BRUCE, FRANCIS H., a retired farmer living near Springfield, Ill., and a veteran of the Civil War, has been a resident of Sangamon County since 1867. Mr. Bruce was born near Murrayville, Morgan County, Ill.., November 27, 1841, a son of William and Mary W. (Gunn) Bruce, both natives of Tennessee, the latter born in Dixon County, that State, May 11, 1808. The parents came to Illinois in 1830, locating on Governor Duncan's place at Jacksonville. The mother came to Springfield in 1881, and lived with her son Francis until her death, in 1889. William Bruce died when Francis was a small boy, and the mother was twice married. Six sons were born to William Bruce and his wife, all of whom are deceased except the subject of this sketch. A half-brother of Francis H. Bruce (Robert C. McAlister) now lives near Camp Lincoln. One brother, Benjamin P., served in the Civil War three years. The mother of Francis H. Bruce was one of ten children, who died at the age of seventy years.
Mr. Bruce received his education in the subscription schools of Illinois, where log buildings were furnished with slab seats. He worked on a farm for his uncle until he was eighteen years of age, and in 1861 enlisted in Company I, fourteenth Illinois Infantry, being mustered in at Camp Duncan, Jacksonville. They were sent to Quincy, Ill., had a little skirmish at Canton, Mo., and captured Senator Green, then went down through Missouri. The first battle in which they participated was at Shiloh, Tenn., a two days' engagement. They were at Hatchie River one day, participated in the siege of Vicksburg, where the enemy surrendered July 3d, 1863. While in the service Mr. Bruce became a Corporal. After leaving Vicksburg his regiment went to Tennessee and was on duty as guard to supply trains on the Chattanooga & Atlanta Railroad. Mr. Bruce was captured at Moon Station, near Big Shanty, taken to Andersonville prison and held there six months. When released he returned to Vicksburg, arriving there March 28, 1865, and was in that city when President Lincoln was assassinated. He proceeded to St. Louis, obtained a furlough and spent one month at home, then returned, but was finally mustered out at Camp Butler, June 21, 1865.
After the close of the war Mr. Bruce returned to Murrayville, Ill., and in 1867 came to Springfield. In politics he is a Republican and in 1909 was elected Justice of the Peace, also served as School Director of the Ridgely School in 1897. He is a member of Stephenson Post No. 30 G.A.R., and in 1910 made a trip to the scene of the Battle of Shiloh, which occurred forty-eight years before. He says the place bears little resemblance to the scene as he remembers it at the time of the famous battle. In religious views Mr. Bruce is a member of the United Brethren Church. He has spent his life in hard work and at one time owned some land, but has now sold most of it. He was a successful farmer and a good business manager. As a result of an industrious life, he has a most comfortable home at 2402 Peoria Road, adjacent to Springfield, where he has lived for the last three years in retirement from active business life.
Mr. Bruce was married, October 7, 1880, to Sarah L. Ash, born November 23, 1846, a daughter of Ira and Amanda Victoria Ash. The parents came from Mississippi at an early date, locating in Sangamon County, Ill., where they operated a farm. They had six children of whom three are now living. Mr. Bruce and his wife have had the following children: Ida Bell, born March 7, 1882, married Thomas Davis, a janitor at the State House in Springfield; Emma F., born December 20, 1883, is the widow of Roy Stanton, and is employed at the postoffice in Springfield; Jennie, born April 2, 1886, married Jesse Easton, who owns a sawmill in Sangamon County; Harry W., born October 31, 1888, has for three years been an employee in the meter department of the Illinois Watch Company, but is now employed in the same capacity in Paterson, N.J. Mr. Bruce is much respected as a public-spirited , useful citizen and honored for his service in the Civil War. He stands well in the community and is identified with its progress and welfare.