearts to appreciate; “The love of God, which passeth all understanding,” revealed to us in His word. We suggest that each tract be carefully read by you before you give it to others.
believed they were in the Gospel Harvest when the Wheat and Weeds of Jesus’parable would be separated. They were calling to the wheat-like Christians.
The titles of tracts two and three are unknown to me. An educated guess based on the later content of the small book Food for Thinking Christians leads me to suppose the titles were How Will Christ Come? and The Day of Judgment. These are only articles of correct length, and their subject matter follows logically after tract one.
[Formation of Watch Tower Society and Wanted 1000 preachers]
Russell and his associates saw the need to organize the work and, secondarily, finance it through public donations. He turned to his father and to William Henry Conley. Conley was a long-time associate.
Conley was born June 11, 1840, in Pittsburgh to George Washington Conley and Matilda Balsley. His father died about 1852, when Conley was twelve years old, and Conley went to work in a woolen mill in Alleghany. In 1855 he was apprenticed to an uncle, a printer in Blairsville, Ohio. In 1857, he moved with his uncle to Plymouth, Ohio, where he met Sara Shaffer (also spelled Shafer), two years his junior and a transplanted Pennsylvanian. They married in 1860.
Significantly, Conley associated with the Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Ohio. There is little documentation for Conley’s life in Ohio, but it is into this time that one can fit his first acquaintance with George Nathaniel Henry Peters, later the author of the massive three volume work, Theocratic Kingdom. Peter’s obituary as found in The Lutheran Observer of October 22, 1909, notes his service to the Plymouth, Ohio, church. Another source shows him serving as pastor in Plymouth during the years of Conley’s residence. While it is possible that Russell met Peters through another, it is likely that he met him through Conley. It is also extremely likely that Conley’s interest in the Lord’s return and last-times events derived from his association with Peters. Though sympathetic toward Adventism, Peters saw himself as a pre-millennialist rather than Adventist and would not have led Conley into Adventism. However, he was already committed to his great study of Christ’s return and rule, having started the research about 1854. His preaching at Plymouth must have been colored by his study.
There are three William Conleys listed among Civil War soldiers from Ohio, but none of the biographical notices of William H. Conley list Civil War service. At or toward the end of the war the Conley’s moved back to Pittsburgh where he joined a commission house, a brokerage firm. Later he became a bookkeeper for James M. Riter whose company, established in 1861, worked in sheet metal and copper. The business seems to have been prosperous though not large. Riter supplied major portions of the iron work for the Escanaba furnace in 1872.
Riter died in 1873 Conley “took a half-interest in the business with Thomas B. Riter, the firm name being changed to Riter & Conley; he attended to the financial and office work while Mr. Riter attended to the outside and mechanical part.” Eventually Riter & Conley “became the most extensive of its kind in the world.”  That Conley focused on a major business venture that year is a strong indicator that he did not take the predictions of Jonas Wendell, Nelson Barbour and others seriously. Others who were swayed though not enough to form a positive conviction also engaged in business, and his partnership with T. B. Riter is not surety what he didn’t find the movement interesting, even somewhat persuasive.
The exact date and circumstance of Russell and Conley’s first acquaintance are unknown. It appears that by 1875 they had known each other for some time, and the Conley had come to
respect and trust Russell. Testifying during his divorce proceedings, Russell claimed that he was offered the presidency of a newly formed Bank. This gives us a clue as to the latest date for their meeting. If one presumes that the bank was the Third National Bank of Allegheny, the first offices of which were just up Federal Street from the Russell’s main store and in which William Conley had an interest, then one can say that Conley knew Russell well before its founding on March 16, 1875.
Tract Supplement Number four, Why Evil Was Permitted was mailed with the May 1881 issue of The Watch Tower with the explanation that “It is a subject much thought of by all, and more than one child has asked, “Why did God make the Devil?” It is a subject which should command some attention from all thinking Christians.” Tract four was a reprint, with some revisions, of an article of the same name found in the [date] issue. Supplement number five was a reprint of the earlier article entitled “Narrow Way to Life.”
This tract we hope will be acceptable to you all. We hope that its general distribution will be productive of good results and that it may be used of the Lord as an eye salve to many to enable them to see “the exceeding riches of His grace in His loving indness toward us.” And for you, brethren, we pray that the viewing of the narrow way to life, may bless you, and that “The Father of Glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him (that) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; ye may know, what is the hope of his calling; and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the Saints; and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us.” Eph. 1:17.
We have quantities of this tract, and will try to supply all your demands. Order all you can use, and use all that you order.
Next “The Narrow Way to Life” opened up before us and we saw that the life here
referred to, is immortal life--or the perfection of life; and this brought to our attention the fact that God has many different orders of beings, all of whom, when in harmony with Him are perfect, though each is perfect on his own plane of being, as for instance, perfect angels are one order and perfect men (when restored to perfection) are another order. These orders, one on the human plane and the other on the spiritual, would each be supplied with life forever from the great fountain-- God--and thus supplied enjoy ever-lasting life. But this showed us that the great prize for which we are running, is not merely continued existence, but if we are over-comers the promise is immortal life (or life in ourselves) a quality or perfection of life, said to be possessed only by Father and Son and promised only to "the little flock" who walk the narrow way—
"The way our Leader trod." "And few there be that find it." As scripture began to narrow down to the overcomers, as those upon whom the prize, for which we are running should be bestowed it had the effect on many of stirring up to greater activity that "no man take our crown" --a feeling akin to that of Paul when he said: "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection," (the first resurrection which includes Jesus our head and all the members of His body who "live and reign with Him a thousand years"--only over-comers are to reign). Therefore we seek to walk separate from the world.
Then came--"The narrow way to Life," and we saw as never before the meaning of
Life--Immortality—and the narrowness of the way which leads to it. It is narrow; there is no room to lug along worldly hopes and ambitions; it is steep and rugged, and every step is a denial and sacrifice of the rights and comforts of the human nature. The steps in this narrow way are not merely conflicts with sin. No, that may be done anywhere by the justified only, as well as by the sanctified, and all who enter this "narrow way" have already been justified from all sin in Gods sight by the ransom price given by Jesus. On the contrary, the steps are of sacrifice: sacrificing those things to which as men they have a right.
As the steps are very difficult ones, which few would ever find, and fewer yet would care to walk in if they did find them, so it is but reasonable to infer that the prize at its further end is of wondrous value. The prize is Life --not merely existence, but Life in the superlative degree--i.e., independent of all conditions, as God has "life in himself," and not dependent on surrounding circumstances and elements. Life in this degree belongs not to angelic or human nature, but to the Divine nature only. And the fact that the narrow way which few find, leads to this Life, proves that on it is the class who seek for "glory, honor and immortality," and to whom are given "exceeding great and precious promises, that by these they might become partakers of the Divine nature." (`2 Pet. 1:4`.) With joy we saw too, that though few find this "narrow way," and few would gain that prize of life—immortality --yet these few were to be the instruments of God in the restitution of human existence to the WORLD, which, if used in harmony with Gods will, may be everlasting existence.
Tract number six was by Albert Delmont Jones. Its title has been lost, but a record of controversy that followed its publication persists. Jones had already expressed positive views that 1881 would see a prophetic crisis, and he was drifting off into areas that Russell and others would see as un-Christian and unstable. Jones tract produced a strongly negative reaction, and Russell felt compelled to offer explanations through Zion’s Watch Tower:
We have a number of inquiries relative to tract No. 6, (written by Bro. A. D.
Jones) asking whether the editor’s views are in harmony with those expressed
in that tract. To which we answer that it is quite possible for different persons to have somewhat different ideas regarding the manner of the unfolding future, though they be entirely agreed with reference to the work of the past, present and future. We are for instance, not much in sympathy with the idea that the “Perihelion of the planets” is to bring “a carnival of death,” and for this reason have refrained from mentioning the harrowing details furnished by astrologists as the probable result. It may be that such a dreadful scourging is to come upon the world so soon, but from our understanding of prophecy we expect that the carnival of moral pestilence,
spiritual famine, and death will come first, upon the nominal church--the sort of “pestilence” and “arrows” referred to in Psa. 91 from which nothing will shield but the “truth.” (vs. 4.)
But while we do not expect such literal plagues, we do not venture to gainsay the astrologers and their predictions; it is possible that both astrology and scripture may be correct concerning the coming events, but our confidence and sole reliance is on the latter. To compare notes we suggest that Scripture indicates that the nominal church is to be given over to tribulation and be shown no favor from October of this year; and every thing seems ripe for just such a thing: On the other hand the astrologers began as far back as 1871 to predict what would occur in 1880 and 1881. But though the largest planet Jupiter has already reached the point of perihelion (more than nine months ago) and though Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction six months ago, yet there is nothing except unusual rain storms thus far to justify the awful pictures drawn.
The last of the Supplements was a Chart of the Ages issued with the July/August 1881 magazine. It was reproduced the next month in Food for Thinking Christians:
We present to each of our readers with this issue, a “Chart of the Ages,” (unfortunately printed June, instead of July supplement) with the suggestion
that you hang it in some convenient place where it will be often in your sight; that its diagram of the narrow way to life, may be a constant and helpful reminder to you of the way our Leader trod; that thereby you may be enabled to make your calling and election sure.
We hope too, that you will so place it, that it will be an object of interest to all who may visit you, and that you will so familiarize yourself with it as to be able to explain its teachings to them; thus each reader will be a preacher of the “narrow way to life” -- to Glory, Honor and Immortality, so soon to close; and also of the plan of God for
the world’s salvation, which is only just beginning. May God make you able ministers of his word.
The Chart should have your careful attention and study for at least one month: for this reason, and to allow needed time for other parts of the service, this paper and chart supplement will constitute the July and August issue. Therefore you may expect nothing more until September.
Food for Thinking Christians
Financing the Work
Russell and others poured their personal fortunes into keeping Zion’s Watch Tower afloat. In late 1881 he attempted to make the paper free to all, something the Postal regulations would disallow. Explaining his reasons, he said, “The subscription price was made so low in endeavoring to make it burdenless upon the majority of our readers who cannot well afford to spend more, that it did not pay expenses. (The paper from the first has only paid about two-thirds of its expenses--not to mention the additional cost of Supplements during the last six months.)”
A major source of the money was a donation of Florida land that seems to have come from Russell and his father. A special supplement offering the land for sale was issued with the November 1884 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. By December, eight of the plots had been sold. There were forty plots on the list “of ten acres each, on Pinellas Peninsula, Hillsboro Co., Florida, donated to this Society’s funds and offered for sale at ten dollars per acre cash; or two years” time to settlers.” The supplement seems not to exist in any library or collection, but some detail is preserved in short announcements. The land seems to have been in the Disston and Pinellas areas.
Additional plots were offered for sale late in 1885:
Some who engaged plots of the land donated to “Z.W.T. Tract Society” at Pinellas
(see Supplement), finding that circumstances do not favor their going, have donated the installments paid to the Fund and returned the land for sale. Besides this, another Brother interested in the truth, has donated to the Society near the other donated lands four ten-acre plots.
Thus it comes that we have about twelve plots now for sale. Of these four have small ponds, and would require some ditching, and can therefore be had at half price.
[*] He means she could read print only, and that she could neither read nor write cursive, a not uncommon problem in that era.
[†] He refers to a small group centered on the magazine Our Rest and Signs of the Times, published in Chicago. Eventually that group and those associated with The World’s Hope would loosely affiliate. (See the article Larger Hope appearing in Manford’s New Monthly Magazine, June 1890, page 372.) Barbour and Thomas Wilson, the editor of Our Rest, knew each other. Barbour recommended a booklet published by Our Rest. They parted ways acrimoniously. An alternate title for the magazine was Our Rest: Devoted to the Subject of Christ's Second Coming and the Preparation of the Church for That Event.
H. V. Reed was associate editor in 1875. His role in all of this is unclear. Reed was later associated with Restitution magazine. (See F. W. Scott: Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois: 1814-1879, Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield, 1910, page 124.)
C. H. Jones was the publisher of Our Rest; he is known to have published other Second Adventist works. Later Wilson was publisher and editor. Wilson looked to 1881 in ways similar to Barbour and Russell. He promoted pyramidology and had some Anglo - Israelite beliefs. (See Reviews, The International Standard, July 1885, page 281.) Thomas Wilson was Benjamin Wilson’s nephew.—Paul M. Hatch: Benjamin F. Wilson and The Emphatic Diaglott, an article first published in Restitution Herald and republished in The Herald of Christ's Kingdom, July/August, 1964.
 See example on page one of the August 1879 issue.
 Do You Want “Zion’s Watch Tower”? Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1879, page 2.
 Email dated October 24, 2008 from A. Whitby to B. W. Schulz
 Russell, C. T.: How Will Christ Come? Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1879, pages 2-3.
 Bro. G. W. Stetson, Zion’s Watch Tower, November 1879, page 2. The claim made by one later opponent of Russell and The Watchtower that Russell overstated attendance is patently false. The basis of that claim is that the Advent Christian Church was too small to hold anywhere near 1200 people. The funeral wasn’t held in the church.
 Letter from Jonas Wendell to Miles Grant as printed in The World’s Crisis, April 23, 1873.
 Loss and Gain, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1879, page 7 (omitted from the reprints).
 Request of extra October issues: A Request, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1879, page 7 (omitted from the reprints). Announcement of preaching services: Preaching, page 8.
 Thank You, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1880, page 6. (Omitted from the reprints).
 Preaching, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1880, page 8. (Omitted from the reprints).
 Bro. Paton’s Trip West, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1880, page 8. This announcement is not included in the later reprints.
 An Offer to You, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1880, page 7; Preaching Notice, page 8.
 Write at Once, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1880, page 2.
 The Editor’s Eastern Trip, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1880, page 8.
 View From the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1882, page 1.
 1880 Census and Mary Stiles Guild: The Styles Family in America, Joel Munsell’s Sons, Albany, New York, 1892, page 203.
 Easton, George: Travels in America, George S. Marr & Son, Glasgow, 1871, page 36.
 Start, Edwin H.: The City of Lynn, The New England Magazine, June 1891, page 517.
 “The Name of the Beast, Or the Number of his Name”, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1882, page 9.
 Letter from S. I. Hickey to C. T. Russell reprinted in the article The Power of Truth, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1889, pages 7-8.
 Paton, J. H.: The Editor’s Experience as a Publisher – Supplement to The World’s Hope, World’s Hope, February 1, 1890.
 “Day Dawn” or the Gospel in Type and Prophecy, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1880, page 8.
 “The Day Dawn, or the Gospel in Type and Prophecy,” Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1880, page 8.
 A Student of Prophecy: The Kingdom and the Restoration; or, A Scriptural View of the Second Coming of Christ, Elliot Stock, London, 1882, page 145.
 Gray, James: Letters, Poems and Selected Prose Writings of David Gray, The Courier Company, Buffalo, New York, 1888, pages 166-168.
 Not Until November, Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1880, page 7.
 The New Tracts, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1880, page 8.
 The format is noted in The Tract Work, Zion’s Watch Tower, October/November 1881, page 5.
 Russell, C. T.: Lay up for Yourselves Treasures, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1881, page 2.
 Tract Supplement No. 1, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1881, page 8
 Supplement No. 2, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1881, page 8.
 See the entry: Conley, William Henry, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Supplement 1 James T. White & Company, New York, 1910, page 73. There is another George W. Conley resident in Allegheny County who died January 13, 1851. This individual was married to Margaret Lowry.
 The obituary is reprinted in the preface to the Kregal Press edition of Theocratic Kingdom.
 Engle, William H.: Pennsylvania Genealogies: Scotch-Irish and German, Lane S. Hart, Harrisburg, 1886, page 459.
 See Peter’s comments in Theocratic Kingdom, volume 3, page 268.
 Wilson, James Grant and John Fiske: Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 4, D. Appleton and Company, New York, Revised Edition, 1900, page 741, says that Peters’ Theocratic Kingdom was “a work of thirty years’ labor.” From this we can derive the date for the start of his research.
 Appendix to Swineford's History of the Lake Superior Iron District, Being a Review of its Mines and Furnaces for 1872, Mining Journal Office, Marquette, 1872, page 68. Date Riter established firm: George H. Thurston: Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the Centennial Year, A.A. Anderson & Son, Pittsburgh, 1876, page 183. Riter is listed as a coppersmith in the 1860 Pittsburgh directory.
 Conley, William Henry, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Supplement 1 James T. White & Company, New York, 1910, page 73.
 Tract Supplement No. 5, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1881, page 8.
 “Cast not Away Therefore Your Confidence,” Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1881, page 5.
 View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1883, page 2.
 Concerning Tracts, Zion’s Watch Tower, July/August 1881, page 8.
 Boughton, L. D.: The Elements of Astrology, Published by the Author, New York, no date. See unnumbered pages at the end of the volume. A second edition was published in 1898, and still contains this matter in an appendix entitled The Opinion of the Press.
 Our New Year, Zion’s Watch Tower, July/August 1881, page 1.
 Florida Lands, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 8; Z.W.T. Tract Society’s Florida Land, March 1885, page 4.
 Z.W.T.T. Society’s Florida Lands, Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1885, page 8.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
The only biographical notice of Tavender that I could locate is an obituary found in The Utica, New York, Weekly Herald of October 15, 1895:
Joshua Tavender was born in Mantecute, Somerset, England, Jan. 6, 1822. He was educated in the common schools at that place and was an apt and intelligent student. In 1849, in England, he married Miss Harriet Maynard, who was a sister of the late Mrs. John Thorn of this city. During the same year Mr. and Mrs. Tavender came to America and settled in Utica. For a number of years they lived on Columbia street, but later purchased the property (at) No. 5 Kellogg avenue.
Mr. Tavender immediately after coming to this city entered the employ of Thorn & Maynard, soap and candle manufacturers on Water street. Later, with William Heath, he purchased the establishment of Messrs. Kirk & Co., engaged in the same business on the north side of Whitesboro street … which was subsequently conducted for years under the firm name of Heath & Tavender. Finally he purchased Mr. Heath’s interest and took into partnership his son.
The Tavenders marketed their soap under the brand-name “Pride of America Soap.” In 1893 it sold for seven bars for twenty-three cents.[ii]
They seem to have been a very religious family. During the Civil War Harriet Tavender was noted for her support of the poor and for her generosity to various causes. Her obituary says she “was a charter member of the women’s Christian association and was one of the most active workers. Many poor families in West Utica have been aided thro (sic) her instrumentality. During the civil war Mrs. Travender was very active in providing supplies for the soldiers on the field of battle. (She) was an exemplary Christian, and her church duties were never neglected. Ever since the organization of Highland Chapel she had attended services in that church. For many years she conducted a Sunday school at her home. At the beginning of the school she had 15 members. Attendance increased until just previous to the organization of Highland Chapel she had about 60 scholars. Mrs. Tavender was one of the organizers of Paxton Hall Sunday School. Her life was a very useful one.”[iii]
Harriet Tavender may not have shared her husband’s beliefs. The Highland Chapel’s first pastor was Charles W. E. Chapin, a Presbyterian clergyman.[iv] This isn’t certain, since many associated with Zion’s Watch Tower in that era attended local churches, but the evidence tends to persuade one that she did not share his views.
Joshua Tavender was equally religious. His obituary says:
His strict integrity won for him hosts of friends in business and professional circles. He was a very pure-minded man and was a firm believer in the Christian religion. For many years he he was a member and for several years a deacon in the Tabernacle Baptist church. His life was ordered by the golden rule. When Faxton Hall Mission Sunday school was in existence, Mr. Tavender served as a teacher and was very deeply interested in the work.
Faxton Hall was established by Theodore S. Faxton “the education of the children of factory operatives by day and night.”[v] He was deeply involved in the Prohibition Party, and was offered various positions in the Oneida county organization but declined them.
His obituary touches on his relationship to Russell:
Of late years, Mr. Tavender was a faithful Bible student and was deeply interested in the study of the sins of the times as indicating the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Bible. He was a great friend of Charles T. Russell, the author of “Millennial Dawn,” who was also interested in “the pan of the ages.” Mr. Tavender visited Mr. Russell at his home on Pennsylvania several times.
Tavender receives little notice in Zion’s Watch Tower. Probably this is due to his quiet evangelism. He caused no controversy, but steadily recommended the Bible’s message as he understood it. He contributed no articles. Additional notices of him all center on his evangelism. The March 1889 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower contains a letter from a Mrs. J.H.P, identified later as Mrs. J. H. Patterson, which mentions his person to person evangelism. Tavender recommended the second volume of Millennial Dawn to her. She wrote to Russell saying: “Mr. Tavender called about two weeks ago and said so much about the book, that I sent right away for a copy and have read it through, some parts twice.”[vi] Another letter from Mrs. Patterson appears in the September 1890 issue mentioning Tavender’s commendation of a Watch Tower article on the Ransom doctrine.[vii] This is the last mention Joshua Tavender receives in The Watch Tower.
Tavender’s attendance at the “annual convention” of the Watch Tower Society in Pittsburgh in 1890 is noted in The Utica, New York, Daily Press of April 2, 1890. He died in his sleep in October 1895.
[i] Russell, C. T.: View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, May 1886, page 1
[ii] See the advertisement in the September 27, 1893 Syracuse, New York, Evening Herald.
[iii] Mrs. Harriet M. Tavender, The Utica, New York, Weekly Herald, January 8, 1895.
[iv] Robinson, Edgar Sutton: The Ministerial Directory of the Ministers in “The Presbyterian Church in the United States” (Southern), and in “The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America” (Northern, The Ministerial Directory Company, Oxford Ohio, Volume 1, 1898, page 206.
[v] Wager, Daniel. Our County and Its People, Part II: Biography, The Boston History Company, Boston, 1896, pages 40-42.
[vi] Mrs. JHP (Mrs. J. H. Patterson ): Extracts From Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1889, page 8.
[vii] Mrs. J. H. Patterson: Extracts From Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1890, page 8.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Millennial Dawn, vol. i.; the Plan of the Ages. (Zion’s Watch Tower, Pittsburgh)
The reader will pause long before the chart which prefaces this wonderful volume, and then, if he likes, can read three hundred and fifty pages of small print, which aim to present the plan of God, as derived from the Bible, with special reference to present labor problems. It is a dreary piece of work.