Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie

by Farkel 739 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • jimbo

    MerryMagdalene and Leolaia!!!!

    What a great job you did in writing this thread. It gave me many hours of enjoyable reading and contemplating. I also enjoyed reading about Rutherfords hostile takeover of the WTB&TS. This has revealed much about that apostate organization.

    jimbo (of the Nice to Be Free Class)

    PS Is it raining in Idaho?

  • Merry Magdalene
    Merry Magdalene

    Thanks for the compliment, Jimbo, but we didn't write this thread by any stretch of the imagination. It was a huge group effort with so many involved who deserve far more credit than me. Leolaia's research has blown me away too, helping to confirm and disconfirm various points throughout, and it has been a fascinating odyssey.

    As Farkel said: " Farkel, who never writes in the third person just had an epiphany. This thread is not necessarily about Rutherford. This thread has brought a whole bunch of us TOGETHER in a common goal. We have all given much to this subject, and almost totally without rancor. It has been a collaboration of energies and much effort to find the truth as best we can. We all worked together for that goal.

    Much new stuff has been discovered and revealed. This is an important thread, but in MHO not for the content and not because larc and I started it, but because it shows how people can build on information and opinions and assertions and ideas. It shows how people who really care about truth can find it when challenged and present it when challenged.

    Ok. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but I still think this thread is the quintessential thread where minds got together and melded for a good and common goal, namely: the man Rutherford and what he REALLY was like in his life and times.

    Once again, this thread is definitely about Rutherford, but more importantly, this thread is about we folks getting together and contributing something important. Together we can work magic!"

    If it's not too far off topic, I'll bring up one more person, mentioned by Earnest on page 8 as "Mr. Dederian" who also stayed at Beth Sarim, and by Room 215 as "Dick Dederian" (and remembered as "crochety" and possibly Armenian). I am wondering if he is the same Richard Dederian who, as a young man, was one of the 8 founding members of the Triple X Fraternity (an Armenian social organization) in Fresno, California, 1918. There is only one Richard Dederian in the SSDI-- born 4 Aug. 1899, died Jul. 1981.


  • Leolaia

    Oh goodie, more bait.

    The Lenna Provin in the 1900 census is definitely the same person in your marriage info (same month of birth, county of residence, etc.). Lenna's parents were Horace Provin (49 years old) and Flora I. Provin (36 years old), and she had seven siblings (including Nellie, Zella, Rolla, Lella, they had a thing for double "L" names I guess). There is much more detailed info in OneWorldTree. There we have Lena Provin born in 4/6/1883 in Ridgeway, Harrison, Missouri and dead in 1959, whose parents were Horace Ray Provin (born in 8/16/1850) and Isabelle Grant (born in 1855). Horace's parents in turn were Joel Henry Provin (born in 10/5/1819) and Anna Ellis (born in 6/6/1822), and Isabelle's parents were Thomas Grant (born in 7/6/1816) and Mariah Peel (born in 1/31/1820); the genealogy continues btw into the 1600s. Lena Provin had two spouses. Her first husband was Omer Loy and the second was Gilbert Asa Poleson. The thing with Omer is weird tho because the 1900 census shows that next door to the Provins lived a Omar Provin who was married to a Delissa Provin; the resemblance of the names would have to be a concidence (since the husband would obviously not take a wife's name), unless there is an error in designating Omer as a husband of Lenna.

    The Asa Poleson living in Independence City, Jackson, Missouri in the 1900 census is NOT our Gilbert Asa Poleson. This person was 70 years old and married to Alvira Poleson. There was also a William Asa Poleson living in Kootenai, Idaho according to the WWI draft cards who seemingly should not be Gilbert Asa Poleson. And yet, the 1910 census lists a William A. Poleson of Missouri who was married to a Lenna Poleson, also of Missouri, living at the residence of William's parents in Kootenai, Rathdrum, Idaho. In this record, William's parents were Martin Poleson (59 years old) and Julia E. Poleson (49 years old). Lenna was 29 years old at the time, indicating that she was born in 1883, the same year indicated for Lena Provin in the 1900 census. All of this matches pretty well. Gilbert Asa Poleson however is indicated in your source as born in 1879 whereas the 1910 census indicates a date around 1886. If this Lenna Poleson is the same person as the Lena Poleson married to an "Asa Poleson" in your source, then it is noteworthy that Lenna and William A. Poleson had two children: Martin A. Poleson, 4 years old (born in c. 1906 in Missouri) and Julia E. Poleson, 3 years old (born in c. 1907 in Idaho). No putative "Blanch Poleson", age 5, appears in the list. This family thus may or may not be the right family for Blanch.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I have to agree this has been a wonderful collaboration for all the posters who have given a lot of time and energy into searching out the clues and conaffirming or disconffirming the information that gets found. People like me just sit back and admire the work that you have done. It is remarkable that you have found so much information that has been sitting around in old archives, registries, census data, marriage, death certificates.

    Unlike the WTS and the way we were as JWs, you have not been willing to sit back and leave it alone. Just when I think that is all there is to find, you get a clue and off you go again.

    Bravo to all who have helped this along

  • Leolaia

    Okay, I found Blanch and her parents. It is now pretty clear that her biological parents were not the Polesons, but the "Harbole" family as suggested by her odd name "Blanch Harbole Poleson". She thereafter became a Poleson either through adoption or through a first marriage. I did some more digging and found a Blanch Harbolt in the 1910 census, born in Missouri in 1905 (since she was 5 years old at the time of the census), living then in Canal Dover, Tuscarawas, Ohio with her parents Clark P. Harbolt (30 years old, born in Ohio with his own parents born in Germany and Wales) and Carrie Harbolt (30 years old, born in Texas with her own parents born in Germany and Texas). Now, if we look back at the 1930 census taken at Beth Sarim, we may recall that Blanch P. Balko claimed that she was born in Missouri in 1905, that her father was born in Ohio, and that her mother was born in Texas. In other words, a perfect match, especially when we recall that this same person was also known as "Harbole".

    I can also rule out the possibility that she was adopted by the Polesons. The Harbolt family appears in the 1920 census and Blanch was still living with them. At Houston, Harris, Texas lived Clark Harbolt (41 years old, born in Ohio, employed as a railroad foreman), his wife Carrie Harbolt (40 years old, born in Texas), and their children Blanche Harbolt (15 years old, born in Missouri), Victor Harbolt (12 years old, born in Ohio), and Maud Harbolt (10 years old, born in Ohio). This would then suggest that Blanch married a "Poleson" in the 1920s. Note also that the link between Blanch Harbolt and Blanch Harbole Poleson Balko is further tightened by her residence in Texas in the 1920s. The Beth Sarim census indicates that Blanch first married at age 16, i.e. in 1921. If she was living in Texas, it would seem that in 1920 her fiance would have been living in Texas as well, particularly, in Houston, but I have been unable to find a "Poleson" in Texas in the 1920 census.

  • AndersonsInfo

    Merry, in answer to your inquiry about Dick Dederian, when I first went to Bethel at the end of June 1982, I was assigned to Tape Duplicating, an area which came under control of the Shipping Dept. Around August of that year, I was transferred to the Shipping Dept and ended up in Invoicing where four of us typed congregation literature orders into computers. Lucille Henschel and Mildred Barr checked the work done by our little group. There was a small elderly man, who also worked in Invoicing, and he filed all completed literature orders. His name was Dick Dederian and he was indeed "crotchety" and Armenian. I think he came from Fresno, CA. I'll never forget Dick because on the second day I was in the department, I came back from lunch early and found him slumped over the bottom drawer of a nearby file cabinet and he was perfectly still for some time. He was sitting on a little stool and was face down in the files. I thought Dick had died and ran to Mildred Barr for help. I'll never forget my embarrassment when she told me that Dick took a nap every day after lunch with his head down in the files. Anyway, Dick Dederian was alive until sometime around the mid 1980s or maybe a little later. By that time I was working in the Engineering Department and remember attending Dick's memorial service at Bethel one evening. That memorial talk was given by Karl Klein.


  • Leolaia

    Dederian may have something to do with that fraternity, Merry. According to the California Death Index, Richard Martin Dederian was born on 8/4/1899 in Massachusetts and his mother's maiden name was Soligian. Another site gives his wife's name as Rose Mahakian; she was born in New York in 12/8/1914 (mother's madien name being Nahas) and she died on 4/22/1992 in Fresno, California. The website on the fraternity associates Richard Dederian with a "Lee Dederian". According to the 1930 census, Lee M. Dederian lived in San Francisco, California and was born in c. 1902 in Massachusetts with his parents born in Armenia. I have not yet found Richard however in any of these censuses.

    We can therefore know for sure whether or not this Dederian was the fraternity guy if we could determine whether the Bethel Dederian was married, if the wife's name was Rose, whether she was still alive before he died, etc. The California Dederian seemingly died in 1981 and yet Barbara recalls he lived for several years maybe he's not the right guy?

  • jimbo


    Thank you for the correction. I agree that this thread is a huge cooperative effort. I am intrigued by the way that You and Leolaia especially compliment each others posts. Not to take credit away from other posters.

    I regret that I don't have the ability to add significantly to this thread. I am glad to see it starting up again.

    I did pass through Kennsington Heights one time. I must have been close to the famed Beth Sarim!!

    Keep the Information flowing. I for one, certainly enjoy this thread.


  • Leolaia

    Oh .... my ..... GOD!!!!!

  • Leolaia

    I never would have expected finding this:

    What in tarnations was Berta doing vacationing in Hawaii with *gasp* Malcolm Rutherford!! What does this tell us about Malcolm's relationship with his father and Berta's relationship with Malcolm's father?

    The plot thickens, yet again!

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