John Russell

John Russell was born in 1620. Elected to the House of Commons he was a strong opponent of Charles I. He joined the Parliamentary army and served under the Earl of Essex. He fought at Cirencester (February, 1643) and Chalgrove Field (June, 1643).

Russell was wounded at the storming of Bolton (May, 1644) and at Naseby (June, 1645). Russell also played a leading role in the defence of Bristol in 1645.

John Russell died in 1687.

John Russell

John Russell was born on Aug. 18, 1792, in London. He was the third son of the 6th Duke of Bedford. Russell was educated primarily by private tutors and at Edinburgh University.

Russell's parliamentary career began in 1813, when he was elected Whig member of Parliament for Tavistock. In poor health during his early parliamentary career, Russell rarely spoke in the Commons. His vanity was great, and he was easily disturbed by criticism. But he was a man of courage and conviction. In the 1820s he emerged as a champion of parliamentary reform and religious toleration. He worked for repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and supported Catholic emancipation in 1829.

Russell was largely responsible for preparing the first Reform Bill and introduced it in the Commons in March 1831 the bill passed the Lords in June 1832. Russell was a member of the Whig Cabinets of Lords Grey and Melbourne in the 1830s, first as home secretary and then as secretary for war and the colonies (1839-1841). The Municipal Corporation Act of 1835, which expanded the electorate for town councils, was one of his contributions.

After the fall of Sir Robert Peel's second ministry in 1846 Russell became prime minister. He held this office for the next 6 years (1846-1852). During this period he faced the Great Famine in Ireland, but his relief measures were too cautious to succeed. The Ten Hours Act of 1847 was a turning point in the history of labor legislation. Russell sympathized with the popular outcry against the papal bull that restored a Roman Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850, and he sponsored the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill (1851), which forbade the assumption by Roman Catholic clergy of titles within the United Kingdom. A more liberal attitude characterized his actions in imperial affairs. The Australian Colonies Act of 1850 extended self-government to New South Wales.

Lord Palmerston was the most controversial figure in the Russell Cabinet, and relations between the two were frequently strained. Palmerston was dismissed by Russell in December 1851 for having conveyed to the French ambassador Russell's approval of Louis Napoleon's coup d'etat. Two months later, however, Palmerston had his revenge when he successfully led the opposition in defeating the government's Militia Bill, and Russell resigned in 1852.

Russell served as foreign secretary for a few months in 1852-1853 in Lord Aberdeen's coalition and as colonial secretary for 5 months in Palmerston's Cabinet in 1855. He returned to the Foreign Office 4 years later in the second Palmerston ministry (1859-1865) and did much to preserve British neutrality during the American Civil War. Russell became prime minister for a second time in 1865, but he resigned the following year in a dispute over the specifics of a second Reform Bill. He then retired to a private life of writing, and he died on May 28, 1878.

Russell was known as "Finality Jack" to the British working classes, as one who opposed all further reform after 1832. This, however, was not true. He was active in the reform movement to the end of his life, and he helped to move the Whigs toward the new Liberal party under his immediate successor as party leader, William Gladstone.

John Russell - History

History of Ben Russell and Russell Lands

The Early Days of Russell Lands

Russell Do it Center / Building Supply

John Benson and the Kowaliga School

One of the most interesting personalities in the history of the Kowaliga area is John Benson. John was born a slave on Kowaliga Creek. As a free man, he bought the property he once worked as a slave and over a short period of time became a very influential farmer, builder, banker, and more to the community. Here is his story.

John Benson was born in the eighteen sixties as a slave on the shores of Kowaliga Creek – now covered by Lake Martin.

John was a southern born man, reared in Alabama on the lush green bottomland near Kowaliga Creek. But, John was born in a different time, a time when man owned man. Some men were treated poorly by their masters and others were treated as fairly as they could have been during those troubled times. John was owned by James Benson a Virginian who owned a plantation along Kowaliga Creek. When James Benson died his plantation was divided and sold to neighbors and family. At a very young age, John was part of the property that was sent to an heir in Talladega, Alabama.

As the deathly veil of smoke lifted from the Civil War battle fields, John, was free. Given a mule, he took the Benson surname and left his Talladega slave home. John headed for Florida where he spent an entire summer looking for his sister who had been sold. It was a dangerous journey for anyone, much less a black teenager. He begged his way around Florida and found his sister. They traveled back to Alabama together. At this point John went to work for sixty cents per ton in the coal mines of the Cahaba Field in Shelby County. By 1880, 19-year-old John had accumulated one hundred dollars, an impressive amount for anyone in post Civil War times much less a former slave. This one hundred dollars was enough money for John to move his family from the dusty coal mines to the rich green lands he once loved and worked as a slave. By 1890 he had managed to acquire on credit 160 acres of the former James Benson Plantation. John never wasted a penny nor was he ever idle an hour. He worked moonlit nights and slept on rainy days. Very hard work, careful planning, and good cotton crops allowed John to prosper in the Kowaliga Community.

The rich plantations that were once worked by slave labor were falling into disrepair and being worked by the destitute owners who had watched their fortunes diminish. The fields once kept green by slave labor were now being farmed by the landowners and their sons. At harvest each year John bought more land. By 1898 John owned over 3000 acres and was using white and black labor to build his new 12 room farmhouse. More than 5 miles of Kowaliga Creek ran through John’s plantation. Using the creek as a source of power, John built a brick yard, a sawmill, a grist mill, and a cotton gin and compressing mill. John furnished the land and halved the harvest with the 40 farming families that lived there. 1500 acres of the richest land were devoted to corn, cotton, and sugar cane. 500 acres were dedicated to pasture land and the remaining 1000 acres furnished an abundant supply of pine, oak, and hickory timber that eventually found its way to the saw and planing mills.

John began lending money to his white neighbors and underwriting mortgages on land in Tallapoosa and Elmore Counties. John, the former slave, had become a wealthy man.

John and his wife, Julia, were blessed with 3 children, daughters Lula and Mattie and son William. Will was born in Shelby County, Alabama in 1873. He and his sisters grew up watching their dad overcome his struggles first in the coal mines, then on the farm near Kowaliga. One would think that they were all taught hard work on the farm. They received their early education from their mother, a former slave, and a government teacher who had learned to read and write from her white mistress.

John was able to send his three children to get a liberal college education. Lula was a student at Fisk University, Oberlin College, and a graduate of Tuskegee Normal Institute. Mattie graduated from Tuskegee Normal Institute and studied dressmaking and designing at the famous Pratt Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. Will’s first stop was at Fisk University where he took a preparatory class and later graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1895 from Howard College in Washington D.C.

Will could have stayed in the north, but he chose to return home and help his father with the farm and business affairs. Things were still at unrest in the rural south. The year that Will returned from school at least 8 black men and women were lynched in Alabama. Will could have merely satisfied himself helping his father in the family business. Will felt that he had to do something to raise the standards of intelligence, industrial efficiency and moral character of those living in the community. More than anything Will saw the need to help educate the ignorant and uneducated of the community.

With Fisk University graduate and friend, Clinton Joseph Calloway, at his side Will drew an outline of a two-story building on the same chalk board he drew on as a child and announced plans to build a school. Many laughed at his “high-falutin” ideas but Will put together a strong group of trustees from the north and south including founder and president of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for Negroes, Booker T. Washington.

Kowaliga Academic & Industrial Institute 1910

John agreed to donate 10 acres of land and the lumber for a two-story school building if the community would supply the labor. Will went to work in the community. He formed a glee club that sang for donations across the county. When the harvest came in that year local farmers began cutting trees and firing bricks for the school’s foundation and chimney. It took two years and financial contributions from 70 benefactors to complete the first building.

Thus, was founded the Kowaliga School which later became the Kowaliga Academic and Industrial

Institute (1897). The goals of this school were to meet the educational needs of the community, train highly educated leaders or skilled workmen, and to prepare the great majority of its students for the life which they were to lead in their home community. By any measure, the school was an extraordinary operation.

Will Benson suffered many setbacks along the way. In a letter to Dr. Booker T. Washington, Benson described how someone set fire to his store on Tuesday morning December 1, 1896 destroying all of his personal possessions “save what was on my back.” In that letter Will writes that the fire “was the result of envy and jealousy between mean negroes and poor white trash.”

By November of 1898 Dr. Washington had resigned from the Kowaliga School’s board of trustees. A letter from Washington to another board member Emily Howland, for whom the schools largest building Howland Hall was named, implies that Washington had been mislead by Will Benson. “When I accepted the trusteeship I did it with the understanding that Mr. Clinton J. Calloway was to be the active and real head there. Mr. Calloway is a man with a good deal of common sense and discretion. Mr. Benson is almost the opposite in character. He is whimsical, spasmodic, and rather superficial. I find that Mr. Benson practically runs the school and Mr. Calloway has little or nothing, it seems, to do with it…Mr. Benson is inclined to overemphasize the work that is being done at Kowaliga through the medium of pictures. He spends the greater part of his time traveling. I cannot believe that it is right for the North to be called upon to pay the salary and traveling expenses of an individual who is collecting just about enough money to pay his own expenses and that of one other person.” Howland in previous correspondence had given Washington her opinion of Benson. She wrote that Mr. Benson is “young and ardent, his enthusiasm is fine, but he is the child of wealth, for his environment, so we cannot expect practical work-a-day wisdom from him.” Later she urged Washington to help Benson learn “the secret of leadership, which is self-effacement, as you have done..”

It concerned Will that most farmers sat idle for six months out of the year, so in 1900 he founded and incorporated the Dixie Industrial Company. With a the purchase of 540 acres at $4.25 per acre, on consideration of $7,500 in stock, from John Benson and the eventual purchase of some 10,000 acres, the Dixie Industrial Company was soon making a profit. At one point Will beamed that the company’s sawmill was producing 50,000 feet of lumber per day, the company store was grossing $30,000.00 a

Turpentine Distillery circa 1890

year, the turpentine distillery was the largest in this part of the country and its ginning operation was able to clean and compress some 3 bales of cotton per hour. The company also operated a cotton seed and fertilizer mill. 300 tenant farmers both black and white were living on and farming company property. The Dixie Industrial Company employed both races, including a dozen clerks, bookkeepers and supervisors. The Company also operated as a local bank making loans to area farmers.

Purcell Sketch for Kowaliga - 1901

During 1898 William Gray, a newspaper owner and writer, traveled through the south where he was appalled by the extreme poverty that he witnessed. In the 1850s Gray had been a part of the underground railroad from his family farm in Ohio. Gray wrote in his newspaper, The Interior, about the terrible economic and social conditions for blacks in the south. The Benson family was one of the few success stories that he found. Will Benson told William Gray that he wanted to use some of his money to build a new community for

poor families. Gray suggested his grandson, William Gray Purcell, who was studying to be an architect, was likely to have some useful ideas. Benson wrote to Purcell and arranged to have him come to Kowaliga.

The first week of his visit, Purcell surveyed the land and discussed the requirement of the project with Will and his employees. Benson’s vision included building a town center that would stretch from the Dixie Industrial Company to near the Kowaliga Academic and Industrial Institute. Sketches for a number of simple wooden frame dwellings were produced along with an arrangement for a small store and other community services. Halfway through his stay the work was interrupted by an incident of racial violence. Many poor white people in the county where Benson lived were jealous of his land and possessions. During one hot summer night a lynching occurred nearby and shortly afterwards the mob appeared at Benson’s door. Benson cautioned Purcell to remain inside out of sight, for the vigilantes milling about might take action against a while man found staying with blacks. Purcell ended up hiding under Benson’s bed.

In 1909 an accidental fire broke out in the school’s laundry. As students and teachers watched strong winds quickly spread the fire. The flames jumped across campus from one building to the next. In less than half an hour the five buildings, barn, and farm that made up the Kowaliga Academic and Industrial Institute lay in smoldering ruins.

After accessing his loses and with a very small settlement from his insurance company Will started fundraising again. Word spread to his northern supporters and with some $25,000.00 in hand, mostly donations from those key supporters in the Northeast, Will and the Institute’s trustees began making plans to rebuild the campus on 120 acres of land one mile north of its original campus. The new campus was closer to the population center of Kowaliga, had an ample water supply, and wasn’t landlocked like the previous campus. This move would allow the estimated 500 area children an opportunity to attend school.

Construction began in August 1910 and in a year’s time 4 larger buildings stood on the Institute’s new campus. By 1913 the school reported an enrollment of over 320 boys and girls. In addition to classroom studies and training in industrial and domestic skills students held prayer meetings, played in the concert band and had their own chapters of the YMCA and YWCA on campus. There was a very modern library that boasted a collection of nearly a thousand volumes.

Services provided by the students were also offered and sold in the surrounding communities. Using only a hammer, saw, plane, and square high quality desks, benches and tables were produced. Annually the agriculture department produced and sold several thousand heads of cabbage. The blacksmith department solicited business and provided service to the community giving students practical experience. Sewing, embroidering and basket weaving were all taught. Will Benson, in the Domestic Science Department, even taught students over 10 ways to cook potatoes when they were aware of only one.

A huge challenge and expense for the Dixie Industrial Company was moving its lumber, naval stores, and staples over rough, narrow, and often muddy roads the 15 miles to the nearest rail spur in Alexander City. Will knew that it was far more expensive to move the materials by wagon than by rail. The company was losing about $5,000.00 per year to freight costs. Figures from the “teaming” accounts showed that it was costing $8.00 per thousand feet of lumber to haul it by wagon. By rail he could ship it for $2.00 per thousand feet. Not only would he be able to save money on lumber shipments, but he could save on shipping all of the products produced by the Company.

John Russell

Caution: Two John Russells married to Dorothy with son John.

This John Russell married 1) to Phebe Collins, and 2) to Dorothy (Unknown) Smith, widow of Henry Smith. He immigrated to Cambridge 1635, Wethersfield by 1655, Hadley by 1661, and he died on May 8, 1680 at Hadley. Son, John Jr., married 1) Mary Talcott, 2) Rebecca Newberry, 3) Phebe (Gregson) Whiting[1]

John first appears in New England records when admitted to freemanship 3 March 1635/6 (tenth in a sequence of eleven Cambridge men) [MBCR 1:371]. He held a number of minor offices in Cambridge and Connecticut, and received several land grants.

In his will, dated 7 April 1680 and proved 28 September 1680, "Jno. Russel Senior of Hadley" bequeathed to "my eldest son Jno. Russel, pastor to the Church of Christ at Hadley, half of my estate according to the valuation thereof (excepting what is hereafter excepted)" to "my son Philip Russel the other half of my estate & my wearing apparel (excepting only what hereafter is excepted)" to "my loving wife Dorothy Russel three pounds to be paid by my two sons equally out of the legacies to them abovementioned" and appointed "my loving sons John Russel, Gentleman, & Philip Russel as my sole executors" [HampPR 2:4].

He married Phoebe Collins in 1630. A glazier, he and his wife Phoebe came to Massachusetts Bay in 1635 where they settled in Cambridge, where he was made freeman. They had two children: John II (b. c 1626, England) & Phillip (b. c. 1639, Cambridge, Mass). First wife Phoebe died at Cambridge on 8 July 1642. John Russell was constable at Marshfield in Mass. Bay Colony as early as 1642/3. On Feb. 12, 1643, he received a grant of land, "..all the marsh and meadow which lieth between the marsh of Josiah Winslow and Kenelm Winslow." He was an original proprietor of what is now called Dartmouth and was propounded a freeman there on June 5, 1644. He moved the family to Wethersfield in 1648 & he married secondly, Dorothy, the widow of Rev. Henry Smith, about 1649. He then became an early settler of Hadley by 1661. He purchased land in Dartmouth, Bristol, Mass from Capt. Miles Standish in a deed dated March 9, 1664. Several years between 1665 & 1683, he was a representative to the General Court at Plymouth. He build a house that was used as a garrison and a refuge during the King Phillips War. He died at Hadley, aged 85. His will was dated January 19, 1687/8 and proved April 2, 1695. His son John predeceased him, dying in Hadley, Mass in 1680.

  • Phebe Collins Russell
  • Birth: 򑘅
  • Death: Jan. 8, 1642 Cambridge Middlesex County Massachusetts, USA

Phebe Collins was baptized at Bramford, Suffolk, 3 March 1604/5, daughter of John Collins.

She married, as his 1st wife, by about 1624, John Russell (abt.1597-8 May 1680). They came to Massachusetts Bay in 1635 (based on admission to freemanship on 3 March 1635/6). They settled in Cambridge They had two children: John (b. England) & Phillip (b. Cambridge MA). She died at Cambridge on 8 July 1642, & he moved the family on to Wethersfield by 1655, & Hadley by 1661.

Based on their dates of first marriage, the estimated dates of birth for the two sons of this immigrant are fifteen years apart. Phillip Russell might, however, have been several years older than this estimate.

Phebe (Collins) Russell, first wife of this immigrant, was sister of EDWARD COLLINS <1636, Cambridge>. Dorothy (Bedle) Bowles, wife of JOHN BOWLES <1639, Roxbury>, and Abigail (Bedle) Powell, wife of MICHAEL POWELL <1639, Dedham>, were their first cousins.

In June 1634, as the first step in his first attempt to sail for New England, Rev. Thomas Shepard sailed from Newcastle to Ipswich in Suffolk "in a disguised manner, with my wife and child and maid and stayed a while at Mr. Russell's house, another while at Mr. Collins his house, and then went down to Essex." "Mr. Collins" is almost certainly EDWARD COLLINS <1636, Cambridge>, making "Mr. Russell" almost equally certainly the subject of the present sketch, whose English origin should thus be sought in Ipswich or environs. (In 1947 Winifred Lovering Holman reported the claim, made by Albert B. Russell, that John Russell derived from Cretingham, Suffolk. No evidence to support this claim was provided. Cretingham is about twelve miles north of Ipswich.)

Source: Great Migration Study Project

Created by: Linda Mac Record added: May 17, 2009 Find A Grave Memorial# 37207908

Freemen made at the General Court, March 3, 1635/1636.

John, his wife and son John, were in Boston in 1635, where he is made freeman. He had married Phebe in 1630. They moved to Wethersfield, Conneticut in 1648, then went with the early settlers to Hadley, Mass. John appears to have been involved in the conspiracy to shelter the regicides of Charles I ( William Goffe and Whalley) during their sojourn in Hadley, along with Lt. Samuel Smith and Peter Tilton. (History of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay by Thomas Hutchinson, 1764.)

He married secondly, Dorothy, the widow of Rev. Henry Smith.

He died at Hadley, aged 85.

Info from son John II's bio:

Bio from - Sibley's Harvard Graduates: Biographical Sketches of Those who Attended Harvard College in the Classes . with Bibliographical and Other Notes By John Langdon Sibley, Clifford Kenyon Shipton, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1873 pages 110 - 118.

Born about 1627, died 1692, aged 65.

Rev. John Russell, M. A., of Hadley, born in England, was son of John Russell, glazier, who came to Cambridge, Massachusetts, was admitted freeman 3 March, 1635-6, a month after the Cambridge church gathering, removed to Wethersfield, Connecticut, and afterward to Hadley, Massachusetts, where he died 3 May, 1680. Online source:

Emigrated emigrated here in 1632

John Russell (1597-1680) was born at Crettingham, Suffolk, England, the son of William and Anne Arnold Russell. He married Phoebe Collins (1604/5-1634) in 1625. They had two sons, 1627-1629, born at Ipswich, England. He and his sons immigrated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1635. He married 2) Dorothy Smith, widow of Rev. Henry Smith in 1650. He died at Hadley, Massachusetts. Descendants listed lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Utah, Illinois and elsewhere.

Quote from a book written in 1909 about the family of John Russell the Emigrant.

"John Russell was born in England about 1597, and came to Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 3, 1635, in the ship "Defence," Capt. Bostock, with his two sons John and Philip"

John Russell

The following is a collection of quotes and paraphrases from "The Russell Family In Early Virginia", Chapter I "The Russell Family in England" by Louis des Cognets, Jr.

". was a student at Gloucester Hall (now Worcester College, Oxford), 17 Jan 1600/1, aged 13, of Worcester county, equitis fil (knight's son). As there was only one Russell family in Worcester who were knights, and as his father Sir John (Zutphen) Russell, had named his younger son John in his will of 1587, the identification is definite."

". a member of the Second Supply . sailed to America under the command of Thomas West, Lord Delaware, a descendant of the Roger de la Ware who had possessed Strensham before the succession of James Russell in 1283. The bitter quarrel between his father and his mother's family, the Sheldons, might have been one factor that decided him to start life anew in a far country. . is among a list of gentlement who landed at "James Cittie" in 1608."

The following is a collection of quotes and paraphrases from "The Russell Family In Early Virginia", Chapter II "The Russell Family in Virginia" by Louis des Cognets, Jr.

Presumed grandson John (Rappahannock) Russell was likely born by 1645, which implies that Dr. John Russell may have been born by 1623. As that was the year in which John (Chief) Russell was known to be alive and at his plantation near Jamestown, he is qualified to be the father of Dr. John Russell and grandfather of John (Rappahannock) Russell. One fact that sustains this relationship . John Bilington was reported as the owner of the manor of Churchill, not far from Strensham in 1397.

Dr. John Russell owned land on Chikacone Creek in Northumberland County 29 Nov 1658 with Colonel John Trussell and John Chandler (Chandeler) as neighbors on the same stream. Both Trussell and Chandeler appeared on the list of 1623 in proximity to John (Chief) Russell. John Trussell had been born in 1605, came to Virginia in 1622, and was a Burgess for Northumberland County between 1649 and 1655. He was presiding Justice in 1659, and died 21 May 1660.

John (Chief) Russell was mentioned in 1608 as one of the "gallants" of the Second Supply, and as a "proper gentleman". Walter Russell, Doctor of Physicke, Francis West and George Yarrington (Yarranton) were also among those classed as gentlemen.

The following year of 1609 Captain John Smith and John (Chief) Russell were left alone in a house with the Powhatan and a few squaws, when suddenly the crafty Indian disappeared, and a crowd of armed warriors surrounded the place. Without a moment's hesitation Smith and Russell charged out with drawn swords. This was so unexpected that the savage tribesmen were taken by surprise, and fled in such haste that they tumbled over one another to get away from the sharp blades of the two Englishmen.

On another occasion Captain John Smith went to see Opekankano (Opecancanough) in his village, which was located where the Pamunkey and the Mattapony Rivers unite to form the York. He was accompanied by George Percy, a younger son of the Earl of Northumberland, Francis West, a brother of Lord Delaware, and John (Chief) Russell. . Captain . Smith . followed by Percy, West and Russell he dashed into Opekankano's house, andthere they "seized him by his long scalp-lock", and then "dragged him before the astonished multitude, and held a pistol to his breast." Such resolute behavior won a bloodless victory. Opekankano ordered his fighting men to fall back, which they did, and the little party of settlers returned safely to Jamestown.

In 1621 John (Chief) Russell was fortunate enough to escape the massacre of that year, for in 1623 he was listed as living on his plantation over against "James Cittie." Among his immediate neighbors were John West, Morice Loyd and Aron Conway. John Trussell was located at West and Shirley Hundred, and nearby him were Francis West, Isaac Maddeson (Madison), Mary Maddeson and Thomas Maddeson. Ann Ashley was living in James Cittie, John Throgmorton on the Eastern Short, and John Chandeler (Chandler) at Bass's Choice. These names all recur along the trail of the Russell family.

In 1637 John (Chief) Russell transported "Jon Asley" to Virginia. By 1730 evolution in spelling had changed it to "John Ashley," with William Russell acting as a witness for the purchase of some land in Spotsylvania County.

It seems likely that Dr. John Russell descends from one of the earliest white men in Virginia, John (Chief) Russell and is likely his son. Unless there were men in two generations named Dr. John Russell, which is entirely possible, he was more likely a grandson. He married Elitia Billington in 1673, and is said to have had a son, George Russell, who was probably married soon after 1690. Of course, he could also have married another, sooner.

The author cited immediately below indicates that he is likely Dr. John Russell's son. He was Sheriff of Rappahannock County from 1688 to 1692, after Dr. John's death.

"Deeds & Wills No. 1 (Old) Rappahannock County 1665-1677". Luke Billington appointed Dr. John Russell to be a Trustee to his Last Will with Mr. William Travers and Mr. Giles Cale, May xx3th 1672. Right under the will is - "Henry Shears aged 35 years or thereabouts. John Russell aged 26 years or thereabts. Sworn and examined say that they saw the above named Luke Billington signe seale and publish this writing whereunto his hand & seale is annexed as his Last Will and Testamt and that then he was in perfect mind and memory to the best of their knowledge and further say not.

Henry Sheares John Russell "

The following is a collection of quotes and paraphrases from "The Russell Family In Early Virginia", Chapter II of "The Russell Family in Virginia" by Louis des Cognets, Jr. The three John Russell names are separated as "Dr. John Russell" (the proven ancestor who married Elitia Russell), John (Chief) Russell (in Virginia in 1608) and John (Rappahannock) Russell, sheriff of Rappahannock Co., VA around 1690 (after Dr. John died).

Dr. John Russell was appointed a trustee in the 1671 will of Luke Billington, and was evidently a close friend, and John (Rappahannock) Russell acted as a witness and must also have been a frequent visitor in his household [Since the will was dated 1671, and John (Rappahannock) Russell must have been 21-26 years old, the author presumes a birth date of about 1645]. That two Russells should have been so intimately connected with the Billingtons, but in no way related to one another would be highly improbable. The most reasonable relationship for the two Russells would be that of father and son. In 1688 John (Rappahannock) Russell was Sheriff of Rappahannock County, a post he held until 1692, the year that Rappahannock was abolished by division into Essex and Richmond Counties. John (Rappahannock) Russell was likely born by 1645, which implies that Dr. John Russell may have been born by 1623 [presuming one to be the father of the other]. As that was the year in which John (Chief) Russell was known to be alive and at his plantation near Jamestown, he is qualified to the father of Dr. John Russell and grandfather of John (Rappahannock) Russell.

Dr. John Russell owned land on Chikacone Creek (Coan Creek) in Northumberland County 29 Nov 1658 with Colonel John Trussell and John Chandler (Chandeler) as neighbors on the same stream. Both Trussell and Chandeler appeared on the list of 1623 in proximity to John (Chief) Russell. John Trussell had been born in 1605, came to Virginia in 1622, and was a Burgess for Northumberland County between 1649 and 1655. He was presiding Justice in 1659, and died 21 May 1660. [John Trussell may be an ancestor of Mark Freeman on another line, though the exact link is not known.]

(end of quotes and paraphrases from "The Russell Family In Early Virginia", Chapter II of "The Russell Family in Virginia" by Louis des Cognets, Jr.

In May, 1675, Thomas Erwin deposed to the county court about some activities he had observed at John Russell's house, saying, "that on or about the beginning of March last past this Deponent being at the house & plantation called Island where John Russell then lived and the sd Russell being at the prsent deprived of his Speech but according to my Judgment in perfect Sence and memory did first according to this Deponts. understanding make signes to William Serjeant to follow him the sd Russell they went into a little Shed and the sd Russell took two pewter dishes in his hand & made signes to his Sonne to give him one of the sd Dishes and according to this Deponents understanding the sd Russell make signe to give the other Dish to his Daughter & coming out of the sd Shed went & opened a Small box & tooke out two Silver Spoones & delivered the one of the sd Spoones to his aforesd Son & the other Spoone according to this Deponents understanding the sd Russell made signes to give to his aforesd Daughter and afterwards the sd Russell took out a small box of which he took one Gold ring & one Silver seale & delivered the same to William Serjeant and sd Serjeant saying to the sd Russell what to me the sd Russell made signes to the Contrary, then the sd Serjeant said to the sd Russell what to my Wife the sd Russell then made Signes according to this Deponents understanding that he did give the same to the sd Serjeants Wife after all which signes the sd Russell put up the severall things above mentioned in the respective places where they were And there they continued till the sd Russells decease to the best of this Deponents Judgment & farther saith not May the 17th 1675. Thomas Erwin."

Bedford, John Russell, 4th duke of

Bedford, John Russell, 4th duke of (1710�). Succeeding to one of the wealthiest dukedoms in Britain in 1732, Bedford developed a political following which made him a valuable catch for any ministry. He served as 1st lord of the Admiralty (1744𠄸) and as southern secretary (1748�), resigning after lengthy bickering with Newcastle. Bedford returned to office in 1757 and was lord-lieutenant of Ireland until 1761. In September 1762 he went to Paris as ambassador responsible for the peace negotiations and signed the resultant treaty in February 1763. After a brief estrangement from administration, he joined the Grenville ministry as lord president in September 1763. Thereafter his followers often acted with those of Grenville, fully supporting a hard-line attitude towards the American colonies. Following protracted negotiations in 1767 the Bedfordites entered the Grafton ministry the duke himself, though approving the junction, was in poor health and chose not to accept office. Bedford's life was conterminous with the era of ‘personal parties’ and the office-hungry Bedfordites were criticized, even by contemporaries, as a faction motivated principally by self-interest.

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Russell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Russell was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Russell family lived in Dorset. Their name, however, is a reference to Roussel, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The family there were lords of Rosel, an ancient neighborhood of Cherbourg. [1] [2]

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Early Origins of the Russell family

The surname Russell was first found in Dorset where they were originally descended from William Bertram, Baron of Briquebec, living in 1012. His son Hugue (Hugh) named de Roussel attended Duke William at Hastings, and became Marshall of England. "Hugh de Rosel, a benefactor of the abbey of Caen accompanied the Conqueror to England, and was rewarded with possessions in county Dorset, the principally of which were Kingston, afterwards called Kingston-Russell and Berwick, the latter of which is still in possession of the family." [1]

The noted Scottish author George F. Black believed that while not discounting the Norman influence, he felt the name was "most probably a diminutive of rous, 'red'," and that Chaucer's reference to 'Daun Russel' in Nonne Prestes Tale was "alluding to his reddish color." [3] He also notes one the first records in Scotland was Walter Russell who witnessed a charter by Walter filius Alani to the Abbey of Paisley, c. 1164-77. A few years later, John, son of Robert Russel of Doncallaw, granted lands to the Hospital of Soltre between 1180 and 1220. [3]

Moving back to the English branch of the family, we found a few listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, specifically: Miriel Russell in Huntingdonshire Simon Russel in Cambridgeshire and Elyas Russell in London. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Johannes Russell and Robertus Russell. [4]

Over on the Isle of Wight in Yaverland, a small branch of the family was found at one time. "An ancient mansion of the Russells here, subsequently of the Richards family, and now a farmhouse, is a good specimen of the Elizabethan style." [5]

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Early History of the Russell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Russell research. Another 283 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1012, 1259, 1296, 1310, 1320, 1321, 1376, 1539, 1683, 1727, 1741, 1437, 1423, 1424, 1432, 1417, 1486, 1555, 1550, 1577, 1632, 1601, 1614, 1602, 1669, 1625, 1632, 1669, 1639, 1683, 1660, 1731, 1613, 1700, 1680, 1711, 1642, 1714, 1679, 1683, 1694, 1702, 1710, 1735, 1629, 1692, 1683 and are included under the topic Early Russell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Russell Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Russell, Russel and others.

Early Notables of the Russell family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Russell (died 1437), an English landowner and Justice of the Peace, Speaker of the House of Commons (1423-1424) and in 1432, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1417 Sir John Russell, (c.1486-1555), Lord High Steward and Lord Keeper of the privy seal under Henry VIII and Edward VI, created 1st Earl of Bedford in 1550 Thomas Russell (1577-1632), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1601 and in 1614 Sir William Russell, 1st Baronet, of Wytley (ca. 1602-1669), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in.
Another 134 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Russell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Russell family to Ireland

Some of the Russell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 111 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Russell migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Russell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William and Walter Russell, who settled in Virginia in 1607
  • John Russell, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Dennis Russell, who arrived in Virginia in 1628 [6]
  • Simon Russell, who settled in Boston in 1631
  • Joe Russell, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Russell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Russell, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [6]
  • David Russell, who landed in Oxford, Maryland in 1747 [6]
Russell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Russell, aged 22, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [6]
  • Isabella Russell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [6]
  • Isaac Russell, who landed in America in 1805 [6]
  • Henry Russell, aged 22, who landed in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Jane Russell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 [6]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Russell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Russell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Elijah Russell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Miss. Elizabeth Russell U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [7]
  • Mr. Jonathan Russell U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelbourne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 270 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York, USA [7]
  • Mrs. Martha Russell U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [7]
  • Mrs. Molly Russell U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [7]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Russell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Bridget Russell, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • James Russell, aged 50, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Thomas Russell, aged 13, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • William Russell, aged 11, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Jane Russell, aged 45, a widow, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Russell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Russell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Russell, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia[8]
  • William Russell, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia[9]
  • Mr. George Russell, British Convict who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Caledonia" on 5th July 1820, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • John Russell, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia[11]
  • Miss Ann Russell who was convicted in Warwick, Warwickshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 20th November 1823, arriving in New South Wales, Australia and Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [12]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Russell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Russell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Russell, aged 21, a gardener, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • David Russell, aged 32, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Russell, aged 34, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Russell, aged 10, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • John Russell, aged 8, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Russell (post 1700) +

  • John Russell (1954-2021), English acoustic guitarist from Kent, who worked in free improvisation beginning in the 1970s
  • John Edward Southwell Russell (1928-2018), 27th Baronde Clifford, English peer
  • Duncan Russell (1958-2017), English football manager
  • Duke William Russell (1888-1953), 12th Duke of Bedford, English peer
  • Duke John Robert Russell (b. 1917), 13th Duke of Bedford, English peer
  • Duke Herbrand Russell (1858-1940), 11th Duke of Bedford, English peer
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Charles Russell (1826-1883), English army officer awarded the Victoria Cross for deeds in Crimea on November 5th, 1854
  • Anna Russell (1911-2006), English-born, Canadian singer and comedienne
  • Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell (b. 1927), English film director
  • George Russell (1857-1951), English horticulturist
  • . (Another 41 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Russell family +

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Ronald C Russell (b. 1963), American Private 1st Class from Portsmouth, Virginia, USA who died in the crash [13]
Empress of Ireland
  • Miss Sarah Mcqueen Russell (1881-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. William Russell (1846-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [14]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Clara M  Russell (1877-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [15]
  • Master George  Russell (1913-1917), Canadian resident from Protestant Orphanage, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [15]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. David L Russell (b. 1908), Scottish Musician serving for the Royal Marine Band from Glasgow, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Walter F Russell (b. 1907), English Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Fareham, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Leonard W Russell (b. 1916), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Tynemouth, Northumberland, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. John A G Russell (b. 1916), English Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Newport, Isle of Wight, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Charles A Russell (b. 1920), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Birmingham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Arthur Charles Russell, British Chief Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [18]
HMS Royal Oak
  • William Frederick Edwin Russell (1915-1939), British Joiner 3rd Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk he died in the sinking [19]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Frederick Russell, English First Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [20]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Boysie Richard Russell (d. 1912), aged 17, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [21]

Related Stories +

The Russell Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Che sara sara
Motto Translation: What will be will be.

John Russell - History

J. Russell & Company & The Green River Knife:

John Russell was born March 30, 1797 in Greenfield, Massachusetts. He was the eldest of seven children. Little is known of his early life, except that he received a good education. Typical of the times, he learned his fathers trade which was a goldsmith.

At the age of 21, Russell left Greenfield for Georgia, where he speculated in cotton. After some initial poor seasons, he was quite successful, and after twelve years had accumulated sufficient money that he could have retired. In 1830 he left the business and married Julianna Witmer of Lancaster Pennsylvania, where he lived for the next two years. Then in 1832 Russell made what was intended to be a short visit to see family and friends back in Greenfield.

After two years of idleness, Russell was anxious to become again involved in a career. His family persuaded him to return permanently to Greenfield which was rapidly growing with abundant commercial opportunities.

Rather than enter an established industry or business, Russell choose the manufacturing of cutlery. At age 35, he had no prior experience or background in cutlery manufacturing, and seems to have chosen this business on an emotional basis, being heavily influenced by the "Practical Tourist" a book published in 1832. The book contained eloquent, almost poetic descriptions of cutlery manufacture in Sheffield, England. His business was called J. Russell & Co.

Sheffield, England was then a center for cutlery making which set the standard of quality against which other cutlery making centers, such as Solingen, Germany were judged. At Sheffield the making of knives and other edged tools was not done in a factory or by a business venture. but was under the control of the guild. Individual craftsmen, who had learned the skills of one step of the process of knife-making in a master/apprentice training program, These craftsmen worked out of their own individual shops. Steps in the process included: forging a blank piece of steel into the rough shape of a knife and hardening and tempering the steel grinding and polishing the blade finally, fitting a handle. Once the knives were completed they were sent to the guild masters where they were inspected for flaws and imperfections. Knives which passed the inspection were considered to be perfect. The process was slow and tedious, but resulted in the finest knives then being made in the world.

Late in 1833, Russell completed a factory, powered by a 16-horsepower steam engine. Machinery included a row of grindstones and emery stones, and two or three trip hammers for forging steel. Russell did not start immediately in the manufacture of knives, but choose to start with chisels and axes. Using only the finest English steels available as raw material, his products quickly earned a local reputation for quality.

By September of 1834 Russell felt that he had the experience to commence manufacturing of knives. His first prototype knives were simple butcher and carving knives, but as with the chisels and axes, made from the finest raw materials available. As knife manufacturing increased in importance, Russell would gradually phase out chisels and axes.

The early knives were stamped "J.Russell & Co American Cutlery." Although these knives had a local reputation for quality, most Americans of the time who were unfamiliar with the J. Russell Co. preferred knives from Sheffield.

Within months of commencing manufacture of cutlery, Russell's factory had expanded in size, number of machines, and with an additional new steam engine. The steam engines were not an ideal source of power for the factory. They were expensive to operate and maintain. Many mills and factories in the area were powered by water and Russell sought a new location for his factory which could take advantage of this power source as well.

By February 1836 Russell had purchased land and moved the factory to a location on the Green River (Massachusettes). The new location came complete with buildings, a dam and was set up for utilizing water power. The factory had barely been set up when on March 15, 1836 a fire burned out the forging shop and production was halted. Insurance paid out $4,000 for rebuilding the shop. The reconstruction had hardly commenced when a major flood swept away the dam and most of the buildings. After the flood, Russell was left with little besides the land and a few machines that had been salvaged.

Without the financial assistance of a wealthy individual, Henry Clapp, Russell may not have been able to rebuild the factory. Clapp provided $10,000 to rebuild the factory, dam and bridge that had been at that location. The new factory had one building which housed the forging room with twelve trip hammers. Another building housed seventy grindstones and one hundred emery wheels. A third building contained the hardening and tempering apparatus, with the hafting department in it's upper level. The new factory was christened the "Green River Works" and knives produced here were stamped "J.Russell & Co. Green River Works."

In order to attract skilled workers to his factory, Russell paid wages at above the levels paid to cutlers in England. The starting wage at the Green River Works was $10 per month for the first six month. After that the worker could elect to be paid on a piecework basis. An industrious worker could make as much as $25 to $30 per month.

The mechanized methods used in Russell's factory allowed his workers to be as much as fifteen times as productive as the craftsman in the Sheffield guilds. The reduction in production costs made Russell's knives competitive in the market with the products of the Sheffield guilds. The guilds however had an enormous manufacturing base, which combined with the will and resources to accept short term losses, could be used to crush competitors. The guild commenced to flood the American market with below cost cutlery. Had it not been for the financial panic of 1837, they might have been successful in driving Russell out of the business.

The panic, although a product of the U.S. banking institutions, and limited mostly to the United States, did have an impact on imports and did cause economic instability in Britain. The economic uncertainty caused the guild masters to decide that they couldn't afford to accumulate losses in any of their markets, and they abandoned their plans to undersell the American companies.

By 1840 the Sheffield guilds had recovered from the effects of the panic of 1837 and were again out to destroy their American competitors. In order to survive under-pricing by the Sheffeild guilds, the American cutlery industry had to decrease production costs, and needed to establish the quality and value of American manufactured knives relative to the Sheffeild products in the mind of the American consumer. At this critical time, J.Russell & Co. hired an English emigrant, Matthew Chapman. Chapman was both a skilled cutler and mechanical genius. He developed processes and machinery with which knife blades could be blanked and leveled, rivet holes punched, fork tines cut and bent, and handles rough sawed. These and other innovations at the Green River works and other American cutlery manufacturers reduced production costs till the Sheffield guilds strategy of underpricing it products was no longer effective. However, it wasn't until the "Green River Knife" was designed and produced that quality of domestically produced cutlery was overwhelmingly accepted by American consumer accepted.

During the early 1840's was the beginning of the great westward movement of settlers to Oregon and California. J.Russell & Company began manufacturing a simple, rugged, utilitarian hunting knife for these emigrants and buffalo hunters of the plains. The knife, known as the "Green River Knife" was to be rugged enough to serve in any situation that might arise. These knives were often shipped unsharpened so that the individual owners could then sharpen according to need and use. The blade was about 8 inches in length with simple wooden handles. English hunting knives by contrast were fancy and lightweight. Although all knives produced by J. Russell & Co. after 1837 were stamped "Green River Works," it was this simple hunting knife, the "Green River Knife" which assured the success of the company, and was the source of the myth and legend of the Green River Knife. The Green River Knife became the source for various sayings and phrases related to quality and or doing a job right.

The Green River Knife became a favorite of emigrants, buffalo hunters, Indians, miners and settlers. Between 1840 to 1860 it is estimated that 60,000 dozen Green River knives were sent west. The popularity of the Green River Knife was so great that American, English and German competitors would stamp their products with "Green River" in order to capitalize on the success of J. Russell & Co.

With the success of the Green River hunting knife, Russell began to experiment with other new types of knives. A more abruptly curved skinning knife was put into production which became almost as popular as the hunting knife. A butcher knife, nicknamed the "Dadley", being slightly larger than the hunting knife was also produced. All three of these knife styles came to be known as "Green River" knives. Russell continued to expand his product line to include shoe knives, table knives and forks and occasional novelty knives including a knife designed for one armed amputees after the Civil War.

For more information about John Russell, the J.Russell & Co. and Green River Works refer to:

Merriam Robert L., Richard A Davis Jr., David S Brown and Michael E Buerger, The History of the John Russell Cutlery Company 1833-1936 . Published 1976, Bete Press, Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Russell, Carl P. Firearms, Traps, & Tools of the Mountain Men, published by University of New Mexico Press, 1967. 448 Pages.

Hanson, James A. The Fur Trade Cutlery Sketchbook , 1994, published by The Fur Press, Crawford, Nebraska.

Russell, Lord John, 1st Earl Russell

Russell, Lord John, 1st Earl Russell (1792�). Prime minister. A small, cocky man, with an abrasive and resilient personality, Russell was the third son of the duke of Bedford and was educated at Westminster and Edinburgh University. He entered Parliament in 1818, sitting for several constituencies until returned for the City of London in 1841, which he represented until his elevation to the peerage as Earl Russell. He first made his mark in taking a leading role in the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts as they affected protestant dissenters in 1828 and he supported catholic emancipation in 1829. In Grey's administration he helped to draft the Reform Bill, introduced it in the Commons, and was prominent in securing its passage through Parliament. Russell used the argument of 𠆏inality’ with such enthusiasm that he earned the nickname 𠆏inality Jack’. Ironically his later career demonstrated that the reform carried in 1832 was not the final step but the first in taking Britain down the road to democracy. Russell was never an advocate of universal suffrage, however. In the 1860s he favoured reducing the franchise qualification but not the total abolition of a property level. In the abortive Reform Bill introduced during his second premiership in 1865𠄶 he sought to lower the household franchise in the boroughs from ꌐ to ਷. During his long career Russell served in many offices of state. He was home secretary and colonial secretary under Melbourne, leader of the House under Aberdeen, foreign secretary under first Aberdeen and later Palmerston. He was twice prime minister: from 1846 to 1852 and again in 1865 to 1866. Russell never disguised his convictions. This made him a wayward colleague. In 1845 he became a convert to the repeal of the Corn Laws. Outraged by what he saw as papal aggression he denounced the revival of catholic bishoprics in England in 1850 and introduced the controversial Ecclesiastical Titles Bill in 1851. He had strong sympathies with Italian nationalism. During the American Civil War he kept Britain neutral but refused to accept responsibility for the damage inflicted on Federal commerce by the Confederate raider the Alabama , which had been built on the Mersey. He sympathized with the Poles and the Danes but could do little to help them. Though associated in the public mind with Palmerston, Russell's relationship with his famous colleague was often stormy. Russell had been happy to see Palmerston go after the approval he had given to Louis Napoleon's coup in December 1851. In turn he fell victim to Palmerston's desire for revenge when in 1852 his government was defeated on its militia proposals. Russell was almost as difficult a premier as he was a colleague. He often failed to consult colleagues and, though he was quick to identify crucial issues and to see the need to act, he was less successful in carrying his colleagues with him. In his second premiership he introduced parliamentary reform, which he believed had been thwarted by Palmerston for too long. But he could not manage shifting opinions within the Commons and had the mortification of going out of office and seeing Disraeli carry a Reform Bill which was more advanced than that which Russell had proposed. Russell did not lack intelligence but his judgement was questionable. As a Whig, standing within the Foxite tradition, he edited the correspondence of Charles James Fox for publication, but his enthusiasm for his subject outran his skills as an editor.

Prest, J. , Lord John Russell (1972).

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Past Prime Ministers

18 August 1792, Mayfair, London

28 May 1878, Richmond Park, London

Dates in office

1865 to 1866, 1846 to 1852

Political party

Major acts

Factory Act 1847: limitations on factory working hours.

Public Health Act 1848: improving the sanitary conditions of towns and populous places.

Interesting facts

He was the last Whig Prime Minister.

Charles Dickens dedicated the novel, A Tale of Two Cities, to him, “In remembrance of many public services and private kindnesses.”

“I have made mistakes, but in all I did my object was the public good.”

Lord John Russell, later Earl Russell, was the principal architect of the Great Reform Act in 1832, and was one of the main promoters of parliamentary reform in the nineteenth century. As Home Secretary, he reduced the number of criminal offences punishable by death, so that only murder and high treason could be punished by execution.

Russell was shy, vain and uninterested in cultivating the rapidly expanding media. This made his governments easy targets for radical critics who condemned his 1846 to 1852 ministry as aristocratic and out of touch.

Watch the video: Jack Russell Run Competition - 2016 Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge Western Regionals (January 2022).