Meshack Purdum is one of the honored and respected early citizens of Crawford county, having come here in 1874, thirty years ago. He has followed farming most of his career, and has been a very successful man in all his enterprises, being now retired from active duties and spending his declining years in the prosperity which his strenuous devotion to affairs in early life has gained.
He belongs to a noted soldier family, one which sent forth many of its members to battle for the country, and he himself was one of the first to enlist in the cause of the Union. His enlistment took place in McDonough county, Illinois, June 10, 1861, in response to Lincoln's call for seventy-five thousand men. The Illinois quota was already full when he enrolled, and he was at first assigned to Company C of the Ninth Missouri, but was later transferred to Company C, Fifty-ninth Illinois Infantry, under Captain Veach, and his active service was all with that regiment. He was in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and in other operations in Missouri, where he was sick in the hospital for some time. He was at the siege of Corinth, at Perryville, Kentucky, at Nashville, and at the battle of Stone River was wounded by a minie ball in the right shoulder. After spending two months in the hospitals at Nashville, Louisville and Quincy, he joined his regiment at Murphreesboro, whence he crossed the mountains to join Sherman's forces then preparing for the advance upon Atlanta. He was under General Hooker at Chickamauga, Resaca, Lookout Mountain, Burnt Hickory, Kenesaw Mountain, Buzzards Roost, and the other engagements culminating in the siege and capture of Atlanta. He was then put in the army which went back to engage Hood in Tennessee, being in the battles at Franklin and Nashville, and following Hood's army to the Tennessee river. After those operations he took boat down the Mississippi to the gulf, thence to Green Lake and San Antonio, Texas, being a part of General Sheridan's forces sent into that state. He was stationed for a time at New Braunfels, and on Christmas day of 1865, eight months after the close of hostilities, he received his honorable discharge in Texas. He took the stage for two hundred miles to Galveston, thence crossed the gulf on a boat which took fire and was nearly sunk, and finally reached home after having given a long and creditable service to his country. He was a corporal during most of his service.
Mr. Purdum was born in Ross county, Ohio, near Chillicothe, April 25, 1835, being a son of Samuel and Rebecca (Tulles) Purdum, both natives of Maryland. Samuel Purdum's brother Meshack had six sons who went as soldiers to the Civil war. Mrs. Rebecca Purdum died when her son Meshack was a child, and she left five other children, as follows: John W., deceased; Abraham, who was a soldier of the Eighty-fourth Illinois and died of wounds at Nashville; Samuel, who was a soldier of the Fifty-ninth Illinois; James, of the Eighty-fourth Illinois; and the one daughter, Martha, deceased. The father by a second marriage had six children, and one of the sons, Francis M., was also a soldier in the Fifty-ninth Illinois,certainly a most creditable record in military affairs for the families of two brothers. Samuel Purdum, the father, died in Illinois, in 1878, at the age of seventy-seven. He was a farmer by occupation, politically a Whig and a Republican, and he and his wife were faithful Methodists. He had come to Illinois in 1838, being one of the very early settlers.
Mr. Purdum, who was reared and educated in the early days of Illinois, was married, some time after his return from the war, in 1867, to Miss Laurinda Cox, who has been his sharer of joys and success for thirty-seven years. Shew as born in Schuyler county, Illinois, being a daughter of Jacob and Sarah Ann (Burton) Cox, who were natives of Ohio and settled in Illinois about 1835, thus coming even earlier than the Purdums. They lived in a log cabin, and Mrs. Purdum's father often shot wild turkeys from his door. There were twelve children in the Cox family, and four are living, Warren, Mrs. Purdum, Rowena McPherson and Eunice Buck. Two of the sons were soldiers, Christopher, who died in 1902, being a member of the Seventy-eighth Illinois, and John J. enlisting but succumbing to disease before reaching his regiment. The mother of this family died at the age of sixty-five, and the father at seventy-seven.
On coming to Crawford county in 1874 Mr. Purdum settled on an excellent farm three miles north of Cherokee, where he was successfully engaged in farming for a number of years. He has since sold his country estate and bought a fine modern dwelling in town, with ample grounds and everything convenient and comfortable. He also owns a residence and lot adjoining, so that he is owner of some very valuable property in Cherokee, and he has a delightful home in which he and his good wife may pass their last years. He and his wife are members of the Methodist church at Cherokee, and he is a member of Shiloh Post No. 56, G. A. R. In politics he is a Republican, and always lends his influence to progress and advancement in matters, concerning either the local or national policies.
The record of Mr. and Mrs. Purdum's children is as follows: Martha A. Hane, now living in Pittsburg, was a successful teacher before her marriage; Miss Ivy E. is a graduate of the State Normal and now a member of the faculty of instructors at Emporia; Jacob A. is an employe of the Hamilton Coal Company; one child died at the age of nineteen months; the son Frederick, who was a teacher, died at the age of twenty-six, and he was such an aspiring and enterprising young man and had so many friends among all his associates that his loss was the occasion of deep grief throughout the community and especially to his parents, who still hallow his memory in their bereaved hearts.Pages 518-521 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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