Russell Sturgis (1750-1826) was the second son of Thomas Sturgis (1722-1785) and Sarah, or Sally (Paine) Sturgis of Barnstable, Massachusetts. In 1773 he married Elizabeth Perkins. In or before 1771 he moved to Boston and started in the hat and fur trade. It is interesting to note that his name appears in the first Boston directory, published in 1789. He was a close friend of Gilbert Stuart, who painted three portraits of him.
Russell got his start in the hat and fur trade by apprenticing to his wife’s grandfather in Boston at age 16. He served in the Massachusetts milita, and was active in public affairs; fire warden in earlier years and worked as a representative for Boston in the Massachusetts state senate. "Sturgis's two brothers-in-laws were notable China traders. In 1795 Sturgis joined them in ownership of a new ship, the Grand Turk, which was sent to Canton in March 1796. When the Perkins brothers opened a branch office in Canton in 1803, Sturgis invested substantially, and three of Sturgis's sons subsequently voyaged to China. In 1818 all three were involved in the opium trade as partners in the firm of James P. Sturgis and Company." information from Wiki