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Monday, May 18, 2009

My Great-Grandfather and His Journal


Since retirement, I have had a little more time in my life (I still seem to stay VERY busy, especially now that I'm blogging so much) to do the things which I didn't have time to do earlier. One of these interests has been putting together some albums of Family History. As you know by now, I love to write. I guess I get this interest from my great grandfather, Daniel Hoge Bruce (pictured above). Great Grandfather was born in 1846 and died in 1915. He married Martha Matilda Karr in 1873. They had a total of nine children (with two of the nine, twins, dying at birth). My grandmother, Ida Elizabeth Bruce (whom I am named after), was the oldest child. I will show a picture of the entire family below.

Great Grandfather and his large family lived in the 'Gap' (Big Stone Gap, VA--my home town). They were one of the early settlers in that area. They were devout members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South where he was clerk of the Church Board. He was also Deputy Treasurer of the Richmond District and took a great interest in the affairs of the town.

He kept a journal (he called it a diary)--of which I have bits and pieces. (I don't know where the original is, but I'd love to have it!) Great Grandfather was a man of many interests. A writer for the local newspaper, talked about Mr. Bruce in the paper. She wrote, that in the diary were simple things, such as "We had green beans today out of the garden." (Remember that no beans from California or Florida reached their table in those days.) That statement was followed by "Queen Victoria of England died." AND-- "On March 2, 1897, Bob Fitzsimmons knocked out Jim Corbett in the 14th round."

Some of the other interesting tidbits in Great Grandfather's diary (with additions from me either in parenthesis or caps) were:
-Sept. 28, 1895-- A big fire destroys several downtown stores in Big Stone Gap including THREE saloons.. (Imagine: three saloons in my hometown of Big Stone Gap?? HA HA)
-April 24, 1897-- Rosa had 58 perfect marks for good behavior (Rosa was one of his 6 daughters. He kept up with their school work!)
-May 22, 1897-- Flora (another daughter) passed without examination to 9th grade. Rosa passed to 8th and was on the Golden Honor Roll, and Hattie (the youngest) passed to 6th.
---April 1, 1899-- The town council passed a stock ordinance prohibiting more than 3 cows and 2 hogs for each family running large ---and no horses; (Up until that time, the cows, hogs and horses roamed at will.) ---HOW FUNNY IS THIS!!!
--July 4, 1897---Big Stone Gap celebrated the 4th of July. Had a balloon ascension--a large one. Had a baseball game. Had horse racing and tournament riding. Crowd estimated at from 3000 to 6000.
--March 8, 1898--Lee County (west of Big Stone Gap) quarantined against Small Pox. Cannot get on or off rail train. Wagon roads are guarded.
--September 9, 1898-- Daniel Hoge Bruce took sick and unable to work.
--October 15, 1898--A little better only. Lived three weeks on milk... (YIPES!)
--Jan. 1, 1899-- Measles hit the Bruce family.
--Feb.14, 1899--- Thermometer registered 22 BELOW; Coldest for years...

Well---I could go on and on ---and am so blessed to have this family history. I hope that someday, my kids and grands and great-grands will enjoy reading all of this, just like I do. Thank God for family---and for history and tradition.




This is my great-grandfather's (Daniel Hoge Bruce) family. My grandmother (Ida Elizabeth Bruce) is seated 2nd from the left on the front row. AND --my mother (Edith Marguerite Ballard) is the little child standing beside her mother. Isn't that a sweet picture????



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My Bluebird family (four of them) were taking an afternoon nap when we visited them this afternoon. BUT---if you click on the picture and make it larger, you can see the little beaks and there is actually some feathers on the babies now. I think they are about 5 days old now. Aren't they cute?????

Hope you had a great weekend. Today, it's 'back to the grind'.....
Hugs,