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Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 98 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 98 of 192)
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Februar)', 1844, his mother died, aged 64 years.
Afterwards Mr. Dunla|j. on the 11th of May,' 1853,
married Miss Marian FinU y Russell, a lady of' Scotch
parentage, from Belfast, Irclanil. fier zeal in church
work, and aptness and ability in teaching, had, before
her marriage, drawn around her a host of friends.
They had three children: Emma, of most cultured
intellect, and of charming beauty of character. She
died March 23, 1877, after some years of successive
service as teacher. Her funeral, on the following
Sunday afternoon, from the Seventh Street M. E.
Church, was a memorable scene. There teachers and
scholars, representative citizens and friends gathered
from every part of the city, while the eloquent
tribute of her pastor. Rev. William W. Ramsey, is
remembered as one of his most feeling addresses
during his remarkable pastorate. Mary, after several
years of successful teaching in the city schools, was
married to Mr. Davis Rees, freight agent of the Phila-
delphia and Erie R. R.; and Wallace, also in the
railroad service, who married Grace Sedelmeyer.
Such are the outlines of the life of one who labored
long and diligently for Erie's advancement, and from
the'benefit of whose efforts Erie has long ago derived
important fruits. In the long and patient effort to
revive the Sunbury and Erie (now Philadelphia and
Erie) R. R., between its commencement in 1837 and
its revival in 1851, Mr. Dunlap was a patient toiler; in
the negotiations and meetings preceding the building
of the Lake Shore R. R., he was a faithful worker; in



574



NELSON'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY



all of this preliminary work his conciliatory manners
and wide acquaintance with public men made him
efficient. His keen preception forsaw the Gem City
yet to come on the south shore of Presque Isle Bay;
though he was not destined to realize the fruition of his
hopes. Like Moses, he saw from afar the promised
land, but did not live to enter in. His death was sadly
pathetic. While, with other citizens, struggling
through the panic, which, in October, 1857, had
paralyzed the industries and deranged the finances of
our country, he was in jMarch, 1858, stricken with a
fatal malady, the result of which no skill could avert.
He rapidly sank under its withering touch, and, in the
maturity of his powers and with his hopes on life still
buoyant, he sank. He died on the 28th day of March,
1858. Of his three children, the eldest was but four
years of age. In the confusion and embarrassment of
the depression all of his financial plans were frustrated ;
though happily the rearing and education of his chil-
dren were committed to competent hands, by whom
the work laid down by him was most successfully ac-
complished.

Nathailiel Willard Russell, the first-born of
Hamlin and Sarah (Norcross) Russell, was born in
Erie county March 11, 1812. His father came to this
county from Connecticut in 1802, and was married
here in 1811; had but limited educational opportuni-
ties, and did not attend school after he was 15. He
remained with his father (his mother having died when
he was 19 years old) until March 10, 1833, when he
began to earn money for himself by working on a
neighboring farm and teaching school. His first pur-
chase of land was forty acres from his father at $10 per
acre. October 19, 1836, he left for Harrisburg, Pa.,
where he obtained a position as clerk in Buehler's Ho-
tel. In April, 1836, by the aid of Gen. Simon Cameron,
he was appointed a conductor on the railroad between
Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and in June following
was promoted to United States mail agent at an in-
creased salary. During the winter of 1838 he was in-
duced to return to Buehler's Hotel and given general
charge of the house. This was during the period
kpown as "the buckshot war," one of the most event-
ful in Pennsylvania's history. March 23, 1839, Mr.
Russell was made captain of the packet boat, Thomas
Jefferson, of the fast passenger line between Pittsburg
and Philadelphia, a position he held for four seasons.
During his residence in the east he made annual visits
to his parents. The winter of 1840^1 he spent in Erie
county, and during this period was married to Miss
Eleanor S. Osborn, of Erie, January 14, 1841. March
1st he resumed his place on the canal, Mrs. Russell
accompanying him to Harrisburg, and spending the
summers with Mrs. Buehler. While there she was
seized with bilious fever, which terminated in quick
consumption, and Mr. Russell was obliged to bring
her back to Erie, where she died on the 6th of Janu-
ary, 1842. In November of the same year he resigned
his place on the canal and returned permanently to
his old hom'e. Soon after, he purchased a farm of
ninety acres, within three miles of Erie. September
1, 1843, he was married to Miss Frances A. Hubbell,
of Troy, N. Y. A son wes born in July, 1844, to whom
the name of Henry Buehler was given. Mrs. Russell
died on the 30th of January, 1849, and in January, 1861,
he was married (for the third time) to Miss Emily Da-
vison, of Mill Creek. Their only child is a daughter.



born May, 1853, who was named Ella Frances Russell
(now Mrs. Burton). In April, 1855, Mr. Russell pur-
chased and moved on the tract of land where he was
born, and on which he died. The postoffice at Belle
Valley was mainly established through his efforts. In
1849 he was appointed aid to Gov. Johnston, with the
rank of lieutenant-colonel, and, in 1868, he was elected
justice of the peace, an office he held continuously.
Mr. Russell was known in every part of Erie county as
one of its wealthiest farmers and most intelligent citi-
zens. He was remarkable for his wonderful memory
and was the standard authority on all matters con-
nected with the early settlement of Erie county.

George J. Russell, brother of the late Capt. N.
W. Russell, was born in Belle Valley, Erie county,
February 14, 1824, son of Hamlin Russell and Sarah
(Norcross) Russell. His father came to Pennsylvania
from Winstead, Conn., in the year 1802. They were
of English parentage, having settled in Connecticut in
the year 1664, the first of the family who settled in
this country being William Russell, who came here at
that date (1664). Benjamin Russell, an elder brother
of Hamlin Russell, came to Erie county in 1796. The
family have all been farmers, and being above the
average farmer in general education, and of unusual
energy, have succeeded in becoming important factors
in the upbuilding and progress of Erie county. Mr.
George Russell, late coroner, and Benjamin S. Russell,
a real estate dealer, now living at Jamestown, Dak.,
are the only living children. Their father was promi-
nent among the first Abolitionists of the country, and
died September 19, 1852; their mother February 11,
1831. George received his education in the public
schools, and engaged in farming until April 1, 1890.
He also taught school winters, between the age of 20
and 24 years. He has held the position of tax collector
in Erie county for seven years, and the office of coro-
ner three years, and the office of jury commissioner
three years. He was married January 26, 1854, to
Arminda J. Hayes, daughter of Lester and Mary
(Graham) Hayes; her father was of English parentage
and her mother of Scotch-Irish descent. Three chil-
dren were the result of this union: Minnie M., wife of
Rev. H. Webster; Lester Hayes and George B. The
family are all ardent Presbyterians. Mr. George J.
Russell is a staunch Republican. He has been en-
gaged in farming, and has accumulated sufficient
wealth to insure him comfort the balance of his days.
The summer of 1850 he went the overland route to
California; leaving Independence, Mo., May 27, 185(),
he reached the gold mines in Nevada county, Cali-
fornia, September 27, 1850, remaining at the mines un-
til the month of June, 1853, when he returned home by
way of San Francisco and the Nicarauga route to New
York, arriving in Erie July 29, 1853, bringing with him
a sufficiency of gold, dug by himself from the mines
of California, to buy a fine farm. To the Russell fam-
ily Erie county is indebted for a great deal of the re-
corded history of the county, and much of the knowl-
edge we have of the family history of many of the
pioneers of the county.

Rev. Robert Reid was the first resident minister
in the city of Erie, his home from 1811 to 1844. He
was pastor of the Associate Reformed Church, the
first regularly organized in Erie, and for years its
strongest religious organization. Mr. Reid's high



AND HISTORICAL REFERENCE BOOK OF ERIE COUNTY.



575



character as a minister, his ability as a theologian and
celebrity as an author merit more than passing notice,
especially as he labored with untiring zeal for a third
of a century in laying deep and broad the foundations
of F.vangelical religion on the wilderness shores of
Lake Krie; seeking to transplant the faith and tenets
he ha



Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 98 of 192)