Biography of Dr. Charles P. Russell
Oneida County, NY Biographies





While death is the common lot of all, it is with the keenest regret that news is received of the demise of one who, in a world of greatest usefulness, is called from the scene of his earthly activities, leaving unfinished a work for which he was particularly well qualified and in which he had already attained enviable success. Dr. Charles P. Russell was yet in the prime of life when his final summons came and in his departure Utica lost a worthy citizen, the profession an honored member, his associates a faithful friend ands his family a devoted husband and father. He was born in Utica in 1853, and was a son of Dr. William Russell, whose untiring devotion to his profession caused his death. His example remained as a source of inspiration to his son and to all who essay to reaching a prominent and honorable position in the ranks of the medical fraternity. His birth had occurred in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, June 5, 1821. He was the eldest son of Robert Russell, a coal dealer of that city, who came with his family to the new world in 1832, taking up his abode in Oneida county, New York. In the acquirement of his education William Russell attended the common schools and W hitestown Seminary, and gradually evolved a determination of making the practice of medicine his life work, pursuing a course of reading in the office of Dr. Whiting Smith, of Whitesboro, in 1845. Later he entered the Berkshire Medical College, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and was graduated in the autumn of 1848. In the succeeding winter he pursued a post graduate course in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, and also had the benefit of attending lectures delivered by the famous surgeon, Dr. Valentine Mott.

Opening an office in Utica in 1850, Dr. Russell soon attained prominence in his profession and was honored by election to the secretaryship of the Oneida County Medical Society for ten consecutive years. Later he was chosen vice president and in 1871 was elected to the presidency. In the following year he delivered an able address to the society upon the question "Is Woman Adapted by Nature and Social Position for the Arduous Duties of the Medical Profession" and later he read before the same body a series of papers on "Diseases Peculiar to Women." In 1868 he was elected a permanent member of the New York State Medical Society and the American Medical Association and when Faxton Hospital was organized in 1875 he became a member of its medical staff and so served for several years. He was also for a time on the consulting staff of St. Luke's Hospital in Utica, and aside from professional connections he belonged to Utica Lodge, F. & A. M., Utica Mechanics Association and Oneida Historical Society. He also held membership in the First Presbyterian church and was most loyal to its teachings. His devotion to the duties which came to him in connection with his chosen life work undoubtedly hastened his death. It made severe demands upon his time and energies and although in his later years he sought relief in the milder climate of Florida, spending several winters in the south, he at last succumbed to the disease which had fastened itself upon him, and passed away June 27, 1890.

In December, 1851, Dr. William Russell was married to Agnes, daughter of Alexander Patterson, of New Hartford, New York. She died in January, 1887, and only one son of the family is now living, William G. Russell, an attorney of Denver, Colorado.

The elder son, Dr. Charles P. Russell, was a pupil in the public schools of Utica and afterward in the Free Academy, from which he was graduated in 1872. His medical education was acquired in the Ann Arbor Medical College and in the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, from which he was graduated with high honors. He then returned to Utica and engaged in practice with his father, but forming the opinion that greater things were in store for the specialist he went abroad in 1875 for study in Europe. Going to Vienna he pursued a course of study on diseases of the skin and later proceeded to Edinburgh, where he studied in the university and was also graduated from the Royal Maternity Hospital in 1876. His studies were there continued under Sir Tilbury Fox, the noted skin specialist, and when Dr. Russell returned to Utica to resume practice with his father he had probably as deep a knowledge of his specialty as any man practicing in this section. From that time forward he concentrated his energies largely upon the treatment of skin diseases, his practice extending all over the state. He was consulting physician for both St. Luke's and St Elizabeth's Hospitals and for years he gave advice and service freely to aid the poor and also at the state dispensary. His contributions to medical literature upon the subject of skin diseases were many. He possessed a large library on the subject and was familiar with the work of other members of the profession while at the same time he did original research work and was a deep thinker and scholarly man. He held membership with the Utica Medical Library Association, with the Oneida County Medical Society and the New York State Medical Society.

On June 25, 1884, Dr. Russell was united in marriage to Miss Emma Louise Hecker, of Detroit, Michigan, and they became the parents of two children, Gordon and Elsie. To the welfare and happiness of his family Dr. Russell was ever devoted. He was a loyal member of Grace church and found inspiration and help for all the duties of life in his religious belief. His death occurred October 25, 1906. The name of Russell had long been associated with the medical profession in Utica and had ever been a synonym for that which is most honorable and progressive in the field of medical science and practice.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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