Pioneer Resident of DeFuniak Dies on Saturday

The death of Mrs. Wallace Bruce, 86 years of age, which occurred Saturday night, January 11, at her home on the Circle, following a long illness, took from DeFuniak Springs one of its better known citizens, and one who has, in the many years that she has spent her winters here, been considered not only a prominent citizen, but a beloved resident and neighbor.

Funeral services were held at three-thirty Monday afternoon from the house, with Dr. F. W. Haverkamp, president of Palmer College, conducting the services. A quartette, composed of Emma Campbell, Mrs. N. Sowell, Judge A. G. Campbell and Roy Morris, sang, “My Ain Countrie,” and at the cemetery sang “Rock of Ages.” Wallace Bruce Abernethy, a grandson of the deceased, sang one of her favorite hymns, “Where They Never Grow Old.” Pall bearers were D. Wilson, Geo. Carden, M. O. Warren, Landrum Cawthon, R. M. Coats and Henry Elliott.

Ann Becker was born at Schodak Depot, N. Y., October 22, 1849, the daughter of Caroline Elizabeth Becker and Stephen A. Becker. She attended the Castleton Seminary, Castleton, N. Y., and later studied at the University of Edinburgh. On June 29, 1870, she was married to Wallace Bruce, and they made their home at Poughkeepsie, N. Y. until Mr. Bruce was appointed U. S. consul to Edinburgh, Scotland, for the years 1889-1893. [Upon] their return from abroad they made their home in Brooklyn, N. Y., spending the summers there and living here during the winter months.

Mr. Bruce first came to DeFuniak Springs in the year 1884, to lecture at the DeFuniak Chautauqua. The year following he was [accompanied] by Mrs. Bruce, and since that time, save for the four years spent abroad, they had made this their winter home.

She is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Jacob Snook, East Greenbush, N. Y., and Mrs. Thomas Beaumont of Albany, N. Y., the latter of whom had been here with Mrs. Bruce for some time; one son, Malcolm, of DeFuniak Springs; five grandchildren: Wallace Bruce Abernethy, of Gainesville; Miss Marjorie Abernethy of Pensacola; George Brittain Abernethy, also of Pensacola; Ann Florence Bruce, of New York City, and Margaret Bruce, DeFuniak Springs; and three great-grandchildren.

The late Wallace Bruce and Mrs. Bruce were identified for many years with events of foreign and national importance, as well as taking an active interest in educational, religious and civic enterprises in this section. He as a poet and lecturer of note, and for years president of the chautauqua here, the second of its kind in the United States. A few of the many instances when he appeared prominently before the public were at Edinburgh, where he caused to be erected the first statue of Lincoln ever erected outside the United States, at Caulton Hill cemetery, in honor of the Scottish soldiers participating in the Civil War; at Ayr, Scotland, where he delivered the address at the erection of the famous statue commemorating Robert Burns; and at Brooklyn N, Y., at the opening of the Brooklyn bridge where he read one of his poems.

Although at all times aiding and inspiring her husband in his work, here and elsewhere, Mrs. Bruce was more dearly beloved by DeFuniak residents for the daily life she lived, an example to all, and for her may deeds of kindness to neighbor and stranger. The return of Mrs. Bruce from Brooklyn, at first accompanying her husband, and after his death, alone, to the Bruce cottage, to spend a part of the year, was eagerly awaited by all who knew her, and her death leaves a vacant place in the hearts of many.

[Source: The Breeze, January 16, 1936, Page 5]

[Burial: Magnolia Cemetery, DeFuniak Springs]