Rutherford Exposed: The Story of Berta and Bonnie

by Farkel 739 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Leolaia

    Here is Mary M. Rutherford, residing in 1940 at 159 Stedman Place, Monrovia, Los Angeles, California:

    Among the details given by Mary Rutherford, we learn that her home was valued at $5000, she had two years of post-secondary education, she was living in the same house on 4/1/1935, she was unemployed and not seeking work, and she received income from sources other than wages or salary.

  • startingover
  • botchtowersociety
  • Leolaia

    Well, folks, things continue to get curiouser and curiouser.

    As many of us know, in 1917 Rutherford took control of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society in part through deposing four of the seven members of the Board of Directors (who should have been a majority). They left following the January 1918 election and formed the Pastoral Bible Institute, with the Herald of Christ's Kingdom as its journal. In the midst of the Watchtower Society whipping up excitement over the 1925 date, the Herald re-examined Russell's chronology and found it to be erroneous, particularly in the reckoning of the "seventy years of servitude", leading them to change the date of Jerusalem's fall from 606 BC to 587 BC (15 April 1921 issue of the Herald, followed by more articles into 1922). The Watchtower responded with a flurry of articles in 1922 (starting in the 1 May 1922 issue) defending Russell's chronology and the 606 date, and stated most dogmatically that their dates were indisputably correct (including 1874 and 1914 and 1925) and Russell was led to discover these true dates through the Holy Spirit. The Watchtower Society since then has not budged from the 607 BC and 1914 dates, although it has quietly retired 1874 and 1925. But for Rutherford, the Pastoral Bible Institute and other Bible Student groups who broke from the Watchtower Society constituted the "Evil Servant" class supported by Satan in disrupting the work of God's organization. Still, in a veiled reference, Rutherford dismissed the Pastoral Bible Institute as one among "a dozen such schismatic 'little flocks', characterized by an increasing littleness and by an absence of the predicted glorious activity in the warfare of the Lamb with the beast" (Watchtower, 6/1/1922, p. 163). The deposed directors according to Rutherford belonged to " a class of insubordinate ones who rebelled against the ways of the Lord" (Watchtower, 6/1/1931, p. 169).

    Anyway, why talk about the Pastoral Bible Institute in a thread about Berta and Bonnie? Well, it turns out that, one of the directors deposed by Rutherford, James Dennis Wright, happened to be married to the great-aunt of William Heath, Jr., the future husband of Bonnie Boyd. I totally did not expect to see that one coming.

    First let me restate some of the info presented in the data dump on p. 29 of this thread:

    Genealogical data available from various sources show that Heath's great-grandfather Reverend Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt was born on 1/29/1796 in Saybrook, Essex, Connecticut, married Catherine Barrington King on 3/1/1830 and died on 8/30/1879 in Roswell, Cobb, Georgia. Catherine, meanwhile, was the daughter of Roswell King (founder of the city of Roswell, Georgia) and was born on 7/21/1810 in St. Simons, Glynn, Georgia. They had eight children, the youngest of which was Catherine Quintard Pratt (some sources give her middle name as "Quinland", but this appears to have been incorrect), born on 11/10/1850 in Darien, Fulton, Georgia. She appears in the 1860 census as C. Q. Pratt, 9, daughter of N. A. Pratt, 64, who indicated that he was born in Connectict and worked as a "Minister", and Catherine B. Pratt, 50, all residing in Roswell, Cobb, Georgia. Then in c. 1875 the younger Catherine married Alfred Taylor Heath, Sr. in Roswell, Cobb, Georgia. Alfred was born in c. 1849 in Florida and worked as a farmer. He appeared in the 1850 census as the son of Marcus D. L. Heath, 31, who worked as a lawyer and Mary J. Heath, 23. He had an older brother Albert S. Heath, 3, and an older sister Eliza A. Heath, 5 (cf. Eliza Ansley Whitta, 32, Mary's sister, living at the same address). All lived in Marietta, Cobb, Georgia. He also appears in the 1870 census as Alfred T. Heath, 23, living with his mother Mary J. Heath, 50, and working as a farm hand in Subdivision 163, Newton, Georgia. Then he married Catherine Quintard Pratt in c. 1875, and they had the following children: William Pratt Heath, Sr., born in 1875, Natalie Heath, born in 1877, Eliza A. Heath, born in 1879, and Alfred Taylor Heath, Jr., born in 1884. The 1880 census mentions the following family living in Roswell, Cobb, Georgia: Alfred T. Heath, 32, born in Florida and who worked as a farmer, Katie Q. Heath, 29, and their children Willie P. Heath, 4, Natalie Heath, 3, Eliza A. Heath, 9 months, and also Katie's sister Anna Pratt, 36. Finally, according to the 1900 census, there lived at 255 Ashby Street, Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia: Alfred T. Heath, 51, born in March 1849 in Florida and who worked as a "Traveling Salesman", his wife Katie Heath, 49, born in November 1850 in Georgia, their son Willie P. Heath, 21, born in July 1877 [sic], who worked as a "Chemist", Nattilie Heath [sic], 21, born in Feburary 1878, Eleisa Heath [sic], 18, born in September 1881 [sic], Alfred T. Heath, Jr., 16, born in September 1883 [sic], and finally Katie's sister Anna Pratt, 54, born in April 1846.

    As mentioned above, Catherine Quintard Pratt was the second youngest child of Reverend Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt (who as stated earlier in this thread was the minister who officiated at the wedding of the parents of President Theodore Roosevelt) and Catherine Barrington King (who was the daughter of Roswell King, the founder of the city of Roswell, Georgia). They had twelve children in all. The ninth child was Isabella Julia Pratt (sometimes spelled "Isabelle"). She first appears in the 1850 census as Isabella, 4 (i.e. born in c. 1845-1846), daughter of Nathaniel Pratt, 53, born in Connecticut and Catherine Pratt, 53 [sic], born in Georgia. Similarly in the 1860 census, we encounter Isabella Pratt, 14, living in District 1, Cobb, Georgia with her father N. A. Pratt, 64, and Catherine B. Pratt, 50. And again in the 1870 census, in Roswell, Cobb, Georgia lived Lithaniel [sic] A. Pratt, 74, born in Connecticut, his wife Catherine B. Pratt, 59, born in Georgia, and four children: Sarah A. Pratt, 26, Isabella Pratt, 24, Kate Q. Pratt, 19, and John H. Pratt, 12. Kate Q. Pratt, as mentioned above, was the grandmother of William Pratt Heath, Jr.

    Now from Georgia Deaths Index, we learn that that Isabelle Julia Pratt was born on 4/4/1846 in Georgia to Nathaniel Pratt and Catherine King. It also states that she married a certain J. D. Wright and then later died on 11/24/1924 in Roswell, Cobb, Georgia. The book The History and Genealogy of the Habersham Family, published in 1901, listed the eleven children of Rev. Nathaniel A. Pratt and Catharine Barrington King (evidently the youngest, John H. Pratt, died at a young age):

    "Rev. Nathaniel A. Pratt, married 1830, Catharine Barrington King, daughter of Roswell King and Catharine Barrington, and had: 1. Horace A. Pratt, born 1830; married Lillias Logan, of Virginia. 2. Rev. Henry Barrington Pratt, born 1832 ; married Janie Gildersleeve, of Virginia. 3. Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt, born 1834; married Julia E. Stubbs. 4. Francis Lorinda Pratt, born 1835; married Rev. Jno. W. Baker. 5. Bayard Hand Pratt, born 1838; married Miss Wood, of Alabama. 6. Catharine Barrington Pratt, born 1840; died young. 7. Charles Pratt, born 1842; married Emma C. Stubbs. 8. Sarah Anna Pratt, born 1844. 9. Isabel Julia Pratt [sic, spelling corrected to Isabella Julia Pratt in the errata], born 1846; married Rev. Walker, of Ohio. 10. William Nephew Pratt, born 1848. 11. Kate Quintard Pratt, born 1850; married A. T. Heath" (pp. 103-104).

    Here we see that Isabella Julia Pratt married a certain "Rev. Walker"; the Georgia Deaths Index shows that unless this was an earlier first marriage, "Walker" here must be an error for "Wright". Isabella's husband is indicated as from Ohio. Now the Ohio Deaths Index lists a certain James Dennis Wright who was born on 8/20/1867 in Jefferson County, Ohio to John S. Wright and Catherine Dennis, who was a widower but earlier married to a certain Isabelle Wright, and he then died on 3/25/1946. The "John S. Wright" mentioned here can be located in the 1870 census where we find that John S. Wright, 24, lived in Salineville, Brush Creek, Jefferson, Ohio with his wife C. E. Wright, 24, and their four children William Wright, 8, Mary E. Wright, 6 (i.e. born in c. 1863-1864), J. W. Wright, 4, and James Wright, 2 (i.e. born in 1867-1868). Similarly, the 1880 census states that John S. Wright, 43, born in Ohio, worked as a coal miner and lived in Washington, Columbiana, Ohio with his wife Catherine Wright, 45, who was born in Pennsylvania, and with their six children including Mary E. Wright, 17, and James Wright, 13. This information all matches what is stated in the Ohio Deaths Index for James Dennis Wright. And what we find in the Ohio Deaths Index matches the information from the Georgia Deaths Index, which states that Isabella Julia Wright had been married to a J. D. Wright. And both of these match what is found in the 1920 census. At 972 Broadway Avenue in Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey lived James B. Wright, 52 (i.e. born in c. 1867-1868), born in Ohio whose father was born in Ohio and whose mother was born in Pennsylvania (agreeing with the 1870 and 1880 census). He lived with his wife Isabelle P. Wright (= Isabelle Pratt Wright), 73 (i.e. born in 1846-1847), born in Georgia whose father was born in Connecticut and whose mother was born in Georgia. This matches perfectly with what we know about the Isabelle Julia Pratt from Georgia who married a J. D. Wright, and the James Dennis Wright from Ohio who was married to someone named Isabelle. For some reason however, James' middle initial is "B." instead of "D." How do we know that this James Wright was the same individual who was on the Board of Directors for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society until 1917? We know thanks to the 1915 New York State Census that this James Wright was married to someone named Isabella: James D. Wright, 48 (i.e. born in 1866-1867) lived at 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York, where he worked as a minister of the gospel and lived with his wife Isabella J. Wright (= Isabella Julia Wright), 65, where she worked as a missionary. We also know that the middle name for the James D. Wright employed at Bethel was "Dennis"; the leaflet Facts for Shareholders published on 11/15/1917 lists him as J. Dennis Wright, Director. Also the 10/1/1911 issue of the Watchtower makes reference to "Brother J. D. Wright, of Ohio," confirming that Ohio was where the former director had been from. And finally, the street address given in the 1920 census, 972 Broadway Avenue, Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey is identical to the address given for J. D. Wright in the charter for the Pastoral Bible Institute, published in the January 1919 issue of the Herald of Christ's Kingdom: "The names and places of residence of the persons to be the Directors of said corporation until its first annual meeting are: J. D. Wright, 972 Broadway, Bayonne, N. J. (etc.)". So it is a certitude that William J. Heath, Jr.'s aunt was married to one of the founders of the Pastoral Bible Institute, the main nemesis of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society in the early 1920s. (Thanks go to a certain somebody who asked me to look into James Wright's history)

    It doesn't look like Wright remained long with the PBI however. Reference to him disappears from the pages of the Herald of Christ's Kingdom by 1920, which led some modern Bible Students to think that he had died around that time. But as the Ohio Deaths Index shows, he actually lived until 1946. It seems like he simply retired from a religious career, like Alfred Isaac Ritchie did, who became a professional masseur. In 1920 he was employed as a clerk in an office in a glass manufacturing company in New Jersey. Then in 1924, his wife Isabella was in Georgia where she died, suggesting that he moved down with her (maybe she had an illness for some time prior to her death?). Thereafter, Wright, already in middle age, lived in Ohio unemployed. He appears in the 1930 census as James B. Wright, 62, widowed, born in Ohio with his father born in Ohio and his mother born in Pennsylvania, living on Canton-Stubenville Road in Canton, Stark, Ohio with his sister Mary W. Steely (= Mary Wright Steely), 67 (i.e. born in 1862-1863), who was widowed but living with her three daughters, Mabel A., 35, who worked as a typist for an attorney, Lucy E., 34, who worked as a sales lady for a confectionary, and Hazel M., 32, who worked at a garment factory. Mary had been married to Daniel Steely who as the Ohio Deaths Index shows died on 2/16/1923 in Stark County, Ohio. He earlier appeared in the 1920 census: In Waco, Canton, Stark, Ohio lived Daniel Steely, 59, born in Ohio (whose parents were born in Pennsylvania), who worked as a stationary engineer, with his wife Mary E. Steely, 56 (i.e. born in c. 1863-1864), born in Ohio (whose parents were born in Ohio), and their children Mable C. Steely, 26 (who worked as stenographer in an axle company), Lucy E. Steely, 24, Hazel M., 22, and C. Dalmer Steely, 17. The Mary E. Steely here born in 1863-1864 matches the Mary E. Wright of the 1870 census born in the same year. The Leibtag Family Tree at confirms that Daniel Steeley had married Mary E. Wright, born in 1863. So the 1930 census adds further confirmation that the "James Dennis Wright" born to John S. Wright in Ohio is the same person who lived at Bethel and then Bayonne, New Jersey. Then in the 1940 census, we find that James D. Wright, 72, lived in Canton, Stark, Ohio (while visiting Salineville, Columbiana, Ohio at the time of the census), both widowed and unemployed. He passed away six years later.

    Anyway, I found that very surprising, that Bonnie Boyd Heath's husband had a family connection with one of the four directors of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society that Rutherford had thrown out of office.

  • blindnomore


  • Leolaia

    Talking about the Heaths, here is an interesting series of newspaper articles from the Sumter Daily Item (8/30/1987, pp. 13-14) on William Pratt Heath, Sr. (responsible for the formula of Coca-Cola, father of the husband of Bonnie Boyd Heath, and who donated the money to build Beth Shan), Alfred Taylor Heath Sr., and some of the other Heaths under discussion in this thread.

  • botchtowersociety


  • Leolaia

    Thanks to Atlantis' efforts, we have a new photo of Princess Bonnie Balko:

  • Leolaia

    William P. Heath Jr.:

    (The Messenger, September 1940, p. 14)

  • Farkel


    I swear: I'd bet a cup of coffee that more people think you started this thread than think I started this thread! You obviously contributed immensely more information than I did, and I am grateful for that. In fact, I am more than grateful. Your research validated everything I claimed when I started this topic, and that gave it LEGS! I presented the unique topic and you brought in the cannons!

    Over 67,000 views on this thread have shown the curiosity people have to see if Da Judge actually got a little nookie on the side!



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