Brother Purvis is one of our best young ministers and in point of actual service is surpassed by none. His birthplace is Cotton Port, La., Avoyelles Parish. October 7, 1870, is the date of his birth. He is the eldest son of a large family.
Although his parents were ex-slaves, deprived themselves of education, their ignorance was no barrier to their determination to have their children educated. As early as they could they started the children to school. The subject of our sketch, having finished fairly well the prescribed course of study in the public schools of his parish, was, through the advice of Professor Jonas Henderson and Sister J. P. Moore, sent to other schools. Much of his education was received at the Alexandria Academy and Leland University. At the early age of 19, he began teaching and in this way helped to keep himself in school. He went to North Louisiana in 1892, and while there he was urged to buy a farm for the family, which he did. This broke into his plans for going to school.
At this time (December 12, 1895,) he married Miss Jennie Lee, one of the state's best women. A little more than a year before this time he had been ordained, having been converted and notified of his call to preach Christ. His first call to the pastorate came to him from the St. Paul Baptist Church, Pelican, La. The next "Macedonian cry" came from Saline Baptist Church, Converse, La., where he labored successfully until the spring of 1902. In 1900, being urged by the members of his church, he moved into this community and started a school under the auspices of the Farmers' Union. From this work sprang the Sabine Industrial Institute, one of the best schools in the state.
When his wife left him for Heaven in 1901, he resigned this work and re-entered school. Coleman College became the school of his choice, from which he graduated with honors. While here at College he was called to be overseer of Republican Baptist Church, Furrh, La., and St. Peter Baptist Church, Pelican, La. He was also elected Sunday-School State Missionary and Colporter for the American Baptist Publication Society, which positions he ably filled.
On June 25th, 1903, he married Miss Salina Joseph, a graduate of Leland University. Their union has been blessed with four boys. Bishop Purvis has a good home at Pelican, La., and owns valuable property elsewhere. He is now (1911) serving two churches where he has been for ten years, and is also the pastor of the church that had him ordained. Elder Purvis holds the following positions: President Northwest No. 2 S. S. Association, principal Pleasant Hill Colored School, Corresponding Secretary Northwest No. 2 Association, and Corresponding Secretary of the Louisiana Baptist State Convention. Among the ministerial stars that shine in the sky of the Louisiana ministry, none has dispersed more light in the given time than Brother Purvis. He is not a "reactionary" but a "standpatter" when it comes to defending "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Bishop Purvis is highly respected and esteemed by his brethren throughout the state. He is a wise counsellor, formidable in debate and powerful in the pulpit.
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