What’s in a Name: Russell Karns

In the Sherman Room, there is a collection of cards for the promotion of a Russell Karns from third grade through eighth grade in the Mansfield, Ohio, Public Schools.  Using tools like Ancestry.com and other resources available in the Sherman Room, we are able to get a glimpse into the life of Russell.

Birth Records show Russell Elmore Karns was born 07 FEB 1897 in Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio to Jacob Loran Karnes and Cora Belle (Weaver) Karns.[1] [2]  Jacob and Cora were married on 01 JUN 1893 in Columbiana County, Ohio[3] and had one other daughter Marjorie Athena Karns, who was born on 20 AUG 1899.[4]  On 01 NOV 1901, Jacob Loran Karns, who was a popular postal clerk in Mansfield, died of blood poisoning when he was scratched by a brass tack.  According to the Mansfield Daily Shield, he had an impressive funeral at his home at 405 South Main Street.  City postal clerks, including many from out of town, came to pay their respects.[5]  On 15 SEP 1908, Cora married Abraham Hamlin Au[6], whose wife had died 05 JUN 1906 of tuberculosis.[7]  Abraham and Cora had at least one more daughter, Helen Elizabeth in 1910, but she died before turning 1 year old.[8]  The 1910 Census shows Abraham H. Au, Cora B. Au, Helen E. Au, Russell E. Karns and Marjory A. Karns living at 326 W. Fifth Street, Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio.

R Karns 1915

1915 Mansfield High School Annual

M Karns 1918

1918 Mansfield High School Annual

Russel and Marjorie both graduated from Mansfield High School, Russell in 1915 and Marjorie in 1918, and both siblings continued their education.  Russell first went to Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, OH, and then went on to graduate from The Ohio State University in 1920 with a B. A. in Arts.  Marjorie became a nurse graduating from St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH in 1921.

osu 1920

The Makio, 1920 OSU Yearbook

By 1930 Russell had made his way to California.  The 1930 Census shows him living in Redwood City, San Mateo, California with his wife Paula, daughter Dorothy, and sons Russell Jr. and Phil.  The listed occupation for Russell in the Census is mail carrier for the U. S. Postal Service, following in his father’s footsteps.  Russell lived the rest of his life in California, dying in San Mateo on 18 APR 1975.  His body was sent back to Mansfield and he is buried in the Mansfield Cemetery.



[1] Ancestry.com. Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
[2] Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
[3] Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
[4] Ancestry.com. Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
[5] The Mansfield Daily Shield, 04 FEB 1901, p. 8.
[6] The Mansfield Daily Shield, 16 SEP 1908, p. 2.
[7] The Mansfield Daily Shield, 05 JUN 1906, p. 8.
[8] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/87305191/helen-elizabeth-au


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