PURVINES, GREEN LEE (deceased). - Prominent among the names of representative and distinguished citizens of Sangamon County, Ill., should be placed that of the late Green Lee Purvines, who during a long life spent here and in Menard County established a reputation for uprightness of character and sterling integrity in every walk of life. He was a native of Sangamon County, born in Cartwright Township, near Pleasant Plains, November 10, 1826, a son of Alexander C. and Margaret (Weddington) Purvines, both natives of Cabarrus County, N.C.
Alexander C. Purvines was born March 16, 1794, and continued to make his home in his native county until 1819, when, accompanied by his wife and child, he emigrated to Sangamon County, and here three other children were born to him and his wife. Albert B. Purvines was born October 25, 1818, in North Carolina, and died in Sangamon County, Ill., March 11, 1839; John W. was born in this county October 25, 1821, and died in 1841; Elizabeth F., was born June 23, 1824, and died in 1852; she had been the wife of John C. bone, who is also deceased and Green Lee was the fourth in order of birth. Mr. Purvines' mother died in January, 1831, and the father was married a second time to Mrs. Jane Hamilton, nee Coleman, and by this union there were eight children.
John Purvines, the grandfather of Green Lee, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., in 1873, and it is supposed that the family is of French extraction; that it emigrated from France to Ireland, and thence to the Colonies prior to the Revolution, locating in Pennsylvania and other eastern States. It is thought also that the name was originally spelled Purviance, as written, one Robert Purviance, in the courts of Cabarras County, N.C., and as signed by David S. Purviance in the capacity of witness on two occasions in the Illinois courts. John Purvines removed to Mecklenberg County, N.C., in 1775, and to Cabarras County in 1779. During the Revolutionary War, he enlisted in the company of Capt. James White, attached to a regiment commanded by colonel Davis, and the company marched to a point in South Carolina, where the entire militia of the Carolinas had assembled under General Rutherford. Soon afterward occurred the battle of Stone River, July 20, 1779, in which Mr. Purvines participated. Later, in 1781, he enlisted as a private horseman in the company of Captain William Penny, being attached to the army under young General Gates at Lynch Creek, thence to Rugsby Mills; was present at the capture of Fort Orangeburg, S.C., in May, 1781; was a member of a foraging party which was attacked by the Tories, his horse shot, he being wounded himself and his saddle captured. At another time he was a member of a foraging party which visited an old mill. While there they were surrounded by a detachment of Tories. Mr. Purvines was the only one who evaded capture, which he managed to do by jumping from a window into the river, and by swimming he succeeded in making his escape, although fired on by the Tories several times. The close of the war found him under the command of Col. Wade Hampton and General Sumter, and when he was mustered out of the army he had a record of nearly five years of fighting. In 1819, he went to Sangamon County, Ill., and there the death of this patriot occurred in 1833, and there a monument to his memory was erected by his friends.
The boyhood of Green Lee Purvines was much the same as other boys of his day and locality, his spare time being given to attendance at the small district school house, and much attention paid to the work of the home farm. On reaching man's estate, he started out to farm on his own account on an eighty acre tract in Menard County, which had been given him by his father. Later he purchased the adjoining eighty acres, and on this tract he made his home for upwards of a quarter of a century. On selling that place, he bought a farm two miles east of Pleasant Plains in Cartwright Township, to which he added form time to time until he had accumulated 500 acres of fine farming land, all under a high state of cultivation and improved with large substantial buildings.