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Friday, June 04, 2010

Russell "A Town of Pride and Progress"

The articles in this series were published in the Russell Union-Tribune (unknown date).

One hundred years ago, the present site of the town of Russell was uninhabited and was covered by the tall prairie grass.  In 1864, William Nelson built the first house in what is now Russell.  It stood in the northwest part of town, across the street west and a little south of the present Mrs. Harry Latham residence.
Railroad Built
In 1865, the first permanent survey was made for the railroad.  The ground was cleared and the tracks were laid through 1865-66 and completed in 1867.  The railroad company then purchased 30 acres of land from William Nelson on which the town of Russell was to be built.
In 1886, the first depot was built and a railroad agent by the name of N.B. Douglass was stationed here.  Douglass established a post office in the depot and became postmaster, and later he and H.W. Elliott started a general store in the building.
Official Building
 On October 8, 1867, the original town of Russell was platted by H.S. Russell and contained 209 lots.  This was the official beginning of Russell.
First Birth in Russell
The first child born in Russell was a daughter, Bertie, born to the depot agent, N.B. and Mrs. Douglass.  They lived in rooms at the south end of the depot.
Churches in Russell
 The first church to be erected in Russell, strangely enough, was an Episcopal church, completed in 1868, under the supervision of Dr. LaBach of Chariton.  This church later disbanded due to lack of members.

The Methodist church of Russell is responsible for the first church service held in the county (south of town in 1849).  However, they did not build a church in town until 1872.  The organization built another church in 1891-92.

The Presbyterian church of Russell was organized in 1869, and they erected the church which they presently occupy in 1880.

In 1868, after the erection of a new depot, a Baptist minister purchased the old depot for the purpose of forming a church.  This proved an unsuitable location for a church and this first attempt for organization was unsuccessful.  The present Baptist Church was organized in 1881.  They erected a church in 1883, which burned in 1913, and the church which they presently occupy was built in 1915.

The Christian Church of Russell was organized in 1893.  They purchased and occupied the old Methodist Church until 1901 when they erected a church on a lot across the street north of the George Werts residence.  This organization later disbanded.

(This story will continue next month)

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