Shortly after Ficklin departed, Russell penned some derogatory statements about him to Joseph Roberson of the firm’s St. Joseph office. Ficklin chanced to read them and fired a telegram to Russell: “Send a man for my place damned quick.”
Angered and unappreciative of the rudeness, Russell took him at his word and told his partners to put J. H. Clute in the job. The feud now blazed merrily. Russell’s instructions were ignored, so he asked for a board of directors meeting, to take Ficklin’s resignation. Waddell said no, for the company couldn’t get along without him. To this Russell replied that it was either Ficklin or himself, and in the latter event would his partners please arrange to sell his stock?