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J.W. Purdum was born in Montgomery County, MD, April 15, 1815, and moved with his parents in the fall of 1817 to Ohio. He was reared in Ross County and learned the carpenter and joiner's trade in Chillicothe, and came to Portsmouth June 11, 1835. He was married Oct. 8, 1838 to Eliza Ratcliff, a native of England. She died March 20, 1854, leaving three children: Harriet Ellen, John Walter and Anna Eliza. April 10, 1855, Mr. Purdum married Sarah Pursell, a native of England, and a sister of James Pursell, a merchant of Portsmouth. They have one son, J.P. Purdum, the present City Solicitor. Mr. and Mrs. Purdum are members of the Second Presbyterian Church, Portsmouth.