Table of Contents
The progenitor of the Russell family of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, was John Russell (1608-1694). He was one of the early settlers of Old Dartmouth from Marshfield in 1661. The name of Russell Mills in South Dartmouth was derived from his son, the first Joseph Russell (1650-1739). Joseph Russell Jr. (1679-1748), the elder Joseph's son, owned property in New Bedford between Russell Street and Spring Street, and his house was located near the head of Walnut Street. Caleb Russell Sr. (1713-1804), Joseph Jr.'s son, owned a farm situated along County Road, now called County Street. His brother, Joseph Russell 3rd (1719-1806) was one of the first merchants of New Bedford and many consider him the founder of the New Bedford whale fishery. Caleb Russell Jr. (1748-1827), son of Caleb Sr., was a yeoman who inherited his father's property.
The Russell family papers consist primarily of legal documents including deeds, surveys of land, court records, wills, and estate records from the years 1711-1863. The majority of the papers relate to Caleb Russell Jr., 1800-1829. Included among his papers are the proceedings of the Caleb Russell vs. John Howland court case, 1806-1809, where Russell accused Howland of trespassing on his land. Also pertaining to this case are surveys of property in New Bedford belonging to the Ward family who owned more than 2600 acres of land. Many of these documents are copies of earlier recorded deeds and surveys, 1711-1789.
Also represented by materials in this collection are other Russell family members as well as relatives by marriage. Papers for Joseph Russell Sr., contain land surveys, 1711-1715 and for Joseph Russell Jr., consist of a deed, 1741. Papers of Caleb Russell Sr., consist of legal documents, 1746-1804, including a will, 1780, detailing the amount of goods and property which he owned.
Also included in this collection are the papers of Caleb Russell Jr.'s, wife and daughter, Content Gifford Russell and Sarah Russell Akin. Each of these sub-groups contain a will, 1833 and 1863, respectively. Also within the papers of Content Gifford Russell are deeds for properties owned by her father, Joseph Gifford. The papers of Timothy Akin, Sarah's husband, consist of deeds and his will, 1829-1859.
Materials in this collection have been organized into sub-groups representing individual members of the Russell family. These sub-groups have been arranged in chronological order by each person's date of birth. Papers have been organized into series by type of document and are arranged in chronological order. A final sub-group of this collection contains the probate of the will belonging to Joseph Russell of Boston, 1810. A published work which may serve as a guide to the Russell family members represented in this collection is The Descendants Of John Russell by Barrett Beard Russell (1904). Transcripts of all the documents in this collection are also available in the collection file.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 88, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:
- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution
If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.
Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.
The materials in this collection were donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Eleanor Bowman on 28 February 1984.
Processed by: Judith M. Downey, with assistance from Diane Boisnier, 28 September 1988
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 7 April 2012
Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection
Akin, Sarah Russell, b. 1795
Akin, Timothy, 1790-1873
Court Records--Mass.--New Bedford
Decedents' estates--Mass.--New Bedford
Russell, Caleb Jr., 1748-1827
Russell, Caleb Sr., 1713-1804
Russell, Content Gifford, d. 1835
Russell, Joseph Jr., 1679-1748
Russell, Joseph Sr., 1650-1739
- Lagoda Centennial
- Centennial Lecture Series
- Symposium: Famine, Friends & Fenians
- Music: Seán Tyrrell
- Lecture Series: The Second Half
- Whaling History Conference
- Melville’s Life & Legacy
- Scrimshaw 101
- Haunted Whale Ship
- Cities 2.0 – A TEDx Salon
- Manhattan Short Film Festival
- Film: Temple Grandin
- Annual Family Activities
- Community Programs
- Annual Events
- Past Programs
- Discovery Center