Dr. Russell was born Manley Holland Russell on August 2, 1873 in Saline County, Arkansas, the son of James Thomas and Margaret Muir Russell. Manley Russell attended school in Saline County until 1894 when he decided to enter the Methodist Ministry.
Mr. Russell served the Methodist Church for one year on a trial basis in Camden, Arkansas. In 1895, he decided his true calling was medicine. He entered medical school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1901 and studied until 1903 when he was licensed by the State Medical Board of Arkansas.
Dr. Russell moved to New York City upon being licensed to practice medicine for post graduate work, a surgery internship, and medical research. Once his internship was completed in 1903, Dr. Russell returned to Arkansas and settled in Star City, approximately fifty miles outside of Little Rock.
Star City, a small rural farming community, welcomed Dr. Russell’s practice which filled a great need for local medical services. Dr. Russell served his community as a true country doctor for 32 years. He always provided his patients medical care at any time of day or night regardless of weather or holidays. If his patients were unable to pay, they could pay when they were able to or, at times, paid with their farm products, eggs, meats, or vegetables.
During 1903, Dr. Russell met and married Alma Ligon, daughter of William Thomas and Sally Angeline Shackelford Ligon. Dr. Russell and his wife Alma continued to reside in Star City and over the years both became leaders in the community.
Dr. Russell ran for Arkansas State Senate in 1903 and was unsuccessful. The word about town was Dr. Russell’s services as a doctor was more valuable to Star City than serving in the Arkansas State Senate. He remained active in the community by serving as president of the school board and held several offices for the medical society both local and state.
He served as Medical Examiner of Woodmen of the World working closely with Dr. Blackwell and Dr. Clark of Pine Bluff. During his tenure as Medical Examiner, Dr. Russell earned an honorable mention from Liquid Peptoinids Pharmaceutical. In 1975, Dr. Russell was honored and his biography was presented at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Arkansas Medical Society.
In 1905, Dr. Russell was ordained as a Methodist Church Deacon assisting elders during church services and a teacher for men’s bible study. His other passion was writing. Dr. Russell followed his passion and wrote a political and medical column for the Arkansas Gazette for several years.
Alma Russell was also very active in the community. She taught music for Star City Schools and held music classes in her home. She played piano for the Methodist Church while Dr. Russell served as a Deacon. Both Dr. Russell and Mrs. Russell enjoyed working with and spending time with the community elders and the youth of Star City.
Over the year’s, Dr. Russell and Alma’s family grew to nine children, two girls, Angie Margarite and Edna Kathleen, and seven boys, Manley Holland Jr., Allen Ligon, James Thomas, Woodrow Wilson, Francis Abner, Ross Leon, and Harold Douglas. They enjoyed family time and Sundays participating in Methodist Church services.
Dr. Russell passed away on October 25, 1935 at the age of 62, and was buried in Star City Heflin Cemetery. After Dr. Russell’s death, Alma and her children relocated to Hawthorne, California. Alma passed away in 1970 and is buried at Inglewood Cemetery in California.
Both Dr. Russell and Alma loved to spend time with family and community friends. They both dedicated their lives to helping others, living life to its fullest with dignity and purpose.
Education, serving their communities, and helping others has been an important legacy for Dr. Russell’s family. His children and grandchildren have followed in his and his wife’s beliefs.
Angie Margarite studied general education and was licensed by the State of Arkansas in 1924 as a teacher.
Edna Kathleen was a Registered nurse. Her two daughters, Cheryl Ann Hollifield, is a professor in higher education, and Hope Kathleen Regetti earned a degree in psychology. Her son William Claude Hollifield is a physician.
MH Jr. became the president of Henderson University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. His daughter, Rita Serebreni is in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor and educator.
James Thomas worked for Cotton Belt Railroads. He had two children, James Jr. teaches art and is an internationally known sculptor in the medium of stainless steel. James Jr. has commissioned sculptors across the U.S. and Europe. James’ daughter, Jo Ann, is retired from the position of Senior Station Manager for Hertz Corporation.
Francis Abner was a dental technician and had two children, Marsha Gail Russell, a Licensed Social Worker, and Franz Allan Russell was a hospital administrator.
Harold Douglas coached youth sports and managed real estate. He had three sons: Ross Holland and John Allan are Spacecraft Technicians for Ball Aerospace and Boeing. Michael Douglas Russell is a retired Business Unit Asset Manager for Raytheon Corporation and has written a number of published articles and a book for the National Property Management Association.
Ross Leon served in the U.S. Navy and was injured during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. He later finished his work career at San Diego School District in California.
Woodrow Wilson owned an automotive repair shop in Hawthorne, California and passed away from his illness.
Allen Ligon contracted an incurable kidney condition at the age of sixteen and passed away from his illness.
Dr. Russell had 15 great grandchildren. James Russell Jr. has three children, Brady James, Holly Ann, and Banny Wayne Russell, and Jo Ann Lloyd has two children, Beverly Sue Wilder and Brenda Gay Davis. Rita Serebreni has two children, Tara Ann Lechtenberger and Michael Russell Serebreni. Marsha Gail Russell has one child, Franz Michael Spitzer, and Franz Allan Russell has two children, Lindsey Lorene Russell and Michael Allan Russell. Hope Kathleen Regetti has two children Tara Kathleen Regetti and Rex Christian Regetti. John Allen Russell has two children, Cindy Lee Rebensdorf and Christina Louise Russell, and Ross Holland Russell has one child Daniel Roy Russell.