The Russell Family
An historical and photographic perspective

The Russell Family in Powell River, British Columbia, Canada

Robert, Ron, Joy, Winnie and Agnes (Ethel)
The Russell Family, Powell River, B.C., Canada, Dec. 1936

Powell River was named after Dr. Israel Wood Powell, British Columbia's first superintendent of Indian Affairs (1872-89). He originally came to BC in 1872 during the Cariboo gold rush and was instrumental in bringing British Columbia into Confederation. In 1881, Powell was traveling up the BC coast in a ship named the Rocket, and when a short river draining a large lake was spotted on the coastline, it was decided that the site would be named in his honour. Hence, Powell River, and Powell Lake. The establishment of logging camps in the Powell River area in the 1880s was a precursor to greater economic things. Powell River became a regular stop for the ships of the Union Steamship Company. Between 1910 and 1912, a pulp and paper mill was built on the waterfront by the Brooks, Scanlon and O'Brien Company. After purchasing the pulp lease owned by the Canadian Industrial Company and the water rights of Powell Lake from the Pacific Coast Power Company, the Powell River Paper Company was formed in 1909 by Brooks and Scanlon. In 1910, the company was renamed the Powell River Company. The first roll of saleable newsprint went off Number One paper machine in April 1912. By 1930, the mill employed more than 2,000 workers, and had become the largest newsprint mill in the world. - from

London to Montreal

Agnes, Winnie and Joy emigrated from London to Montreal aboard the Canadian Pacific Line SS Montnairn in November, 1927 (the SS Montnairn was previously called the Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm and had quite an interesting history).  On Tuesday, November 8, 1927, Robert Russell sent a Ship to Ship Marconigram from the SS Maidenhead to his wife aboard the SS Montnairn: To Mrs. Ethel Russell, passenger, SS Montnairn. Due Montreal early Thursday morning. Try arrange break... Will meet you. Will wire again. Bob. His wife and children passed through Canadian Immigration on November 11, 1927, in Quebec City. Robert would continue to serve as First Mate aboard the Maidenhead for another couple of years and as Captain aboard the Fair River before retiring from the Merchant Marine and coming to live full-time in Powell River.

SS Montnairn c 1927
SS Montnairn, Canadian Pacific Line, 1927

Powell River, British Columbia

Ron Russell, c 1928
Ron Russell, 1928

Roy Drury and Joy Russell, Lane's Studio, Powell River, c 1930
Roy Drury and Joy Russell
Lane's Studio, Powell River
c 1928. Roy and Joy were cousins
Violet Joy (Bunty) Russell, c 1934
Joy (Bunty) Russell c 1933


Agnes (Ethel), Winifred and Violet Joy probably moved to Powell River, B.C., Canada soon after landing in Montreal in 1927 (Ron had already moved to Powell River in 1926 and was probably living with the Drury's). Robert retired from the Merchant Marine and moved to Powell River in 1929.

Powell River Pulp and Paper Mill, c 1929
Powell River Pulp and Paper Mill, c 1929
By 1930, the mill employed more than 2,000 workers, and had become the largest newsprint mill in the world. - from

Wall Street Crash!

Wall Street Crash, October 29, 1929
Wall Street Crash, October 29, 1929


Joy Russell and ? Sorensen, Lund, B.C. c 1933
Joy Russell and a Sorensen (?), Lund, B.C. c 1933

Winnie Russell c. 1931
Winnie Russell c. 1931


The Moose Pirates

The Moose Pirates, Powell River, BC
Winnie Russell (middle) and Ron Russell (right)


Paper Queen, Powell River

The crowning of the Paper Queen, Powell River, B.C., Canada, 1934
Left to right: Winnie Russell, Sis Morris, Vera Lowes (Queen) and Lorna McDonald

Winnie Russell

Winnie Russell, Dec. 1936
Winnie Russell, Dec. 1936

Joy Russell

Joy Russell, c 1937, Campbell Studio, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joy Russell, c 1937
Campbell Studios, Vancouver, B.C.

Joy Russell with dog
Joy Russell with dog

Agnes "Ethel" and Robert "Bob" Russell

Agnes (Ethyl) Russell and Robert Russel
Agnes (Ethel) and Robert (Bob) Russell in Powell River, BC, c. 1938


Joy, Winnie and Ethyl Russell
Joy, Winnie & Ethel Russell
Sealion Caves, Oregon c 1938
Lillie Sorensen and Ron Russell
Lillie Sorensen & Ron Russell
Powell River, BC, c 1938
John Waugh and Joy Russell
John (Jock) Waugh & Joy Russell
Powell River, BC, c 1938

Winnie Russell married John (Jock) Waugh in Powell River on June 29, 1938


Brooks High

Grade 12, Brooks High, Powell River, BC, Canada, 1939
Brooks High, Div. I, Grade 12, Sr. High, 1939
Joy Russell (front row, second from the left)
Other names from back of photo:
Noreen McSauaney, Lorraine "Harp" Harper, Don Woodruff, Eric "Peeky" Peek,
Joan Lyons, Jack Cowley, Dave Nuttall, Frank Mannion, Roger Taylor, and Robin Leese


Ron Russell & Lillie Sorensen

Ron Russell married Lillie Byriel Sorensen (daughter of Per Laursen Byrjil Sorensen and Olga Cecelia Nielsen) in Powell River on June 30, 1939. They had two children: Kenneth and Philip (1949-2010).

Read more about the Sorensen family in Lund


Jack Drury

Jack Drury Passes Away After Short Illness
Jack Drury Passes Away After Short Illness


Agnes "Nana" Russell, c. 1940


Joy Russell, c 1940
David J. Martin Studios, Vancouver, B.C.

Joy Russell, c 1943
Joy Russell, c 1943

The Russell Family during World War II

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