Friday, August 10, 2007

Cass, Arkansas and the Mulberry River

I found a great collection of photographs, offered as a slideshow, taken along the Mulberry River near Cass, Arkansas in Franklin County, AR. My husband's father, Doyle J. Russell, was from there and he talked about it often. Check out this link.

Mulberry River and it’s tributaries

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Found a cousin

I was doing a little internet search for information about a cousin in Arkansas who is also related to a friend here in Fort Collins, trying to see how this friend and my husband are related when I stumbled upon the writings of yet another distant cousin named Lee Cowan. She now lives in Fox, Arkansas, with her husband Mike where she has an art studio and Mike grows grapes and makes wine. A few years back Lee worked as a psychotherapist in Little Rock and I think that's when she began writing. The first story I read is at and that's what got me interested in her life and work. But my favorite story is about her Aunt Flora Turner who is a woman I've heard about from my father-in-law, Doyle Russell. Flora and her husband, Champ, operated a store at Turner Bend and Doyle talked about them several times to me. This story is at I like the way Lee writes.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Last Russell Uncle

We got an email from Ken today saying that his Uncle Seldon has suffered a series of strokes recently and is in a nursing home near his home in Ozark, Arkansas. Seldon is the last of the eight Russell boys, the sons of Elias and Addie Jane. There were four girls in the family, too, but they have all died. It seems that strokes caused a lot of the deaths. In fact, I don't think any of the kids died of cancer - heart disease seems to be the main culprit. I'm assuming that if someone dies of a stroke that it is considered heart disease for statistical purposes. I might be wrong about that. I sure did hate to hear that Seldon's health was not good.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Day Two

First of all, a thank you to Barbara for her inquiry about her father Samuel Travis Russell. As far as I can tell he (and you) are not related to us. My database is not complete; I know there are a lot of distant relatives I don't even know about, but our Russells didn't come from Alabama and I just don't think we are related.

I received in the mail from my sister-in-law Mary her transcribed pages from Doyle Russell's diary of 1965. Doyle kept a daily diary for most of his life and we have saved some of them. Unfortunately, many were lost. This one for 1965 is almost complete and quite readable so Mary's transcription is valuable to those of us who love family history. I plan to find some family photos taken in 1965, insert scans of them into the text, and print the pages off for interested family members. I've done that already with some of Doyle and Frances's diaries from the '40s. I wonder what Doyle would think if he knew his diaries were being illustrated and printed for others to see. The diary entries are mostly about what he did, who he saw, and what he bought. They aren't the really personal sort of entries that could prove embarrassing. In fact, Doyle rarely tells about how he feels about something. Mostly, these are hard facts without editorializing.

Monday, February 26, 2007


This blog is about the genealogy website I have at I'm hoping that anybody related to or interested in the extended Russell/Smith family will drop in to comment on our family history.

There are lots of Russells and Smiths out there, obviously, so I'll start by telling you a little about our Russells and Smiths.

Jennie Frances Smith (known by all as Frances), born in Craig, Colorado, in 1918 to a mother who died a couple of weeks later of the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918, married James Doyle Russell (known by all as Doyle), born in Cass, Arkansas, into a large family trying to eke out a living on the thin, rocky soil of northcentral Arkansas. Frances and Doyle met on the high, dry plains of eastern Colorado near Purcell about 1932 when Frances was only thirteen years old and Doyle was twenty-five. They married four years later and that's how the Russells of Arkansas/Tennessee/NorthCarolina/Kentucky/Virginia joined hands with the Smiths of Colorado/Oklahoma/Missouri/Texas to become our extended family.

Frances wrote the story of her life in a self-published book she titled "From There to Here". You can find it online at Frances Russell's Autobiography. Of course, there was a lot more to Frances's life than what she put in her book, and I'm hoping some of that will come out in this blog.

Doyle didn't write a book but he led a full life, a hard-working man who became a successful farmer/rancher and Colorado businessman until his death in 2000, one month shy of his 93rd birthday. What a story he had to tell, and tell it he did to his kids and grandkids and anybody who stopped in to buy car parts or grain or sell him a horse.

Frances and Doyle had four kids - two boys and two girls, each as different from one another as four siblings can be. They are all still living, healthy and hale, a living testament to the successful mix of genes in the Russell/Smith gene pool.