Page 456-457, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Newt Purcell

Newt Purcell, the popular and efficient sheriff of Butler county, stands for the conscientious performance of his duty at all times. He received much of his education in the hard school of experience, and largely through his own efforts, has made good. He was born in James county, Tennessee, December 25, 1876, and is a son of Samuel G. and Mary (Kimbrough) Purcell, both natives of Tennessee.

The Purcell family left their Tennessee home in 1881, and came to Kansas, locating in Butler county, south of Augusta. They remained there about two years when they returned to Tennessee, and in 1885, again set out for Kansas. The second time they made the trip across the country with a prairie schooner and a team of mules, with western Kansas as their objective point. After failing to find a suitable location in that section of the state, and after traveling many miles with their primitive outfit, many incidences of which are still fresh in Sheriff Purcell's mind, they returned to Butler county, and located near Augusta, again. The first few years in Kansas was a struggle for existence. The second time that they located in Butler county, the mother was sick, and $6 was the limit of the family fund. The father engaged in farming and after persistence and hard work met with a reasonable degree of success.

Newt Purcell was reared on the farm near Augusta, and obtained his education in the district schools. When he was eighteen years of age, he entered the employ of the Sante Fe Railroad Company, in a bridge construction gang, and shortly afterwards became a locomotive fireman on that road, between Newton and Dodge City, and served in that capacity for three years. While he was engaged in railroading he had bought land from time to time, near Augusta, which, by the way, is now (1916) valuable oil producing property. In 1904 he resigned his position with the railroad company and engaged in farming and stock raising on his farm, which he followed until 1910, when he was appointed under-sheriff by Sheriff Moss, and served in that capacity until 1914 when he was elected sheriff.

Mr. Purcell was first married March 28, 1895, to Miss Birdie Case of Augusta, who died January 19, 1896, leaving one child: Henry Newton Purcell, who met with an accidental death, August 12, 1901, by falling from a window. On September 16, 1900, Mr. Purcell was united in marriage with Miss Marian La Vanche Forgy, a native of El Dorado, whose parents were early settlers in this county and came from Pennsylvania. To Mr. and Mrs. Purcell have been born two children; Icy Irene and Garland Newton, both of whom are students in the El Dorado schools.

Sheriff Purcell is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and belongs to the Mystic Shrine; he is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America, and Anti-Horse Thief Association. He and his wife are members of the Christian church. He is a Republican, and since he became


a voter has taken an active part in local politics. During his six years' experience in the sheriff's office, he has won the reputation of doing his duty faithfully and fearlessly. During the recent rapid industrial development of Butler county, due to the rapid development of the oil and gas fields, much additional work, both of a civil and criminal nature, has devolved upon the sheriff's office, and Sheriff Purcell has been found equal to every emergency.

Previous | Main Page | Biography Index | Next

Pages 456-457,