Jessica Goings Purvine Relates Tradition of Indian Massacre
By Bradley B. Garretson
105 Danza Court, Orinda, California, 94563
Jessica Goings Purvine, [c1775-1836] my g-g-grandmother related the story of an Indian massacre which became a tradition in my Purvine family. It was handed down orally for 150 years before my grandmother, Sarah Ann Robinson Purvine [1859-1930] finally put it down on paper about 1920. She had heard Mary Jane Camron Purvine [1820-1898], her mother-in-law tell the story many times.
Jessica told her children about a Purvine family of eight from Cabarrus County, North Carolina who removed westward to the frontier. One morning while the father, Charles Purvine was doing his farm chores, his wife who was preparing breakfast, heard an unusual commotion at the barn. Looking out, she saw that Indians had surrounded her husband and were attacking him. She snatched up the baby and fled. She finally reached a settlement and safety. Investigators found that the Indians had killed the husband and the other five children and burned the house.
Jessica was married about 1796 to the surviving child, William Purvine probably in Melungia, the northeast corner of Tennessee where they lived briefly. By 1798, they had proceeded down the Tennessee River or Sequatchie River Valley to the Chattanooga area, at that time included in Knox County, Tennessee. Since these were Indian lands at that time, it is assumed that Jessica had “Cherokee connections.” The family lived there unmolested until they removed about 1820 to Morgan County, Illinois. They died there near the little town of Concord, Illinois.
William and Jessica told their children and grandchildren about the massacre, but none of them remembered where or when the tragedy took place. All they recalled was that their father was the sole survivor of the children and the slender genetic thread by which the family was perpetuated.
Children born to William Purvine and Jessica Goings Purvine include:
Annie Purvine born about 1797
John Purvine born about 1799
Elizabeth Purvine born about 1803
Catherine Purvine born about 1806
Nancy Purvine born about 1809
Martha Purvine born in 1812
Charles Purvine born in 1815
Jemima Purvine born in 1820
[I would be glad to correspond with anyone who might have a clue to the parents of Jessica Goings Purvine.–BBG]