William Bryan Bruce

William Bryan Bruce (dates) moved to Overhills when he was a young man and began working as a stable hand.  He quickly advanced to higher positions and was the manager of Overhills Farms for many years.  

He married Thelma Puckett from the Johnsonville Community. They adopted two nieces:  Virginia, whose mother was Bruce's sister, who died in Culpepper, Virginia, and Dorothy, whose mother was Mrs. Bruce's sister who also died. They raised and educated both daughters as well as helping educate several other children whose parents were unable to provide them with an education.  Mr. Bruce had a good relationship with the Army at nearby Ft. Bragg and this couple was also helpful in improving that part of Harnett County.  

They were members of The Church of the Covenant in nearby Spring Lake and he was an Elder in the church for many years.  Mr. Bruce did much for people who lived on the plantation and were unable to help themselves.  

Mr. Bruce also served on several boards in Harnett County.  Much of the volunteer work he did was never publicized.  

The Bruces had a very good relationship with the Rockefeller family and were invited to their summer home each summer for a two-week vacation.  When Mr. Bruce first moved to Overhills, the farm was much larger. He encouraged the selling of much of the acreage to local folks who wanted to have a home in the neighborhood or to businesses such as the N.C. Pulp Company. 

Mr. Bruce worked with both Percy Rockefeller who purchased the estate in the early 1920s and Avery Rockefeller who took over after his father passed away.  He was well-liked by everyone and was a great asset to the Western Harnett Area

(submitted by Imogene Holmes)