C.J. Woodworth - New historical information

by Lee Elder 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • Lee Elder
    Lee Elder

    The following information was obtained from Skip Higgins who is a distant
    relative of C.J. Woodworth. Skip is a non JW who was researching his family
    tree when he contacted me in April of 2001. Skip's great grandfather was
    C.J. Woodworth's brother. I've edited some of the email I've received from
    skip and it is presented below. I didn't have time to reduce the photos but
    I will post them later.

    Hello. I am interested in contacting someone within your group who
    might know something of the family of Clayton James Woodworth. I believe
    he might have been involved with the productions of some of the
    publications of the Watchtower Society. I believe he died in the Cleveland area
    in 1987(Note: This would be the son) . He was a first cousin of my grandmother,
    and I would be interested to know if he had any family.

    Thank you, Skip Higgins

    Thanks for answering my question. Clayton James Woodworth, the father,
    was born in 1870, and my records show that he died on Nov 18, 1951 on Staten
    Island, NY. His son, Clayton James Woodworth, born 1906 and died in 1987
    is the one that I thought was involved with your church. Perhaps I'm wrong,
    and the father is the one that you can help me with. The father is the
    younger brother of my great grandfather, and as there were 10 children in
    this family, they scattered far and wide. Thanks in advance for any
    information that you can give me about the person and his family.

    Two photos are attached. In the group photo, I believe Clayton (C.J Woodworth)
    is at the far right, front row.

    By the way, you might be interested in knowing that his two wives were
    sisters, Mary Emma Arthur and Sophronia C. Arthur. I don't know their
    parents names.

    For Clayton James Woodworth, Jr., my notes say that his last known address
    was the Watchtower Society, Lakewood, OH.

    Clayton James Woodworth was the 10th of 15 children born to Charles
    Roswell Woodworth and his wife Elizabeth Hannah "Libbie" Bennett. Of this
    15, 5 died in childhood and 10 grew to adulthood. Clayton was born in
    North Pitcher, NY, where Libbie's parents lived. They were there for a few
    years after the Civil War as Charles adjusted to the loss of his left arm in
    the Civil War. He received a minnie ball in his left hand in the Battle of
    the Wilderness, and they had to remove most of his left arm as a result.
    Eventually, this family moved back to Nunda, Livingston Co., NY where
    Clayton grew up. Charles started a knife factory in Nunda, known as the
    Woodworth Knife Works, which survived until the 1930's. My great
    grandfather, Fred Woodworth, Clayton's older brother, was my great
    grandfather and he ran the company until it went out of business.

    My records show that Clayton was married twice, with one child by each
    marriage. I have only sketchy information on each of these children, and my
    point in contacting you was to ask if you might have more. I'm going to
    send this note to Mr. Raines, and ask him if his research on Mr. Woodworth
    would include any family information.

    I have a childhood picture of Clayton, and a picture of him as a young man,
    and these pictures very much resemble the picture on Mr. Raines' website.
    So, I think we're talking about the same guy. Gee, I never would have
    guessed that such a close relative could be involved in such a bizarre

    > Ken Raines has written extensively about CJ Woodworth:
    > http://www.premier1.net/~raines/woodworth.html

    Comments from Lee:

    CJ Woodworth is a central figure in the development of the WTS blood policy.
    As others have noted, the concern over "purity" played a very significant role
    in the development of Watchtower policy.

    Ken Raines analysis of the life of C.J. Woodworth has an evangelical bias.
    I believe that C.J Woodworth can best be understood by an evaluation of his
    family background and in light of what psychologists would recognize as a
    dissociative disorder. Clearly, he was intoxicated with religion, unbalanced and
    suffering from extreme anxiety. The obsession with purity, so often seen in a
    religious context, is so intense that I would imagine he probably suffered
    from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or some related condition.
    My guess is that much of his energy was spent in discerning how to keep
    clean in order to block out the high level of anxiety he was experiencing as
    a result of his inability to block out intrusive thoughts. The magical thinking and
    distorted belief systems that individuals generate to survive in these situations
    is simply unbelievable to those who have not studied or experienced it.

    What is troubling and unfortunate is that someone who was clearly mentally
    ill rose to a position of power and influence. Then again, history is full of
    comparable examples and my own experience as a JW exposed me to similar
    situations Involving elders and circuit overseers who were very troubled

  • joelbear

    I have a moderate case of OCD, for instance I obsess over the number 5 and multiples of it. I will buy things in 5's or store things in 5's.

    I think that a scientific study of witnesses would show that there is a higher than the norm rate of OCD among witnesses. This is simply my opinion and therefore is based on personal observance and not any scientific measurement.


  • Fredhall

    Lee Elder,

    Don't forget that he remain faithful to God down to his death. Now his is with him. Can you say that for yourself?

  • chasson

    Just a modification in your text, Fred:

    "Don't forget that he remain faithful to *the borg* down to his death. Now his is with him. Can you say that for yourself?"

    Except this little error, very good point



  • Fredhall


    And let's don't forget, that you have no hope at all.

  • chasson

    >And let's don't forget, that you have no hope at all.

    And what i expect to answer ?

    Oh fred, i'm so scared, pray Jehovah for me ?

    Have you think just one time that there could be a difference between
    the Watchtower and God ?

    Call me Charles, Fred, we are brother.



  • Fredhall


    Have you notice that YOU suppose to worship God and not the Watchtower?

  • Farkel


    Is English your second language? Better yet, do you even have a FIRST language?


  • Fredhall


    Do you have a better picture of yourself? Maybe not.

  • freeATlast


    There was a write-up about one of C.J. Woody's granddaughters in the Oct 1, 2000 WT. She's married to a CO, and called the two months they spent at Patterson the "highlight of her life". I know Patterson is pretty posh, but god if going there is the best thing ever to happen to you your life is pretty freaking dull.

    It was funny, because one of C.J.'s wive's family name was Arthur and was a relative of Former President Chester Arthur. Needless to say, C. J. getting thrown into "Babylonish captivity" on sedition charges didn't go over well with the in-laws.

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