John Purvis

ID # 2789, (-1805)
BirthJohn Purvis was born at Scotland. 
MarriageHe married an unknown person . 
DeathHe died in 1805 at Flamborough West Township. 
NoteJohn Purvis does not appear in Crowder's work, Early Ontario Settlers, A Source Book, nor does he appear in Fitzgerald's Ontario People: 1796-1803. Records for him certainly do exist, but here we run into a bit of an anomaly. See microfilm C-2488, Vol. 400, P1, petition 20, dated at Newark July 2, 1794. In this joint petition with Peter Van Every, John's name is shown as Purbus. He applies for a grant and specifically requests the two lots number 2 on both the 1st and 2nd concessions in Flamborough Township. The petition does claim that 'he served his majesty in the late war in the ranging service.' The endorsement on the petition's cover makes no quibble with his background, but grants him one lot only and we may confirm this with his appearance in the Ontario Land Record Index (once) which directs us to microfilm MS81, volume 50, page 15, which confirms him in the the 2nd lot of the 1st concession of Flamborough in the Home District. As with his petition, his name is rendered as Purbus on this document.

In the above petition, he states that 'as he is married and has now a wife he might be permitted a further location in her favour'. His wife's name is not provided and the implication is that he is recently married. It seems reasonable that she is his second wife, for, on the evidence, John has three daughters of marriageable age who appear in this tree.

Back to the point of the rendering of his name.

See Vital Records of Upper Canada / Canada West, Vol. 1: Part 2, Niagara District, 1792-1849, compiled by Dan Walker & Fawne Stratford-Devai, Global Heritage Press, 2000, page 104, St. Mark's Anglican Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1792-1815.

Weddings at Niagara 1794
Andrew VanEvery, to Jane Purbice, 3 Mar. 1794

Taking John Purvis' will into consideration, we are dealing with the same person and family, yet at one time the family appears to have spelled their name with a B. We have no clarity in the matter, but it should be noted that familysearch shows the name Purbus in Northumberland and Durham, England, in the early to mid 1700s. It is possible that Purbus was the original rendering of the name.

In July of 1795, John 'Purvis' again petitioned for land. See C-2489, Vol. 400, Bundle P2, petition 4. This time he states:

That your petitioner having been a prisoner in the war, and having lost all his real and personal estate in consequence of his loyalty to the king, and having never been compensated in any way for his losses, begs your excellency to grant him he is entitled to draw for himself and family, with such other quantity as your excellency in his wisdom shall think proper.

Purvis was recommended for 200 acres if he did not previously receive a grant, but it would appear that this petition was ultimately in vain. No mention is made of John Purbus/Purvis in the Ontario Land Record Index (OLRI) except for the one earlier petition made in 1795.

The will of John Purvis is dated 24 May, 1805. It is to be found on microfilm MS638 reel 97, Surrogate Court, York Co., Series 6-2. There are no peripheral probate papers. Purvis describes himself as being 'weak in body but of perfect mind and memory'. He locates himself in Flamborough West Township in the Home District and makes no mention of a wife. He leaves his real estate, described as lot 2 on the 2nd concession of Flamborough West, to his daughter Nelly Hanes. He leaves removable property to his daughters Jane Van Every and Elizabeth Lawrison, and 'all the remainder of lands that is and may be given me from Government to be equally divided' between them. John nominates as executors David Cummins and John Heagy (probably Keagy). The will was witnessed by William Hare, David Van Every 'sinor', and David Cummins.

(If indeed the John Heagy shown as an executor of John Purvis' will is really John Keagy, then he is probably the John Keagey who appears in a transcription of the West Flamborough Presbyterian Cemetery at Christie's Corners as provided by the Hamilton Branch of the OGS. The transcription reads:
Stone 111. John Keagey/died 24 October 1860/aged 90 y'rs 9 mo./ & 4 days.

We do not have a date of death for John Purvis, but, as shown below, he is described as having died in the year 1805 in Flamborough West.

The possibility that we might have been dealing with two persons by the name of John Purvis, or Purbus, was briefly entertained, but considering the marriage record for Jane 'Purbice' to Andrew Van Every and considering that John remembered his daughter Jane Van Every in his will, we are on safe ground to say that John Purvis/Purbus is one and the same person.

One matter of note we are left to wonder at: Was there some delay in placing the name of John Purvis/Purbus on the United Empire Loyalist list?

The problem presents itself as follows:

At least two of John's daughters were well into middle life by the time they petitioned for land as daughters of a United Empire Loyalist. Eleanor Hanes petitioned in April of 1811. Of the three, we do not know Eleanor's age, even approximately. It may be that, since she is first mentioned in his will and that she was left his township lot, she was the oldest. It's also possible that she and her husband had been living with her father and were taking care of him in his old age.

Jane Purvis Van Every petitioned for her grant in January of 1816; Elizabeth Purvis Lawrason petitioned also in January of 1816. Jane and Elizabeth were born in about 1767 and 1770 respectively. A petitioner for land had to be but 21, the age of majority, though a woman need not be that old were she married.

(Both Eleanor and Elizabeth appointed Titus Geer Simons as their agent to deal with the surveyor general's office in obtaining their lands. Titus' sister, Amelia, was married to John Purves Lawrason, Elizabeth's son.)

It now appears that John received his grant of land in 1794 essentially as a settler. Certainly settlers at the time did receive such grants. No mention was made of his status in volume 50 as mentioned above.

As it fell out, there was indeed a delay in the recording of John's Loyalist status, for Andrew Van Every, the husband of Jane Purvis, in 1807 petitioned on her behalf and that of her sisters to have their father's name inserted on the Role of United Empire Loyalists. It read thus:

To His Excellency Francis Gore, etc.,
The Petition of Andrew Van Every of Flamboro West, yeoman, in behalf of his wife Jane Van Every & her sisters Nelly Hanes and Elizabeth Lawrason.
That the said Jane Van Every & Nelly Hanes and Elizabeth Lawrason are daughters of the late John Purvis of Flamborough West, deceased, who was a native of Scotland, and had settled in the late Province of New York previous to the American War, during which he took an active part in support of His Majresty's Government, and joined His Majesty's forces - that having received leave of absence or obtained a furlough to settle some private business he was taken prisoner and confined in Albany gaol for a considerable time, as is well known to Alexander & William Maracle, both of Flamborough West. That the said John Purvis came into this province in the year 1788 and died in 1805 without having been entered on the Role of UE Loyalists owing to neglect. etc.

Signed by Andrew Van Every at York on 5 Feb., 1807.

David Van Every Sr. made an oath before J.P. Richard Hatt in Ancaster essentially confirming the above, though the handwriting is difficult to read.

The cover of this petition confirms that John Purbus was entered on the UE list and that this was recorded in land Book G, page 254.

Land Book G appears on microfilm C-102. Page 254 briefly quotes the above petition and confirms the notation on the cover that the name of John Purbus be entered on the UE list.

As mentioned, Nelly Hanes petitioned for land as the daughter of a Loyalist (DUE) in 1811 and her sisters Jane and Elizabeth in 1816. For women well past the age of majority, such a delay wasn't typical and it may be that there were still some procedural problems. 

Children of John Purvis

Last Edited8 Aug 2018