Lamar County, Mississippi Genealogy and History


Pamela J. Gibbs County Coordinator

Everette Carr - State Coordinator     Bill White - Assistant State Coordinator


 Golden Anniversary Edition (1913-1964)

Submitted by Martin L. Varisco Jr.


Purvis or Purves:  That is the Question

            In 1880, Thomas Melvin Purvis gave the railroad the right-of-way through the town.  In view of this fact, company officials asked if they might name the town after him, and he agreed.

            However, in writing down the gentleman’s name, the railroad official spelled it P-U-R-V-I-S although it should have been spelled P-U-R-V-E-S.  Even though his son, Oliver Searcy Purvis, realized the error was being made, it was not polite in those days for children to contradict their elders in public.

            Thus the town became Purvis, and as a result the entire family since then has adopted the spelling with an “I” instead of an “E”.

            Thomas Melvin Purvis was born March 8, 1820 and his wife, Dollie Abney on May 14, 1826.  They were married in 1842 in North Carolina where she was studying to be a doctor, specializing in obstetrics.

            They came to Lamar County on Christmas Day, 1870, and the land grant, which included the right-of-way for the railroad, was issued to Mr. Purvis in 1876.  The grant covered more than the usual homestead because in those days a person could stake out all the land he wanted.

            Mrs. Purvis, although her college education was interrupted by an early marriage, practiced obstetrics in this area, delivering over 100 babies without losing a baby or mother.

                                                             Donated by: Mrs. Cora Holcomb and Mrs. Ella Purvis Ball

                                                                                                          Purvis, Miss.


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