Perry County was formed in 1819 from
Hickman and Humphreys counties
(Acts of Tennessee 1819, Chapter 107)
The county seat is Linden.
There were fires at the Perry County
courthouse in 1863 and 1928.
Selected Published County Histories
- History of Tennessee From the Earliest Time to the Present; Together with a Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Lawrence, Wayne, Perry, Hickman and Lewis Counties (Goodspeed, 1979 reprint)*
- Perry County, Tennessee: A Pictorial History (Perry County Historical Society, 1997) [name index]
- Perry County, Tennessee: History and Families 1820-1995 (Perry County Historical Society, 1994)*
- Perry County, Tennessee: History and Families, Veterans Memorial, 1820-2003 (Perry County Historical Society, 2003) [name index]*
Additional county and community histories can be found at the Bibliography of Tennessee Local History Sources: Perry County. The items in the bibliography may not all be available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Published Local Records
- 1850 Census for Perry County, Tennessee (Galsser, 1966) [name index]
- 1850 Federal Census of Perry County, Tennessee (Bridges, 1995) [surname index]
- 1860 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee (Bridges, 1995) [surname index]*
- 1870 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee (Bridges, 1997) [surname index]*
- 1880 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee (Bridges, 1996) [surname index]*
- 1880 Census Perry County, Tennessee (Sistler, 1999) [alphabetical by head of household]
- 1900 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee (Bridges, 1996) [surname index]*
- 1910 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee (Bridges, 1997) [surname index]*
- 1920 Federal Census, Perry County, Tennessee (Bridges, 1996) [surname index]*
- Collected Population Statistics of Perry County, Tennessee (1820, 1830 and 1840 census, 1837 tax list) (Bridges, 1995) [name index for each census year]
- McDonald Funeral Home, Linden, Tennessee (Perry Co., Tennessee) [vol. 1-4, Mar 1948 - Dec 1967] (Coleman, 1997) [name index]
- Perry County, Tennessee Cemetery Records (Bowen, 1992) [name index]*
- Perry County, Tennessee Marriage Records [vol.1 1865-1881] Bowen, 199?) [alphabetical]*
- Perry County, Tennessee Marriage Records [vol.2 1881-1906] Bowen, 199?) [alphabetical by groom and bride] *
- Perry County, Tennessee, Land Survey Abstracts, 1820-1890 (Young & Copeland, 1995) [name index]
- Perry County, Tennessee, Tombstones: W.P.A. Records, T.V.A. Records (Douthat, 2011) [surname index]
- Tennessee, Records of Perry County, Minutes of Circuit Court [vol. 1 1825-1833; vol. 2 1834-1838; vol. 3 1838-1841] (WPA, 1936) [name index]
Local Records on Microfilm
An inventory of microfilmed Perry County records is available on our website. Individual reels of microfilm may also be purchased.
Earliest records include:
- marriages from 1865
- wills from 1863
- inventories of estates from 1865
- deed index from 1841
- county court minutes from 1865
- circuit court minutes from 1834 (WPA transcriptions for 1826 - 1833)
- chancery court minutes from 1854
- tax books from 1873
The following reels are available on interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives:
- Deed Index 1841 - 1925 (#16, 1 reel)*
- Wills 1847 - 1959 & Guardian Settlements June 1877 - May 1893 (#16, 1 reel)*
- WPA Records, Misc. (Record Group #107, Roll 111, 1 reel). Roll includes Perry County Record of Circuit Court 1841-1843*
- WPA Records, Perry County (Record Group #107, Roll 64, 1 reel). Roll includes Circuit Court Minutes vol. 1-3 (1826-1841).*
Newspapers on Microfilm
Newspapers were published in Linden. Scattered early issues are available from 1880, and a complete run begins in 1957. Microfilms are loaned to Tennessee libraries. Individual reels may also be purchased. An Inventory of Newspapers on Microfilm at the Library and Archives is available on our website.
Selected Manuscripts Material
- McDonald Funeral Home Registers, 1945-1996 (Manuscript Microfilm #1517, 10 reels)*
- Riverside Methodist Church Records, 1881-1977 (Manuscript Microfilm #677, 1 reel)*
Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog
- Census on microfilm for Perry County: 1820-1880, 1900-1930
- State-wide census index: 1820-1880
- State-wide census index on microfilm (Soundex): 1880, 1900-1930
- Perry County census records in book form: 1850*, 1860*, 1870*, 1880*, 1900*, 1910*, 1920*
Additional Research Aids for Perry County
- County Index to Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications
- Early Tennessee Tax Lists at the Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Funeral Home Records at the Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908-1912
- Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914-1933
- School Census Records
- Tennessee World War I Veterans
* Indicates this title may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan from the Library and Archives.
Perry County Formation Act
ACTS OF TENNESSEE 1819, CHAPTER 107:
"An Act to establish a new county north of Wayne and west of Hickman and south of Humphreys counties."
SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That a new county be and the same is hereby established, north of Wayne County west of Hickman and south of Humphreys counties by the name of Perry County, which shall be bounded as follows, to wit: beginning at the south east corner of Humphreys County, running west, thence south, thence east, thence north to the beginning so as to include all the territory lying between Humphreys, Hardin, Wayne, and Hickman counties, and all that tract of territory included in the above described lines shall be included within the said county of Perry.
SECTION 2. BE IT ENACTED, That for the due administration of justice, the first court of pleas and quarter-sessions and circuit courts and all subsequent courts, until otherwise provided for, shall be held at the house of James Yates, on Toms Creek, or at such other place in said county as the justices in said county may adjourn from the said James Yates, to hold their courts after the first term under the same rules, regulations, and restrictions, and shall have and exercise the same powers and jurisdiction as are or shall be prescribed for the several counties in this state.
SECTION 3. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the said county of Perry, to hold an election at the place of holding courts in said county on the first Thursday in April next, for the purpose of electing one colonel and two majors for said county of Perry, which shall be conducted under the same rules and regulations as are prescribed by law in similar cases and the militia of said county shall compose the 68th regiment, and be attached to the 6th Brigade.
SECTION 4. BE IT ENACTED, That the election for company officers for the county of Perry, shall be held at such places as the commandant of the militia of said county may think proper to appoint; which said election shall be held on the second Saturday in June next under the same rules, regulations and restrictions as are prescribed in like cases.
SECTION 5. BE IT ENACTED, That the county of Perry shall be a part of the district for electing a Governor, Representative to Congress, Electors to elect a President and Vice President of the United States, and members to the General Assembly, to which the county of Hickman belongs, and the elections be held at the place of holding courts in said county, at the time, and in the manner prescribed by law and that the sheriff or returning officer of said county make a return of the polls at the town of Vernon.
SECTION 6. BE IT ENACTED, That the county courts shall be held in Perry County on the ___ Monday in ______.
SECTION 7. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the clerk of the said county of Perry to receive and receipt for the quantum of acts and journals of the present session.
Passed on November 18, 1819
Perry County Bibliography
PLEASE NOTE that the Tennessee State Library and Archives does not hold copies of all of the items listed in this bibliography. Please check the Tennessee State Library and Archives Online Catalog or visit the Ask Us a Question! webpage to contact the Library and Archives and verify we have an item in our collection. We will respond to e-mail requests promptly; response time may vary, depending on the amount of research required to answer your question and the unique nature of your request. If you need immediate assistance you may call the reference desk at (615) 741-2764 or visit us in person.
Perry County in General
- Biographical directory, TN General Assembly, 1796-1969 (Perry County, Preliminary # 2). Nashville, TSLA, 1968. 42 pp.
- Goodspeed's History of TN (Perry County, pp. 777-788, 889-909). Goodspeed, 1886.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "Beliefs & customs in Perry County, TN." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 21 (1955), pp. 9-10.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "Hay-making terms in Perry County." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 33 (1967), pp. 41-48.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "Jingle lore of pigtails, pals & puppy love." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 22 (1956), pp. 1-9.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "Just an April fool." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 27 (1961), pp. 5- 7.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "Musselling terms from TN." Am Speech 30 (1955), pp. 74- 77.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "Pert nigh almost: folk measurement." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 23 (1957), pp. 6-12.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "The vocabulary of hog killing." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 25 (1959), pp. 111-115.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "A vocabulary of wagon parts." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 28 (1962), pp. 12-20.
- Harder, Kelsie B. "Weather expressions & beliefs in Perry County, TN." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 23 (1957), pp. 83-86.
- History & families 1820-1995, Perry County, TN. Paducah, KY, Turner Pub. Co., 1994. 320 pp.
- Holder, Lois D. A descriptive survey of beliefs regarding education currently held by certain natives of Perry County, TN. Wayne State U. thesis, 1974. 291 pp.
- Joel B. Spaulding & Co. The recreational potential of Perry County, TN. Nashville, n.p., 1969. var. pp.
- Lawhon, William T. Ecology of Alexander Cave, Perry County, TN. MSU thesis, 1969. 33 pp.
- Perry County, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 12 pp.
- Perry County, TN: water use survey, TN-Tombigbee corridor study. Memphis, MSU Civil Engineering Dept., 1981. 16 pp.
- Peterson, Drexel A. The Spring Creek site, Perry County, TN.: report of the 1972-1973 excavations. Memphis, MSU Anthropological Research Ctr., 1973. 46 pp.
- Seeber, R. Clifford. A manual of public service agencies in Perry [& other] counties. Murray, KY, TVA, 1942. 118 pp.
- Soil survey, Perry County, TN. Washington, D.C., US PO, 1942, 1953.
- Tenn. Dept. of Employment Security. Economic base report for Perry County, TN, December 1962. TN Dept. Emp. Sec., affiliated with Bureau of Emp. Sec. of US Dept. Labor. Nashville, 1963. 86 pp.
- TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
- TN Valley Authority. Ind. Div. Agricultural-industrial survey of Perry County, TN. Knoxville, TVA, 1935. var. pp.
- TN Valley Authority. Land Acquisition Dept. Background appraisal study, Kentucky Reservoir area. Knoxville, TVA, 1939. (vol. 11, Perry County.)
- US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Sugar Tree, Daniels Landing, Lobelville, Coble, Jeannette, Pine View, Chestnut Grove, Pleasantville, Perryville, Pope, Linden, Graves Spring, Bath Springs, Clifton, Leatherwood, Topsy.
- US Soil Conservation Service. An appraisal of potentials for outdoor recreational development in Perry County, TN [& other counties] July 1968-. Fort Worth, TX, n.p., 1968. var. pp.