Lee M. Russell

Lee Maurice Russell (November 16, 1875 – May 16, 1943) was a Mississippi politician.

Lee Maurice Russell
Lee M. Russell.jpg
40th Governor of Mississippi
In office
January 20, 1920 – January 22, 1924
LieutenantHomer H. Casteel
Preceded byTheodore G. Bilbo
Succeeded byHenry L. Whitfield
18th Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi
In office
January 18, 1916 – January 20, 1920
GovernorTheodore G. Bilbo
Preceded byTheodore G. Bilbo
Succeeded byHomer H. Casteel
Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives
In office
Member of the Mississippi Senate
In office
Personal details
Born(1875-11-16)November 16, 1875
Lafayette County, Mississippi
DiedMay 16, 1943(1943-05-16) (aged 67)
Jackson, Mississippi
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Ethel May Day

He was born in Lafayette County, Mississippi and later attended the University of Mississippi. During his time as a student, he was the leader in a movement to abolish Greek fraternities. Russell graduated from the university in 1901 and enrolled in the University of Mississippi School of Law. After completing the course, he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Oxford, Mississippi.

Russell was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1907 and to the Mississippi State Senate in 1909. In 1912, he successfully passed a bill prohibiting secret and exclusive societies at the public institutions of higher learning. The law stayed on the books for twelve years.

Russell was elected to the office of lieutenant governor in 1915 and elected governor in 1919. His term was marked by crop failures due to the boll weevil. Russell also filed an antitrust suit against several fire insurance companies for their business practices.

In 1923, he was sued for seduction and breach of promise by his former secretary Frances Birkhead.[1] Russell was acquitted and he blamed the lawsuit on the fire insurance industry.

Russell was unable to run for re-election due to the term limits in the Mississippi constitution at that time. He retired to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. There he sold real estate for a period prior to returning to Jackson to practice law until his death on May 16, 1943.[2] He is buried at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson.


  1. ^ Sansing, David G. (1999). The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History. University Press of Mississippi. p. 206. OCLC 39811709.
  2. ^ American Political Leaders 1789–2009

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Theodore G. Bilbo
Democratic nominee for Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Henry L. Whitfield
Political offices
Preceded by
Theodore G. Bilbo
Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Homer H. Casteel
Preceded by
Theodore G. Bilbo
Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Henry L. Whitfield