Biography of James A. Russell

JAMES A. RUSSELL. – A well-known and esteemed member of the business world of Island City, where he operates a butchering establishment and also handles much stock, the subject of this article is deserving of representation in this volume, since he is not only now one of the prominent men of the county but has spent practically all of his life in this valley and has labored with zeal for the advancement of its interests.

James A. was born on September 23, 1861, in Linesville, Iowa, being the son of Thomas J. and Savannah C. (Atha) Russell, who started the following spring to the western country, arriving in Lagrande in August of the same year. Mr. Russell was the first blacksmith in the valley, and he labored here for the building up of the country. Our subject was reared in the vicinity of Cove, receiving his education in the village schools there, studying until he was sixteen, and then commencing soon to teach, continuing for four terms in one district in High valley. At twenty years of age he took a course in Bishop Scott’s academy, and when he was twenty-three years of age he took charge of a surveying outfit in the mountains for five months. The next year he was engaged to handle Dr. Hill’s ranch of two hundred and forty acres, and continued in that capacity for three years, and then sold the ranch for the doctor and served as post-master at the Cove, in Cleveland’s administration, for one year. Later he contracted on railroad construction until 1892, then started a butcher shop in Cove, operating the same until 1896, then sold and removed to Lagrande, where he opened a similar establishment which he sold one year later and removed to Island City, where he is at the present time running a first-class shop. He enjoys a good patronage, merited because of his uniform treatment of customers and business principles. Mr. Russell owns twenty acres between Lagrande and Island City, which he is improving with good orchard and fin buildings and intends to use as his home. In the town of Island City he owns his place of business and other property and also has a half interest in one hundred head of cattle, beside considerable other stock.

In 1886 Mr. Russell married Miss Addie Whittemore, and four children have been born to them: Imogene E., Ruth C., James D.H., and Ralph W., all attending school. Mrs. Russell was born in Eugene, Oregon and was raised in Pendleton, receiving a good education and spending some time in teaching before she was married, also was one year as nurse in the Good Samaritan hospital in Portland. Mr. Russell is a member of the Masons and also of the M.W.A. and he is held in high respect by all who know him, being a man of uprightness and ability.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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