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Purcell Family Stories

We are going to post stories about Purcell families taken from past journals. Perhaps you will recognize the name of one of your ancestors in these stories. Enjoy reading them!

April 1971 Vol 1 Number 1

Written by (John) Van Purcell of Paola, Kansas

My great grandfather, Robert Purcell, left Belfast in Northern Ireland in 1824 to escape the troublesome and dangerous Irish rebellion. He came to Canada, up the St. St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers to near Pembroke where my great grandmother, a Ramsey whom he had married in Canada, died leaving him with three small chidren: William, Charles, and Maria. These he bound out to other families. He had the spelling of the surname changed to Pursell instead of Purcell. In 1833 he brought my grandfather, William (Heraldus Estabrook was his guardian) to near Springfield, Illinois, teaching him the carpenter trade.

William Purcell (my grandfather) married Elizabeth Van Patten in 1846 and they had eight living children. One of the eight was my father, Charles William Pursell. He married my mother, Caroline Croney 21 January 1885 and bought a farm in Menard County, Illinois, where I was born 26 Feb 1890. In December 1898 the farm in Menard County was sold and we moved to a farm west of Moravia, Iowa, where we lived until March 1910, removing to Paola, Kansas. This has been my home ever since One of my sons, Lyse, lives at Rolla, Missouri.

Editorial note: Van’s wife, Hazel Pursell (nee Foster) was born in Adams County, Ohio. Her sister Mabel Foster married Paul Purcell, Van’s brother. Hazel and Mabel were the daughters of Kenneth Foster.

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