John A. Russell. Son of Jane/Jeanette Beith and John Russell (both born in Scotland). John A. Russell married Clara Mair. They had 2 daughters: Marion Russell (Healey) and Marjorie Russell.
Obituary: Atty. John A. Russell, 83, Dies After Long Illness (June 9th, 1938 Elgin Newspaper)
Leader in Legal Circles of County For Half Century
John A. Russell, 83 years old, lawyer, banker, Republican leader, and one of Kane County's best known pioneer residents, died at 5 yesterday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Claude S. Healey, 870 Highland ave. He had been in failing health for several years, and had been an invalid the last year and a half.
Funeral services for Mr. Russell will be held Saturday afternoon at 1:30 from the late home, with the Reverend Dr. Frank D. Adams of Oak Park, former Pastor of the First Universalist church here, officiating. Burial will be in Bluff City Cemetery. Friends may call at the Wolff Funeral Home.
Besides the daughter, Mrs. Healey (Marion Russell), Mr. Russell is survived by another daughter, Miss Marjorie Russell, and by three grandchildren, Barbara, Carol and Helen Healey, all of this city. His wife, Mrs. Clara Mair Russell, died in 1914.
Born at St. Charles
Mr. Russell was born in St. Charles on Oct. 4, 1854, a son of John and Jeanette (Beith) Russell, natives of Scotland, and the parents of three children, the other being William B. Russell, who lived in Newhall, Ia. And Hannah M. Russell of Elgin. John Russell, the father, was a stonemason by trade and upon arriving in America located in St. Charles, where he died in 1857. His wife died the previous year.
As a child John A. Russell resided in Minnesota and Iowa, returning to Kane county as a youth to enroll in the Elgin Academy, where he was later graduated. He then entered the employ of Botsford & Barry, lawyers, and prepared himself for the profession in which he was later to gain state-wide recognition.
Admitted To Bar In 1879
Mr. Russell was admitted to the bar in 1879, and immediately entered the firm of his former employers, which became known as Botsford, Barry & Russell.
Politically, Mr. Russell had always been affiliated with the Republican Party and years ago took an active interest in the affairs of that organization. In early years he was a member of the Kane County Republican Central committee, chairman of the senatorial committee of the fourteenth senatorial district for two years, and for a similar period was secretary of the State League of Republican clubs, preceding the campaign of 1896. During these years he engaged in considerable campaign work, taking the stump in Kane and adjoining counties. He was considered a fluent speaker and the leaders of that day gave him great credit for local Republican
While confining himself principally to his practice, Mr. Russell had always taken a keen interest in business matters, and in manufacturing and other industries. He was secretary of the W.H. Howell Co. of Geneva, sadiron manufacturers, serving in that capacity about the year 1898. For a time he held a substantial interest in the Kerber Packing Co.
He was president of the Union National bank from May 9, 1908......
..to Jan. 1, 1937, succeeding Judge Richard N. Botsford in that capacity, and being succeeded in turn by Alexander L. Metzel. He was a member of the bank directorate from it's organization Jan, 25, 1904 to January 12, 1937.
Almost a life-long resident of Kane county, Mr. Russell enjoyed an extended acquaintance not only within the county, but throughout the state, ad in fact, over a large part of the middle west, friendships gained through his reputation as an attorney, and in earlier years through his interest in clean government and politics.
His rise in the legal profession has the earmarks of the romance similar to the success of the many men who started with humble beginnings. Not many of his friends know that the young Russell was once a stable and chore boy for Judge Barry, with whom he lived and under whom he mastered Blackstone and the other intricacies of the law, later to become a partner in the then leading law firm of Botsford, Barry and Russell.
Lawyers concede that Mr. Russell was a past master in the art of cross-examination, and during his tenure of office as State's attorney, 1884 to 1888, he won many a notable victory for the county.
City, State's Attorney.
Mr. Russell's legal talents won him distinction, and his services were demanded by city and county. Prior to his service as state's attorney, in about the year 1878, he was corporation attorney for Elgin. He served, for a short time, as attorney-general for the island of Porto Rico, under appointment in 1900 from president William B. McKinley. He was assistant general solicitor for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, resigning that position because of ill health.
He has figured in many law partnerships aside from his first association with Judges Botsford and Barry. These included partnerships with Atty. Carl Botsford, Atty. Charles B. Hazlehurst, and with Atty. Lawrence McNerney, from 1910 to 1916.
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