EDMOND RUSSELL has been prominently identified with business interests in Grand Ledge for many years, having located here when the place was a small village, and having recently retired from active-business. He is a citizen of sterling character, has lived a life of signal usefulness and honor and has at all times commanded the esteem and confidence of the community. Mr. Russell was born in Barry Township, Orleans County, New York, April 11, 1832, and is a son of Oliver N. and Esther (Densmore) Russell, the former of whom was born in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, and the latter in Phelps, Ontario County, New York. Both were resident of Hillsdale County at the time of death. Oliver N. Russell was a child at the time of his parents' removal from Massachusetts to the state of New York, where he was reared to manhood and where he continued to reside until 1853, when he came with his family to Michigan, locating in Hillsdale County, where he bought a quarter section of wild land, reclaiming a farm in the midst of the forest and there passing the residue of his life. Of his twelve children eight are now living, the subject of this sketch being the eldest. D. Ellis is a resident of Hillsdale County; Elias resides in Hillsdale County; Newton resides in Oklahoma, and Justin in Grand Ledge; Sylvia is the wife of Lewis Templeton and they live in Oklahoma; Esther is the wife of William Gleason, of Nebraska; and Sarah is the wife of Charles Gleason, of Hillsdale County. Those deceased are Ira, Warren, William and Asa. Edmond Russell was reared to maturity in the state of New York, where he secured a common school education. As his father had a large family and was in most moderate financial circumstances, the sons early began to depend largely upon their own resources, the subject of this sketch having found various sorts of employment for several years prior to the removal of the family to Michigan. The parental home was always open to welcome the children, however, and he passed a considerable portion of his time there up to his marriage. In the autumn before he was twenty-one years of age Mr. Russell came to Michigan, and in the following spring his father also came. Edmond then returned to New York to arrange for bringing the other members of the family to the new home, disposing of the property in New York. For three years after attaining his majority he worked for his father on the home farm, in Hillsdale  County, Michigan, being paid wages for his services. He was then married, in 1857, and the following year he came with his wife to Eaton county and located on a farm of eighty acres, in Oneida Township, having previously purchased the property, which was covered with the native forest and entirely without improvements. He built a plank shanty on the place, but soon realized that farming in a new country was not his proper vocation, so he remained on the place only one year. He then sold the property and took up his residence in the little village of Grand Ledge. He has natural mechanical ability and had previously done a considerable amount of work as a carpenter, and after locating in the village he turned his attention to work at this trade, which he followed several years. He then built a hotel on the site of the present Grand Ledge House, and conducted the same for some time, in the meanwhile building and equipping the first hotel livery in the town. He was thereafter engaged in the mercantile business for some time. Mr. Russell established and operated the first steam shingle mill in Grand Ledge, but when the railroad was completed through the town, permitting the facile shipping in of pine shingles, the manufacturing of hardwood shingles became unprofitable, and he converted his factory into a saw mill. His first shingle mill was destroyed by fire and he then erected another, and this also burned, after being operated as a saw mill. Mr. Russell purchased land along the south side of the river, and for twelve years he there operated a steam feed mill. He has recently removed the machinery and is now living retired from active business. A number of buildings which he erected are still standing in the city. He has always been an alert and progressive business man and notwithstanding reverses which he has encountered, through loss by fire and otherwise, he has always pressed forward and made the best of circumstances, while his probity and reliability have gained and retained to him the unqualified regard of the people of the beautiful little city of which he may consistently be termed a pioneer. In politics he was originally aligned with the Democracy, later supported the Greenback party, and is now independent, with predilections for the doctrines of advanced socialism. March 5, 1857, Mr. Russell was united in marriage to Miss Philana A. Campbell, who was born in the same county in New York as was he, the date of her nativity having been November 23, 1836. She remained his devoted and cherished wife and help meet for nearly half a century, the great loss and bereavement of his life being that which came with her death, on October 1, 1905. They became the parents of five children, concerning whom a brief record is here incorporated: Dora died at the age of six years; Frank F. is a bachelor and remains at the paternal home; Jennie L. is the widow of William McDowell, since whose death she has remained with her father, being his chief mainstay and consoler since the death of the wife and mother; Nancy became the wife of Edward Lawrence and died in Delta township, this county; and Etta, who became the wife of Bird Rambo, died October 10, 1897.