Biography of Charles E. Purdy

Charles E. Purdy
Charles E. Purdy

Among the reputable men of Billings, Missouri, who, in their conduct of business matters and the duties belonging to the various relations of life, have acquired a worthy name, is Charles E. Purdy, the efficient, intelligent and energetic mayor of that place. Although young in years he is old in experience, and is one of the leading.spirits of the city, guarding its interests and furthering all worthy enterprises. Mr. Purdy came originally from Jackson County, Illinois, born April 5, 1860.

A son of Henry I. and Polly A. (Varnum) Purdy, natives of Vermont. His grandfather, Isham Purdy, was born in Vergennes, Vt., in the year 1800, and died in Illinois when eighty-three years of age. His wife, Roxcea (Wiley) Purdy, who was also a native of the Green Mountain State, died in the same house. They were the parents of seven children: Henry I. (subject’s father), Edwin P., Chas. W., and four daughters. Grandfather Purdy followed the occupation of a farmer, and in 1850 came to Illinois, where he entered land. The Purdy family is of Puritan stock, the ancestors settling in New England at an early date, and were prominent in the early history of the colonists. Henry I. Purdy came with his father to Illinois in the forties, and there a small colony was formed from the people from their native town in Vermont. Henry I. married Miss Polly Ann Varnum, whose parents came from Vermont with the colony, and when the Civil War broke out he enlisted in Company K, Seventy-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was appointed corporal. Soon after he enlisted he was taken sick and died in the hospital at Bowling Green, Kentucky, in January, 1863. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics was a strong Republican. He held a number of offices in Jackson County, and was a man who took a deep interest in all worthy matters. His father was a noted musician in his day, and was probably a drummer boy in the War of 1812. The mother of our subject died at Clarkton, southeast Missouri, July 15, 1872. Four children were born to her marriage to Mr. Purdy: George, who died in infancy; A. H., a prosperous business man of Billings; Charles E. (subject); and Alice M., who died in 1885, and who was the wife of David M. Owen, of Billings. The mother was married the second time to Phillip Griffin, and one child was born to this union, David.

Our subject spent the first five years of his life in his native town, and then went with his mother to Missouri, settling with her in Clarkton, Dunklin County, where he remained until thirteen years of age. His mother’s death occurred at that time, and he and the other children went to Illinois to live with an uncle, Edwin P. Purdy. There he grew to manhood, and was educated in the public schools of Carbondale and the Southern Illinois Normal University. Later he worked at the lumber and saw mill business, and still later engaged in merchandising, continuing the same until 1884, when he came to this city. In January of that year he opened up a general store, and continued this successfully until May, 1893, when he sold his entire business to the Billings Mercantile Company. Previous to this, in April, 1892, he was elected to the office of mayor of Billings, and the same spring he was made a member of the school board. He has also been appointed justice of the peace and notary public, which positions he now fills with credit. He is also at the present time in the real estate, loan and insurance business, and is making a complete success of this. He has large additions to the city, embracing about ninety choice building lots, which are building up quite rapidly, and besides he owns considerable town and farm property. Mr. Purdy is an experienced, practical man of business sagacity and tact, and has developed a solid connection in all branches of the real estate business. Socially he is a member of the A. O. U. W., and of the Select Knights of the same order, and is one of the most prominent members of that order. He is also a member of the Knights of the Horse. On the 9th of May, 1886, he was married to Miss Mollie Stow, a native of Christian County, Missouri, born January 27, 1869, and the daughter of S. H. and Louisa (Green) Stow, the mother only now living. Mrs. Purdy is one of ten children, all of whom are living in southwest Missouri.

Mr. and Mrs. Purdy have a fine home on Pine Street and Washington Avenue, and are the parents of three children: Lola, Irene, and Roxcea Wiley. Mayor Purdy and wife attend the Christian Church, and the latter is a member of the same. In political matters Mr. Purdy is a strong Republican, and the family for a number of generations were Republicans and Whigs. He is one of the leading men of the city, has its interests at heart, and is filling his present position with credit to himself and his constituents.



A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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