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Home: Surnames: Purser Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: PURSER, Patience
Posted by: Deborah Plunk Rhea Date: August 01, 1998 at 08:56:33
In Reply to: PURSER, Patience by Robin Clark of 647

My grandmother is a "Pusser" which is a variation of the Purser family.
The Purser and Pusser families in America can be traced back to the Purscher Family of 15th century Germany. Purscher is an old German family name which originated in the province of Prussia. Decendants of this family emigrated to various places in Northern Europe and North America. As a result of this emigration and splitting-up of the family, the original Purscher name underwent various changes, such as Purser and Pusser. It is very likely that our family participated in the migration from Germany through Northern Europe and then on to America. It is also probable that many of the Pussers/Pursers first settled in this country in the state of Virginia and then moved on to North Carolina. From there, many migrated further south and west.

At least four Pusser siblings - John, Solomon, Hugh, and Pryor Green - were living in Union County, NC in the first half of the 19th century. John, his wife, and first child and Solomon, along with some Mullis families, migrated to Pulaski County, GA in late 1849 or early 1850. Traveling by oxcart, the journey took 18 days and nights. The families established homesteads east of Cochran, in the area that is now Bleckley County, GA. Pryor Green Pusser probably went to GA at the same time as his older brothers, although he is not listed with them in the 1850 Pulaski County census records. Hugh Pusser remained in NC and fathered 10 children prior to his death during the War Between the States.

The spelling of many of the GA branch of the family's surname evolved from Pusser to Purser in the early 1900's. This change has been attributed to Dora Purser, 11th child of Solomon David Purser and a granddaughter of Pryor Green Pusser. The story is that when Dora went off to school, she decided that she didn't care for the "Pusser" pronounciation, so she started using the "Purser" variation. Evidently, this change caught on very quickly with the rest of the family. Most of the older tombstones at the Salem Baptist Church Cemetary in Bleckley County, where many of Pryor Green's descendants are buried, are inscribed as Purser. It is also interesting to note that Pryor Green's 1st wife was known as Mrs. Pusser and his 2nd was referred to as Mrs. Purser. Their tombstones are marked accordingly. The name change did not catch on as quickly with John Pusser's descendants. An examination of the tombstones at the Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery and Antioch Cemetery (both in Bleckley County), where most of John's descendants are buried, reveals many grave markers with the original Pusser spelling. Eventually however, all of the Middle Georgia descendants became known a Pursers. The antiquated spelling continued to surface occasionally, however, and written references to it can be found as late as 1960. When John's eldest son Richard, moved to Tennessee, he kept the traditional spelling of the family name.

This is where my lineage comes into play:
John Pusser b.May 10, 1818 d. March 28, 1887
Richard Steelus Pusser b.Feb. 14, 1853 d.Oct. 1940
James Hugh (Pappy) Pusser b. May 5, 1878 d.Aug 30, 1968 (self-inflicted gun shot wound)
Naomi Florence Pusser (Plunk) b. July 22, 1904 still living in Parsons, TN
Joe Neal Plunk b. Sept. 28, 1927 still living in Memphis, TN
And Myself - Deborah Plunk Rhea b. Aug. 22, 1952 and still living in Olive Branch, MS.

Most of this info was received from Billy R. White who has been and is still working on a "family tree" for the Purser/Pusser family.

It is also interesting to note that "Buford Pusser" the legendary sheriff of McNairy County, TN, the one that the "Walking Tall" movies were about was the grandson of James Hugh (Pappy) Pusser.


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