The Purviances Came To Pampa In 1910

Members of the Purviance (wine-maker) family left France during the Huguenot persecution in the 16th century. They migrated to Germany and then to Ireland before John Purviance (b. 1760) came to North America. As a patriot from either Pennsylvania or North Carolina , he was a soldier in the Colonial Army that fought for American independence.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Alexander C. Purviance, son of John, received government lands in Illinois as pay for his service in the War of 1812. Because of the poor spelling of his commander, the title to the land was made to Alexander C. “Purvines.” Alexander assumed the misspelled name because he did not want to jeopardize his title to the land.

William Graham Purvines, son of Alexander, married Emily Cartwright Eaton, granddaughter of Peter Cartwright, noted Methodist circuit rider and presiding elder. About 1900 their son, Carroll Purvines, and his wife Kate came to Panhandle, Texas , via Osage Indian Territory.

The sixth child of William and Emily Purvines was Walter Purviance, born in 1879 at Pleasant Plains, Sagamon County , Illinois . While searching old records, Walter discovered that his family name had been misspelled and used the correct spelling. He graduated from Kankakee , Illinois in the early 1900s and began his medical career at Granite City , Illinois . He married Grace Murphee. Their son, John Graham Purviance, was born in Granite City on September 17, 1908.

Hoping to find a cure for tuberculosis, Walter began research on the tubercle bacillus. He contracted the disease and, in an effort to regain his health, he and his family came to Panhandle where Carroll and Kate Purvines were living on a ranch 17 miles north of town. Walter and Grace lived in a four-room house that Carroll and Kate had vacated when they built a new house. Walter quickly regained his health and he and his family moved to Pampa in 1910.

For a time Dr. Purviance was associated with M.T. Talley in the real estate business. Later he became a teller in a Pampa bank. Then he bought an interest in the Pampa Drug owned by C.T. Hunkspillar. He built a two story white stucco house at 802 West Francis. The street on the east side of the house was named for Dr. Purviance.

About 1912 Mrs. Purviance’s sister, Maud (Mrs. Scott) Hall came to live with the Purviances. She taught sixth grade in the Pampa schools for many years. In 1915 Dr. Purviance was elected mayor of Pampa and served in that office for two years.

When World War I was raging in Europe , Dr. Purviance volunteered in the medical corps and was commissioned a first lieutenant on August 15, 1917. He was assigned to Active Duty at Base Hospital , Camp McArthur in Waco , Texas . From there he went to Ft. Riley , Kansas , and then to Camp Merret , New Jersey . On June 1, 1918, he embarked for France , arriving first in Liverpool , England before going to LaHarve , France .

He was commissioned a captain on March 5, 1919. He was in the battles of Chateau Thierry and St. Mihiel and the Meuse Argonne offensive. His field hospital was in the midst of the fighting until Armistice Day. He spent a year in the army of occupation before being discharged at Camp Dix , New Jersey on May 30, 1919.

After his return to Pampa Dr. Purviance resumed his practice of medicine. His first office was with Dr. Archie Cole in the back of the Pampa Drug. Later he had offices in the Rose Building . In 1921 Dr. and Mrs. Purviance adopted a little girl, Janice.

In 1946 he built the Purviance Clinic at 808 West Francis on the lot adjoining his home. Dr. MacField McDaniel and Dr. Julian M. Key were associated with him.

The Purviances were unselfish in their devotion to the First Methodist Church , the city of Pampa , their neighbors and, most of all, to Dr. Purviance’s medical career. He kept abreast of the times as medicine and medical care developed and attended meetings of the American Medical Association.

Grace Purviance found great pleasure in her church work. She was president of the Missionary Society for 15 years, and she taught the Ladies Friendship Class for many years.

In 1952 when Gray County celebrated its 50th year, the Pampa Daily News reported: “Dr. Purviance was guest of honor at a dinner given at Pampa Country Club. He was presented with a plaque and a hat in recognition of his years of service in both the practice of medicine and his untiring service in civic affairs.”

Dr. Purviance bought a summer home in Evergreen, Colorado where he died in 1958. Grace Purviance died in Pampa on November 6, 1974.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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