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TO CAROLINA FAMILY ROOTS. Thanks for reading and commenting about my blog postings. My goal is to accurately document the genealogy of my family and allied families living in Chesterfield County, SC and Anson County, NC. If you have a Chesterfield County surname you are interested in please send me an e-mail.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mystery Monday – The Parents of William A. Purvis

Pin It This posting is meant to be a public summary of my brick wall and a public acknowledgement that I need your help to solve this puzzle.

The parents of William A. Purvis have been my brick wall and have stumped me for 35 of the 36 years I have been researching. At the time I started researching I was in the Air Force and away from home. Telephone calls and letters home resulted in no useful information.

William A. Purvis was born between 1824 and 1827 according to the three censuses that he has been listed within.

YEAR CO/ST NAME AGE BIRTH/STATE COMMENTS
1860[1] Anson,NC William A. Purvis 34 1826-NC
1870[2] Anson,NC W. A.
Perris
46 1824-NC
1880[3] Anson,NC William A. Purvice 57 1827-SC

1860 CENSUS: Morven, Anson County, North Carolina; Roll: M653_887; Image: 160; Family History Library Film: 803887; Page: 300; Line 34, Dwelling 1238, Family 1188; William A. PURVIS, age 34, Shoemaker, born in NC; Sarah PURVIS, female, age 26, born in SC; Joseph WHITE, age 33, Cooper, born in NC and Laura WHITE, age 30, born in NC.

1870 CENSUS: Morven, Anson County, North Carolina. Series: M593_1122, Image: 223; Family History Library Film: 552621, Page 403A, Line 38, Dwelling 178; Family 178. W. A. PURVIS, age 46, Farmer, born in NC, Sarah J. PURVIS, age 37, Keeps House, born in NC and William J. PURVIS, age 6, At Home, born in NC. [Spelled Perris on Ancestry]

1880 CENSUS: Morven, Anson County, North Carolina; Roll: 951; Family History Film: 1254951; Enumeration District: 2; Image: 0493; Page 350B, Line 36, Dwelling 233, Family 251; William A. PURVIS, age 53, Farmer, born in SC, father born in SC, mother born in NC; Sarah J. PURVIS, Wife, age 48, born in NC, parents born in NC. Dwelling 223, Family 252, Betsy PURVIS, age 30, born in NC, parents born in NC; Mary J. PURVIS, age 7, born in NC, parents born in NC. (Spelled PURVICE on Ancestry).

William A. Purvis married Sarah Jane Grave of Chesterfield, South Carolina before the 1860 Census were enumerated. They had one known child my Great Grand Father William James Purvis, born 23 September 1863.

Sarah Jane died 30 December 1893 in McFarland, Anson County, North Carolina. William and his son William James own property about 2 miles SW of McFarland.

DEATH: Messenger-Intelligencer issue of January 4, 1894, page 3, McFarlan News - The funeral of the wife of Mr. Wm. Pervis was preached by this writer in the M. E. Church of this place last Sunday [31 Dec. 1893]. She was a good old woman. She had suffered intensely for fifteen months from cancer. She was a member of the M. E. church about 20 years. [Source: Steve Bailey][4]

An Anson County Land Deed (DB 33, page 370) dated 23 September 1899 does two things. One it showed that William A. Purvis is still living on 23 September 1899 and two that he most probable remarried after the death of his first Wife Sarah Jane Grave in September 1893. [5]

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An interesting part of this puzzle is that I believe that Elizabeth Purvis mentioned in this deed is Betsey Purvis living with Sarah Jane and William A. Purvice in the 1880 Census.

Another interesting piece of information is that every document and there are many that William A. Purvis signed his name is listed as William A. Purvis, he marks with an X. I only have one document where William every attempted to sign his name to the document; but, he was always William A. Purvis.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Purvis (1849-18 Oct 1926) according to a document provided by the Social Security Administration was Betty Prevett. She had two daughters Mary Jane Purvis and Ella Frances Purvis.


  • Mary Jane Purvis, born 1873 – died abt Mar 1895; First child born in 1889 last child born Mar 1895; had 4 children; married Charles Franklin Lang (3 Apr. 1868-28 Aug 1948).
  • Ella Frances Purvis, born 25 Sept 1881, died 27 Nov 1971; married Thomas T. Tarlton (20 Nov. 1870-15 May 1964).

Note: The father of these two children is unknown to me. Are they William A. Purvis children; I don’t know. 

Betsy Prevett Purvis died in Rockingham, Richmond County, North Carolina on 18 Oct 1926.[6] She is buried in Mizpah Cemetery, Rockingham, NC. There is no tombstone marking her grave.

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Her Obituary as seen here was no help.

Mrs. Betsy Purvis
Mrs. Betsy Purvis, aged 90, died Oct. 18th in Great Falls village. The interment was at Mizpah the same day. [The Rockingham Post-Dispatch, Richmond County, NC, Thursday, October 21, 1926, Page 6, Column 2 - Deaths] [7]

William A. Purvis is not listed in the 1900 Census for Anson County, North Carolina. Betsey is listed with her daughter Ella Frances Purvis[8]

1900 CENSUS: Morven Twp, Anson Co., NC; Series: T623, Roll: 1181, Page: 145, Line 20, Dwelling 337, Family 338; Elizabeth PURVIS, age 40, Wd., born Oct 1869 in NC; Ella PURVIS, daughter, age 13, born Dec 1886 in NC.

The 1900 Census for Anson County, Morven Township, were enumerated on 28 June 1900 by Thomas E. Dabbs.

Therefore, William A. Purvis died between 23 September 1899 (signing of Deed 33:370) and 28 June 1900 (C1900 Census enumerated). No Obituary or tombstone has been found for William A. Purvis.

On 20 September 1900, Betsy Purvis sold the remaining 18 acres of my Great Great Grandfather William A. Purvis’ land to Jefferson D. Rhyne retaining 6 acres and a home as a life estate. [9]

She abandons these 6 acres by 1910 and is living with her daughter Ella and her husband Tom T. Tarlton in the Gulledge Township. Thus Jefferson D. (J. D.) Rhyme ultimately acquired the entire 60 acres that Great Great grandfather William A. Purvis owned and farmed while living on this good earth.

Action Taken:
The only large contingency of Purvis near Anson County was the Purvis of Chesterfield County, South Carolina. Over the years I have built an extensive database on these Purvis but have found no connection. This group of Purvis’ is descendants of John Purvis and Sarah Johnson and their sons Gilbert, James and Joseph.

There is a William A. Purvis in Nelson County, Virginia but he has a family there and there is no indication that he abandoned that family and moved to North Carolina. There is a William A. Purvis also that listed in a Mississippi census.

There a large contingency of Purvis in the eastern part of North Carolina. Those also have been looked at with no positive results.

Other posting that may be interesting and helpful:
http://carolinafamilyroots.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-brickwall-william-purvis.html
http://carolinafamilyroots.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-brickwall-william-purvis-part-2.html

Thank you for reading my blog and for your comments and suggestions.









[1] 1860 U. S. Census, Anson County, North Carolina, population schedule, Morven, Anson County, North Carolina, enumeration district (ED) No ED, page 300, line 34, Dwelling 1238, Family 1188, Household of William A. Purvis; online database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 1976); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M653, Roll 887.
[2] 1870 U S Census, Anson County, North Carolina, population schedule, Morven, Anson County, North Carolina, enumeration district (ED) No ED, page 403A, line 38, Dwelling 178; Family 178, Household of William A. Purvis; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 1976); citing National Archive Microfilm M593, Roll 1122.
[3] 1880 U. S. Census, Anson County, North Carolina, population schedule, Anson County, North Carolina, enumeration district (ED) # 2, Page 350B, Line 36, Dwelling 233, Family 251, Household of William A. Purvis; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 1976); citing National Archives Microfilm T9, Roll 951.
[4] Sarah Jane Graves Purvis obituary, Messenger-Intelligencer, Wadesboro, North Carolina, 4 January 1894, page 3, McFarlan News.
[5] Anson County, North Carolina, Deed Book 33: page 370, W. A. Purvis and wife Elizabeth Purvis to J. D. Rhyne; 23 September 1899, Register of Deeds, Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina.
[6] Betsy Purvis, death certificate #351 (1926), Register of Deeds, Gastonia, Gaston County, North Carolina.
[7] Mrs. Betsy Purvis obituary, The Rockingham Post-Dispatch, Rockingham, Richmond County, NC, 21 October 1926, Page 6, Column 2. Deaths.
[8] 1900 U. S. Census, Anson County, North Carolina, population schedule, Morven, Anson County, North Carolina, enumeration district (ED) #7, page 145, line 20, dwelling 337, family 338, Household of Elizabeth Purvis; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 1976); citing National Archives Microfilm T623, Roll 1181.
[9] Anson County, North Carolina, Deed Book 34: pages 491-492, Betsy Purvis to J. D. Rhyne; 30 September 1900, Register of Deeds, Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina.












































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