Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another temp post of later material. You are free to copy


images removed.

These are from a latter period ...

Bruce is selling these, and some of you might want to save the images for your files. This is a temporary post, just so you can copy and save these. Not everyone will want to pay 'big bucks' for Watchtower ephemera, and we're posting these for the friends of this blog.


Images removed. Alas, temporary does not mean forever.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Storrs Era Tract


The Vow - Silk Ribbon - 1908

Bruce has this listed on ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/222068963337?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Monday, March 28, 2016

Passport application


CTR's passport application for 1903 states that he is 5 foot 10.5 inches tall (generally reduced to 5.10 in subsequent applications), and that his hair color is grey-brown. The form is witnessed by A.E. Williamson.



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Did this happen?

One of Russell's obituaries says he had Food for Thinking Christians circulated in Canada by a messenger boy service. We can't find anything contemporary to the event that suggests this is so. Can you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

We need

We need solid biographical details on this person:

 In 1889, the same year Flewwelling first learned the truth, a well-meaning man threw a magazine onto a Canadian’s bunk at a typically Western horse sales yard in Fargo, North Dakota. “Here, Mais,” said the man. “This is something that will interest you!” Leslie Mais was there to sell a herd of horses raised at his homestead in Fort Qu’Appelle, Northwest Territories (now Saskatchewan). A member of the Church of England, he was an avid Bible reader and talked to others about what he read in the Scriptures. No wonder the man tossed that magazine onto his bunk! Well, Mais read through that Watch Tower, promptly became a subscriber and continued reading that journal until his death in 1924.

As we have it:



 Leslie Valentine Brodin Mais

            L. V. Mais was, according to census and obituary reports, born in Clifton, Gloucester, England, February 14, 1869.[1] He immigrated to Canada in 1888, and with a partner raised horses and Galloway cattle at Fort Qu’Appelle in the Western Territories. (Now in Saskatchewan) He signed his names as L. V. Brody Mais on his breed-book reports. As often happened with Watch Tower adherents, his religion continued to be reported as Church of England long after he left it. Our only record of Mais’ connection to The Watch Tower is a brief mention in the 1979 Yearbook:

In 1889, ... a well-meaning man threw a magazine onto a Canadian’s bunk at a typically Western horse sales yard in Fargo, North Dakota. “Here, Mais,” said the man. “This is something that will interest you!” Leslie Mais was there to sell a herd of horses raised at his homestead in Fort Qu’Appelle, Northwest Territories (now Saskatchewan). A member of the Church of England, he was an avid Bible reader and talked to others about what he read in the Scriptures. No wonder the man tossed that magazine onto his bunk! Well, Mais read through that Watch Tower, promptly became a subscriber and continued reading that journal until his death in 1924. [page 80]


[1]               1911 Canadian Census gives the date 1867. Obituary gives the date noted above.
 

Temporary Post: Work in Canada - Introduction

Usual rules. You may copy for personal use. Do not share off the blog. I don't now why we post what no-one reads, but here it is:




In all the Earth: Canada

            There was interest in Canada during the Barbourite era. The first verifiable interest in Canada is found in the September 1878, Herald of the Morning. Alexander Hamilton Clark of Stouffville, Ontario, wrote to Barbour. Clark (October 13, 1831 – January 20, 1904) was an American-born immigrant and is described on his headstone as a “U. S. Pensioner.” His pension was the result of wounds received while enlisted with the 187th New York Infantry during the Civil War.[1] Clark moved to Islington not long after writing to Barbour. Dated August 11, 1878, his letter praised The Herald. It “gave me much light and pleasure to read,” he said. “I can now see the beautiful harmony in the Scripture as never before.” He asked for a copy of Russell’s Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return.

A. H. Clark

            Clark presents us with a confused religious picture. The 1881 Canadian Census lists his religion as Adventist. The 1891 Census lists him as a Congregationalist, and in 1901 and in his death record he’s described as a Methodist. We do not know if this represents changing religious belief or census taker’s confusion.
            A letter signed L. Kerr was also printed in the September 1878, Herald of the Morning. We cannot positively identify this person. They wrote in the second person: “We cannot in any way do without the paper. It is the only message of the spirit of truth.” This may mean that Kerr wrote for his or her family. We don’t know. Kerr ended the letter with a plea for a meeting: “We are alone here, without any meeting. If you come to Canada, let us know before hand.” A G. E. Pickell from Ontario sent money for tracts or a subscription in late September the same year.
            Some from Canada attended the Worchester Conference in 1872.[2] Russell’s booklet Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return saw circulation in Canada. A profile of his work done when he died said: “Many students of the Bible throughout the United States and Canada responded to the information derived from that book, and his correspondence became voluminous.”[3] It is likely that Canadians were on the original Watch Tower subscription list. Russell didn’t send special representatives to Canada to circulate Food for Thinking Christians, so there must have been sufficient pre-existing interest upon which he could rely. While tracing interest among Canadians during the 1880s is difficult, there are hints of it. In October 1883, Paton included a notice in his magazine that he couldn’t use Canadian postage for subscription payments.[4] Since most of Paton’s readership also subscribed to Zion’s Watch Tower, this notice presupposes Canadian interest. Among the regions sending representatives to the Memorial Convention in 1889, Russell noted “some from far off Manitoba.”[5] But there is no record of the missionary work that developed interest there.
            Almost the only non-Watch Tower reference to preaching in Canada is Lesslie’s letter to The Rainbow. Though we quote from it in the previous chapter it is important enough in this context to present it again:

There seems among the believers in the second coming and reign of Christ upon the earth, a strong tendency to return to what appears to be the simplicity of believers in the Apostolic age. I send you a number of one of their papers published in Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S., giving indication of this, but embracing some views not clearly taught in the 

the remainder of this post has been deleted.

To answer Jerome's question:



            Sometime before 1885, Brookman found comfortable association with Age-to-Come believers and Millinnarians. He sent a letter of greetings and well-wishes to a meeting of the Association for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge held in late September 1885. Their name was derived from an older, well-known British tract society, and it appears that it was meant to ride on the coattails of the better-known society. (The Watch Tower Society also borrowed the name for use on the ‘mailing tracts’ in 1919.)
            The Association was an Age-to-Come publishing house connected to The Restitution which printed a report of their meeting. G. Y. Young was president and H. V. Reed, The Restitution’s editor, was vice president. We’ve met them earlier in this history. And there were others met earlier in this work interested in the Association. H. L. Hastings, J. P. Weethee, S. A. Chaplin, L. C. Thomas, and Benjamin Wilson all appear in the report. And most interestingly, B. Ackley sent them a letter of greeting.[1]
            Brookman wrote for the Association’s magazine, The Rock: A Quarterly Magazine, containing “original essays, sermons, reviews, and sketches, on the subjects of Conditional Immortality and the Coming and Kingdom of Christ.” Subscription payments (twenty cents per year) were made through The Restitution. The Rock was short-lived, but Brookman maintained his connection to the Association at least to 1888, addressing their annual meeting on the subject, “The Woman’s Seed and the Resurrection.”[2] He addressed a national convention sponsored by The Restitution the same month. S. A. Chaplin, Restitution’s editor at the time, described his speech as “a very able sermon.”[3]
            In September 1889, he and P. G. Bowman, both associating with Russell in this period, addressed a conference sponsored by The Restitution. Brookman’s theme was “The Proper Course of Study for a Young Man to fit him for the Ministry.” Bowman spoke similarly but on the topic “The Thing Most Needed to Make a person a Successful Minister of the Gospel.”[4]


[1]               The Association for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge – Report of the Second Annual Meeting at Brooklyn, N. Y., The Restitution, October 14, 1885.
[2]               Report of the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, The Restitution, November 7, 1888.
[3]               S. A. Chaplin: Editorial Notes, The Restitution, November 31, 1888.
[4]               Programme of Exercises for the Indiana Annual Conference, to be held at Rensselaer, Indiana, Commencing on Thrusday Evening, Sept. 5, 1889, The Restitution, September 4, 1889.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

We need ...



We need solid biographical information about William Peter Flewwelling. (also spelled Flewelling.)



William Peter Flewwelling

            W. P. Flewwelling accepted Watch Tower beliefs at the tail end of the era we’re considering. The 1979 Yearbook history of the work in Canada says:

The light of truth was shining somewhat brightly in eastern Canada when a shaft of such light penetrated the spiritual darkness in western Canada. In 1889, William Flewwelling of Carberry, Manitoba, came into possession of “The Divine Plan of the Ages,” the first volume of C. T. Russell’s Millennial Dawn series (later called Studies in the Scriptures). Convinced that he had found the truth, Flewwelling shared it with others, especially after moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1890. One man who listened with appreciation was Robert Pollock. Soon Bible study classes were being held in the Pollock home. To our knowledge, this was the first of such groups on Canada’s west coast.
In later years, William Flewwelling helped to establish Bible study groups at Asquith (about 20 miles [32 kilometers] west of Saskatoon) and Wadena, Saskatchewan. Later in life (in 1934), he moved to Witchekan, Saskatchewan, and declared the “good news” throughout that part of the province. William died at Chitek Lake in 1945, but many of his relatives continue to carry on the Kingdom-preaching work he began in that area.
Flewwelling (October 6, 1861 – April 15, 1945) was newly married (to Susan Moffet) when read Plan of the Ages.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Photodrama Invitation



Just a brief note

We're still rewriting a chapter about the earliest work in Canada. This is more difficult work than we faced with the chapter on England. (Think hair-pulling and teeth-gritting.) So, there won't be any longer posts for a while.

After we finish that re-write, we revise a chapter about the earliest work in China. We have much more detail for that than we have for Canada, which seems strange to me.

After those projects are done, we turn our notes on Historical Idealism into a chapter. Historical Idealism is the practice of turning history into a mythology. All sides are guilty. Sometimes it is intentional; sometimes it comes from writers failing to fact check.

When that's done we'll review finished chapters.

What's left is:

1. Struggles with opposers: Barbour and Adams to 1882.
2. Struggles with opposers: Anti-Ransom to 1892.
3. Paton's defection.
4. A. D. Jones and W. Conley and others.
5. Approach to 1881.
6. Other lands. (May be folded into another chapter.)
7. In the world but not of it.
8. Roots of WT theology.

So you see we have tonnes of work left. Help is always appreciated.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Frederick Richard Lees


by Jerome

A recent post referred to early readers of George Storrs in the British Isles. One such reader was Frederick Richard Lees, editor of a British paper called The Truth Seeker.

Storrs received a copy of the paper and republished an article signed PATHFINDER in the January and February 1848 issues of Bible Examiner. He sent copies of BE to Britain to reach the editor. Lees wrote back and his response was published in BE for July 1848.


Lees’ periodical ran for several years. It was sometimes called The (Manx) Truth Seeker in a reference to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Due to a loophole in British Law mail from the Isle of Man was exempted from paying postal fees at this time, so a number of enterprising publications took advantage of this.

A couple of issues later (BE September 1848), Lees wrote a long letter about the state of conditionalist teaching in the British Isles. This shows that Storrs was already well known in some quarters in Britain. After detailing his own preaching on the subject. Lees wrote:

“In 1846 I began to find that other and influential persons in Britain, had also their thoughts turned to this topic. My friend, JOSEPH BARKER, (now of Wortley, near Leeds,) formerly a celebrated Methodist Minister, but expelled for ‘heresy,’ had republished your ‘Six Sermons’ in a cheap form, and circulated them amongst his friends - ‘The Christian Reformers’ - throughout the North of England.”

The circulation of Six Sermons in Britain obviously created concern in more orthodox circles because John Howard Hinton M.A. wrote the book Athanasia (published London 1849) to combat conditionalist views. Out of its 540 pages, Hinton reportedly devoted 50 of them in an attempted rebuttal of Storrs’ Six Sermons. (According to Hinton's book Six Sermons was published in Newcastle-on-Tyne in the UK in 1844.) Lees sent Storrs a copy of Athanasia and for a number of months over 1849, Storrs’ Bible Examiner dealt point by point with Hinton’s objections, before finally drawing a line under the subject.


Frederick Richard Lees (1815-1897) does not appear to have taken much part in subsequent theological developments. According to census returns, he spent his life as an author, publisher and lecturer, but his specific field was the temperance movement. He died as a “gentleman” leaving an estate of over four and a half thousand GBP.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Not likely we can ...

But we need a firm identity for the man who wrote this letter printed in the 1891 Watch Tower:

England.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--Thanks to you beyond
expression, for the parcel of tracts, the envelopes,
and then the TOWER, in quick succession.
And I trust by a judicious use of them
to disseminate the truth to those who are in
bondage to sectarianism. As to the new appearance
of my old favorite, the TOWER, I did not
know its face, until I opened the cover, which
made my eyes sparkle with joy. How good the
motto--to bear the cross, then wear the crown.
May we be found worthy. Yours in Christian
fellowship, GEO. SHORT.

W. Brookman's Future of the Non-Elect

is available as a free download here:

https://ia600306.us.archive.org/26/items/futureofnonelect00broouoft/futureofnonelect00broouoft.pdf

Monday, March 14, 2016

We need details about these people:



From the Chanute Daily Tribune - the continuing saga of S D Rogers



The Chanute Daily Tribune for January 1, 1904 page 7

As a prequel to the cutting Rachael posted here a few days ago about S D Rogers, this is how his problems seem to have started in Chanute, Kansas, in late 1903. You will not be able to read anything from the above graphic, but below is a transcription of the OCR from two issues of the paper. The title “Rev” Rogers appears to be self-styled, his focus on a “new method” of preaching the gospel carries echoes of his behaviour in Britain in 1893, and he either had a penchant for pretty girls, or was somewhat accident prone. Perhaps the most important detail it adds is that he had come from Vassar, MI.

Starting with the December 31, 1903 issue:

ALLEN WAS WRATHY

City Marshall Pronounces an Artistic Anathema Upon Bogus Minister Who Insults a Girl

Marshall Allen today arrested a nomad who represented himself to be an evangelist with a new method of spreading the gospel.

 The fellow panhandled several men about town for money to aid the cause, among them D H Fisher, landlord of the Oriental Hotel. He afterward made an offensive proposal to one of the young ladies employed at the Oriental and Mr Fisher notified the marshal, who arrested the fellow and took him to the police court. On examination he gave his name as Rogers, and said he belonged to no denomination, but was too broad in his views for any such petty distinctions.

The young lady whom he accosted refused to appear in police court against him because of the unpleasant publicity which the trial of the (?) would cause, and the bogus clergyman was released after a thoroughly artistic lecture by Marshal Allen, who told him what he thought of him in language which, though not altogether choice, was certainly vigorous enough for the occasion.


The next day, Rogers gave his side of the story to the paper. From the January 1, 1904 issue:

VICTIM OF MISTAKE

Rev. Rogers States His Side of Controversy Between Himself and City’s Police Authorities

(First paragraph too scrambled by OCR to transcribe completely)

Rev. Rogers said he was the victim of circumstances. He went to a hotel in the city and secured board and lodging when he first arrived in Chanute. He was assigned to a room in the rear of the building and along in the evening he noticed the efforts of a young lady to gain entrance to a room. He offered his services to the young lady, and helped her open the door. While they were in the hall at work on the­­­­ lock they were seen by a hotel official and the next day Marshall Allen requested Rev.Rogers to accompany him to police court.

 “This was the sum and substance of the circumstances which led to this embarrassing affair,” said Rev.Rogers this morning. “I was released because there was no reason whatever for my arrest.”
Mr Rogers’ home is in Vassar, Mich. He is at work on the compiling and publication of a work on the Bible, treating especially of the first chapters of Genesis and the book of Revelations. The work will be issued from the press some time this spring.

Note - one wonders whether his proposed book ever saw the light of day.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Don't expect ...

Don't expect anything new for maybe three days or more. We're rewriting a chapter we "finished" some time ago. It's very time consuming. We're totally re-researching everything.

You can help by finding early references (before 1895) to the work in Canada. We need someone to search Canadian newspaper archives. We need names of the earliest Canadian adherents.

!!!

Many views, no comments. We must be boring you silly.

William Brookman



Monday, March 7, 2016

Revisions, Fixes - Temporary post

As usual, you are fee to copy this for your own use. Do not share it off the blog. This is copyrighted material.



In All the Earth: The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom was the target of the first concentrated international missionary activity. It is impossible to gage interest in Britain before the publication of Food for Thinking Christians. Previous to its publication the only letters appearing in Zion’s Watch Tower were doctrinal in nature, and few names and few or no locations were noted.
At least by 1850 there were readers of The Bible Examiner in Scotland; a letter from William Glen Montcrieff a noted Scot Conditionalist appeared in the May 1850 issue. Letters from other British Conditionalists appear in The Bible Examiner too. There had been some notice of the work in The Rainbow. A British clergyman and Barbourite, Elias H. Tuckett, wrote three articles for Rainbow. There may have been some small residual interest from that.[1] Barbour mailed his Coming of the Lord tract to the British journal The Christadelphian, which reviewed it negatively.[2] Later The Rainbow reviewed The Three Words, though somewhat negatively. The book saw a very limited circulation in England.[3] There is also some indication that Paton mailed material to his relatives in Scotland, but this seems to have born no fruitage. Yet, a prominent adherent in Newark, New Jersey, claimed dedicated interest in England and elsewhere. “We have,” he said, “members all over America, England, Australia, I think, and probably in Germany.”[4]

And ... just like that ... this post is gone.

Just for Fun

Can we?

Can we find Henry Weber's immigration record. To USA, 1865.

London Letter, 1889

Can we identify this person?


Sunday, March 6, 2016

A letter ...

A letter from a physician appears in the March 1888, Zion's Watch Tower. It is signed G. P. M. and is from Farrville, Indiana. I can't identify this man. Can you?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Such bad deeds ....



Takes Cash Subscriptions for a Book Not Yet Written.

“Rev.” S. D. Rogers, who was in Chanute last week soliciting subscriptions to a religious book, which he clams he is writing, unexpectedly reappeared here yesterday, says the Chanute Blade. He was in a state of high Indignation and declared that the newspapers would have to be forthcoming with retractions of stores printed about him or he would do all kinds of things to the publishers.

Rogers was fresh from the Humboldt calaboose [ie jail] but he kept this fact carefully guarded as a secret in his own breast. About the middle of the afternoon colonel O. H. Fisher, landlord of the Oriental hotel, and Rogers met by accident in Boschert & Williams' drug store. Rogers made some remark to Colonel Fisher, when the colonel told him something which must have sounded unpleasantly on his ears. “It is my candid opinion,” said Colonel Fisher, “that you never occupied a pulpit in your life. If you are indeed a minister of the gospel you fall far short of my standard of the clergy.”

Colonel Fisher had entertained Rogers at his 'hotel a day or two last week, and while there Rogers addressed an insulting remark to one of the waitresses. Upon leaving Chanute Rogers went to Humboldt, and up to supper time Monday had collected $14 in subscriptions to his forthcoming book. After supper, and when he was in the parlor talking to a couple of ladles, an officer arrested him on the suspicion that he was “grafting” the people of' Humboldt. Rogers was locked up but was released yesterday morning.

It was not 'ascertained whether he paid a fine or was permitted to go scot-free. Rogers, as was told by The Blade yesterday morning, claims that he is writing a book which is explanatory of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures and which will bear the title, “The Opening of the Books.” He is traveling over the country getting cash subscriptions in advance for the volume. Some say that he got as much as a hundred dollars from Chanute parties.

January 11, 1904
The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas · Page 7

S D Rogers




When S D Rogers traveled to Britain on a ship named the Teutonic, he sailed from New York and arrived in Liverpool on 4 October 1893. He called himself Rev. S D Rogers, occupation Minister, and he is listed as single, aged 46. That would give his birth year at around 1847.

That may help weed out some of the wrong S D Rogers out there.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

We need ...

Full biography for S. D. Rogers.

He may have been Samuel D. Rogers, a resident in the late 1890s of  Lodi, Washtenaw County, Michigan. This is a guess only at this point.

We need to prove or disprove this. Find a grave is here: 

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57400182 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In all the Earth: United Kingdom

Partial rough draft. Comments welcome:
Updated to full except for the last three paragraphs. A temporary post. Usual rules.



In All the Earth: The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom was the target of the first concentrated international missionary activity. It is impossible to gage interest in Britain before the publication of Food for Thinking Christians. Previous to its publication the only letters appearing in Zion’s Watch Tower were doctrinal in nature, and few names and few or no locations were noted.
At least by 1850 there were readers of The Bible Examiner in Scotland; a letter from William Glen Montcrieff a noted Scot Conditionalist appeared in the May 1850 issue. Letters from other British Conditionalists appear in The Bible Examiner too. There had been some notice of the work in The Rainbow. A British clergyman and Barbourite, Elias H. Tuckett, wrote three articles for Rainbow. There may have been some small residual interest from that.[1] Barbour mailed his Coming of the Lord tract to the British journal The Christadelphian, which reviewed it negatively.[2] Later The Rainbow reviewed The Three Words, though somewhat negatively. The book saw a very limited circulation in England.[3] There is also some indication that Paton mailed material to his relatives in Scotland, but this seems to have born no fruitage. Yet, a prominent adherent in Newark, New Jersey, claimed dedicated interest in England and elsewhere. “We have,” he said, “members all over America, England, Australia, I think, and probably in Germany.”[4]
Russell asked John Corbin Sunderlin and later J. J. Bender to travel to the United Kingdom to publish Food for Thinking Christians and to direct a massive circulation campaign. Sunderlin had prior experience as an itinerate photographer and may have been chosen on that basis. Less is known of J. J. Bender. Historians including Watch Tower writers have never profiled him. Joseph J. Bender was a traveling sales agent for and later owner of a chemical company.[5] In most city directory listings he is noted by the initials “J. J.” but his full name is given in J.F. Diffenbacher’s Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities for 1881-1882. Bender had published The Standard Class-Book for Sunday-School Teacher’s Minutes in 1871, which was favorably reviewed by The Sunday School Journal that year.[6] In May 1886, He and a partner purchased The Bookmart, a magazine published in Pittsburgh devoted to book and autography collecting.[7]
Sunderlin was in Britain by July 11, 1881, when he registered with Gillig’s American Exchange in London, “a familiar and popular resort with Americans in the English metropolis.”[8] He would receive his mail and make currency exchanges a Gillig’s. It appears that the British edition of Food for Thinking Christians saw publication before the American edition of September 1881, but this is uncertain. Sunderlin arranged with William Cate, a London printer, to publish the booklet.[9]
Sunderlin returned to America aboard the S.S. Abyssinia, suffering from what was called “over-exertion incident to the arrangements for the distribution of ‘Food’ in Great Britain and Ireland.”[10] Russell more closely defined this as Rheumatic Fever.[11] There was a gap between Sunderlin’s return on September 8th and Bender’s arrival. Bender arrived in mid-September, registering at Gillig’s on September 17 1881. He would remain in Brittan until early November.[12] Sunderlin seems to have had the preliminary arrangements well in hand before Bender’s arrival. By October 1, 1881, Bender could report from Edinburgh:

The remainder of this post was deleted. I give readers a limited time to read full chapter posts.

Johnathan Ling

We need solid biographical information.



Elizabeth Horne and Aaron Riley became correspondents, and cooperated in the work. By 1892, Riley had a group of twenty to thirty men that met regularly for Bible study, and he exchanged letters regularly with “sister Horne.” The both met Russell during his visit that year, and the Russells stayed in Elizabeth Horne’s home. The practice of preaching in parks is verifiable from the The Watch Tower, but there is insufficient biographical information to tell which of the many Elizabeth Hornes resident in London she was. Her husband’s name is never give.
            Among the first permanent associations built off receipt of Watch Tower pamphlets was a small group in Islington, London. The brief history in the 1973 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses says:
           
Tom Hart of Islington, London, wrote for and received three pamphlets. He also received Zion’s Watch Tower regularly for nine months, all without charge-a new experience in the religious field. From then on he became a regular subscriber. He was struck by the theme that ran through each issue, namely, “Get out of her, my people” – a Scriptural call to leave Christendom’s religious groups and follow Bible teaching. He and a fellow railwayman, Johnathan Ling, began studying. This led to Hart’s formally resigning from the chapel in 1884, soon to be followed by Ling and a dozen others who began to meet together. This appears to be the first record of regular meetings of this sort in Britain. Many who shared in such meetings also showed a willingness to engage in the work of spreading enlightenment to others.[1]

            Thom Hart was born in Calcutta, India, in 1853. At the time of the 1881 Census he had moved his family from the Islington address to 5 Lavinia Grove, Middlesex, London. He was “a carman” for one of the railroads. In another place he called “a railroad shunter.” He and his wife had three children, two sons and one daughter, all under the age of four. I can find no helpful information about Johnathan Ling.
            The Yearbook is mistaken in its view that the group organized by Tom Hart was the first in the U.K., but a small group was meeting in London by March 1884. It may have been Tom Hart who wrote a letter appearing in the March issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. Whoever the writer was, he expressed his continuing appreciation of the Watch Tower. He always prayed for its safe arrival and was thankful that he had not missed one issue in two years. “I am able to report a little progress for the last twelve months,” he wrote. “Our meeting  


[1]               1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Watch Tower Society, page 89.