American Silversmiths

John Russell
Hannah Sheldon
John Russell
Electra Edwards
John Russell


Family Links


1. Juliana Witmer

John Russell
  • Born: 30 Mar 1797, Greenfield MA
  • Marriage (1): Juliana Witmer on 15 Feb 1830
  • Died: 27 Dec 1874

  General notes:

Silversmith and jeweler

  Events in his life were:

  • Apprenticed about 1810 to John Russell in Greenfield MA 3
  • He worked about 1825-1830 as a silversmith and jeweler in Augusta GA 3
  • He worked in 1830-1860 as a manufacturer in Greenfield MA
  • Letter Letter from Benjamin Hoxie to his wife in Northampton MA
    Private Collection

    Greenfield Feby 14 1847

    My Dear Wife

    Perhaps you may think it strange that I write you so soon but I can not think of any thing else to do besides the day seems to wear away rather tediously. I do not know as stay here more than a few days longer unless Mr. Russell can give me some different work than I have been doing. He had no work that would bring me anything like supporting a family except grinding and for a month or two I could earn not much more than my board yet a man that has worked at it six or eight months will earn from $1.25 to $2.00 a day according to the kind of knives he has to grind. I thought I would try it a spell as he seemed very much engaged in the matter. He even told me he wanted I get master of the whole trade of grinding and finishing which he thought I might do if I liked the work and then he would give $1.50 a day to take the charge of grinding shop which I do wonder at for the present incumbent is not much more fit for it than I am or than I would be after I had worked at it a couple of months, but I very much doubt being able to work as it for it brings me in same position as shoemaking, besides I had worked but two days before I had such a pain in the pit of my stomach that I could not sleep at night. Saturday morning I told Mr. Russell of it. Says he I am very sorry for that for some of his men who bid fir to make the best workmen were obliged to quit the business solely on that account (I believe my paper is greasy for I can hardly make a mark in some places) He advised me to not do much yesterday and see if it would not leave me. I took his advice and today do not feel much of it. I think by not working very hard I may overcome it if not working a few days this week it still grows worse instead of better I shall quit it for I rather have good health with 50 cents a day than $2.00 s day and such pain as I have had for two days constantly. Of course you may look for me home the latter part of this week unless I can some other work, yet I hope it will not come on again for I like the work dirty as it is (the tanners trade is hardly a match for it). The work is not really hard for one used to hard work as I am, but it is the sitting in bent posture that is going to kill me if it uses me as it has done to commence with.

    I have a very good boarding place. There is six of us with two boys. The family consists of a man and his with 7 children who were formerly from Whately. The woman is what you may call a jolly soul, the board is very good, good enough the only trouble so far is that new work worries me so that I cannot eat as much as I would like to some meals particularly dinners.

    I bought a pair of overalls before I commenced work and the next day night I bought me a roundabout for I thought it a pity to spoil my coat in that dirty place for the hands told one that by the time I worn it to the shop a fortnight I should be ashamed to wear t into the street in the evening and now think as much for the water, mud & dust is all over the building in every nook, crack & crevice. My old cap & tan yard close would just the sort here but I shall try & get along as well as I can till I come home & then if I stay here I can fetch my old duds up here. I think I may come home in a fortnight from last if not sooner. I have had a talk with Mr. Russell about Melroses going to work for him. He says he has no kind of work that he could or would do . I think so myself for the work that M would do is done by boys who work for $1.04 a year and board themselves. You see that would not pay his board as for going to grinding he would not work two days, He would sooner work for some farmer for $6 a month and his board.

    Tell Ned I should like to see him very much and the folks I live with have got a parcel of girls about the size of Auntys and one of these is about his age and has got blond hair.

    My Love to yourself as much as you please. I feel very lonesome when it comes night even among all the children and boarders for cannot help thinking home all the evening. Mother here as they call her says she thinks I am homesick because I donít talk much & eat not half enough to keep starvation off, but I donít know but I eat as much as ever.

    I must close for the room is getting full folks

    N. B. let no one see this for I am ashamed of the writing & composition. My respects to enquiring friends

    Fondly & Affectionately Yours

    B. B. Hoxie

    You need not think strange if I come home this week

  • He appeared on the 1850 census taken at Greenfield MA, listed as a cutlery manufacturer.
  • He appeared on the 1860 census taken at Greenfield MA, listed as a cutlery manufacturer.

John married Juliana Witmer on 15 Feb 1830. (Juliana Witmer was born on 11 May 1813 in Lancaster PA and died on 1 Nov 1885 in Greenfield MA.)

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