Biography of Robert Bruce
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ROBERT BRUCE. – Mr. Bruce was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, August 10, 1828, where he remained until 1844, receiving a common-school education, and learning the trade of gold-beating. In 1844 he went to England, remaining about a year, and moved thence to Canada, locating near Montreal. After remaining there four years, he crossed the plains to California in 1849 on the hunt for gold. The first year as spent in traveling from one mining camp to another until, in 1850, he located at Hangtown, where he engaged in placer mining for seven years. From this point he went to Yreka Flat and mined until 1859. Crossing the mountains to Williamsburg, Oregon, he mined a few months, and thence repaired to 44, which was so named in honor of Monterey Jack, an old Mexican soldier and successful miner.
Mr. Bruce remained there until the war of 1861, when his Scotch patriotism caused him to cross the mountains, which were covered with over three feet of snow, to the place of rendezvous at Jacksonville, where he enlisted in Company A, First Oregon Cavalry. In this company he served as first duty sergeant until 1864, when he re-enlisted in Company D, First Oregon Infantry, and remained in service until his discharge in 1866. After his discontinuance in the army, he was employed as guard at the penitentiary at Salem for a number of years. In 1870 he removed to Pendleton, and has made this city his residence, with the exception of the eight years from 1881 to 1889. Upon his return from the Sound, whither he had gone, he was surprised and pleased to find a thriving city where he left only a small village.
Although now old, and feeling himself somewhat broken down after his long and eventful frontier life, in which he prepared the way for the coming generation, which is sometimes prone to look upon the old pioneers as slow going, and to wonder why more of them did not keep the fortunes that were so easily made in old times, forgetful that the really hardy frontiersman could save their money only by shutting up their big honest hearts to their fellowmen, – Mr. Bruce still finds it in his heart to thank God that he is living yet in this magnificent country, and that he can still trust that God whom he was taught to worship in “auld Scotland.”