REV. JOHN BRUCE
86 Years Old February 28, 1910
Mr. Bruce's actual birthday anniversary occurs on February 29th, but he says that he is going to celebrate it on the 28th, so he can have a birthday anniversary once a year like other folks.
WILLIAM A. ACKERMAN
83 Years Old February 24, 1910
Mr. Ackerman is the only surviving soldier who served in the Mexican war now living in Lake county, and one of only a few in the state.
A gloom was cast over our town last Saturday afternoon when the news was passed around that Elder John Bruce had died a few minutes after noon. He had been seriously sick for several days, but it was thought he was getting better and when it was learned that he had passed away it was a great shock to our people. He was 90 years and 28 days old when he died. A short time before he died he wrote the following history of his life, which we print as it was written by him:
John Bruce, oldest of a family of seven children, was born February 29, 1824, at Dinxperlo, Holland. At christening was named Arend John. He dropped the Arend. By the Grace of God, at the age of 19 years, he accepted by faith, Jesus Christ as his Savior and his Lord.
On June 6, 1846, Mr. Bruce with his parents' family, 9 in number, left his native country for America, landed at Boston. Thence by rail, canal and steamboat, after two months and a half tedious, tiresome journey, came to Milwaukee, Wis. After a time here at Milwaukee, he entered for study a collegiate institute with a view of entering the Christian ministry. While thus engaged in study Mr. Bruce found that his views of believer's baptism of the New Testament agreed with the belief and practice of the Baptist denomination, and submitted to that ordinance and became a member of the First Baptist church, Milwaukee. While at Milwaukee, his father and mother died. From Milwaukee Mr. Bruce went to Rochester, N.Y., studied at the Rochester University and Theological Seminary, was ordained to the Christian ministry at Milwaukee August 8, 1854, served pastor of Baptist churches in southern Wisconsin and in northern Illinois.
He was married January 5, 1853, to Miss Caroline Hart, of Rochester. To this union were born six children, viz: Charles H., of Arrappahoe, Nebr.; William E., of Lowell; Nellie, of Lowell; Effie, of Savonburg, Kan.; Annie, of Boise City, Idaho. Jennie died in Yutan, Nebr., August 30, 1894.
Mr. Bruce, having been for some time in poor health, gave up pastoral work, came to Lake County, Ind., settled first in Ross Township and engaged both in farming and preaching. Outdoor farm work improved his health. He preached on the Lord's Day at Merrillville, Hobart, Blatchley Corner and at other places. These places in those days had no regular preaching. In the summer of 1867 he was called by the Baptist Church of Lowell to become their pastor, and labored with that church as pastor for ten years, and afterward about two years as supply, and for about two years was pastor of the Baptist church at Crown Point, Ind.
On October 2, 1871, his wife died, aged 39 years and 11 months, leaving him with six children to mourn her early departure.
He was married June 27, 1872, to Mrs. Charlotte Phelps Himebaugh. Mr. Bruce bought what was called the Oliver Fuller farm, a mile west of Lowell and moved there with his family in the spring of 1875. Left the farm in the spring of 1891, and moved to Lowell. Here, after a union of nearly 40 years, he passed through the sad ordeal of losing his wife, who died April 1, 1912, being left alone in his old age.
Mr. Bruce, in his religious belief, clung tenaciously to the fundamental teaching of the New Testament, yet was far from being a bigot. He believed in the communion of Saints, worshipped and co-worked with Evangelical churches of other communions as heartily as his own.
The above is the last message of Elder John Bruce to the people of Lowell and vicinity. He was a man who was loved by everyone. He spent nearly seventy years of his life in the ministry. It can be truthfully said that the world is better that he lived in it. Always cheerful, he was ready to help those who were in sorrow and needed sympathy. He was a regular attendant at the Sunday school and only a few Sundays ago, he remarked that there was no such a thing as death, as it was only an incident in life.
Funeral services were held at the M.E. church Monday afternoon at 1:30 and were attended by a large number of his old friends and neighbors, who knew and loved him in life. Rev. V.B. Servies, assisted by Rev. R.H. Johnston and Rev. J.J. Simpson, preached the funeral sermon. Each paid a high tribute to the departed. The church choir sang several beautiful songs. Undertaker John Castle had charge of the burial services. The following acted as pall bearers: P.M. McNay, E.J. Pixley, Albert Foster, Jerome Dinwiddie, C.E. Nichols and F.E. Nelson. Interment was made in the Lowell cemetery. He leaves to mourn him three daughters, two sons, several grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends, to whom we extend sympathy in their great sorrow.
Go to John Bruce, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
Return to Lowell Biographies.