1600 - 1674
Governor of Nevis. Owner of Russell's estate in Nevis.
Brother of Col. Randall Russell (d. 1678). Brother-in-law of Sir Thomas Warner, Governor of St Kitts, through his sister Anne. Knighted 10/05/1672. Died 15/11/1674 and buried in Bristol aged 74 years. Bequeathed his plantation in Nevis to his nephew Sir James Russell (q.v.).
Memorial inscription in St James's Church, Bristol: "Here lyeth the body of James Russell, Knt., late of Nevis, one of the first settlers in that Island, who was ye first mayor and coilonel there, and after, by commission of King Charles 2nd (bearing date ye 12th day of Septr. in ye 13th yeere of his reign), appointed governor of he said Island, and so continued till 1671; by whose wisdom and valor (uneer God) it was preserved, when that and ye rest of those islands were engandered by the French and Dutch, in 1666; who, after obtaininge leave of His Majesty to come for England, here departed this life ye 15th day of November, 1674, aged 74 years."
For more on Sir James Russell, see Justin Kirby's blog, 'A Tale of downward social mobility', in particular https://descentfromadam.wordpress.com/2022/01/06/more-plantations-the-russell-family-revisited/#more-4434 and https://descentfromadam.wordpress.com/2022/01/06/some-more-notes-on-sir-james-russell-knt/#more-4494 [accessed 06/01/2022].
Vere Langford Oliver, History of the Island of Antigua (London, Mitchell and Hughes, 1894) vol. 3 pp. 60-65; will of James Russell, late of Nevis, now living in Bristol, PROB 11/346/426.
Oliver, History of the Island of Antigua vol. 3 p. 65.
We are grateful to Justin Kirby for his assistance with compiling this entry.
PROB 11/346/426 - precis.
James Russell, late of Nevis, now living in Bristol. Weak of body but of perfect sense and memory.
To Thomas Horne, minister of the parish of St James, £5. To the poor of the said parish £10.
To my loving brother Colonel Randall Russell, by best saddle-horse, my best saddle, furniture with pistols and holsters, my best rapier and coat of arms to be sent to him in Nevis by the first opportunity.
To my sister Mrs Katherine Fenton if living in Ireland £50 sterling.
To the Lady March a ring of twenty shillings price as a token of my last farewell.
My estate in England to my wife Margaret Russell, and all wares and merchandise, household stuff, plate, jewels, rings, moneys etc and all my property in England for her own proper use forever. She to be the proper executrix for the same.
Also to my wife all my right of the St Christopher plantation that was formerly hers.
As to my plantation and other estate properly belonging to me on the island of Nevis and rented out by lease to my brother Colonel Randall Russell for the term of 5 years at the rent of £400 per annum with 1 1/2 years left to run on the lease: the remaining part of the rent to my wife Margaret. On the expiration of the lease, the said plantation with all servants, slaves, coppers, cattle and stock of all sort to my nephew Captain James Russell forever, subject to the payment of £200 per year for life to my wife so long as she remains a widow, and she may live in the house there for life. James Russell to be executor of that estate and all other debts owing to me upon that island.
Proved at London 10/12/1674.
Soldier then planter
The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:
- 1674 [EY] → Owner
Uncle → Nephew