EARLY HISTORY OF PERRY CO.
Named in honor of Commodore Oliver H. Perry, of naval battle fame, who defeated the English squadron on Lake Erie,
December 1813. His dispatch to General Harrison was, "We have met the enemy and they are ours".
First settlers: If we are to receive the tradition from father to son Pinckneyville precinct was the first settle protion [portion] of the county. In 1799, John Flack came with his family and settled in Four Mile Prairie. When he settled there, he found only one other white family living in the county and their name was Cox. From whence and when Cox came to our county, or what became of him after having clothed himself with the honor of being the first settler of our county we know not. We only know from our traditions that Flack found Cox here in 1799, and that Cox disappeared as far as the history of our county is concerned.
The original John Flack left a son John, who was born in 1803, and whom our first settlers found living in Four
Mile Prairie when they first came to the precinct.
First marriage: Alexander Clark and Ruth Teague, marriage license, dated November 22, 1827, is the first marriage we find record of. We find the names of this good couple mentioned in history as being of the original members of the Galum Baptist church. This church was organized at the home of Enoch Eaton, Sr., near Galum Creek in 1843. No doubt descendants are still residents of Perry county.
First church: Records differ some what as to which was the first church. On a Saturday in June 1829, at a little log house what was then "Nine Mile Prairie", where lived one Peter Hagler and wife, were gathered together four brothers and four sisters of the Baptist faith. There were Abner Keith and Sarah his wife; Van S. Teague, and Rachel, his wife; Peter Hagler and Frances, his wife; Leonard Lipe and Frances Jones. An organization was effected and name adopted which was "Nine Mile Prairie Church". Peter Hagler was chosen clerk. The same year a log house about 20 feet square was built a short distance from Hagler's cabin, on what was congress land.
Here they held monthly meetings to which the people came from distances of five, ten, and fifteen miles. Peter Hagler was licensed to preach by the church, soon after the organization and served the church as pastor for many years.
As early as 1828, a minister named Macajah Phelps, probably did the first preaching in Pinckneyville, in a little house that stood on the Hincke's corner. Phelps was a Methodist, but the earliest account of Methodism to be found in Perry county history dates back to 1837. In that year a small society was organized at Pinckneyville by Rev. James H. Dickens in the home of Humphrey B. Jones. The society was composed of Dr. Jones and wife Harriett; Isaac Carmack and wife; Benjamin Hammack; Sarah Hammack; Aron Holeman; Patsy Holeman; Calvin Edward and Fannie Edwards. There [their] first church was built in 1857.
Probably Hopewell Presbyterian was the first church built in the county, commencing in 1831. The members all united and worked under Wm [William] Adair, who was chief carpenter. The occasion of the interruption and delay in building was Adair's absence in the Black Hawk War. This congregation was organized in 1832 with about 40 members with Rev. Samuel Baldridge pastor. The first elders were: David Baldridge, Robert Woodside, James Steel and Hugh Brown.
First school: The earliest school we find mention of, was taught by a man whose name was Robert Clark, in 1825. It was in the southwestern part of the county in a little log school house erected the same year. The books used were the new testament, Webster's spelling book, Pike's arithmetic and the Columbian orator. Books were so scarce that they some times divided a Testament into two or three parts so that each might have a portion. The writing paper was course and unruled; goosequill pens were used and ink was made from polk berries and maple bark. The charge for the term of three months school was about $2, often paid in hogs, tallow, wool, deerskins, beeswax, cattle, etc. If the parents were too poor to pay, the early teacher treated him liberality and said, "Send your children to school without pay." That much interest was felt in education, by the early settlers, is shown by the fact that it was a common thing for an old pioneer who had no children to help support the teacher in order to have school kept up. In 1841, the school at Eaton's Prairie was accidentally burned. In three days another was built on the spot, by the men in the district and the school was started again on the fourth day.
First store: The first store was kept by Chas [Charles] Gover, in 1827. It was located about where the Hirsch opera house now stands.
The nearest trading point for the early settlers was St. Louis and Kaskaskia. The only articles of trade were deerskins, honey, beeswax, etc. which were exchanged for such necessities as were required.
© 2006-2008 Genealogy Trails By: Kim Torp