Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie

by Farkel 739 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Farkel
  • minimus

    Farkel, I would advise you to reconsider your last post. My question is not about me. It is about Rutherford, Berta and Bonnie. My question, regarding them, does not consider my personal standards. If a JW were to come on to this thread and read all the pages that are here, it might be something they might wonder. I think there are more than a few comments here that raise the same question over and over again.

  • Earnest

    Minimus 1 Farkel 0

  • larc

    Farkel and I are good friends. I don't know what he wrote. I didn't get a chance to see it. I know that Farkel is very bothered by this subject, as I am. Earnest, I like you. You can disagree with me and Farkel, yet you remain civil. I appreciate that.

  • Earnest
    How about checking the census records as to who was living at "Beth Sarim"? Might provide some useful insight.

    The records might indicate how large a staff was required to maintain the house.

    The census records will doubtless be more thorough, but there are some comments in the Moyle vs JFR case. It seems to have been quite a big house - 5156 sq. feet - which included four bedrooms, three baths, a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. There was a caretaker of the property, Mr. Balko, who lived there permanently with his wife and two children, Princess Bonnie and Prince Joseph ! In 1939 a new building was built on the premises and occupied by Mr Robert Astel and Mr Joe Lubeck.

    I am still not sure whether Mrs Rutherford lived at Beth-Sarim or not. In cross-examination (on p.1301) William Heath, who accompanied Rutherford as secretary from 1937 onwards, is asked whether Rutherford's wife lived out in the California residence...and answers "Yes". He is then asked whether she lived there all the years he went out there, and again answers "Yes". We know from the census that Mrs Rutherford was living in Monrovia, Los Angeles in 1930. But in her obituary in the Monrovia Daily News--Post of December 19, 1962 it says she was a Monrovia resident for twenty-two years. That would take her back to 1940, not 1930, so I think it is quite possible she did move from LA to Beth-Sarim for a period in the 1930's and then returned to Monrovia about 1940. That would seem to reconcile Heath's statement and the 22-year period mentioned in her obituary.

    When Rutherford moved to Beth-Sarim each winter (from November to May) he would bring along his secretarial staff and others but it was not always the same group. Prior to Bonnie's marriage to William Heath, it would always include Bonnie and her mother, and after the marriage it would always include Bonnie and her husband. Her mother joined the permanent staff there after Bonnie's marriage and stayed there a year or two before she retired to Texas. Other members of the entourage included Mr. Keller (who was also a stenographer), Mrs Peal, Mr Howlett (both in the health dept), and a Mr Diderian.

    That will have to suffice until Leolaia can add some flesh to these bones.


  • Athanasius

    Hi Earnest,

    Your quotations from the Moyle trial are very interesting. Ten years ago I read the transcripts myself, all 1992 pages.

    The questioning of William Heath by Olin Moyle's attorney Walter Bruchausen is found on page 1301.

    Bruchausen: Now, did Mr. Rutherford's wife live out in the California residence?

    Heath: Yes.

    Bruchausen: And did live there all the years you went out there?

    Heath: Yes.

    Bruchausen: She never came on to reside in Bethel?

    Heath: No.

    It is unfortunate that Mr Bruchausen didn't phrase his question: "Now did Mr. Rutherford's wife live out in California at Beth Sarim?" Since Bruchausen used the term California residence, Heath may have used "Theocratic War Strategy" so he could say yes because Mrs. Rutherford lived at a California residence, most likely in Monrovia. The 1930 census gives her address as 160 N Primrose Ave., Monrovia. The December 18, 1962 death notice gives her address as 159 Stedman Place, Monrovia. The December 19, 1962 obituary notice said that she was a Monrovia resident for 22 years. This may have been an error, or a reference to her residence at 159 Stedman Place. The February 15, 1963 obituary said that Mary had "made her home in Monrovia, Calif., for the past 40 years."

    I seriously doubt that Mary Rutherford lived at Beth Sarim during the 1930s. But one could check the census records for 1940 to see if Mary was still living at 160 N Primrose, 159 Stedman Place, or some other residence. However, since she owned her home she would have paid property taxes each year. A simple check of the tax records would indicate at which residence she was living and also if she was paying taxes on rental property that she owned.

    By the way there is a wealth of information in the Moyle transcripts some of which can be quite humorous. I remember one JW witness who when asked the date of his marriage, couldn't answer. He thought, but just couldn't come up with an answer. It was rather comical since the man had been married only a few years and was in his 30s. Unfortuately I don't have the time to re-read the transcripts to find the confrontation. But if some of you have the time, please look it up.

  • Leolaia

    Unfortunately, the 1940 census is not yet available. Maybe in 2010 it will be.

    Thanks, Earnest, for the name "Balko"....that was all I needed to find Beth Sarim in the 1930 census. Here is who it lists as the residents of 4440 Braeburn Road:

    • August H. Balko. Servant. He was 40 years old, of German ancestry and born in Texas. He was 32 years old when he was first married. His occupation was listed as "Caretaker" and his employer was listed as "Watchtower".
    • Blanch P. Balko. Servant. She was the wife of August H. Balko, was 25 years old, and was born in Missouri. She was 16 years old when she was first married. Her occupaion was listed as "Cook" and her employer was "Private family".
    • Bonnie C. Balko. Daughter. She was 4 months old and born in Texas. This suggests that the Balkos had been in Texas just months earlier.
    • Joseph F. Rutherford. Head of household. The value of the residence is listed at $25,000 (the value of neighboring homes varied between $6,000 to $17,500). He was 60 years old, married, and his occupation was listed as "Writer -- Editor".
    • Bonnie Boyd. Servant. She was 31 years old, single, born in Iowa, and her occupation was "Secretary" for "Bible and Tract Society".
    • Donald Haslett. Servant. He was 34 years old, married, born in New York, and his occupation was "Secretary" for "Bible and Tract Society".

    Mary Rutherford was not listed as a resident of Beth Sarim; she was instead counted as a resident of Monrovia in the same censes. But Bonnie Boyd was a resident of Beth Sarim. And interestingly, the daughter of August and Blanch Balko was named Bonnie. Was she named after Bonnie Boyd? If Earnest is right that the son born later was named Joseph, then indeed their children were named after Bonnie Boyd and Joseph Rutherford. The Balkos and Bonnie Boyd must have known each other quite well.

  • frankiespeakin

    Bonnie Balkco would now be about 75 years old there is a good chance she might still be alive. I wounder if anyone could contact her to ask her some questions?

  • Athanasius

    Hi Leolaia,

    Thank you for posting the updated information on the 1930 census. Hopefully someone will have the time to look into the property tax records for Monrovia for the years 1930-1940 as this will help clarify where Mary Rutherford resided during that period.

  • Leolaia

    There is indeed a living Bonnie Balko -- 7 of them in the U.S. -- but they all seem to be 60 years old or younger. There is one however living in Illinois who is unlisted and whose age is not given.

    A certain Bonnie Balko passed away in 2002, but she was born only in 1963. Interestingly, the Social Security Death Index does not list another Bonnie Balko as dead which might suggest that she is still alive.

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