[Home] [The Steer Genealogy] [Memorabilia]

Isaac Steer Russell & Lucinda S. Buckingham Clippings

See their family record.

Some Biographical Information on Isaac Steer Russell
Contributed by Jane Russell Johnson

Born November 9, 1826, on farm two miles north of New Market, Maryland.

Member of Religious Society of Friends.

Attended school in Waterford, Loudoun County, Virginia in 1837 at the age of 10 or 11. From a diary entry dated 8th month (August) 18th, 1852: "I visited the place where more than fifteen years ago, I first submitted to the authority of a school-mistress. There many of my most pleasant days were spent; there I first learned to endure a separation from parents...the house where I staid [sic] has lost its original appearance."

Listed in 1850 Maryland census as farmer living in household of Lafe(?) Haines. Also listed in 1850 VA census as living in hotel in Winchester operated by Wm D. Gilkerson. In 1853 travelled to Philadelphia and New York City, where he attended first World's Fair held in this country. He then went on to Boston and Iowa where he had relatives; this trip extended over a three month period and covered 3700 miles. Married September 24, 1857 to Lucinda S. Buckingham, possibly at Lovelace Gardner's home, whom I (JRJ) believe to be her uncle. (Lovelace Gardner lived in Freedom, Carroll County, Maryland, according to 1860 Maryland census.) 1860 census listed him as machinist with personal property valued at $1500; he, Lucinda, and baby Anne were evidently living quite near his father, Joshua, as Isaac follows Joshua in the census listing. They moved to town of New Market, Maryland, on December 31, 1861; the house and his workshop still stand on the corner of West Main Street and 2nd Alley. As a staunch Republican and firm in his belief that slavery was wrong, he was one of ten in New Market, which then had a population of 3,333, to vote for Abraham Lincoln. This position made him practically an outcast in New Market at that time, because the majority of the inhabitants there had strong sentiments toward slavery, according to his obituary. Left New Market with his family in September of 1862 to avoid conscription into the army and went to West Liberty, Iowa. They returned on November 8 of that year. His first three children, Anne, Laura, and Mary, died within a fivemonth span in 1863 and 1864 of diphtheria. 1870 census listed him as machinist with real estate valued at $3000 and personal property worth $5000. In 1870 Percy, his first son, and Mary Narcissa (Wavie) Steer, his first cousin and formerly of Waterford, Virginia, had been added to the household. In 1870 daughter Anne (the 2nd) and in 1873 son Henry were born. After the arrival of his children, according to a Jan. 3, 1926 article in The Burlington (Iowa) Hawk-Eye, written by Waldo Russell, great-grandson of Caleb Russell, Isaac's first cousin, he decided the local school was not good enough for them and tutored them himself. In 1891 value of real and personal property was $115,000. In 1893 took a trip to New Orleans. In 1900 census he owned the home mortgage-free; he and son, Henry, now medical doctor, lived there. In 1910 census his cousin, Mary Narcissa (Wavie) Steer and her husband, Roderick B. Randle, were living in home with him and paying rent. He spent several winters at George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania, with his daughter, Anne, who taught there.

Worked in 1851 near Winchester, Virginia, involved in building a road across North Mountain, working as a sawyer. Returning to Maryland, spent time in the 1850's and 1860's working as a farmer and handmanufacturing farm implements, such as rakes, brooms, etc. Became a machinist and undertaker; for some time his shop was powered by horses on a treadmill. In 1857 produced a flyer advertising sale of hay and grain rakes at $2.25 per dozen plus availability of wood and iron turning. Made a sun dial for the Prairie Grove Friends Meeting, four miles west of Winfield, Iowa, and installed it there on September 25, 1864. Served as town commissioner of New Market from time of its incorporation in 1878 at least until 1891 and as tax collector and treasurer for a period of at least eight years. Prepared Russell and Steer genealogies, which were completed in 1887 and 1891. According to an article by Marg Fouche in the Bicentennial Supplement to the Frederick, Md. News-Post, dated July 1, 1975, he "was one of the earliest to practice the restoring of furniture". Advertised his services as undertaker in Libertytown, Maryland The Banner of Liberty, July 23, 1891, p. 4. Manufactured farming implements until 1902. He was involved with his son, Percy, in a company called The Russell Electric Mallet Company, which was sold to Wm. Porter's Sons Co. of New York City; his share of the sale was $1000. At some point, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he assisted son, Percy, in manufacture of dental instruments; later returned to Maryland.

Between 1859 and 1877 patented a number of inventions, some jointly with his brother, Henry, and at least one with John I. D. Bristol of Detroit, Michigan. Among these was an improvement in harvesters, Letters Patent No. 23,399, March 29, 1859; an improvement in raking attachments to harvesters, Letters Patent No. 39,329, July 21, 1964; an improvement in harvesters, Letters Patent No. 81,215, August 18, 1868; improved caster-wheel for harvesters, Letters Patent No. 95,383, September 28, 1869; improvement in earth-closets, Letters Patent No. 137,099, March 25, 1873; improvement in magnesium lamps, Letters Patent No. 138,346, April 29, 1873; improvement in earth-closets, Letters Patent No. 145,756, December 23, 1873; improvement in wood-screws, Letters Patent No. 146,023, August 7, 1873. On September 4, 1875, Henry R. Russell assigned one-half his rights to parallel pliers, Letters Patent No. 168,924, to Isaac, who, I (JRJ) surmise, as a machinist made the model submitted to the patent office. Other inventions were the modern dentist's drill and the reaper self-rake, the patent for which he sold for $8,000 to Cyrus H. McCormick, who used it on his reapers. Said to have invented the switching mechanism for railroads by which cars are switched from one track to another but lost the court fight to establish his claim, according to an article in The Baltimore Sun, dated October 9, 1960.

Toward the end of his life he suffered from deafness, according to his letters. Continued to travel to visit family and friends, mostly by public transportation, until days before his death, which occurred during a visit to his son, Henry, in Baltimore.

Died two weeks after his 90th birthday on November 23, 1916, Baltimore, Maryland. Buried, probably November 26, 1916, in Bush Creek Burial Ground, Monrovia, Maryland. Cause of death, according to The Daily News of Frederick, Maryland, November 24, 1916, was "infirmities of age".

In 2009 a street meeting Route 874 on the western side and north of New Market was named Isaac Russell Street.

In 2010 Charles C. Russell, great grandnephew of Isaac, learned from the Website of Maryland Historical Trust, Inventory of Historic Properties, the specific location of Isaac's boyhood home at 6224 New London Road, New Market, then known as Pleasant Hill, now called Maple Hall Plantation. Included in the description is this: "Isaac S. Russell Cabinet Shop: The one-story frame shop building is located about 100 feet east of the dwelling. It has clapboard siding on the south elevation and an integral porch under the low sloping gable roof. Double vertical board doors flanked by 6/6 windows are in the south elevation. Strap hinges on the doors appear to be original. On the east gable end of the shop is an open shed for modern equipment storage. A vertical board door with strap hinges opens to the interior. The walls are covered with whitewashed plaster over lath and over the double doors on the south wall is Russell's stenciled mark, "I. S.Russell, New Market 9". A loft is in the upper part of the structure with exposed hand hewn beams supporting the flooring of the loft. The shop is filled with work benches, tools, materials, and some recent storage items. The range of the inventory appears to extend from at least the 1870's to about 1920. Russell sold the farm to Charles Etzler in 1905, but the shop appears to have been largely preserved with additions only in some of its accessories."

The Isaac S. Russell Collection (probably consisting of copies of the Russell and Steer genealogies) is housed at Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21201.

Notes: Marriage
Isaac S. Russell states in his diary entry of September 24, 1857 that "Sister, Henry and I went to Lovelace Gardner's. Isaac S. Russell & Lucinda S. Buckingham married". A Lovelace Gardner is listed in the 1840, 1850, and 1870 U. S. census as living in Freedom, Carroll County, Maryland. Since Lucinda was born in Carroll County and her mother's naiden name was Gardner, I make the assumption that this is the correct Lovelace and that he was her uncle, and I also make the assumption that they were married in his home.

Some Biographical Information on Lucinda S. Buckingham Russell
Contributed by Jane Russell Johnson

Born August 15, 1830, in Frederick (now Carroll) County, Maryland. Moved to Frederick County, Maryland, when nine years old.

In 1855-56 attended East Baltimore Institute (in Matchet's Baltimore Directory of 1842, address given as "Salisbury st e of High" with S. C. and McK. Roszel, principals) as evidenced by her composition books. The first entry, in the form of a letter to "Mr. Buckingham and Pupils of East Balto. Institute" was dated December 15, 1855. One of these essays describes a three-month trip to Europe, which may only have been a writing assignment, since I (JRJ) have found no other references to this. Other subjects were time, twilight, nature, death, the pleasures of life, firmness, and spring. On March 21, 1856, she wrote the following composition:
"Dear Cousin Tabitha;
     As I have fully resolved, through the earnest request of mother, to pay a short visit in the country, during the Easter holidays; I thought I would address a few lines to you as a farewell; though I anticipate the separation will be short, yet it might be forever. If such should be our fate, and you are still spared to participate in the free and beautiful principles of this our lovely continenet; forget not her who now writes, and whose feeble hand will then be wrapped in death's mysterious shroud and laid down to sleep with millions of ages past.
     Farewell: how sad it falls on the ear, and with tender emotions the heart is filled, when we are parting with those who are near by the ties of nature, the tear is often seen trickling down the cheek, though unbidden. But why do I thus muse? Does not hope give out pure rays, which bears our prospects upon her ever bouyant breath to that period when we shall meet again?
     Cousin I expect to leave the city early tomorrow morning; I will take the Frederick train. Oh! how happy I shall feel once more tonight in the society of a kind mother and loving brothers, from whom I have been separated by an absence of many months. Can you imagine the joy that will pervade those hearts, and the accustomed haunts of other days that will come up fresh in the memory and bloom like flowers that will spring up from beneath the dead leaves, but their beauty will fade, like all things else that are beautiful. I expect to remain but a short time in the country, and you will not forget me I hope. No, how could you forget me, when there is a wreath of friendship, which is beautifully entwined around each heart; the emblems of which are truth and constancy.
     On my return I will drop you a biladoe (perhaps meant billet doux. JRJ) and will soon expect to see your smiling face, and in it recognise a welcome home again. Farewell: I again repeat, and will close, by subscribing myself your affectionate cousin.


The final composition, The Rain-drops, was dated June 29, 1856.

Member of Religious Society of Friends, Pipe Creek Monthly Meeting and Bush Creek Preparative Meeting.

Married on September 24, 1857, to Isaac Steer Russell probably at the home of Lovelace Gardner, whom I (JRJ) believe to be her uncle.

On June 15, 1864, arrived with her husband in Danville, New York, at Our Home on the Hill, a health resort, run by Dr. James C. Jackson and his daughter, Dr. Harriet Austin. This was three months after the death of her third child; their first three children had died within a five month period from October 1863 to March 1864. She remained here a month taking the Water Cure before they went on to visit relatives in Iowa and other points along the way, returning to New Market on January 6, 1865.

On October 8, 1884, wrote to her younger son Henry from 639 Nth. 16th. St, Phila, Pa.; she mentioned a doctor. In a letter postmarked October 18, 1884, wrote to her husband, "I would love to be there (a wedding to which they were invited. JRJ) but taking all things into consideration this is the best place for me now...I wrote in yesterday's letter that I was not quite so well but today am feeling much better, I believe about as well as I have been". (Perhaps in a sanitorium or nursing home?)

In a letter addressed to her at 3240 Chestnut St, Philadelphia and dated June 20, 1888, her son Percy says "I hope you will soon be out of bed". In another letter dated June 29, he says, "I am glad thee can sit up more now...What are the sensations, and what is the immediate effect of a treatment with electricity? Does he physic thee?"

Referred to as an invalid in a letter written by Julia Eves Small to Isaac Willis Russell. From an unidentified obituary: "One who knew her from childhood says of her: 'In all the relations of life she was bright and cheerful; thoughtful and tender; patient and self-sacrificing; and always strovr [sic] to exemplify in her own life what she wished to see in hee [sic] children and others.'"

Died January 29, 1892, at her home in New Market, Maryland.

Buried in the Bush Creek Burial Ground in Monrovia, Maryland.

Lucinda S. Russell Quilts
From the "Quaker Quilts" website.
An offsite link. Use your "back" button to return to this page.

[Previous page] [Next page]

© 1997 steer_family@hotmail.com