This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Elias Russell

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


ELIAS RUSSELL first drew breath among the hills of Delaware County, Ohio, to which State his father had removed from his native State of Virginia with his parents when a boy. The grandfather of our subject, John RUSSELL by name, was born in the Old Dominion, being the offspring of a family, who traced their ancestry from England, and whose first representatives in this country located in Virginia in the Colonial days. They were agriculturists, and became noted for their thrift and prosperity.

John Russell married early in life and became the father of a fine family of sons and daughters. Among these was Joseph A., who was born in Virginia, and when a boy removed with his parents to Ohio, where he grew to manhood, married Miss Jemima C. ECKHART, and became the father of Elias, of our sketch.

The Eckhart family was originally from Germany, and its later representatives became prominent in the early settlement of Ohio. Joseph Russell after his marriage located with his young wife in Fairfield County, where he opened up a farm and remained until his death, which occurred in the winter of 1881, after he had arrived at an advanced age. The wife and mother still survives, making her home near Lithopolis. The parental household included two sons and four daughters, of whom the record is as follows: Daniel, the eldest, married and settled in Shelby County, Ill.; Elizabeth is the wife of Daniel STUMPF; Elias, of our sketch, was the fourth child; Mary became the wife of Wilkinson CLARK, of Fairfield County, Ohio, and Sarah married Calvin FOOR.

Our subject spent his early years in Fairfield County, Ohio, passing his winters in attendance at the district schools, and assisting in the labors of the farm until his marriage. This event took place when he was in his twenty-third year, in September, 1860, his chosen bride being Miss Nancy M., daughter of Thomas and Effie (DRAKE) WHITZEL, of Fairfield County, Ohio. In the fall of 1861 Mr. and Mrs. Russell came into Shelby County, Ill., where they took up their residence for a year. They were not quite satisfied with that locality and migrated into Champaign County, locating first in Stanton Township. Here our subject engaged in farming and stock-raising and cultivated annually a large area of corn and wheat. Finally, in 1881, he secured possession of eighty acres of land on section 10, in St. Joseph Township, where he permanently located and which has since been his home. He has been willing to labor for the good things of life, and his industry has been amply rewarded. Himself and family are enjoying all the comforts which could be reasonably wished for, and possess in a marked degree the esteem and respect of their neighbors.

Mr. and Mrs. Russell have become the parents of two children only—Frank S., and an infant who died unnamed. Mr. R. since coming to this township has served as School trustee and Treasurer, Commissioner of Highways, and in other positions where he has been of decided assistance in local matters. He is esteemed as a man of excellent judgment, and his honesty has never been questioned. Since becoming a voter he has upheld the principles of the Republican party.

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