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Russell, Alexander [1799–1842] (1799–1842)

Shirley J. Shumate Biography Entry

Alexander Russell, early settler and citizen of the Republic of Texas, son of Margaretta Russell Montgomery, was born in Blount County, Tennessee, on July 26, 1799. He arrived in Texas before April 22, 1834, when, as a single man aged thirty-five, he applied for a passport to enter the colony of Stephen F. Austin and Samuel May Williams at Tenoxtitlán. Russell joined other Masons to charter the first Masonic lodge in Texas at Brazoria in the winter of 1834 and signed the call for the Consultation in Brazoria in August 1835. Citizens of Brazoria ran an ad in the Texas Republican in October 1835 asking Russell to run for sheriff. He purchased 12,000 acres on Oyster Creek in Brazoria County and bought a town lot in Velasco in 1837. When Austin became the capital of Texas in 1839, Russell was on hand on August 1 to purchase the most expensive town lot sold at auction. On this $2,800 lot at Sixth and Congress, the center of Austin, Russell opened Austin's first store, Alex Russell and Company, a two-story frame building that became known as Russell's Corner. The store sold supplies to the Republic of Texas government. Russell became a charter member of Masonic Lodge No. 12 in Austin at its founding on October 11, 1839. Russell and a Captain Lynch were chosen as marshalls for the day to escort President Mirabeau B. Lamar when he arrived in the capital on October 17, 1839. Russell died after a brief illness on May 13, 1842, while he was visiting his friend Thomas Carey in Matagorda County. His will, filed in Brazoria County, designated Robert and David G. Mills as executors of his estate, which was not settled until the 1850s. Russell, who had no surviving widow or children, named his nephews Alfonso and John Crofton in his will.

Mary Starr Barkley, History of Travis County and Austin, 1839–1899 (Waco: Texian Press, 1963). Texas Republican, October 1835. Texas Sentinel, February 5, 1840.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Shirley J. Shumate, “Russell, Alexander [1799–1842],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 27, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.