Biography of George H. Russell
Rensselaer County, NY Biographies





Russell, George H., was born August 13, 1848, in Rochester, Windsor county, Vt., of New England stock, his ancestors having come from northern Massachusetts into New Hampshire and then into Vermont in the days when the State was first settled. George H. Russell, on the first day of the opening, May 7, 1859. commenced work as a cash boy in the branch store in Albany of Ubsdell, Pierson & Co. of New York (now W. M. Whitney & Co.), continuing until the spring of 1863 when his parents removed to Pittsfield, Mass. His time there was spentin part at the High School of thetown, afterwards in a store connected with the woolen mills of L. Pomeroy's Sons, thence he went as superintendent of the mills run by Sarsfield & Whittlesey, and then was for a time in the employ of the American Express Co. In 1867 he returned to Greenbush with his parents. His father was for nearly forty years in the employ of the Boston & Albany Railroad, and at the time of his death, in 1889, he was one of the oldest conductors connected with the road. This connection was the reason for various changes of residence, one of which was a two years' stay in Boston, Mass., in 1854-56. Returning from Pittsfield and having finished a course at the Albany Business College, George H. was for one year in the employ of Hinckley & Lewis, a worthy pair of ex coaster captains from Cape Cod, who were for a long time in business in the city as shippers and forwarders in connection with the Eastern markets by vessels, the shipment of lumber and other products of the West, being consigned to them and, here transferred, to the schooners which they chartered. This was in 1868 in the last days of the Yankee coasters which formerly crowded the docks of the city. He was next employed in the office of the tobacco factory of Benjamin Payn, leaving this to go to Westfield, Mass. An illness caused him to give up his position, and returning to Greenbush in November, 1871, he entered the employ of Charles R. Knowles, who was then, as now, doing a very large fire insurance business as manager of several companies of New York State, headquarters at Albany. In 1874, after eight months spent in travel in the Western and Southern States, he made a connection with Mr. E. J. Knowles who had been appointed manager for the State for the Western Assurance Company of Canada, which was continued to the present time. In 1878 the firm of Knowles & Russell was formed for the transaction of the fire insurance business locally, and this connection also continues in force. They have represented a large number of companies, and have built up a large and profitable business as a result of persistent effort and intelligent methods. In addition to the main office in Albany, Mr. Russell has an office in this village, and he is connected with various enterprises in both places. Mr. Russell is a pastmaster of Greenbush Lodge No. 337, F. & A. M., past high priest Greenbush Chapter No. 274, R. A. M., member of De Witt Clinton Council No. 22, R. & S. M., Temple Commandery No. 2, K. T. He is trustee of the Albany County Savings Bank, Albany Camera Club, and the Greenbush M. E. church. He has been trustee for the Fourth ward for two years, and was president of the village one term (renomination declined). He was married in 1875 to Miss Phebe A. Hermance, a descendant of the old Columbia county Dutch settlers. They have had two children: Mabel A., who was a graduate (and president) of the senior class of the Albany Female Academy in 1896; and Clarence H., who was a graduate of the (captain Co. A, Cadet Battalion, winners of the Guidon drill) Boys Academy in 1896. Mr. Russell has resided for twenty one years at No. 14 Third street where he has a delightful home, and he has also a summer cottage at Viseher's Ferry on the Mohawk.

From:
Landmarks of Rensselaer County
BY: George Baker Aaderson
Published By: D. Mason & Co. Publishers
Syracuse, NY 1897


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