Mary Evaline Berry Russell
Biographical sketch by Clarene [Mrs. James M.] Russell
MARY EVALINE BERRY RUSSELL (1843-1932)/
Christena Nail Berry/John Nail/Henry & Mary Keller Nail, and Martha Ray Nail/
Thomas & Elizabeth Pierce Ray
Mary Evaline Berry married Thomas Alexander Russell. It is thought his father could
have been a Huston Russell who married in 1832 in Marion County, Indiana, Jane M. Blake,
daughter of Hugh Blake. A Joseph Russell signed the marriage bond and made a deposition that
Huston Russell did not have a parent or guardian that lived in the county or state. Jane Russell
appeared on the 1860 census of Shelby County, Indiana, with Thomas and Elmira Russell and
Jane gave her birthplace as Tennessee. There is no doubt that Thomas Alexander Russell was
loyal to the south. Being of southern heritage, he could not take up arms against his beloved
South. In 1864, he paid Emanuel L. Hoffman to substitute for him in the northern army.
Subsequently, Hoffman never had to serve.
Prior to the 1880 census, the Russell family had moved to Marshall County, Mississippi.
Thomas' mother came with them but lived only a short time after their arrival. Thomas died in
the Spring of 1882, having contracted pneumonia after he had killed hogs and was washing off
His early death was a catastrophe for the young family. Mary Evaline (Berry) Russell knew
little about cooking or caring for the family. Undoubtedly, Thomas' mother had taken care of these
duties. As Thomas was dying, he asked his oldest daughter, Nora Bell, to take care of the family.
Thomas was a farmer and had a gin in the are of Carey Chapel, Marshall County, Mississippi, on
Wild Cat Road.
Five of their six children were born in Indiana. An infant was born and died prior to 1880, in
Mississippi. Nora Bell, born October 11, 1864, married Robert Odum, on September 8, 1886,
in Marshall County, Mississippi. She died in 1957 and was buried at Independence, Tate
Other children of Mary Evaline and Thomas Alexander Russell were:
Walter E. Russell (1866 - 1933) died at Chicago, Illinois.
Isaac Houston Russell (1867 - 1934) married Lula Jane Noe (1873-1952) on
April 19, 1893 in Shelby County, Tennessee. Both are buried in Magnolia Cemetery at
Collierville, Tennessee. There were many of "Ike's" family that died on the 6th day of the
month and most died of heart disease.
Jenney, born in 1871, married first a Williams and secondly, L. J. Swartz.
Thomas Franklin Russell (1873-1945) married Maria Gustava Peterson
(1887-1975). Both are buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Collierville. They had four
As stated previously, heart disease is most prominent among the Russell family. Mary Evaline
Berry Russell died of cancer, but the present day five of her great-grandchildren have had open heart
surgery; six of her grandsons died with heart disease and several living are fighting a bout with it today.
Walter Clayton (1903-1964) married Lois Hunter Floyd;
Clara Lillian Russell was born in 1905 and married Lynn Moss Connelly;
Ernest Franklin Russell, born 1906, married Blanche Bernice Gatlin Seward;
Baby Marjorie was born December 14, 1908. She married Ellie P. Strong
(secondly) and had no heirs by either marriage.
Thomas Franklin Russell and wife, their son, Ernest, and their daughter, Clara, were buried at
Collierville. Other than Ruby, all of Franklin's children had heirs.
Submitted by Melinda Weaver
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