Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PURVIS, Robert, scholar, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 4 August, 1810. His father, William Purvis, was a native of Northumberland, England, and his mother was a free-born negro woman of Charleston. Robert was brought to the north by his parents in 1819. His father, though residing in a slave state, was never a slave-holder, but was an Abolitionist in principle. Before Robert attained the age of manhood he formed the acquaintance of Benjamin Lundy, and in conjunction with him was an early laborer in the anti-slavery cause. Mr. Purvis was a member of the Philadelphia convention of 1833 which formed the American antislavery society, was its vice-president for many years, and signed its declaration of sentiments. He was also an active member of the Pennsylvania society, and its president for many years. His house was a well-known station on the "Underground railroad," and his horses, carriages, and his personal attendance were always at the service of fugitive slaves. His son, -CHARLES BURLEIGH, is surgeon-in-chief of the Freedmen's hospital at Washington, D. C., and a professor in the medical department of Howard university.
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