Rose Ball (1869–1950) of
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.
MAY HAVE FELT HER PULSE
He Sometimes Ministered to the Sick, Locked in Another Girls Room Innocently.
(Special to The Eagle)
Pittsburg, October 27 - The suit for a separation brought by Martha(sic) F. Russell against Charles Taz 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
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 proceedings.
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
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 finish.)
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 that.
What did Rose do at the
A. She attended to the correspondence.
Q. Where was her desk with reference to the desk of Mr. Russell of the Watch Tower Society?
A. It wasn't near his; it was in the office.
Q. When would he go to the
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 husband?
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 husband?
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."
It seems that Rose Ball was an adult at the time of the events.