PURVINES, ELIJAH ALEXANDER. - Among the representative agriculturists of Sangamon County may be mentioned Elijah Alexander Purvines, who is carrying on operations in the eastern part of Pleasant Plains. Mr. Purvines was born in Menard County, Ill., December 22, 1863, a son of Green Lee Purvines. When Mr. Purvines was about eleven years of age, the family located in Cartwright Township, and as soon as he was able to reach the plow handles, he began to do his full share of the work on the home farm, and so continued to operate about forty acres of land with his father until reaching his majority. He was married October 17, 1888, to Elizabeth Watkins, who was born west of Petersburg, Menard County, whence her family had come from Kentucky, this branch of the Watkins family having been founded here about 1820, by her grandfather who made the trip overland. Mrs. Purvines was the daughter of Samuel and Mary (Woldridge) Watkins who are still living on the old Watkins farm. Of their eight children, all are still living, as follows: Jennett, the wife of Zadock Thompson, a merchant of Petersburg, Ill.; Elizabeth, who became Mrs. Purvines; Evans G., a prominent farmer of Menard County; Elias, who carries on operations northwest of Petersburg; Walter, a farmer and stock breeder of Menard County; Edgar, an agriculturist engaged in operations west of Petersburg; Hattie, the wife of Christian C. Juhl, a farmer near Petersburg; and Nona, the wife of Ira R. Abbott, owner of the electric light plant at Petersburg. Samuel Watkins was one of the prominent agriculturists of his section of Menard County, where he operated about 2,500 acres of land, and he was often urged to accept political honors by his fellow townsmen of the Democratic party, but being a man of a quiet and unassuming nature, he always preferred to give his time to his farm and his home.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Purvines settled on a part of his father's farm in Cartwright Township, and there he successfully carried on operations on 300 acres of land until 1902, in which year he built a beautiful home in the eastern part of Pleasant Plains. In addition to about 400 acres in this county, he owns a tract of 320 acres in Cowley County, Kans., and 850 acres in Potter County, Tex., a total of 1,570 acres. His Sangamon County land produced eighty bushels of corn to the acre in 1910, and he has also been very successful in the breeding of stock. He is one of the intelligent and progressive farmers of the county, and his operations have always been carried on along scientific lines. Much of Mr. Purvines' success may be attributed to his wife, who has assisted him in many ways as only the agriculturist's wife can help him. While not a member of any special church, Mr. Purvines is always ready to contribute towards church or charitable movements. His political belief is that of the Democratic party. He is very fond of travel, believing that it is an education and means of broadening the mind and increasing one's fund of knowledge, and in 1900, with his brother-in-law, he took an extensive European trip, visiting the Paris Exposition, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.
To Mr. and Mrs. Purvines there have been born four children as follows: Talvi V., born December 9, 1889; Rollie, born March 12, 1892; DeWitt L., born April 29, 1893; and Mary J., born May 22, 1906. Mrs. Purvines and her children affiliate with the Christian Church. In 1901, Mr. Purvines, with his son and daughter went to Texas, where they broke out 300 acres of land, on which they raised a crop of corn and maize, and later erected a home. During his absence Mrs. Purvines raised 100 head of hogs without the aid of anyone. Mr. Purvines is a representative of the best type of Illinois agriculturist and may be depended upon to creditably maintain and substantiate the name of one of the State's pioneer families.