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Colonel William Russell III
Russell County, Kentucky was named in honor of Colonel William Russell III. He was born in Culpepper County, Virginia to William Russell and Tabitha (Adams) Russell. William Russell, Sr., was a prominent citizen of southwestern Virginia and a colonel in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In 1773, the elder Russell took his family, including William Jr., westward in the first attempt by British colonists to establish a permanent settlement in Kentucky.

The expedition, guided by Daniel Boone, was abandoned after an attack by American Indians. Boone's son James and Henry Russell, brother of William Russell, Jr., were captured and tortured to death in the attack. During the Revolutionary War, William Russell, Jr., fought as a captain in the Virginia militia, taking part in the Battle of Kings Mountain as an aide to Colonel William Campbell.

After the war he relocated to Kentucky, settling in 1783 in Fayette County on land that had been granted to his father for military service. He served as a colonel of Kentucky militia in the Northwest Indian War. During the War of 1812, he was colonel of the 7th Infantry Regiment, taking part in the Siege of Fort Harrison and the Peoria War.

Russell served in the Virginia state House of Representatives in 1790 and 1791 and in the Kentucky house in 1792, 1796-1780, 1802, and 1823. Russell County, Kentucky is named for him, but Russellville, Kentucky and Russell County, Virginia are named for his father.

Robert M. Rennick, Kentucky Place Names (University Press of Kentucky, 1988), p. 259. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Biography obtained through Find-a-grave website.

Russell County, Kentucky is proud to be a part of KyGenWeb and USGenWeb. If you are interested in contributing to Russell County's website, please contact the Russell County Coordinator, Steve Conner. If you are interested in becoming a County Coordinator or volunteering for one of the Special Projects, contact the State Coordinator, Sherri Bradley, or
one of the current Assistant State Coordinators, Jeff Kemp and Suzanne Shephard. Feel free to drop us an e-mail to let us know how we can help your research. Thank you for visiting!
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