Court Trial Transcript of CT Russell & Maria Russell

Q. When did you have your first material disagreement with your husband?
A. The first serious trouble with my husband was what you stated this morning, the first indignity with this woman who was in the office and in our home.

Objected to

Charles T Russell response
Mr. PorterWe don’t mean to charge adultery.
Q. You don’t mean by that that your husband was guilty of adultery?
A. No.
Q. What was the name of the girl?
A. Rose Ball.
CT Russell accusation
Q. That is the girl you spoke of a few moments ago?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long had she been with you before this trouble arose?
A. She came to us in about 1884.
Q. That would be just about the time you moved on to Clifton Avenue?
A. No, we moved on to Clifton Avenue in 1883. It was about 1889 (sic) when she came, just shortly after we moved to Clifton Avenue.
Q. Did she live with you?
A. Yes, sir.
CT Russel accusation
Q. How long did she live with you?
A. She was with us for about ten or eleven years – oh, she was with us about twelve yeras.
Q. Just state what you observed about your husband’s conduct with this girl in your presence in your home.
A. Previous to this time my husband had suggested to me the idea of separation, and he said if I would agree to a separation, he would give me the house in which we were living. He said we were incompatible.
Q. When was that?
CT Russell accusation
A. That was shortly before this objection was made, about 1893. We were still living on Clifton Avenue.
Q. What brought about the proposition from your husband?
A. A number of disagreements, and one thing was this: there had been letters that my husband had written to parties to which I had to make very serious objections. One of them came to me in this way. Mr. Russell had certain letters, certain envelopes that were marked personal, “Personal” was printed on them, and he sent a number of these envelopes to persons that he wanted to correspond with him privately.

Objected to as incompetent.

CT Russell response
By the Court: I don’t think that tends to show any indignities to the person, unless she is leading up to something.

By Mr. Porter:
CT Russell accusation
Q. Just state very briefly what brought about this proposition of Mr. Russell, that you should separate, that you were incompatible.

Objected to as incompetent and irrelevant.

By the Court: That is proper if it was brought about by some indignities to the wife. As it appears now, it is not competent. You can give the history of the case and the relations of the parties. Let her commence with the first indignities she observed that he cast upon her, and what they were.

By Mr. Porter:
CT Russell accusation
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.
Charles Russell response

Q. Tell us what you saw and what he said and what was done.
A. One evening I spent the evening downstairs, and our library and our bedroom were next to each other upstairs on the second flour, and I spent the evening downstairs reading, and I went upstairs about ten 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 to this house if you do that kind of thing?” and he got angry.
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?
CT Russell accusation
A. Yes, sir. And I found him in the servants 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.
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 in the Watch Tower Society?
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?
CT Russell response
A. She came with him in the evenings, and they came home about eleven 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.

Charles T Russell accusation
Q. I want the mere fact. Did this girl Rose go home with your husband?
A. Yes, sir.
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.

Objected to.

By the Court: The objection is sustained unless you show what you propose to prove.

By Mr. Porter: We propose to prove by the witness upon the stand that the plaintiff after observing the conduct as stated by her, of her husband with Rose Ball, she went to the girl and secured from her statement that Mr. Russell at various times embrased and kissed her; that he called her his little wife and jelly-fish, and told that a man’s heart was so big he could love a dozen women, but a woman’s heart was so small she could only love properly one man: that after receiving this statement from Rose Ball, the plaintiff told her husband that, and he admitted that is was true.

CT Russell accusation
Objected to as incompetent and irrelevant, and especially because it gives a conversation which, if it occurred would not tend in the slightest degree to prove indignities to the person of Mrs. Russell.

Objection overruled and bill sealed for defendant.

Charles T Russell response
By the Court: We will not permit you to show what Rose Ball told her. We will permit you to show that she went to her husband and told him that Rose Ball had told her that he was keeping her and telling her she was his dear little wife, and that he said that is was true.

By Mr. Porter:
Q. You understood the ruling of the Court? You are to tell what you stated to your husband that Rose had said, and his reply to you.
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 would 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 very intimate with her, that you have been in the habbit 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 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 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 very 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.”
Q. What year was that?
A. In the fall of 1894.

Charles Taze Russell accusation
By Mr. Porter:
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 when 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 evenings after the rest had gone, and at home at any time when I wasn’t around.”
Q. Now, about the endearings terms.
A. She said one evening when she came with him, just as she got inside the hall, it was late in the evening, about eleven 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. And what other terms were used?
A. Then he said, “I am like a jelly-fish. 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.

Counsel for respondent moves the Court to strike out the testimony of the witness in relation to the alleged misconduct between Mr. Russell and this girl, Rose Ball, which she says she discovered in 1894, the libel specifically charching that the offences of which she complains began in 1897.

CT Russell accusation
By the Court: You have not mentioned that in the libel. I will grant the motion and strile out that testimony. You must begin your testimony about seven or eught years ago.

Bill of exceptions sealed for libellant.

By Mr. Porter:
Q. This suit was brought by you in April 1903, and we will be compelled to confine the testimony to what has happened subsequent to April, 1896, a few days one way or the other is not material.

By the Court: We will allow you leeway of a year if you want.

CT Russell accusation
By Mr. Porter:
Q. Begin in January, 1896. Did Mr. Russel and you ever discuss this Rose Ball matter after say January 1, 1896, did it ever come up?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was said by you or your husband in relation to this girl Rose after January 1, 1896, and where?

Objected to as incompetent and irrelevant, being a mere attempt to reintroduce the testimony that has been already excluded.

CT Russell response
Objection sustained and bill sealed for libellant.