Russell Shaw was born April 19, 1781 in Rensselaer County, New York to Susannah and Anthony Shaw IV. Russell married Johanna Reynolds on February 16, 1800. Russell and Johanna and their children, Sylvester and Susan, arrived in what is now Brown County, Ohio in 1802. After their arrival in Brown County, Russell and Johanna added to their family.
In 1816, Russell Shaw purchased 200 acres of land at what is now State Routes 62 and 125 in Jackson Township, Brown County, Ohio. He established the town of Russellville and sold 36 lots of land. He donated the land for the public square and cemetery. At the first meeting of an elected Russellville town council in 1854, Russell Shaw was chosen to serve as town treasurer, a position he held until his death.
Russell first made his living as a blacksmith. He also worked as a farmer and owned a general store. He and his brothers, Asa and Peter, built steamboats in Ripley, Ohio. Russell was a member of the Christian Church in Russellville and a member of Mason Lodge No. 71 in Ripley.
Johanna Reynolds Shaw died April 30, 1864. Russell Shaw died July 21, 1864. They are both buried in the Russellville cemetery.
On August 31, 1930, a monument to Russell Shaw, donated by Russellville and Ripley businesses and Russell's heirs, was dedicated. The monument is located in a park in the Russellville town square. The inscription reads,