My Bruce Line

I was going to pick up on Sarah Scranton’s Strong ancestry, but a little voice said that I had better do a post on my Bruce line. I try not to ignore that little voice! When I gathered the below information, I realized that this is one line that I did not do a lot of research on, other than a bit on my direct ancestors. Below is all I know.

James (in one roll of land records, called George) Bruce was born circa 1765 in Scotland. According to “Guysborough Sketches and Essays” by A.C. Jost, he was part of The Duke of Cumberland’s Regiment, on the British side of the Revolutionary War. Much of this regiment was formed from Scotsmen in South Carolina, so perhaps James lived there for a while. He never saw action, as the regiment spent much of the war in Jamaica. The regiment spent a short time in New York just after the war ended, then made their way up to Halifax in late 1783, early 1784. Eventually, he was granted either 100 or 150 acres of land (Jost has conflicting information) in the Hallowell Grant in 1795. According to Jost, his lot was in the Southeast division, Block C, Number 1 in the town of Guysborough. (Looking at Jost’s map and comparing that to today’s Guysborough, it appears the town was on the peninsula just north of today’s Mill Cove.)

The portion of Guysborough, Nova Scotia in which James Bruce settled. Courtesy Google Maps/Google Earth.

The portion of Guysborough, Nova Scotia in which James Bruce settled. Courtesy Google Maps/Google Earth.

James married Catherine Cadel on June 30, 1798 in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. Their children were:

  • Christopher, born September 22, 1801, Manchester, Nova Scotia; married Abigail McKeough, January 27, 1827; died April 13, 1867 of consumption; buried in Boylston United Cemetery
  • Richard Samuel, born September 7, 1802, Manchester, Nova Scotia; married Margaret Morgan, February 19, 1828; died December 6, 1884
  • Mary Jane, born November 5, 1804, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia; married William McKeough before 1825
  • John, married Caroline Scott, March 20, 1827.

James was killed by a falling tree on March 28, 1805 in Guysborough County at age 40. Catherine later married a Mr. Kilfyle.

Below are John Bruce & Caroline Scott’s children, all born in Manchester:

  • Sarah Sophia, born December 10, 1828; married James Patrick O’Brien, January 13, 1853; died 1898. Their information is covered here .
  • William Wallace, born November 18, 1831; married Maria Whitman, December 25, 1855 (they emigrated with her family to Queens County, New York by July 1860)
  • Ruth Maria, born October 15, 1833; married Jeremiah Woods Lyle before 1856
  • John Joseph, born October 13, 1835; married Esther Jane Bigsby, March 15, 1877, Guysborough, Nova Scotia
  • James Robert Cooney, born December 9, 1838; married Christina Stewart, November 18, 1869, Gloucester, Essex County, MA (was James Robert Cooney O’Brien, Sarah’s son, named after him? Was she missing her brother who had moved away?)
  • Mary Jane, born March 11, 1842; married John Horton December 27, 1827; married Richard W. Cunningham, February 5, 1868, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • George Christopher, born April 13, 1844

What else can I say about my Bruce line? Well, my grandmother claimed that we were descended from Robert the Bruce, but I have no evidence to prove or disprove it.

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The O’Brien Line

Last year, I bought a book: “North America’s Maritime Funnel: The Ships that Brought the Irish, 1749-1852” by Terrence M. Punch. I was hoping to find specific information on my Lipsett and O’Brien lines; yet there was little genealogical information there. Instead I got a feel as to why my Irish ancestors may have immigrated to Canada in the late 1700s/early 1800s. Apparently Ireland was becoming overcrowded and with that, job opportunities became increasingly scarce. Even those who farmed had limited land on which to cultivate and provide for their families.

Michael O’Brien (born 1726) and his wife Catherine Quinn lived in Cahir, County Tipperary. They had at least two and possibly three children. Things took a turn for the worse when Michael passed away. Some online trees say that he died on October 18, 1770, but he had to have been dead at least two years beforehand, as we shall see.

An Internet search brought me to an article written for the September 2012 issue of “The Seniors’ Advocate” by Terrence Punch. (This is someone whose work I need to give more attention to!) Dr. Punch told the story of Catherine’s brother James, who was a Halifax, Nova Scotia innkeeper. He died intestate in 1768, which proved to be fortunate for Catherine, his only heir. When she heard of her brother’s death, it seems that she saw a great opportunity for herself and her family. She was able to gather the necessary paperwork that proved their relationship and whatever was needed to make the trip to Halifax in 1769. Of course Catherine was able to procure James’ land.

Eventually Catherine’s son Patrick and his family immigrated to Halifax to join her and inherit her land. This established my O’Brien line (below, in bold) in Nova Scotia. Catherine passed away on April 16, 1806 in Halifax.

The children of Michael O’Brien and Catherine Quinn:

  • John O’Brien – b. 1750 Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; d. 1819 (so far, I’ve only been able to find him on on-line trees)
  • Patrick O’Brien – b. 1751 Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. Mary Anglin; d. Jan 10, 1813, Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Mary Anglin – b. 1763 (Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland); d. July 20, 1813, Halifax, Nova Scotia. They seem to have immigrated between 1786 and 1790 from Ireland to Nova Scotia.
  • Ellen O’Brien – b. Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland

Children of Patrick and Mary:

  • Michael O’Brien – b. circa 1781, Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. Ann Elizabeth Prescott, June 4, 1816, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia; d. Dec 18, 1821, Caen, Normandy, France
  • Catherine O’Brien – b. circa 1784, Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. William Newman, May 24, 1806, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Sep 1, 1824, Pope’s Harbour, Nova Scotia
  • Ann Nancy O’Brien – b. circa 1786, Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland; m. George Matthew, Dec 6, 1812, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Mary O’Brien – b. circa 1790, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Robert William Barber, Nov 30, 1816, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Feb 2, 1881, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • John O’Brien – b. 1794, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Jan 21, 1819, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • David O’Brien – b. 1796, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Margaret Seckar, Apr 12, 1825, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Jan 7 1844, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Thomas O’Brien – b. 1798, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Eliza _____; d. Jan 7, 1868, Manchester, Nova Scotia
    Eliza _____ – b. circa 1800
  • Matthew O’Brien – b. 1798, Halifax, Nova Scotia (could he and Thomas be twins?); d. Oct 16, 1839, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • James O’Brien – b. 1804, Halifax, Nova Scotia; d. Jan 22, 1828 at sea
  • Eliza O’Brien – b. 1806, Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Francois Laurent, Jul 15, 1822, St. RochDesAulnie, L’Islet, Quebec; m. Charles Hilaire Tetu, Sep 19, 1837, Quebec City, Quebec; d. circa 1877
  • Eleanor O’Brien – b. Halifax, Nova Scotia; m. Henry Newman, Dec 7, 1822, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Children of Thomas and Eliza:

  • James Patrick O’Brien – b. 1822, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Sarah Sophia Bruce, Jan 13, 1853, Guysborough, Nova Scotia; d. 1898; buried Boylston Cemetery, Boylston, Nova Scotia
    Sarah Sophia Bruce – d. 1898
  • Mary Ann O’Brien – b. Nov 30, 1824, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. James Mitchell Whitman, Jan 25, 1853, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. Mar 16, 1915, Mulgrave, Nova Scotia
  • William M. O’Brien – b. Jan 5, 1830, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Lydia Elizabeth Martin, Feb 16, 1858, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Margaret McKeough, Feb 27, 1868, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia; d. 1904, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia
  • Thomas Masters O’Brien – b. Apr 1, 1833, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Michael England O’Brien – b. Nov 29, 1835, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Robert Barber O’Brien – b. Apr 15, 1837, Manchester, Nova Scotia
  • Eliza Master O’Brien – b. Sep 5, 1844, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Joseph Henderston before 1866
  • John Henry O’Brien – b. Nova Scotia; m. Catherine Livingstone; d. circa 1856, Manchester, Nova Scotia

Children of James and Sarah:

  • John Bruce O’Brien – b. 1854, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. Aug 22, 1876, drowned in the Salmon River, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia
  • Caroline Eliza O’Brien – b. Sep 6, 1855, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Edward Stanley Lipsett, Dec 29, 1883, Gloucester, Essex County, MA; d. 1934
  • Eva Amelia O’Brien – b. Apr 26, 1859, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. before 1881
  • Annette Morton O’Brien – b. Jan 19, 1861, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Parker Hart, before 1880
  • John Winslow O’Brien – b. Mar 11, 1861 (I believe he may have been adopted. A 9-year-old appears on the 1871 census as “Basto Bruce”; in 1881, an 18-year old “James.”)
  • Sarah Sophia O’Brien – b. Aug 31, 1864, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Robert Fenwick Lipsett, Jan 18, 1893, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. July 23, 1932, Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Robert Fenwick Lipsett, b. Jan 23, 1866, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. Feb 19, 1948, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
  • James Robert Cooney O’Brien – b. Apr 20, 1867, Manchester, Nova Scotia; m. Irene _____, between 1883 – 1892; d. 1956 (“Jim” is the only O’Brien of whom I have a picture.)
  • Effie May O’Brien – b. Feb 23, 1870, Manchester, Nova Scotia; d. 1951
"Uncle Jim" O'Brien, August 1953, Manchester, Nova Scotia. Author's collection.

“Uncle Jim” O’Brien, August 1953, Manchester, Nova Scotia. Author’s collection.

Lipsetts Beyond Robert Fenwick

Robert Fenwick Lipsett’s father was Robert Bruce Lipsett, born October 25, 1819. I have not been able to determine whether he was born in Ireland or Nova Scotia (censuses give conflicting information). He was definitely in Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia by 1838. He married Christina McMaster on January 8, 1859. They seem to have lived and farmed in Clam Harbour, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia (which is southeast of Manchester) between July 1859 to March 1864, but lived in Manchester for the remainder of their lives (although Robert’s probate package states he farmed in Clam Harbour, so perhaps he moved back there after his wife’s death). They had eight children, whom I’ve blogged about previously. Their religion was listed in censuses as Church of England. Christina died June 15, 1891 and Robert died February 26, 1894. Both are buried in Manchester Cemetery. (Much more on Christina in a later post!)

Robert Bruce Lipsett was the second child of eight and second son of Edward Lipsett and Mary Irving, my 4x great-grandparents. I believe they are from Kesh, County Fermanagh, Ireland (which is currently in Northern Ireland). Because of the conflicting information of their children’s birthplaces, I am not sure when exactly they immigrated to Nova Scotia, but they were definitely living in Manchester by 1838, as Edward is enumerated there on the census as a farmer at that time.

Kesh, County Fermangh, Ireland. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Kesh, County Fermangh, Ireland. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Edward and Mary’s eight children were:

  • John, born 1818; married Mary Ann Torrey, September 18, 1855
  • Robert Bruce, born 1819
  • Ann Jane, born 1821; married William Frederick Porper Scranton on June 23, 1870; died January 26, 1907
  • Edward, born 1822; married Mary Jane MacKay, April 6, 1859; died between 1881 and 1891
  • George Irving, born April 28, 1826; I’m not sure how long he lived, but I believe he may have been alive in 1838, as represented by one of the tick-marks of males 14 and over in his father’s home.
  • Margaret Elizabeth, born September 27, 1827; married James Richard Bruce, March 24, 1857; died October 22, 1917
  • William Daniel, born October 13, 1832; died April 15, 1837
  • Richard Christopher (who went by his middle name), born Feb 13, 1836; married Sarah Ann Campbell, October 10, 1872; died June 15, 1891 (it was his daughters Margery, Iola and Jennie with whom his niece Edith lived in Gloucester)

Edward died in Manchester on May 1, 1857. Mary died much later on March 10, 1868. I assume they are buried somewhere in the Manchester area, but I have no record of where.

As a side note, Edward had a brother Jared who also immigrated to Nova Scotia, though I don’t know when. He was not in Manchester as of 1838, but was definitely in Guysborough County by 1861 with his wife Ann and daughter Eliza. He passed away on May 24, 1885.