"P" is for Purvis, Melvin Horace, Jr. (1903-1960)

May 27, 2019

Credit SC Public Radio

"P" is for Purvis, Melvin Horace, Jr. (1903-1960). Federal agent. Purvis, a Timmonsville native, gained national fame during the 1930s as the nation’s “ace G-man,” credited with gunning down the notorious outlaws John Dillinger and Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd—.  After graduating from USC law school he joined the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation (later the FBI). In 1932, as senior agent in the bureau’s Chicago office, his team took down Dillinger. Three months later, Purvis led the team of federal agents that tracked down and killed Floyd. Reporters took an instant liking to the modest, mild-mannered South Carolinian and he quickly became a national celebrity. J. Edgar Hoover, the agency’s director was jealous of Purvis’s acclaim and basically demoted him. Melvin Horace Purvis, Jr., resigned from the FBI and returned to Florence County.