Saturday, May 16, 2009
William Burton Russell, 1884-1951
Centerville Daily Iowegian and Citizen
28 February 1951
William Burton Russell, 66, former long time postmaster of Numa and second oldest in point of service as correspondent for the Daily Iowegian, died at his home in Numa, where he had lived approximately half a century, Tuesday at 5 p.m. He had been in failing health for some four years and had suffered a series of strokes that culminated in his passing.
Mr. Russell was born in Numa on August 23, 1884, the son of Oliver P. and Nancy E. (Fox) Russell. He was the first person from Bellair township to attend high school and graduated from Centerville High School in 1905. He excelled in sports and set a record of 10 seconds for 100 yards, that stood for some time and held the pole vault record for the county of 11 feet and 8 inches for several years.
He united in marriage with Mamie Okle Martin at Numa on Sept. 2, 1907. He first entered the mining business in all of its phases and later became manager of the J. W. Martin & Son hardware company at Numa from 1907 to 1914. From 1909 to 1916 he also served as secretary of the Martin Block Coal Company of Numa. From 1916 to 1919 he was owner and operator of the Racket Store in Numa. From 1919 to 1922 he was a farmer near Numa.
In 1923 he became postmaster of Numa and occupied that position for a quarter of a century. He was a member and chairman of the school board of Numa for several years. He was mayor of Numa and members of the council at different times.
Mr. Russell was superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School for some 40 years in the Methodist church. He was also a well known speaker, and musician and directed both band and vocal music groups.
He was interested in Taxidermy and the out of doors and was a Scout leader for many years. He established Troop I of the Boy Scouts at Numa and helped to bring about nine Eagle Scout ratings and a troop with the highest merit rating west of the Mississippi river.
However, one of Mr. Russell's greatest joys was in his newspaper writings. He wrote colorfully and for a great many years was Numa's press representative. He started his newspaper writings by reporting the St. Louis World's Fair for the Iowegian and had continued as a reporter ever since. Lulu Howar, alone exceeded him in length of service as a correspondent.
In death he leaves his widow and six children, who are Travis of Ft. Dodge, Mrs. Lois Beer of Numa, John W. of Des Moines, Oliver P. of Centerville, Mrs. Betty James of Ottumwa, and William B. Jr. of the Army Air Base at Wichita Falls, Texas. He also leaves six grandchildren and two sisters, Mrs. H. L. Johnson of Numa and Mrs. Oliver Doggett of Corydon.
One of Mr. Russell's last public services was to aid in raising money to pay off a long time debt on the Numa Methodist Church. Funeral services will be held at the Numa church Friday at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Vernon Goff officiating, assisted by Rev. C. M. Belton of Ottumwa. Burial in Numa cemetery.
Transcribed from Soldiers Buried in Appanoose County, Iowa Before World War II and Some Obituaries of Early Settlerscompiled by Osee Johnson Knouf [S.I. Daughters of the American Revolution, La-Grange-Illinois Society, 1977] on FHL Film #1703828, Item #3 [Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1990].