Samuel Russell was born on August 13, 1816 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was the second of six children born to merchant Samuel Russell Sr. and Ann Elizabeth Corby.
Around 1838 he moved from Wilmington to the Territory of Florida. Although Florida was not a safe place at that time, like so many other early pioneers, Samuel must have thought the rewards were worth the risks. He settled in Columbia County around the Mineral Springs area.
He married Mary Stafford on October 13, 1839 in Suwannee Springs. The couple had two children; Simeon Dell Russell was born April 12, 1841 in Mineral Springs, and David Yulee Russell on April 24, 1843 in Newnansville. After the death of his father, son David went to live with his uncle Henry Paxton Russell and aunt Lucretia Ellis in Wilmington. They later adopted him.
Samuel joined the Florida militia during the Second Seminole War. On November 28, 1840 he enlisted as a private and was stationed at Alligator Settlement with the Second Regiment of the Florida Foot Militia under the command of George E. McCellan.
In 1842 he was appointed a Justice of Peace for east Florida and was also appointed Registrar for the Land District Office in Newnansville. While living in Columbia County, the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida gave Samuel the right to establish a ferry across the Suwannee River at Mineral Springs.
Florida became a state in 1845. The first statewide elections were held on May 26, 1845 and Samuel Russell voted in the Newnansville Precinct.
He was very active in the community and town affairs. He served on the Grand Jury, was elected Clerk of Court for Alachua County, and Road Commissioner for part of Belamy Road. It is uncertain whether he had any other occupation since the 1850 Census reports "none." The listing of his "Inventory of the Goods and Chattels" on November 10, 1853 includes items that appear he may have owned a store or tavern.
Samuel Russell's wife, Mary Stafford, died May 4, 1844. He married again on July 27, 1845 to Mary Caroline Tison, the daughter of Aaron Tison and Lousia Jane Dell. There were four children born in his second marriage: Ann Elizabeth on February 9, 1846; Mary J. in 1847; Adaloa "Ada" in February 1850; and Samuel Joseph on August 2, 1852.
Samuel died while on a trip to Savannah, Georgia. His body was sent back to Alachua for burial and he was buried in the Dell Family Cemetery beside his daughter Ann Elizabeth. His headstone reads as follows:
What a historical stone for a genealogist who viewed it 150 years later.
After Samuel's death, Mary Caroline married Charles L. Wilson on December 28, 1854. There were two children born to this marriage: George F. in 1858 and Edward Musso Wilson, born July 20, 1861.
Mary Caroline died December 18, 1893 and was buried at Mt. Tabor Cemetery in Columbia County.
Submitted: Robert Taylor