Aragorn Storm Miller

RUSSELL, JOHN R. (1822–1881). John R. Russell, banker, merchant, planter, and Confederate officer, was born in Orange, North Carolina, on October 15, 1822, to James W. Russell and Nancy (Johnson) Russell. As a young boy Russell moved with his family, possibly to Haywood County, North Carolina, before relocating to Bowie County, Texas, in 1842. Following the deaths of his mother and father in 1843 and 1844, respectively, Russell worked as a clerk in Clarksville in Red River County. With the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, Russell enlisted in Michael Chevallie's Battalion of the Texas Rangers and fought in Mexico until the end of the war in 1848. Afterward, Russell returned to Texas and continued work as a clerk in Buffalo on the Trinity River and in Dallas. In 1851 he joined his brother-in-law in a business partnership and operated a dry-goods store in Clarksville. The following year, this firm established a branch house at Bonham in Fannin County, and Russell took charge of its operations. In this capacity, Russell established himself as one of the county's prominent businessmen and purchased several hundred acres of land in the area. During this time he also became active both as a Baptist and a Mason. On August 9, 1854, Russell married Cynthia Bradford of Mississippi. The couple had one son. Following the death of Cynthia in 1861, Russell married her sister, Margaret Tinder, in 1864. This couple had one son and one daughter.

When the Civil War began, Russell entered the Confederate Army and was elected captain in the Thirty-fourth Texas Cavalry Regiment, also known as Alexander's Regiment. He was later promoted to major, then lieutenant colonel. Russell served with this unit in actions in Missouri and the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. Prior to the end of the war, Russell resigned his commission for health reasons and returned to Bonham where he continued to achieve success at business until his death on August 20, 1881, from lung hemorrhages and tuberculosis. Russell is buried at Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham.


R. M. Lusk, A History of Constantine Lodge, No. 13 Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons (Bonham 1917). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Christopher Taylor, "John R. Russell, Lt. Colonel, 34th Texas Cavalry, CSA" (, accessed April 21, 2011.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "RUSSELL, JOHN R.," accessed July 24, 2019,

Uploaded on April 26, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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