Thomasson: Russell family ancestor had heritage in Ramer

Published 1:55 am Saturday, February 27, 2016

Today’s column will feature a different Russell ancestral line from the one covered last week, which introduced the William/Archibald Russell family.

Those researching this family have not yet discovered when their ancestors came to the United States.

According to available research most if not all Russell descendants emigrated from England.

Michael Russell is the earliest ancestor of today’s family who has been identified by his descendants.

It is believed that he was born circa 1770 in Onslow, N.C. Records on show him to be the son of James Russell (1733-1810) and Elizabeth Harding who was born in 1735 in North Carolina also.

James and Elizabeth were married in Darlington, S.C. James Russell is shown to be the son of Richard Rustull and Elizabeth Reed, natives of North Carolina.

Michael Russell was married to Martha Massey who was born in 1775. records report they both died in 1824 in Charleston, S.C.

Among their children was a son named Simon Russell who was born in 1800 in Darlington, S.C.

During the early 1830s, Simon moved his wife and two young children to Alabama and settled in the Ramer community just south of Montgomery.

The rest of his children were born there where he resided and died in 1864.

When they arrived in Ramer there were several other families who had moved in, so they soon became neighbors and worked together to farm and make their community a good place to live.

Some of the families were the Spradleys, Parkers, Courtneys and Tuckers, so children of these along with the Russells intermarried.

Simon had 16 children by his two wives. He was married first in 1825 in South Carolina to Nance Love Tucker (1798-1840). They had the following nine children before Nance’s untimely death in 1840: Marcy, b. 1824, d. 1869, m. Isaac David Tucker; William James, b. 1825, d. 1897, m. Mary E. Spradley; John M., b. 1826, d. 1860, m Caroline Spradley; Isaiah F., b. 1829, d. after 1866, m. Sarah Kenyon; Samuel Tines, b. 1832, d. 1907, m. (1) Catherine Tucker (2) 1865 Mahaza Ellen Spradley; J. Thomas, b. 1835, d. 1912; Stephen F., b. ca 1837, m. Caroline Kennon; Louisa A., b. 1839, m. Thomas J. Courtney; and Mary M., b, 1741, m. Daniel M. Courtney.

Simon Russell was married to his second wife, Matilda Courtney, in 1849 in Montgomery County. They reared the following seven children in addition to his younger children by the first wife: James Allen, b. 1850, d. 1937, m. 1882 Mary Jane Enzor; Marion, b. 1851; Simeon Jackson, b. 1855, d. 1928, m. Mittie Nancy Crittenden (1854-1928); Sarah N., b. 1856, m. R.M. Crittenden; Benjamin F., b. 1857, m. Fannie Gilbert; Devid Elonzo, m. (1) Cora Fleta Garner (2) Ollie Mae Tillery; and Dempsey, m. Eugenia Farmer.

Simon died in 1874, which left Matilda a widow with their seven children to finish rearing.

Simon’s oldest child and daughter, Marcy Russell, was married to Isaac David Tucker.

They reared the following four children: Isaac, m. Margaret Bradley; James Monroe, m. Eunice Garner; Andrew W., m. Mary C. Garner; and Sarah.

Simon’s oldest son, William James Russell, was married to Mary E. Spradley, and they had the following 10 children: Manning, m. (1) Mildred Stephenson (2) Florence Stephenson (3) Ida V. Williams; John Simon, m. Laura Petrey; Eliza Jane, m. Jacob Petrey; William James Jr., m. (1) Mary ? (2) Sarah ?; Thomas; Sara Louisa, m. James M. Cassidy; Jasper Newton, m. Ida Delaney Scott; George Washington, m. Elizabeth Richards; Mary Frances, m. John C. Smith; and Martha M., m. John Vines.

Simon’s son, John M. Russell, was married to Caroline Spradley. They reared the following three children: Georganna; James, m. Betty Owens; and Flora, m. Josh Pollard.

Simon’s son, Isiah F. Russell, was married to Sara Kennon, and they had the following five children: Mary; Simon; Thomas, m. Alice Bradley; John; and James A.

Simon’s son, Samuel Tines Russell, was married first in 1865 to Catherine Tucker, and had the following children: James Cannon, b. 1867, d. 1939, m. Anna Caroline Parker (1875-1939); Luther Rutherford, b. 1868, d. 1944, m. 1904 Winnie Vada Parker (1884-1955); Bryant Spradley, b. 1869, d. young; Ida V., b. 1872, d. 1923; Ella Eugenia “Genie,” b. 1875, d. 1932, single; and Simon, b. 1876, d. 1960, m. ca 1836 Ida Mae Joyner (b. 1896). After Catherine’s death Samuel Tines was married in 1865 to Mahaza Ellen Spradley.

The oldest son of Simon’s second marriage, James Allen Russell, was born and reared in the Ramer community of Montgomery County.

He was married to Mary Jane Enzor, and they reared the following eight children: Eva James, b. 1884, d. 1952, m. Shelby Dudley; Francis Folsom “Frank,” b. 1887, d. 1956, m. Sally Dendy; Sidney Rowe Sr., b. 1890, m. Myrtle ?; Anne Ruby, b. 1893, m. ? Garnes; Kate Lee, b. 1896, d. 1974, m. Cliff Courson; Shelby Dudley, b. 1899, d. 1966, m. Maria Angelina (Garcia) Johnson; Baby Russell, b. 1899; Felix Tankersley, b. 1902, d. 1979, m. Louise Wright; and Allen Peyton, b. 1908, d. 1968, m. Gathel Newman.

The son, Shelby Dudley Russell, is the descendant who settled in Andalusia, Covington County. After his father’s death in 1937, he lived with his mother in Ramer and went into electrical power work.

He came to Andalusia to work with the R.E.A. and the program to bring electricity to rural South Alabama.

His work involved traveling to other states such as Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and the operations at Hoover Dam.

In Andalusia he worked with the local power companies to improve the supplying of electrical power.

He also began to purchase considerable acreage along or near the Conecuh River.

At one time he owned some of the land upon which the Andalusia Country Club was built.

Shelby met and married Maria Angelina (Garcia) Johnson in Andalusia, and they made their home here.

They reared the following two children: Shelby Margo, m. Joe Vernon Bell; and James Garcia. Margo and Joe Bell were blessed with three children: Jessica Bronwyn, m. Andrew L. Adams; Russell Savage; and Joshua Bran. Margo is a well-known artist in Andalusia who paints, teaches art classes and supports art-related activities.

Sources for this writing included, and family records of Margo Russell as well as her son, Savage Bell. Appreciation is expressed to them for making this family story available.

Anyone who may find an error in the above genealogy is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:




The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, March 5, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Anyone interested in Confederate Heritage is urged to attend.