HIRAM C. PURDY, engaged in general merchandising at Weston, is contributing his full quota to the business interests of the town, and is a most valued and enterprising citizen. He is a native of the Empire State, born in Clinton County, Feb. 8, 1824, his parents being Stephen and Mary (Chase) Purdy, natives of New York, born near Plattsburg. In about 1829 the family, with the exception of the father, who died in Clinton County, N. Y., removed to Cattaraugus County, and about three years later to Brown County, Ohio. The mother, after the death of her husband, was married to Amos Church, who removed with the family to Ohio. They came to Illinois in 1844, where the mother and stepfather passed the remainder of their lives. The children of Stephen and Mary C. Purdy were, Henry, who resides in Brooke County, Kan., and Hiram C., of our sketch. By her second marriage the mother of our subject had five children, of whom only one is now living, Samantha, the wife of R. R. Gaskell, of Topeka, Kan.

The subject of this sketch was educated in the district schools, which were carried on in a manner widely different from those of the present day. He accompanied the family to Illinois, in 1844, and soon afterward entered the employ of the Sweet & Fogg Plow Manufactory, where he learned the blacksmith trade, and where he remained the following five years. He then went to Hennepin and in company with a partner, engaged for the following two years in the manufacture of plows. The firm then dissolved, and our subject, coming into Bureau County, took up his old occupation of blacksmithing, which he followed until 1859. Then, going into Woodford County he decided to change his occupation, and engaged in merchandising, which, however, he followed only one year at that time, having an opportunity to buy out a good blacksmithing business, which he merged into a wagon manufactory, and carried on the same for four years following.

From this place Mr. Purdy removed to Fairbury, Ill., and embarked in the grocery trade, which business he carried on until 1871. He then went to Michigan, and locating in St. Joseph engaged in lumbering until 1876, and in that year came to this county, and established his present business. He has been fairly successful in his operations, and by his honest and upright course has gained the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens. Soon after coming here he was tendered the position of Deputy Postmaster, and was appointed Postmaster in 1877. Politically he affiliates with the Republican party, and since 1858 has been a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He and his wife united with it the same year.

The first marriage of our subject took place in June, 1847, the maiden of his choice being Miss Genevra Ann (DeCaster) Lantz, who was born in Kentucky, but whom he met in Tazewell County, this State. By her union with our subject she became the mother of five children, all of whom died in infancy. She departed this life in 1855. The second wife of our subject, to whom he was married in June, 1857, was Miss Mary Frances Burson, a native of Virginia. Of this marriage there were born three children: Edgar S., a resident of Chicago; Viola Genevra, the wife of C. R. Bailey, of Chenoa, and Wilbur, who died when five years of age.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 614. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


©2008 Genealogy Trails