Wallace C. Purdy


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                WALLACE C. PURDY, assistant postmaster of Murphysboro, is a veteran of the postal service, and has been continuously identified with the post office at Murphysboro for a quarter of a century.

                The Purdy family has been in Jackson County since pioneer times.  As a family they have had their best distinctions perhaps not in the material success of business careers but in the fine influence they have exerted in upholding religion, morals and educational ideals.

                Isham Purdy, grandfather of Wallace, came from Vermont, and in 1832 settled near Vergennes, in Jackson County, Illinois, a locality that was named for an old Vermont town.  His son, Charles W. Purdy, was born at Vergennes in 1840.  He lived all his life in the northern part of Jackson County, and no one there was held in finer esteem,  Both he and his father were church workers, and the first sermon preached in the Vergennes locality was in the home of Isham Purdy.  Charles W. Purdy was one of the interested Sunday School workers for many years,  He died February 2, 1812.  Charles W. Purdy married Rachel Outman, whose family came from New York State in 1848 by way of the Erie Canal, Great Lakes and Illinois River.  She died July 4, 1912, about five months after her husband.

                Wallace C. Purdy was born at the Purdy homestead, Jackson County, February 2, 1869.  As a boy he worked on the farm and attended country schools.  In carrying out his early plans to become an educator he entered the Normal College at Carbondale in 1889 and attended nine terms there.  His first teaching was done at Finney in Jackson County.  Later he was principal of schools at Pomina and Vergennes.

                In 1900 the first civil service examination was held for positions in the Murphysboro post office.  He took this examination and on September 1, 1901, began work which has proved consecutive and permanent.  He started as substitute clerk and substitute carrier, in 1903 was promoted to clerk, and on May 1, 1906, became assistant postmaster, a position he has now filled for twenty years under various postmasters.  On the death of Postmaster Gibson he was made acting postmaster February 10, 1926.  Mr. Purdy has the characteristics of the family, quiet, industrious, unselfish and faithful to duty.  He is a member of the Masonic Order, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World, and belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

                He married, in 1896, Ellen Whisler, daughter of Christian W. Whisler, a farmer near Ava.  To this marriage were born six children, Anna, Lois, Lela, Geraldine, Pauline and Margarette.  The daughter Pauline was considered hopelessly injured in the great tornado of 1925, but after spending four months in a hospital recovered.  Mr. Purdy after the death of his first wife married Henrietta Strohm, of St. Louis.

SOURCE: History of Illinois and her people by George Washington Smith
Chicago: American Historical Society, 1927, 3120  pgs.