James Russell was born ca 1747. (I don't know where the year birth is from, may just be a guesstimate. I think he may have been born as late as 1760.) Many genealogies say he was born in Wake County, NC, however Wake County was not created until 1771. He died in Davidson County, Tennessee on July 27, 1819 and is said to be buried at Gower's Chapel in the Gower family cemetery off River Road and Charlotte Pike in Davidson Co, TN. He has a tomb stone in that cemetery that was placed in the 1930's by a DAR group. James Russell was a Revolutionary War soldier and enlisted in North Carolina, where he served as a private. It is from his final pension payment voucher that we get his date of death.
He was one of the pioneer settlers of Davidson County, Tennessee. He was a dispatch carrier for General Robertson and Governor Blount and he also worked as a surveyor. In 1780, James Russell was a member of the party that went by land to the present site of Nashville, Tennessee. His signed the Cumberland Compact on May 1, 1780. Also, on the expedition was James' father-in-law Able Gower and brother-in-law Able Gower Jr. Both Gower's were killed by Indians in the fall of 1780 at Clover Bottom.
We don't know why James Russell did not receive a preemptors grant. He was here to sign the Cumberland Compact and should have been eligible for a preemptors grant. He may have sold his preemptors right to someone else, and it was recorded in another person's name. He may have returned to North Carolina for a few years. He must have returned by April of 1784 as his son William was born in Davidson County at that time. He does not appear in the records again until October of 1785.
In December of 1789, James Russell purchased 100 acres of land on Pond Creek, in Davidson County, as assignee of Martin Armstrong. In January of 1793, Thomas Russell purchased 100 acres of land on Pond Creek, in Davidson County, as assignee of Martin Armstrong. There were many other land transactions for James Russell. He was an early owner of what is called Gower's Island in the Cumberland River.
On the 4th of February 1794, James Russell, Robert Shannon and William Con, on their way from Nashville to Knoxville, were ambushed in the Cumberland Mountain, eighteen (18) miles from South West Point, by a party of Indians consisting of about 25, who fired on them and wounded Russell thru the body and arm. He suffered with this would for the rest of his life. James was a chain bearer for Colonel Rutherford in laying out the veterans claims for land grants in Davidson Co, TN which was issued for service in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
James Russell married Elizabeth Gower the daughter of Abel Gower, Sr. We do not know the marriage date. They could have married in North Carolina. The marriage could have taken place in Davidson County, Tennessee, prior to 1789. Marriage records for the county are lost before that time.
The following have been named as children of James and Elizabeth Gower Russell. Others have been named in various sources but with no documentation. It is highly possible that some of these are the children of Thomas Russell and Angley Gower Russell. Thomas is believed to be the brother of James Russell. There are may be other children of James and Thomas.
William RUSSELL b April 11, 1784; married Mary Ann Polly Kellum, September 13, 1805; died February 20, 1856, Madison Co., MO while visiting family. Lived on Pond Creek; moved to Calloway Co., KY; He was a Justice of the Peace and performed many marriages in Davidson County. This is the William Russell who gave land for Bethel Church in 1825, on Pond Creek in Davidson County, now in Cheatham Co., TN.
Pharaba Russell, born 10 October 1786; married George Sugg Allen, 21 November 1803; died 21 September 1866. Lived on Pond Creek, all of her life.
Elizabeth Russell, born abt. 1790 ; married Martin Patterson 20 February 1810, Davidson Co, TN
James Russell Jr; born 20 December 1790, Davidson Co., TN; died 29 May 1843. Davidson Co., Tennessee. Married Elizabeth Duren 25 December 1809 Davidson Co TN. There are numerous copies of deeds of land purchased by James Russell. Jr. on or near Pond Creek.
Sally Russell, born abt. 1796; married Jeptha Hooper, 18 April 1810, Davidson Co, TN. this family moved to Calloway Co., KY
Arnold Russell, born 3 April 1796; died 25 Nov. 1872, Yazoo Co, Mississippi.
Nancy Russell born abt. 1797; married Churchill Hooper 23 Aug. 1814 Davidson Co TN
Peggy Russell, born abt. 1798; married Scott Larkin 10 November 1818
John Russell, born abt. 1799
Martha Patsy Russell, born abt. 1804; married Wilson L Hooper 8 March 1824
Thomas Russell, is believed to be a brother of James Russell. He was born before 1770; died 1824 in Davidson Co. TN; He married Angley Gower 13 November 1789.
Children of Thomas Russell and Angley Gower Russell;
Polly Russell ; married James Daugherty 30 June 1816.
Thomas Russell, Jr born 1798; married Ann Hooper 19 July 1829.
Other children mentioned but not named in will of Thomas Russell.