John Samuel Russell was born as the son of John H. Russell and Ruth Casey, daughter of Hiram and Catherine DePriest Casey. It is believed that his father died in TN and that his widowed mother came to Arkansas and then died there after the 1860 census. He supposedly had a brother David and a sister Ann but nothing is known of them.
During the Civil War John Samuel Russell was a commissary in the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate Army. He figured prominently in the civic and social life of Mountain Home and served as the first County Judge of this county. His first mercantile business was at the Wolf House, then in partnership with John Wolf at Mountain Home. He died in 1902 and his wife died in 1904. They were faithful members of the Baptist Church.
He married Tabitha Wolf, daughter of Major Jacob and Elizabeth Lantz Sanders Wolf. This union produced ten children who mostly lived and died in Baxter County, AR.