Biography of William Russell

William Russell, Manager of the Manufactory of Gurney, Russell and Co., of Dundas, was born in the Township of Ancaster, within one mile of Dundas, May 18, 1837. His father, John Russell, was born near Glasgow, Scotland, coming to Canada in 1835. His mother, whose maiden name was Janet Smillie, was also from Scotland. When William was a small child the family moved to another part of Ancaster, eight miles from Dundas, where our subject aided his father in clearing two farms in the dense forest, in what is now known as the “Scotch Block,” picking up, meanwhile, such knowledge of the elementary branches as the country schools could furnish. Subsequently, by private effort, he secured a good practical education. Continuing to farm until twenty-two years of age, he then commenced traveling for agricultural houses, and continued to follow that business for sixteen years, his field of operations being what is now the Province of Ontario.

From 1874 to 1877, Mr. Russell was a member of the firm of Forsyth and Co., manufacturers of agricultural implements and machines, on the same grounds and buildings, since enlarged, now owned and used by Gurney, Russell and Co., which latter firm commenced operation here in the last year just mentioned. It is connected with the firm of E. and C. Gurney and Co., of Hamilton, the largest stove manufacturer in the Dominion. At one time they manufactured grain drills, sulky hay rakes, straw cutters, and horse powers, as well as mowers and reapers, but they have cut off everything but single reapers and single mowers, employing about fifty men, and doing a business from $75,000 to $80,000 a year. Their machines are known as the “Harvest Queen Reaper,” and “Planet Mower,” being of their own invention, and very popular among farmers. They seem to be aiming to maintain the superior quality of their harvesting machines, and will not put out an inferior article on the market for the sake of competing with the cheap and frail class. Their machines embody a great many prime qualities, and are about as near perfect, seemingly, as anything of the kind found in the hay or harvest field. As they are the original inventors of the Harvest Queen, and hold letters patent for it, and warrant their work, there is no opportunity for purchasers to get deceived or cheated. The same may be said of the Planet Mower, which is getting to be a strong favorite with the farmers. Both machines have received the strongest testimonial of numerous parties, who have used them. The shops and yards of Gurney, Russell and Co., cover about three acres of ground on Halt Street, and are usually the scene of great business dispatch. The best of workmen are employed, the best of material is put in their machines, and hence the durability and excellence of their work. Few men in the Province of Ontario are more extensively acquainted among the farmers or know better what they need in the line of reapers and mowers than Mr. Russell, and he finds a ready market for the machines, mainly in Ontario, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island. Mr. Russell has the entire management of the Dundas business, and having the disposition to “push things,” the sale of the machines here manufactured is increasing steadily from year to year.

He married Miss Sarah Elizabeth Blain, of East Flamboro in February, 1868, and they have two children. The family attend the Canada Methodist Church, of which body Mr. and Mrs. Russell are members and liberal supporters.



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