Brooklyn Daily Eagle
OCTOBER 29, 1911
GIRL KISSED PASTOR AND SAT ON HIS KNEE
But Mr. Russell at the Tabernacle: Only Submitted to it to be Kind.
Russell and wife Maria, before divorce
Pittsburgh, October 27 - The suit for a separation brought by Martha (sic)F.
Russell against Charles Taze Russell, her husband, popularly known as Pastor
Russell, who has just entered a libel suit against The Brooklyn Eagle, is
remembered here as one of the most sensational court proceedings in the history
of Allegheny County.
Pastor Russell's Advertising methods had already attracted a good deal of
attention to himself, and while many referred to him as "the crank preacher of
Allegheny," his unusual lectures and effective publicity methods drew good-sized
crowds to his Bible House on Arch Street.
When the fact that Pastor Russell's wife was suing him for a separation became
public much general interest was aroused and the courtroom was thronged during
The testimony which elicited the most comment concerned the relations of Pastor
Russell with Rose Ball, a young woman stenographer employed by Pastor Russell
in the Bible House on Arch Street. This testimony was given by Mrs. Russell on
direct examination on Thursday, April 26, 1906. It was ruled out by the court on
the ground that the incidents to which reference was made were said to have
occurred on a date which precedes the dates mentioned in Mrs. Russell's bill of
complaint. Pastor Russell recurred to the incidents when he went on the stand
several days later, and gave his version of what had happened. Rose Ball was not
called to the stand, as she left for Australia shortly before the case came to trial.
The verbatim record of this testimony taken from the official report of the case on
file in the office of the Prothonotary of Allegheny County is as follows:
Q. I want you to tell us what your husband did in company with this woman Rose,
in your presence and in your home.
A. In the first place I considered it--(objected to and witness was not permitted to
Q. Tell us what you saw and what he said was done.
A. One evening he spent the evening downstairs and our library and bedroom were
next to each other upstairs on the second floor, and I spent the evening downstairs
reading, and I went upstairs about 10 o'clock to my room, and I supposed that: he
was either in the library or had retired, and when I went up there I found that he
was in neither place, and I stepped out in the hall, and I found that he was in his
night robe, sitting beside Miss Ball's bed and she was in bed. On other occasions I
found him going in there and I found she called him in and said she wasn't well
and wanted him in, and I objected to this, and I said that it was highly improper,
and I said: "We have people about the house, and what kind of a name will be
attached in this house if you do that sort of thing?" and he got angry.
Pastor's Wife Tells of His Alleged Nightly Visits
Q. You state that you found him doing this at other times. How often after that?
A. I found him a number of times; I don't remember how often.
Q. In her room?
A. Yes, sir. And I found him in the servant girl's room as well. And I found him
locked in the servant girl's room.
Q. Did he make any explanation why he was in the girl's room?
A. No. He did not; he just got angry.
Q. What did you say to him about this conduct and what did he say.
A. I said to him, "We have a great work on our hands," and I said, "In this work
you and I have to walk very circumspectly before the world and if you are going
to do things like this, what will happen? Suppose you are all right, don't you
suppose people will talk about things like this?" and I said, "I am not satisfied
with it," and he said he wasn't going to be ruled by me. But I felt distressed about
Q. What did Rose do at the Watch Tower.
A. She attended to the correspondence.
Q. Where was her desk with reference to the desk of Mr. Russell of the Watch
A. It wasn't near his; it was in the office.
Q. When would he go to the Watch Tower, in the morning?
A. I don't remember; he generally went down alone.
Q. Who would return with him?
A. She came with him in the evening and they came about 11 o'clock and the
young men that were in the office -- she was the only girl, and the young men
would go home, and he wouldn't allow her to go home with them, and she must
wait and always go with him.
(Objected to.) Q. I want the mere fact, did this girl Rose go home with your
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. What year was that?
A. In the fall of 1894. (By Mr. Porter, attorney for the plaintiff.)
Q. Did you state to your husband at this meeting any endearing terms?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What were they?
A. I said "She tells me that one evening you came home --" I asked her when did
these things occur. I said to him, "She says they occurred down at the office when
she stayed down there with him in the evening after the rest had gone, and at home
at any time when I wasn't around."
Q. Now, about the endearing terms?
A. She said one evening when she came home with him, just as she got inside the
hall, it was late in the evening, about 11 o'clock, he put his arms around her and
kissed her. This was in the vestibule before they entered the hall, and he called
her his little wife, but she said "I am not your wife." and he said "I will call you
daughter, and a daughter has nearly all the privileges of a wife."
Q. What other terms were used?
A. Then he said, "I am like a jellyfish. I float around here and there. I touch this
one and that one, and if she responds I take her to me, and if not, I float on to
others"; and she wrote that out so that I could remember it for sure when I would
speak to him about it. And he confessed that he said those things.
Q. And the young men came home ahead of them?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. State to the court and jury what talk, if any, you had with this girl Rose, in
regard to her relations with your husband, which you communicated to your
This question was objected to and it was changed to read as follows: Q. You are
to tell what you stated to your husband that Rose had said and his reply to you.
Mrs. Russell Says Girl Told Her of Pastor's Caresses.
A. I told him that I had learned something that was very serious and I didn't tell
him right away. I let a day elapse until I felt I had control of myself and could talk
and then I told him that I had something very serious to tell him about this matter,
and he said, "What is it?" and I said, "Rose has told me that you have been
intimate with her, that you have been in the habit of hugging and kissing her and
having her sit on your knee and fondling each other, and she tells me you bid her
under no account to tell me, but she couldn't keep it any longer. She said if I was
distressed about it she felt that she would have to come and make a confession to
me, and she has done that. (By the court.)
Q. What did he say?
A. He tried to make light of it at first and I said, "Husband, you can't do that. I
know the whole thing. She has told me straight and I know it to be true." Well, he
said he was sorry; it was true, but he was sorry. He said he didn't mean any harm.
I said, "I don't see how you could do an act like that without meaning harm."