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Incorporated in 1888, Purvis, Mississippi is the county seat of Lamar County. The city was named for Thomas Melville Purves, who obtained a land grant in 1870 for a piece of land that was then part of Marion County. He homesteaded 160 acres in 1871, building a log cabin, where he raised a family. In 1884, the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad was granted a right of way, and a railroad depot was built, and given a marker that read “Purvis.” Purves eventually changed the spelling of his name to match the name of the town that grew up around the depot. Lamar County was created set apart from Marion County in 1904, and Purvis was designated the county seat. The economy of Purvis was based on its sawmills, while many of its early settlers were subsistence farmers. Except for the railroad, the community was isolated. The best route through that part of Mississippi and the trading post most used was the Pass Christian trading post, about ninety miles south of Purvis. Today, Interstate Highway 59 passes through eastern Purvis, while US Highway 11 runs through the center of town. Nearby communities include Batson, Baxterville, Brooklyn, Carnes, Dixie, Four Points, Lumberton, McCallum, Oak Grove, Okahola, Oloh, Pinebur, Pine Grove, Pistol Ridge, Ralston, Rock Hill, Seneca, Talowah, Wallis, and Young. Hattiesburg, Mississippi is about sixteen miles north-northeast, while Biloxi is about seventy-six miles south-southeast of Purvis.



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