Green River Cemetery

Russell Family Memorial Angel

The Russell family Memorial angel is an iconic monument in the Green River Cemetery. It is a twelve foot tall white marble relief of an angel with spread wings. It is in the Victorian section flanked by benches and shrubs. The inscription on the monument is 'Russell' and "Twas an angel visited the green earth and took the flowers away." This is from Longfellow's The Reaper and the Flowers. The monument was designed and carved by Daniel Chester French, one of America's foremost sculptors and the creator of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Russell family was perhaps one of the most important in the history of Greenfield's development and benefactors of Green River Cemetery. John Russell, son of Major John Russell from England, formed the J. Russell Cutlery Company on the banks of the Green River. He and his brothers, Nathaniel, Charles and Francis, operated the town's first industrial complex, contributing to the construction of homes, roads and affiliated businesses. Nathaniel owned the mills in Factory Hollow. John E., son of John, was a member of Congress in 1886 and was invited to join President Cleveland's second cabinet, but declined. Charles P., a pastor, reared Charles, Jr., who along with Solon Wiley, founded the Wiley & Russell Manufacturing Company, Greenfield's first major manufacturing firm and one of four firms to form Greenfield Tap & Die in 1912. Nine generations of Russells have lived and worked in Greenfield, making major contributions to the town's industrial and civic growth.

This memorial was commissioned by Lucia Whitman Russell to commemorate her ancestors.

Massachusetts Historical Commission,1984