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TN History for Kids

Perry County

Maps are interesting things; the thing to remember about maps is that they sometimes have mistakes.

As you can see from this 1831 map (on the right), Perry County once included land on the east and west sides of the Tennessee River. But in spite of what this map seems to indicate, the county seat of Perry County was never Barrysville, on the east side of the river, but Perryville, on the west side of the river. OOPS!!!

In 1846 the part of Perry County west of the river was turned into a separate county called Decatur County. The county seat of Perry County ended up at Linden, in the middle of what we now call Perry County. (See the current Tennessee highway map, on the left).

Perryville had an interesting history. It was an important stop on the Tennesee River, and among the famous Tennesseans who visited Perryville were Andrew Jackson, David Crockett, James K. Polk and Sam Houston. Unfortunately, the Perryville that they would have remembered is gone now, flooded when the Tennessee Valley Authority built Kentucky Dam.
 

A bridge over the Buffalo River in Perry County,
around 1900
PHOTO: A. J. Dyer III

Here's another story about Perry County that illustrates what a big deal the Civil War was. In 1860 there were about 5,400 people living in Perry County, about half of them male. Obviously, a lot of them were either too old or too young to fight. Nevertheless, 800 of them went to fight the Civil War – about 600 for the South and about 200 for the North. Many of them didn’t come home.

Today -- nearly a century and a half after the Civil War -- less than 7,000 people live there. So Perry County also has the distinction of being one of the slowest growing counties in Tennessee.
 

Boys at the Grimes canoe base

 

In spite of the low population of Perry County, a lot of boys have fond memories of the place. Perry County is the home of a boy scout canoe base called Grimes -- located on the oft-canoed Buffalo River.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the Perry County courthouse.

Perry County

County Seat: Linden

Population (2015 estimate): 7,929