Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie

by Farkel 739 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee
    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.


  • Leolaia

    Of course, Bonnie Balko could've gotten married and changed her last name. Then it would be extremely difficult to find her. Perhaps one could look for Joseph Balko too, and see if he is still alive.

    Edit: If our Joseph Balko was the one born on March 21, 1932, then he died in 1996. A different Joseph Balko, resident of San Diego, CA, died in December 2003, but I don't think this is our Joseph Balko.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    In reference to my previous post I sent this in a PM to someone but will post it here as well

    I have no doubts about what was posted. I think it is fascinating. As a parent I would really have to know someone very well to name my children after them. Here are these 4 people living in one house and out of all the names to choose from they make those choices. It would be interesting to know how they viewed the relationship between Rutherford and Bonnie.

    It really is wonderful how so many people are coming out to share the bits they know and form this picture of Rutherford and the kind of man he really was.

    I take a slightly different tactic when considering the direction the organization has gone. People tend to pass their dysfunctions on to their children. In Rutherford's case (and in Russell's) they seem to have had a lot of dysfunction going on in their personal lives. And that includes their sexual issues.

    My link to this is the extreme dysfunction seen within the organization including its issues around sexuality. I'm seeing patterns of behavior passed on by these two men and how they impact on the organization and what it has become today.

    Fascinating - just fascinating


  • Earnest
    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."

    Hi Athanasius,

    It had crossed my mind that Heath could have answered "Yes" whether Mrs. Rutherford was living at Beth Sarim or Monrovia, Los Angeles, as both are in California. I discounted that because the question was whether she lived "in the California residence" so there was no doubt which residence Mr. Bruchhausen was referring to, but I agree it's unfortunate he didn't specify Beth Sarim.

    I would recommend the Moyle transcripts for anyone interested in the 20th century history of Jehovah's Witnesses. There are even insights to the 1916-1922 period when Mr. Van Amburgh gives his testimony. And, yes, there is plenty of humour. Here is a brief example where Matthew Howlett is being cross-examined by Mr. Bruchhausen on his use of alcohol :

    Q. Did you ever take a drink? A. Yes, when I got a chance. Q. Some of the other boys around there like to drink, too, don't they? A. Pardon? Q. Some of the other boys around Bethel like to drink, don't they? A. I don't know. Q. Didn't you ever go out with any of the boys? A. Not to drink. Q. Where did you get the drink; inside? A. Inside of where? Q. Bethel. A. No, I had my drink outside, mostly. Q. In a particular place? A. No, not in a particular place. Excuse my smiling. Q. Did you ever get it in bottle form? A. I have had a bottle of beer, yes. Q. Nothing stronger than beer? A. Oh, yes. Q. You mean you have had something stronger than beer not from the bottle? A. Yes, I think I have taken it out of the bottle. Q. And that is at Bethel, isn't it? A. No, sir. Q. Where did you get the bottle? A. I didn't get the bottle. Q. Where is the bottle that you referred to? A. Out in a lumber camp. Q. So there are no bottles... and at this point the judge had had enough and told them to get on to the next point.


    Once again you've come up trumps! Well done and thanks for your hard work. There are a few interesting points the census of Beth Sarim reveals. First, that Bonnie's mum was not with her on this occasion that she was living at Beth Sarim (although she testifies that her mum did accompany her to Beth Sarim). Secondly, that Donald Haslett's wife did not accompany him to Beth Sarim. I can understand that there wasn't enough work there to keep additional family busy but it does seem unhealthy to me to be separated six months every year.

    And interestingly, the daughter of August and Blanch Balko was named Bonnie. Was she named after Bonnie Boyd? ...The Balkos and Bonnie Boyd must have known each other quite well.

    Now, this is interesting. Bonnie Balko was 4 months old at the time of the 1930 census, and "nearly two" at the end of July 1931. So she must have been born about September/October 1929. Now, Beth Sarim was only built at the end of 1929 and Rutherford first moved in on January 13, 1930. This means the Balko's must have known Bonnie "quite well" before they moved to Beth Sarim. There are two possibilities that occur to me. First, that Rutherford had spent the winters in San Diego under the care of "Dr." Alta Eckols since 1926 and as Bonnie had doubtless accompanied him she and the Balko's may have become friends then if they were residents of San Diego. The other possibility is that August Balko may have known, or even be related to Bonnie, who also apparently came from Texas. It would not surprise me if Bonnie had a hand in them being caretakers at Beth Sarim.

    If our Joseph Balko was the one born on March 21, 1932, then he died in 1996. A different Joseph Balko, resident of San Diego, CA, died in December 2003, but I don't think this is our Joseph Balko.

    I can confirm that their son was called Joseph Barak Balko, and must have been born in late 1930 or early 1931 as he is mentioned in The Messenger of July 30, 1931, published for the Columbus, Ohio convention of July, 1931. So it seems he is still alive, in his mid-seventies and probably the last living link with Beth Sarim.


  • Earnest
    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.

    The 1930 census here includes Bonnie Balko as resident of Beth Sarim. Hence, my suggestion above that Bonnie Boyd knew them from previous visits to San Diego is ruled out. According to the census there is nine years separating August Balko and Bonnie Boyd, both from Texas. I would not be surprised if they are brother and sister. No proof as yet, but why would they name their daughter after Bonnie before ever coming to Beth Sarim ?


  • Leolaia

    Earnest.....Very fascinating idea you have there, of a family relationship between Bonnie Boyd and August Balko. Now, what is the evidence that Bonnie is from this general knowledge? I ask this because both the 1930 census of Bethel and Beth Sarim stated that Bonnie Boyd was born in Iowa, and both her parents as born in Iowa. So if she lived in Texas, it appears that she moved there later in life. The other interesting question is that of the Missus, Blanch P. Balko, who was born in Missouri. I wonder if there is a connection between her and Rutherford, either familial or through acquaintance.

    Now, I can dig a little more into this, looking at the 1910 and 1920 census for both of them, to see if I can find exactly where they lived in Texas and Missouri, and who their immediate family members were.

  • Leolaia

    Okay, I just found August Balko in the 1920 census.

    He was the resident of a boarding house on Colorado Street, La Grange, Fayette, Texas. His age was listed at 31 (cf. in the 1930 census, his age was given as 40), he was unmarried, and he was employed as an agent of a railroad. Note also that, according to the 1930 census, August and Blanch were married 8-9 years earlier, or in 1921/1922.

    I'll look for more info in the 1910 census on him, to see where he grew up. But do we know if Bonnie Boyd, if she lived in Texas, lived in Fayette as well?

  • Athanasius

    Hi Leolaia,

    You have done an excellent job with the census. Keep up the good work.

    Earnest, your comments are well taken. However, Heath could have been mistaken, or not being totally honest.

  • VM44

    Earnest, you wrote

    Rutherford had spent the winters in San Diego under the care of "Dr." Alta Eckols since 1926

    I had tried to find information on Dr Eckols, but could not find anthing at all. What information do you have on him? Was he a real doctor? or was he a quack?


  • Earnest

    VM44, the book Monuments to False Prophecy by Edmond Gruss has some background information about Dr Alta Eckols. He was a chiropractor in San Diego and had a practice with his son, Dr Albert Eckols (who was the man who originally bought the plots for Beth Sarim). Gruss records a letter written to The Golden Age of April 27, 1921 which gives some basis for determining Dr Eckols' qualifications :

    Chiropractors Persecuted By F. D. Irish, San Diego

    Mr Editor: Enclosed please find my check for renewal of my subscription to your valuable paper, which is chuck full of valuable matter. The editorials have a punch to them that a live man cannot fail to appreciate and admire.

    Dr. A. G. Eckols, of this city, and the writer have been arrested, tried and convicted by the medics for having practised Chiropractic without obtaining a license from the State Medical Board. The latter will not give a license to Chiropractors, as they will not recognize any school or college of Chiropractic whatever. In other words, the medical men of this state are endeavouring to kill our science in California and to drive us out of the state. They are digging their own grave, however, and digging it deep.

    In November last we tried to have an amendment passed allowing us a State Board of Chiropractors to examine Chiropractors so that those who proved themselves proficient, of good moral character, and possessed of a diploma from a high class school of Chiropractic, could practise in the state without prosecution and persecution by the medics. We received 390,000 votes, but lost by only about 12,000, having received the greatest number of votes ever cast in the United States for a measure of this kind.

    Sentence will be pronounced upon Dr. Eckols and myself on the 16th; and we are going to jail rather than pay a fine, 75 percent of which, if paid, goes back into the Medical Board's hands. The judge and the prosecuting attorney practically admitted that this medical law is unjust. Some of the jurors also believed it to be unjust; but we are to be cast into prison for doing good, because we are getting too much business away from the medical doctors.

    However, in 1922 Dr Eckols was advertising his services as chiropractor on the first page of the San Diego City Directory. And in the 1925 Directory. So it would seem that his legal position changed for the better. In the advertisement he describes himself as a chiropractor, a Palmer Graduate, and has the letters D.C. after his name which I assume to stand for Doctor of Chiropractic.


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