Rutherford's teaching years were 1887-1888. He taught at two schools, Pleasant Grove and Carpenter, both in Syracuse. He was appointed court stenographer in 1889 and moved to Boonville in April 1890, where he met Mary Fetzer whom he married in December 1891. Interestingly Rutherford got his marriage license before he received his license to practice law. In 1892 he made a formal application to practice law before the bar at Boonville. A committee of five members of the Boonville bar were appointed to examine the young stenographer to see whether his knowledge of legal procedures was sufficent to permit him to practice. The committee granted his license to practice law in Cooper County in May 1892. His marriage into the socially prominent Fetzer family no doubt opened doors for him, though Joe was also a very capable and responsible young man with his own connections.
Rutherford's first contact with Russellism wasn't until 1894. This is confirmed by a letter that he wrote and which was reprinted in the April 15, 1894 Zion's Watch Tower. But Joe didn't really get involved with the sect, other than buying a few books, until 1906. Some Watchtower sources claim he became active in 1904, but contemporaty sources indicate that this too is myth. On May 6, 1904 Hayden Samson, a prominent Watch Tower speaker addressed a group of interested persons at the Turner Hall in Boonville where Rutherford still resided with his wife and son. Samson's speaking tour had been advertised and booked months in advance, so Joe had time to arrange his affairs to be in attendance had he wanted to. So where was Joe on this special night? Rutherford was hundreds of miles away in Independence, Kansas on a business trip. Also in the fall of 1904 Joe was on the stump campaigning for Democratic candidates for local and national office. Remember that Russell's view of politics and politicians was the same as that of the JWs today. The earliest non-Watchtower source that I was able to find that indicated Rutherford's involvement with the Watch Tower was a Boonville newspaper article dated September 27, 1907. The paper said that Joe had quit his legal practice to take up the lecture circuit for the Watch Tower.
However, at his 1918 trial Rutherford testified that 1906 was the year he accepted the Watch Tower and made a consecration to the Lord. Since Joe didn't have any reason to lie about this under oath, 1906 is probably the year that he first got seriously involved with the Watch Tower. Thus 1906 was the year that launched the theological career of the man who would mold Russell's sect into a religion of misery for millions of innocent people.