Russell Lassiter Brown was born in Warren County, TN in 1842. He was the 2nd child born to William Sanford Brown (1821-1908) and Nancy Dykes Brown (1821–1908). His siblings were Jackson Van Buren Brown (1840–1910), James K. Brown (1844–1918), William Almond Brown (1847–1926), Norris Burr Brown (1849–1941), Mary E Brown Hillis (1852–1898), Hezekiah Wesley Brown (1854–1925), Susan Morton (1858–1910), Leander Virgil Brown (1861–1940), and Annie D. Brown (1864–1884).

At the outbreak of the War, Russell was living in Grundy County, TN. He and his older brother, Jackson Van Buren Brown enlisted into Confederate service on May 18, 1861, in Company “H” of the 16th TN Infantry. During the Kentucky Campaign, Russell and his brother were both wounded at the Battle of Perryville and taken to the hospital in Harrodsburg. Russell states that he was shot through the left hip and witnessed his brother being wounded during the fighting. He was captured and exchanged at City Point, VA in 1863. While in captivity, he had a “long spell of fever while there.” Says he was sick with the fever during the Cheat Mountain Campaign and fought in the Battles of Franklin and Nashville. After the Battle of Nashville while in Columbia his feet were bleeding, and he headed home. He states that a Yankee bought him some shoes.

After the conflict in 1908, he married Sarah Jane Lockhart (1860-1953) of Grundy County and together they had several children. 

Russell passed away at his home in Grundy County on May 14, 1932 from a sever foot infection after being bitten by the family hog named charlie. He and his wife, Jane are buried at Browns Chapel Cemetery in Palmer, TN. His wife was the last widow of the 16th Tennessee to file a pension.