Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Francis William “Frank” Russell (1864-1950)

Railwayman, community activist.

Born at Hastings, Sussex, England on 19 December 1864, he came to Winnipeg in 1885 after apprenticing in the writing and newspaper business in England. In Winnipeg, he worked for more than 50 years in the land department of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the last twenty of which he was in charge of the Winnipeg office. He retired in 1930. He was an Independent candidate for Winnipeg in the 1932 provincial general election.

For “meritorious service to the church,” Russell received a Knighthood in the Order of St. Gregory (civil division), an honour conferred by the Pope since its creation in 1831. Active in the local Catholic community, he was a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, Third Order. He was also associated with the Catholic Truth Society, St. Joseph’s Union, Catholic Club, Catholic Action Council, and Catholic Year Book. His professional relationship with the Northwest Review where he worked in an editorial capacity began in 1886. He was also active in the Newman Literary Guild, Moderation League, school defense committee, University of Manitoba Board, and child welfare work. On 21 February 1887, he married Mary Corwin at Winnipeg and had two children: Leo Russell (1887-?) and Francis Joseph “Frank” Russell (1894-?). They later resided at Suite 1 - 85 Kennedy Street (Rideau Hall).

He died at his Winnipeg residence on 13 October 1950 and was later buried in a family plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery.


Birth [Leo Russell & Francis Joseph Russell] and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

“88-year-old pioneer dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 August 1948. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 26]

“F. W. Russell, 85, Winnipeg resident of 65 years, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 October 1950, page 6.

Winnipeg estate files (ATG 0025A), #42646 Francis W. Russell, GR4874, Archives of Manitoba.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 2 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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