The Bruce Family

by Stuart Grayson pg 204 Big Hill Country 1977

Donald John Bruce was born in Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland, in 1836. He came with his family, which included three generations, to Selkirk Grants, Prince Edward Island, in 1841. In 1869, he married Margaret Jane Smith of Rawden, Nova Scotia. 

In 1883, he and his younger brother John, who had been born at Valleyview, Prince Edward Island in 1849, came west with the C.P.R. construction, to Lake Louise (then known as Laggan). Later they both came to Cochrane, Donald as a foreman on the C.P.R. Section west of Cochrane, and John as Section foreman at Radnor. John, who never married, was killed in an accident in October 1905. An unscheduled train ran into the back of the handcar he was operating. 

Building what was claimed to be the first private home in the town site of Cochrane (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Station is now there), Donald brought his family West in 1887, the family being his wife Margaret, children Leslie John, Catherine, Adela Maud, Ewan Mark, and Blanche. One daughter, Amanda, had passed away in the East. 

Donald took out a homestead north of Cochrane on NE14 22-26-4-5. His original cabin is still part of the present house on the land. Donald Bruce passed away in 1909 and his wife Margaret in 1932. 

His son, Leslie, was a schoolteacher, spending most of his time in British Columbia, where he was a School Principal and later, School Inspector. He married Elma Baker, a graduate of Dalhousie University, in Nova Scotia. They had no family and both are now deceased.

Adela Maud, unmarried, was also a long-time schoolteacher, teaching in Alberta and British Columbia. After retirement, she returned to Cochrane, but in 1938 she accompanied her nephew Stuart Grayson to Fort Vermilion, where Stuart was then stationed. Going up there was a thrill for Adela Maud; it was her first plane ride. When Stuart was transferred out in 1939, she remained there, because there were older children needing assistance with their education, and schools were not available. However she had a bad heart, and the climate was too severe in the winter. She moved out to Edmonton, where she passed away in 1943.

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