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William Russell, Sr.

Thanks to Beverly Johnson ( for sending this story about the William
Russell family.  The typing errors, however, are mine.

Thomas Russell and Mary Monk Russell and seven children in Shoreham Parish of County Kent, England. His sixth child William Russell was the only son to come to Canada, then to the United States. A grandson, James came later.

William Russell, Sr. married Hannah Ann Letchford in England, they had nine children. In the spring of 1857 they decided to come with their nine children to Canada, near Brockville, Ontario, on the St. Lawrence River. The trip for the family would have many hardships; the difficult voyage would last six weeks, they had a newborn just born December 1856 but the hardest difficulty to bear was the lost of their eight year old son, James, due to an epidemic on ship. He was buried at sea.

William and Hannah Russell had a farm in Canada from 1857 to 1864 when they decided as a family to move to elk Rapids. By this time some of their children had married but with their extended families they started out by boat, along with their farm animals. This journey too would be long; first via Lake Erie, up Lake Huron, then into Lake Michigan to the port of Elk Rapids. In 1864 Elk Rapids was a city but the port had no docks. The animals were pushed off the boat into the water and left to swim to shore.

People arriving in 1864 in Antrim County could well be described as the very early pioneers of the region; the Russell family would be included in that list. When they first arrived they were sharecroppers south of Elk Rapids, then in 1869 William, Sr. took advantage of the 1862 HOmestead Act and acquired his homestead of 160 acres nin Milton Township.

William Sr.'s sons Charles and John were too young to apply so the Homestead reads William Sr. and as they became older, the property was divided between Charles and John. Henry and William, Jr. now married applied also and each received their own homestead properties of 144 and 147 acres respectively. Thomas purchased property also. The Russell's land, if not side by side, was all in the same area.

William Russell Sr.'s 160 acre homestead was in what we know today as Torch Lake Township but in 1869 that area was Milton Township. The homestead was stold in 1967, just shy two years of having been in the Russell family for 100 years. The first and second generations of William Russell held the flame a long time but like so many familes of that time, as the older members retired, the younger members left the farm for the city for better jobs.

The Russell Family Cemetery sets quietly alone along US-31, nestled amongst the overgrown lilac bushes as an ever reminder of the large Russell family of yesterday. Although it is believed about 25 people are buried in the Russell Cemetery, only 4 graves have headstones.

William Russell Sr. 1811 1875 Anna Russell 1814 1886 Lucy Ann Russell Duffell 1844 1887 Barbara Russell 6-29-1880 19-20-1880

Years ago the family Bible was where all record of births, marriages and deaths were kept. Lucky is the family that the family Bible is still present. In 1932 Mrs. John Russell was interviewed and it was reported that the family Bible was lost in a homestead fire. The Russell Cemetery records were lost. A list of 15 names is on record* of unmarked graves, given by Mrs. John Russell that day.

*In 1933, 2 DAR ladies from Kalamazoo came to Antrim County to do some genealogy research. Their research efforts, including this interview, were typed and bound in book form. Copies may be found in the Burton Collection of the Detroit Main Library and in the Library of the State of Michigan in Lansing -- Ed. note.

The family tree as we know it today: Born Died William Russell 1811 11-4-1876 + Hannah Ann Letchford 1814 12-26-1886 Henry Russell 1-8-1836 5-20-1901 + Mary Levi 1-7-1846 11-15-1905 Henrietta Russell 1867? Phebe Russell 1869? Edith F. Russell 9-3-1869 1943 + Arnold Kaiser 1863 1937 Etta Gertrude Kaier 7-20-1896 Edith Vivian Kaiser 12-11-1907 Emma G. Russell 3-1872 + Thomas H. Burley 1-1871 Clare Burley 6-25-1902 Harvey W. Russell 9-11-1874 Henry William Russell 9-11-1874 4-28-1875 Herbert C. Russell 1-1877 1947 + Mary Johnstone Leonia Russell 10-3-1900 + Sarah Ann Russell 1888 1939 Raymond C. Russell 6-1885 1957 + Wilhelmina ____ 1891 1953 William Russell, Jr. 1838 1920 + Mary E. Powell 10-1847 1909 Mary Ann Russell 4-30-1867 Henrietta Russell 6-25-1867 7-10-1919 + Isaac C. Gibbard 5-5-1856 1-3-1921 Eliza Rebecca Russell 9-28-1871 + Edgar Peckham 5-1867 Roy C. Peckham 8-14-1891 Sybil Peckham 10-27-1893 George Peckham 3-1896 Beatric Edna Peckham 9-6-1898 Ida R. Russell 9-28-1872? 1956 + John Horton Dean 4-26-1862 11-1939 Floyd Dean 1930 Lulu/Laura Dean + ___ Milks Nina Dean 1897 1978 Clyde Dean + Mildred 1898 1947 Frank W. Russell 12-14-1875 12-12-1936 + Carrie Hockin 2-1878 William G. Russell 3-4-1900 9-15-1900 Harry Russell 5-17-1902 5-14-1958 + Lydia Bussa Claude Richard Russell 12-29-1904 10-25-1999 + Josephine Paradis Marylin Russell + Charles Thomas Beverly Russell + Gene Gonecki Richard Dean Russell + Joanne ____ Billie James Russell Joseph Russell Thomas Russell Caroline Russell + _____ Hubbell Willard Russell Lewis Russell William John Russell 5-14-1878 George Benjamin Russell 5-13-1880 + Mary Powell Violet E. Russell +Montford E. Harvey 12-1876 Mildred E. Harvey 5-14-1906 Mary Ann Russell 1841 + ____ Bachi + C. Powell Lucy Anne Russell 1844 12-16-1887 + William Duffell Emma/Emily C. Duffell 9-1865 8-8-1900 + William J. Frame 1860 1948 Percy Lee Frame 1892 8-4-1895 Charles Edwin Duffell 6-9-1868 3-8-1906 Thomas L. Russell 1845 1938 + Adeline G. Filer 5-20-1891 Lewis J. Russell 8-13-1869 George W. Russell 5-21-1871 + Mary Boursaw 9-1875 Clarence E. Russell 4-1894 Cloy M. Russell 12-1896 Clara A. Russell 4-1899 + Alfred J. Roberts Myrtle I. Russell 4-4-1902 Livana Russell 3-6-1907 Guy N. Russell 5-1873 + Serena Burns Steadman Howard Ernest Russell 4-24-1875 Alice Rebecca Russell 6-4-1878 + Clarence Franklin Lulu Belle Russell 9-19-1887 Thomas E. Russell 5-16-1891 4-10-1917 + Ellen Jane(Ward)Toms 7-1855 3-7-1927 + Elizabeth Ward James L. Russell 12-1848 1857 Charles H. Russell 1851 1911 + Mary Petrie 6-1864 1933 Sarah H. Russell 8-1883 Charles Floyd Russell 5-1886 1953 + Grace M. Murray 1890 1928 Novella M. Russell 12-1-1912 2-25-2000 + Morris T. Walker 1905 1-10-1972 Morris Ned Walker + Mary Jo ____ Allen Walker 9-29-1931 4-4-1989 + Cecil Murray 4-23-1986 Duane Russell + Jackie ____ Dean Russell + ____ McArthur Adrian Russell Ronald Russell prior to 7-2001 Ivan Russell prior to 7-2001 Versile Russell prior to 7-2001 Mary Russell + --- McArthur Kenneth Russell 1916 1936 Keith Paul Russell 12-10-1922 4-16-2001 Audry Irene Russell 1924 1935 Ernest W. Russell 8-10-1888 11-3-1963 + Lillie M. _____ 10-14-1892 3-7-1959 Dilbert W. Russell 10-1890 William L. Russell 12-4-1895 Benha Russell 6-9-1902 John Russell 4-1854 1929 + Anna Alice Knapp 1864 1947 Alice Barbory Russell + Simeon White Barbara A. Russell 12-1882 Carrie E. Russell 9-27-1884 1956 + Robert J. Frame 1875 1956 Robert J. Frame 10-17-1903 8-2-1969 Elmore Russell 7-12-1887 9-25-1942 Nellie Blanche Russell 3-17-1891 Emily Eliza Russell 12-18-1858 4-24-1891 + George Milton Peaslee 1852 1918 Florence Velma Peaslee 3-31-1878 William Byron Peaslee 6-8-1880 Arvilla Jane Peaslee 9-11-1883 Alexander Peaslee 9-1890 + G. M.'s 2nd wife, Emma 12-1869 Emily B. Peaslee 7-9-1893 Golda L. Peaslee 8-17-1896 John M. Peaslee 8-12-1901 Samuel F. Peaslee 6-27-1903 Edith Peaslee 7-2-1899?

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