History of Thomas Russell

Who was Thomas Russell?

Thomas Russell was born in Ireland on August 20, 1834. Thomas had to work while attending night school. Upon completion of school, he became a First Mate on a whaling ship, and often spoke of his travels to Hong Kong and the Hawaiian Islands. He immigrated to Canada from Ireland, settling in Boston before arriving in San Francisco by boat around the Horn. He lived in Milpitas for 45 years.

According to Margaret Chian who was his grand-daughter, Mr. Russell was very proper, stern, and well mannered. Education was very important to him. Mr. Russell had all his children learn to play the piano and hired art teachers to come to the house to teach the children to paint. He encouraged his children to go to college. It was unusual for girls to go to school in the 1800's, but he pushed them to be educated.

Mr. Russell raised Percheron horses. His ranch included the land where our school is located and also the land around TRMS, all the way to the “Great Mall”. His house in Milpitas was located on Main Street. Thomas Russell died June 15, 1917.