GEORGE S RUSSELL
To the subject of this sketch are due the honors of a pioneer, a useful citizen and a wise and honest administrator of important public affairs. His experiences in Kansas date back to the closing months of the civil war, and were colored by the stirring events which at that time made Kansas the scene of factional troubles which in some neighborhoods did not terminate so long as there was any open dispute between the north and the south. He exerted a good influence upon the work of development which was ushered in with the era of peace, and has helped to make and is a participant in the prosperity which makes Kansas truly a state of homes.
George S., or "Squire" Russell, as he is familiarly known, was born near Clyde, in Sandusky county, Ohio, April 6, 1833, and has been a resident of Atchison county, Kansas, continuously since 1864, when he bought his farm in Lancaster township from Dr. Jacobs, its original owner, in fee simple. His father, William S. Russell; a farmer, was born in Ontario county, New York, in 1802, and was an early settler in Ohio, where he died in 1875. He was a member of the Ohio state militia in the old "training" days. In politics he was a Whig and later a Republican. He served his county as judge of the probate court, and was a man of much ability, prominence and popularity. His mother, grandmother of Squire Russell, was a Miss Chase. Her first husband died in early manhood and she married again.
William S. Russell married Betsy Beach, daughter of a farmer of the state of New York, and she bore him children, as follows: George S.; Spencer Russell, of Hudson, Michigan; Emeline, who married Samuel Pursing and now resides in Clyde, Ohio; Mary, wife of William Eastman, of Tiffin, Ohio; Roena, now Mrs. T. J. Nichols, of Houston, Texas; and William W., of the state of Wyoming. By a second marriage, to Eliza Crandal, William S. Russell had the following children: Estella, Maud, Jessie, Blanche and Grant. Cynthia Russell, sister of William S. Russell, married Mr. McPherson, and one of their children was the late lamented General J. B. McPherson, one of the heroes of our civil war.
George S. Russell grew to manhood on his father's farm, and received only a limited English education. He was a member of his father's household until he was twenty-eight years old. About that time, in 1860, he married Clarissa J. Comstock, a daughter of Oliver Comstock, formerly of Connecticut. Three years after their marriage they came to Kansas, where, planning together and laboring together, he in his sphere, she in hers, they have overcome numerous obstacles, prevailed over many discouragements and achieved a success which assures them a good position in the community and a comfortable competency for their declining years. To Mrs. Russell her husband accords much credit for his success. The bravery of pioneer women has always been as conspicuous as that of pioneer men, and they have been called upon for more self-denial and more fortitude.
To Mr. and Mrs. Russell belongs that best of all honors, the honor of having reared a family to lives of merit and of usefulness. Their children are Cornelia, wife of A. L. Keithline, of Shannon township; Emma J.; wife of E. W. Welch, of Grasshopper township; and Ward, who is a member of his father's household.
Mr. Russell, a man of great modesty, not at all impressed with his own merits which are so freely attributed to him by all who know him, makes no claim to special distinction, but classes himself as one of the great army of honest, persevering toilers who have been the making of Kansas. He has labored not only for his own advancement, but for the public good, and has long been recognized as a very patriotic and public-spirited citizen. He is one of the justices of the peace of Lancaster township, and is serving his fourth term in that office. He was for many years a Republican, but some years ago, under the influence of the spirit of reform which swept over Kansas, he cast his fortunes with the Populists and has acted and voted with them since.