Wilson L. Pursley, living seven miles west of Waverly, on one of the finest and most improved farms in Coffey county, is a native of Middle Tennessee, born Dec. 25, 1869. He is a son of Thomas J. and Nellie (Beagles) Pursley, the former born and reared in Tennessee. In sympathy with the Southland Thomas J. Pursley entered the Confederate army, as a private, but his valiant service won him promotion to the office of captain, and he served throughout the war. In 1874 he removed to Peoria, Ill., where he became actively identified with the business interests of the city and is now one of the leading men on the board of trade, a position held for thirty-six years, and which has accumulated a fortune for him. He is equally prominent in the Masonic fraternity, having attained the Thirty-second degree and soon will take the Thirty-third. Wilson Pursley, father of Thomas J. and grandfather of Wilson L., was a native of Scotland who immigrated to America and settled first in Virginia and later in Tennessee, where he died. He owned 12,000 acres of land in that state and was engaged in farming and the raising of mules.
The maternal grandfather of Wilson L. Pursley was Frank Beagles, a native of Scotland, who immigrated to America and settled at Bardoff, Ill., where he owned a large tract of land, and where he died while yet a young man.
Wilson L. Pursley received his common and high school education in Peoria, Ill., and it was supplemented by a course at Parish Business College, where he graduated in 1887. He began his active business career on the Peoria board of trade, later entered the railroad business as a mechanic and railroad man, and in that capacity has worked in every state west of the Missouri river and has traveled extensively in foreign lands, having been in China, the East India Islands, and in Brazil. He later settled in Colorado, where he bought and now owns a half-section of ranch land, which he improved until it is one of the finest in the state. On it is one of the largest barns in the state, which will hold thirty-six head of horses, and it has a mowing capacity of sixty tons. In 1907 Mr. Pursley moved to his present residence, where he owns 160 acres of highly improved land. He is also engaged in selling automobiles. In all of his business ventures he has been very successful, a result of sound and careful judgment and a progressive spirit.
He was united in marriage with Miss Powers of Keota, Iowa, in 1899, in Old Mexico, where they continued to reside four years.
Mr. Pursley is very prominent in fraternal circles, being a member of the Masonic order, the Eagles, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, and the Woodmen of the World.Pages 620-621 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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