Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

COLUMBUS BERRY RUSSELL. When Columbus Berry Russell, one of the substantial farmers of Brookline township, Greene county, lost an arm in his boyhood it was regarded as a calamity, but, this very circumstance may have led to the arousing of dormant energies, courage, self-reliance, determination and ambition that could not be thwarted and thus the accomplishment of greater things in future years than otherwise would have been the case. Anyway he is certainly deserving of a great deal of credit for forging ahead from discouraging and humble environment to the commendable position he has attained in his locality.

Mr. Russell was born in Dade county, Missouri, December 20, 1852. He is a son of Jefferson N. and Elizabeth Russell, who came to Dade county from Virginia in the late forties. The paternal grandfather was a native of Germany. His wife was a native of Ireland. They immigrated to America early in the nineteenth century. Jefferson N. Russell owned a good farm in this county where he and his wife both died. They were the parents of the following children: Columbus B. of this sketch; Granson, of Hico, Hamilton county, Texas; B. V. lives in Buena Vista, Texas; Calvin lives in Plainview, Texas; Ann is the widow of J. D. Robinson and lives in Little Oak, California; Arrena Jane is the wife of J. J. Gray, a farmer of Brookline township, this county; Sarah E. is the widow of J. Hale, of Kansas city.

Columbus B. Russell was a boy when his parents brought him to Greene county and he was reared on a farm which formed a portion of the battlefield of Wilson's Creek, and during this memorable engagement the Russell home was converted into a hospital. Our subject has a vivid recollection of the battle and tells many interesting stories regarding it. Soon after the battle he passed over the field in search of some live stock that had been frightened away by the firing, and he saw many dead and wounded. Our subject's father was a member of the Home Guards and at the time of the battle was at home; however, he was careful to conceal himself from the Confederates and he was not disturbed. But during the war he lost all of his live stock several hundred head, including sixty brood mares, which practically ruined him financially.

Columbus B. Russell received his education in the district schools. He has always followed farming. When fourteen years old he met with the accident that caused the loss of his right arm, by the accidental discharge of a gun, but nevertheless he began life for himself when fifteen years old by engaging in farming and has made his way unaided in the world ever since, and, managing well has been quite successful. He moved to his present location in Section 36, Brookline township, in 1874, where he bought a government claim of forty acres, since then acquiring eighty acres more, the entire one hundred and twenty costing an average of about nine dollars per acre. It is now well worth seventy-five dollars per acre, partly because of the general increase in land and partly because he has made many substantial improvements and has his land under excellent cultivation. He also owns one hundred and sixty acres in Section 23, of this township. He operates a part of his land, renting the balance.

Mr. Russell was married in 1873 to Visa Jane Crow, a daughter of Bryant and Bindy Crow, whose home was on Wilson creek in Wilson township. Here Mrs. Russell was born in 1853, grew to womanhood on the farm and was educated in the district schools. The following children were born to our subject and wife: Hubert, born in April, 1888, died when sixteen months old; Lula, born February 10, 1875, married John Baumbarger and lives in Oklahoma; Minnie A., born March 2, 1877, married John Ray, of Springfield; Alberta, born December 22, 1879, lives at home; Etta, born February 6, 1882, married William Robinson, of Greene county; Roy and Effie, twins, were born on February 11, 1885, the former is unmarried and lives at home, and the latter married James Robinson and they live in Barry county, Missouri; Homer V., born on March 13, 1889, died in June, 1910, in Oklahoma; Phelix J., born on May 2, 1892, is single and lives at home; Leona, born on August 21, 1896, is also at home. These children were educated in the district schools.

Mr. Russell is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Politically, he is a stanch Democrat but is not active in public affairs, but is an advocate of all measures looking to the general upbuilding of his community and county.


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