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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday~39 Years, William A. Purvis Timeline, Final Chapter

In part 1, we learned that the earliest known document found for William A. Purvis was the 1860 census. We saw the birth of his only child, a son and his involvement in a lawsuit with the heirs of Joseph P. Smith. We closed that period of his life with the 1870 census where young William was listed as 6 years old.

In part 2, we saw William and Sarah purchasing land in order to plant crops and make their living as farmers.
  • 60 acres purchased from Joseph P. Smith on 6 Dec 1866  (Land in SC)
  • 60 acres purchased from James L. Edwards on 21 December 1871
  • 30 acres purchased from William P. Brantley on 21 December 1872
  • 25 acres purchased from Mary, Sarah and Martha Gardner on 23 July 1979
In part 3, we saw that Great Great Grandpa and Grandma had a rough time farming and by early 1890 had sold off most of their land. Then tragedy struck and Great Grandma died from cancer in December 1893. Great Grandpa is left along to pick up the pieces. 


Sometime after Sarah’s death in December 1893 and September 1899, Great Great Grandpa William A. Purvis re-married. Remember the lady – Elizabeth Purvis with daughter, Mary J. Purvis living in the Purvis household1 in 1880; since 1880 she has had another child, Ella Frances and now she and William A. Purvis are living as husband and wife.

The primary document attesting to this scenario is a September 1899 land deed2 - W. A. Purvis and wife Elizabeth Purvis to J. D. Rhyne, Anson Co., NC, Book 33, Page 370. In this land Deed, William is splitting up his last 30 acres of land and selling off 12 acres for a mere fifty-four dollars ($54.00). This piece of land is part of a tract of land purchased by William A. Purvis  back in  the 1870’s.

No husband or prior record has been found for Elizabeth Purvis before her appearance in the William A. Purvis household in 1880. This Land Deed (DB 33:370) is now the second document found that mention Elizabeth or Betsy Purvis. William A. Purvis is still living when he executed this Land Deed on 23 September 1899.

The 1900 census3 for Anson County has Elizabeth and Ella Frances living on the land purchased by William A. Purvis.

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.

Elizabeth’s daughter Mary Jane married Charles Franklin Lang back in 1888 and died during childbirth in March 1895. Her baby daughter, Frances  Elizabeth “Effie” Lang survived. 

This is consistent with Betsy reporting that she is a widow with 2 children and one (1) living. The census was enumerated on June 28, 1900; thus, her husband William A. Purvis died between September 23, 1899 and June 28, 1900. No tombstone has been found for William A. Purvis. He died before the initiation of state-wide vital statistics documentation.

On September 30, 1900, Elizabeth “Betsy” Purvis sold the last remaining 18 acres to Jefferson D. Rhine binding 6 acres into a lifetime estate.4 

“Betsy reserve form this land Six acres being the lot upon which is situated her house. She to retain said Six acres for & during the time of her natural life and at her death the said lot of six acres to go with this other land as herein described,"

By 1910, Betsy has abandoned the land is living with her daughter Ella Frances and new son-in-law, Thomas T. Tarlton. Two children are enumerated in the home, their son, Roy and daughter Carrie.5

The Social Security Form for Ella France Tarlton shows her parents as Billie Purvis and Elizabeth Previtte.

Betsy Purvis died 18 October 1926 in Rockingham, Richmond County, North Carolina and was buried 19 Oct, 1926 in an unmarked grave in the Mizpah Cemetery.6

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

Elizabeth “Betsy” Previtte Purvis birth date is unknown. In 1880, she was 30 years old, born in NC. In 1900 she gave her birth as Oct 1869, age 40, born in NC.

In 1910, her age is listed as 62 and she was born in NC. Then we have her death certificate where her birth is listed as  abt 1836, age 90. This date was carried over to the Obituary.

No female by the name of Elizabeth Previtte has been found in local county records. She states in 1900 that she had two children – Mary Jane & Ella Frances and one was deceased. Her first child, Mary J. was not born until abt 1873, age 7 in 1880 census. If she was born in 1836 then she was 37 years of age when her first child was born.

The books have been temporarily closed on William A. Purvis. He was twice married; his first wife Sarah Jane Graves and his second, Elizabeth “Betsy” Previtte Purvis. William and Sarah had one child, my great grandfather William James Purvis.  

Elizabeth “Betsy” Purvis had two children. It is not known for certain if these two daughters are the children of William A. Purvis or a close relative. No close relative has been found for William A. Purvis. His parentage has been a “brick wall” to this researcher for the past 37 years.
The parentage of Elizabeth “Betsy” Privette is also unknown. No record of her has been found prior to 1880. 

This “brick wall'” has been very frustrating. If any of you, my followers and readers, would care to take on a challenge I would welcome your time in taking a look at this lineage and see if I have missed anything.

[1] 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, ( : viewed 1976); citing National Archives Microfilm T9, Roll 951.
[2] 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.
[3] 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, ( : viewed 1976); citing National Archives Microfilm T623, Roll 1181.
[4] 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.
[5] 1910 U. S. Census, Anson County, North Carolina, population schedule, Gulledge, Anson County, North Carolina, enumeration district (ED) #6, Page 81A, Line 21, dwelling 170, family 172, Household of Tom TARLTON; digital image, ( : accessed 18 July 2011); citing National Archives Microfilm T624, Roll 1096.
[6] State of North Carolina, death certificate no. 351, (18 October 1926), Mrs. Betsy Purvis;, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina.
[7] Mrs. Betsy Purvis obituary, The Rockingham Post-Dispatch, Rockingham, Richmond County, NC, 21 October 1926, Page 6, Column 2. Deaths.


  1. Those brick walls! I am sorry that I have no suggestions but I do wish you luck. I would suggest setting that particular branch for a while & coming back to it but after 37 years I am sure you have tried that & Many other techniques!

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  3. Yes, you are so right. I was hoping to solve this in my lifetime but it's going to take longer than that I think. Oh well, there plenty more to do; thanks for the encouragement.