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James B. Bruff, one of the leading lawyers of Cass county, practicing at Atlantic and in the higher courts of the State, has had from his youth the inspiration of a high example, and in his own career has shown qualities worthy of his parentage. He is a native of Mahoning county, Ohio, born on May 29, 1853, and the son of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Bruff (also a native of Ohio) and his wife, whose maiden name was Anna M. Ogden, and who was born in New Jersey. The father was a farmer and followed his calling in his native State until his death in 1886, at the age of fifty-eight years. The mother died in Atlantic while on a visit to her son in 1889. They had a family of four sons and two daughters, of whom James B. is the only one living.

The father was a prominent man of public affairs in Ohio, and both before and after the Civil War, represented his county in the lower House of the State Legislature, being a member at the time of Hon. John Sherman's first election to the United States Senate and ardently supporting the great financier in the contest. Early in the Civil War he actively espoused the cause of the Union by raising Company A, of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio Infantry, of which he was at once made captain. Later in the struggle he was breveted Colonel and afterward Lieutenant Colonel for meritorious service and unwavering fidelity to duty, joined the capacity for the rank. His regiment was a part of the Fourth Army Corps, and fought in the Army of the Cumberland under General Thomas. It participated in the hardest of the fighting in the battles of Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge. In the furious charge which won the last named engagement, Colonel Bruff was shot through the body, his life being saved by a pocketbook which deflected the bullet. He also received a serious wound in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, but escaped injury in the deluges of death at Franklin and Nashville, in which he took part, as he did in numerous less important engagements, serving in Texas even after the official close of the war. He was mustered out of the service in 1865 and returned to Ohio, again taking charge of his farm and resuming his place in the political affairs of the county, being again called upon to represent it in the State Legislature. His father, James B. Bruff, was born in Maryland, and moved from that State to Ohio in the very early days. He was an Orthodox Quaker in religious belief, and true in all respects to his faith, but his son was expelled from the society for his participation in the war. The grandfather died on his son's farm in 1864. The family is an old English one, the American branches of which settled in Pennsylvania and Maryland in early Colonial days.

James B. Bruff, the Atlantic attorney and counselor, grew to manhod and was educated in Ohio, being graduated from Mount Union College at Alliance, in 1876. He then taught school two years, and while doing so assisted in founding the well known normal and preparatory school at Maryville, Tenn. During this period he also began the study of law, which he continued in the University of Iowa, entering the law department in 1880 and being graduated from it in 1881. He began his practice at Atlantic in the fall of the same year, and has continued it energetically there ever since, rising to a high position at the bar and engaging for years in all the most important cases. In 1883 he was married in this state to Miss Jessie H. Cartland, who was born in Maine. They have five children, Joseph C., Anna M., Beulah, James R. and William C. In politics the father is a Republican, but he has never been an active partisan, and has never sought office. In his church relations he is an Orthodox Quaker.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 280-281.

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