Van Gundy Family Tree

Notes for George Washington PURVIS

George and his activities were well documented, probably because of his wealth, influence, position, and participation in every community of which he was a part.

The family Bible and other family histories do no include Francis Marion as one of George's sons as some claim.

Residences & events in George's life:


The History of Shelby and Moultrie Co, IL says:

*We are indebted to George Purvis for the facts related in this township history.

The first settlers were Joel and Peter Freeman, brothers, with their families, and James and George Purvis, who arrived early in the spring of 1830.....

James and George Purvis came April 1st, 1830, and built a cabin of rough unhewn logs on section 7, where George Purvis still continues to live. They broke the first prairie and put in a crop, and in the following month their father, John Purvis, his wife, and daughter Malinda came from Sangamon county. They all lived in this cabin one year, after which the elder Purvis moved to the " Mill Seat " at the bend of the river, where he lived with his sons John and James G., who had also arrived and built a cabi n. The bend in the river is nearly the shape of a horse-shoe, and is three and one-half miles around, and at the neck it is only seventy steps between the streams. At this point it is said there is about nine feet fall. The eighty acres, including the ben d, was entered by James Purvis in 1829. He, in company with this brother, John G., built a water mill on this neck in 1833, and it has ever since been know as the "Mill seat." It was a grist and saw mill, and was operated for several years by the Purvises and others, and finally washed away.

Maj. James Poor settled a half mile west of George Purvis in the fall of 1832. He had a family of five children, many of whose descendants are still living in the county. At one time Maj. Poor was owner of the Mill Seat. He died in 1850. Alfred Wood settl ed in 1833. Frederick Price, Thomas Purvis, a Mr. Sims, Absolun Brown, Mr. Fox, Boswell, Thomas Isaac and William Purvis, John Spencer, John Bracken, Milton Cox, Isaac Munson, John Goldsby, Samuel Martin, Joseph Lilly, Samuel Hughes, William Snyder, Alfr ed G. De Bruder, the Elders and Landers were all early settlers. Grandfather Purvis, who died in January, 1833, was probably the first death in the township. The first marriage was that of George Purvis, to Cassie Waller, in 1833....The first post-office was established at Nelson."

He did arrive in IL in 1830 according to "Kentuckians in Illinois."

He served on the second petit jury of the area with brother, John.

7/6/1836 Sangamon Co, IL. George bought bought 2 tracts of federal lands, each containing 40 acres, paying $1.25/acre. One tract was located at S13 T13N, the other at S17 T13N. His place of residence at that time was recorded as Shelby Co.

8/10/1838 Shelby Co, IL. George began amassing his vast land holdings by patenting one parcel on this date as did brothers, John, Thomas, and William.

1/1/1839 He was subpoened and testified in a court suit between Solomon Chaplain vs Lydnor Bonem on a trespassing charge.

1840 Shelby Co, Il. In the census, he was 20-30 and had lost his wife. Living with him were 1 male under 5 (William), 2 females under 5 (the twins), and 1 female 5-10 (Hulda). Living next door was sister, Mahala, who lived next to sister, Malinda Standifer. Brother,
Isaac, also lived nearby.

1841-3 Shelby Co, IL. George bought items from several estate sales during this period.

10/18/1842 He bought another 40 acres of federal land in Sangamon Co at the same S17 T13N, again paying $1.25/acre. His residence was recorded as still Shelby Co at that time.

3/11/1844 Moultrie Co, IL. He had moved when he purchased 40 acres in Clay Co, IL, from a federal land sale. The land was located at S18 T03N and he paid the standard $1.25/acre.

6/10/1848 Moultrie Co, IL. George patented another piece of land.

1/7/1850 No residence was recorded for him nor was the price, when he bought 159.68 acres at S6 T13N in Moultrie Co at another federal land sale.

8/21/1850 In the census he was living with his second wife and 6 children. Living with the family were orphaned relatives he was raising: nieces, Vienna and Mary Bracken, daughter of Elizabeth Purvis Bracken, and nephew, James Purvis, son of Thomas. George was a farmer with property = $1320

12/30/1850 Moultrie Co, IL. George was involved in a land deed transfer.

1/21/1852 His name appeared on a summons for failure to pay a note, and again on 2/1852, no mention whether he was the debtor or creditor.

6/1/1854 Again he paid $1.25/acre for 40 acres of federal land located at S9 T13N in Moultrie Co, the same county of his residence.

3/1/1855 He patented a third piece of land and later the same year, was listed on the taxpayer list for the county.

5/8/1858 His name was on a promissary note recorded at the courthouse.

12/20/1858 He was mentioned in a file in probate court records.

12/19/1859 He was administrator of the county court and listed in the county treasurers report.

During this time period when the roads were muddy most travelers took short cuts on firmer ground. One history says Abraham Lincoln often cut through George's property to water his horse from George's well.

1/19/1860 He received a summons for jury duty in a sanity inquest and returned the verdict of insanity on a H. Dixon.

1860 Sullivan, Moultrie Co, IL. In the census, he was a farmer with property = $9255/2000 and had a large family of 12 children ranging in ages from 26 to 6 mo plus 2 farm hands, one of which was his nephew, Marion Purvis. His future dauther-in-law, Emma Wooten lived 3 doors down with her parents. The Addison McPheeters family lived next door to the Wootens.

George was a Democrat and some stories say a southern sympathizer during the Civil War while the rest of the family were Republicans.

Since he held several county offices, his name was recorded in connection with those dealings:

9/3/1860 In the county treasurer's report and again 12/1864.

3/18/1861 Reappointed administrator of the county court.

7/9/1864 In connection with notes and judgments collected.

1865 Involved in the sale of land for taxes.

1/15/1866 He filed estray papers for an unspecified animal and again 12/1866 for 2 heifers. Also that year he petitioned for a bridge at Jonathan Creek, and paid school taxes on his property at T13 R6 on 8/2 and 9/2/1866.

4/1867 George was co-surety on a justice bond.

1867 He sold some land.

1868 He was listed in a juror treasury report and again in the county treasurer's report.

3/31/1869 Still building his empire, he purchased 2 tracts of railroad land, both located at S18 T13N, one containing 160 acres, the other 40, paying $9.00/acre. His place of residence was not recorded.

7/30/1869 His property was among the list of taxable lands.

1870 E Nelson Twp, Moultrie Co, IL. In the census George was one of the wealthiest men in the county with property = $21,000/6000. Still living at home were 12 children ranging in ages from 36 to 4.

9/2/1871 He paid a school tax for his property at T13 R2.

12/22/1871 His name was on the bond for East Nelson Coll, and yet again in the co treasurer's report.

5/31/1872 He bought more railroad land in Moultrie Co, another 40 acres for $9.00/acre. It was located at S20 T13N.

9/30/1873 He got a bargain from the railroad this time, buying 40 acres at $8.00/acre, located at S8 T13N.

In the records of McMullin Funeral Home are the following entries without mention of the deceased:

Ord by George Purvis 16 June 1879 - 1 large #1 coffin & box $18.00
Paid $5.00 cash 16 Sept 1879
Paid $5.00 cash 18 Nov 1879
Paid $8.00 cash (no date)

Ord by George Purvis 4 Feb 1880 - 1 large #1 case & box $20.00
Paid $10.00 cash 4 Feb 1880
Paid $10.00 cash (no date)

1875 E Nelson. George was listed in the atlas among the township's 1021 residents as a land owner along with brother, William, and William's 2 sons.

1880 E Nelson Twp, Moultrie Co, IL. At census time George still had a large family and was listed as a farmer. Son, John, and his 2 year old daughter were also living there as well as a farm hand, George Fields, 20. Brother, William, was 3 doors down the road.

1881 He was still living at the same place where he had settled in 1830 according to the history of the county.

At the time of his death he was the largest land owner in the county. In the 1896 plat map the following acreage was in the possession of chilren:

Mary 275 acres
Dulcena 172
Fannie 211
Samuel 221
WG & Mahulda 250
C E 229
John D 190
Mattie 264
Dulcena & Fannie 92 acres
Total 1904 acres

The obituary said:

"George Purvis - (Son of John Purvis and Sarah Ginn.) 1812-1889


George Purvis dies at his home July 19 in the 78th year of his life.

Died at his home southwest of Sullivan Friday, July 19, George Purvis aged 77 years and 5 days. He was partially paralyzed last spring, but recovered sufficiently to be able to walk. Another stroke Thursday evening was the immediate cause of his death. He was among the first settlers in the county having moved here in 1830. He had received a large body of land, holding at the time of his death more than any other man in the county.

He died where he first settled when he moved into the county having lived at one place fifty-nine years. George Purvis was born in Bath County, Kentucky, July 14, 1812, and moved to Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1828. Two years afterward he settled where he had since lived where he was a part of Shelby County. He married in March 1833 to Miss Cassandra Waller. Four children were the result of this marriage. Three of them are still living: W. G. and Miss Huldah Purvis and Mrs. Elizabeth Oliver, wife of Edward Oliver. The other one, Mrs. Sarah Kercheval, died several years ago. His first wife having died Mr. Purvis was married August 25, 1840, to Miss Mahala Poor who survived him.

Thirteen children were born to them, 2 of whom died when quite young.

Those living are J. H. Purvis who resides near Dublin, Texas, Samuel H., John D., Charles E., Mary, Celia Hawkins, Dulcina, Martha, Susan Drew, Dora McCartney and Fannie Purvis. He had a large number of grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. All the children who are living were present at his death with the exception of Henry who lives in Texas. The funeral took place Sunday.

Elder J. W. Mathews of the Christian Church conducted the services."

Son John petitioned the court to serve as administrator of the estate since George died without a will. The petition states that the estate consisted chiefly of 1/3 interest in the estate of Samuel Ash, deceased, and personal property worth about $700. It further lists survivors as wife Mahala and William, Mahulda, Elizabeth (now Oliver), James H, Mary, Celia Hawkins, Dulcenia, Martha J, Samuel H, John D, Susan Drew, Dora J McCartney, Fannie R, Chas E Purvis, and Isabelle Standifer and George Kercheval. Permission was granted on 9/10/1889.

Another estate paper listed grandchildren Isabel Standifer and George Kercheval in the place of deceased daughter, Sarah.

It further stated that "prior to his death, the said George Purvis and Mahala (his wife) made and executed to each of the above named heirs (except the said Mary A, Dulcena, martha, and Fannie R Purvis) deeds to certain real estate, (not including the land above described), that each of said deeds contained the recital that the land conveyed therein was taken and accepted by such grantee in full of his or her share in the estate of said George Purvis.
That each of said deeds so made by said George Purvis have been accepted by each of the respective grantees, except William G and Mahulda Purvis. That said Goerge purvis died intestate, leaving Lots 7 & 8....undisposed of, therby making the grantos at No 10 of annexed abstract, the only heirs to above described lots."
Signed John D Purvis
Co Judge

The funeral took place on Saturday with Elder J W Mathers of the Christian church officiating. All his descendants with the exception of the Texas bunch were present.

Copyright 2010 by BJ Van Gundy

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