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Richard Brevard Russell

Richard Brevard Russell, 1907-1916
Chief Judge: 1913-1916

RICHARD B. RUSSELL served on the Georgia Court of Appeals 1907-1916 and on the Georgia Supreme Court 1922-1938. He was Chief Judge of the Appeals Court and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was born in Cobb County, Georgia, near Marietta, April 27, 1861, and died December 3, 1938.

At age 18 he was graduated from the University of Georgia and the following year from the Law Department of this university. He served on the Board of Trustees, for 13 years as Chairman of the Board. He was admitted to the Bar in 1880.

He married Minnie L. Tyler of Barnesville, Georgia, who died three years later. Three children were born, but none survived infancy. On June 24,1891, he married Ina Dilliard of Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Fifteen children were born of this union. See the memorial dated September 5, 1939, in 188 Georgia Reports, pages 869-895 for details. One of his sons became Governor and later a U. S. Senator; another a Presbyterian minister; and a daughter married a U. S. Congressman.

At age 21 he was elected to the Georgia Legislature, served six years, and authored bills establishing the Athens public schools and the Georgia State College for Women; elected Solicitor-General and later Judge of the Western Circuit; was one of the first three judges elected to the Georgia Court of Appeals. He is the only Judge elected to head both courts. While on the Court of Appeals he would study and leave many important cases on his desk until the final ten days of the deadline or the end of the term. He would then begin dictating to relays of stenographers over 20 hours each day, then sleep on the couch in his office three to four hours, and then go on again. While on the court he made an unsuccessful race for Governor.

Among other words of praise some have called him "a fine companion, a devoted husband and father, an orator of surpassing eloquence, a superb scholar in both law and literature." He possessed "erudition, acumen for technical skill...A passion for justice made him an ideal Judge."