William Augustus Russell was born in Vermont on 22 April 1831. In 1852 he started manufacturing paper in Exeter, New Hampshire. That same year he moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts and continued to manufacture paper. He entered into a life of politics in 1869 when he became a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1869. For the next sixteen years he remained embroiled in the country’s politics, finally ending his political career with six years in Congress. After leaving Congress he returned to the manufacture of paper. In Boston, during the winter of 1899, Russell died.