|Birth: ||Apr. 16, 1857|
William Henry Purcell was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on the 16th of April 1857. He was the second child of Charles W. Purcell and Sarah Jane Ferry. In 1859, the family moved back to Indianapolis, Indiana, where his older brother, Charles Thomas, had been born in 1855. Sometime following his father's enlistment in the Union Army in 1861, the family followed him to Pilot Knob, Missouri. They lived there until Charles W. was killed in action on 27 September 1864 at the Battle of Pilot Knob. Following that event, the family moved back to Indianapolis.
By all accounts, the Purcell family lived in poverty following the Civil War. Both Charles and William left home at the age of 16 to go to work. In 1880, William was a clerk in a restaurant in Indianapolis. By the mid-1880s, he was in Illinois, where he met Emma Purcell. William and Emma were married in Danville, Illinois on 12 January 1887. For a time, they lived in Danville with Emma's father and step-mother. Their first daughter, Alice Major Purcell, was born in Danvile on 20 April 1890. By the time their second daughter, Helen, was born in November of 1892, the family was in Urbana, Illinois where William was the proprietor of the Columbian Hotel. By 1900, they were back in Danville, where William was listed as a travelling salesman. By 1907, the family was living in Decatur, Illinois, where Alice graduated high school in 1908. The family then moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin and William continued to be listed as a travelling salesman.
The last census record that can be found for William H. Purcell was from Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1910. He shows up in the 1915 Green Bay city directory and then doesn't show up again until 1921, in the same directory. That is the last documented record that has been thus far found for him. Emma remained in Green Bay, living with her daughter Alice and her son-in-law, Roy James Allen. She is listed in the Green Bay city directories as Mrs. Emma Purcell up until 1935. The 1935 city directory shows her as Emma Purcell (wid Wm H). So, it is likely that William died in 1933 or 1934. His whereabouts from 1922 up until his death are unknown.
William Henry Purcell was also in the Illinois National Guard. By 1893, he had been promoted to the rank of Colonel and served as the Governor's aide-de-camp in Urbana. Had his father lived, he would have likely been very proud. Throughout his time in the military, Charles W. Purcell lusted after a command rank. However, the highest rank he achieved was that of 1st Lieutenant.
Charles W. Purcell (1828 - 1864)
Sarah Jane Ferry Purcell (1834 - 1904)
Emma Pollock Purcell (1857 - 1953)*
Alice Major Purcell Allen (1890 - 1987)*
Helen A Purcell Freed (1892 - 1936)*
Note: Death year of 1934 is estimated, based on his wife showing up in the 1935 Green Bay, Wisconsin directory as a widow.
Created by: Daniel Allen
Record added: Sep 16, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 76609564
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Added: Jul. 18, 2013