Biography of William R. Russell
Riverside County, CA Biographies





WILLIAM R. RUSSELL
One of Riverside's retired citizens, well known for his generous principles and public spirit, is Mr. Russell, who was born October 9, 1838, in Holt county, Mo., where he spent his boyhood, receiving his education in the public schools of that period. In 1854, with his parents, he came to California and located in Solano county, where his father, John Russell, a native of Kentucky, and his mother, Margaret (Oiler) Russell, who was a native of Virginia, settled on a farm. That continued to be their home and ranching his father's occupation until his death in 1861.

William Russell attended school in Solano county and remained at home on the ranch until his twentieth year, when, on account of ill health, he required a change of climate. Going to Oregon he remained for a time in Portland and also in Canyon City, spending about eighteen months. Returning to California he managed the farm for his mother for some years and then concluded to see some of the world beyond the mountains eastward and after working various places for several months, came back to California in 1875. At this time he was employed by a Mr. Allison of San Francisco, to assist in driving a band of sheep to Arizona. En route they encountered so many discouragements in seeing thousands of dead animals of bands that had preceded them on their way to that territory that they decided to take the coast route and accordingly landed at "Old Baldy," where they made camp for a time They started with six thousand head of animals, but when they had been in this section a time, the bears, that infested the mountain section where they were stopping, decimated their band till they had only about three thousand. During the time Mr. Russell was taken sick with fever and was unable to do any work and when Mr. Allison was ready to start and the Santa Ana river was reached Mr. Russell decided he would not go any further. He waited until his employer could find some one to take his place and then he started for San Bernardino, where he had made some friends. Arriving at Riverside he met an old acquaintance, George Carlton, and hired out to work in his nursery and soon afterwards he became a partner in the business.

The surroundings so attracted Mr. Russell that he decided to settle permanently and become a landowner. In 1878 he bought twenty acres on Arlington avenue, ten of which he planted to oranges and the remainder to grapes. He also had ten acres on Riverside avenue. Later he disposed of these holdings and purchased some land east of the Santa Fe Railroad, near where he now resides and where he has a small orange grove. He is now living retired after many years' active work. In 1898 he was engaged by the El Cajon Vineyard Company to take charge of their vineyard at El Cajon, and later he spent two years at Santa Paula as manager of the great lemon orchard at that place, a position for which he was well fitted.

Mr. Russell has ever been a stanch Republican, though never an aspirant for official honors. He has never refused to discharge the duties of a citizen and has been a liberal supporter of all progressive movements for the upbuilding of Riverside. He was united in marriage in July, 1881, with Margaret E. Hayes, who was born in Indiana. Four children have blessed this union: Mrs. Nellie M. Knight, of Riverside; Ralph R., a plumber by trade; Catherine, and Paul Muzzy, all living at home. There is no citizen in the city that has more friends and well wishers than Mr. Russell, who had been an active worker in his younger days for the betterment of the whole community and now in the evening of his life he can look back on a life well spent and with no regrets, for he has tried to live by the "Golden Rule" in so far as has been possible.

From:
History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912


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