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Isaac Russell correspondence

Identifier: Vault MSS 497

Scope and Contents

Materials primarily contain correspondence between Russell and his family and letters to and from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also includes some correspondence between Parley P. Pratt and his family. Most of the letters are originals, except for a string-bound typescript copy of some letters dealing with Isaac Russell, the originals of which are not contained in the collection. Dated 1828-1893.


  • 1828-1893


Conditions Governing Access

Condition restricted; permission to use materials must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services. Patrons should use color copies.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical History

Isaac Russell (1807-1844) was an early Mormon convert in Canada and served in the first mission of the Church to England.

Isaac Russell was born at Windy Haugh near Alston, England, April 13, 1807. In 1817 his family emigrated from England to Canada, settling in Little New York (Toronto). On June 25, 1829 Isaac married Mary Walton. He built a home in the Charleston Settlement (now Downsview, Ontario), and worked as a carpenter there. In 1836 Parley P. Pratt met and baptized Russell's sister, Isabella Russell Walton. After hearing Pratt preach the gospel in the Dawson home, Isaac and his family were baptized along with several others, including John Taylor, Joseph Fielding, and John Dawson. Russell and his family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, soon after baptism, and from 1837-1839 he served in the first mission to England in the company of Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Joseph Fielding, John Goodson, and John Snider.

On April 26, 1839, after their move to Far West, Missouri, Russell and all his family and relatives and many others (91 in total) were cut off from the Church by Sidney Rigdon. When the Saints left Far West, Russell, his family, and many others who were cut off, remained in Far West. Russell was imprisoned in the Richmond Jail for contempt of court, and was sold as a slave because he would not deny his religion. He was freed by a Mr. Raglan, but only after Russell insisted that he work for Mr. Raglan in exchange for the amount that Mr. Raglan had paid to set him free. Mr. Raglan lived in Ray County on the Woodward farm where Russell moved his family while paying off his debt. While working in the Crooked River Bottoms of the Missouri River, he contracted swamp fever and died, on September 25, 1844.


14 folders (0.3 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in four series: 1. Russell family correspondence, 1831-1860. 2. Correspondence with Mormon leaders, 1837-1888. 3. Typescripts of Isaac Russell correspondence, 1837-1843. 4. Pratt family correspondence, 1841-1893.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Collection was purchased by the BYU Library in 1987.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; 1987.


History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon and Western American Manuscripts Collection Development Policy V.B.5.a, 2020)

Existence and Location of Copies

Scanned color copies, and transcriptions of materials are in Folder 8-14.

Related Materials

For related materials, see also the Samuel Russell Sr. and Jr. collection (MSS 1511).

Processing Information

Processed; Paul C. Russell and David J. Whittaker; 1990.

Input into Archivist's Toolkit; Leslie Evens; 2011.

Revised and updated; Ryan K. Lee; 2013.

Register of Isaac Russell correspondence
Under Revision
Leslie Evens
2011 October 28
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States