Alabama Constitutional Officers

John Purifoy

photo of Alabama Secretary of State John Purifly


State Auditor: 1892-1896

State Treasurer: 1911-1915
Secretary of State: 1915-1919


John Purifoy, Montgomery, was born March 21, 1842, near Minter, Dallas County, and was the son of Francis Marion and Lucinda (Thigpen) Purifoy, of Dallas and Wilcox Counties, and the grandson of John and Nancy (Williams) Purifoy, and of John and Susanna (Scott) Thigpen. The Purifoys and Thigpens were early settlers in Virginia and S.C., whence they came to Ga., and other Southern states.


Mr. Purifoy was educated in the common schools of Wilcox County, and at the Tennessee University, Knoxville, which institution he left in April, 1861, to enter the Confederate Army. He enlisted in the Jeff Davis Artillery, and served through all the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia.


After the war he taught school for several years; engaged in farming; and in 1880 he was elected probate judge of Wilcox County, serving until 1886. In 1890 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from Wilcox County; and in June, 1892, he was appointed by Gov. Thomas G. Jones to fill the unexpired term of Cyrus D. Hogue as State Auditor, and in November of that year was elected for a full term and re-elected in 1894.


For a few months in 1897 he served as State Deputy Tax Commissioner; and examiner of accounts 1897-1900. From 1900 to 1907 he acted as a special expert accountant, and in the latter year was again named examiner of accounts by Gov. B. B. Comer. In 1910 he was elected State Treasurer; and Nov. 3, 1914, he was elected Secretary of State, in opposition to Frank Feltus, Republican, T. T. Nock, Progressive, and R. E. L. Connolly, Socialist. On Dec. 7, 1865, he was married to Elizabeth S., daughter of Wm. P. and Sarah (Watts) Routon, of Greenville, Butler County.


John Purifoy died on July 17, 1927.


Alabama Department of Archives and History, Official and Statistical Register, 1915, 19.
Butler County Marriage Book dated 1865-68, page 39
ADAH Surname Clippings File.