Biography - Jonathan D. Bruce

JONATHAN D. BRUCE. The family to which our subject belongs boasts a name that is famous in Scottish history. A lineal descendant of the Scottish Kings, the branch of the family to which our subject belongs emigrated to America early in the eighteenth century and became possessors of large tracts of land in Virginia. Their relations there were with the people whose names are so intimately and prominently connected with the Colonial period of American history; the Reeds, Birds, Pendletons, Lees and Bruces were co-workers in Colonial times. Like the majority of Virginia families the scions of their family spread out like the rootlets of a tree through the Southern and Central States, that to which our family belongs settling in Tennessee.

Benjamin W. Bruce, the father of our subject, was born in Bedford County, Tenn., December 25, 1800. Our subject's mother was in her maiden days Miss Elizabeth Tull, another good old name which figures in Colonial history. She was born in Bedford County, Tenn., November, 23, 1805. They removed to Shelby County, soon, if not immediately after they were married, settling here in 1828, in Windsor Township on Sand Creek, and were among the earliest pioneers in that portion of the country. Mr. Bruce, Sr., was a farmer by occupation. The social bond at that early day was kept firm by their church relations. Both he and his wife were communicants of the Christian Church and were ardent workers in the same. Their last days were spent in Windsor Township, the father passing away in the spring of 1861. His wife survived him by a member of years, her decease occuring January 20, 1875.

One almost wonders that among the manifold duties incident to pioneer life which included not only baking and brewing and making of garments for the members of the family, but also the carding and spinning and making into cloth, of wool and cotton, that our subject's mother had time to rear nine children and give to each of them the training which, as a conscientious and Christian woman, she felt she owed them. This, however, she did and of the brood of little ones that gathered in the old-fashioned kitchen about the fireplace, our subject was the fourth child in order of birth. He was born in Windsor Township, this county, April 11, 1833.

He of whom we write was reared on the home farm in Windsor Township and remained with his father, assisting with the care and cultivation of the farm until he was married, which auspicious event took place August 19, 1852. He was united to Miss Elenor B. Herod, who was a native of this county. She has borne him eight children. Their names are, Clinton D., Samantha A., George F., Addie M., Estella B., Maude H., Charles O. and Clarence C. Samantha A. is now the wife of George Garvin; Addie is the wife of James Moberly; Estella B. died when little more than an infant; Maude H. is the wife of John W. Moberly.

Mrs. Elenor Bruce died in Windsor Township, January 8, 1875. The first home of our subject after his marriage was located on Sand Creek; there they remained for one year and then removed to Windsor, of which he was the first inhabitant, there building the first house. His settlement in Windsor was made in 1856. He was also proprietor of the first hotel in the village. It was known as the Windsor Hotel, and this he conducted for about three years, after which he was engaged in the mercantile business with John H. Whitstone. They continued in partnership for about three years at the expiration of which time Mr. Bruce sold out his interest and with the proceeds purchased a farm in Moultrie County, which, however he soon disposed of. During his residence in Windsor, our subject was engaged in farming, uniting with this the stock and grain business, in which he was a large dealer for several years. He afterward operated a large grain store in company with Charles Voris. Later including H. F. Smyser and Levi Wilkinson in the partnership they continued to carry on the grain and mercantile business until about 1872. They also opened a bank, in which they did a good business in connection with their store.

Since leaving the partnership above referred to, he of whom we write has engaged exclusively in farming and dealing in stock. He is the owner of about four hundred acres of good land located on section 36, just outside the city of Windsor. Upon this farm he has a charming residence which he has erected on the point nearest the village. His farm boasts of the best of improvements and is a conspicuous feature in the agricultural district of the vicinity. Mr. Bruce has been an important factor in the building up of the town of Windsor, and the inhabitants owe him much for many conveniences that make them so closely allied to larger cities.

Our subject was a second time married in Windsor to Miss Mary A. McAmant. Their nuptials were celebrated May 9, 1876. The lady was born in Ohio. She has presented her husband with two children — Robert B. and Elenore E. The latter died when ten and a half years old. In his political preferences Mr. Bruce is a Democrat, in that following the traditions of his family. He has taken an active part in religious affairs, having been a member of the Christian Church since 1857 and has filled the office of Deacon for about twenty-five years. The body with which he is united owes much to his generosity and executive ability.

Extracted 09 Apr 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 496-498.

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