Marion Sloan (Russell) was born on January 26, 1845, in Peoria, Illinois. In 1852, Marion and her brother, Will, accompanied their mother, Eliza, on a trip to California going down the Santa Fe Trail. Due to a robbery in Albuquerque, Eliza did not take the children to California but instead ran a boarding house in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe. This was one of the five trips that Marion took on the Santa Fe Trail from childhood through her teenage years. In Santa Fe, Marion was one of the few Anglo-Americans to attend the Loretto Academy for girls. During her stay in New Mexico Territory, she met Kit Carson and French Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy.
Marion found her true love while she and her mother were living at Fort Union where Marion's mom cooked for unmarried officers. Marion married Richard Russell at the Fort Union Chapel in 1865 and spent her honeymoon at Camp Nichols in Oklahoma Territory. When Richard was mustered out of the army, they established a trading post along with partner Mr. DeHague at Tecolote on the Santa Fe Trail south of Las Vegas. After DeHague ran away with the store's money, the Russell family sold the trading post and moved to southern Colorado just west of Trinidad. Here they established a cattle ranch and called it Stonewall.
During the Maxwell land grant disputes, Marion Sloan (Russell)’s husband was shot while carrying a white flag of truce as he walked toward the hotel to have a meeting with the land grant committee. He died fi ve days later and was buried in the Stonewall Cemetery. Marion continued to raise her children and live on the ranch. In her later years, she went over the Santa Fe Trail again but this time in an automobile. Marion dictated her memoirs to her daughter-in-law, Winnie Russell, and this book is called The Land of Enchantment which gives the modern reader vivid descriptions of the Santa Fe Trail era. In 1936, Marion died of injuries from a car accident at the age of ninety-one and is buried alongside her husband in the Stonewall Cemetery.