Van Gundy Family Tree

Notes for Thomas Melvin PURVIS

R M Purvis said Thomas Melvin was his grandfather's uncle which Purvis, Mississippi, the county seat, was named after. However when considering items below, it appears he was in IL most of his life.

Residences & events:

1/22/1827 Sangamon Co, IL. His name was found in early probate records in connection with the James Twaddle estate as a buyer at the sale of personal goods.

2/22/1830 Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL. Thomas, along with his father and brothers, William and Isaac, voted at the courthouse.

1830 Shelby Co, IL. He was listed among the county's first settlers, exact date not given
He was counted in the 4th Prect at census time, he and brother, John, being the only Purvises listed in the county. Those living in Thomas' household were 2 males under 5, 2 males 20-30, 2 females 5-10, and 1 female 20-30. Probably brother James was living with him at that time. Down the road was his father.

From the History of Shelby & Moultrie Co, IL:


WAS a small village laid out by Thomas Purvis, about 1836, in section 3. John Patterson and Samuel Martin, were its merchants, and Purvis run a horse mill. The land upon which it was located has long since been cultivated, and now forms part of a b eautiful farm."

3/22/1836 Thomas started buying land from federal land sales, beginning with 80 acres in Moultrie Co at S3 T13N for $1.25/acre. He was still living in Shelby Co at that time.

5/31/1836 He bought another 79.61 acres in Moultrie at the same location, for the same $1.25/acre.

7/25/1836 His residence was still Shelby Co when he bought more Moultrie Co federal land, this time 39.81 acres at the same coordinates, again at $1.25/acre.

1/10/1837 He added to his estate in Moultrie Co by buying 40 more acres from a federal sale, still at $1.25/acre. Still he lived in Shelby Co.

3/6/1837 Julian, Shelby Co, IL. Thomas laid out a small village in S3 T13N R6E with 80x60' lots, 60' wide streets and 16' alleys. There he built a horse mill in response to the need of settlers living on the west side of the Okaw river, who were compelled to swim the river to get their milling done at East Nelson. Thomas also operated a tavern or inn there. Family tradition says that the tavern was a relay point where horses were changed on the stage road between Charleston and Springfield. Also according to tradition, Thomas' family and Abe Lincoln were long time friends. Son, James, was said to have sat on Abraham's lap when he came through on the stage.

2/19/1838 Enlarging his property limits, he bought 40 acres at a school sale in Moultrie Co for $2.01/acre, located at S16 13N.

8/10/1838 Shelby Co, IL. Thomas obtained his first real estate in the county of his residence by patent. On the same date, brothers, George, William, and John, all received land too.

12/29/1838 He appeared as a witness in a court suit between James Elder vs Jonathan Dasey.

1840 Shelby Co, IL. In the census he and his wife were 30-40 years old and their family consisted of 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 2 females 5-10, and 2 females 15-20. Two doors down was brother-in-law John Golesby with John Ginn between them.

1/31/1843 Shelby Co, Il. According to probate records, he, along with several brothers, were among the purchasers at the sale of the estate of Samuel Martin.

3/11/1844 Moultrie Co, IL. He had finally moved to the county where he already owned several acres of land by the time he added another 39.8 acres at S3 N13N from the federal sale for $1.25.

9/25/1850 Moultrie Co, IL. At census time he was listed as a farmer with real estate worth $1000. Living with him were second wife, Sarah, 43, and 5 children: Nancy, 15, James, 12, Angeline, 11, Alex, 7, and Abby, 5. Next door neighbors were sister Elizabeth Bracken and on the other side, John Johnson.

2/1852 Moultrie Co, IL. His name was on a summons, then a deceased summons on 3/5/1852, and later the same year, his name appeared on a delinquent list for nonpayment of a note. Apparently someone forgot to take care of his business after he died.

Thomas apparently left shared land to his heirs which on 2/4/1903, they deeded to the public for the Jonathan Creek cemetery by quit-claim deed for $1.00:
"The grantors James Purvis, G.W. Purvis, Elija Purvis, and Alexander Purvis of the Town of Jonathan Creek in the County of Moultrie and State of Illinois for the consideration of
one ($1.00) Dollars, convey and quit-claim to the Public (for public burying purposes) all interest in the following described real estate....Except a certain parcel or strip 10 feet extending from the south side of the Church Building to the south line of the above
described tract of land (and known as the row or strip upon which the Purvis family bury their dead)."

As of 1980 there were about 400 Purvises buried in Jonathan Creek Cemetery.

Copyright 2010 by BJ Van Gundy

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