James McMurray Russell
- Born: Abt 1770, Somerset Co., MD
- Marriage (1): Mary James about 1792 in Somerset Co., MD
- Died: 1805-1806, Somerset Co., MD
Through all the generations, the James McMurray name persisted in the naming of the male family members and Price Russell's son, James McMurray Russell (c1768-c1805/6), would inherit the name and plantation in 1790, except for his mother Anne Russell's dowry (her 1/3rd rights during widowhood). But she passed away in 1793 and she left that dowry to "my son James Mc. Russell" unless he were to die without heirs, then it would go to son William Russell and if he, in turn, would go without heirs, then the land to be split between sons Solomon and Samuel Russell.
Some interesting cultural aspects of Anne Russell's will are that she delineates who is to get some of the slaves in the family and how the minor children will be attended to. My "negro boy named Littleton" to go to son Samuel and "negro girl Theaner" to son William. She also instructs that her oldest son James Russell keep the estates of the other sons until they reach the age of sixteen and he is also to provide them with "schooling to read and write as far as the double rule of three and…then to bind them to such trade as either of them might choose." The extra provisions presented in Anne Russell's will to make sure the land stayed in the family did not matter in the end as James McMurray Russell lives, with heirs, and gained complete ownership of the plantation in 1793 when he was just a young man about 25 years of age.
James Russell had married Mary James sometime around 1792 and began raising his own family on the land. Another excellent reference document for Delmarva historians is the 1798 Federal Direct Tax of Somerset County that lists key aspects of various homes in the county that were taxable (including their windows), the land area, houses and outbuildings and number and taxable status of slaves. James Russell is listed there as owner of land in Nanticoke Hundred "on Wicomico River adjoining Mr. Cannon. Dwelling house wood 34x20 two stories 10 windows in good repair, kitchen 18x14; poultry house 10x12; 80 perches, $450." He also owns 9 slaves of which all are taxable (most of them are likely the same as Price Russell had listed in his estate inventory back in 1790).
These details present us a vivid picture of what the Russell plantation, the original James McMurray homestead and located within the current bounds of Pirate's Wharf, looked like in 1798. The Russell plantation was mature, in good shape being well-kept by the young James McMurray Russell and included a large house with ten windows - quite a luxury for the time.
Contemporary with the 1798 Direct Tax List, in the United States Census of 1800, we find James Russell as head of household in Nanticoke hundred with three males under age 10, one male age 26-45 (this would be him) and one female age 16-26 and seven (7) slaves. He is located adjacent to his father-in-law George James (who owned 20 slaves) and near his aunt Rebecca Carey who is head of a household with four males age 16-26, a female under age 10, female age 16-26 and a female greater than age 45 plus ten (10) slaves. The number of slaves owned by the two families and George James is higher than typical for the lower Delmarva at the time attesting to the relative wealth of the plantations. We note that, according to records from 1798 and 1800, 17 slaves were living on the property during that timeframe.
Later records indicate that James McMurray Russell unfortunately died rather young, at about age 35, in about 1805/6 but left no will but his estate inventory noted that he had a new schooner and rigging along with six slaves which items were the majority of the value of his holdings. His land bequeathed to his young son Josiah J. Russell except for his wife's dowry allowance. The administrative accounting of his estate was submitted in January 1808 by Francis James (SoAA-EB27:83) so, it is probable that Russell died intestate towards the latter part of this range or c1805/6.
Russell's wife, Mary (James), died shortly afterwards, in 1806, and her will was probated in December of that year. It instructed that the remaining estate to go to son Josiah Russell who was a minor (probably born c1793) and, she placed the guardianship of the estate under her brother Francis James. Josiah Russell died testate and very young, in late 1815 or early 1816, and mentions no land ownership in his will, just money due to him from his father James McMurray Russell's estate.
James married Mary James, daughter of Dr. George James and Mary (?), about 1792 in Somerset Co., MD. (Mary James was born about 1775 in Somerset Co., MD and died on 18 Nov 1806-09 Dec 1806 in Somerset Co., MD.)