Bio Sketch: Luther B. Bruen (1822-1864), Dayton lawyer & Civil War casualty, & Augusta (Forrer) Bruen (1833-1907) & family

Augusta Forrer was born April 5, 1833, in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of Samuel Forrer (1793-1874) and Sarah Howard (1807-1887).[1]

On December 8, 1853, in Dayton, Augusta married Luther Barnett Bruen, one of the proprietors of the Cincinnati Gazette and later Dayton lawyer. Luther was born September 14, 1822, in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Luther Bruen and Susan Barnett.[2]

Augusta (Forrer) Bruen, undated

Augusta (Forrer) Bruen, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 33, Folder 9)

.

Luther B. Bruen, undated (Dayton Metro Library, Montgomery County Picture File, photo #1766)

Luther B. Bruen, undated (Dayton Metro Library, Montgomery County Picture File, photo #1766)

Shortly after the Civil War broke out, Luther enlisted with the regular army, accepting a commission as a Major with the 12th United States Infantry. He was first stationed at Fort Hamilton, near the harbor in New York City, where he was in charge of recruiting for his regiment.[3]

In January 1864, Luther was sent to the battle front with the Army of the Potomac. On May 13, 1864, he was wounded during the Battle of the Wilderness near Laurel Hill, Virginia, receiving a shell fragment in his knee. He was transferred to Douglas Hospital in Washington, DC, where after 10 days, his leg was amputated above the knee. He survived about three weeks longer and then died at the hospital on June 21, 1864, with his wife by his side; he was 41 years old. He was buried June 28, 1864, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[4]

[For more on Luther’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 9, here on my blog.]

Augusta and her children stayed with her parents for much of the time that Luther was in the army, and they stayed for many years after Luther died. Augusta eventually moved to Bristol, Connecticut, where her son Frank lived.[5]

Shortly after Augusta’s death, a family friend wrote to the family: “Augusta said to me once – that she hoped her husband would wait for her but that she sometimes feared he would progress so far ahead of her that she should never reach him.”[6]

Augusta (Forre) Bruen, late in life

Augusta (Forrer) Bruen, late in life (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 33, Folder 9)

After 43 years as a widow, Augusta (Forrer) Bruen died October 18, 1907, at her home in Bristol, Connecticut, after several months’ illness; she was 74 years old. She was buried on October 21, 1907, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[7]

Bruen family plot, Woodland Cemetery, Section 102

Bruen family plot, Woodland Cemetery, Section 102 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

Luther B. Bruen and Augusta (Forrer) Bruen had four children:

  1. Sarah Howard Bruen (1854-1951);
  2. Frank Bruen (1857-1945);
  3. Robert L. Bruen (1859-1932); and
  4. Mary Howard Bruen (1863-1936).

Sarah Howard Bruen, usually called “Sella,” was born on September 1, 1854, in Dayton, Ohio. On May 29, 1878, in Dayton, she married Frederic Willets Wright, Sr. (1851-1915) of Springboro, Ohio. They later lived in Long Island and Baltimore. They had five children: Sarah Bruen Wright (1879-?), who married Singleton Burdette Mitchill (1881-1938); Kathleen Wright (1882-1966); Alice Wright (1883-1971); Mary Willets Wright (1888-1962), who married Nicholas Bosley Merryman, II (1886-1939); and Frederic Willets Wright, Jr. (1890-?), who married Mary Ogden Harvey (1901-?). Sella (Bruen) Wright died April 23, 1951, probably near Baltimore, Maryland.[8]

Frank Bruen was born February 23, 1857, in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Cornell University in 1878 with a civil engineering degree, and he was a cost engineer in Bristol, Connecticut. He never married. Frank Bruen died on October 18, 1945, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton.[9]

Robert L. Bruen was born April 8, 1859, in Dayton, Ohio. He was a special insurance adjuster. On October 15, 1885, in Larimore, North Dakota, he married Amelia Russell Sawhill (1868-1938). They had two children: Kathleen M. Bruen (1887-1894) and Robert Luther Bruen (1889-1894). Robert L. Bruen died December 11, 1932, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton.[10]

Mary Howard Bruen was born June 26, 1863, in Dayton, Ohio. Her father did not even meet her until she was over six months old, and he died a few months after that. As a young woman, Mary often accompanied her cousin Howard Forrer Peirce as vocalist while he played the piano. She never married. Mary Bruen died March 11, 1926, at Bristol, Connecticut, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton.[11]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Forrer Genealogical Data, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 7:12, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio); Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 129. See also FPW, Series I: Samuel Forrer Family.

[2] Forrer Genealogical Data, FPW, 7:12; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 129, 132; 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition.

[3] U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Profiles (database), Ancestry Library Edition; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Luther Bruen to Samuel Forrer, 27 Aug. 1862, FPW, 33:10; Sarah Forrer to her daughters Mary Forrer and Augusta Bruen, [several letters in 1862], FPW, 4:5; “Major Luther B. Bruen: Death of a Gallant Officer” (obituary), Dayton Journal, 23 June 1864, reprinted in Bruen, Christian Forrer, 132-133.

[4] “Major Luther B. Bruen: Death of a Gallant Officer” (obituary); U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Profiles (database), Ancestry Library Edition; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Luther is buried in Section 102, Lot 1348.

[5] 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition; 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition; [Various letters], FPW.

[6] Laura Vail Morgan to Sarah H. Peirce, 7 Nov. 1907, FPW, 17:10.

[7] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 129-130; “Sister of Mrs. J. H. Peirce Dies in Bristol” (obituary), Dayton Herald, 19 Oct. 1907, reprinted in Bruen, Christian Forrer, 130; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Augusta is buried in Section 102, Lot 1348, near her parents.

[8] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 133-137; Sherwood Episcopal Church Cemetery (Cockeysville, MD) interment records, Find A Grave, accessed 28 Feb. 2012, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gsr&GScid=1963094.

[9] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 136; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[10] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 136;

[11] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 136; Sarah Forrer’s diary, [Dec. 1863] and 14 Feb. 1864, quoted in Frances I. Parrott, “Sons and Mothers,” [undated], FPW, 32:4; Various letters from Howard F. Peirce to his family, FPW, 24:7, 25:3, 25:6; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

4 responses to “Bio Sketch: Luther B. Bruen (1822-1864), Dayton lawyer & Civil War casualty, & Augusta (Forrer) Bruen (1833-1907) & family

  1. Pingback: Bio Sketch: Sarah H. (Howard) Forrer (1807-1887), wife of Samuel Forrer | Glancing Backwards

  2. Pingback: Bio Sketch: Samuel Forrer (1793-1874), Miami-Erie Canal engineer | Glancing Backwards

  3. Pingback: Bio Sketch: Mary (Forrer) Peirce (1838-1929), artist in Dayton, Ohio | Glancing Backwards

  4. Pingback: Bio Sketch: Howard Forrer Peirce (1865-1899), prominent musician in Dayton, Ohio | Glancing Backwards

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