I have long been curious about the Russell family who arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1640. John Russell, Sr. and his wife Elizabeth (nee unknown) settled in the area that had been formerly called
. In May 1640, the residents of Charlestown Village applied for and received
additional lands to the west, thus accommodating the growing agricultural needs
of the community. It is said that this village changed it’s name to Charlestown Village Woburn, in honor of . The
curious thing is that Woburn,
England Woburn, England is the family seat of the
Russell family, the Dukes of Bedford.
The first Earl of Bedford,
John Russell, 1547, was given the former Cistercian Monks’ Abbey for his home,
now called Woburn Abbey, by King Henry VIII.
From all the sources I have read, I can find no connection between John
Russell, immigrant, and the Russell family, Dukes of Bedford. The relatively close, geographical locations
of the two families suggests that there may have been a familial connection but
it is not recorded and, if so, is lost to the mists of time.
(First Burial Ground, Woburn, MA)
Over time, the name has seen many variations of spellings, such as: du Rozel, Rossel, Rossell, Rowsell, Rozel, Rusell, Rusels, Russel, Russell, Russells. If you are looking into the Russell family, be sure to include all spellings in your research.
Records show that John Russell married again on May 13 1645 in
to Elizabeth Baker. They had at least one child, Mary Russell, b.
1645/46 in Woburn
MA . This would suggest that she was born in
the area that would become known as Charlestown, MA ,
when the community changed its name. Woburn
Mary Russell m. Timothy Brooks, the s/o Henry Brooks and an unknown wife. They moved to
Swansea MA with the
Baptists and then on to . Timothy became a minister and
moved to NJ about 1687, where he kept his own congregation. He was known as a
sweet and loving man. He and Mary had 12 children. Mary died in 1680 so she
didn’t make the move to NJ with her family. Cohansey
(Coles River, Swansea, MA)
Their daughter, Rebecca Brooks, was born about 1679. She married Melatiah Martin, s/o John and Joanna Esten Martin. He was an ordained Deacon in the Second Baptist Church of Swansea, MA. They had 8 children. Descent is through their daughter Keziah Martin and her husband, William Wood.
a.) Keziah Martin (1697-1753) m. 1716 William Wood (1693-?)
b.) Hannah Wood (1720-1756) m. 1740 Nathaniel Finney (1720-1809)
c.) Anne Finney (1747-1804) m. 1766
(1744-1804) Benjamin Tower
(1777-1822) m. 1792 Edward Buck (1763-1826) Phebe
e.) George Buck (1798-1878) m. 1820 Phebe Palmer (1801-1881)
f.) Catherine Buck (1824-1904) m. 1841 Edward Cole (1815-1897)
g.) Rebecca Cole (1854-1944) m. 1878 Alexander Chambers (1855-1887)
h.) Alvina Chambers (1880-1970) m. 1901 Patrick John Broderick (1879-1944), my maternal grandparents
(Palmers River, Rehoboth, MA)
Another stumbling block for this region is there are so many cemeteries. Most of them are small, family plots that had been associated with a home or farm. Many are overgrown and the stones are difficult to read. I’ve provided a link to the
web site for any
who are interested. Bristol County
An Account of Some of the Descendants of John Russell, The Emigrant, Gurdon
LLD, 1910 Russell, MD
A History of
Woburn, , Samuel Sewall, MA, 1868 Middlesex County, Mass.
Historic and Architectural Resources of
Island Historical Preservation Commission