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Fossil Creek Station was established as a point to load rock used for construction along the Kansas Pacific rail line in 1867. It was named for a nearby creek. A depot was built, along with dugouts for the workers.
A group of people in Ripon, Wisconsin, established a colony on January 17, 1871, for the purpose of emigrating to Kansas. A small contingent of three men cam to Kansas in February and decided that the area around Fossil Creek Station would be a suitable place to settle; they sent for their fellow colonists who arrived at Fossil Creek Station on April 19, 1871. An election was held on May 2 to decide the name of the colony and Russell was the name picked by the majority of the settlers.
The Rip on Colony, also known as the Northwestern Colony, organized a town site company called the Northwestern Company. This company organized the Russell town site on June 13, 1871. It was officially named the county seat by the governor in 1872, but Bunker Hill also wanted the county seat. After a year and a half of legal maneuvering, an election was held in which Russell was declared the county seat in March 1874.
The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.
Bowman, Larry G. "Russell County Settlement and Economic Development." M. A. Thesis, Fort Hays Kansas State Teachers College, 1959.
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