Russell W. W. Blackwell

Russell W. S. Blackwell, residing, in LaMoure, Lamoure County, is one of the leading attorneys of North Dakota. He is the present state's attorney of LaMoure County, and is a man whose qualifications and character are befitting one of his station. He is affable, intelligent and possessed of an active public spirit and casts his influence for the better interests of those around him, and is highly esteemed in turn by the people. He was born in the village of Pocasset, on the east side of Buzzard's bay, in the town of Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, August 20, 1853.

The father of our subject, Russell Blackwell, was born in Monument, Massachusetts, and was of English-Puritan descent. He was a sea captain in the American merchant marine service, and his forefathers followed the seas for two and a half centuries. He died at Bourne, November 17, 1898, aged seventy-five years. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, and was one of the prominent men in his native town. The mother of our subject, who bore the maiden name of Lydia B. Phinney, was also a native of Monument, Massachusetts and survives her husband, and is living in the old home. Five children were born to this worthy couple, as follows: Elisha B., now engaged in the Alaskan trade at Seattle, Washington; Ada, now Mrs. Dr. Robert Newman, of New York City; Lillie, now Mrs. E. S. Ellis, residing with her mother; Lydia A., who died at the age of twenty months; and Russell W. S. our subject.

Mr. Blackwell, when about one year of age went with his parents to Monument, Massachusetts, where he attended school for some time, and in the fall of 1868 removed to New York City, where he entered the grammar school and continued Iris studies in that city until 1873, when he accepted a position as principal of the public school at Foxboro, Massachusetts. After one year he engaged in the job printing business, and conducted the same from November, 1874, to 1881, when he disposed of the plant. During that time he continued the study of law which had been commenced in New York City in 1870, and October 6, 1881, was admitted to the bar at Dedham, Massachusetts, and in 1882 he returned to New York City. He had thoroughly familiarized himself with the practice of his profession by handling many cases prior to his admission to the bar, and his success was assured. He, however, engaged in the mercantile business in New York until 1892, when he went to North Dakota. He visited Jamestown, North Dakota, in April of that year, and began farming near there, conducting the farm during three summers and returning to New York, where he taught the grammar school No. 16, during-the winter terms. He removed to the town of LaMoure, November 8, 1894, and engaged in the practice of law, in connection with which he conducts a real estate and general brokerage business, and during the year 1894 he was elected to the office of state's attorney.

Mr. Blackwell was married at Foxborough, Massachusetts, in 1874, to Mrs. Fannie Thomas, a native of that state. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell. as follows: Waldo R., now practicing law in New York City, having graduated from the University of New York in the class of 1895, with the degree of Bachelor of Law; and Grace W., who died in infancy. Mr. Blackwell has always labored earnestly for the better interests of his community, and while a resident of Foxboro, Massachusetts, was appointed justice of the peace by the governor of that state, which office he held seven years, after which he was re-appointed. He was elected a member of the school committee in 1878, and was re-elected in the same capacity in 1881, and chairman of the board, serving until his resignation in 1882. Since taking up his residence in Dakota he has been chosen a member of the board of insanity commissioners and is the treasurer of the North Dakota Bar Association. He was nominated for state's attorney on the Republican ticket and endorsed by the Populist Party. He is a man who is popular with the people as a public officer regardless of party affiliations, and is deserving of much credit for his labors for the public good. He is a member of Crystal Wave lodge, A. F. & A. M., of Brooklyn, Corneau Consistory of New York City, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and Knights of Maccabees.

Source:  Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota 1900 Page 178

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