Eight Morgan Mares And A Silver Dollar

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John Russell came from England to Georgia and then to North Carolina. He served as a captain from Quilford County, N.C. in the Revolutionary War. His records are in the War Department Archives. In Virginia, John met and married Rachel Hobbs, born in Virginia in 1867. Rachel's parents, Vincent and Mary, had migrated to Virginia from Scotland.

John and Rachel Russell had 12 children, among them, Alexander Russell who married Sarah Hardy. Sarah's parents were married in Ireland and came to Virginia in the late 1700s.

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Thomas Bartholomew Russell, Mary Henrietta Russell, and daughter, Carrie L'Dreta Russell. Henrietta, a King of the famous King Ranch in Texas, was disinherited for marrying Thomas B. Russell.

Alexander and Sarah Russell had 10 children, the second being Alexander Stewart Russell. Shortly after the birth of their 10th child, Alexander and Sarah moved from Lee County, Va. to Tennessee. Alexander Stewart Russell married Edna Jane Neel, daughter of Daniel and Sarah Neel. They were married Jan. 16, 1845 in Tennessee. They moved to St. Joseph, Mo. where they had their five children and then moved across the Missouri River to Salem, Richardson County, Neb.

Thomas Bartholomew Russell was born to Alexander Stewart Russell and Edna Jane Neel Russell in Andrew County, Mo., on Jan. 7, 1851. There he cut a dashing figure. He was a well-built, good looking man, tall at 6 feet 5 inches, and a sharp dresser. He was well-educated, well-spoken, and for a time a major who worked in the United States Quartermaster Department. Later, he was a professor who sometimes made his living in that profession. If there was a flaw in his character, it was that he was also a professional gambler, and a very good one.

Whatever line of work he pursued, he supplemented with the cards. In the 1870s, when almost everyone in Texas wore a gun, Thomas B. Russell was a man among men; though soft-spoken and a gentleman, he was what was then known as a "bad man" (no one to mess with).

Then, he met Henrietta King. Henrietta was the daughter of Richard King, founder and owner of the famous King Ranch in Texas. Richard was born in Mississippi in 1835. Richard King was a former riverboat captain, believed by many to be a slave trader and a pirate. A bad man in any sense of the word and in any event, he was a powerful and dangerous man to cross. But his daughter was a beauty and T.B. Russell would have her or know the reason why. He was good enough for any man's daughter.

Now we must tell of Henrietta King before we can continue. She was born in Texas on April 17, 1856. Her mother was Bethenia M. Spears. Mary Henrietta King Russell (Henrietta) told the following story to her family as she lay on her deathbed. It is a sterling example of fact reading stranger than fiction.

When Henrietta was 5 years old, she was playing in her favorite place along a shallow stream. She was picked up and stolen by a band of Gypsies. For two years, she lived and traveled with a Gypsy band. She told that they took care of her and treated her well, but one evening -- when they thought she was sleeping -- she overheard them talking. The little girl gleaned from the conversation that the Gypsies were planning to sell her into the slave trade in Mexico.

That same night, Henrietta slipped away from the camp and ran upstream from where the Gypsies were camped. She traveled all that night, slept for a while in the morning sun, and continued on until she came to a Comanche camp. In that camp was an Indian woman who had lost a daughter to sickness. She and her husband took Henrietta in and were very good to her.

All during this time, Richard had spared no means at his disposal, left no clue unfollowed and no stone unturned in his search for his young daughter. His resources were considerable, his tenacity undaunted and eventually Henrietta was found and restored to her home on the King Ranch. How this came about, we don't know. Those who heard her tell the story think that she was getting weaker and wanted to get her story told before she past on.

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Thomas B. Russell and granddaughter. Thomas was a member of the Knights of Pythias, thus the uniform. Thomas and his family arrived in Globe, Ariz. prior to 1897. He is the grandfather of Belle Russell Lovelady, Payson's first telephone operator and the second-great-grandfather of Jinx Pyle.

Henrietta's family loved her very much. They had spared no expense searching for her. I think that we can assume that she had the best that life had to offer at that time and place during the remainder of her growing up years. Her father hand-picked the man she was to wed -- then she met Thomas B. Russell.

Richard King was a hard man. He would not tolerate a daughter going against his wishes. Hard words were spoken between King and Russell and many thought there would be bloodshed, but in the end, Henrietta King became Henrietta Russell. Richard promptly disinherited his daughter, giving her one silver dollar and eight black Morgan mares. The silver dollar wasn't much, but the Morgan mares ... It should be mentioned that many of those King Ranch Morgan horses were foundation stock for the American Quarter Horse.

Thomas and Henrietta moved six times during the next 16 years. When the couple arrived at Globe, Ariz., they had eight children. Their youngest daughter, Carrie L'Dreta Russell, was born in Globe in 1897. The other children, Thomas F. "Tuff" (deputy sheriff at Roosevelt during the building of the dam), Dolly, Bethenia, Richard, Rosa, Arthur "Dick" and Jessie, were all born in Texas.

Soon the family settled in Wheatfields, just west of Globe, on the way to Roosevelt. There they became well-known for the Morgan horses which they raised and trained. Thomas always had more buyers than he could supply. They also farmed and had wonderful crops in the well-watered valley. Thomas continued his gambling. He never won a great deal of money at any given time, but won steadily, always adding to his income from week to week.

Thomas and Henrietta saw each of their eight children grow up and leave Wheatfields. Their granddaughter, Belle Russell Lovelady (daughter of Thomas F. "Tuff" Russell), told of the wonderful ranch with its many horses, grape vineyards, apple and other fruit trees. She remembered the house with the lace curtains, everything "neat as a pin," and her grandmother, Henrietta, teaching her to sew.

In 1911, a tragic event occurred in Globe which left Fred Hanson and his wife, Bethenia (daughter of Thomas and Henrietta Russell), dead. The couple's untimely death left three young boys, Alec, Slim and Jim, orphaned. Thomas and Henrietta took their grandchildren in and began raising them as their own. Thomas taught them to hunt, farm, and help with the horses.

Before her handsome grandchildren were raised, Henrietta became ill. The decision was made that Henrietta should move in with their youngest daughter, Carrie L'Dreta, who had married and moved into Globe. Henrietta Russell died in Miami, Ariz. on Dec. 21, 1920. There on her deathbed, with Thomas and her children present, she told her life story for the first time. She made sure her children knew that she had disowned the King Family as surely and strongly as her father had disinherited her those many years ago. She asked that they never contact or have anything to do with the King family.

Thomas Bartholomew Russell lived until May 30, 1931 when he died in Phoenix.

Thomas F. "Tuff" Russell married Josie Packard, daughter of Florence Packard and Josie Harer Packard. They had a large family, including Belle Russell Lovelady, Payson's first telephone operator.

We all proudly claim the blood of Henrietta Russell, my second great-grandmother, but make no claim to that of her father. Oh yes, and my grandmother, Belle Russell Lovelady, handed down to me the aforementioned silver dollar many years ago. And the blood of those Morgan horses runs in some of the best horses in Gila County.

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