Pages 689-690, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JAMES M. PURCELL, whose beautiful home in Piqua stands as a monument to the enterprise, industry and business ability of the owner, is now actively connected with commercial interests of the city as a dealer in hay and grain. He is also a representative of its real estate interests, and through the promotion of his own industries he has also advanced the general welfare, for the prosperity of every town and city depends upon its commercial activity. An honored man and a leading and influential citizen, he well deserves mention among the representative residents of Woodson county.

For nineteen years he has made his house in this section of Kansas, coming hither from Missouri. He was born in Marion county, Illinois, on the 26th of October, 1842. His grandfather — — — Purcell, was of Irish lineage and some of his sons served in the battle of Tippecanoe and in the Indian warfare for they were early settlers of the Mississippi valley when the red men still held partial dominion in the middle portion of the country. Andrew Purcell, the father of our subject, was born in Indiana, near Vincennes, and became a farmer by occupation. He spent the greater part of his life in Indiana and Illinois, but died near Perry, Oklahoma, on the 15th. of November, 1900, at the age of eighty-nine years. While in central Missouri, he served for some time as a mail contractor. In ante bellum days he was a staunch Whig, and when the Republican party was organized he became one of its most loyal supporters, continuing to advocate its principles until his demise. He wedded Mary Ray, whose father was from Kentucky. Mrs. Purcell died in Piqua, Kansas, July 3, 1890, at the age of seventy-five years. Her children were: Angeline, deceased wife of Marion Rives; James M.; Sarah, wife of W. M. Robinson, of Oklahoma; Mary A., wife of Andrew Johnson, of Oklahoma, George, of Sedalia, Missouri.

James M. Purcell spent the first eight years of his life in the state of his nativity and then accompanied his father on his removal from Illinois to Fort Madison, Iowa. In 1853 the family went to Benton county, Missouri, and subsequently Mr. Purcell was a resident of Pettis county, that state. His educational privileges were somewhat limited, but in the broader school of experience he has learned many important lessons of great practical value in the business world. Entering upon an independent career he began farming on a small scale, but gradually extended the field of his operations. In 1882 he came to Woodson county, locating two miles west of Piqua. He purchased almost a section of land here, and throughout the entire period of his residence in Kansas has engaged in the stock business, the enterprise bringing to him a high degree of success. As his financial resources have increased he has added to his original purchase until he now owns eleven hundred and eighty-seven acres, about half of which is devoted to the raising of hay. For six years he has been extensively engaged in shipping and dealing in hay, and was the


organizer of the Purcell Hay & Grain company, of Piqua, doing a large business in handling that product. He also owns much property in Piqua including both improved and unimproved property and deals in real estate, making judicious investments and profitable sales. His business policy has ever been such that purchasers in any line of his business become constant patrons.

On the 29th. of January, 1863. Mr. Purcell was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda J. Ferguson, a daughter of Isaac S. Ferguson, who was a Kentucky farmer and married a Pennsylvania lady—Maria Wolf. They became the parents of four children, of whom two are now living: Mrs. Purcell and John, the latter now a resident of Benton county, Missouri. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Purcell have been born the following named: Mary, now the wife of Logan Wright; Shelby, who married and resides in Hannibal, Missouri; George, who wedded Mary Long; James, of Piqua, and J. B.

At the time of the Civil war Mr. Purcell's patriotism prompted his enlistment in the union army, and in February, 1862, he joined company E. of the Seventh Missouri State Militia. He aided in recruiting the company and after serving for six months was honorably discharged on account of physical disability. After recovering his health he re-enlisted as a member of company I, Forty-fifth Missouri infantry, under Colonel Weir, of Boonvilte. The regiment operated against Price in Missouri and later went to Nashville, Tennessee, where Mr. Purcell was engaged in guard duty. At Jefferson, Missouri, he very narrowly escaped being wounded or killed, having a boot heel and a button from his coat shot away. He continued at the front until the war was over, when, the country no longer needing his services, he returned to his home. He now belongs to the Grand Army Post, at Neosho Falls, also to the Fraternal Aid Association and to the Methodist Protestant church, being class leader of the congregation. As a citizen he is loyal to every measure which he believes will prove of general good and does everything in his power to benefit his city. In business he is most straightforward and reliable, following upright principles not because he believes that honesty is the best policy, but because he believes in doing right for rights sake. He is certainly a man of firm purpose and nothing can deter him from followg what he thinks is the correct course. Among his friends and family he is considerate, social and kindly and his home is not only one of the finest in Piqua, but also one of the most hospitable.

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