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Joseph Franklin Rutherford (November 8, 1869- 1942) , sometimes known as Judge Rutherford, is best known as the second president of the Watch Tower Society, the legal organization used by Jehovah's Witnesses. He was the successor of Charles Taze Russell.
Rutherford was born to a farm family in Morgan County, Missouri. After completing his education, he worked as a court reporter and was admitted to the bar at Boonville, Missouri. Still later he became a special - or substitute - judge in the same Fourteenth Judicial District of Missouri. Hence, he came to be known as "Judge" Rutherford. He became President of the Watch Tower Society in 1916, on Russell's death.
In 1931 at a convention, Rutherford delivered a talk proposing the adoption of a new name for the organization, previously known as the "International Bible Students Association". Thus the group became known as Jehovah's Witnesses.
J.F. Rutherford served as President of the Watch Tower Society until his death in 1942.