Category Archives: General Histories

1819 Petition to Establish Perry County

 1819 Petition for new county now known as Perry
Contributed by:  Ruth Kent, 09 July 2009
Copyright:  Ruth Kent 2009

The following petition can be found on microfilm at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 203 Seventh Ave., North, Nashville, TN  37243-0312.Transcriber’s Notes:

  • Original Material in Poor Condition.  Best Copy Available;
  • Spelling is transcribed as was written in the original record;
  • This is an interesting piece. From my analysis, the petition includes some who may not be of legal age and there are a few duplicate names;
  • the spelling of names was quite creative. some names were duplicated but there may have been some junior/senior situations.  This is copied to the best of my ability, retaining spelling and pages. You will note that there seems to be several duplications of names. In other words, the same names are on more than one page.
  • The numbers after each name are as they were included on the original copies I received from the Tennessee Archives.
  • There may be a problem using the sitewide search engine as very creative spellings of the names was used.   It would be useful to read through the list of names, as you might find your ancestor’s name as an alternate spelling.

36 – 1819 (page 1)

To the Honourable The General Assembly of the State of Tennessee Greeting your humble petioners prayeth that there may be a New county Laid out Beginning at the North East corner of Wain County thence due north — Thence west –Thence South –Thence East To the begining and that the following cittizens We do Recommend to your honorable Body as propper persons qualified to act as Justices of the peace  We hope your Honourable body will give them the appointments as such your petioners humbly pray That the corts and quarter sisons will be apointed pro tem To be held at Hous of Major John Davidson Read More

Perry County History

Contributed by:  Renea Burkholder
Copyright:  Renea Burkholder.

Much of this information was obtained from Goodspeed’s History of Tennessee and also Tennessee State Gazetteer and Business Directory (1860-1861) by John L. Mitchell. The wording is mine and is protected by copyright . Please feel free to use any information for your own research. However, use of my information for commercial projects is expressly forbidden.

Early History:

Perry County was created by an act of the General Assembly of the state of Tennessee which was passed in November, 1819. This act provided for a new county to be established north of Wayne County, west of Hickman County, and south of Humphreys County. Perry County was named in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry (1785 – 1819 ), a War of 1812 naval officer instrumental in forcing the surrender of the British fleet. This original territory included almost all of what became Decatur County in addition to what is still Perry County today.

The Buffalo River flowing from the south end of the county to the north, divides the county in such a way as to leave 1/3 of the area to the east of this river and 2/3’s to the west. A number of creeks flow from the western side of the Buffalo River towards the Tennessee River. Beginning at the north these creeks are: Crooked, Roan, Tom, Deer, Lick, Spring, Cypress, Marsh, Cedar, Bee, and White Oak. On the east side of the Buffalo River the creeks beginning from the north are: Lost, Russell, Lagoon, Cane, Brush, Coon, Short, Hurricane, Rockhouse, and Sinking. Read More

Perry County Timeline

Perry County History

  • 14 Nov 1819 – Perry County was created by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly on November 14, 1819 from  Hickman and Humphrey Counties.  Perry County was named for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a naval officer and hero of the War of 1812. The first quarterly sessions and circuit courts were held at the home of James Yates on Toms Creek
  • 1821 – the county seat was established at Perryville, on the west bank of the Tennessee River, where it remained until 1846
  • 1846 – the county was divided.  The portion west of the Tennessee River became Decatur County.  The portion east of the Tennessee River remained Perry County;
  • 1846 – the new Perry County seat was located at Harrisburg
  • 1848 – the Perry County seat was moved to Linden
  • 1863 – Courthouse fire
  • 1928 – the Perry County courthouse, a colonial revival design by Nashville architect C.K. Colley was completed.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • 1928 – Courthouse fire

If you have a transcription of a record source about the history of Perry County that you would like to share (where the person was born from 1930 or before), please contact Jerry L Butler, your Perry County TNGenWeb coordinator.  Please remember that due to copyright laws, we are not permitted to post anything with a publish date later than 1923.

The History of My Home

by Rachel Szuliman

John Thomas house

John Thomas House

When I purchased my old house, I did not realize that I would get connected to my past.

First built by John Thomas, then owned later by R. T. King, and wife Tennie Tucker King. It was built before 1890, and has upper floors nailed with square nails, to this day. The square nails are also found in the seals and timbers around the foundation.

Later we purchased the George Thomas house, directly behind our home, and began the work of cleaning and transforming it back to its original glory.

Finding clues to the life of its former owner, I found out that the Father of George Thomas was Robert M. Thomas, and that his house is still standing on School Street.

Chancery Court

Jorden Dowdy Estate

It is very unusual to have all this history and homes interwoven with my past. R. M. Thomas settled the estate of Jorden Dowdy, after he was killed by a slave at age 35. I have his name on the document. Jorden being my Great-Great-Grandfather and son of Thomas Dowdy, first settler in Perry County, after it was purchased from the Indians in 1810. The R. M. Thomas house is the oldest homes in Linden, still on its original lot. When I was growing up, it was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bynam Cotham (Mrs. Ethel Kimble Cotham). It served at one time as Funeral Home, according to Mrs. Billy Tiller, who grew up next door.

George Thomas House

George Thomas House on Willow Street

The George Thomas house was built around 1893, and was ready to move his new bride in, Florence Brashier, according to his daughters. Florence came from the Craig-Brashier household, and his first wife was Craig. The old home they worked at was torn down a few years back, but sat between the Christian Church and First Baptist Church here in Linden, Tennessee.

Introduction to the Resources of Tennessee


Assisted By J. M. SAFFORD, PH.D., M.D.

To whom local assistance was rendered by
C. W. CHARLTON, of East Tennessee
H. L. BENTLEY, of West Tennessee.

Prepared Under the Direction of the Bureau of Agriculture.

Nashville, Tenn.:
Tavel, Eastman & Howell,
Printers To The State



Perry county was established November 14, 1821. At the time of’ its organization, it embraced a large part of the present county of Decatur, lying west of the Tennessee River. Subsequent legislation greatly reduced its limits, so that it lies altogether east of the river, and contains only about 400 square miles. Perryville, now in Decatur county, was the original county seat. After Decatur county was established, this place, once very flourishing, went to decay. The deserted public square, with the debris of torn down buildings, forcibly reminds one of Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village.” The ancient capital of’ Perry has been reduced to a mere shipping point.

Towns. Linden, after the erection of Decatur county, became the county seat of’ Perry. It is some ten miles from the Tennessee River, almost due east from the old town of Perryville. It has a handsome court-house, and for an inland town, is a place of considerable trade. Buffalo River flows on the east side of the town, and Buffalo Ridge, with its high wooded crests, lies on the west. The present population of Linden is about 200. It has six stores, four groceries, and two hotels. The other villages, or places of business, are Britt’s Landing on the Tennessee River, Lobleville, thirteen miles north of Linden, Beardstown, and Farmer’s Valley, all of which have one or more stores. Read More

Perry County, Tennessee History

Lillye Younger

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983). Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

History Of Perry County: The Names Are Familiar

By Lillye Younger

It is impossible to ascertain the first settler of Perry County. History gives no account of settlement prior to 1818. However, it is evident that a number of persons settled here earlier. Trading with the Indians was a great pastime if one could keep their scalp.

Among the early settlers listed in Goodspeed’s history are Robert Patterson, whose son William was born on Tom’s Creek in 1818. Others listed are the Whitwells, Thomas, John Samuel, Horner Cude, James Salmon, John Anderson, Rev. Joseph Kelley and Jesse DePriest were the first settlers listed on Cane Creek. Jacob Huffstedler, born aboard a sailship, settled with his family on Cane Creek in 1821.

John Horner, Elbert Matthews, Jerry Hallinger and James Wilkins and families settled on the Buffalo River near Beardstown around 1824. Issac W. Stanley was an early surveyor and also settled on the Buffalo River.

James Dixon, at whose house the County of Perry was organized after being created by an act of the General Assembly of the State in Nov. 1819, Jama Yates, Wiley Tanner, John and Jesse Newton and others settled on Lick Creek as early as 1818.

Joseph Brown, William and Nathan Ward and Nat Dabbs were among the first settled on Marsh Creek.

Samuel Denton, John Tracy and Jesse Childress settled on Cedar Creek around 1818.

Joshua Briley, Thomas Evans, Nicholas Welch and James Scott were the first settlers on White Oak Creek. Jacob Fraley, George Hallabough and John Webb settled on Sinking Creek about 1818 or 1820 and David Hogan, Hodge Adams and Nancy Randal settled on Rockhouse Creek. Allan Barber and the Jarmans settled on Hurricane Creek and John Siser, John Turner, Elijah Duncan and the Cobles settled on Brush Creek. Thomas Dowdy, Joshua Cotes and Abraham Barber settled on Coon Creek.

Other early settlers of the county were William Holmes, John L. Houston, Oswald Griffin, John Rains, Green B. Newson, West Wood, John A. Rains, Aaron Lewis, Jacob Harmon, Mark Murphy and Joseph Dixon.

One must bear in mind that Decatur County was a part of Perry County until 1845. Read More