Date Published: 1861 & 1864
Three related George Bruce owned items are included;
#1) 1861 Enfield Pattern 60 Rifle made by Charles Reeves Co. UK
#2) c1865 Sniper glasses
#2) 1864 holograph 3pp. letter on University College letter
#1) 1861 Enfield Pattern 60 Rifle:
Made by C. Reeves (rare make of this model) Percussion Lock, Weight - 9 pounds, Length - 48 inches, Barrel – 33 inches, Rifle – 5 groove, Barrel – Heavy – 1/48 inch spiral, Support Bands – Two, Walnut Stock – Dark Brown (with age), Barrel Likely Blued – Dark Brown (with age), #9 Bayonet Post – for Sword Type (right side), Proof Marks – 25 plus flags (25 gauge/bore), Rear Sling Swivel – Behind Trigger Guard, Rifled – Progressive Depth – 1/48 inches, Adjustable Rear Sight – Ladder Type – 1100 yards (rear band), Paper Cartridges – 4.4g black powder, 34 g Minie Ball, Velocity – 900 fps, Jag Headed Rammer, Rate of Fire – 3 rounds per minute, Practical Effective Range – 600 yards
Overall Condition: Fair to Good.
C. (Charles) Reeves of the Toledo Works, 29, Charlotte St., Birmingham, UK was a manufacturer of small arms to the trade and her Majesty's War Department. All his production was done 'in house'. With the help of two 150 horsepower steam engines Reeves made rifles for the government, and the Confederacy, the long Enfield, and short Enfield (P60) and produced (as licensee) the Whitworth rifle. Best quality steel was sourced from Marshall and Mills of Sheffield, in billets twelve inches long, and weighing nine pounds and a quarter.
According to the Bruce family historian, in 1898 George Bruce’s father was a school teacher in Canada and died at the age of 91. It was with his father’s thoughts and the encouragement of Uncle George Dickson (former headmaster of Upper Canada College) that George Bruce decided to start a Boys School in Toronto. Thus in 1899 – St. Andrew’s College was started. The Bruce family put in the first money - $10,000
William Scoular a professor at St. Andrew’s College wrote a 1998 book, “Not an Ordinary Place” which states a number of interesting comments about George. Scoular states the George Bruce had a career of some distinction, winning a medal for proficiency in modem languages and prizes in Classics, Chemistry and Metaphysics. He also served with the University Rifles, and was awarded a medal in 1867 for being the best shot in the Queen's Own Rifles. Later, as a true patriot, he volunteered to fight to help put down the North-West Rebellion that Louis Riel lead. He slept with his uniform and rifle by his bed.
#2) c1865 Sniper glasses:
George probably used the shooting glasses while at University College in the period 1864 to 1868 as he was myopic or nearsighted. He could not have won that shooting medal with the Queen's Own Rifles without those glasses.
An article, “History on Your Face”, confirms that shooting glasses were advertised in 1851 and that a patent was given in 1861 however the article suggests these type of shooting glasses were mostly produced after the civil war.
#3) 1864 holograph 3pp. letter on University College letterhead:
This letter was written to his uncle Robert Bruce (1820-1894) who was married to Janet (Dickson) Bruce. In this letter George thanks his Uncle Robert for the present “I shall thank yo both heartily for your present.” (the 1861 rifle). George Bruce also notes in third party,that “George has joined the Universtie rifles”. Professor Croft was the Captain, and Professor Cherriman was the Lieutenant. Bruce’s joining of the Rifles in 1864 was near the beginning of Canada’s first Militia’s. George also talks about his University College Professor’s – (Wilson later Knighted by Queen Victoria), Cherriman (a genius in Math), and Croft (esteemed in chemistry). All went on to be famous in their own right.
Provenance: The Bruce family historian provided the following overview of George Bruce (1839-1917). He was born Aberdeenshire, Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1842 to Markham, Ontario (Bruce’s Mill) with his family. He was brought up by his Father’s sister, Christine Bruce (1808-1888) and lived from 1842 to 1854 with his aunt and her husband William Henry at Bruce’s Mill. Went to high school near where his father was teaching east of Stouffville, Ontario. George attended University College [part of University of Toronto today] in Toronto in 1864, where he graduated in 1868.
He walked to Bruce’s Mill (25 miles) to see his Aunt Christine and Uncle Robert, while attending UC on weekends.
in 1874 George Bruce became a Reverend, while studying at Knox College. He got his DD in 1894. As soon as he became a Reverend and was engaged to be married and he returned the 1861 P60 Enfield Rifle to his Uncle Robert Bruce (1820-1894). The Reverend George Bruce, B.A., D.D. founded St. Andrew’s College in Toronto in 1899 [now in Aurora] and became the School’s first Head Master.