Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    Oliver P. Russell is serving as justice of the peace and pension general at Troy. He is a native of Miami county, born September 28, 1826, his parents being Isaac and Tamar (Mendenhall) Russell, the former of Welsh extraction. The mother's people were natives of Nantucket island, and the maternal great-grandfather of our subject was killed by the Indians at an early period in the development of this country. One of his sons was also killed and scalped at that time and another son, the grandfather of our subject, was made a prisoner and held a captive for several years, after which he was exchanged for an Indian girl whom the white people had captured. The father of our subject was born in South Carolina, in 1800, and in 1806 came to Miami county. Here he arrived at years of maturity, after which he wedded Tamar Mendenhall, whose birth occurred in North Carolina in 1798. They located on a farm four miles south of Troy, and there spent their remaining days, both living to a ripe old age. They were among pioneer settlers of Miami county, taking up their abode here when the entire region was almost an unbroken wilderness, giving little promise of future development and progress. They had a family of ten children, one of whom died in infancy. The others reached years of maturity and five of the number are now living. The only surviving brother of our subject is Joseph Russell, a resident of Morrow county, Ohio. The sisters are: Mrs. Rosanna Brooks, of Mulberry, Kansas; Mrs. Harriet Pearson, a resident of Miami county; and Mrs. Tamar M. Dixon, of Mecosta county, Michigan. Those who have passed away are: Samuel, who died in March, 1896, when about seventy-three years of age; Isaac, who died in 1855, at the age of' twenty-three; Rachel, who died about 1895, at the age of sixty- eight years; Mrs. Ruth Evans, who died in early womanhood; and an infant who died unnamed.

    Oliver Perry Russell acquired a common school education in his native county and entered upon his independent business career as a farmer. About 1852 he purchased land in Tippecanoe county, Indiana, adding this to a tract which had come to him through inheritance. He operated this farm for eight years and then, selling the property, purchased a farm in Montgomery county, Ohio, which he owned until after the close of the civil war. During the time the south was engaged in an attempt to overthrow the Union Mr. Russell was numbered among those who wore the blue, and enlisted as member of Company G, One Hundred and Forty-seventh Ohio Infantry, with the rank of corporal. He served at Fort Marcy at Washington, D. C., his regiment being engaged in defending the capital. He enlisted for one hundred and thirty days, but remained in service for four months. The hardships of war brought on disease, and for a number of years following his discharge he suffered greatly and at length was obliged to lose his right limb. He now receives a pension granted him by the government.

    When the war was over Mr. Russell sold his farm and located in Dayton, where for thirteen years he engaged in business as a contractor and builder. He also represented the Dayton Machine Company, traveling on the road for six years. He sold agricultural implements throughout sixteen states, and was regarded as a very successful and reliable traveling salesman. On leaving Dayton he took up his abode in Cardington, Morrow county, Ohio, where he lived for nineteen years. During that time he served for three years as constable and for twelve years as justice of the peace. On the 1st of April, 1897, he came to Troy and for one year was not connected with business cares, but after the expiration of that period he was elected justice of the peace and has since filled that position, discharging his duties in a creditable manner, his decisions being marked by the utmost fairness and impartiality. He has also been a recognized pension agent for several years and has prosecuted a large number of claims to successful termination.

    Mr. Russell was married, on the 23d of November, 1845, to Miss Lucretia Kerr, who was born in Miami county June 2, 1828. Theirs was a long and happy married life, covering a period of over fifty- three years; but on March 16, 1899, Mrs. Russell was called to the home beyond. Four children were born of their union, of whom two are now living, namely: Mattie and Alice. Isaac H., who was the eldest, died at the age of four and a half years, and Emma died when a year old. Mrs. Mattie Utter, the elder surviving daughter, is living in this city, while Mrs. Alice McClement makes her home in Dayton, Ohio. The sons-in-law are both active and successful business men. Mrs. Russell was a consistent Christian lady, a member of the Methodist church, and was a loving and devoted wife and mother and a woman universally esteemed for her many excellent traits of character. Mr. Russell has also been a lifelong member of the Methodist church. He belongs to the Grand Army Post, of Cardington, Ohio, and has always given his political support to the Republican party. He has held various local offices, including that of assessor, road supervisor and a member of the school board, and every trust reposed in him has been faithfully performed. His life record has been unassailable, for honesty is synonymous with his name.

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