Every man who follows up or starts a successful business in a town like Malton is doing good to the community by employing labour and encouraging the commercial advancement of the place.
Mr. Rose’s stout figure, erect carriage, and successful-looking face were known to everybody in Malton as those of one of the partners in a leading wine and spirit business, and there were several social causes in the town which found in him a friend. He was a trustee of the Malton Savings Bank, which did an extraordinary amount of useful work in encouraging thrift and providing the means of saving; a past president of the Malton Gala and of the Malton Choral and Orchestra Society; and a staunch worker for the Malton Agricultural Society. It is difficult for some of us, who only knew Mr. Rose in his later days, to realise that he was on eof the founders of the Malton Cricket Club (in 1862). For four years he was the treasurer of the club, and when Mr. James Tute took his place, in 1879, he was elected president. Between 1862 and 1876 he frequently played for the club; he was a hard-hitting bat, and a keen fielder. I believe that on more than one occasion he stood Malton in very good stead. For instance, at Driffield, in 1865, twenty-eight runs stood to his credit for very brilliant hitting, just at the psychological moment when Malton’s fate was in the balance.
Those who are interested in tracing the qualities of parents in their children will be quick to comment on the fact that Mr. Rose’s daughter has greatly distinguished herself as a lawn tennis player. Indeed it was only the exceptional ability of another lady which this year deprived Miss Rose of her proud position as lady lawn tennis champion for England.
If I were to give all the offices and business positions occupied by Mr. Rose, the list would be a very large one. He was a director of the Malton Gas Company, a member of the Local board of Health, a Justice of the Peace for the North and East Ridings, a devout churchman, and a member of the Camalodunum Lodge of Freemasons since 1862, acting as W.M. in 1872 and 1890.
Mr. Rose’s brother Edward, of the Uplands, also took a fairly prominent part in the affairs of the town. He was a member of the Local Board of Health, and was always in attendance at meetings held in support of the Conservative cause.
It was not always possible for some of us to take Mr. W.H. Rose precisely at his own value, still we looked upon him as a successful man of business attached to the town, and genuinely eager to help in works which were congenial to him.
SPECTATOR Maltonians of Bygone Days, IV, Yorkshire Gazette, 2 November 1912
When I began the first of these two series of biographical articles, I fully intended to write of the worthy women of Malton as well as of the worthy men, but until now I have not seen my way to include an example of the gentler sex, which by its sympathy, patient work, and proved capability in many fields of labour, is, I am glad to think, more and more coming to its own in our public life.
Miss Rowntree, who passed a large portion of her life in Malton, was most retiring in disposition, and her left hand did not know what her right hand did. She did not possess a large income; and she was without any great intellectual or social gift. But in spite of all these things she exercised in the town and neighbourhood a permanent influence for good, which is working actively yet, although she passed away nearly a dozen years ago. This event deserves a word more. Her illness, I was informed afterwards, was due solely to the fact that she had been too full of good works to pay the minimum of attention required to keep her own health in a proper condition. I always suppose that Dorcas (whose history is told in the Book of Acts) died because she was too busy sewing garments in a stuffy room to be able to get that fresh air and exercise which she needed. Certainly Miss Rowntree was so busy thinking of and working for others that it may be said quite truly that she gave her life for her sisters and brethren.
The subject of this article was born at Settrington, the second daughter of Richardson and Rachel Rowntree, who afterwards lived at No 7, The Mount, next to their elder daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs Henry Taylor.
Most of Miss Rowntree’s life was taken up with caring for her parents, and when this charge was at an end, there came another in the shape of a little mother-less great niece, who, however, died in her tenth year. In addition to these duties, Miss Rowntree worked for temperance, peace, and all other local objects connected with the social well-being of the town and district. Her countenance was always full of light, and her heart was beating continually for others. She had one of the best Mothers’ Meetings in Malton and Norton. She busied herself earnestly on behalf of the Bible society, of which for many years she was the secretary, and she often visited the Workhouse – never with empty hands. If anyone was in trouble – help was certain to come from her house. When other people were only thinking of doing something for a neighbour, she had already done it. Wet weather or fine, she tramped up to Ryder’s-square or into Victoria-square, or through Norton, doing good. Her house often sheltered needy folk, and she turned none away. People told her their troubles because she had such a wise and loving way with her. The poor looked upon her as an angel, and the rich like to have her in their homes because of her gentle presence, inviting them to unselfishness and love.
For long before she died I had placed her in my own special gallery of saints, along with St. Elizabeth of Hungary, the peace-making Catherine of Siena, Elizabeth Fry, and Catherine Booth. She stood first on the list, and perhaps the greatest thing that I can say about her is that if I had told her so, she would never have understood.
The Russell family has played a conspicuous part in the life of our town, its chief members having been millers and brewers for many years. Of the four sons of the late Mr. James Russell, each well-known in Malton and the district, the eldest, Mr. Henry Russell, and his family long continued a close connection with the Wesleyan Church. The second son, Major Russell, was the local leader in the volunteer movement, and was much missed when he died. Mr. George Russell, the third son, was one of the respected “fathers of our town,” for a long number of years exercising a real, if unassuming, influence. The fourth son, Mr. Alfred Russell, was distinguished by his inheritance of a fund of wit and humour of an absolutely irresistible character. He was a great favourite with children, and those parties which had his presence were the most popular in the whole town.
Mr. Alfred’s most striking characteristic was his wonderful power of mimicry. Those who saw and heard his personations would select as the very best that of a former vicar of St. Michael’s Church; the voice and the manner were perfect. Almost as good, however, was Mr. Russell’s imitation of Mr. John Hudson’s voice. Sometimes Mr. Russell would utter ridiculous or comic phrases, which, delivered in his friend’s most solemn and impressive manner, proved irresistibly funny. I am informed the strong friendship of the two men began when they rang together in St. Leonard’s Church choir for a number of years.
Mr. Russell’s love of fun was like a schoolboy’s. One instance told to me occurred when Messrs. Slater were in business at the top of Railway-st, Mr. Matthew Slater had brought from the gardens a sample of very fine apples, which he placed in a bowl in front of the shop. Mr. Russell and one or two of his friends happened at that very time to be in Mr. Wrangham’s office immediately opposite. Watching his opportunity Mr. Russell wrote and placed on the apples a notice, “Please take one!” – with the result that when Mr. Slater next looked at the bowl all the fruit had disappeared!
When Mr. Henry Russell used an office in St. Michael-st. he always kept a slate on his desk so that if he were away for a short time anyone who called could record the fact. Mr. Alfred looked in one day when his brother was absent and quietly wrote on the slate, “Captain Coppertwaite has called” (the Captain was then Earl Fitzwilliam’s estate agent). Immediately he returned Mr. Henry Russell saw the notice and hurried up to the estate office, where he was considerably perturbed when the Captain explained that he had never been to the office at all!
Mr. Alfred Russell could impersonate his brother George to perfection, especially in the way he imitated the manipulation of his eyeglasses and spectacles.
I have recalled these incidents in the life of a bygone Maltonian with the feeling that one of the greatest kindnesses a man can do to his fellows is to make them laugh! Certainly, among the faces we miss in our town, that of Mr. Alfred Russell comes very quickly to mind. He was frank and genial with everyone, and just as open-hearted as was his father before him.
Spectator, Maltonians of Bygone Days, XVIII, Yorkshire Gazette, 4th March 1911
c1836-1909 Death has removed another of Malton’s veterans in the person of Mr. Charles J. Russell, who has played an important part in the history of the town. Deceased, who suffered from cancer of the throat for some considerable time, succumbed on Wednesday morning, at the age of 73 years. He was the third son of the late James Russell, corn merchant, miller, and brewer, of Malton, in which business deceased was also engaged, being the principal of the present firm of Russell and Wrangham’s. Mr. Russell was a member of the old Board of Health, and also served on the Malton Council, of which body he was for many years chairman, and he also, by virtue of the chairmanship of the Council, sat on the Malton Bench of Magistrates. It was his interest in the Volunteer movement which brought him to the fore of public attention, however, and his career therein was a distinguished one. Joining the Malton corps on their establishment in 1860, he passed successively through the ranks of corporal and sergeant, until he was made ensign in 1869 on the retirement of the late Mr. Robt. Wise. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1873, and gained his captaincy in 1878. This rank he held until 9 September, 1887, when, owing to ill health he resigned, and his long service was acknowledged by the hon. rank of major being bestowed upon him together with the Victorian decoration. Major Russell was a crack shot, winning the Fitzwilliam Challenge Cup no less than six times. He married a daughter of the late Mr. J.L. Foster, the proprietor of the old “Yorkshire Gazette,” who, together with a small family, survives him.
Yorkshire Gazette, 29 May 1909
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