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The William Russell in Colonial Virginia Project

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Virginiamap
Surnames/tags: Russell Virginia
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The William Russell in Colonial Virginia Project

(A sub-project of the Virginia Project)

There were over 20 men in Colonial Virginia named William Russell. To further complicate matters, at least one genealogy hoax has been perpetrated against Russells in Virginia.

This project includes all men named William Russell who lived in the colony of Virginia. It also includes their descendants and other family members (parents, wives, siblings, etc), as they are needed in order to make connections and positive identifications. Therefore, this project also includes some men named William Russell who were born shortly after the Revolutionary War.

Right now this sub- project just has one member, me. I am Susannah Rolfes.

Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done. I'll be working on them, and could use your help.

  • Identify all men named William Russell who lived in Virginia before 1800
  • Find potential sources (especially primary sources) to help untangle the mess of threads
  • Adopt any orphaned profiles for William Russell in Virginia and improve the profiles
  • Merge duplicate profiles of William Russell
  • Determine which sources apply to which William Russell, when the same source is used for multiple men named William Russell
  • Add a link to this project on appropriate profiles
  • Invite Wikitreers interested in researching William Russell in Virginia to join this sub-project
  • Invite non-WIkitreers to join Wikitree and this project.
  • Determine what information originated from the hoax genealogy, Russell Family, the only known copy of which is located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, call number 929.273 R911a (A volunteer who lives in Utah would be ideal)
  • Suggest any additional steps that should be taken

The following is a list of all men with Wikitree profiles who are named William Russell, were born prior to 1800, and are associated with Virginia. Most were born there and/or died there, with three exceptions: one was married there; one served as a county clerk there; and a third traveled back and forth via ship to Jamestown and Gwynn Island/Cherry Island, but was not a permanent resident:

Russell-4652 (duplicate of Russell-2178; merger proposed)
Russell-8643 *
Russell-9479 *
Russell-14635 (duplicate of Russell-7981; merger proposed)
Russell-16581 *

(Asterisk denotes that their profile does not state that they were born in or died in Virginia.)

Will you join me? Please post a comment here on this page, or Susannah Rolfes send me a private message. Thanks!

The following section is intended to show how men named William Russell are related:

Group 1:The Russell Family from (William Russell and his Descendants by Ann Russell des Cognets, published in 1884)

b. about 1677 in England
Husband of Mary Henley — married 1730 in Culpeper, Virginia
Father of Henry Russell, William Russell and Catherine Russell
d. before 18 Oct 1758 in Culpeper, Virginia
b. abt the 1720s (abt 1725)
Husband of Mary
Father of Moses Russell, Susannah (Russell) Disponet, James Russell, William Russell, and Joseph Russell.
d. 1777 in Duck Run, Frederick County, Virginia
Brevet brigadier general
b. 6 Mar 1735 in Culpeper, Virginia
Son of William Russell and Mary Henley
Brother of Henry Russell andCatherine Russell
Husband of Tabitha (Adams) Russell — married 1755 in Culpeper Co., VA
Husband of Elizabeth (Henry) Russell — married about 1783 (to 14 Jan 1793) Virginia
Father of Henry Russell, William Russell, Mary Henley (Russell) Bowen, Robert Spotswood Russell, Tabitha Adams (Russell) Campbell, Arthelia Russell, Katherine Russell, John Coates Russell, Samuel Adams Russell, Celah Russell, Henley Russell, Chloe Ann (Russell) Saunders, Henry Winston Russell, Elizabeth Henry (Russell) Smith, Jane Robertson (Russell) Thompson and Patrick Henry Russell
d. 14 Jan 1793 in Front Royal, Shenandoah, Virginia
b. 6 Mar 1758 in Culpeper, Virginia, British Colonial America
Son of William Russell and Tabitha (Adams) Russell
Brother of Henry Russell, Mary Henley (Russell) Bowen, Robert Spotswood Russell, Tabitha Adams (Russell) Campbell, Arthelia Russell, Katherine Russell, John Coates Russell, Samuel Adams Russell, Celah Russell, Henley Russell, Chloe Ann (Russell) Saunders, Henry Winston Russell [half], Elizabeth Henry (Russell) Smith [half], Jane Robertson (Russell) Thompson [half] and Patrick Henry Russell [half]
Husband of Nancy (Price) Russell — married 25 Dec 1786 in Fayette Co., KY
Father of Eliza Price Russell, Tabitha Adams Russell, Maria Russell, Matilda D. Russell, William Russell, Samuel Price Russell, Caroline Evaline Russell, Isabella C. Russell, Mary Henley (Russell) Wilson, Miriam B. Russell, Catherine Roberts Russell, Henry Russell, Robert Henry Russell, Felix Grundy Russell, Ann Maria Russell and Sarah Virginia Russell
d. 3 Jul 1825 in Fayette, Kentucky

Group 2: The Russell Family of Halifax County, Virginia and Casey County, Kentucky:

Lt. Col.
b. 8 Feb 1714 in Virginia
Husband of Anna (Buckner) Russell — married about 1737-1739 [maiden name uncertain]
Father of William Russell Jr., Ann Russell, Ann (Russell) Light, Sarah (Russell) Walters, Lucrecia (Russell) Dodson, Buckner Russell, Elizabeth Russell, Judith (Russell) Bennett, George Russell and Absolom Prentiss Russell
d. 20 Mar 1777 in Halifax, Virginia
b. 1740 in Antrim Parish, Halifax, Virginia
Son of William Russell and Anna (Buckner) Russell
Brother of Ann Russell, Ann (Russell) Light, Sarah (Russell) Walters, Lucrecia (Russell) Dodson, Buckner Russell, Elizabeth Russell, Judith (Russell) Bennett, George Russell and Absolom Prentiss Russell
d. 1814 in Casey, Kentucky

Note: Records tie William Russell, Sr. to a John Russell, who may have been his father, or may have been an older brother, uncle, or cousin; William "The Ranger" may be the father of William Russell, Sr.</br></br>

Note: Russell-31524 may be the father of this William Russell, based on Y DNA evidence that shared on Wikitree on June 23, 2022. More information is needed before it can be corroborated that these two William Russells are father and son.

Group 3: The William Madison Russell Family

Middle name Madison
b. 6 Mar 1754 in Culpepper, Virginia
Father of William Madison Russell II
d. 16 Mar 1836 in Bedford, Tennessee
Middle name Madison
b. about 1775 in Georgia
Son of William Madison Russell I
Husband of Martha Ann Callaway — married about 1800 in Georgia
Father of James R. Russell
d. 3 Jan 1842 in Richmond, Bedford County, Tennessee

Group 4: The William Percival Russell Family

Lord William Percy Russell Jr.
b. 1717 in Thanet, Kent, England
Son of William Percival Russell
Brother of John Russell and George Russell Sr.
Husband of Rebecca Louise (Witherden) Russell
Father of Phillip Russell, Samuel Russell and William Percival Russell III
d. 1784 in Surrey, Virginia
William Percival Russell III
b. about 1751 in Surrey, Colony of Virginiamap [uncertain]
Son of William Percy Russell Jr. and Rebecca Louise (Witherden) Russell
Brother of Phillip Russell and Samuel Russell
Husband of Rosetta Rosamund Fleming
Father of John W. Russell
d. 1804 in Dickson, Tennessee

Group 5: Earliest William Russell in Virginia (Probably not related to any other William Russell, because he sailed back and forth between England and Virginia, landing at Jamestown and Gwynn Island/Cherry Island)

1st Baronet Russell of Chippenham
b. 1575 in Cambridgeshire, England
Son of William Russell and Joan (Saunders) Russell
Husband of Elizabeth (Cherry) Russell — married after 1605
Husband of Elizabeth (Gerard) Russell — married 1 Mar 1613 (to 1620) in Hart, London, England
Husband of Elizabeth (Smallpage) Russell — married 12 Apr 1628
Father of Elizabeth Russell, Sarah (Russell) Chicheley, Francis Russell, William Russell, Gerard Russell and William Russell
d. 3 Feb 1654 in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England

Miscelaneous Russells not yet connected with a particular family, in chronological order:

b. 1660 in Chippenham, Cambridgeshire, England
Son of John Russell and Frances (Cromwell) Russell
Brother of Elizabeth (Russell) Frankland and John Russell
Died 1725 in Colony of Virginia
b. 1680 in Stafford Co., Virginia
Son of John Russell and Jane Martin
Husband of Grace Wigginton
Father of Catherine (Russell) Holtzclaw and Martin Russell
d. 1756 in Prince William Co., Virginia
Russell-4652 (duplicate of Russell-2178; merger proposed)
"The Ranger"
b. 1680 in Stafford, Colony of Virginia
Son of Peter Russell
Brother of Peter Russell [half], Elizabeth (Russell) Roberts [half], Elizabeth Lobill (Russell) Roberts and Sarah Russell [half]
Father of Lydia (Russell) Bean
d. 18 Oct 1757 in Culpeper, Colony of Virginia
b. 1700 in Farnham, Richmond, Colony of Virginia
Father of Elizabeth Russell
d. 18 Oct 1757 in Orange, Culpepper, Colony of Virginia
b. about 1735 in Virginia
Husband of Rachel Scott
Father of Sarah Russell and Elijah Russell
b. about 1830 in Carter, Tennessee
b. about 1740 in Virginia
Son of Richard Russell and Margaret (Twitty) Russell
Brother of John Russell, Richard Russell Jr, Twitty Russell, Mary E. (Russell) Miller, Ann (Russell) Pace, Jeremiah Russell, Isaac Russell, George Russell and Twitty Russell
d. about 1820
b. 1746 in Loudoun, Virginia
Son of Samuel Russell and Sarah (Hatcher) Russell
Brother of John Russell, Rebecca (Russell) Cummings, Robert Russell and James Russell
Husband of Ruth Russell — married 1771 in Virginia
Husband of Edith (Smith) Russell — married about 1790 in Virginia
Father of Aaron Russell
d. 31 May 1813 in Jefferson, Virginia,
Clerk of James City County, Virginia
b. about 1758
Father of Elizabeth (Russell) Robinson
b. 19 Mar 1759 in York, Virginia
Husband of Rachel Smith — married 4 Mar 1783 in North Carolina
Father of John Russell
d. 19 Apr 1796 in Rockingham, North Carolina
b. about 1760 in Tryon, North Carolina [uncertain]
Son of George Russell Sr. [uncertain] and Elizabeth (Bean) Russell [uncertain]
Brother of George Russell Jr, Rebecca (Russell) Holland [half], Lucinda Russell, James Russell, Lydia (Russell) Roddye, Mary (Russell) Jarnagin, Jemima (Russell) Horner, Elizabeth (Russell) Horner and Lewis Russell
Husband of Agnes H (McCullough) Russell — married 18 Mar 1790 in Washington, Virginia
Father of Dicey (Russell) Wagner, Lemuel Russell, William Russell Jr, Lewis Russell, Margaret Russell and George Daniel Russell
d. 16 Feb 1825 in Franklin, Alabama
b. 1788 in Virginia, United States
Husband of Martha Jane (Womack) Turner
Father of Williamette H (Russell) Johnston
d. 31 Jul 1866 in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina
b. 9 Aug 1791 in Greenbrier County, Virginia
Son of John Russell and Susannah (Day) Russell
Brother of Lawrence Russell, Elizabeth Russell, Rachel Jane Russell, Elizabeth Jemima (Russell) Roebuck [half], James Samuel Russell [half], Jeremiah Russell [half], Thomas Jefferson Russell [half], Manoah Bostic Russell [half], Jane (Russell) Nelson [half], Francis Russell [half], Sanders Russell [half] and Armilda Russell [half]
d. about 1812
b. Nov 1796 Bath, Virginia
Son of Charles Russell and Mary Elizabeth Noland
Brother of Mary Sarah (Russell) Reed, John M Russell, Thomas Russell, Samuel B Russell, Moses Russell, Samuel Russell, Charles Russell, James Clyde Russell and Mahalon Russell
Husband of Lana
Father of Aaron Russell, Elizabeth Russell, Harry Russell, Marion Russell and Armilda Russell
d. 17 Oct 1881 in Springfield, Gallia, Ohio

William Russells without birth years:

b. Virginia
Husband of Margaret (Turlington) Russell
Father of Thomas Laughton Russell
d. before 1850

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I believe that Major William Russell of Tyron had a son named Henry who was killed by indigenous peoples along with James Boone (son of Daniel Boone) in 1773.


posted by Billy Bond

I'd be happy to help with your project — please I ask—that you do the leading and tell me what you would like from my efforts in response. Randy

posted by Randall Brock
Right now, mostly what is happening is that Lilly Martin is working on grouping children of a colonial William Russell. She is researching the Watagua Association and using that as a way of determining which Russells were siblings. Among these potential siblings is William Russell of Halifax County.

You can basically do anything you want in terms of researching any William Russell on the list, or adding more to the list is you find any that are missing (although I'm pretty sure that this is all of them, it's always possible that I missed a few).

Which Russell family is yours? Or are you trying to figure that out?

Fortunately for me, William and Anna Russell named one of their sons Absolom, and he's my ancestor. There were only 4 men named Absolom Russell at that time, so it was fairly easy to trace my Absolom to the correct parents. I hit a brick wall right there in 1999, and it took me almost 20 years to untangle my William from others (and I'm still looking for his parents; Lilly's work may at least lead to me finding his brothers and sisters, or at least ruling some out).

If you are you located in Virginia, it would be great if you could do some local research. No one that has been involved so far actually lives in or near Virginia, which has limited what we could do.

Just let me know what you'd like to do in the project, and keep me updated so I can update the project. You may want to contact Lilly Martin, so she can send you e-mails about her work as she researches the Russell siblings to try to figure out whether they are all grouped in one family. Her comment on the William Russell in Colonial Virginia project is just before yours, if you want to get in touch.

Welcome to the project! For such a long time, it was just me. So nice that others are becoming interested!

posted by Susannah Rolfes
John W. Russell-16719, s/o Philip Russell-3965 and Elizabeth Brewer-1068, named his son King David Crockett Russell-19185.

Davy Crockett is a famous frontiersman of US history. But, why did John W. Russell-16719 name his son in part David Crockett? Was this a name in honor of a ‘relationship’ with Davy Crockett? I believe the name is in honor of Davy Crockett, who served under Major William Russell-8643, and his son Capt. William Russell, and his brother George Russell-11586, who was a scout with Davy. Major William Russell-8643 is the son of George Russell-2021 and his wife Elizabeth Bean-454. This serves as circumstantial evidence of a relationship between Phillip Russell-3965 and George Russell-2021. Were they cousins, or what? Additionally, Absolem Russell-31525, is the brother of George Russell-2021. Absolem Russell was fighting in the “Creek and Indian War” being fought near Russellville, Alabama where Major William Russell-8643 died in 1825. Absolem Russell-31525 died on November 23, 1813 at the battle site, in Alabama, and he died at the same spot and date alongside James Patton b. 1784 NC , who had married his cousin Elizabeth Patton, but after she was widowed, she re-married to Davy Crockett. This serves just to solidify the relationship as war-buddies between the Russell family and Davy Crockett. This serves to identify which Russell family was associated with Davy Crockett, which in turn identifies the family of George Russell-2021 and Elizabeth Bean-454. The siblings of George Russell-2021 are as follows: William Russell-7981 (m. Anna Buckner) Note: he named a son Absolem after his brother. Absolem Russell-31525 Jemima Unknown-466952 (m. Jonathan Douglas-3579. Widowed and remarried to Valentine Sevier-76. Jemina’s daughter Noami Douglas-4660 married Valentine Sevier-78, the s/o Valentine Sevier-76. Jemima Russell married secondly to her daughter’s father in law, also widowed. Pleasant Russell-31526 (other researchers have this as a FEMALE, but I have always seen Pleasant used as a male name in colonial Virginia? John Russell-26693 (m. Henrietta Burleson, who may be related to the Burleson of the “Battle of the Alamo” fame in Texas.) Lydia Russell-788 (m. William Bean-317, the brother of George Russell-2021 wife) However, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRR4-ZL4, is a source of a christening of Lydia Russell on Sept 29, 1726 at North Farnham Parish, Richmond, Virginia for Lydia as d/o Joseph Russell and his wife Sarah. Is Lydia a sister of George Russell-2021, or only his first cousin? Or, are the 2 records from North Farnham only similarly named persons who were christened in a similar time?

According to existing and documented christening records at Farnham, Richmond, VA a couple named George Russell and Mary had these children: George 11-30-1721 Lucy 7-5-1723 Barbary 11-9-1727 A couple named George Russell 1689-1731 and wife Elizabeth (Bengey) had these children Farnham, VA christened: Charles 8-26-1705 Joseph 1701 George 1710 A couple ned George Russell and wife Mary (Kendrick) had these kids christened at Farnham, VA: Samuel 1715 Isabella 1717 George 11-30-1720 (in trees he is identified as Russell-2021, the man who married Elizabeth Bean) Lucy 7-5-1723 (m. David Dortch) Barbary 11-9-1727 (m. Abraham Dodson-78) A couple named George Russell and Rachel had chiristened at Farnham, VA Samuel 11-4-1715 A couple named Joseph Russell and Sarah (Smith) had christened at Farnham, VA: Joseph 1-13-1723 Lydia 9-29-1726 Solomon 2-22-1729 A couple named John Russell and Anne christened at Farnham, VA: Elizabeth 10-4-1720 Anne 5-31-1725

In grouping the SIBLINGS of George Russell-2021, there is a focus on “Watauga Association” (look that up on Wikipedia). It was created in 1772 by settlers, in 1776 it was annexed to Washington District, and in 1776 was designated as Washington County, NORTH CAROLINA. Today, 2022, that area is Washington County, and Carter County, TENNESSEE. It is documented fact that William Bean-317, his wife Lydia Russell-788, George Russell-2021 and his wife Elizabeth Bean-454, and John Sevier, the son of Valentine Sevier-76, who was married to Jemima Russell (incorrectly listed as Young-12964), all lived at Watauga and were relatives and neighbors. In conclusion, I can’t yet say how Philip Russell-3965 connects to George Russel-2021, Phillip is 25 years younger than George. Could they be father-son, or uncle-nephew? The fact is that the Russell family and Brewer family are related is firmly established through multiple intermarriages. Lastly, Samuel Russell 9073 lived in 1830 at a place named in his own honor, which was Russellville, Claiborne Co, Louisiana. There are a number of men who named their community Russellville, regardless of the state. A listing of those men may also prove some connections.

Best regards, Lilly Martin

posted by Lilly Martin
Brewer-Russell-Holland (Holon)-Bean family ancestry report, by Lilly Martin, [email address removed] July 1, 2022

To understand Lewis Brewer-834, who married Agatha Holland-1327 we must also understand the Brewer family, specifically, the descendants of George Brewer-710 and his wife Sarah Lanier-38. We must also understand George Russell-2021 and his wife Elizabeth Bean-454. I have created a ‘temporary’ profile for a William Russell-3166, because other researchers, and references are made, without any proof, that George Russell-2021 is the son of a William Russell. In time, it may be proven the George Russell-2021 is the s/o a William, or not. If we use the https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRR4-ZZD, source: Virginia births and christenings, a George Russell was christened on November 30, 1720 at North Farnham Parish, Richmond, Virginia to a George Russell and Mary. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/LXWX-1DD that is a TREE for George Russell and his wife Mary Kendrick. The problem is, there were numerous men in colonial Virginia named William Russell. I can say that William Russell 1677-1757 Orange, VA and his wife Martha Henley are NOT the parents of George, as George and his siblings were not mentioned in William’s will and probate. Instead of looking for the FATHER of George Russell, I have looked to group him with SIBLINGS. If we find George and his siblings, that might lead us to a documented birth record, or marriage record, or will or probate for them or their parents, which would serve to identify the entire family, not just George Russell-2021. Lewis Brewer-834 is the son of Lanier Brewer-708, s/o Lanier Brewer-709, s/o George Brewer-710 and Sarah Lanier-38. The name LEWIS is seen repeatedly among the RUSSELL family. You can say that LEWIS was a RUSSELL name. The proof that Lewis Brewer is the son of Lanier Brewer-708 lies in the fact that Lewis named his own son Lanier Brewer, and used that exact spelling. Lanier is not a common first name. In the Brewer family it identifies a descendant of George Brewer-710 and his wife Sarah Lanier-38. When you read the wikitree profile of Lanier Brewer-708, you read that he is said to have had 30 sons and 3 daughters, by multiple wives-partners, and that one of his wives was said to have been named Mary. That would be Mary Elizabeth Russell-20316. Lewis Brewer-834 was the product of a Brewer father and Russell mother. There are numerous Brewer-Russell marriages and they are all inter-related and all from the same two families of colonial Virginia. There is an online source of information which is not documented, and presents no evidence, and even the researchers who wrote it declared it dubious. It tries to create a convoluted family legend which has Lewis Brewer-834 born in ENGLAND, and his mother born in England, and they came to colonial America with Russell families. It may be true the ethnicity of Brewer and Russell is English, but these families were in colonial Virginia before the revolution and were not new immigrants. I suggest we modern researchers should disregard all old legends which have no evidence or documentation. The fact that Lewis Brewer-834 named his son a very unusual name, Lanier Brewer, should point us in the right direction. The fact that Lewis Brewer’s mother was a RUSSELL also is the clue to the 2 interconnected families in colonial Virginia. Next clue comes from an 1830 letter, which exists and was transcribed online. It was written by Samuel Russell-9073 to his relative Lewis Brewer-834. In the letter Samuel calls Lewis ‘brother for life’, which is not a biological brother, but a deeply close relative, who is regarded as a ‘brother’. Samuel Russell-9073 is the son of Phillip Russell-3965 and Elizabeth Brewer-1068. Lewis Brewer=834 and Samuel Russell-9073 and both from the same 2 families intermarried: Brewer and Russell. Two colonial Virginia families which began in VA and then spread around to NC, TN and other locales. How does Phillip Russell-3965 relate to Mary Elizabeth Russell-20316, the mother of Lewis? They are definitely related, but are they cousins, or what? Phillip Russell-6745, the s/o Phillip Russell-3965, married Rebecca Brewer-6695, the d/o Ambrose Brewer-910, the s/o Howell Brewer, s/o George Brewer-710 and Sarah Lanier-38. Charity Brewer-2098, d/o Ambrose Brewer-910 and Lucinda Russell-7377, married John Russell Hollon-8, s/o William Holland-1167 and Rebecca Russell-8771, d/o George Russell-2021. George Brewer-710 is the father of Lanier Brewer-709, who is the father of Lanier Brewer-708, who married/partnered with Mary Elizabeth Russell-20316, and their son Lewis Brewer-834 married Agatha Holland-1327, the sister of William Holland-1167, who married Rebecca Russell-8771, d/o George Russell-2021.

posted by Lilly Martin