steve: the Watchtower...was first incorporated: 1881.
Okay, if you don't mind me being pedantic, Steve, I shall continue.
Not 1881. Incorporation didn't happen until 1884 (according to wiki). Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was formed in 1881 but didn't incorporate until 1884.
Incidentally, it was in 1874 that the American church tax exemptions, for corporations of a religious nature, first came into force. Namely, property tax exemption. Tax exemptions for religious corporations would wind their way through the system until, in 1894, tax exemptions became written into statute.*
The WTS, regardless of its many names and configurations, is an organization that arose out of the American tax system and, throughout the years, it has continued to morph, evolve, and change into whatever is necessary in order to hold onto that precious tax exemption.