This is really fringe material, but we do need to know. I’m turning to our readers who are probably better at this particular research than we are. We have two lines of research, one fairly urgent, the other important later.
There is slight evidence that the Russells [or just C. T.] had a son who died in infancy. Yes, I know, it seems improbable given the amount of research put into their life. But we need to confirm or deny this.
The Internet repeats suggestions that Rutherford had a mistress or two. The ‘evidence’ never seems to reach the threshold of established fact. We need to know.
We need solid research, even if it only concludes there is no evidence. On the supposed Russell child, we’d need to find a grave or death records that match. He would have died in 1880 or 1881. He might not be buried with the rest of the family. The name may only be “baby boy Russell.”
I have several reasons for turning this over to our readers. I have a strong point of view on both of these issues. I’d rather the research proceed without a PoV clouding it. We do not have easy access to Allegheny County records, many of which perished in a fire. On the other hand, I do not want to turn this into the wild speculations found on controversialist sites.
Are you up to the challenge?
We can dismiss the 'hairpin' story out of hand. There is no first hand confirmation of that story which is alternately set in Buffalo NY and in one of the Carolinas but with no firsthand documentation. If a hotel maid [supposedly also a Bible Student] found a woman's hairpin in his bed, there is a simpler explanation. Rutherford was experiencing hair loss. Quack remedies involved soaking your hair in an elixir or emulsion and wearing a cap. My grandfather, Rutherford's contemporary, used Lucky Tiger hair restorer in the vain hope that he could rescue his hair. [When it's gone, it's gone. Believe me, I know.] The cap was secured with "women's hairpins."
Jesus used the phrase 'eye is evil' for greed and evil supposition. If this happened at all, we can point to an evil supposition. Apparently no-one bothered to ask Rutherford about it. [Assuming it happened] But some were willing to believe an evil report when a simple explanation would do.
This is similar to the photo that supposedly shows a drunk Rutherford that really shows a group of Witnesses sitting by a root beer dispenser common in the 1920s -1940s. They were used to make homemade root beer, using Hires Extract, and then to dispense it.
History is not sourced from "evil reports," but from provable events.
However, I second Rachael's request for additional research by our blog readers.