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Lecture: The Lost Tugboat Family: The Russells of New York Harbor, 1844-1943
The Lost Tugboat Family: The Russells of New York Harbor, 1844-1943
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 | 7:00 PM | Wooden Boat School Classroom
$5/person | HRMM Members FREE
Hilary Russell Jr. will discuss his book Tugboats and Shipyards: the Russells of New York Harbor: 1844-1962, bringing to life the extended Russell Family, who have worked in New York shipping and shipbuilding since 1844. This story begins when Arthur Russell arrived in New York City from England in 1844 and established a successful sail lighterage business. In the next generation his eldest sons, Frederick and John, moved from sloops to tugboats and established the Newtown Creek Towing and Russell Brothers Towing companies. They also acquired land in Long Island City along Newtown Creek at Hunters Point where they built their own tugs and steam engines, including the Russell 1, the last wooden-hulled tug built in NYC. That boat, now named the W.O. Decker, is docked at the South Street Seaport Maritime Museum in Manhattan. As well their tugboat business the Russells build in their three shipyards a variety of commercial and military vessels. Russell Tug captains, through memoires and interviews, recount the joys and trials day-to-day life as they worked the harbors, rivers, canals, Great Lakes, and the Atlantic from Maine to Virginia. Along the way, Hiary brings the Russell family alive — fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters.
Hilary Russell, Jr. directs the Berkshire Boat Building School and teaches at WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine; Yestermorrow Design/build in Waitsfield, Vermont; the Riverport Wooden Boat School in Kingston, New York; and at his shop in Sheffield, Massachusetts. WoodenBoat magazine, Messing About in Boats, and Adirondack Life have published his articles. He is also the author of the book Building Skin- on-Frame Double Paddle Canoes
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