William Fiero Russell

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William Fiero Russell, New York Congressman

William Fiero Russell (January 14, 1812 – April 29, 1896) was a U.S. Representative from New York.


He was born in Saugerties, New York on January 14, 1812 to Jeremiah Russell. He completed preparatory studies, and then became active in several businesses, often ventures in which his father also had an interest.

He was the founder and president of the Saugerties Bank. He served as postmaster of Saugerties from October 19, 1836, to January 25, 1841. Russell was a member of the New York State Assembly (Ulster Co., 1st D.) in 1851.

Russell was elected as a Democrat to the 35th United States Congress, holding office from March 4, 1857, to March 3, 1859.

He was appointed as Naval Officer of the Port of New York City in 1859, and he served until 1861. (U.S. ports were run by three political appointees—the collector, naval officer (or navy agent) and surveyor. These individuals were responsible for assessing customs duties on incoming cargo and ensuring payment to the Department of the Treasury. Because they were paid a percentage of duties collected as well as a portion of the fines levied for attempting to evade customs, and because employees of the customs houses were political party loyalists who were expected to contribute to their party, the collector, naval officer and surveyor positions were sought after political plums.)

After leaving the Naval Officer's post Russell returned to his banking business.

He died in Saugerties, New York on April 29, 1896. He was interred in Mountain View Cemetery.


New York Assembly
Preceded by
Milton Sheldon
New York State Assembly
Ulster County, 1st District

Succeeded by
Jacob S. Freer
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rufus H. King
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
William S. Kenyon

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.