Page 805-806, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Mrs. B. A. Russell, now living in Logan township, belongs to that type of pioneer women who performed their part nobly and well, at a time when the great plains of Butler county offered many hardships and inconveniences and few comforts or luxuries. She can relate many interesting reminiscences of the early history of this section of Kansas, and knows what she is talking about, for she was here and received her information by experience and observation. Mrs. Russell bore the maiden name of Smith and is a daughter of William R. and Narcissa (Bagley) Smith, natives of Tennessee. Her father was a prominent farmer and stockman.

The Smith family located in Butler county in 1871, and here Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Russell were married in 1873. B. F. Russell was a native of West Virginia, or what is now West Virginia, and was born in 1832. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Russell: Mrs. Myrtle Sopher, who resides with her mother on the old homestead. She married L. D. Sopher in 1899, and they have one child, Russell B., born in 1900; and Mrs. Edith E. Morris, resides in Wichita. Mr. Russell died in 1899 and his remains are buried in the Fowler cemetery, and since that time Mrs. Russell has continued to make her home on the old place.

Mrs. Russell relates, with much amusement, a careless incident in her career that developed into a romance which culminated in her marriage. When a girl she threw out a bucket of ashes, from which a prairie fire started and spread for miles. Among those who were attracted by the fire, and came to render what assistance they could, was Mr. Russell, and that was their first meeting, and they were married soon afterwards. Mrs. Russell frequently saw Indians, after coming to Butler county, as they traveled back and forth considerably through this


section of the country. Mrs. Russell distinctly remembers when the grasshoppers came and ate every vestige of green in sight on the place, and about all that she had left after the grasshopper scourge, was her chickens and they ate so many grasshoppers that they all died. So one calamity followed another, but early life on the plains seemed to be made up of calamities, and the early settlers became amused with them and were really not surprised unless something good happened. And yet, hardships and failures were soon forgotten by the hardy residents of the plains, and they had many good times, and enjoyed themselves with the true spirit of innocent pleasure. A neighbor at that time was a loyal friend and always stood ready and willing to accommodate and share anything that he had, with his less fortunate brother; and the bonds of neighborhood friendship seemed to be much stronger, and human sympathy more abundant than in these days of over legislation and organized communities.

Mrs. Russell is one of the entertaining and interesting pioneer women of Butler county, and is truly deserving of due recognition in a work of this character.

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