Charles Russell, Alleged Child Abuser

by Farkel 61 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    My heart goes out to you for your courage and strength to search for the truth and make it known. I can only guess how much you have sacrificed. But I suspect you have gained more than you have lost. I don't have a lot of heroes in my life but you are definitely one of them

    Sincerest thanks and appreciation

    Lee Marsh

    PS Yes when is the book coming out and what will the title be.

  • Leolaia

    Barbara....I eagerly look forward to your book as well! I know it will mark a milestone in JW history scholarship.

    BTW, here is definitive proof that Rose Ball was not an orphan as the Society has claimed. This is the 1910 census for Buffalo, New York, which shows both of her parents alive and well (well, not for long!), living with their son Richard L. Ball and daughter Lillian M. Ball (Lizzie?):

    Note that Richard J. Ball is a native of Germany, just as he is from "Prussia" in the 1880 census, and Elizabeth J. Ball is "Switz-German" just as she is given as born in "Switzerland" in the previous census.

  • stev

    This is Charles Russell's version of the Rose Ball story THE COURT RECORDS Mrs. Russell's bill of complaint admitted that there had been no cohabitation between herself and her husband, and her attorney attempted to make out of this that she was deprived of one of the chief pleasures of life. The Court would not permit this.

    The fact is that the matter was in Mrs. Russell's own control. She did understand that her husband preferred to live a celibate life, but she agreed and expressed the same as her preference. She knew his teachings on the subject, as now expressed in DAWN, VOL. VI., chap. 12--that neither the husband nor the wife may "defraud" the other of reasonable marital rights.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, Mrs. Russell on the witness stand and through her attorney attempted to give the impression that her husband was very amorously inclined, "like a jelly-fish floating around," "embracing all who would respond." She said that some one had told her this thirteen years ago. Hear-say testimony is not admissible in Court, but the precious object to be obtained was the public branding of her husband as a "scalawag," so her attorney smuggled this in by having Mrs. Russell swear that she had told it to her husband ten years ago.

    When the next day the husband took the witness stand and swore that he had never used the language (and never had heard of it before) all reasonable people concluded that only an idiotic person would make such an uncomplimentary remark about himself. They concluded, too, that even an ordinary woman, seeking a charge against her husband for thirteen years, could imagine wonders and create the living and real in her own mind. This is the most charitable view possible of such an oath. The Court ruled that the testimony be stricken from the Court records.

    Mrs. Russell charged an improper intimacy between her husband and "Rose," who became a member of the Russell household in 1888. The attempt of Mrs. Russell and her attorney to give the inference of criminal intimacy was so manifest that the Court interrupted to inquire, if criminal intimacy were charged, why it had not been made part of the plea and why "Rose" had not been made co-respondent in the suit?

    Then both Mrs. Russell and her attorney disclaimed any charge of criminal intimacy, but meant that "Rose" had sat on Mr. Russell's knee and he had kissed her. Mrs. Russell also swore that one night she entered "Rose's" room and found Mr. Russell sitting near her bed and holding her hand. The attempt of Mrs. Russell was not to state "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," but conversely, to state a part of the truth in order to give seeming foundation for evil surmisings, that would injure her husband's influence among those who do not know him.

    The next day Mr. Russell on the witness stand explained that "Rose" and her brother "Charles" were members of the family and office assistants--the former at Mrs. Russell's request. "Rose" was quite childish in appearance, wore short dresses, and looked to Mr. Russell to be about 13 years old. He did not know her age, but another who knew her guessed that she was then only 10 years old. She may have been older than 13 in 1888.

    The brother came first, and shortly after "Rose's" coming he died. It was some months later that Mr. Russell in the WATCH TOWER office, hearing sobbing, turned to find "Rose" in tears. Inquiring the cause, "Rose," still weeping, came over and sat on his knee, and complained that Mrs. Russell had worked her too hard before she started for the office; and that she felt weary and friendless. He told her that all that was a mistake. He defended Mrs. Russell as not intentionally unkind or unreasonable, and told "Rose" to do what she was able to do, cheerfully, and then to explain her weariness, and that he was sure nothing unreasonable would be asked. Then, suddenly drying her tears, "Rose" kissed [R3815 : page 222] Mr. Russell. Although surprised at all this Mr. R. did not resent it nor reprove it; but rather reproved himself for not having been previously more fatherly. That very night he talked with his wife about "Rose," and pointed out that she was surely lonely since her brother's death, and that it would be a duty to look after her interests more carefully. Mrs. Russell agreed, and it was mutually arranged that "Rose" thereafter should be considered and treated as an adopted daughter.

    "Rose" was so informed in the presence of the three, and invited to spend her evenings in the large study and reading room with the Russells. This course was followed; and when "Rose" retired, usually at 9 p.m., Mrs. Russell kissed her good-night and told her to "pass the kiss along" to Mr. R. also. This custom continued several years, until Mr. R. said to "Rose": "I think it best that I should discontinue kissing you; you are now wearing long dresses and looking more womanly, and Mrs. R. might get to feel jealous;--although she has never said a word to that effect, I would not wish to give her the slightest reason for so feeling." Mr. Russell declared that it was quite a while after his discontinuance of his proper fatherly conduct toward "Rose" that Mrs. Russell (having become alienated on account of not getting all the liberty she desired in the WATCH TOWER columns) upbraided him for kissing "Rose."

    As for Mrs. R.'s claim that she found her husband in "Rose's" room [R3816 : page 222] one night, sitting near her bed and holding her hand, Mr. R. said that he had no recollection of the occurrence, but that as he has a slight knowledge of medicine he was called on by all the members of the family in cases of illness: Mrs. R., her mother, her sisters and her sisters' children all were accustomed to apply to Mr. R., who kept a free medicine chest, referring serious cases to a regular practitioner. Mr. R. presumed the case in question was an emergency call, and that he was counting "Rose's" pulse. The entire "Rose" matter had a different appearance when the light of truth was turned on it. The Court ruled out the "Rose" testimony, and ordered it stricken from the Court records.

  • stev

    Here is another account by Charles T. Russell of Rose Ball story:


    Regarding the "divorce," Pastor Russell said in 1911:

    "I remind you briefly of the facts: A most excellent and noble wife became mentally poisoned by ‘Women’s rights.’ When I refused to allow such ideas a place in my journal, The Watch Tower, she became my bitterest enemy. First she tried to coerce me. This failing, she since seeks to destroy my influence. Yet never was a wife more kindly treated. Our property by mutual consent was all devoted to the Lord’s cause whilst we were in fullest accord. Provision was made merely for the necessities of life for both of us. When she changed her mind she demanded the money we had devoted to God’s cause. I paid her forty dollars per month. She appealed to the courts for more money. However, that is all settled, for in 1909, during my absence in Europe preaching, five of my friends, all men, made up a purse of $10,000, settled with Mrs. Russell and took her receipts for five years’ allowances ordered by the court, which they knew I had not means to pay."

    What about Rose Ball going to Australia?

    "Why, of course, she did not stay a child in short dresses all the time. She married and went to Australia with her husband! Remember, this is quite ancient history which the Eagle Considers news. Twenty years ago Rose kissed my wife and me every night when she retired. And she did this at my wife’s suggestion. It was at that time that she came crying to me and sat on my knee to tell her troubles-as to a father."

    "No one knows better than my wife that there was absolutely nothing impure in any of my dealings with that foster child. I did not get a chance to furnish any testimony in court because the trial judge discerned that no immorality was charged in my wife’s plea and ordered everything of the kind stricken from the court records."

    On what plea, then, did she get a divorce?

    "She did not get a divorce at all; the court merely made a decree of separation. A sympathetic jury concluded that we both would be happier legally separated. My wife’s charge contained not a suggestion of immorality. It charged "cruelty."* The evidence submitted to her attorneys seemed to them rather slim proofs of cruelty, and two sets of lawyers abandoned her case. The third set of attorneys ‘cooked’ up some so-called evidence, including the story about Rose Ball, then married and gone to Australia, and who long years before was our foster child. Emily Matthews, the housemaid of twenty years ago, had also married. Hearing of the case, she came to court voluntarily to testify on my behalf. But before I could put her on the witness stand the court had ruled that portion of my wife’s testimony ‘out of court’ and to be stricken off the court records."

    "My wife knew everything, and never for one minute doubted my faithfulness as a husband. She merely sought revenge, because I did not accede to her ‘women’s rights’ notions."

  • stev

    Thank you all for the excellent research and posting the results.

    This proves that Russell's estimate of Rose's age at 13 was not accurate. If she was 19 years of age when she arrived, and both parents were living, it calls into question Russell's account that she was their foster child. I have not found a statement by him describing her as an "orphan."

    In the ZWT 1900, he does describe her as being "quite young". There was no reason for him to lie about this at that time, and perhaps he unwittingly underestimated her age. However, he does not mention that she was his adopted daughter or foster child, which I would expect him to do.

    It is possible that Russell years later would not be able to recall Rose Ball's age. It seems likely that at that time he would know, if she for several years was working there at his office, and living in his house.

    It does clear him of the charge of child molestation, and whoever is publishing that booklet accusing him of being a child molester should be alerted to Rose Ball's birthdate!

    I am glad that Barbara Anderson has researched this, and I would glad to read her book when it comes out. I maintain that the accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. This does call into question Russell's credibility, but does not prove infidelity, and Maria's account is not credible to me either. The cloud of this scandal has lasted so long that it would good to be able to put it to rest and the truth to come out, whatever that might be, and I hope more research would clear up the inconsistencies.


  • AndersonsInfo

    Yes, great find, Leolaia. As I mentioned in my first post on this thread, I have the Certificate and Record of Death for both Elizabeth A. Ball and Richard J. Ball. Elizabeth died July 22, 1911 at the age of 69 and Richard died April 27, 1911, age 76. The address for place of death was 237 Prospect Ave. Buffalo, NY. Richard Ball was born in Germany and the maiden name of his mother was "Rose" Ball. Elizabeth Ball was born in Switzerland. This is the same address Rose Ball Henninges gave as her place of residence which appears on her marriage certificate. Richard J. Ball was a retired restaurant keeper and his wife was a housewife. Richard L. Ball signed the death certificates and he listed as his address, 237 Prospect Ave.


    If all goes well and nothing unforeseen happens, the book will be done next year. I have chosen a title but it's a great big SECRET! I do think, however, that most of the XJW community will be happy with the title. I'd share the name of the book now, but I really want all my "friends" at Watchtower headquarters to be surprised!

    Thank you Lee for your kind words. My life has sure taken the twists and turns, some good, some not so good. But, all in all, it's been an adventure. However, I could have done without the sacrifices! I really don't look at myself as having done anything different than most women would have done, and most especially mothers, if they had found themselves in my shoes. Perhaps another woman might have gone about revealing the sexual child abuse scandal a bit differently, but due to my circumstances, I could only play my cards the way they were dealt.

    Steve: The information you pasted on this thread does not come from the pen nor the lips of Charles Taze Russell. It comes from the Bible Student organization which is dedicated to protect the memory of Pastor Russell. A few years ago, there were three men (Bible Students) working on the history of C.T. Russell. I had a number of discussions with one of these men and we ended up not agreeing. Of course, I was surprised when I read the material that they finally put together to defend Pastor Russell as it is full of half-truths. One thing for sure, I tell the truth. I don't interpret information. I just find it, share it and let the chips fall wherever they may. One thing I know for certain: Russell did not tell the truth about Rose Ball, nor did Rutherford in 1915 under Russell's guiding hand. There are many other circumstances where Russell was not truthful. Historical revisionism began with Russell and is still part of the Watchtower organization today. Be careful of believing everything you read about Russell because "it ain't necessarily so!"

    I would like to also comment on the other information posted on this thread where we can read Russell's own words stated in 1911 about his troubles with his wife: A number of years ago, I went over these statements with a fine tooth comb and disproved them one by one with the facts I had discovered. I have no reason to tell a half-truth or lie about Pastor Russell or Mrs. Russell. I don't have an agenda! I just wanted to know the truth. If Mrs. Russell really did what the Pastor said she did, I wanted to know. I will say it again, I was just as surprised and sometimes amazed at what I and my hired professional non-JW, non-Bible Student researcher found as we slowly hammered away at each statement Pastor Russell or Mrs. Russell made. The truth of the matter is this: Just because Pastor Russell said it, it doesn't make it so.

    On more thing: Today Leolaia did some research using the Internet and proved without a shadow of a doubt when Rose Ball was born. This factual information, which I also found some 6 years ago, has great bearing on whether Russell told the truth about certain events. What I'm trying to say is this: The facts are out there. I found them. I didn't make them up just like Leolaia didn't make up the 1880 Census. The problem has been, as I see it, is that many of us have taken everything that Russell said as gospel truth. Of course, some people have suspected that he was being less than truthful, but they didn't know how to disprove what he said because it happened so long ago. Well, friends, the evidence for or against Pastor Russell is out there. All I did was spend a ton of money to hunt the facts down!!

    As an example of what I have found through research: Recently, I posted on another JWD thread evidence that Pastor Russell was not a Freemason. How did I find this out? By asking my hired professional researcher to steer me in the right direction back in 2001. Together, it took us almost four years to get a definitive answer from the Grand Lodge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that there was no record in their ancient books in Pennsylvania, Ireland or Scotland that Charles Taze Russell, his father or uncle were members. So let's trust the facts when they are presented and try to accept the truth about the Russells, whether we like what we learn or not.


  • Leolaia

    stev....Looks like a real mystery how Pastor Russell got mistaken over Rose's age, referred to her as a foster daughter, etc, or if he was lying, exactly why he said what he said. Barbara may well have the least I hope she does.

    BTW, I have some more info. I just found that the 1890 City Directory for Buffalo, New York, lists "Richard J. Ball" as the owner of a restaurant with two addresses (11 Court, 237 Prospect Avenue) and "Richard L. Ball" as a student with two addresses (438 Main, 237 Prospect Avenue).

  • Leolaia

    Another fine post, Barbara!

    Edit: Oh yeah, if you check out the facsimile of the 1910 census above, the address is "237 Prospect" just as it is in the 1890 City Directory and the death certificates.

  • stev


    I appreciate your research, and I hope you will share the results, and I hope that I might get the opportunity to read it sometime in the future. It is not always easy to discern where the truth lies, and your research into the Mason claim is an example. Yes, just searching the internet, there is so much information out there. I never did believe the Mason claim, but it shows that you can't believe every attack about Russell either. It is apparent now that the child molestation is not true, but how many people have believed it? This causes me to be skeptical of rumors on Russell, expecially when there is no hard evidence. What is missing is a good biography of Charles T. Russell, with the facts. Perhaps someday we will get one.

    I did think my posts of Charles T. Russell's accounts were his actual words. One of them is from the Zion's Watch Tower, and the other is from a defense from an early Bible Student that claims that these are the words of Pastor Russell. I posted them so that his version may be compared now with the research. I freely admit that the research does not corroborate his version, and yes, it does bear on his honesty, and it certainly calls for more research to check the truthfulness of the rest of it, which you say you have done. Not everyone is able to do that. I would be interested in knowing if Maria contradicted his story, about Rose's age, being considered their foster child.


  • Leolaia

    Barbara Harrison in Visions of Glory cites the Toledo Blade as publishing a comment from Charles Russell describing Rose Ball as "an adopted child of the family in short dresses".

    Russell's use of the word "child" would seem to be most misleading. Or was he misreported?

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