| ||Notes for Francis Marion Purifoy:|
In 1832 several families made their way from Craven county, North Carolina to Wilcox county, Alabama. Settling in the Snow Hill area, John Purifoy, his wife Nancy and their children claimed several thousand acres from the Cahaba land office in 1832. The family prospered and in 1840 his fifth son Francis Marion Purifoy chose a homesite. With the help of family and friends, Frank began to build a home for himself and his fiancee. He wed Nancy Thigpen in the spring of 1841, and the newly married couple moved in just before the birth of their son John in March of 1842.
Nancy gave birth to three more sons before her death in July 1846, when the youngest son was only a few months old. Frank married Penelope Moore soon thereafter, as he had four small boys to care for, and together they had four children. Frank died in 1858, at the age of 40 years. Penelope sold the house and 822 acres of land to Frank's youngest sister Patience Caroline and her husband Rev. John Allen Lee in October 1859. Penelope remarried and Frank and Nancy's children stayed with the Lees.
John Purifoy, the first child born in the house, reminisced in a letter to his cousin dated 1918, how he and one of the Lees' sons sneaked out of the house by climbing down one of the front columns to join the Confederacy. John served in many battles of the Civil War, and was in the company of men at Appomattox. He told in his letter of walking home from Virginia wading or swimming every stream, as all the bridges had been destroyed. He returned to Wilcox county to serve many years as the Probate Judge, and later as the Secretary of State of Alabama.
The Lees made their home here, raising a family of 11 children in this house. Rev. John Lee was a minister of the Primitive Baptist Church, now the Bethsaida Baptist Church in Furman.
The Rev. John Lee died, of complications of the measles in 1863. Patience and the children continued to live in the house until 1887.
After the death of John Lee, the house was sold to Julius Cox and his wife Lizzie Hall Cox in 1887. Patience moved with several of her sons to Little Rock, Arkansas, and is buried there. The house and 160 acres sold for $1500.
The Cox family lived here until 1913, at which time the house was sold to Jacob Barnes and his son Napoleon Barnes. The house and 160 acres sold for $3000 in December 1913. Jacob Barnes died in 1920, and Napoleon leased the house to the Boley family. The Boley family lived here many years, until the death of Mr. and Mrs. Boley in 1963.
The Powells, Graham and Eva, bought the house around 1963, and rented it to the Jones family for a short while. The Powells died in 1964, and their heirs sold the house and 160 acres for $5200 to Hugh Strickland. The house was in severe disrepair, and Mr. Strickland contemplated tearing it down, but in 1966 Mr. George Carlin expressed an interest in buying the house and 19 surrounding acres.
Mr. Carlin and his wife Ruth bought the house and 19 acres in 1966 for $3000. Mr. Carlin purchased an additional 20 adjacent acres in 1972. Mr. Carlin was an extraordinary man. He was a chemist in the Midwest, and at age 65, he went to law school, successfully passing the Illinois Bar. His wife Ruth's family was originally from Furman, and they were happy to retire to this area. The Carlins had extensive repairs made to the house from 1966 - 1978. They moved here from Chicago in the 1970s.
The Carlins lived here about 10 years, until their death. Their daughter sold the house to a Murnice Fletcher, an elderly lady, and fortunately we purchased the place in July 1995.
The house is built in the simple Federal style, with four rooms upstairs and four downstairs. The Carlins added a sunporch across the back, and a detached garage. There is a cistern, as found at many old homes, to catch the rainwater for storage. The old spring is down the hill, about 500 yards away. There were many homes of this style in the area, but over the years, that number has been reduced.
After much hard work and repair, this house has become our home.