m. ABT 1689
m. 1709 or 1718
Facts and Events
There is 1 vital record available on MyHeritage for John Bruce, including birth records, marriage records, and death records. Vital records are historical records that are typically recorded around the actual time of the event, which means they are likely accurate. Vital records include information like the event date and place, and the person's occupation and residence. Vital records also often include information about the person's relatives. For example, birth and marriage records include names of parents and divorce records list the names of children.
"John Bruce brough his family to America probably by way of Ireland after 1724. It is considered that John may have lived for some time in southeast Pennsylvania before settling his family in the Winchester area between 1731 and 1737 under the guidance of Joist Hite's son. For John to have established credibility among his peers by 1740, he would have had to have lived in the Winchester area at least for a few years, or to have been their neighbor in a former place of residence. Yet another reason would be that John's two oldest daughters later married into families remaining in Chester and Bucks counties, Pennsylvania." ... from John Bruce of the Shenandoah
John settled about two miles east of Winchester, on Red Bun Run, a branch of the Opeckon.
Bruce Family History film 1412126, item 7; Marriage registered in Frederick, County, Virginia
Will of John Bruce written 4 Nov 1747 - Proved 1 Nov 1748, Frederick Co.Va., Book 1, pg.205. He names wife Sarah. Four of his children name daughters Sarah. He names Richard Carter and William as sons-in-law. He also left a legacy to John Calvert's son Richard.
They were Quakers who immigrated from Scotland to Winchester, Virginia between 1737-1740.
The Bruces of Shenandoah, 929.273, B86br, pg. 4 says he was a farmer and operated a grist and sawmill on Turkey Run.
Among the 70 grantees receiving patents on November 12, 1735 were many Irish families (the Albins of County Meath, the Calverts from County Dromgora) as well as John Bruce – his land adjoining the land owned by the Calverts, Hugh Parrell, William Albin, James Carter and George Hollingsworth. John Bruce was in Orange County, Virginia by 1735, when the following judgments were recorded (was Spotsylvania County before 1734):
John Bruce vs Francis Williams. For debt 3 pounds, 10 shillings, 8 pence, in tobacco at 12 shillings per ct wt to 588 lbs of tobacco. Summons to Francis Williams, July 17, 1735, returned July 17, 1735 by Wm Henderson, Deputy Sheriff.
Henry Willis, Esq vs John Bruce, account with John Bruce, peddler, 1735, for 12 lbs, 12 shillings, 5 3/4 pence. Willis asks damages to 15 lbs.
Summons to John Bruce, peddlar, May 18, 1736 by Gideon Marr. Judgement.
George Stuart vs John Bruce in 1736. For divers cattle – John Bruce detained and for the other animals etc.
On July 24, 1740 John Bruce was appointed to make an inventory of the estate of Michael Sheppard, deceased. Hugh Parrell, Robert Calvert were delegated also and any three of them were required to form the audit commission.
From John Bruce of the Shenandoah: “The earliest available record of John Bruce of the Shenandoah is August 18, 1740 when he, along with Hugh Parrell and Robert Calvert, were appointed to appraise the estate of Micah Sheperd. Mention of William McMechan and John Littler as buyers of several articles at the estate sale as well as the names Parel and Calvert confirm that this John Bruce lived in the Winchester area. Deeds and will books compiled by John Frederick Dorman include several Orange County court actions between 1734 and 1742 involving a John Bruce, sometimes mentioned in connection with St. Marks Parish. A comparison of signatures on several old documents and the presence or absence of familiar names usually associated with early settlers of the Winchester area, indicate that the John Bruce of St. Marks Parish did not live near Winchester, but resided elsewhere in the then enormous area know as Orange County of the 1730’s. John Bruce of the Shenandoah was probably born in Scotland during the 1690s. Since no record of his marriage to Sarah has been found, it is as yet unknown whether she was mother of the five children. John Bruce brought his family to America probably by way of Ireland after 1724. It is considered that John may have lived for some time in southeast Pennsylvania before settling his family in the Winchester (called Frederick Town until 1750) area between 1731 and 1737 under the guidance of Joist Hite’s son. John was a farmer, operating a grist and sawmill on Turkey Run six miles northeast of Winchester. With other families building their homes, along with carding and fulling mills nearby on Litlers Run, the community became a flourishing little village know as Brucetown. At the time John Bruce wrote his will, his youngest son and daughter were probably unmarried. Mention in the will of a partially completed house (24x16') and barn (25x18') on George’s 150 acres could be an indication that George was contemplating marriage at the time. John Bruce died September 23, 1748 apparently in an epidemic that was rampant in the Winchester area. His will of November 4, 1747 was entered November 1, 1748 (records of Frederick County).”
According to the Genealogy of the Walker & Littler Families: “During the 1730’s, the offer of patented land to settlers in the lower Shenandoah Valley, near the Opequon, attracted many Scot-Irish. Patents were issued under the seal of the Colony of Virginia and were grants from the Crown, free of any obligation of feudal services to the Fairfax family, who claimed the land as lords/proprietors of the Northern Neck of Virginia.”
Between 1737 and 1740, he settled on Opecuon Creek near Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia. By 1740, John Bruce and Mary Littler (George Bruce’s mother-in-law) were operating grist mills, sawmills and carding/fulling fills (probably wool-carding, cloth-fulling mills). A fulling mill was where cloth was cleansed and thickened to become compacted. This 255-acre tract is located on Turkey Run, a branch of Opequon Creek (headwaters Evan Thomas/Branson Spring). The southeast corner of the 255 acres is present-day Brucetown. Frederick County Highway 667 (Braddocks Road/Great Road from Winchester, Virginia to Shepardstown, West Virginia) and Highway 672 cross the south and east section of this tract.
According to the Virginia Albins, “He was living on land on the south side of Red Bud about two miles east of Winchester. In his will of 1747, he mentions his son-in-law, William Albin. John was closely allied, if not related, to other families living along Red Bud, several of whom were related by blood or marriage to the Calvert/Colbert family, who came from County Armagh, Ireland. Among these families were George Hollingsworth, William McMahon/McMachen, Hugh Parrell, Joseph, James & Richard Carter, Lewis Neill and William Albin. John was a carpenter by trade and made the stocks and pillory in the town of Winchester in 1744. . . . There must have been some devastating epidemic during the years 1747-48, as a number of the earliest settlers and their wives died during that period, John Bruce included.”
With other families settling in the area, the community became a flourishing little village known as Brucetown (in northeast corner of Frederick County, 8 miles northeast of Winchester, near border of Berkley County, West Virginia).
In 1748, Hugh Parrell willed 300 acres of land to John Bruce; Parrell engaged James Wood to survey this land (recorded at the time as 402 acres) on March 10, 1735/36. James and George Bruce, sons of John Bruce, commissioned another survey on April 26, 1753. Out of this survey, George received 315 acres and James received 310 acres from Lord Fairfax on April 12 and 14, 1760.  John was deceased by November 1, 1748 when his will was proved in Frederick County Court, Virginia. John’s will named his wife and living children (probated November 1, 1748).
John and his family are said to have been with the Joist Hite party that settled in Virginia. John is said to have been the founder of Brucetown, Virginia. Information on Joist Hite: “ . . . In 1701, large bodies of land, from ten to thirty thousand acres with exemption from taxes for twenty years, to companies settling on the frontiers, -- on conditions, that there should be, in two years, on the land, one able bodied well armed man ready for defence, for every five hundred acres; and that these should live in a village of two hundred acres area, in the form of a square or parallelogram, laid off in lots near the centre of the town. In 1705 it was enacted that every person, male or female, coming into the colony, for the purpose of making settlement, be entitled to fifty acres of land: families to have fifty acres for each member; no persons possessing less than five tithable servants or slaves, were permitted to take more than five hundred acres; and no persons whatever were to take up more than four thousand acres in one patent. These laws did not produce the effect designed. Villages did not spring up along the frontier as had been expected. The settlements in the Valley of Virginia were not made in consequence of these laws, whose provisions were offensive. They were effected principally by the labours of three individuals to whom Governor Gooch made grants of extensive tracts of land, on condition that within a given time a certain number of permanent settlers should be located on the grants; Burden in Rockbridge County, Beverly in Augusta, and the Vanmeters on Opeckon in Frederick. Great efforts were made by these gentlemen to persuade emigrants from Europe and also Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to take their residence in the Valley of the Shenandoah. Advertisements, describing in glowing terms the beauty and fertility of the valley, and offering a home to the poor emigrant on easy terms, were sent abroad in every direction, and attracted the attention of the hard working tenants in England, Ireland, and Germany, to whom the offer of a farm in fee simple was the offer of wealth. Joist Hite having obtained the grant of the Vanmeters came in the year 1732, with sixteen families from Pennsylvania, and fixed his residence on the Opeckon, a few miles south of the present town of Winchester, on the Great Valley route, at a place now  in possession of the Barton family. . . . This was the first regular settlement west of the Blue Ridge in Virginia. From this time the emigration to the Valley of the Shenandoah, and to the region at the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, was rapid. . . .”
John Bruce, mentioned above, was the founder of Brucetown; he died there in 1748, leaving a large family. Several children lived near his home,–two sons, George and James, and two daughters, Mrs. Margaret Allen and Mrs. Richard Carter; and thus the settlement became known as Bruce’s village.