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Norman Higgins Purple

Previous Illinois Supreme Court Justice

Photo Not AvailableNorman Higgins Purple was born on March 29, 1803, in Otsego County, New York. Purple studied law in Wayne and Tioga counties, Pennsylvania. Admitted to the bar in 1830, he moved to Peoria, Illinois, to practice law in 1837. From 1840 to 1842, Purple served as state’s attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit consisting then of Peoria, Kendall, Kane, DeKalb, Ogle, Bureau, Stark, Marshall, Putnam, and LaSalle counties. In 1844, he was a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket. The following year, Governor Thomas Ford appointed Purple as a justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. While on the Illinois Supreme Court, he presided over the Fifth Judicial Circuit in the western part of the state and lived in Quincy. After the adoption of the 1848 state constitution, he resigned from the bench and returned to Peoria to practice law. Purple published several works on the law including Real Estate Statutes of Illinois in 1849. In 1856, he produced A Compilation of the Statutes of the State of Illinois, which became known as the “Purple Statutes.” He died on August 9, 1863, in Chicago, Illinois.