Hon. John Bruce, St. Boniface

John Bruce

Links to Biographies:

Biographical Notes:

Date of Birth: 1830/1831/1837

Place of Birth: possibly at Ile à la Crosse

Father: Pierre Bruce

Mother: Margurite Desrosiers

Marriage: Angelique Gaudry/Vaudry/Beaudry

Occupation: Carpenter; employee of A.G.B. Bannatyne (1869).

Member of the Provisional Government of Assiniboia; Position in the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia:

  • Honourable Member for St. Boniface
  • Commissioner of Public Works

Other Political Positions and Appointments:

  • Magistrate for the Middle District Court by appointment of the Council of Assiniboia, 17 December 1868.[1]
  • Elected President of Métis Council of 15 October 1869. Reported to have held meeting on about 22 October 1869 at his home; the which council resolved “to send an armed party to meet the Governor, whom they expected to come in to-morrow, and to prevent at all hazards, his entering the settlement.”[2]
  • President of the Métis National Council as of October 1869, officially resigned 27 December 1869 with the formation of the Provisional Government. (He had been reported as being “dangerously ill,” though “recovering and … now thought to be out of danger” as of 18 December 1869. He attended a family baptism on the 19th, and was reported to have taken his place “at the head of the Council board” on 20 December 1869. On 24 December, according to Alexander Begg, “President Bruce has retired from being the head of the French Party on account of his health and now acts only as a councilor.” The change was officially announced on 27 December 1869.)[3]

Bruce was enumerated in the Red River census of 1849 at St. Boniface, already married at about age 19, living with a wife but without children and as yet without a house or other property. By 1856 Bruce and his wife had a son and a daughter. Subsequently, Bruce’s participation was recorded at a number of significant family events at Red River Settlement:

Witness, burial of Louis Bruce, 15 July 1861,  St. Boniface.

[Louis Bruce appears to have been the husband of Rosalie Delorme. See: Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Rosalie; widow of Louis Bruce; born: December 25, 1822; father: Louis Delorme (French Canadian); mother: Josette Bille (Métis); claim no.: 612; scrip no.: 4737 to 4744; date of issue: June 16, 1876; amount: $160. = ; also Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Joseph; born: March 23, 1846; father: Louis Bruce (Métis); mother: Rosalie Delorme (Métis); claim no.: 1769; date of issue: September 20, 1876 = ; Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Jean Baptiste; born: 12 March, 1860; father: Louis Bruce (deceased); mother: Rosalie Delorme, widow and deponent = ; and Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Clemence; born: 15 May, 1854; father: Louis Bruce; mother: Rosalie Delorme =.]

Witness, burial of Elise ‘Lisette’ Beauchemin dit Millette, 13 April 1862, St. Boniface.

Godfather, baptism of his niece, Virginie Bruce, 11 July 1862, St. Boniface.

Witness, burial of Francois Poitras, 11 January 1864, St. Boniface.

Witness, burial of Pierre Bruce (John Bruce’s father), 12 January 1864, St. Boniface.

Witness, burial of Sara Henry, 31 October 1865, St. Boniface.

Godfather, baptism of John Plante, 30 July 1866, St. Boniface.

Godfather, baptism of Alexandre Hayden, 9 December 1866, St. Boniface.

Godfather, baptism of Veronique Larance, 20 January 1867 , St. Boniface.

Witness, marriage of Antoine Larocque & Elise Delorme, 19 February 1867.

Godfather, baptism of Marie Adele Poitras, 8 June 1867,  St. Boniface. [the daughter of Joseph-Beaucasque Poitras and Nancy ‘Annie’ La Plante/Plante]

Godfather, baptism of Chrysostome Hayden, 9 February 1868, St. Boniface.

Godfather, baptism of Sara Lane, 19 December 1869, St. Boniface.

Witness, marriage of Joseph McMillan & Appoline Bruce (John Bruce’s niece), 21 February 1870, St. Boniface.

Witness, burial of Marguerite Blondeau, 1 July 1873, St. Boniface.[4]

In February 1870, Bruce was involved in an affray with William Dease, who opposed the  provisional government newly proposed, and who had been accused of theft of Hudson’s Bay Company goods, for which he was to be arrested — see “William Dei Gratia Regem,” New Nation (11 February 1870), 3. Bruce was a member of the party sent to effect the arrest. Dease apparently attempted to flee after firing a gun at Bruce, but was arrested and jailed — though the satirical account, “William Le Roi,” New Nation (18 February 1870), 2, is not entirely clear. It seems that by 4 March 1870 Dease had been called upon to answer for the ‘theft’ of HBC goods — see “A Slight Difference,” New Nation (4 March 1870), 3 — although there is no further mention of the alleged shooting of Bruce.

As a member of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, Bruce was appointed to the committee to devise a code of laws for the Settlement.

On 20 March 1877,  Bruce was awarded patent to Lot 12, 161 56/100 acres, in the Parish of St. Norbert, but within two years he appears to have decided to leave the new Province of Manitoba that he had had a part in creating. He was recorded as at St. Joseph, Pembina, on 3 June 1879 where he stood in as Godfather at the baptism of Marie Marguerite Bruce. John Bruce was enumerated as residing in the same place in the 1880 United States Census.[5]

Date of Death: 26 October 1893, Leroy, North Dakota. Buried 28 October, St. Joseph, Pembina County.


[1] E.H. Oliver, The Canadian North-West, vol. I, 598.

[2] J. S. Dennis to Wm. McDougall, 23 October 1869, in Correspondence and papers connected
with recent occurrences in the North-West Territories, 7.

[3] Alexander Begg, Begg’s Red River Journal, 233, 235, 239, 255, see also 244, where Begg also reported on 28 December that  “John Bruce is suspected of acting double as a spy – he is recovering his health more rapidly since he retired from being president” — who Begg’s suspicion-minded informant was is not clear.

[4] “John Bruce,” Bovette Family Website, http://www.bouvette.com/family/BRUCE_John_1831/.

[5] See also Encloses schedule of disallowed HB applicants residing in Dakota and residents there before and after the transfer. Refers to declaration John Bruce first resident of Provincial Government in 1869 ;


Family Ties:

1. BRUCE/BROUSSE, Pierre. Born 1785 [at Quinze Chiew?] North West; interpreter 1804 in the service of the North West Company at English River; died 10 January 1864, St. Boniface, Red River Settlement.


2. BRUCE, Baptiste/Jean-Baptiste. Born 15 September 1807/1809, Isle a la Crosse; la Loche boat brigade captain; listed as ‘Brousse’ guide for Richardson and Rae 1847 [see also entry for ‘Bruce’ the next page where he is listed as a guide in the 1850 search for Franklin]; died 1890.

Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Baptiste; born: September 15, 1809; father: Pierre Bruce (Métis); mother: Marguerite Desrochers (Métis); claim no: 609; scrip No: 4713 to 4720; date of issue: June 16, 1876; amount: $160 =

— sp. PERREAULT, Catherine Beauchemin. Daughter of Louis Perrault and Madeline Ducharme

3. BRUCE, Hermenegild. Born 5 July 1846, St. Boniface.

Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Herminigilde; born: July 5, 1846; father: Baptiste Bruce (Métis); mother: Catherine Perreault (Métis); claim no.: 1767; date of issue: September 20, 1876 =

3. BRUCE, Appoline ‘Pauline.’ Born 27 November 1851, St. Boniface; married 21 February 1870, St. Boniface; died 16 September 1922, St. Boniface.

Scrip affidavit for McMullen, Pauline; born: 27 November 1851; husband: Joseph McMullen; father: Baptiste Bruce (Métis); mother: Catherine Bruce (Métis); claim no: 1668; scrip no: 10574; date of issue: Sept. 20, 1876; amount: $160 =

— sp. McMILLAN/McMULLEN, Joseph. Born 4 December 1849, St. Boniface to William McMillan and Margaret Dease [see Heather Devine, “The Indian-Metis Connection: James McMillan and His Descendants,” pdf, p. 96 (includes photo), http://www.electricscotland.com/history/canada/vol2/glengarry8.pdf ]; died 5 October 1923, St. James, Winnipeg.

Scrip affidavit for McMillen, Joseph; born: 4 December 1849; father: William McMillan (Métis); mother: Margaret Dease (Métis); claim no: 1667; scrip no: 10573; date of issue:fSept. 20, 1876; amount: $160 = ; Scrip affidavit for McMullen, Margaret; born: May 18, 1820; wife of Wm. McMullen; father: John Dease (White); mother: Genevieve Dease (Métis); claim no: 1669; scrip no: 10575; date of issue: Sept. 20, 1876; amount: $160 =

3. BRUCE, Pierre. Born 27 December 1854/1856/1857, St. Boniface, Red River; married 1879, St. Boniface; died 16 April 1927, St. Laurent, Manitoba.

— sp. McMILLAN, Elizabeth. Born 10 August 1860 to William McMillan and Margaret Dease, at St. James parish, Red River; died St. Laurent, Manitoba.

4. BRUCE, Mary Jane. Born 1880.

4. BRUCE, Arthur. Born 25 September 1882.

4. BRUCE, Victoria. Born 11 December 1885/1889.

— sp. MORIN, Alexander.

4. BRUCE, Frank. Born 18 May 1887.

4. BRUCE, Thomas. Born 18 August 1889.

— sp. GRANT, Agnes.

4. BRUCE, Andrew. Born 1891.

4. BRUCE, Pierre. Born 12 September 1893; died 5 September 1962.

— sp. PARENTEAU, Bertha.

3. BRUCE, Virginie. Born 11 July 1862, St.Boniface; married February 1879, St. Boniface; died St. Charles, Winnipeg.

— sp. McMILLAN, John. Son of William McMillan and Margaret Dease.

3. BRUCE, Marie. Born 20 October, St. Boniface.

2. BRUCE, Antoine. Born 18 July 1810.

Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Antoine; born: July 18, 1810; father: Pierre Bruce (Métis); mother: Marguerite Durscher (Métis); claim no: 629; scrip No: 4873 to 4880; date of issue: June 16, 1876; amount: $160 =

— sp. MONTOUR, Josette. Born 25 December 1819.

Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Josette; wife of Antoine Bruce; born: December 25, 1819; father: Pierre Mentour (Métis); mother: Josette Grant (Métis); claim no.: 611; scrip no.: 4729 to 4736; date of issue: June 16, 1876; amount: $160. =

2. BRUCE, Cecile. Born 1815.

Scrip affidavit for Delorme, Cecile; wife of Louis Delorme; born: 1815; father: Pierre Bruce (Métis); mother: Marguerite Durocher (Métis); claim no.: 1807; date of issue: Sept. 20, 1876 =

— sp. DELORME, Louis.

3. DELORME, John.

Scrip affidavit for Delorme, John; born: 7 January 1848; father: Louis Delorme (Métis); mother: Cecile Bruce (Métis); claim no.: 1808; date of issue: Sept. 20, 1876 =

3. DELORME, Boniface.

Scrip affidavit for Delorme, Boniface; born: 18 August 1845; father: Louis Delorme (Métis); mother: Cecile Bruce (Métis); claim no.: 1796; date of issue: Sept. 20, 1876 =

2. BRUCE, John. Born 1830.

Scrip affidavit for Bruce, John; born: 1830; father: Pierre Bruce (Métis); mother: Marguerite Derocher (Métis); claim no.: 1806; scrip no.: 6281 to 6288; date of issue: July 12, 1876; amount: $160 =

— sp. GAUDRY, Angelique. Born 1830 to Pierre Gaudry and Marie Anne Hughes; died 1917.

Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Angelique; wife of John Bruce; born: 1830; father: Pierre Gaudry (French Canadian); mother: Marie Anne Hughes (Métis); claim no: 807; scrip No: 8269 6296; date of issue: July 12, 1876; amount: $160 =

3. BRUCE, Jean/John. Born March 1855, St. Boniface, Red River; died 2 October 1912, St. Joseph, North Dakota.

3. BRUCE, Remi. Born 1857, St. Boniface, Red River; died 19 August 1927, Leroy, North Dakota.

Scrip affidavit for Bruce, Remi; born: 1857; father: John Bruce; mother: Angélique Gaudry =

3. BRUCE, Pierre William. Born 26/27 March 1862, St. Boniface, Red River; died 7 May 1881, St. Joseph, North Dakota.

3. BRUCE, Joseph. Born 14 July 1865, St. Boniface, Red River; baptized 15 July 1865, Godfather Joesph Bruce, Godmother Isabelle Lavallee; first marriage 21 September 1885 at St. Joseph, North Dakota; 2d marriage 4 May 1892; 3d marriage 1901; died 22 May 1925. Pembina County, North Dakota.

— sp. GRANDBOIS, Martine. Born 25 January 1871, Qu’Appelle, NWT, to Isidore Grandbois and Marguerite Hamelin; died 30 March 1892 at St. Joseph, North Dakota.

— sp. BOURASSA, Mary Jane.

— sp. DUPUIS, Marie Josephine.

3. BRUCE, Marie Rose. Born 7 February 1870.

3. BRUCE, Marguerite.

2. BRUCE, Joseph. Born 1833, St. Boniface.


The Dease Connection:

1. DEASE, John Warren Sr. Born 7 June c. 1783 to Dr. John B. Dease and Jane French a Caughnawaga Mohawk woman; brother to Peter Warren Dease; North West Company Service from early 1800s; Hudson’s Bay Company service; died 1829 [?]. [Papers archived at the University of Winnipeg]

— sp. CADOT/CODETTE, Mary. Born 1896 at Green Lake [now in Saskatchewan]; died 18 November 1860, St. Boniface.



— sp. BEGNET/BEIGNET/BEIGNOIT/BENOIST/BENOIT, Genevieve ‘Jenny’ Daniel. Previously married to Goulet with son Pierre/Peter Goulet [Karen Carignan states: Peter Goulet’s son, Roger Goulet “went with William Dease to meet with Mr. McDougall during the Riel Rebellion. Albert E. Dease refers to this Peter as Alexis Goulet (1811-1856, see reference in ‘Family Ties’ on Hon. Auguste Harrison’s page) and stated that Roger Goulet was superintendent of Schools of Manitoba for over 33 years. He retired to Hermosa Beach, Calif. where he was living in 1936 “].

2. DEASE, Marguerite ‘Margaret’. Born 18/26 May 1815/1818/1820, Rainy Lake/Fort Alexander District; married 1835 St. Boniface; died c. 1903 [?].

— sp. McMILLAN, William.

2. DEASE, William. Born 19 September 1829 to Chief Trader John Warren Dease and Geneviève Beignet/ Benoit; member of the Council of Assiniboia; the first man to openly advocate the seizure of Hudson Bay property in 1869 (Sprague, Canada and the Métis, 36: “According to Stanley, the associates of Dease were Pascal Breland, Joseph Genthon [his brother-in-law], and William Hallet (Riel, p. 56)”; died 9 August 1913 Leroy, Pembina County, North Dakota.

— sp. GENTHON, Marguerite. Born 15 July 1832, St. Boniface to Maximilien Emile Genthon dit Dauphine (appointed HBC Councillor of Assiniboia) and Marie Louise ‘Lisette’ Jerome (daughter of Martin Jerome Sr. and Louise a First Nations woman; and sister of Martin St. Mathe Jerome/ ‘Samart Gerome’).

3. DEASE, Marguerite. Born 11 December 1853; married 20 February 1871, St. Norbert;

— sp. LACERTE, Louis. Born c. 1847 to Francois Louis Lacerte [possibly the member of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia] and Josephte Vandal at Red River; [it is also possible that he, and not his father, served in the Legislative Assembly]; died 14 January 1885 at Leroy, Pembina County, North Dakota.

2. DEASE, Nancy

2. DEASE, Alfred

2. DEASE, John Warren Jr.


[Credit: The original research on which this page is based was commissioned for the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia Project, by Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Manitoba. The current page is presented gratis — I have no funding from any agency.]


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