Purvis is a city in Lamar County, Mississippi. It is part of the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,175 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lamar County. The Town of Purvis was incorporated on February 25, 1888 and was founded by and named after Thomas Melville Purves, originally of Marion County, Alabama. Purves, born March 8, 1820, was a second generation Scottish-American; his grandfather emigrated to Charleston, South Carolina in 1765.
Purves acquired a land grant in 1870 for a parcel of real estate which was located, at that time, in Marion County, Mississippi. In 1871, Purves moved from his home in Greene County and homesteaded the 160 acres (0.65 km2), along with his wife, Dorothy Abney, born May 14, 1826 in Hinds County, and their five surviving children, to the rural property. Dorothy, also known as Dollie or Dolly, was a doctor who tended the sick of the area and delivered babies. Purves built a two-room log cabin for his family with an open fireplace in one room used for cooking and heating. John, Thomas Purves' third surviving child, was the town's first Mayor.
In 1884, the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad gained right-of-way on Purves' property and a depot was erected, along with a marker, reading "Purvis".