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Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell

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Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell (1749–1825), a sister of Patrick Henry, was born in Hanover County, Virginia, to John Henry and Sarah Winston. In 1776 she married Gen. William Campbell (1745–1781), the commander of the American forces that defeated the British at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780; this was the turning point of the American Revolution.

Following Campbell's death in 1781, she married Gen. William Russell in 1783. They lived at Aspenvale, near Seven Mile Ford, Virginia[1] until 1788 when they moved to Saltville where they carried on the manufacture of salt. The Russells converted to Methodism in 1788. After Gen. Russell's death in 1793, Elizabeth spent the remainder of her life fostering Methodism in southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. Francis Asbury and various Circuit Riders stopped regularly at her home. She is credited with bringing Methodism to western Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. In 1812 she moved to Chilhowie, Virginia to be nearer the Great Road. She died in March 1825 and is buried in the Aspenvale Cemetery in Seven Mile Ford, Virginia. The Elizabeth Cemetery in Saltville, Virginia is named after her.[2]

Madame Russell is probably more eminent in the Methodist pioneer history of America than any other woman. In Saltville, in 1824, a Methodist church, Elizabeth Church, was dedicated in her name. In 1898 construction was begun on a new Methodist church, located a few feet from the then still standing Russell home. That church, Madam Russell Memorial United Methodist Church, stands today as a monument to Mrs. Russell, the region's earliest religious leader, and to the pioneer Methodist Movement in the Holston Territory of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. In present day Saltville, there now stands a beautiful stone building named 'Madam Russell Methodist Church.' Nearby is a replica of the original log cabin where the Russell's had lived. This is owned by the church. The stone doorstep of the church is said to have been the hearth in the Russell cabin.

— Madam Russell by Gladys Stallard


  1. ^ The History of Seven Mile Ford, Virginia Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  2. ^ "Elizabeth Henry Russell". Retrieved January 18, 2019. Land was given for use as a public cemetery and it still bears her name-the Elizabeth Cemetery in Saltville, Virginia.
  • William Russell and his Descendants by Anna Russell des Cognets, Lexington, KY, 1884.
  • William Russell: a Revolutionary patriot of the Clinch Valley by Mary Katherine Thorp, Master's Thesis, University of Virginia, 1936.
  • Madam Russell Methodist Church,
  • Madam Russell by Gladys Stallard
  • Saltville by Jeffrey C. Weaver
  • "Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell: Champion of Faith in the Early Republic" by John Kukla, Virginia Women: Their Lives and Times--Volume 1
  • Taking Heaven by Storm: Methodism and the Rise of Popular Christianity in America by John H. Wigger

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