Biography of Charles E. Purdy
Buchanan County, IA Biographies





Charles Edward Purdy, formerly well known in banking circles, is now devoting his attention to the supervision of his individual interests and investments. He stands today among the prosperous citizens of Independence, a position which has been most worthily won, his record at all times measuring up to the highest standards of manhood and of business integrity. He was born at Galena, Illinois, May 20, 1855, a son of Eliphalet and Catherine (Jaquish) Purdy, both of whom were natives of the state of New York, born in 1822 and in October, 1827, respectively.

While in Galena Eliphalet Purdy engaged in the hotel business and in June, 1856, he removed from Illinois to Iowa, becoming proprietor of the Montour House at Independence, which he conducted successfully for eighteen years, or until 1874, when the hotel, which stood at the corner now occupied by the Commercial Bank, was destroyed by fire. Mr. Purdy thereafter lived practically retired until his death, although he was vice president of the Commercial Bank, was one of the directors of the Peoples Bank and of the First National Bank and was active in founding the Peoples National Bank. He was likewise one of the organizers of the Commercial State Bank and owned the building now occupied by that corporation. As his financial resources increased he made extensive and judicious investments in property and was the owner of a number of valuable farms at the time of his death, which occurred in January, 1893. For twenty years he was a member of the school board and the cause of education ever found in him a stalwart champion. He cooperated in many other movements of direct benefit to the community and as the years went on he became more and more widely recognized as a citizen of sterling worth. His widow survives and makes her home in Independence. There were but two children in the family and the younger son passed away in Galena.

Charles E. Purdy, whose name introduces this review, was only about a year old when the family came to Independence and in the public schools of this city pursued his early education, while later he spent a number of years in Racine College of Wisconsin When seventeen years of age he entered the employ of a Mr. Curtis, a liveryman, and at the age of nineteen secured a position in the Peoples National Bank, acting first as messenger, while later ho became bookkeeper, filling that position for eleven years. On the expiration of that period he turned his attention to the grocery business, which he conducted in connection with Mr. Will Scott. Afterward, however, he bought out the interest of his partner and continued the business alone for six years. He was then offered the cashiership in the Commercial State Bank and, accepting, remained with that institution until February, 1912, when he resigned to devote his entire attention to his individual interests, which are extensive and important. He is a director of the Corn Belt Telephone Company, with headquarters at Waterloo, Iowa, an organization capitalized for five hundred thousand dollars, is a director of the Commercial State Bank, a stockholder in the Quasqueton Savings Bank and the First National Bank, is one of the largest stockholders in the Peoples National Bank, of which his father was one of the original organizers and stockholders, and is receiver for the Keifer Savings Bank at Hazleton.

Mr. Purdy has been administrator for several estates and is the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of valuable land in this county, operated as a general stock farm. He also owns two business blocks on Main street and is the owner of a number of houses in Independence, which he rents His investments have been judiciously made and his success is the merited reward of capable management, earnest effort, keen discernment and honorable dealing. Public service, too, makes demand upon his time and energies, for he is the present efficient and popular mayor of Independence, to which office he was elected in 1913. He had previously served as city treasurer for three terms and in 1913 was a candidate for the state legislature, but was defeated by fifty votes. He is proving a capable and progressive chief executive of his city and has the indorsement of all fairminded citizens. His political allegiance has always been given to the republican party.

On the 12th of May, 1885, Mr. Purdy was united in marriage to Miss Maud Durham, who was born in this city, a daughter of Charles M. and Helen (Cameron) Durham, both of whom were natives of New York. The father was appointed station agent at the time the Illinois Central Railroad was built through Independence and continued in that position throughout his remaining days. He, too, was mayor of the city, having been elected in 1881, 1882, 1883 and 1884. He came to Iowa prior to the Civil war and remained a valued resident of Buchanan county until called to his final rest. Mr. and Mrs. Purdy have become parents of two children, Arda and Catherine, both at home.

In Masonry Mr. Purdy has attained high rank, having taken the degrees of the lodge, chapter, commandery and Mystic Shrine. He belongs to the Golf and Country Clubs and of the latter is the president. He is also a member of the Episcopal church and his life has ever been in harmony with its teachings. High and honorable principles have ever characterized his career and he is honored and respected by all. No man occupies a more enviable position in business or financial circles - not alone by reason of the success which he has achieved but also owing to the straightforward business policy which he has ever followed.

From:
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1914


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