Person:John Bruce (6)

m. ABT 1689
  1. Margaret Bruce1688 - 1692
  2. John Bruce1690 - 1748
  3. Margaret Bruce1692 -
  4. Helen Bruce1694 -
  5. Elizabeth Bruce1696 -
  6. Christian Bruce1698 - 1752
  7. Christian Bruce1700 - 1756
  8. Grisell Bruce1702 -
  9. Peter Bruce1704 -
m. 1709 or 1718
  1. Mary Bruce1715 - 1765
  2. James Bruce1720 - 1795
  3. George G Bruce1722 - 1787
  4. John Bruce1722 - ABT 1731
  5. Ann Bruce1724 - 1808
  6. Margaret Bruce1727 - 1778
m. 1716
Facts and Events
Name[1][2] John Bruce
Gender Male
Christening[1][2][15] 07 SEP 1690 Portsoy, Fordyce Parish, Banffshire, Scotland
Marriage 1709 or 1718 Aberdeenshire, Scotlandto Sarah Parrell
Marriage 1716 Aberdeen, Scotlandto Sarah Caroline Coles
Residence[2] ABT 1736 Red Bud Run, Frederick County, VirginiaHe was living on land on the south side of Red Bud about two miles east of Winchester.
Immigration[3] ABT 1736 Opequon Creek, Frederick County, Virginia“..from Scotland via Ireland to the colonies...”
Will[12] 4 NOV 1747 Winchester, Frederick, Virginia
Death[1][2][3] 23 SEP 1748 Brucetown, Frederick, VirginiaPossibly died in an epidemic. May have died in Winchester.
Burial[2] 26 SEP 1748 Brucetown, Frederick County, Virginia
Occupation[1][2] Carpenter, Farmer

"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[8]

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.

Memoirs of Bruce Fam., 1851, written by Wm. Bruce, Grandson of James.

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.[5] 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.[7]

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.[7]

From John Bruce of the Shenandoah[8]: “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[9]: “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[14], “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.[10] Out of this survey, George received 315 acres and James received 310 acres from Lord Fairfax on April 12 and 14, 1760. [11] 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).[12]

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:[13] “ . . . 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 [1850] 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.[3]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lee R. Drew. Family History.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Judy & Gary Griffin, Hutchinson - Laird - Griffin - Eggleston and Related Families.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cartmell, Thomas Kemp, 1838-1920. Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants: a history of Frederick County, Virginia. (Berryville, Virginia: Chesapeake Book, 1909, 1963), p. 9.
  4.   Annette Fisher Albin. The Albin’s of Harrison County, Indiana. (1990, Revised 1992, Revised 1994).
  5. Cartmell, Thomas Kemp, 1838-1920. Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants: a history of Frederick County, Virginia. (Berryville, Virginia: Chesapeake Book, 1909, 1963), p. 18.
  6.   The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, microfilm of Parrish Records of the Church of Scotland..
  7. 7.0 7.1 Orange County, Virginia Court Books, Virginia Court Book 2, p. 210.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bruce, Violet Laverne. John Bruce of the Shenandoah: immigrant John Bruce of Frederick County, Virginia and descendants of his five children, Mary, Margaret, James, George, and Anne. (Decorah, Iowa: Anundsen, 1987).
  9. George W. Vale, Genealogy of the Walker & Littler Families, p. 281.
  10. Cognetes, English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records, p. 118; Joyner, Northern Neck Warrants and Surveys, Frederick County, Virginia, Volume II, p. 21.
  11. Gray, Gertrude. Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants 1742-1775. (Baltimore [Maryland]: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1988), K-103, K-104.
  12. 12.0 12.1 John Bruce Last Will and Testament, Frederick County, Virginia., Will Book 1, Page 205, 1748.

    Posted VA genweb by Dave Dollard,, Accessed: 21 Nov 1998. (Page no longer exists, access archived page here:


    In the name of God, Amen. The 4 day of November 1747. I John Bruce of
    Frederick County in the Colony of Virginia being sick and weak of body
    but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God calling to remembrance
    it is appointed for all men once to die, do make, Constitute and ordain
    this my last will and testament as follows viz.

    Item- I give and bequeath to my son James Bruce the plantation
    I now live on with all the improvements thereunto belonging being 150

    Item- I give and bequeath unto my son George Bruce 150 acres of
    the remaining tract of land lying on the south side of the aforesaid
    plantation and on the Licks with the clear land that is now and also
    that his brother, James Bruce, be one half in building 1 house 24 foot
    X 16 foot with a shingle roof and also a barn of 25 foot X 18 foot etc.

    Item- I give and bequeath to my son George Bruce and Ann Bruce
    all my movable estate to be equally divided between them and the
    desertation of William McMachin and Hugh Parrel after debts and funeral
    charges are paid, except my carpenter tools which I give to my son
    James Bruce and one yearling heifer to Richard Colbart and out of the
    above perquists I do oblige my sons James Bruce and George Bruce to
    maintain my loving wife Sarah Bruce as long as she lives or remains a

    Item- It is my will and desire that my son George Bruce also
    out of the above perquists give to my daughter Margaret Carter and Mary
    Albin ten shillings of currency each to be paid in grain, etc.

    Item- I give and bequeath to my son James Bruce my new great
    coat and beaver hat and to Richard Carter, my son-in-law, my suit of
    woolen clothes and to my son-in-law William Albin my suit of linen

    Item- I do constitute and ordain my sons James Bruce and George
    Bruce Executors of this my last will and testament. I do utterly
    disavow all other wills and testaments etc., no other. In witness
    whereof I have set my hand and seal this 4 day of November 1747.

    Signed and Sealed and delivered in the presence of
    Edward Parrel
    James McCoy
    Elizabeth King
    John Cusee

  13. Excerpts from Sketches of Virginia, Historical and Biographical, by the Rev. William Henry Foote, D.D. Pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Romney, Virginia, 1850.

    Published in Philadelphia by William S. Martien

  14. Albin, Ethel Winifred, 1913-2006. The Virginia Albins: the history of the Albin Family out of Old Frederick County: immigrants, Mary Bruce and William Albin and their descendants who migrated westward with the opening of new territories carving a civilization out of a wilderness. (Decorah, Iowa, United States (Box 230, Decorah 52101): Anundsen Pub. Co., c1989).
  15. Christening records of Church of Scotland, Portsoy, Fordice Parish, Scotland.