In reviewing the life history of Thomas Russell one is compelled to admire the sterling uprightness of purpose which has actuated him in all of his dealings with others. From his father and other patriotic ancestors he inherited the qualities which are noticeable in our best citizens, and the same spirit is to be seen in the character of. his. own sons. His father, James Russell, who enlisted as a home guard, in England, fought under the leadership of the famous Duke of Wellington in the battle of Waterloo. By occupation he was a farmer, carrying on a homestead in the beautiful shire of Kent, the place of his nativity. James Russell was a son of Edward Russell and for a wife chose Anne King, also a native of Kent. Seven children were born to the worthy couple, namely: William; Mrs. Mary Ribbins; Mrs. Matilda Ribbins; James, Anne and Edward, who died in England; and Thomas, of this sketch. The father died at seventy-three and the mother at ninety-four years of age, both faithful Episcopalians.
The birth of Thomas Russell occurred at Southfleet, Kent, England, in April, 1835. His educational advantages were extremely meager, as he was only nine years of age when be commenced to earn his livelihood. At twenty-three he was married and a week after the ceremony he and his bride sailed for America. They were five weeks on the voyage and upon reaching Quebec they took the train to Chicago. Later they went to Valparaiso, Indiana, where he obtained a position as a brick manufacturer. During the progress of the civil war he offered his services to the land of his adoption, becoming a private in the Thirty-eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Under the command of General Thomas he participated in some of the most important events of the war and took part in the grand review at Washington.
In 1868 Mr. Russell came to Kansas, settling on a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, situated in Grasshopper township. Since that time he has bought additional land and now owns two hundred and forty acres of finely improved property. He has made a specialty of raising live stock and has been particularly fortunate with his Holstein cattle. A high price is always obtained for all the products of his farm and prosperity has abundantly crowned his earnest efforts.
On the 4th of April, 1858, Mr. Russell married Rebecca Richardson, daughter of George and Eliza (Stanley) Richardson. She was born in Kent, England, March 20, 1837. Her father was a shoemaker by trade and was the clerk and sexton of the church in the village where he lived, At the time of his death he was sixty years of age and his wife was in her seventy-seventh year when called to her reward. Three of their eight children survive, namely Mrs. Russell; Mrs. Eliza Chiberlane, of Douglas county, Kansas; and Mrs. Caroline Ricarson, of England. Those who have passed away were: Esther, George, Thomas, Anna and Charlotte.
The union of our subject and wife has been blessed with nine children: Mary is the wife of Samuel Rodgers, of this township; Eliza is the widow of A. Chatman, of Muscotah, Kansas; Mrs. Minnie Tickey resides in Horton. Kansas; Robert is a citizen of this township; Elmer, now in the Phillipines, enlisted for service in the Spanish-American war as a member of the Fifty-first Iowa Volunteers; Henry carries on a fruit farm at Johnson, Arkansas; Susan Caroline is the wife of Freeman Webber, of this locality; John A. and Rebecca Ann are at home with their parents. The eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Russell, William J., died when in his thirty-first year.
In 1885 Mr. Russell returned to his old home in England, where he spent several months in revisiting familiar scenes and in renewing old friendships. Coming back he was a passenger on the Oregon, which ill-fated steamship was lost on her next trip. In his political standing Mr. Russell is an uncompromising Republican. For several years he has acted in the capacity of road overseer and always has been counted upon to advance all local improvements and everything pertaining to the welfare of the general public. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist church and are active in all good works.
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