John Purviance

John PurvianceMargaret McKnight

Colonel John Purviance, Jr.

f a m i l y
James Liberty, Sr. Purviance
Colonel John Purviance, Jr.
  • Born: 6 Jun 1743, Lancaster, PA
  • Married 2 Aug 1764, Rowan Co., NC, to Mary Jane Wasson
  • Died: 6 Aug 1823, Wilson Co., TN

    From the Biography of Elder David Purviance, written by Elder David Purviance:
    "Colonel John Purviance the Father of David Purviance was a native of Pennsylvania, and was married to Jane Wasson, Aug. 2d 1764. Shortly after marriage, they settled on the south fork of the Yadkin River. Rowan (now Iredell) County, North Carolina. The country was new, but by industry and frugality, he procured a comfortable living for himself and his family. He and his wife were both respectable members of the Prebyterian Church. He filled the office of Justice of the peace, for a number of years, with general approbation.
    At the commencement of the Revolutionary war, he volunteered in defence of his Country's Rights, and was appointed Lieutenant in the army. He behaved himself valiantly during the war, and was gradually promoted to the office of Colonel. He fought bravely for the liberty of his country, and rejoiced to see the Colony free. He returned a thankful heart to the bosom of his family, and lived happily there until the fall of 1791. He moved with his family to Sumner County, Tennessee. The country there was almost a wilderness, and the savage barbarities of the Indians, much afflicted the small settlements, by stealing and taking away their horses, and murdering the citizens. In the spring of 1792, his second son, John Purviance, while in the field at work, was shot, scalped, and left weltering in his blood by the Indians; he was so near the house, that his wife could hear their savage yells, and she would have run to her husband in the midst of them, had she not have been prevented by the interposition of her friends. They had been married but a few months. Their only child (a daughter) was born after his death. Col. John Purviance being alarmed at these savage cruelties, left the place and moved to Caneridge, Bourbon County, Kentucky, where the inhabitants were less expposed to the barbarities of the Indians. He continued to reside there until the fall of 1800. He then returned to Tennessee, and settled in Wilson County. During all this time he continued an exemplary member of the Presbyterian Church.
    About the beginning of this century, a very remarkable religious excitement took place in the State of Tennessee, under the labors of James McGready and other Presbyterian preachers. In this revival, many souls were converted from the error of their ways, to the service of the living God. The missionary fire began to burn in the hearts of many young men, who felt that a dispensation of the Gospel was committed to them. They were constrained to cry out "Wo is me if I preach not the Gospel." They were influenced by the spirit of God, to publish the Gospel to the world, and almost simulatneously proclaimed free salvation to all mankind. One Presbytery, without due regard to the rules and regulations of the Presbyterian Church, licensed about thirty preachers that had not a liberal education; this caused a division in the church, and gave rise to a new sect who call themselves Cumberland Presbyterians. They have sense become a numerous and respectable Denomination. Col. Purviance was in the spirit of the reformation, and consequently united with the Cumberlands, and continued in full fellowship with them as long as he lived. His wife also, was a pious and worthy member of the same church. She died in the year 1810, being sixty-eight years of age.
    He died, Aug. 1823, being something over eighty-three years of age. His death was caused by a slight scratch on the heel from the fall of a stick of wood. An inflamation took place and caused his death in a few days. His constitution was yet good, and his mind but little impaired. When his Physician told him that if he had any unsettled business he had better have it attended to, for he could not live long, he politely thanked him, and manifested no concern about his situation. He lived a pious, devoted, and exemplary life, and met death with a firm hope in his Redeemer. He gave his favorite preacher (Thomas McDonnel) this text from which to preach his funeral sermon "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." I. Cor iii. 11.
    Col. Purviance and his wife raised, and educated elevn children, three sons and eight daughters. They all lived to become heads of families. The youngest of the eleven is now over sixty years of age. The wholesome precepts and odly example, given by their pious parents, have been honored and respected by them (probably) as much as any other family. We are encouraged to "train up our children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it." This has been truly verified in the case of this happy family. They were trained in the nurture, and admonition of the Lord. Alghough all of them who lived to be old, renounced some of the doctrines and usages of the Presbyterian Church. Yet the wholesome moral and practical precepts, taught and inculcated in the discipline of that church, they concientiously adhered to, through life; particularly the observance of the Lord's day, which is at the present time so much desecrated by many loud professors of Christianity; for which we have great reason to lament and be ashamed. The writer does not believe that this worthy family have ever dishonored their parents or committed any act calculated to cause shame, or bring a blush over each others contenances. As the writer expects this work to be read by the children, grand-children, and great-grand-children of this respected family, he would say let us never suffer ourselves to degenerate from the holy principles of righteousness, honesty, and integrity taught by the precepts and example of our worthy predecessors."

    Among his other accomplishments, he was also elected to membership on the Committee for Safety for Rowan County, NC in October, 1775.

    More details are available on their children in THE PURVIANCE FAMILY by Stuart Hoyle Purvines.

    In Giles Co., TN. Deed Book A., p. 205 can be found a deed from John Purviance of Wilson Co., TN (this man) to Samuel Woods of the State of Ohio and Preble County, registered 25 Sep 1811, 450 acres lying on Indian Creek, a branch of the Elk River . William Woods and David Woods, brothers of Samuel Woods, were witnesses.

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