Monday, 11 May 2015

Russell Cassell (1903-1994) and Agnes Coburn (1903-1966)

Russell Gerald Cassell was born on April 26, 1903 to William George Cassel and the former Agnes Snider.  He grew up on his parents' farm north of Elkhorn, MB.where they were a family of 4 girls and 2 boys.  Russell married local teacher Agnes Coburn in the twenties.

Russell and Agnes had a daughter Merle Lyla (pictured above) and went to Napanee, Ontario, the birthplace of his father, to work for the better part of a year.  They then returned to Manitoba but this time to the Two Creeks area where his parents had relocated to.  Russell and Agnes went on to have 1 son and 6 more daughters and spent time living and working at Burnbank, Kirkella and Elkhorn.  He farmed, worked on the coal docks and did carpentry work.  Russell worked building the Rivers Airport, according to his youngest daughter Allie in his biography in the 1982 Elkhorn History Book called Steel and Grass Roots. 
Russell Cassell and his daughter Merle Boulton in the 1950's

 Russell Cassell with his grandsons - namesake Russell on the left,  baby Randall and Richard - 1960

Randy remembers his Grandpa coming to build the cabinets above the TV in their home in the 60's.

Agnes Coburn was born in Maybole, Scotland on January 18, 1903 and came to Canada in 1907 with her family.  Her brother Bill had previously immigrated and settled in the Crandall area of Manitoba. Another brother James and her sister Mary (with husband Duncan Shaw) lived at Abbey, Saskatchewan where both had farms and families.  Agnes drove the horse drawn school van and went on to graduate from Normal School and teach at Oak Lake and later Burnbank, where she would have met Russell. A busy farm wife with 8 children - how did she ever manage?

Agnes passed away on April 1, 1966.
Found on

Russell carried on alone as a widower for almost 30 more years.  Many birthdays, Thanksgivings and Christmases and a few Cassell Reunions were enjoyed by the extended family at Grandpa's house in Elkhorn.  The above photo was taken there at his 90th birthday celebration in 1993 with Frank Boulton on the left and grandsons Richard, Russell and Randy behind him.  He passed away on May 1, 1994, exactly 28 years after his wife.  They are buried together in Elkhorn Cemetery, a life's work well done. Their legacy continues today with dozens of descendants with special memories of them.

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