Filed Under Biography

Jacob Russell Grave

On the north side of South Park Boulevard, just east of Lee Road, there is a solitary grave which is the final resting place of an American Revolutionary War soldier--Jacob Russell. Next to the grave is a large stone with a bronze plaque commemorating Russell's life. The plaque, placed there in 1926 by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), is the oldest historic marker in Shaker Heights.

Jacob Russell was born in Connecticut in 1746. In May 1775, just weeks after the battles of Lexington and Concord, twenty-nine year old Jacob, who was married and had two young children at the time, enlisted in the 8th Company of the Connecticut Continentals. He served in this unit for five months and was discharged in October 1775. Little else is known of his Revolutionary War military service.

But the story of Jacob Russell did not end when his military service came to an end. Sometime around 1800, Jacob, his wife Esther, and their by then ten children moved west from Windsor, Connecticut to Jefferson County, New York, located on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. A little over a decade later, the family moved west again, settling in northeast Ohio in 1813. It was a dangerous trek in that year, as the United States was at war with Great Britain, and northeast Ohio was in the middle of the war's western front.

The Russell family survived the War of 1812, and were among the earliest permanent settlers of Warrensville Township. Among their neighbors was Daniel Warren for whom the township was later named. The 1820 federal census found the Russell family living in Warrensville Township, constituting 26 of the 133 persons counted in the census--almost 20 percent of the township population.

In 1821, at age 75, Jacob Russell died. It was said that his son Ralph was so distraught over the death of his father that he turned to religion for solace and became a member of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearance, better known as the Shakers. Following his conversion, Ralph Russell founded the Shaker North Union Colony on Russell family farmlands in what is now the City of Shaker Heights.


Honoring a Revolutionary War Soldier
Honoring a Revolutionary War Soldier On June 11, 1926, the Western Reserve Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) officially unveiled this bronze tablet honoring the Revolutionary War service of Jacob Russell. The tablet is attached to a granite boulder from the Russell family farm. At the ceremony, an invocation speech was given by a Civil War Veteran. Also present at the event were a great-great granddaughter and great-great-great grandson of Jacob Russell. Creator: Christopher Busta-Peck
The Grave of a Revolutionary War Veteran
The Grave of a Revolutionary War Veteran A view from the east of Jacob Russell's grave. Russell was an American Revolutionary soldier and the father of Ralph Russell, the founder of the North Union Shaker colony. The grave is located on the north side of South Park Boulevard just east of Lee Road. Creator: Christopher Busta-Peck
Ralph Russell (1789-1866)
Ralph Russell (1789-1866) Undated portrait of Ralph Russell, son of Revolutionary War soldier Jacob Russell and founder of the North Union Shaker Colony. Source: Shaker Historical Society
Land for Sale in the Connecticut Reserve
Land for Sale in the Connecticut Reserve This November 29, 1810 ad was placed by Lemuel Storrs in the Middlesex (Connecticut) Gazette. On April 30, 1813, Storrs, an apparent agent for the Connecticut Land Company, conveyed 473 acres of the advertised land in Warrensville Township (outlined in red) to Jacob Russell. These acres later became the original lands of the North Union Shaker Colony. Source: Middlesex Gazette
Russell family in 1820 census
Russell family in 1820 census This second page of the two page 1820 federal census of Warrensville Township lists five families related to Jacob Russell: families of Ralph Russell, Elisha Russell, Elijah Russell, Jacob Russell, and Chester Risley. Content Risley was a daughter of Jacob Russell. The Russell family accounted for almost twenty percent of the 1820 Warrensville Township population. Source: 1820 U.S. Census
The Russell family farm
The Russell family farm Lot 23 and 34 (outlined in red) of Warrensville Township constituted the primary farmlands of the Jacob Russell family. In 1813, Jacob Russell purchased these township lots from Lemuel Storrs. During the period 1815-1821, which ended with his death, Jacob Russell conveyed all of these lands to his sons Elisha, Ralph and Ebenezer, and his son-in-law David Benjamin. By 1852, the year in which the above map was created, all of these lands had been transferred to the trustees for the North Union Shaker Colony. The small red "x" denoted on Lot 23 is the approximate location of Jacob Russell's grave. Source: Shaker Historical Society


South Park Blvd and Lee Rd, Shaker Heights, OH | The grave lies 200 feet east of Lee Road.


Jim Dubelko, “Jacob Russell Grave,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 19, 2024,