Numbered among the honored pioneers of San Joaquin county is William J. Russell, who for many years has been actively associated with the development of this portion of the state, always noted for patriotism and public spirit, industry and integrity. He was born in Washtenaw county, Michigan, March 25, 1836, being a son of David and Florilla (Ballard) Russell, both natives of the state of New York and early pioneers of Washtenaw county, Michigan. In the Wolverine state the son was reared to years of maturity, receiving his early mental training in its public schools, although in the main he is a self-educated man. From New York city in 1858 Mr. Russell made the journey to California on the ship Anglo-Saxon, the vessel rounding Cape Horn and landing in San Francisco after a voyage of one hundred and sixty-four days. For seven years after his arrival he was engaged in agricultural pursuits, while for about ten years his energies were devoted to the sheep industry, principally in San Joaquin county, and on the expiration of that period he again embarked in farming and stock-raising. In 1859 he took up his abode on the ranch where he now resides, where he has ever since made his home, and the place now consists of seven hundred and twenty acres of rich and fertile land, all under a fine state of cultivation and devoted to general farming and the raising of stock. He is a thorough agriculturist and excellent financier, progressive in his methods and earnest in his desire to promote the well-being of the community in general.

In September, 1859, Mr. Russell was united in marriage to Zerelda Epperly, a native of Missouri, and she became the mother of two children: Dora E., the wife of C. H. Jones, of Stockton, California, and Herbert W., a resident of Eureka, Nevada. On the 2d of May, 1880, Mr. Russell married Della Freeman, who was born in Washtenaw county, Michigan, a daughter of Dan and Maria (Hall) Freeman, the former a native of the state of New York and the latter of Michigan. Two children have also blessed this union: Lloyd W. and Clyde W. For several years past Mr. Russell has served as a trustee in the Elliot school district, and is a Democrat in his political affiliations. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church South, in which he is serving as a trustee.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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