Edwin G. Russell

Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada

First Postmaster of Prince Rupert shown as W. G. Russell in Post Office Archives

I can not find any info on a W. G. Russell in Rupert in 1906/7
but I am now thinking Post Records have an error in the first Initial.
It is not the first time I have seen an error like this.

I think this is really E. G. Russell.
Mr Russell was a very important man in the area at this time, since he was the negotiator for the land here, with the Coast Tsimpsean Natives at Old Metlakatla.
He spent a week in negotiations, and settled on $7.50/acre, for 13,519 acres. Without his efforts, Charles Hays wouldn't have a City here.
The sad part of the story, besides the treatment of the Natives by the GTPR, is he committed suicide, on his way out of Rupert on a steamer, heading to Victoria and home.
Below is his Bio and info I found on his life. I am having trouble finding his family, after his death. Suicide in a family can be a traumatic thing to handle.
I didn't want him to disappear from history though.

Edwin G. Russell
very possibly his full name was Edwin Gilmar Russell.
b- ca 1860 in St. George, Charlotte, NB (alt- St John, NB)
d- Apr 26, 1907, on Wharf, in Prince Rupert, ca age 47

Funeral was at Rockford Ill, May 3, 1907,
He was buried where his 3 children that died before him, in a cemetery in Rockford.
He was a resident of Freeport ILL
He had lived with his wife and son for 2-3 years at Victoria, prior to his death.
His remains arrived from Vancouver, May 3, 1907, to Rockford.
Service was held at home of the former Mayor, E. W. Brown.
2 special cars brought dignitaries of the Grand Trunk railroad to the funeral.

  • Frank Watrous Morse, VP and GM of GTR, was one,
  • Adolph Butze another, General Purchasing Agent of the GTR,
  • Senator Daniel Gillmor of Montreal, (July 1, 1849 – February 22, 1918)
  • George Alexander McNichol, Pacific Coast Purchasing Agent,

who accompanied the body.
New York Central's VP, William J. Wilgus (1865-1949) also attended.

Edwin's wife lived at Oak Bay, Victoria BC, when he died, and his son was attending high school there, when they were told of his death.
The Princess May steamer brought his body south from Rupert.
He was an expert Telegrapher, at an early age, Shown as a train dispatcher when he was married in 1880.
son of Edwin R. Russell and Mandana A. (Maridana Gilmore?)
married Mina “Minnie” B. Valpey, Oct 6, 1880, in Lynn MA
b- ca 1860 in Lynn MA, shown age 21 in 1881
daughter of Joseph Hodges Valpey,
b- 1923-d- 1910 (he was son of Richard and Mary Valpey)
and Abby F. (alt- Addie) Valpey, nee ?

When age 24, he is shown in Truro, Nova Scotia, in 1881 census
with his wife Mina, age 22
He is shown as a Bookkeeper
1871 father shown as Edward, age 43 in NB, a Surveyor
sister Mary (May?) Russell, age 18, in NB
sister Julia Russell, age 16, b- NB
then his brother A. Ludgate Russell, age 9, b- NB
and then his youngest brother, Daniel E. Russell age 7, NB
Edwin shown age 13 here.

July 11, 1905 he owned some mining claims in the Telkwa area
Shown as E. G. Russell of the Grand Trunk Railway
Just before his death he was quitting the GTP and pursuing his personal business interests.

Aug 3, 1906 he left Victoria to Prince Rupert, on steamship Amur, and with him was his son Charles Russell.
He was to be absent from Victoria for some time.
so it does appear he had an office in Victoria at this time.

Archibald R. Russell was a Clerk in the PO, in 1910 in Prince Rupert, relative?
One source says in 1897, a G. E. Russell was the First Representative of the GTPR, on the Pacific Coast,
another couple sources say his name was E. G. Russell who was the confidential agent of the GTPR on the west coast.
E. G. is correct spelling.
He negotiated for the land at Digby and Kaien Island
1906 paper says he was E. G. Russell, Executive Agent of the GTPR

1899- Mr. Edwin G. Russell has accepted the position of Superintendent of the Morris and Essex division of the D. L. & W. Railroad, succeeding Mr. A. Reasoner.
Mr. Russell was associated with President Truesdale on the Minneapolis & St. Louis, where the latter gentleman was receiver of that road.

Mr. Edwin G. Russell who was, until September 1st, 1901, General Superintendent of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, Scranton, Pa.,
has been appointed Manager of the Intercolonial Railway, with headquarters at Moncton. N. B., in place of Mr. David Pottinger,
who is to be Chairman of the new railway association to be created by Parliament.

He was known to have been, one of the most prominent railway men in New York State
He entered the railway business in Monkton NB
Came back to Canada in 1904.
Survived by his widow, 2 children, and a brother Daniel Russell, from Buffalo in 1907

Edwin's brother- Daniel E. Russell
b- 1864 in NB
married Annie McBean, Feb 23, 1890 in Detroit Michigan
b- 1867 in Canada
1915 census shows Daniel as a Vice-President of a Coal Company
which was the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Coal Company
b- in Canada, age 51,
wife- Anna “Annie” M. McBean, b- in Canada, age 50
daughter- Jean E. Russell, b- in NY, USA, age 17
daughter- Anna Russell, b- in NY, USA, age 17, Twins?
Mother-in-law- Mary E. McBean, b- in Canada age 84
cousin- William D. Holt, b- in Canada, age 30, Civil engineer
all living at 551 Richmond, Buffalo, Erie, NY

Apr 27, 1907 Chicago Illinois paper had this article- E. G. Russell, Executive Agent of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in British Columbia, committed suicide at Prince Rupert yesterday by shooting himself. Charges of mismanagement of the company's affairs recently preferred against Russell were being investigated. It is supposed this preyed upon his mind. The suicide occurred, on the wharf where the steamer on which Russell was preparing to journey to Victoria was lying. He was walking toward the gangway when he drew a pistol and fired a bullet through his head. The body was placed on board the steamer to be taken to Victoria. The deceased was well known in this city, having lived here for about two years and during that time he was Superintendent of the Illinois Central. From here he went to Dubuque, where, after a few years' service with the same company, he resigned. From that place he went to Watertown, N. Y., where he took charge of the Rome and Watertown division of the New York Central.' Shortly afterwards he was offered an increase of $4,000 in salary to undertake the remodelling and reorganization of the Lackawana lines from Buffalo east. He started upon his work, but methods and tactics were so radical that dissentients soon arose and the managers of the east found it necessary to ask for his resignation. His next position was that of superintendent of the Grand Trunk Pacific railway, which is at the present extending its lines west from Winnipeg to the coast, and it was while working for this company that he committed the rash act. It is very probable that the remains will be brought to Rockford for burial, as three of his children died and are buried at that place. This happened just previous to his coming to this city. The deceased was a native of Nova Scotia and was married there, although his wife's family now reside at Detroit. Mrs. Russell was here on a visit last summer, and while in the city she was the guest of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Little. Mr. Russell was a man about 45 years old, and was considered a first class railroad man. While in this city he was a staunch member of the First Baptist church, and will be recalled by the members of that congregation. It is about sixteen years since the deceased left this city

After reading this I think the Post Master was this man, and he quit just a few days before he died.

Dec 1906 he returned to Victoria for a month
He had 250 men working at the site building wharfs and various buildings.
The Townsite lots were not to be put on sale, until Sept 1907.
He was to be in charge of the sale of these lots as well.
He got into trouble when he promised some Japanese Emigration Co., X number of jobs for Japanese immigrants, but did not have the authority to do so.

Edwin's 2 children, that I found:
daughter- Edith G. Russell
b- Sept 22, 1890 in Chicago, Cook, IL
she was attending a ladies seminary in Hamilton ON, when her dad died.
son- Charles L. Russell
b- Jan 28, 1892 in Chicago, Cook, IL (Jan 27, 1892 in WWI draft record)
Attending High School at Oak Bay Victoria when his dad died.
Mechanical Engineer when he was drafted, living in St. Louis
working for Wagner Electric Mfg Ltd.
shown married

per article above he had 3 children, that died before him.

1900 Edwin Russell family living in Scranton, ward 13, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania

Last minute search I found the family in Buffalo NY in 1911 which makes sense as Daniel Edwin's brother lived there.
his wife is shown as Elina here, age 43
Edith- age 19, and Charles- age 18

Edwin's son Charles L. Russell
might be the Charles Russell in 1930-1940 in Chicago IL
right age, shown as a Electrician with the Railroad, age 48 in 1940.
wife- Dessie Russell nee Sunderland, age 45, b- in Illinois
son- Charles E. Russell, age 21, b- in Illinois
daughter- Shirley Russell, age 15, b- in Illinois
mother in law- Christine Sunderland, age 77, b- in Norway
his WWII draft form shows him b- Feb 9, 1893
so maybe not right guy?
He was with the B&O Railway

Mar 19, 1903- Mrs. E. G. Russell left Rockford Ill, about the first of may, to go to Chicago, with her daughter, and was expected to live with Miss Maud Russell
she rented her house to a Mr. Frank Waldele


  • Last modified: 2017/11/12 09:12
  • by dlgent