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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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William M. Bruce, one of the substantial citizens of Topeka township, Shawnee County, who owns 50 acres of well-improved land situated in sections 21 and 22, township 12, range 16, is also a survivor of the great Civil War. Mr. Bruce has been a resident of Kansas for the past 28 years. He was born at Chester, Vermont, October 6, 1842, and is a son of Silas and Hannah D. (Scott) Bruce.

Silas Bruce was a native of Vermont and, like many New England men, was possessed of Yankee ingenuity which made him able to successfully follow many kinds of employment. He became the father of five children, viz: Mrs. Hannah Elizabeth Bancroft, of Oneida, Illinois; Mrs. Mary Jane Miles, of Illinois; Mrs. Lucretia Johnson, who died three years ago; William M., of this sketch; and Mrs. Abbie Catherine Turney, of Galesburg, Illinois.

Our subject was three years old when his parents moved to Illinois and settled on a farm in Knox County. There he grew into strong young manhood, but still lacked a year of maturity when he enlisted in defense of his country. In July, 1862, he became a member of Company E, 83rd Reg., Illinois Vol. Inf., under Capt. Gilson and Colonel Harding. His regiment was sent to the army of the Tennessee and assisted in the defense of Fort Donelson against General Forrest and then was given garrison duty. Mr. Bruce became ill from exposure and when the physicians had decided that he would not live three months, they sent him home, in the following July. Although he continued many months in poor health, he gradually regained his strength and began to work at the carpenter’s trade. This business he continued to follow for 13 years and many of the substantial buildings through his section of Illinois testify to his skill. In 1876 he came to his present farm of 40 acres in section 21 and 10 acres in section 22, all in township 12, range 16. He has made all the excellent improvements now to be found on the property and still works at his trade and operates his fertile farm.

Mr. Bruce was married September 8, 1870, in Illinois, to Sarah J. Parsell, who was born in Illinois, November 11, 1843, and was a daughter of Joseph Parsell. She died on the home farm in Topeka township, January 6, 1891. She was the mother of three children: Arthur Earl, who died in infancy; Dwight P.; and Ethel L., who was born November 5, 1878, and died January 7, 1886. In political sentiment, Mr. Bruce is a Republican. Although he is not identified with any particular religious body, he is a moral man and an interested Bible student. As the result of months of close reading and intelligent study, he has made a Bible chart which is not only exceedingly interesting, but is very valuable. He is a man of literary tastes and enjoys the treasures of an excellent library. His early education was not all that his ambition desired, but years of thoughtful reading have left their impress, making him not only well informed as to current events but also possessed of a fund of general knowledge far beyond that of the ordinary citizen.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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