Feb 21, 2014

The Childhood Home of Melvin Purvis

Welcome to another of Hibiscus House Spotlight Series:  Melvin Purvis Hometown Hero

 Purvis family home
214 Main Street
Timmonsville, S. C.

Built by Jesse Keith a large land owner in the pioneer days of Timmonsville.  It was built in the 1800s, this was the home of the Keiths and McSwains until after the death of John McSwain, Sr. 

Then it was home to the Purvis family (Melvin Horace Purvis Sr. & Janie Mims Purvis and their eight children) for over half a century.
Melvin Purvis Jr., famed FBI agent, sold the house to Leon Yarborough sometime in the early 1940s. It was to be remodeled and converted into an apartment building or a hotel.

Several of our Timmonsville natives have information about the home.  Mr. Roscoe Fountain is one of them and It is believed that the Purvis Home was torn down in the 1940s.  A large grocery, hardware and farm supply store were built in the location.

Stan Gaddy another Timmonsville native says, " My dad and his father built a house on little Pee Dee river in 1954 and the front door was a door off of the Purvis home in T'ville. I have it at home now and will be placing it in a special place for keepsakes."   The door is constructed with pegs/dowels and inserts.  He had it stripped back to the bare wood and still has a handle face plate on it.

The columns from the Purvis home were placed in two more Timmonsville homes according to one of the long time residents.

One of the home's doors is on a classmate of mine's home.  It is his back door.

 Recycling and keeping history alive.

Today I am just sharing this home picture.  Melvin Purvis has been a hometown hero to most of us from this small town.  I will share more later.  This is a very hard story to get because there are so many tall tales out there and most are found to be untruthful.  One day I will find out more but until then here is his childhood home which was in Timmonsville, South Carolina.

Melvin Purvis G Man

Link to video in which Melvin Purvis was shown TV Show To Tell The Truth
Another video that I found interesting and shed some light on the J Edgar Hoover/Melvin Purvis situation among other things; click: 
The Secrets of J Edgar Hoover


  1. What a wonderful review of that old place and the history behind it, Dolly. I am so glad that parts of it were repurposed and used in other houses in town. How great is that! Have a good weekend- xo Diana

    1. Hey Diana,
      I am too! There are so many stories about someone when they become famous, it makes for a hard story to do. Facts are hard to come by so many years later. The FBI files are blacked out the majority of them anyway. I do believe Hoover gave him a hard time. Hope your weekend is beautiful!

  2. Beautiful home and thank you for sharing all the history with us. I'm so gald it wa repurposed and kept so well until now days. I always wondered, though, if those old historical homes from the 1800 had a 'bathroom' of some sort, lol!
    Enjoy your weekend dear Dolly.

    1. Hi Fabby,
      It has been my experience that homes built that early did not have bathrooms built. They were added on or inserted in later years. My mother and father in law lived in a very historical home probably would have been over 200 years old by now and they added the bathroom later. It was a very nice large home. It too is now gone. It's always a pleasure to hear from you!
      Happy Weekend dear Fabby!

  3. What a great house! I don't think they had bathrooms either. My mom lived in her old family home for awhile when she was a child and said there were no bathrooms inside. In fact, water in the kitchen was added later.

    1. It was wasn't it? I wish that I could have seen it. You're right because in all of the old homes I went into built that early. Iif they had a hand pump close by that was a luxury. Usually it wasn't inside the house either.

  4. I recognized his name and loved To Tell the Truth...great show!...but didn't realize he was from Timmonsville. Generally, they didn't have bathrooms because indoor plumbing had yet to come to the area.I well remember using an outhouse and a pump at the well. It was a Very Big Deal when Grandmother got her indoor pump at the kitchen sink.

    1. Thank you. I loved that show too. He was raised there and later after the FBI he moved to our nearby city Florence until he died in 1960. Yep I remember using an outhouse at my grandparents. It's fun to have these memories isn't it? Things have changed so very much haven't they? Good to hear from you.