Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Lillian Lee Craddock (Mrs. Hardee) Russell, 1875-1937
By Andrew Kern, student, University of Oklahoma
Lillian Lee Craddock was born on March 17, 1875 in Winnsboro, Texas. Information on Lillian Craddock prior to her marriage to Hardee Russell on July 16, 1897 is scant. However, after marriage, Lillian Russell became a fixture in local and state politics and in the social circle of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Russell and her husband Hardee had seven children. The Russells appear in Wood County, Texas, census records for 1900 and 1910, but sometime around the end of 1914 the family bought a farm east of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. According to the Pauls Valley Democrat, the Russell family bought the former Kerr dry goods store in January 1915. Hardee Russell's dry goods store would remain a fixture in Pauls Valley for years to come.
It seems that the Russell family's stake in the local economy of Pauls Valley gave Lillian some amount of social clout, not only in Pauls Valley, but across the social and political sphere of Oklahoma. Her efforts in the campaign for Oklahoma women's suffrage were demonstrated most notably throughout the 1918 general election season when an amendment to Oklahoma's constitution was brought before voters on November 5th. In fact, she served as the Garvin County chair for the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association, a NAWSA chapter. An article in TheDaily Ardmoreite dated November 8, 1918 noted that Russell was the first chair in the state to report Garvin County's voter returns on the women's suffrage amendment. While assisting in the United War Work Campaign during World War I, Russell was elected as vice chairman of the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association on November 16, 1918.
Following this seeming whirlwind of activity for Russell, she almost immediately left for Oklahoma City in early December 1918 to seek treatment in a sanitarium as she had become "ill," possibly suffering from tuberculosis. By the end of January 1919, she returned to the city in good health. In September 1919, Russell was selected to serve on the ratification committee for Oklahoma, charged with advocating ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Oklahoma ratified the federal women's suffrage amendment on February 28, 1920.
Russell's life after her years of political activism took on a more relaxed pace although she continued to be active in local social circles. Perhaps, her mission accomplished, she returned to her passions of millinery and clothing. The Russell family's presence in the local personals of the Pauls Valley Democrat and the Daily Ardmoreite faded over time. In the 1930s, the Russell family settled in Hillsboro, a small town in her home state of Texas. Lillian Russell died on February 18, 1937, from complications with pneumonia. She was one month shy of her 62nd birthday.
Sources: Paul's Valley Democrat (Pauls Valley, Oklahoma), 21 January, 1915; Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Oklahoma), 8 and 12 and 16 November, 1918; Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Oklahoma), 12 December, 1918; Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Oklahoma), 21 January, 1919; Cherokee County Democrat (Tahlequah, Oklahoma), 10 September, 1919; McCurtain Gazette (Idabel, Oklahoma), 3 March, 1920; U.S. Census, 1900 and 1910, Winnsboro, Wood County, Texas; U.S. Census, 1920 and 1930, Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma; "Texas Deaths, 1890-1976," FamilySearch.org, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GB98-SGXM?i=2916&cc=1983324, accessed 15 November 2018.