The subject is a representative business man and citizen of Marion
county, managing one of the largest lumber establishments in the county, the
well known firm being F. M. Purcell & Company, doing business at Kell. Our
subject was born in Wilson county, Tennessee, July 2, 1843, the son of Hiram
and Parthena (Williams) Purcell, natives of Tennessee, and a fine old
Southern family. Hiram was a prosperous farmer and lived and died in
Tennessee. He and his faithful life companion were members of the Missionary
Baptist church. The subject's father was a gallant soldier in the Seminole
Indian war in Florida. To Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Purcell five children were
born, namely: Lavina; Ella; Frances M., our subject; L. B. and Hiram.
The subject's father first married a Miss Jones and they became the parents of two children, Eliza and Henry.
Our subject grew up in Tennessee on a farm. He remained in that state on a farm until he was twenty-seven years old. In 1870 he came to Jefferson county, Illinois, and engaged in farming, also the lumber business, making a success of each. In the fall of 1904, he came to Kell, Illinois, where he is now located and where he has built up an extensive business by means of his industry, his careful methods and fair treatment of customers. He is in partnership with Omer V. Cummings in the lumber business. They supply a large scope of country with lumber and all kinds of building material as well as much hardware. They also handle paints, cement, lime, nails, in fact, everything that a builder uses in a house, barn or other structure. They always handle a good line of material and their prices are always right, according to the statement of many of their customers. They have extensive sheds and their office is a nice place and is always a busy place.
Our subject's happy domestic life began in 1866, when he was united iii marriage with America Penuel, who was born in Tennessee, the daughter of Frederick and Lucinda (Jennings) Penuel, natives of that state.
Eight children have been born to the subject and wife as follows: Amanda, the wife of W. W. Hay, who lives in Jefferson county, this state; Samuel married Dora Riley and they live in Carrier Mills, Illinois; Lucinda is the wife of George Snyder, living in Jefferson county, Illinois; Robert married Anna McCormick, and they also live in Jefferson county; Otis J. married Josie Hawkins; William Edgar is single; Nora is the wife of Adolphus Caldwell, also of Jefferson county; Fred is single.
Mr. and Mrs. Purcell are members of the Missionary Baptist church. The former is a loyal Democrat. He very ably served for six years as Supervisor of Rome township, Jefferson county, this state. He was chairman of the Board of Supervisors for one year. He takes considerable interest in political matters and his advice is often sought in the local affairs of his county. In his fraternal relations he is a member of the Masonic Order, the Knights Templar.
Mr. Purcell owns a valuable and well-improved farm, near Kell, on which he lives, having a modern, substantial and nicely furnished dwelling, an excellent barn and convenient outbuildings. He is a very busy man, for he successfully conducts the affairs of his lumber establishment in town and at the same time superintends the work on the place, being an excellent judge of live stock of all kinds, and he is regarded as one of the leading business men of Haines township. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, having started in life under none too favorable circumstances, but he has been a hard worker and a good manager and success has attended his efforts from the first. He is a gentleman of pleasing demeanor, easily approached, and while not an aspirant for high political favors, he has done much in a quiet way, as already intimated, to promote the good of the community where he lives. He occupies a commendable standing among his fellow citizens and has a large circle of friends who have learned to esteem him for his industry and many manly qualities.
Extracted 11 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 201-202.