Thomas Russell and Family
by his grandson
John Lynch Russell, Jr.
Provo, Utah Feb 13, 1932
[Square bracketed comments are inserted by the editor - Clyde B. Russell]
Thomas Russell [b. 6 Feb 1831] and family lived in and around Blackbraes [a
village in the Miuravonside parish, Stirlingshire,] and Armadale [a village in
West Lothian county] Scotland, working in the mines and collieries at these
It seems that Elizabeth Johnston was the first to embrace the gospel. She accepted it while a young girl.
Aunt Jamimia says that Grandmother [Elizabeth Johnston] in relating the story of her conversion gives the following story.
When she was a very young girl, probably about ten or twelve years old [approx. 1844-46], while playing in front of their home in Orbridge [Orebridge?], Scotland, she heard some Elders singing in a church near by and was struck with the music. Reporting the unusual singing to her Father [John Johnston (Jostling)] she told him that she was going to hear them the following Sunday. She finally persuaded him to go with her. They became very much interested and this led to the whole Johnston family joining the Church of Jesus Christ, and emigrating to Utah, settling in or near Ogden, Utah.
I do not know just how or when Thomas Russell became interested but I think it was through Elizabeth Johnston.
From all I can learn the Elder's name who was at least partially responsible for the conversion of Thomas Russell, and possibly the Johnston family was named Lynch, and the younger children think that his full name was Patrick Lynch and my father was given his name as a middle name.
Thomas Russell joined the church while a young man about twenty-one years old. We think he was baptized in September 1852. He married Elizabeth Johnston and from this union twelve children were born. Ten in Scotland and two in the state of Wyoming. Sarah died a few months before they left Scotland and Stuart a few months after they arrived in Almy, Wyoming.
John Lynch Russell [ b. 1852] was the first of this family to leave Scotland for Utah. We have no record of when he left, or when he landed in Utah. I had always understood that he preceded his parents by about two years. While calling on Brigham Johnston at Hooper, Utah, he [Brigham] stated that my father, John Lynch Russell [b. 1852] called and stayed with his father [John Johnston (Jostling)] upon arriving in Utah just one month before he, John Johnston, died. He also stated that my father was the only one of the family [probably Thomas Russell's children] to see their grandfather [i.e., John Johnston (Jostling), their Mother's Father] after leaving Scotland.
Thomas Russell with the balance of their family left Scotland 4th Sept. 1874 and landed in Wyoming 24th Sept. 1874. He continued working in the mines at Almy, Wyoming.
A few years after settling at Almy their son William committed suicide by shooting himself. I know this worried my father a great deal as I have heard him say he wished that it was p ossible to do William's temple work.
The family had a very hard struggle with poverty after reaching America. Grandmother [Elizabeth Johnston Russell] relates that in order to get a few chickens, she and two of the girls each carried three eggs on their breasts until they hatched. Grandmother was an excellent cook and she sold cakes.
They erected log houses at Almy and lived there for a number of years, making an enviable record for an honest and industrious family.
After Grandfather [Thomas Russell, b. 6 Feb 1831] died [5 Sep 1891], Grandmother and some of the children moved to Salt Lake, Utah where she lived until 1920 when she went to Roosevelt to live with her daughter (Jamimia). In 1930 the body was moved to Provo, Utah and the grave was dedicated a few days before decoration day, 1930. by John L Russell [Jr., b. 1882]. [signed] J. L. Russell
[Addendum, in apparently John L. Russell Jr.'s handwriting:]
Aug 20, 1932 James Hood called me in his home and informed me he had done the temple work for Wm. Russell - with the consent of the President of the temple.