First Date: 1819; Last Date: 1820
PrecisPublisher of The Virginia Reformer and Herald of the Valley at Winchester (1819-20), first with Peter Klipstine (253), and then with Joseph F. Caldwell (073).
Publisher Winchester Publisher of The Virginia Reformer and Herald of the Valley at Winchester (1819-20), first with Peter Klipstine (253), and then with Joseph F. Caldwell (073). Russell was the main proprietor of Winchester's Virginia Reformer and Herald of the Valley during its one-year-long existence, apparently as its financier, and possibly its editor. His full identity is unknown, as his given name is unrecorded in both contemporaneous imprints and modern-day reference sources. He may have been William Greenway Russell (1800-91), an attorney and merchant, then a contemporary of the two tradesmen involved, given the familiarity with those tradesmen that he evinced in his later-in-life history of the market town: What I Known about Winchester (1876). But it is more likely that the proprietor partnered with the two printers was Elisha E. Russell, the local militia captain who opened a reading room in the tavern/hotel he conducted with William Pack at exactly the moment that this new weekly made its first appearance. Russell's involvement in the printing trade was apparently triggered by the March 1819 sale of the Republican Constellation of Jonathan Foster (168); that journal's new owner, George McGlassin (287), apparently brought in a new staff to produce the newspaper for him, so displacing two young, locally-trained printers: Peter Klipstine and Joseph F. Caldwell. As McGlassin was a stranger to the town, with a dubious reputation resulting from his recent dismissal from the U.S. Army, local Republicans were evidently concerned about the fate of their partisan weekly, especially in the face of determined competition from the Federalist Winchester Gazette was of John Heiskell (210). So once the transfer of the Constellation was complete, Russell engaged Klipstine to help publish a new weekly that would take a course independent from that of those other journals. But their arrangement lasted only about six months before Klipstine left and Russell took on Caldwell as his new tradesman-partner. That rapid succession suggests an incompatibility between Russell and his tradesmen, an inference reinforced by Caldwell's departure at the end of the Reformer's first year and its resultant closing. For Russell, it seems that two six-month-long partnerships were sufficient to sate his appetite for journalism, as no further trace of him can be found in the surviving historical and bibliographic record. No definitive Personal Data yet discovered. Sources: Imprints; Brigham; Russell, Winchester.