Thursday, June 03, 2021

Susan Day's "Russell History" (Part 2): Institutions

This is the second of three installments of Susan Day's History of Lucas County's Russell, first published in 1914 and then republished during October of 1932 in The Russell Union-Tribune. The first installment may be found here. The topics today are city organizations and institutions that developed after the town was founded alongside the newly built Burlington & Missouri River Railroad tracks during 1867.

Several of the images here are taken from the program booklet for Lucas County's Second Annual Chautauqua Assembly, Aug. 8-16, 1903.


The first church, the Episcopal church, which was established in 1868, did not prosper, owing to its weakness in membership, and was soon disbanded and the church building was sold for other purposes and it is now occupied by L.E. Raines as a paint shop.

On the 5th day of September, 1869, the Presbyterian church was organized, the membership being Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Plotts, Mr. and Mrs. George Crawford, Mr. and Mrs. H.M. McGee. A church building was begun the same year and was used before being entirely completed. The entire cost when completed was about $1,000. Rev. W.C. Hollyday was the first minister and organized the church. Rev. Hollyday had charge of the church but a short time and was succeeded by Rev. S.H. Elliott, who had charge of the church for several years. He, assisted by the Methodist minister, Rev. Wood, conducted the first series of revival meetings held in Russell. This was in January of 1872 and at the close of the meetings about 35 new members were added to each church. The first church building was sold to Eli Hammer, who moved it to the lot now owned by Alberta Mae Jenkins, and in 1880 the present church building was erected.

The Methodist church was organized in 1872 by Rev. W.R. Wood, who was the minister in charge of the circuit. 

The same year they bought the lot and erected a church building where the Christian church house now stands. In 1874 they erected a parsonage on the lot diagonally across the street southwest of the church. In 1891-92 they build their present church building, occupied it in 1892 and sold the old church building to J.H.N. Campbell.

In 1881 the Baptist church was organized. In 1883, they bought a lot and erected a church building, the same which was burned in 1913. The building has not since been rebuilt.

The Christian church was organized in 1893 with 16 charter members. They bought the old Methodist church building of Campbell, fitted it up and occupied it until 1901, when they erected their present church building.

April 2, 1879, a cemetery association met in the Presbyterian church for the purpose of obtaining land for a cemetery. The ten acres in the northeast corner of the southeast one-fourth of the northwest one-fourth of section five was chosen and condemned by the township trustees and the owner was paid $300, and the costs were $15, making the cost of the land to the cemetery association $315. The cemetery was immediately surveyed and platted by J. B. Fitch. The first person buried in the cemetery was Samuel Hawkins, in 1879, and a little child of M.M. Prather had been buried at the east edge of the cemetery and was taken up and placed in a lot after it was platted.

The directors of the Russell Cemetery Association for the first year were J.S. Johnston, John M. Hanlin, James H. Cook, George C. Boggs and Alfred Goodwin. The Association had charge of the cemetery until 1912 when it was turned over to the control of the township trustees.

Frank Nolan Post No. 208, G.A.R., was organized in 1886 with the following members: J.H. Cook, I.S. Pyle, B. Litzenburg, James Sowder, George McNeeley, W.B. Colgrove, T.S. Crozier, Mr. Melby, Alfred Goodwin, Jacob Goltry, W.H. Baker, Ezra Kells, J.S. Searns, L. Whitcomb, William Irvine, L.A. Butts, J.H. Vincel, W.M. Stearns, John C.  Plots and Abraham Ashba. The total enrollment since the post was organized has been 82 members, of whom less than 25 remain to answer "here" at roll call when they meet annually to place memorial flowers upon the graves of those who will meet with them no more in this life.

Frank Nolan Relief Corps No. 222 was organized December 26, 1890, with twenty-one charter members. These have proved enthusiastic workers for the cause in which they are interested, and at present time have a membership of 30.

Russell Lodge No. 337, I.O.O.F, was organized January 20, 1876, by D.D.G.M. J.B. Smith of Chariton with seven charter members. The first officers were B.F. Boggess, N.G.; John C. Cook, V.G.; J.F. Sprague, secretary; J.W. Wilcoxen, treasurer, and Elijah Allen, warden. The lodge has been prosperous and has grown steadily from the start. They occupied a rented lodge room until 1896, when they built the second story of the bank building, which they have fitted up nicely and comfortable for lodge purposes and on which they are free from debt.

Russell Rebekah Lodge No. 241 was organized July 8, 1894, with thirteen charter members. It has been interesting and prosperous as such lodges usually are and at the present time has 48 members.

The post office, having been established in 1867 with N.B. Douglass as post master, he continued to hold the office until 1870, when he was succeeded by Alfred Goodwin, who held the office about three months, when James E. Plymate took his place. The office was then in a small building across the street south from the depot. In December, 1871, H.W. Elliott was appointed postmaster and held the office nearly seven years. When he resigned, J.H. Cook succeeded to the vacancy. In 1878 it was made a money order office. In 1881 Alfred Goodwin was appointed for a second time and served until 1885. In 1885 George Plotts was appointed and he served until 1889. In 1889, Goodwin was again appointed and he served until 1893. In 1893, Ed Plotts was appointed and he served until 1897. In 1897, J. H. Clinton was appointed and  served until his death, January 6, 1899, when he was succeeded by his son, H.D. Clinton, who is the present post master.

Next, Russell's pioneer business community

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