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.

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.

Third Great Uncle Edward Stanley Lipsett

Edward Stanley Lipsett (who went by “Stanley”) was born on July 24, 1859, Clam Harbour, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. He was the firstborn child of Robert Bruce Lipsett and Christina McMaster. Like his younger brother Robert, he started out as a member of the Church of England, then became a Methodist sometime around his marriage.

When Stanley immigrated to Massachusetts between 1881 – 1883, he was a fisherman. Like so many fisherman, he ended up in Gloucester, Essex County, MA. There he married Caroline (“Carrie”) Eliza O’Brien, another native of Guysborough County (who also happens to be my third great-aunt) on December 29, 1883 in Gloucester.

The Lipsetts immigrated back to Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia most likely during 1884. Stanley’s occupation eventually became a sea captain, but I suspect he was still involved in the fishing industry. By 1911, however, he became a farmer and even had a stint as an undertaker at least in 1926.

Stanley and Carrie had two sons: Robert Bruce, born January 13, 1885 and Ralph Stanley, born March 16, 1892. Ralph’s life was cut short during World War I. On September 19, 1918, he killed in action during the Battle of Cambrai in France. Records show that his body was interred at what looks to be Marcoing Line British Cemetery, now known as Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery (Plot 1, Row F, Grave 12) in Sailly, France. There is also a memorial at Manchester Cemetery, dedicated to Ralph and other Manchester boys who lost their lives in the Great War.

Stanley’s son Robert went on to give him his only descendant. In 1921 Robert married Marion Sidney Worth in Saskatchewan, Canada. They immigrated to Massachusetts and on May 20, 1928, granddaughter Margaret Carolyn Lipsett (known as Carolyn) was born in Salem, Essex County, MA. I want to make note of Marion and Carolyn especially, since I had known them as a girl. Carolyn (having moved back to Salem around 1949) was especially close to my grandmother Eugenie, who was her second cousin.

Eugenie (Atwell) Pleau and Carolyn Lipsett.  Author's collection.

Eugenie (Atwell) Pleau and Carolyn Lipsett. Author’s collection.

n 1931 Robert’s family moved back to Nova Scotia to Dartmouth in Halifax County. I’m sure Robert and Marion were on hand as Stanley and Carrie were aging. In 1934, both Stanley and Carrie passed away. Carrie died on April 20 of coronary thrombosis, and Stanley died just six days later of prostate cancer. Stanley, Carrie, Robert (who died in 1960) and Marion (who died in 1974) are all buried in Manchester Cemetery. Carolyn died in 2008, never having gotten married or had children.

Great-Great Grandfather Robert Fenwick Lipsett

Robert Fenwick Lipsett (whose name I love, by the way) was born on January 23, 1866 in Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, to Robert Bruce Lipsett and Christina McMaster. He was the fifth of eight children and the third son.

Robert married Sarah Sophia O’Brien (who went by her middle name) on January 18, 1893 in Manchester by a Methodist minister. Prior to marrying Sophia, Robert was a member of the Church of England, like his father (his mother was a Methodist).

Throughout his life, Robert’s occupation was pretty much the same: sailor/mariner/seaman. He was of good height (5’11”) and had blue eyes. I can almost picture what he may have looked like as he went about his hard work at sea. (Alas, I have no pictures of him!)

The children born to Robert and Sophia were mostly reviewed here, but below is a summary of them:

  • Eva Christina, born November 7, 1893
  • Beryl Sophia, born January 17, 1896
  • Leona Carolyn, born 1898, died 1900
  • William Croft, born August 29, 1900, died 1904
  • Claude Stanley, born December 18, 1902

Sometime between 1901 and 1902, the Lipsett family moved to Guysborough, where Claude was born. One by one, each child grew up and moved away, Claude being the last in 1923. With an empty nest, Robert and Sophia moved to Halifax, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, sometime between 1921 and 1932.

On July 23, 1932, Sophia died at home (110 Chiebrieto Road, Halifax) of chronic valvular [something?]. It doesn’t seem that Robert stayed in that home alone very long. By 1935, he was living with his daughter Eva Atwell, at least part of the time. There are some passenger lists that show him traveling from Halifax to Boston or the Port of Calais, Maine, so perhaps he went back and forth with the changing of the seasons. After all, his daughter Beryl still lived in Nova Scotia.

I was excited to find Robert listed on the 1940 Census as part of a three-generation household in Lynn, MA: himself, his daughter Eva & her husband Thomas F. Atwell, and his grandchildren Thomas II and Eugenie (with her husband George Edmund Pleau). The household became four generations in late 1941 when my father was born, and Robert rejoined the family from Nova Scotia in October. Eventually, Robert’s Nova Scotia home became Manchester again.

The end of Robert’s life was similar to so many in their advanced years. On November 21, 1847, he fell down the stairs at home in Manchester and suffered such trauma to his spinal cord that he became a paraplegic. He spent the rest of his life in St. Martha’s hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, finally passing away on February 19, 1948. He was buried with his wife and two small children in Evergreen Cemetery, Aspen, Nova Scotia.

Great-Great Uncles and Aunts via Eva Lipsett

Although my great-grandmother Eva (Lipsett) Atwell died before I was born, two of her four siblings’ lives overlapped mine.

The first was Beryl Sophia Lipsett, who was born on January 17, 1896 in Guysborough, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. Beryl never married, but later became a principal of a school in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. She maintained her ties with her sister Eva and Eva’s family as she seemed to visit Lynn, Massachusetts just about every Christmas in the 1930’s. Although she died on March 11, 1971, I have no specific memories of Beryl. She is buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Aspen, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, alongside her parents, Robert Fenwick Lipsett and Sarah Sophia O’Brien.

Beryl Lipsett + Eugenie (Atwell) Pleau, 1953.  Author's collection.

Beryl Lipsett + Eugenie (Atwell) Pleau, 1953. Author’s collection.

The next two children died so young, there are barely any records of them. Leona Carolyn Lipsett was born in 1898 and died in 1900. I couldn’t find any birth or death records for her online; the only evidence I’ve found of her is her burial with her family at Evergreen Cemetery.

William Croft Lipsett was born on August 29, 1900. Like Leona, I could not find a birth or death record. William was actually recorded on the 1901 Census, but died three years later in 1904. He, too, is buried at Evergreen.

Snippet of William Croft Lipsett in 1921 Canada Census.  Courtesy ancestry.ca.

Snippet of William Croft Lipsett in 1921 Canada Census. Courtesy ancestry.ca.

The baby of the family was Claude Stanley Lipsett, born December 18, 1902 in Guysborough, Nova Scotia. According to the 1940 U.S. Census, he completed four years of high school. Not long after he finished school, Claude sought other opportunities where his oldest sister lived. In 1923 he immigrated out of Port of St John New Brunswick and headed to Boston. He later married fellow Nova Scotian Clara MacWhinnie about 1928. Claude and Clara lived in Lynn, and Claude worked as a machinist in a die manufacturing company. For some reason, they had no children, but they were definitely involved in Eva’s descendants’ lives. I remember Claude especially at my grandmother’s (his niece) Christmas parties. What I remember most about Claude that he was very hard of hearing (maybe due to his work?); we always had to shout at him to be heard. His wife Clara passed away in 1976, but Claude lived on for many years until February 27, 1991. Both are buried with her parents in Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Claude Lipsett, 1965 (sadly, the best picture I have of him).  Author's collection.

Claude Lipsett, 1965 (sadly, the best picture I have of him). Author’s collection.