M. D. of Bristol, was born in Bridgeton (formerly Nockamixon) township, Bucks county,
March 23, 1847, and is a son of Brice M. and Martha Merrick (POORE) PURSELL.
family of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are descendants of the noble family of PURCELL
in Ireland, whose founder, Sir Hugh PURCELL, was a grandson of Sir Hugh PURCELL
who went from Normandy to England with William the Conqueror, and traced his descent
through many generations from Charlemagne of France.
Sir Hugh PURCELL is said to have been the first of the conquering
Normans to land on British soil at Pevensey Bay, and the first to effect a deed of arms by
storming the ruins of a Roman castle where a part of King Harold's soldiers lay
entrenched. The Irish PURCELLS were
adherents of the House of Stuart, and were swept away by the rebellion of 1641, though
several distinct branches of them later recovered their lands and titles at the
restoration and were again badly broken on the accession of William of Orange.
John Purslone PURSLEY
or PURSSELL, as his name is variously spelled, came to America from Dublin,
Ireland, in the ship "Phoenix," arriving in the river Delaware in August, 1677,
and settled in Bucks county. He was appointed
constable for the "further side of Neshaminah" 7 mo. 9, 1685, and on the 8th of 7 mo. 1689, was again appointed constable for the "upper parts of the settlement,
between Neshaminah and Poquessing." In
the same year he appears as a witness in the Bucks county courts, and on being attested
gives his age as "about sixty years." He
was again appointed constable in 1690, for "upper parts of Neshaminah." He married in 1684, Elizabeth, widow of Thomas WALMSLEY,
who with her husband and six children migrated from Yorkshire in 1682 and settled in
Byberry, Philadelphia county, bringing a certificate from Settle Monthly Meeting of
Friends in Yorkshire. At about the same date
of the arrival of John PURSLONE in Bucks county, Thomas PURCIL appears at
Flatlands, Long Island. He acts as an
appraiser in that town in 1679, and was one of the patentees of Newton, Long Island, in
1686. He or a son of his with the same name
removed to the Raritan, in Somerset county, New Jersey, prior to 1703, and had children
baptized at the Raritan Dutch Reformed church. The
descendants of Thomas PURSELL became numerous in Somerset, Middlesex and Essex
counties, New Jersey, prior to 1760. In 1710
he purchased a large tract of land in Somerset county, though then living in Middlesex,
and in 1719 conveyed one half of it to his son Daniel, who in 1728 conveyed a part of it
to Gysbert KROM, of Amwell township, Hunterdon county. A Daniel PURCELL settled later in
Alexandria township, Hunterdon county and in 1783 bought a tract of land in Tinicum, Bucks
county, Pennsylvania, and erected a grist mill which he operated for two years. He then returned to Kingwood, New Jersey, where he
died in 1804, leaving sons, Peter, Benjamin and Thomas, and daughters, Ruth MIDDLESWARTS,
Sarah TINSMAN and Hannah JONES.
On September 28,
1728, "Denes PURCELL of Pennsylvania" married Ruth COOPER,
daughter of Henry and Mary (BUCKMAN) COOPER, of Newtown, Bucks county, and settled
in Bethlehem township, Hunterdon county, New Jersey.
Whether he was a son of John and Elizabeth (WALMSLEY) PURSSELL, of
Bucks county, or of Thomas, of New Jersey, is problematical, but certain it is that Dennis
and Ruth COOPER were the parents of John PURSELL, "of
Pennsylvania," who married in 1761 Ann Coone (COOMB), of Tinicum township,
Bucks county, and settled in Nockamixon township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, where he
purchased land in 1773. Another John PURSELL,
also of Pennsylvania, married in 1765 Mary LOGAN, and settled in Falls township,
Bucks county, where he died in 1778.
of Nockamixon, died in that township in December, 1804, and his will was probated February
5, 1805. It is probable that his father,
Dennis PURSELL, settled in Nockamixon while John was a young man, as a Denes PURSLE
was sergeant of the Nockamixon company of Associators in 1775, and, though John had a son
Dennis, it is hardly probable that he could have been of sufficient age to have held a
commission at that date. The children of John
and Ann (COOMB) PURSELL were: 1. John, Jr., who married Mercy ILIFF, and
died in 1816, leaving eleven children. 2.
Thomas, who married Catherine CRAUSE, and died in 1841, leaving six sons, Dennis,
William, John, Thomas, Jacob and Frederick, and one daughter, Mary, who married Jacob FULMER. 3. Brice, mentioned hereinafter. 4. Dennis, who went west and left no descendants
in Bucks county. 5. Ruth, who became the wife
of Daniel STRAWN, born 1752, son of Jacob and Christiana (PURSELL) STRAWN,
of Haycock, the former of whom was a half-brother of Ruth (COOPER) PURSELL, by the
second marriage of Mary (BUCKMAN) COOPER with Launcelot STRAWN. 6. Elizabeth, who became the wife of Benjamin HOLDEN. 7. Mary. 8.
Ann. 9, Hannah, who became the wife of John WILLIAMS,
a son of Benjamin and Mercy STEVENSON WILLIAMS.
10. Margaret. 11. Jane, who became the wife of Jacob HAUSEWORTH. Mary, Ann and Hannah, aforementioned, were
triplets; all grew to womanhood, married and all died at the birth of their first child. Either Mary or Ann married a Henry, and left a
third son of John and Ann (COOMB) PURSELL, was born in Nockamixon, August 15, 1776,
and died there August 12, 1830. He lived on
a portion of the homestead which had been devised to the three eldest sons, John, Thomas
and Brice, and was partitioned between them in 1806.
He later purchased considerable other land adjoining, becoming a large
landholder and a man of prominence in that community.
He was a justice of the peace for twenty-one years and performed a large
amount of public business. He married
Catherine MOORE, who was born May 25, 1784, and died August 12, 1848, and they were
the parents of nine children: 1. Ann, who became the wife of John FISHER. 2. Thomas, who married Eliza MARSHALL. 3. John, who married Sarah WILLIAMS. 4. Evaline, who became the wife of Abram ARNDT. 5. Brice Moore, mentioned hereinafter. 6. Hugh, who married Jane B. ELTONHEAD. 7. Daniel, who married three times; his
first wife was Susanna UNANGST; his second wife was Margaret Rebecca EILENBERGER;
and his third wife was Rachel QUINN. 8.
Hannah, who became the wife of Cyrenius SLACK, of Hunterdon county, New Jersey. 9, Mary, who died at the age of six years.
Brice Moore PURSELL,
father of Dr. Howard PURSELL, was born in Nockamixon, August 31, 1811, and died
there June 18, 1885. He was a farmer and
lived on the old family homestead. He
married, July 19, 1837, Martha Merrick POORE, born February 18, 1817, in Upper
Makefield township, Bucks county, died in Bristol, Pennsylvania, May 2, 1902. She was a daughter of Daniel and Maria (MERRICK)
POORE; the former a son of John POORE, was born October 12, 1793, and died
April 12, 1888, and the latter was born April 23, 1798 and died October 1, 1879. They were married May 2, 1815. The MERRICKS are descendants of John MERRICK,
a native of Herefordshire, England, who settled in Lower Dublin, Philadelphia county,
prior to 1700. His son John MERRICK
was an early settler in Makefield, where he has left numerous descendants. Brice Moore and Martha M. (POORE) PURSELL
were the parents of four sons: 1. Augustus, born May 3, 1839, married November 12, 1868,
Evalina EILENBERGER, daughter of David and Susan (ARNDT) EILENBERGER, who
bore him one child, Jessie Martha PURSELL; Evalina's death occurred at his home in
Muncy, Pennsylvania, July 27, 1904. 2.
Horatio N., born December 4, 1841, died August 31, 1863, after his return from the civil
war; he was unmarried. 3. Howard, born March
23, 1847, mentioned hereinafter. 4. Stacy,
born November 20, 1849, married, April 22, 1885, Josephine K. WILLIAMS, daughter of
Barzilla and Sarah (KING) WILLIAMS, no issue.
third son of Brice and Martha M. (POORE) PURSELL, was born and reared in Nockamixon
(now Bridgeton) township. He graduated from
the medical department of the New York University, March 1, 1867, and practiced medicine
at Ceres, New York, until 1869. In the latter
year he removed to Bristol, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, where he has conducted a drug
store and practiced medicine ever since. He
is a member of the Bucks County Medical Society, the Medical Society of Pennsylvania, and
the American Medical Association. He is
president of the board of health of Bristol, which position he has held since 1893. He is a member of the board of United States
examining surgeons for Bucks county. In
politics he is a Republican. He is a past
master of Bristol Lodge, No. 25, Free and Accepted Masons.
PURSELL has been twice married, first on February 22, 1869, to Vestilla SMITH,
daughter of James and Achsah (LEAR) SMITH. His
second marriage occurred at Milford, New Jersey, June 4, 1879, to Nellie Carpenter BARTOLETTE,
daughter of Dr. Charles R. and Ann M. (CARPENTER) BARTOLETTE. His children are as follows: James Everett, born June 12, 1870; Ethel
Bartolette, born May 12, 1882; Charles Howard, born September 30, 1885, died February 18,
1886; and Carrie Nesbit, born February 2, 1888.
Text taken from pages 150-152 of:
Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New
York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III
Transcribed JANUARY 2001 by GRACE T. BURTON of
PA as part of the Bucks Co., Early Family
Published January 2001 on the Bucks county, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/