Oliver Magnell is, with one exception, the oldest established merchant in South Manchester, where for forty
years he has conducted a custom tailoring business. Coming here in 1868 he was the first native of Sweden to
take up residence in town. He has never sought public office and while interested in civic affairs has never
been a political partisan.
Mr. Magnell was born in Brunskog, province of Wernieland, Sweden, November 20, 1839. After attending the public schools he became a tailor's apprentice, and at twenty finished as a journeyman in one of the trade guilds of Christiania, Norway.
While in Copenhagen, Hamburg, London and Paris, he cultivated his faculty for foreign languages which he turned to advantage in later years. In 1868, Mr. Magnell came to the United States. After spending one year in Chicago, he returned to New York City. Here he accepted a proposition from the late William H. Cheney to take charge of the tailoring department which Mr. Magnell purchased a year later.
For several years he did business in the old Spencer block on Main street, south of the old Cheney store. Later he moved to the building corner Main and Eldredge [sic] streets. In 1890 he built the Magnell block on Main street, in which he is now located and where the Magnell News company has its quarters.
In 1869 Mr. Magnell married Miss Ellen Lyons. There are six children in the family, the Rev. Oliver T. Magnell, pastor of the Sacred Heart church at Wethersfield, Miss Maria C. Magnell, of South Manchester, James M. Magnell, of Rockville, Leo D. Magnell, of South Manchester, Charles J. Magnell, of Los Angeles, Cal., and Alfred E. Magnell of New Britain, Conn.
Mr. Magnell has been a close observer of events and has had a part in the development of Manchester. He has exercised a quiet conservative influence among his countrymen. By his fellow citizens he is held in high regard for his close attention to business, for his geniality and integrity. He is daily at his post of duty and by his thoroughness and fidelity won an enviable place in the esteem of the community.