Thomas T. Russell Background

by the editors

Unless Otherwise indicated, this information is from the bio files of St Augustine Historical Lib.

Thomas T. Russell was elected Mayor of St Augustine in 1875 but declined to serve. (The Awakening of St Augustine, Thomas Graham, page 268.) [Perhaps this is because he served in the Florida House that same year. See below.]

See 1850 Census:

1850 Census:
Thomas age 35 Receives public monies, Born S.C.
Eusebia age 25, Born FL
Richard H age 9 (I guess Eusebia was 16 when they got married)
Hannah C age 5
Florinda age 3
Lauretta age 1

Using age as listed on 1850 census I estimate his date of birth as 1815. I could find no date of death for him. Florida Vital stats has a Thomas Russell who died in Duval County in 1905, vol. 07, Number, 379.

There is a newspaper reference in this file for the St Augustine News 12/29/38 (see Maritime pilots). Perhaps that is why he received public monies. I did not have time to look it up. Then again (search “Thomas t Russell” states: Page 185 | Page image To the Senate of the United States:

I nominate Thomas T. Russell, who was commissioned during the recess of the Senate, to be receiver of public moneys, at St. Augustine, Florida. Russel, Thomas T.: To be receiver of public moneys at Saint Augustine, Fla … 185
Reported … 225
Confirmed … 250

Thomas T. Russell remarries:

1860 Census:

Thomas T. Age 43 Farmer
Angelina age 22
Richard 19
William H 6
Frederick Clay 2
James W 1
Hannah 15
Florinda 12
Sa_____ella 10
Richard 24
Florintine 22
Mary 1

Thomas T Russell and Aaron Jones bought the Saint Augustine news in Jan 1841 and published it until April 1845 when they sold it. See “Thomas T. Russell Journalism.”

First Marriage: Eusebia Aguiar 26 Aug. 1840 (Parents Manuel and C___ Capella??)

Second Marriage Angelina P. Masters 6 May 1857

Children by Eusebia (these are from the bio files. I would say that bapt is the actual baptism date since that is the baptism date we have listed for Florinda, but I did not have time to look them up.)

Richard Harrison bapt 30 Jan 1842
Hannah C Bapt 20 Sept 1845
Florinda G Bapt 28 Dec 1847
Laura H Bapt 31 May 1850
William H Bapt 1854
Children by Angelina P Masters
Lucy 1880 Census 14
Elizabeth 1880 –August 1861
Frederick Clay July 5 1859? bapt 5 July 1860
James Webster Born 17 Feb 1860 bapt 5 July 1860
Lee 1880 Census age 12

St. Augustine Examiner
10/17/1868 Son Frederick dies age 10 at Russell residence on St Johns River.

St Augustine News
1/15 1841 Russell Purchases the News with Aaron Jones Jr.

Thomas T. Russell was the St Johns County School Superintendent and was appointed as such 5 March 1877. Thomas A. Pacetti Succeeded him 13 March 1879.

Thomas T Russell also served in the Florida Legislature. SeeĀ “Florida’s Political Parties”.

Russell, Thomas T. (Whig)

Legislative Council (House)
Mosquito (later Orange), 1844

House, St. Johns, 1845 (adjourned)
Senate, 17th District, 1863, 1864.
House, St Johns, 1875, 1877.

People in Lawmaking, Florida House of Representatives, April, 2002.

I suppose the Man mentioned in these bills before the United States Congress is the same Thomas T Russell, but I have no proof as of yet.
From: Several hits there under the query “Thomas T Russell.”

Also at one reads

Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873
TUESDAY, September 24, 1850.
Page 250 | Page image
Williamson, John H. Thompson, John Beard, Samuel Brenton, Smallwood Noel, Andrew McCallen, Thomas T. Russell, Solomon F. Halliday, Thomas McKnight, Mordecai Mobly, George Wilson, William H. Wallace, Easton Morris, Edward W. Lawton, Samuel Pitkin, Joseph Taylor, William N. Adams, William R. Watson, Lilburn H. Trigg, William Ketchum, Nathaniel Wilson, and Joseph A. L. Lee; and
Resolved, That the Senate advise and consent to the appointment of the said persons, agreeably to their nominations respectively.

Nominated to what I cannot determine. Maybe the U.S. Senate? Can anyone else figure this out?

From The Ancient City GENEALOGIST VOL. XII, ISSUE MAY 2001:

2 letters concerning Thomas T. Russell as Superintendent of schools:

Office of the Superintendent of Schools
St. Augustine, Fla. September 4, 1878

To Rev. John Moore, D. D.
Bishop of St. Augustine, Fla

Respected Sir:

At a meeting of the Board of Public Instruction, held on the 27′ of August 1878, your communication bearing date of July 1M relative to Catholic schools, was duly considered, and your proposition or plan was unanimously agreed to, and I was instructed to advise you of the action of the Board, hoping that the schools be conducted in a spirit of harmony and brotherly love.

It is desired that you name some four teachers whom you may consider competent, in order they be certified and assigned positions.

Any suggestions you may be pleased to make from time to time, will be duly considered by the Board.

It is desired by the Board that the schools be opened on the 1st of October in compliance with the law.

Very Respectfully,

Thomas T. Russel
Superintendent of Schools
St. Augustine, Fla.

St. Augustine, Fla.
September 12′ 1878

Hon. Thos. T. Russell
Supt. of Schools

Dear Sir,

I have received your communication of the 4th inst., whereby I am advised that my proposition in reference to our Catholic schools has been unanimously accepted by your honorable Board.

The Sisters are prepared to stand examination. I request that you inform me when and where it is to take place.

I beg leave to observe that we have heretofore found it necessary to employ six teachers in teaching our free schools, in order to do justice to the large number of scholars who attend them. I would therefore respectfully request that six be examined, whether or not your Board shall be able or willing to employ that number.

Very Respectfully Yours,

John Moor; D. C.
Bishop of St. Augustine, Fla.

The book Discovering the Civil War in Florida, Paul Taylor, Pineapple Press, 2001, contains a letter by Capt. J.J. Dickison which makes reference to a Hon. T.T. Russell. The letter is a report on the skirmish at Palatka, FL, March 27, 1863 which is extracted from THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A COMPILATION OF THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES. The content of the Official Records containing the name Honorable T.T. Russell is below.


streets in town. My command consisted of 50 men, and I occupied a position within about 100 yards of Teasdale & Ried’s upper wharf. Scarcely had we our positions when the boat hove in sight and anchored about 1 1/2 miles off, opposite Mr. Baza’s, on the east bank of the river, then about 4 p. m. I discovered that there was constant communication between the gunboat and the opposite side of the river by means of small boats, but at the time could not discover the causes, &c. At night I covered all the landings above and below the town with my pickets, with instructions that they would report to my at daybreak without fail, as I was under the impression that the enemy would make an effort to land early in the morning. We held our positions firmly during the night, but were not disturbed. About daylight I discovered that the enemy again communicated with the opposite side of the river (at Mr. Baza’s). A short time after sunrise they moved up slowly and handed at Teasdale & Ried’s Wharf. Having nothing to cover my men from their view but a plank fence and an entrenchment thrown up during the night, I ordered all to lie close and keep concealed, at the same time occupying a position myself so as to watch every movement of the enemy. No sooner had the boat struck the wharf than they sent being afterwards informed by some of my men that he was Bill Roe, well known as the engineer of the steamer Saint Mary’s. As soon as he returned to the boat they commenced landing their forces. So soon as I saw 30 or 40 men on the wharf, and at the same time the upper and lower deck of the boat crowded as thick as they could stand, I ordered my men to fire, which order as any men could do. the enemy immediately retreated to their boat in great confusion, dragging their dead and wounded after them, and as [in] falling back returned our fire both by small-arms as well as heavy and light artillery, throwing shell, grape, and canister-shot, moving as rapidly as their steam could carry them under cover of their heavy fire, &c.

They fell back opposite Mr. Baza’s and ordered their land forces to fall back, which had been marched up from Orange Mill the evening previous (70 or 80 negroes, with white officers). This transport had on board three or four pieces of light artillery mounted as usual for such guns. I cannot be mistaken in this, as my position gave me the best opportunity to observe them closely. We suppose the forces on board from 600 to 700, under command of the notorious Montgomery. He acknowledged to the Honorable T. T. Russell that his whole regiment not less than from 20 to 30. Among the wounded, we are informed, was the illustrious colonel himself. This was acknowledged to several parties on the river; but among the strongest proofs of some accident befalling their leading officer is that they drew off from the wharf in great haste as soon as they could take in their dead and wounded under cover of their heavy artillery. Among the trophies on the wharf was a considerable quantity of blood in several places and also many fragments of bone, pronounced by the surgeon of the post here pieces of cranium.

I cannot speak in too high terms of my men for their cool and deliberate action under heavy fire of the enemy. This transport was supposed to be the Ben De Ford, the largest ever up the river; and it was thought by good judges that she would carry at least 1,000 troops. The position of my two detachments was such that they were unable to fire, in conse-


quence of the large warehouse concealing the enemy from them. They held the position as ordered, to be ready to attack him if he had advanced into the town as we expected. Every order was obeyed and carried out to my satisfaction. Had he advanced, as we expected, we should no doubt have had a close and desperate engagement; but the vandals, satisfied with their warm reception, thought best to retire as quick as possible. They proceeded down to Orange Mill and took on board their land forces, several negroes, horses, and plunder, of which they had robbed the good citizens on that side of the river. They committed great depredations in their raid from Orange Mill up to Mr. Sanchez’, taking everything they could ally their hands upon-negroes, horses, and provisions of all kinds. They were guilty even of breaking open the trunks of helpless women, stealing and destroying the contents. Honorable T. T. Russell informs me that in conversation with Montgomery he said that he would the next day occupy Palatka and in a few days have 4,000 or 5,000 troops at that place, and as he had his own provost-marshal, he wanted all the citizens on that side of the river to report at their earliest convenience.

Excuse me lengthy report, as I deem it my duty to give you all the details and real acts of such demons. My little command is again ready for them, and will contest every inch of ground if he should attempt another landing. I had 1 man slightly wounded in the thigh by a fragment of shell. Thank God, none killed. All in fine spirits.


Captain, Commanding Company H and Post.

Captain W. CALL,

Headquarters, Camp Finegan, East Florida.