Kentucky native William Edward Russell (1839-1890) came to Texas in the 1850s and worked his way to the Big Bend region, where he traded along the Chihuahua Trail and had a store at the Horsehead Crossing of the Pecos River. Russell became a prominent landowner, rancher, merchant, farmer and silver miner in the Presidio County/Northern Mexico region. He acquired property along the Old River Road between Candelaria and Presidio and founded the settlement of Ruidoso, where he constructed irrigation ditches and set up a mill. He held several county political offices, including commissioner and sheriff. He and his wife, Maria Tomasita Rodriguez, had seven children, four of whom lived past young childhood.