Purdy, Tennessee

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The Hurst mansion dates back to the Civil War era. It is one of the oldest dwellings in the community. In 2007, the building is abandoned.

Purdy, Tennessee is a rural unincorporated community 3.5 mi (5.6 km) northeast of Selmer in McNairy County, Tennessee. Until 1890, Purdy was the county seat of McNairy County.[1]

Failed development in the 1850s kept the community rural thereafter, without industries, major business ventures or tourism. During the Civil War the town was a crossroads, but during the war damage was done to the town which led to its decline.


In 1850, according to Census records, the population of Purdy was 260. The population was residing in 43 dwellings in the district.[2]



Purdy is located at 35.22670 North, 88.53060 West, 3.5 mi (5.6 km) northeast of Selmer in McNairy County.[3]

The elevation above sea level is 570 ft (173.7 m).[3]


Graves on the Purdy cemetery date back to the early 1800s and the Civil War era (2007).

Purdy was the county seat of McNairy County until 1890.[1]

Failed railroad development 1850s[edit]

In the 1850s, citizens of Purdy refused to support a railroad line through their community, while residents of Selmer, supported a railroad through their town. The railroad brought business and wealth to Selmer and the rural community of Purdy remained so.

County seat changed 1890[edit]

In 1890, due to the increasing economic development of Selmer following the railroad, the county seat was moved from Purdy to Selmer in a decision of Selmer voters. Since 1890, Selmer has been the county seat of McNairy County, Tennessee.[4]


Col. Fielding Hurst, an officer in the Civil War, was murdered by one of his enemies in his mansion in 1871, according to local folklore. This is false. Fielding Hurst sold his home in Purdy to pay debts and lived in Mount Gilead, Tennessee, where he died in 1882.[5] He is said to have been responsible for the death of some residents of Purdy. According to folklore, the cemetery and the mansion are haunted by the souls who lost their lives.[6] Graves in the Purdy cemetery date back to the early 19th century and the Civil War era. The Hurst Mansion is currently owned and operated by Darren and Roxie Holt and Ricky and Rhonda Miller, both of Purdy. A haunted house attraction is centered around the mansion annually at www.purdyhauntedmansion.com.


Purdy's newspaper is the Independent Appeal, which serves all of McNairy County. It was founded in 1902. It is located at 111 N. 2nd St. in Selmer.


The community's main source of income is agriculture (especially cotton).


After the abolition of slavery, sharecropping was the primary means of income for low income families in the area. Mostly for the cultivation of cotton, land would be used by sharecroppers in return for a share of the crop to the landowner.


Modern machines such as the cotton picker have made manual cultivation obsolete over time as they took over work from laborers.

In 2007, Purdy was a rural unincorporated community with no industries, major business ventures or tourism.

Notable natives[edit]


  1. ^ a b Purdy McNairy Co. TN
  2. ^ http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/tn/mcnairy/census/1850/1850-pudey.txt rootsweb.com, Census, Purdy, 1850
  3. ^ a b http://wayhoo.com/index.php?a=wlist&sr=20&state=TN&map=Purdy WayHoo.com Geographic coordinates
  4. ^ http://www.genealogyinc.com/tennessee/mcnairy-county/ GenealogyInc.com
  5. ^ http://www.fieldinghurst.com/trueorfalse.htm http://www.fieldinghurst.com
  6. ^ http://www.hurstnation.com hurstnation.com - Early and modern folklore of Purdy, Tennessee

Coordinates: 35°13′36″N 88°31′50″W / 35.22667°N 88.53056°W / 35.22667; -88.53056