Welcome to the Perry County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
To share your Perry County, Alabama genealogy or history information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we will be pleased to include it here. If you have information to share for other Alabama Counties, visit the Alabama Genealogy & History Network state website and choose the appropriate county.
Perry County was created by the Alabama legislature on December 13, 1819, from land acquired from the Creek Indians in the 1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson. It was named for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of Rhode Island, a hero of the War of 1812. When the area was officially opened to settlement, pioneers came from the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee. The first towns in the area that would become Perry County were Muckle's Ridge (now known as Marion), Perry Ridge, Uniontown (originally known as Woodville), and Heiberger.
The first courthouse, a log cabin, was erected at Perry Ridge, located approximately seven miles southeast of present-day Marion. The county soon found that a more centrally located county seat was needed, and in 1823 Marion became the county seat. A two-story log cabin was erected on the site of the present-day courthouse. A modest brick building replaced the log cabin shortly thereafter in 1837. In 1854, construction began on a new marble-and-brick Greek Revival courthouse. Two-story porticos flanked each end of the building, with six Ionic columns supporting the massive pediments. The building was completed in 1856 and underwent renovation in 1954 and 2012. It continues to serve as the county courthouse today.
The county became a major center for education in the Black Belt. Baptists founded both Judson College (1838) and Howard College (1842). Lincoln Normal School was founded in 1867 by freed slaves as a school for African American children. It later moved to Montgomery and was renamed Alabama State University. A museum is currently underway on the site of Lincoln to house historic memorabilia regarding Lincoln School.
Many of the buildings on the campus of the Marion Military Institute pre-date the Civil War, and its chapel, built in 1857, served as a Confederate hospital during the war. During the civil rights era, an incident in Marion triggered the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the ensuing Voting Rights Act of 1965. Baptists also made Marion the headquarters of the state-wide newspaper and the first location of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Like most of Alabama's counties, farming was the prevailing occupation in Perry County until well into the twentieth century. The Canebrake region, a section within the Black Belt between Marion and Demopolis, contains some of the richest soil in Alabama. Cotton remained the county's largest crop until well into the twentieth century, although corn and sweet potatoes were also important crops.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, livestock became an important part of the county's economy. Unlike neighboring counties, Perry County did not benefit much from the industrialization boom of the mid-twentieth century, remaining largely rural and agricultural, and this remains the case today.
The county has a total area of 724 square miles, of which 720 square miles is land and 4 square mile (0.6%) is water. The population recorded in the 1820 Federal Census was 3,646. The 2010 census recorded 10,591 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Bibb County (north), Chilton County (northeast), Dallas County (east), Marengo County (southwest), and Hale County (west).
Communities in the county include Marion, Uniontown, Adler, Augustin, Cleveland Mills, Coleman, Cunningham, Ellards, Folsom, Hamburg, Heiberger, Hillcrest, Jericho, Levert, Morgan Springs, Nave, Norman, Oakmulgee, Osborn, Panhandle, Perryville, Radford, Sprott, Suttle, Tayloe, Vaiden, Vilula, and Zimmerman.
Alabama Genealogy & History Network has much information on our county websites - cemetery listings, community data, etc. Please visit the county or counties of interest to you.
Birth Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains records of births from 1908 to present. This was the year Alabama began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by visiting the birth record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official birth records before 1908 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Death Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains death records after 1908 on file. This was the year Alabama began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by visiting the death record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official death records before 1908 for deaths prior to that date you will need to determine death information from census records, bible records, funeral home records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Marriage Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health can provide you with information for marriages that took place from 1936 to present by by visiting the marriage record page on their website and following the instructions.
All existing county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the county's Probate Office in which the marriage was held.
Divorce Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains divorce records from 1950 to present. You can obtain official copies of devorce records by visiting the divorce record page on their website and following the instructions. Records for divorces occuring before 1950 may be obtained from the Circuit Clerk in the county where the divorce took place.
Perry County is located in central Alabama.
A list of Perry County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
A list of Perry County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.
For a list of Perry County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Perry County, Alabama Schools. Some of these have photos and additional information.