R. H. Russell is the oldest settler living in Holt County having resided here since August, 1838. He was born in Clark County, Ohio April 7, 1818. He left Ohio in 1836 and lived for 2 years at Lafayette, Indiana. He left there in the spring of 1838 and started for the Platte Purchase accompanied by John STERRET, John RUSSELL and James KEE. Judge RUSSELL proceeded by steamboat to Clay County, Mo., where in August he met the three others who had come overland. The whole party came on to Holt County and settled near where Blank and Peter STEPHENSON had already located. Blank STEPHENSON is said to have been the first constable of the county; the postoffice was called Thorp's Mill, so called from John Thorp who came in 1840 and built a mill 2 miles southeast of Oregon on Mill Creek. On the organization of Nodaway township (now Holt County), Judge Russell was made constable. On the formation of Holt County, R.M. BARKHURST was appointed sheriff by the governor, but on the first election in 1842, Judge RUSSELL was elected to that office and served four years. In 1851, Judge RUSSELL moved to Oregon, Holt County, Mo. For 2 years before the Civil War, he was assessor of Holt County Gov. GAMBLE appointed him county judge in 1861 and he was afterwards elected to that office by the people. He was elected probate judge in 1870 and re-elected in 1874. He has always been a Democrat and cast his first vote for President for Polk in 1844. He was a Union man throughout the war. In 1841, Judge RUSSELL married Mary CROWLEY who died in 1860. In 1861 he married Susan BISHOP. He was one of the expeditions from Holt County to the Calififornia gold find, leaving May, 1849 and returning in 1851.
Source: An Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Holt County, MO., p.34
Submitted by Dave Roberts, Lyon County, Kentucky, former Holt County resident.