W.H. Rutherford, DGS Set Right
Christian Recorder: January 18, 1894
Whenever I do an individual a downright injustice, I feel it my duty to make an honest and fair correction at the earliest opportunity, especially when that person, as well as their ancestry are so well and favorably known to me. When I was in Monrovia, Liberia, Africa, where I spent the greater part of last April, Rev. W. J. Russel called upon me at the residence of General R. T. Sherman, and after conversing upon various topics, he began to complain of how badly he had been treated by the Odd Fellows of America, and into what disrepute he had fallen by their non-compliance with their promise. That he had sent for two dispensations, for the purpose of establishing two separate lodges, and that he had failed to get the dispensations, and they had refused to return the money which he had sent.
The way and manner he presented his doleful allegations aroused both my sympathy and indignation, especially when he said that his ministerial standing had been injured thereby.
I asked him what evidence he could present to sustain his charges, and he showed me a receipt from W. H. Rutherford, D. S. G., for fifty-two dollars if my memory is not incorrect. I think he said the original sum sent was seventy odd dollars –possibly seventy-seven, and that he had received twenty-five dollars back or an equivalent, but he presented a receipt on official paper for fifty-two or more dollars signed by Mr. Rutherford, and urged me to try and get the money or the dispensations, when I returned. He proposed that I bring the receipt to America with me, and I put the same in my pocket; but afterward took it out and handed it back to him, and told him I might get sick and die before I left Africa, or before I reached home, and his receipt would be lost; but said I to him, I will stir them up in my correspondence to the CHRISTIAN RECORDER which I am now writing. I then and there wrote my criticizing paragraph of Mr. Rutherford and the Odd Fellows who had thus trifled with a man in Africa, and read it to him and he pronounced it correct, and the same was published in the CHRISTIAN RECORDER, but when Mr. Rutherford writes him, he replies, that Bishop Turner was mistaken.
Not believing it was possible for the man to say it, I wrote to General Sherman of Monrovia to see him in person, and inquire of him if I had not misrepresented his statement to me, and he tells General Sherman, so the General writes that I did not understand him. Strange that I did not understand him, when he gave his sanction to what I wrote in the CHRISTIAN RECORDER, but I will spare him in his weakness, and beg to set Mr. Rutherford square and honorable in the whole transaction and hope Rev. Russell will never know the estimate I put upon his veracity.