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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Elbert Osborn Bruce, M. D.

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[This information is from pp. 45-47 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Elbert Osborn Bruce, M. D., a well-known practising physician of the town of Seward, N. Y., has been located in the village of Hyndsville for nearly twoscore years, and with one exception is the oldest established practitioner in Schoharie County. He was born in the neighboring town of Summit, December 6, 1839, a son of the Rev. Samuel and Theodosia (Harrington) Bruce.

Samuel Bruce, Sr., father of the Rev. Samuel, was born and reared in Scotland, and he lived there until after his marriage. Coming then to America with his bride, formerly a Miss Armstrong, he became a pioneer settler of Oneida County, New York, where he took up a tract of wild land, cleared a space, and erected the log house in which he made his home during his remaining days. With untiring energy and true heroism he labored to reclaim a farm from the primeval forest, and his efforts were well rewarded. He passed to the life beyond at the age of sixty-five years; but his wife survived him many years, attaining the age of ninety-five.

The Rev. Samuel Bruce was one of a family of three children. He was brought up at the old homestead, and received his early education in the pioneer schools of his district. Possessing great mental ability, he continued to add to his store of knowledge by judicious reading and studying, and for several years was employed as a teacher. He afterward settled on a farm in Summit, where he carried on general farming for some time. He also preached at Schoharie and elsewhere in this county. He was ordained as a minister of the Lutheran church, and subsequently followed his vocation in Otsego County, settling at South Worcester, where he died at the age of seventy-two years. His wife, whose maiden name was Theodosia Harrington, was a daughter of William Harrington. She survived him, passing away at the venerable age of fourscore and ten years. Of their eight children seven are now living, namely: Samuel W.; James; Elbert O.; Richard; Eli, who occupies the old homestead; Lavinia, wife of Oliver Mowbrany; and Martha, wife of Sylvester Smith, of Oneonta. Lucy Jane is deceased.

Elbert O. Bruce left home when a lad of ten years to become a pupil in the New York Conference Seminary, which he attended until it was burned, four years later. He subsequently read medicine with Dr. George H. Leonard, and in 1859 was graduated from the Castleton Medical College at Castleton, Vt. Returning then to East Worcester, Otsego County, Dr. Bruce assisted his former instructor, Dr. Leonard, a few months, and then came to Hyndsville, where he has since remained, a trusted physician and an esteemed citizen. During this time he has seen Hyndsville developed from a small hamlet of three or four houses to a flourishing village, and in its advancement and welfare he has been an important factor. He has built up an extensive practice, his ride extending twenty miles in either direction from the village; and from his first day of practice until the present date he has kept abreast with the times in regard to the progress made in the science of medicine. Through the leading medical journals he keeps informed of the new diseases and their treatments, and of the newer methods employed in curing old-time diseases of all kinds.

Dr. Bruce is a charter member of the Schoharie County Medical Society, of which he has been president three years and secretary five years, also having held all the other offices. Before his body of his professional brethren the Doctor is frequently called upon to read papers; and he has likewise contributed articles on different topics, including diphtheria and typhoid fever, to the Medical World. He is also a member of the New York State Medical Society, and has been a delegate three years. In politics he is a sound Democrat. He has served as Town Clerk six years; was Supervisor in 1869 and 1870; has been a member of the School Committee several years; and from 1885 until 1889, under President Cleveland's administration, he served as Postmaster. During that time he was nominated as candidate for member of Assembly, but being Postmaster he was obliged to withdraw his name. He is a prominent Mason, belonging to Cobleskill Lodge, F. & A. M., No. 394, and to Cobleskill Chapter, R. A. M., No. 229. He is a member of the Methodist church, of which he is a trustee, and for many years has been connected with its Sunday-school.

Dr. Bruce was married June 21, 1857, to Miss Cynthia Brown, the only child of Perley Brown, who was for many years a prominent man and the leading merchant of Summit. Dr. and Mrs. Brown have an adopted son, Bertie, now a pupil in the Cobleskill High School.

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