Family Stories

The Bruce Family of Lewis County, Kentucky

From History of Lewis County, Kentucky

The following sketches represent a few of Lewis County’s citizens:

John Bruce, whose wife was Elizabeth Clay, came from Virginia and settled in Garrard County, Kentucky, late in the eighteenth century.  From this marriage the following sons were born: General George W. Bruce, H. C. Bruce, Alexander Bruce, Constantine Bruce, Horatio Bruce, John Bruce, and Richard P. Bruce.

General Geo. W. Bruce, came to Lewis County in 1804 or 1805. He married a widow Garland in Virginia, in 1815. His son was Thomas H. Clay, who married Susan Crawford.  Their children were Perry G., who married Isabel Bruce, and Horatio, who died unmarried.  Colonel Geo. W., married Delia Stratton, daughter of Thompson N. Stratton, and resided on Kinniconnick, near the mouth of Spy Run.

 John Bruce, the son of John Bruce, of Garrard County, Ky., came to Lewis County in 1804 and engaged for a short time in the manufacture of salt on Dry Run, near Vanceburg.  The following are his children: Thomas Bruce, Mahala, who married a Mr. Jamison and went to Missouri; Therese, who married Mr. Gaw, and died without issue; Aristides, who was drowned; Patrick H. Clay, who is still living in Clay County, Kan.; Aaron B., Margaret, Andrew J., Alexander, who was the late Captain Alexander Bruce, of Forman’s Bottom, in Lewis County; and Robert, who died without issue.

John Bruce, was a representative of Lewis County in the General Assembly of Kentucky in 1823.

Henry Clay Bruce, came to Lewis County about the time of the arrival of his brother John, and, in partnership with Horatio Bruce and Joseph Morgan, operated the Ohio Salt Works, in 1809. On April 8, 1813, he was commissioned
as one of the justices of the county.  He married a Miss Mary Price, of Bourbon
County, and died in 1815 without heirs. It was the estate of H. C. and Horatio Bruce which was given in the Lewis County Court at $77,600, as shown in another chapter in this volume.

Horatio Bruce, also came with his brother from Garrard County, and continued for some time in the manufacture of salt after the death of his brother, Henry Clay Bruce. He married Eliza Beasley, of Mason County. There was born to them the following children: Elizabeth, who married a Mr. Weathers, but soon  afterwards died; Horatio, who went to Johnson County, Texas; Henry, who was a “’49er,” and died in California; Richard, who was an attorney-at-law in Mason County for a while, but finally went to Garrard County, where he died.

Constantine Bruce, the twin brother of Alexander, was the “Daniel Boone” of the family. He cared only for the dog and gun, and loved the chase more than the business pursuits of men.

Richard P. Bruce, married in Garrard County, and then moved to Indiana. His wife and children all died of fever and ague, and in 1830 he returned to Yanceburg, Ky. He married Sallie Cofrin, by whom he had two children:  Horatio, who is dead, and Robert, who lived in Forman’s Bottom. Richard Bruce had a small farm on Cabin Creek, where he died.

Alexander Bruce, the father of Hon. H. C. Bruce, of Vanceburg, came to Lewis County with his other brothers and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in Lewis County Court in February, 1818.

Washington Bruce, engaged in the sawmill and lumber business on Kinny. He was at one time justice of the peace in Lewis County, also sheriff, and was twice elected to represent the county in the Legislature in the sessions of 1821 and 1825. In canvassing the county in 1850, as a candidate for county judge, he contracted pleurisy, of which he died before the election was held.

Thomas J. M. Bruce, one of the sons of Alexander Bruce, lived in Stout’s Bottom until his death, March 18, 1896.

John L. Bruce, brother of Thos. J., also owns an adjoining farm in Stout’s Bottom, where he resided until the death of his wife, a few years ago. He now lives with his daughter, in Vanceburg. His children are: Alice, who married
John Brooks and moved to Kansas, where she still resides; and Minnie, who is the wife of John Cox, one of the leading merchants in Vanceburg.

Henry C. Bruce, the second son of Alexander Bruce, is in business in Vanceburg, having been continuously so since 1869. Before that time he was connected with steamboating, having gone on board Captain Thos. Redden’s boat, “Hunter,” as clerk, in 1836. He was on the river about thirty-three years before he settled in Vanceburg and became one of its merchants.

Samuel E. Bruce, who is now the trusted cashier of the Deposit Bank, whose photograph is found elsewhere in this volume. He was united in marriage to Josephine Smith, of Bourbon County, Ky.

Doctor Wm. E. Bruce, who married Pauline Jones, of Vanceburg, and is now practicing his profession in Silver Cliff, Nevada.

John L. Bruce, married Martha W. Smith, of Bourbon County, and is a prosperous attorney in one of the best legal firms in St. Louis, Mo.

Eliza Bruce Kline, is the wife of John Kline, of Garrison, Ky.

Thomas H. Clay Bruce, son of General Geo. W. Bruce, married Susan Crawford, and to them was born the following children: Thos. H. C. Bruce, who married Nancy J. Alley; Perry G., whose wife was Mary Logan; Nancy, the wife of Elias Sellards; Virginia, wife of Frank Staggs; Brunette, the wife of Professor John Keyser; and Susan, wife of Ralph Stone.

Captain Alexander Bruce, son of John Bruce, was born in Lewis County, Ky. He was a farmer and lived in Forman’s Bottom, above Quincy, until his death.  During the war of 1861-65 he was captain in a company of a regiment of Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and did good service for his country. After the war, 1869, he was elected representative of Lewis County, and served until 1871.

9 replies »

  1. I have recently been doing research research on the Bruce family. Thomas Bruce and Mary Cristian were my 8x grandparents through Thomas Bruce. The direct line follows through John, James,John,Horatio,Irene Collier Bruce, Lizzie Beasley, Sue Manning, Bruce Thomas (my father).
    In my search I discovered that Horatio’ s first wife Eliza Beasley and his mother, Elizabeth Clay Bruce died on the same day, February 24, 1832. My curiosity is peaked. Does anyone have any information on these two deaths?

  2. In the 1850 census., Andrew Jackson Mcallister and his brother George Washington Mcallister lived with Nancy Bruce Elliot. Do you know if they
    were related? Trying to find the Mcallisters Parents. I thought somehow they could be related to the Bruce’s. I know that Miriam Scott’s mother was a Bruce but how are they related otherwise. I know that A.J. married her but still cannot tie the rest together. Hope I made some sense! This is so confusing!!

    • Will check on this. Have traced the Bruce family back to Thomas Bruce (my 6times removed grandfather) in Scotland. His son John came to the U.S. My direct line goes through Horatio Bruce to Irene Bruce Collier(my gr grgrandmother) to Lizzie Beasley (m. Frank Manning) to my grandmother Susan Manning who married. Lyle Thomas to my father, Chesley Bruce Thomas. Need to pull the papers and see if I can answer your question.

    • The John Bruce you refer to is the son of James Bruce and Margaret McMahon. John Bruce had a sister named Nancy, 1756-1808 so she can’t be the one of the 1850 census but may give you are direction to look. You might also research Constatine Bruce, Alexander Bruce, Horatio Bruce (1793-1858) , all children of John Bruce. Elizabeth Clay’ s parents are Henry Clay and Rachel Povall. Hope you find what you are looking for.

  3. I was looking for the relationship between the Bruces and Mcallisters. I know that Miriam Scott,A.J.,’s wife’s mother was Sarah Bruce. How do they all fit together? George Washington Mcallister is my 3 great grandfather. I am having trouble finding anything on him. I found him in the census and marrage yo Magaret Waring. Cannot find anything before that. It states his parents were from Virginia but other than that a dead end.
    Sarah Bruce is not mentioned with the Bruce family I was looking into. Her husband is Jesse Scott.

    • There is a Sarah Bruce, sister to John and Nancy Bruce. She was born in 1764, died 1840. Her grandmother would be Sarah Parrell. I haven’t come across any McCallisters but there were so many daughters it’s not surprising. Do have a George Washington Bruce, son of Horatio Bruce and Eliza Beasley.

  4. John W. Bruce invented the Machine Boat to remove snags on the Ohio in 1820s, the Vanceburg man won $1,000 prize but he invention was quickly replaced with means that involved less human labor. Is he part of this family?

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