John Purviance

John PurvianceMargaret McKnight

James Liberty, Sr. Purviance

f a m i l y
Children with:
Sarah Wasson

Colonel John Purviance, Jr.

James Liberty, Jr. Purviance
James Liberty, Sr. Purviance
  • Born: 14 Jan 1731or 32 or 33, Castle Firm, Ireland or Lancaster Co., PA
  • Married ABT 1764, Iredell Co., NC, to Sarah Wasson
  • Died: 26 Apr 1806, Bourbon Co., Kentucky

    Stuart Hoyle Purvines, in "Purviance Family" chapter 4:

    His will was dated 6 May 1800 and was proved in Bourbon Co., KY 5 Apr 1819. James Purviance served in the North Carolina Line and many of the contests occurred near his home, which was often turned into a hospital, and there his brother John was taken when wounded.

    "He came to America with his parents in the early 1740s, settled in Lancaster Co, Pensylvania. He moved to Iredell Co, North Carolina, in the early 1760s. He commanded a company in the North Carolina Line during the Revolution. He lived in the invaded country and a battle which occured near his hom is described in the following manner by his son, John.
    " 'We heard the cannonading at my father's. It was being herad from seven to eight miles farther north. My brothers, my sisters, and myself were sitting on the porch during the cannonading, but my mother could not remain in the house. She walked across the yard, back and forth, with her arms folded across her breast, with a solemn countenance. She spoke not a word more than to let her children know that their father was probably in the battle.'
    "The same writer speaks of another battle or skirmish occurring two miles south of his father's house. As it proved later the father was not in the first battle mentioned, but was engaged at some other point.
    "John also spoke of having two uncles and several cousins under the command of General Locke in the patriot army; one of the cousins was killed and an uncle was shot in four places, at last being brought to the ground by a ball which struck him in the hip. The last wound proved to be very serious. It was inflicted at the Battle of Ramsour, about twenty miles from the home of James Purviance, and many of the wounded were brought there for treatment, including the uncle spoken of above, for in those days all the homes near the battlefields were temporarily turned into hospitals. John, in writing of these events, says 'Many of the wounded were carried in biers, one on each bier, and took boarding in the neighborhood. My uncle and others were brought to my father's house. I remember it as though it were yesterday. The sufferings of my worthy and respected uncles were great and cannot be described. Surgical operations could not extract the ball in the hip. About forty years later, my aunt, who was dressing the wound (which during that entire period of time had never completely healed), felt something hard and by probing, the ball was extracted. I heard of it, went to visit and saw the ball.'
    "John, who gives the account of these incidents of the Revolution, after arriving at his mature years, often rode over to the battl ground at Ramsour and visited many other points of historic interest.
    "At first, James Purviance, with other relatives, served under General Rutherford, and later was with General Gates and General Sumter. 'Being entitled to so much weight in the baggage train,' writes John, 'father provided a suitable chest for his clothing and papers. The baggage wagin, belonging to one of his neighbors, passed by and took in the chest, which was taken to Gates' army in the south. For some reason, father, with a part of his company was sent to join Sumter, leaving part of his company and baggage with Gates, and an engagement was expected. I think the reason why father was sent to join Sumter was to escort him to Gates. What I will say about Sumter's defeat, I received from father, orally.
    "Sumter knew that the British were in pursuit of him, but nevertheless the Army came to a halt on the side of a hill, near a large watercourse, by some it was called a half-mile wide; I think it was the Catawba River. Arms were stacked and sentinels stationed. Sumter's tent was struck while he was in it writing. The army was mostly scattered down by a spring by the riverside. Father and Colonel John Isaacs, in walking up from the spring, stopped by the way and were talking about the bad generalship and the dragoons came on in a rush. Colonel Isaacs was taken prisoner, but farther slipped down a bank out of sight and kept to the river.
    "At some distance we met with William McKinney, one of the company, and they took to the river. Sometimes they had to swim, sometimes they could wade, the bullets striking the water before and behind them until they were out of reach. McKinney was a stout young man, good in water, and kept foremost, but after they got out of reach of the bullets, poor McKinney's fortitude failed. He proposed to turn back and surrender and wished counsel. Father told that his counsel would be known by his conduct, and he was determined not to surrender while he could help it. McKinney turned back, surrendered and afterward took the South Fever and died in the hospital.
    "Father, fortunately, had a knife, he ripped open his coat-sleeves and by that means got his coat off and let it go to the waves; next was his hat, which was large, but to save himself he let it go too. He made it to land and looking around could see the British Dragoons ranging about on the same side of the river. He took to the woods and rounded the field, bending his course from the river till finally he saw some men who had also made their escape across the river. He recognized Phillip Drumm, a young Dutchman, one of his own company. They got together, and traveled home together, not less than 100 miles. Father had saved his handkerchief and had it tied on his head. Young Drumm took it off and insisted upon putting his own hat in its place.
    "In passing through the Indian land about seventy miles from home two horses were presented to father with the request that he take them home and deliver them to friends of the owner for safe-keeping. Each had a horse. They traveled together to Morrison's Mill, three miles from home; their roads parted; the hat father was wearing was given back to young Drumm, the Mill's owner, Archibald Bradley, presneted father with a decent hat to wear home.
    "When he came in view he was not at first recognized by his family, no coat, a strange hat and no sword and a little dirty. When he embraced his family his countenance was pensive. Clean clothes put on, the word ran about the neighborhood and the neighbors gathered in. He had but little to say that afternoon and was much cast down over the outlook, with two armies defeated and the British marching where they pleased. But the next morning he put on his cheerful countenance again, took courage and started for the field.'
    These facts are especially interesting, coming as they do from one who lived through the scenes. The writer must have been some eight or nine years of age when these events occurred.
    "There has always been a tradition in the Purviance family that one of the ancestors lost his hat while running from the British. If the tradition is based upon the incident related above there is every reason to feel proud of the ancestor, although he lost his sword as well as his hat. In exchange for these articles, he preserved the life that was still able to battle for his country's rights."
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