Bruce, Horatio Gates (1824–1882)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: March 24, 2008

Updated: November 19, 2014

Horatio Gates Bruce, Confederate officer and state representative, was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, on September 4, 1824, the son of Horatio and Elizabeth (Beasley) Bruce. Bruce married Patsy Palmer on August 3, 1848. This couple had four sons and one daughter. Bruce immigrated with his family to Texas in the winter of 1848–1849 and settled in what would become Johnson County. Here Bruce was one of the leading members of the community. He helped establish and was a founding member of the Rock Creek Baptist Church. In April 1862 following the outbreak of the Civil War, Bruce raised a company of cavalry for service in the Confederate Army. This unit was incorporated as Company F into the Twentieth Texas Cavalry Regiment with Bruce serving as the captain. The regiment underwent training and reorganization at Tyler during the summer of 1862, and Bruce's company was re-designated as Company H. Bruce saw action in Arkansas and in Indian Territory. Bruce returned to Johnson County at the cessation of hostilities, resuming his leadership within the community. In 1873 Bruce won election as representative for District Twenty-three—comprised of Johnson, Hood, Parker, Erath, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Shackelford, Jones, Eastland, Callahan, Taylor, Hill, Jack, Young, Throckmorton, and Haskell counties. Bruce was a Johnson County delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1875. He served in the House of the Seventeenth Texas Legislature from 1881 to 1882. In the early 1880s Bruce founded the town of Bruce near present-day Godley, Johnson County. Bruce died while serving in the legislature in Austin, Travis County, on January 11, 1882.

J. E. Ericson, "The Delegates to the Convention of 1875," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 67 (July 1963). Johnson County History Book Committee, The History of Johnson County, Texas (Dallas: Curtis Media, 1985). IGI Individual Record, "Horatio Gates" (, accessed August 3, 2007. The Kaufman County TXGenWeb Project (, accessed August 1, 2007. Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939).

  • Fourteenth Legislature (1874-1875)
  • House
  • Seventeenth Legislature (1881-1882)

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Bruce, Horatio Gates,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 24, 2008
November 19, 2014