Not according to this book:
From this it is clearly seen that the editor and publisher of Zion’s Watch Tower disavowed any claim to being individually, in his person, that “faithful and wise servant.” He never did claim to be such,” (“God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached,” 1973, p. 346).
But, this contradicts Watchtower December 1, 1919, p. 357 where the watchtower states Russell did in fact claim to be the Faithful and Discreet slave. “Thousands of the readers of Pastor Russell’s writings believe that he filled the office of ‘that faithful and wise servant,’ and that his great work was giving to the household of faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation,” (Watchtower, Dec. 1, 1919, p. 357).
Russell called himself "God's mouthpiece" (WT 1906 July 15 p. 229) and stated that if didn't speak ... the stones would cry out.
Recognizing Russell as someone who inherited all of Christs belongings was an early test of fellowship according to investigative reporter Mr. Ellis :
"The acceptance of Russell as 'that servant' was made a test of fellowship among his followers, we are told, by the written statement of some who had been of that number, but who subsequently joined the large procession that is steadily falling away from 'Pastor' Russell.
This fact gives point to such statements as the following from a 'souvenir' of one of Russell's convention trips, in- dorsed by a fac-simile of his signature: 'If any oppose the Lord by opposing the Channel (i. e., The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society) and the Servant (i. e., Russell) the Lord has delegated to do his work, to that extent he loses the favor, the Spirit of the Lord; light becomes darkness, and he is soon outside.' - All About Russell, Cook pg. 13
Looks like Russell saw himself as some sort of Pope or Christ Substitute and this belief was some sort of "test of fellowship" FROM EARLY ON. This is a very different portrait than how he was described to me when I was growing up as a 4th gen JW.
Of course JW's still have this virtually identical "test of fellowship" don't they?