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  1. DEATH OF JOSEPH L. RUSSELL As noted above, Charles Taze Russell's 65 year-old father, Joseph Russell, married Maria Russell's "younger-by-five-years" 25 year-old sister, Emma Russell, in 1880. Born in 1813, the 84 year-old Joseph Russell must have experienced an inordinate amount of stress caused by the marital discord between his only living Son and his wife Emma's older Sister -- particularly during the last six months that preceded their physical separation in November 1897. Joseph Russell DIED only five weeks after Maria Russell moved out of the Bible House and fled to her brother in Chicago while Charles Taze Russell was on a trip to NYC. The January 1, 1898 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine contained the expected laudatory OBITUARY, which contained no hint that things had ever been less than perfect between father and son, and indicated that Charles had been near Joseph's bedside at the time of his death on December 17, 1897. Only three months earlier, back on September 6, 1897, in the midst of some of the most vicious and most public of the fighting between Charles and Maria, Charles Taze Russell MAILED what he himself labeled as "LEGAL NOTICES" to "Mr. J. L. Russell, Mrs. J. L. Russell and Mrs. L. J. Raynor (Maria and Emma's older, widowed sister, who also was a one-time Bethelite)" ORDERING THEM "not to receive, harbor or entertain my wife under your roof under any pretext whatsoever." That is all that we know of the content of those three "Legal Notices", and we know that much only because Charles Taze Russell included that information in a fourth "legal and formal notice" that he sent to Maria Russell at the same time. HOWEVER, on November 8, 1897, after the last round of fighting which preceded Maria Russell's departure, Charles Taze Russell once again sent out a "LEGAL NOTICE" to four friends of Maria Russell (unidentified, but believed to be Emma Russell, Laura Raynor, and two other unknown "friends"), which Charles Taze Russell once again copied to Maria in her own "Legal Notice", in which Charles Taze Russell ORDERED Maria that he did "... prohibit you from having intercourse with them in any manner." We are going to "assume" that the first set of September "Legal Notices" were prepared by Charles Taze Russell's Attorney (but no biggie if that assumption is incorrect). However, in November, Charles Taze Russell states in his letter to Maria that these second set of "Legal Notices" were typed by Bethelite John A. Bohnet (see our Russell Financial Biography page), although we assume that Charles Taze Russell actually composed the content of this second set of "Legal Notices" BASED ON THE CONTENT OF THE PREVIOUS SEPTEMBER "LEGAL NOTICES", including that sent to his own Father. There is no concrete evidence that Joseph Russell was one of the addressees of these second "Legal Notices", but neither is there any hard evidence that Joseph Russell was not one of the addressees. The fact remains, that given the lack of legal rights possessed by females of that era, the second September "Legal Notice" addressed to "Mrs. J. L. Russell" would have been understood to have been addressed to her husband, Joseph L. Russell. Here is the content of the second November "Legal Notices", to which we have "added emphasis" to improve readability: Notably, during the 1894 Schism, Charles Taze Russell published a letter of support from his father, Joseph L. Russell, which condemned Russell's attackers. Notably, during Charles Taze Russell's lengthy battle with Maria Russell, which started long before 1897, and continued to be played out in the media and countered by Russell in the pages of the WATCH TOWER magazine up until and even after Charles Taze Russell's own death, we have not located any letter, statement, quotation, or even indication of any condemnation of Maria Russell or her actions from Joseph L. Russell prior to his death in 1897.

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