Energy on the Angus Fisher Russell Farm and Glenelg, Northumberland County, New Brunswick

Figure 1a.  David MacFadyen, Francis MacNaughton, and Frank (or Francis) “Grampie” Russell putting hay in the 1850s-built barn on the Russell farm, Glenelg, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, Canada, ca. 1969.
This photograph and those that follow are used with the permission of Russell and MacFadyen family members.
Figure 1b.  Angus Fisher Russell

The Russell Farm in New Brunswick’s Northumberland County is an example of a Farmer-Fisher Energy Strategy in a Plurioccupational Coastal Agroecosystem. Angus Fisher Russell (b.1821/d.1896) was reported by the census enumerator as both a farmer and a fisher living and working in Glenelg, Northumberland, New Brunswick, in 1871.[1] His 120 acre, or 48.6 ha, farm was situated on the Miramichi River close to Napan. He married Jane Urquhart of Rose Bank, New Brunswick, in 1850.[2] Jane, however, had been born in Prince Edward Island.[3] The couple had seven children.[4] Angus fished with his younger brother Robert who, in 1871, lived on a neighbouring farm with their widowed and aging father Francis. The enumerator put down Francis as the head of the household, and also as both a farmer and a fisher, although Robert must have done a large share of the farming and fishing work. Francis’s farm was also 48.6 ha. Believing that Angus, Robert, and their father made their livelihoods by working together, we have combined the two farms (97 ha) to create this energy profile.

Figure 1c. Google Map of Napan, Glenelg, New Brunswick.

Figure 1d.  Angus Fisher Russell’s farm located near Napan Bay, New Brunswick.
Clip of Crown Grant Reference Map provided by Service New Brunswick.
Note: this map contains information licensed under the Open Government License, New Brunswick. Crown Grant Reference Map. 1inch: 10 chains: 660 feet. Fredericton, N. B.: GeoNB, 1964,

Farm Energy Funds*

In 1871, only 22.3 ha (23%) of the Russell family’s 97 ha were improved or cleared, with the remaining in woodland. Of the improved land, 1.2 ha was pastureland, 3.6 ha was hayland, and 2.0 ha was salt or dyked marshland. The remaining 15.5 ha was cropland. The ratios of these different aspects of the farm–improved land, pastureland, hayland, and salt or dyked marshland–were similar to the greater Glenelg census subdivision (CSD) which totaled 12,123 ha of which 2,064.3 ha (17%) was improved. Of the improved land, 656.2 ha was hayland, 361.8 ha was pastureland, 53.2 ha was salt or dyked marshland, and 993.1 ha was cropland. The average amount of improved land for each farm in the Glenelg CSD was 10.02 ha, almost the exact same as each of the two Russell parcels. However, the size of the average farm in Glenelg was 58.85 ha, 10.25 ha larger than either of the Russell parcels. The Russell family had a combined 35 cords of firewood on hand, whereas the Glenelg CSD had 4,586, averaging 22 cords per farm.

Figure 2a. Area Visualization of the combined Francis and Angus Russell farms in 1871 showing approximately 80 percent in woodland. Of their improved land, the Russells put more emphasis on crops than on hay and pasture.
Figure 2b. Area Visualization of the Glenelg CSD, Northumberland, New Brunswick. The land use is similar to the Francis and Angus Russell farms, with 83 percent in woodland or unimproved land. A marked difference, however, is that the improved land of the Glenelg CSD was balanced between crops on the one hand and hay and pasture on the other.

The Russells reported having one horse over the age of three, one colt or filly, seven milk cows, five other horned cattle, 21 sheep, and seven swine. These were similar to the types of livestock reported by all farmers in the Glenelg CSD. The Russell farm’s livestock intensity was 13.5 livestock units per km2 (LU/kms), and their grazing intensity was also high at 8.19 ruminants per ha of pasture. For the Glenelg CSD it was 1.0 and .61 respectively. The Russells’ livestock created deficits in both feed and litter. To address this, we assume that their animals consumed all of their fodder crops and pasture, a large amount of the crop residues, as well as purchased feed and litter. In contrast, the average farm in the Glenelg CSD had feed to spare, including about 15% of their hay and pasture (Fig. 3b). Therefore, the Russells most likely purchased hay from neighbours to meet their livestocks’ feed and litter demand. They may also have forest-pastured their livestock for some of the year.

Farm Energy Flows*

That same year, 1871, the Russell family’s combined farms produced eight crops–one bushel of peas, four bushels of spring wheat, nine bushels of turnips, ten bushels of buckwheat, 14 bushels of barley, 186 bushels of oats, 615 bushels of potatoes, plus seven tons of hay. In addition to the crops reported by the Russells, other farmers in the Glenelg CSD reported beans, corn, mangel-wurtzel, and carrots. The Glenelg CSD reported 1,297.5 tons of hay. Given the 206 farms in the Glenelg CSD, the average farm produced 6.3 tons of hay. The Russell farms reinvested more grain and root crop biomass as feed and litter than did the Glenelg CSD.

In 1871, the Russell farm had more livestock and slaughtered or sold more livestock animals than the average farm in the Glenelg CSD. The Russel farm had one horse over the age of three, one colt or filly, seven milk cows, five other horned cattle, 21 sheep, and seven swine. The Glegelg CSD had 44 horses over three, 5 colts or fillies, 152 milk cows, 117 other horned cattle, 453 sheep, and 54 swine. Given that there were 206 farms in the Glenelg CSD, the average farm had .2 horses over three, .02 colts or fillies, .7 milk cows, .6 other horned cattle, 2.1 sheep, and .7 swine. As well, three cattle, five sheep, and four swine were butchered on (or sold from) the Russell family farm, 300 pounds of butter and 55 pounds of wool were produced, and there were 72 yards of homemade wool flannel on hand. In contrast, the Glenelg CSD butchered (or sold) 48 cattle, 151 sheep, and 83 swine, produced 6170 pounds of butter and 614 pounds of wool, and had 831 yards of homemade wool flannel on hand. This means the average farm in the Glenelg CSD slaughtered or sold .2 cattle, .7 sheep, and .4 swine, produced 30 pounds of butter and three pounds of wool, and had four yards of homemade wool flannel on hand. Clearly, the Russell farm had an advantage over the average farm in the Glenelg CSD because of its greater livestock numbers, especially its seven milk cows and 21 sheep that produced milk, butter, wool, and homemade wool flannel, productions that if not consumed or used by the family, could be sold.


Farmers and fishers, the Russell family not only successfully farmed their 97 ha, but they also accessed the funds of the Mirimichi River on which their land was situated. More of their land was improved than was the land of the average farm in the Glenelg CSD, and of their improved land, they put a greater emphasis on crops than on hay and pasture. They had more livestock than the average farm in the Glenelg CSD which translated to feed and litter deficits. However, the feed and litter deficits for their animals were probably met by purchasing hay from their neighbours who had hay surpluses. Russell reported in Schedule 8–Shipping and Fisheries–of the 1871 Census that he had two boats, 300 fathoms of nets and seines, six barrels of Gaspareaux, and eight barrels of salmon on hand. Although Angus Russell did not report on Schedule 8 for himself, his share of the Russell fishery was probably included in what his father reported. In 2021, the Angus Russell farm is owned by two of Francis and Angus Russell’s direct descendants, first cousins to David MacFadyen who appears in Figure 1a, and Gary MacFadyen who appears with his brother David in Figures 6a and 6b. The 1850s barn still stands, there are outbuildings, and there are three houses, with the most recent being built in 2020. The original house, lived in by Angus Fisher Russell and his family, is gone.

Figure 6a. David MacFadyen, Gary MacFadyen, Frank (or Francis) “Grampie” Russell, and Molly in front of the 1850s-built barn on the Russell farm, Glenelg, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, Canada, ca. 1959.
Figure 6b. Gary MacFadyen with his grandfather Francis Russell’s (b. 1899/d. 1970) scythe. It may be that the scythe was passed down to Francis by a member of a previous generation.

* For an explanation of terms in this profile, see the farm energy profiles project home page.

< Previous Profile (VanWart)

Next Profile (Yuill) >

[1] “Angus Rufsell,” 1871 Census of Canada, RG31, C-10390, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), Ottawa.

[2] “R. A. Russell,” New Brunswick, Canada, Deaths, 1888-1938, Volume No. 23, 423075, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton.

[3] Angus Russell,” 1891 Census of Canada, T-6302, LAC.

[4] “Angus Rufsell,” 1871, LAC.