Robert E. Purdum, who is engaged in general farming on section 33, Pella township, has a tract of land of one hundred and seventy acres, whose fertility is indicated in the large crops which he annually garners. He was born in McLean county, Illinois, June 16, 1857, his parents being John and Nancy (Hamilton) Purdum, who were natives of Brown county, Ohio, in which state they remained until 1856, coming in that year to Illinois. They settled in McLean county, where their remaining days were passed. Unto them were born seven children, of whom four are still living: Samarimus, the wife of Guy Farr, now living in Lamar, Missouri; Whalen, whose home is in Colton, California; Elizabeth, the wife of Colonel Wilson, a resident of Dallas county, Iowa; and Robert E. The father was a farmer by occupation, following that pursuit throughout his entire life in order to provide for his family.
Mr. Purdum remained at home with his parents up to the time of his marriage. He then purchased eighty acres of land and began farming on his own account. He had acquired his education in the public schools and when not busy with his text-books had aided in the work of plowing, planting and harvesting. He continued upon his original farm for thirteen years, when he sold that property and purchased his present place of residence of one hundred and seventy acres on section 33, Pella township. It has since been his home and the attractive appearance of the place indicates his careful supervision and practical methods. There have been no exciting chapters in his life record but year after year he has worked on diligently- and persistently and has thus acquired a comfortable competence.
In 1887 Mr. Purdum was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Stevens, who was born in Livingston county, Illinois, a daughter of Henry and Elnora (Sickler) Stevens, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. Their family numbering eight children. Both the father and mother are now deceased.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Purdum have been born eight children: John L., Elnora Belle, Ida May, Ruby Margaretta, Edgar R., Clarence LeRoy, Pearl Odessa and Blanche R. The four eldest children are now attending the high school at Piper City, Mr. Purdum desiring that all shall have good educational advantages and thus be well equipped for the duties of life.
He supports the Methodist Episcopal church and is a member of the Odd Fellows lodge and also the Modern Woodmen camp of Piper City. His political views accord with the principles of the republican party and he has held several township offices, the duties of which he has discharged capably, for every trust reposed in him is faithfully performed, yet he does not seek nor desire public office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which, capably managed, have brought to him a fair measure of prosperity.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 464-467.

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