James Purtell (1847-?)
Native of Binghamton Co., N.Y. and Long Time Resident of Bay City, MI
1905 Biography. (Added Sep. 2008)
History of Bay County, Michigan and Representative Citizens by Augustus H. Gansser (1905)
The care of the poor is at the present time conducted on a very different basis than in former years. The public is beginning to realize that human nature is not entirely responsible for the deficiencies in its faculties that make the art of acquiring a competency east or even possible; that many and varied are the aspects of the sociological question, including heredity, physical defects, etc., that make it a public as well as a Christian duty to care tenderly for the unfortunate ones. The county poor farm of Bay County is a credit to the community and commonwealth, and its presiding genius – Mr. Purtell, takes great pride in the way in which it is conducted.
Our subject was born in Binghamton County, N. Y., and coming here with his parents when a small child located in St. Clair County, where he resided until mature years. He located in Bay County, in 1863, and has since made it his home. In 1870 our subject was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Kempter, a native of Germany, who came to Michigan with her parents when a child. They have a family of four children, whose names are Annie, Fred, Jenny and Kittie M.
In 1871 Mr. Purtell was appointed on the police force by the Town Council of Bay City – an office which he faithfully filled for six years. At the expiration of that time he resigned to accept his present position, the duties of which he has so satisfactorily discharged that has never been a complaint. Since filling his present office he had been appointed to the position of Deputy Sheriff, upon which he has served for three years.
Our subject's parents were John and Mary (Madrigan) Purtell; the former was born in County Limerick, Ireland, and the mother probably in New York, although she was of Scotch ancestry. Socially, Mr. Purtell is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, of the Ancient Order of United Workman and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekab, and is also a member of Bay City Legion, No. 11, S.K.A.O.U.W. With his wife, he is a member of the Episcopal Church, and they are rearing their children in the same belief.