The founder of the branch of the PURDY family of which this narrative
treats was John PURDY, who emigrated from
county Antrim, Ireland, about 1740, and settled on a farm on Pennypack
creek, Moreland township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. It is a
family tradition that his ancestors were French Hugenots, who to escape
persecution left their native land and took refuge in the north of Ireland early in the sixteenth century.
education was manifestly far above the average for his day, for he brought with
him a library. He was a man of piety and
ability, a Covenanter in religion; he was instrumental in getting ministers and
people of that order to come to America, and he was the first to establish the Covenanters in
Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1742 he
visited Ireland, and on his return to America was accompanied by his brother Thomas, who settled in
Juniata county, Pennsylvania. John PURDY
became a prosperous farmer and a man of influence. In 1752, while attending an election in
Newtown, Bucks county, in crossing a street, he was killed by
being run over by a horse. He married at
the First Presbyterian church, Philadelphia, December 3, 1743, Grace DUNLAP, who came from
county Antrim, Ireland, with her brother John. She survived him, with four children:
William, born January 13, 1745; Mary, born September 29, 1747, married John RAMSAY, May 14, 1765: Martha, born September 29, 1749, married John
Elizabeth, born March 31, 1753, married Benjamin SCOTT.
(2), only son of John PURDY, obtained a better education than was common at
that time. He was bound out to a tailor,
and after finishing his apprenticeship married Mary RONEY. Her father, Hercules RONEY, was the only
child of a surgeon in the army of Queen Anne, who died on the cost (sic) of Guinea. Hercules
RONEY married into the BARNES family. He
and his sons John, James, Joseph, Thomas, Robert, Hamilton and William, all
served in the revolutionary army. After
William PURDY and his wife had made their home in Moreland his mother came to
live with them. She died in 1776, a few
days after William had rejoined the Revolutionary army at Amboy, being a member
of Captain HART's Moreland company,
attached to the fourth battalion of the Philadelphia county militia.
The children of William and Mary (RONEY) PURDY were:
1. John, born April 24, 1767; died in 1808, at
New York; he married Mary
WHEELER, and they had three
2. William, of whom see forward.
3. Mary, born January 17, 1772, died June, 1821, at
New York; married Joseph YERKES, 1793; had eight children.
4. Thomas, born December 13, 1774, died April 3, 1864, at Ovid,
New York; married December 31, 1801, Charity SMITH; had four children.
5. Sarah, born October 4, 1777, died June 13, 1850, at
Romulus, New York; married in 1801 to John PINKERTON, who died in 1805; married
in 1817 to Silas ALLEN; three children.
6. James, born December 23, 1780, died November 17, 1864, at Plymouth,
Michigan; married, December 24, 1806, Elizabeth HATHAWAY, who died 1840; married (second)
Matilda BLAUVELT: fourteen children.
7. Elizabeth, born December 23, 1780, died in infancy; a twin with James.
8. Robert, born August 9, 1783, died August 18, 1856,
at Northville, Michigan; married, December 18, 1810, Hannah BROCKWAY; nine
9. Joseph, born April 17, 1786, died March 3, 1813, at Canandaigua,
New York; unmarried; was a soldier in army, in Captain DOX's
company, Colonel CHRISTEY's (13th) regiment.
In July, 1799, all of the family except the son
William removed from Pennsylvania to Seneca county, New York, which was at that time all but a wilderness. All prospered fairly well, and twenty-five
years later some of them, including Robert, went to Michigan, where they again
felled forests, tilled the land and aided in the upbuilding of society. James and Robert were active in establishing
the Presbyterian church in Ovid, New
York, and they aided in
founding four churches in Michigan. The father,
William PURDY, who remained in Ovid, died September 13, 1825, in his eighty-first year, and his wife died September 2, 1823, in her seventy-ninth year, and both are buried in
the graveyard originally owned by Robert DUNLAP, in Seneca county,
(3), second son of William (2) and Mary (RONEY) PURDY, was born in Moreland,
Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, June 4, 1769. He obtained a fair education, and by
occupation was a farmer. About 1800 he
married Mary, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth FOLWELL, of Southampton, Bucks
county, whither he removed and where he passed his life. The FOLWELLS were an old and prominent family
whose ancestors are said to have come out of Normandy with William the Conqueror, Thomas's grandfather Nathan came from England and settled in Burlington county, New Jersey, in 1680. Thomas's father William was born in 1704,
married Ann POTTS in 1727, and died in 1776.
Thomas himself was born in 1737, married in 1764, and died in 1813. During the revolution he was a private in the
Moreland company of which his brother John was captain. Thomas FOLWELL's wife Elizabeth was a
daughter of Arthur WATTS, who was a descendant of John WATTS, pastor of the
Pennypack Baptist church as early as 1699.
John WATTS was a descendant of the John WATTS who was lord mayor of
Purdy, like all his family, was a Presbyterian, but after he married and
settled in Southampton he became a Baptist.
In Politics he was, like all the Pennsylvania PURDYS at that time and
since, a Democrat. He was a man of Good
abilities and excellent character, one of the most public-spirited men of his
time, and stood high in the esteem of his fellows. In 1794, when WASHINGTON called for troops to quell the "whiskey
insurrection," he was one of the first to volunteer and went to
Pittsburgh, where he remained until the trouble was over. In 1805 he was elected captain of the rifle
company attached to the Bucks and Montgomery counties Forth-eighth regiment, which position he
held for several years. During the
second war with Great
after the capture and burning of the capital at Washington by the British although beyond the military service
age, he was chiefly instrumental in forming a company of independent
riflemen. By unanimous vote he was made
captain, and he remained in that position for the sake of his men, although
solicited to accept command of the regiment.
After the war he resumed farming in Southampton
until elected to the state legislature, where he continued four years. Shortly after his retirement from his seat in
that body the governor appointed him prothonotary of the courts of Bucks
county, in which office he continued until his death May 30, 1834. He was buried
in the graveyard of the Baptist church at Southampton,
and upon his tombstone is the inscription, "An honest man, the noblest
work of God." He was survived by
his widow, who died June 9, 1846,
in the sixty-seventh year of her age.
Their children were:
1. John, born
1801, died May 29, 1838;
he was a wheelwright, and resided first at Davisville, Bucks county, and then
in Philadelphia; he married Amy H., daughter of William and Sarah SHELMIRE, who was born in 1806 and died in 1878; they had two children.
Thomas, (see forward)
3, William Watts, born 1805, died September 5, 1827.
4, Elizabeth Anne, born 1809, died May 5, 1832.
5, Joseph Hart, born August 6, 1813, died June 12, 1842.
All these, with
one exception, are buried near their parents in Southampton. Joseph is buried in
(4) second son of William (3) and Mary (FOLWELL) PURDY, was born in 1802 and
10, 1844. He was
educated in the common schools, and began life as a farmer. Later he engaged in the hotel business,
purchasing the Green Tree Hotel at Doylestown, about 1832. He next embarked in the mercantile business
at Richboro, Pennsylvania, but soon took up farming again, having purchased
about 1836 the old FOLWELL homestead at Southampton, the house upon which was
built by his maternal ancestors in 1719.
He was a staunch Democrat, and took an active interest in politics. He was elected sheriff in 1842. Like his father he was prominent in military
affairs; in 1828 he was elected captain of the Liberty Guards and in 1835 and
again in 1842 he was elected colonel of the First Regiment of Bucks County
Volunteers. He was a member of the
Baptist Church at Southampton, and a trustee for many years. He married Elizabeth, daughter of John S. and
Mary (KRUSEN) CORNELL, the former of English and the latter of Dutch
origin. She was born March 18, 1811, and died May 29, 1884. Of This
marriage were born six children:
1.Mary Jane, born July 7, 1830; unmarried, and residing in
10. John Mann, to be further mentioned below.
3. Elizabeth Ann, born July 7, 1835; married Peter RITTENHOUSE; four children; resides in
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.
4. Matilda, born February 12, 1838; married Charles (brother of Peter) RITTENHOUSE; six
children; resides in Germantown.
5. Amanda, born June 8, 1841; married William B. WEISS, of
Philadelphia; six children.
6. Katherine Hart, born 1843, died May 8, 1867;
married James LINGERMAN, of Somerton; no issue.
John Mann PURDY (5), only son of Thomas and Elizabeth
(CORNELL) PURDY, but for whom this particular branch of the PURDY family would
have become extinct, was born in Doylestown, Bucks county, January 17, 1833. He was reared
in Davisville, in the same county, and attended the common schools of that
vicinity, and spent one year in the China
Military School in Bristol township. Upon
the death of his father in 1844 he went to live with Mercy WARNER, of
Warminster, same county, with whom he remained until 1849, when he was
apprenticed to the carpenter's trade and followed that same at Somerton,
Philadelphia county for about ten years. He then began farming on the old VANSANT farm
at Somerton, remaining there until 1867, when he bought the Delaware House at
New Hope, and conducted the same until 1873. In that year he was elected on the Democratic
ticket to the Sheriffalty (sic) of Bucks county-the only instance in the
history of the county where father and son held the same office. At the expiration of his term in 1876 he
engaged in the coal and lumber business at Doylestown. In 1878 he bought the old COWELL House in
that place, which he sold five years later, and took possession of the Fountain
House, where he remained ten years. In
1893 he was appointed by President CLEVELAND to the postmastership of
Doylestown, the county seat. At the
expiration of his term in 1897 he took possession of the historic Red Lion Inn
in Bensalem, Bucks county, where he remained until May 1, 1904, when he became proprietor of the
General Wayne Hotel in Holmesburg, Philadelphia. Nature
endowed him with a genial disposition which fitted him in a remarkable degree
for a successful hotel man, and it can be truthfully said that he has always
kept an orderly and highly respectable house, against which there has never
been a breath of suspicion, and by so doing has gained for himself hosts of
friends among all classes of society.
Mr. PURDY is a member of the Masonic order, affiliated with Frankford
Lodge, No. 292, and he is a member of the Improved Order of Red Men at
November 16, 1854, Mr. PURDY married Sarah ROBERTS, of
Pennsylvania. She was born
November 16, 1833, a daughter of John and Rebecca ROBERTS, the former of Welsh
and the latter of Dutch descent, being the daughter of James VANSANT, whose
ancestors came from the Netherlands in 1660.
James VANSANT's fathers, also named James, was a soldier of the American
revolution. To John Mann and Sarah (ROBERTS)
PURDY were born five children:
1. Rebecca, born at Somerton, September 5, 1855. She was
educated in the public schools and Doylestown Seminary. In 1883 she married Levi L. JAMES, a
prominent lawyer and former district attorney, of Doylestown, by whom she had
two children: Samuel Polk JAMES, born October 6, 1883, and Grace Vansant JAMES, born May 30, 1887, both now living with their mother in
Doylestown. May 4, 1890, Mr. JAMES died, and in 1892 his widow married
another prominent lawyer of Doylestown, and former congressman, Robert M. YARDLEY. No children resulted from this
union. Mr. YARDLEY
PURDY, born in Somerton, May 29, 1857, He was educated in the Public schools, at Doylestown
Seminary and the West
School. He taught school in Bucks county,
Pennsylvania; Steubenville, Ohio; and Cape May Court House, New
covering a period of about ten years. In
1887 he gave up school teaching and entered the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad
company as ticket agent in Philadelphia, and after several promotions became
passenger agent of the Long Branch division of that road, with headquarters at
Newark, New Jersey, and is now (1904) occupying that responsible position. In the railroad world, as elsewhere, he
enjoys an enviable reputation. In
politics he is a Gold Democrat. He is
connected with the Masonic and Royal Arcanum orders. June 2, 1877,
he married Ella Virginia, born in 1857, daughter of Edward and Lydia YOST, of
Doylestown, both of German extraction.
Of this marriage were born six children: 1. Edward Yost, born in
Steubenville, Ohio, 1878; 2. Jay Victor,
born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1880; 3. Cora May, born at Cape May Court
House, New Jersey, 1882; 4. Florence Coney, born in Philadelphia, 1886; 5.
Harry Roberts, born in Philadelphia, 1889; 6. Russell Wray, born in
Philadelphia, 1892. None of the children
are married, and all live at home with their parents in
New Jersey. Edward and
Jay Victor both volunteered in the United States army during the war with Spain, and at the conclusion thereof were honorably
discharged. This action on their part
affords evidence that patriotism and military ardor yet mark the PURDY
blood. The former named is employed by
the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as ticket agent in New York city, West Twenty-third street; the latter is in the art department of the
3. Harry Roberts
PURDY, born in Somerton, February 13, 1859. He attended
the public schools of Somerton and New Hope, and the Doylestown Seminary, until 1876, when he
entered Dr. George T. Harvey's drug store at Doylestown, in which he worked for
three years. He then went to
New York city and was graduated from the New York College of Pharmacy
in 1882. From 1882 to 1887 he was
apothecary to the Bloomingdale
York city, and gave up
pharmacy for medicine. He entered
Bellevue Hospital Medical College and was graduated with the degree of Doctor of
Medicine in 1890, since which time he has been engaged in medical
practice. From 1892 to 1899 he was
assistant to the chair of diseases of children in his alma mater, and at the
same time was visiting physician to the out-door department of
Bellevue Hospital, as well as to the out-door department of St. Mary's
Hospital for Children.
He is a member of the New York County, New York State and American
Medical Associations, of the New York County Medical Society, is fellow of the
New York Academy of Medicine, and is a member of the Society of Medical
Jurisprudence. In religion he is an
Episcopalian, being a member of the Church of the Transfiguration. In politics, although by inheritance and
conviction a Democrat, he has, since the free-silver craze took possession of
the Democratic party, been an independent.
His military record, briefly, is as follows: During the great railroad
strike in Pennsylvania in 1877 he with others organized in Doylestown Company G
of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania Regiment, in which he was made corporal. When the strike was over the company was made
permanent as part of the Sixth regiment, and he was a corporal in that company
until 1880, when he took up his residence in New York city for the practice of
his profession. He has never married.
4. Cora May
PURDY, born in Somerton, October 16,
1861. She was educated in the public
schools and Eden Hall Convent, Torresdale, Pennsylvania, although she was then,
as she is now, like all her family, an Episcopalian. She was married, November 15, 1884, to former
Mayor Edward S. McELROY, of Beverly, New Jersey, whose ancestors emigrated from
the north of Ireland in 1717 and settled in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Their children are: Sarah Purdy, born August
19, 1885, Cora Purdy, and Rebecca James, twins, born July 21, 1887; Richard
Dale, born June 25, 1890; Mary Trotter, born January 3, 1897. These children are all living with their
parents in Beverly, New Jersey.
5. Frank Vansant
PURDY, born in Somerton, October 20,
1865. He was educated in the public
schools of Doylestown, and was for a time a druggist, serving for three years
in Dr. George T. HARVEY's drug store in
Doylestown, after which he assisted his father in the hotel business until the
latter was appointed postmaster, when Frank became his chief clerk. After his term expired he was appointed
conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad dining cars, which position he held
until he died, April 16, 1904, the cause of his untimely death being
pneumonia. He was very popular, both as
an official and as a man. He never married.
Sarah, wife of John Mann
PURDY, died of smallpox, at
New Hope, Pennsylvania, February 12, 1872.
About two years later (October 13, 1874) Mr. PURDY married Caroline
PEARSON born October 23, 1848, daughter of Chrispin and Cordelia Worthington PEARSON, of New Hope, Pennsylvania, the former of Scotch and the latter of
Welsh descent. Of this marriage were born five children:
1. George Smith
PURDY, born in Doylestown, July 27,
1875, while his father was sheriff. He
was educated in the Doylestown high school, and is (1904) a superintendent in
Jacob REED's Sons large Clothing establishment in Philadelphia. He is noted for his business energy and
integrity. He is unmarried.
2. Charles Cox
PURDY, born in Doylestown, May 26,
1879. He was educated at the Doylestown
High School and Pierce's Business College, Philadelphia, and is an artist. He lives in Holmesburg, and is
unmarried. He has seemingly inherited
the religious fervor of his ancestors to a greater degree than any other member
of the family now alive. He is a teacher
in the Episcopal Church Sunday school.
3. Anna Van Hart
PURDY, born in Doylestown May 28,
1880. She was educated in the Doylestown
high school. She lives with her parents
in Holmesburg, and is unmarried. She is
a very active member of the Episcopal Church.
4. John Mann
PURDY, Jr., born in Doylestown, January
22, 1885. He attended the public
schools, the School of Industrial Arts of Philadelphia, and is now attending
the Drexel Institute in that city. At
the annual exhibition of students' work at this school in June. 1904, he
received the first prize for elementary drawing. He gives promise of becoming an excellent
5. William Clossen
PURDY, born December 29, 1888. He attended the public schools of Bucks and
Philadelphia counties and is now attending the Northeast Manual Training School
of Philadelphia. That he will prove as
useful, honorable and patriotic as were his ancestors who bore the same
christian name, is the confident expectation of the family.
Test taken from page 458-461 of:
Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County,
Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III
Transcribed September 2003 by Joan Lollis of, IN. as
part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html
October 2003 on the Bucks County, Pa.,
USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/