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History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio
with Illustrations
and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers Most Prominent Men
Philadelphia - Williams Brothers

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z


     David T. Bruce was born at Winchinden, Franklin county, Massachusetts, Dec. 15, 1784; was married to Lydia Forrester, Aug. 12, 182 ; and died at Chardon, May 12, 1857.
     His childhood, boyhood, and young manhood were passed in Massachusetts, at the close of the last and beginning of the present century.  His education must have been fair, and in addition to the common branches he understood surveying.  In 1820 he visited the Western Reserve, was at Madison, Lake County, went back, was married, and returned to Ohio with his young wife.  For one or two years he lived in Newbury, on the place now owned by W. A. Jenks, and was engaged as a partner with Amos Parker in a distillery, a business which he understood.  He was at one time concerned in the distillery in the northern part of Claridon, and must have lived there for a time.  In 1824 he removed to Chardon, purchased and built a residence on the north side of Water street, opposite the large spring, where he lived all his after-life.  He and Merrick Pease were partners in merchandising, which he carried on in his dwelling-house, and they built the old brick store, on the west side of the square, north of the old academy, some time about 1827.  Mr. Pease died in 1830, when Bruce established the first tin shop in the present limits of Geauga.  With this was connected a grocery store.  In 1842 he sold out that establishment to his eldest son, John Forrester.
     In November, 1842, he purchased the printing establishment and paper, known as the Geauga Republican, of J. W. White, and in company with his younger sons, W. W. and Eli Bruce, he edited and published the paper, and carried on a general job office, till the infirmities of age induced him to retire.
     For quite all his life Mr. Bruce was one of the widest known, most active, and influential men of the county, through filling no official positions, except in the township, where he was clerk, trustee, and justice of the peace.  I think he never sought office.  He was a man of more than ordinary intellect, well in formed, a large reader, of positive opinions, frankly expressed, always defended.  Nor was he free from dogmatism.  The kindest-hearted of men, a highly esteemed neighbor, a sturdy friend, a liberal and public-spirited citizen.  In religion, Universalist; in politics a Whig and Republican; zealous in all.  He was a man of great activity and industry.
     Early in his career he began to appear as counsel in the magistratesí courts.  Fluent of speech, with a quick, shrewd mind, of much resource, and that knowledge of law picked up from the statutes and the hand-books of practice in the magistratesí courts, a wide knowledge of men and acquaintance with affairs, not underestimating himself, he soon came to be widely known and greatly sought after in this class of cases.  For many years he transacted a larger business before the magistrates than was ever before or since done by any man in or out of the profession in northern Ohio.  Very popular with the mass, having the confidence of the magistrates, a full command of the language which might overwhelm an adversary, a master of all the arguments likely to lead or influence the common mind, he was in these forums a most formidable and often a dangerous advocate.  He was generally treated with respect by the regular profession, whom he often met, and for whom as opponents he expressed a preference which they doubtless reciprocated.  After he became connected with the press he gradually withdrew from this practice.  Probably the diminution of small
litigation incident to an older stage of social life and manner of transacting business had much to do with it. In the heyday of his fame the country was
full of anecdotes of his sayings and doings in the lower courts, and men went miles to see and hear him on these occasions.
     Mr. Bruce was a born politician, and not averse from controversy.  His information was extensive and quite accurate.  Without attempting to write many leaders, he was a terse, pointed writer of paragraph-like articles.
     Mr. Bruce was of the old Masonic fraternity, and, of course, on that side of the old profitless controversy; was one of the first to revive the lodges.  In his day, he was the associate, friend, or opponent of the elder Paines, Canfields, Kings, Phelpses, Squires, and that set of men who have passed away, and their friend ships and feuds have passed with them.  He had a vigorous dislike of a Democrat, little respect for orthodoxy as a dogma, but tolerant of the personal failings of even his opponents.  Stout champion and bitter partisan, he was full of kindliness, and the older Chardon lost few better men.
     Mrs. Bruce was widely esteemed as a true woman, full of kindliness and charity.  Of the daughters, the eldest, Charlotte, became the wife of Charles L. Knowles, and has resided most of her life since in Brooklyn, and survives her husband with several children.  The youngest, Lydia, with much of the vigor and force of character of her father, resides in Chardon.
     J. F. Bruce, the eldest, born June 6, 1822, was bred by his father to the tinnerís business, which he still prosecutes in Chardon.  His first wife, now many years deceased, was Amy Rockafellow, of Chardon, of whom were born two sons.  The younger of these is in company with his father.  His second wife is Laura, daughter of Moses HaydonMr. Bruce is a man of great personal worth, and highly esteemed.
     William Wallace Bruce, second son, born in 1825, was bred a printer, and pursued the business, with his father and younger brother, Eli, for many years in Chardon and Cleveland, of which latter place he is a resident.  He was a man of more than ordinary ability, and of extensive cultivation.  A fine writer, though of retiring manners, William Wallace was well prepared to fill any position in life.  For many years he was the efficient superintendent of the Cleveland post-office, which he filled with great credit to himself and usefulness to the public:  His wife was Maria, daughter of Judge B. F. Avery, a woman of much excellence.  She died at Cleveland in the early part of 1878.  The four surviving children,
two sons and two daughters, reside with the father.  As a family, they are noted for their devotion to each other.
     Eli, the third son, born in 1827, also by profession a printer, publisher, and editor, and associated with William Wallace, married Caroline, daughter of Eleazar Paine, and granddaughter of Judge Noah Hoyt, for his first wife, and Caroline Eldridge became his second wife.  By the last he leaves three sons. He died several years ago; was a man of rare excellence of character, fair ability, and universally esteemed.  The Bruces have worthily filled their fair positions in life, and will leave excellent records for integrity and good citizenship.
Source: History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio, Publ. Philadelphia by Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 122





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