From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 977
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   Among the honored pioneer settlers of Kansas, a descendant of one of the old and prominent families of Virginia and now a representative farmer and stock-raiser of Rice county, is John M Purcell, who was born in Loudon county, Virginia, January 26, 1841, his parents being Edwin and Rachel (Paxson) Purcell, both natives of Virginia, where they were married.  The paternal grandfather of our subject was Samuel Purcell, who was of Irish descent, but was born in Virginia, where he engaged in farming until his death, which occurred on his homestead near Purcellville, a town named in honor of the Purcell family.  He and his wife were the parents of the following children:  Jonah; Jane, who married William Urton; Enos; Burnard; Samuel; Hannah; Edwin; and Hector.

   Edwin Purcell, the father of our subject, was born and reared in Virginia, where he married and engaged in farming.  In 1847 he moved to Ohio, locating in Adams county, where he bought a farm, upon which he made substantial improvements and made his home until his death, which occurred in 1885, when he had attained the ripe old age of eighty-six years.  He was a man of strong constitution and equally strong character, strictly moral and of unquestioned integrity and honor.  He reared his family to habits of industry, honesty and economy.  He was a Democrat in his political affiliations but never aspired to public office or notoriety.  His home was blessed with nine interesting children, namely:  William R; Burr P; Valentine V; Margaret, who married J H Custer; John M, the subject of this review; Malon, who died in Ohio; Thomas H; Enos; and Franklin.  John M is the only member of the family residing in Kansas, and he and his brother, Burr P, both served in the Union army during the Civil war.  The mother of this family was a daughter of William Paxson of Virginia, a prominent farmer of that state, who made his home there until his death.  His children were Samuel; Mary; Jacob; William; Rachel, the mother of the subject of this sketch; and Griffith.

   John M Purcell, whose name introduces this review, removed with his parents from Virginia to Ohio when seven years of age, and there grew to manhood.  He received a common-school education and assisted his father in the cultivation of the home farm until 1864, when he enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Forty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was consigned to the Army of West Virginia and stationed as guards at Fort Hurricane.  There he remained until the fall of the same year, when he received an honorable discharge and returned to his home and resumed farming at the homestead, remaining there until 1870, when he married and engaged in farming on his own account.  In 1880 he moved to Kansas, locating in Rice county.  Like most early settlers he had small means and consequently had to begin farming on a small scale.  He bought eighty acres of raw prairie one mile east of where the town of Chase has since been established.  He built a small house, fenced his land, broke the prairie and labored early and late to improve his farm and place it under good cultivation, and his labors were crowned with success.  When he settled in the Sunflower state much of it was still in its wild and primitive condition, the settlements were few and far apart and the farmers had to go long distances to find a market for their grain and other farm products, but the railroads which have since been built all through the west brought energetic and enterprising farmers and business men from the east who have invested their capital and developed in that section of the west the great commonwealth of Kansas.

   Mr Purcell was not a vigorous man when he moved to Kansas, but the climate here so improved his health that he is now strong and robust and is actively engaged in general farming and stock-raising.  As his financial resources have increased he has added to his lands and now owns four hundred and four acres, upon which he raises diversified crops and has large bins for unsold wheat.  Upon his place are fine pasture lands, through which runs living water, and he engages quite extensively in the raising of graded stock, having some fine specimens of short-horn cattle, among them a fine male animal, and all of them are registered.  He built a large two-story frame residence, commodious barns, sheds and other outbuildings. 

There is also a large orchard and a fine grove of trees upon the place, everything is kept in good order, the fields are all under a high state of cultivation and the farm is one of the most attractive and valuable ones in Rice county.

   On the 4th of January, 1870, Mr Purcell was united in marriage to Miss Emaline E Gore, who was born in Adams county, Ohio, November 20, 1840, and is a daughter of John G and Sarah E (Reid) Gore, both natives of Virginia, where they were married.  He was a son of Solomon Gore, a prominent farmer, born in 1779, was a member of the Society of Friends and died in Virginia.  His children were:  Enos, Sarah E, Joshua, William; John G, Ann L, Jonathan, Thomas and James H.  John G Gore, the father of Mrs Purcell, was a farmer by occupation, was reared a Quaker but afterward became a Methodist and was a consistent member of the church of that denomination.  In his political affiliations he was originally a Whig and later became a stanch Republican, but never aspired to political office.  His wife died at their home in Ohio, in 1843, and afterward he married a sister of his first wife, Alcinda Reid.  Their father, William Reid, was a prominent farmer of Virginia who moved to Ohio, where he died in 1853.  He was a strictly moral man and supported the churches but was not a member of any.  By his first wife John G Gore had four children:  Thomas W; Emaline E, the wife of our subject; Alcinda J, deceased; and John M.  The children by his second wife were:  Henry W; George F; Sarah E, wife of S McClure; Townsend; and Frances A, who died in childhood.  Emaline E and Sarah McClure are the only ones now living.  The home of our subject and his wife has been blessed with five children, namely:  Olive, born August 26, 1871, and who is a competent and successful teacher; Orville, who died in infancy; Emma E, who was born July 4, 1873; Homer E, who died when four years of age; and Townsend H, who was born August 31, 1878, and is engaged in farming on the old homestead.  The parents of this family are both worthy members of the Methodist church.  Mr Purcell is a Democrat in his political affiliations and does all in his power to secure the growth and insure the success of the party, but he does not aspire to political preferment.  He is genial and social in his disposition and is widely and favorably known, and in the community where he resides he is held in the highest respect and regard by his fellow citizens.