The family has several lineages from the New England families, William Huntington Russell being a prominent figure from this family, was the descendant of Rev. Noadiah Russell who is the founder and original trustee of Yale College.
William Huntington Russell is said to be the founder of the Yale University secret society Skull and Bones. He also served as a Connecticut Legislator from 1846 to 1847. He is also known for his active involvement in the formation of the Republican party.
With its tentacles spread out in the education system, this family is said to recruit potential bright and intelligent candidates for Masonic organizations.