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In the early 20th century, Arkansas became a major producer of rice, thanks to the development of new varieties of rice that could thrive in the state's humid climate. Today, Arkansas is one of the largest producers of rice in the U.S.
Perry County, Arkansas has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Quapaw, Osage, and Caddo peoples. These tribes lived off the land, engaging in hunting, fishing, and farming.

The region's history took a turn with the arrival of European explorers in the 17th century. French explorers, including Etienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont, and Jean Baptiste BĂ©nard de La Harpe, ventured into the area, establishing trading posts and relationships with the native inhabitants.

Perry County itself was officially established on December 18, 1840, named after Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero of the War of 1812. Early settlers were primarily of European descent, coming from various states in search of land, fertile soil, and economic opportunities. These early pioneers engaged in farming, timber, and mining activities, contributing to the growth and development of the county.

The county played a significant role during the American Civil War. While the majority of Perry County supported the Confederacy, Union sympathizers known as "Jayhawkers" conducted raids and skirmishes in the area. The Battle of Perryville, fought on October 28, 1863, involved both Confederate and Union forces, leaving a lasting impact on the county's history.

Today, Perry County is known for its natural beauty, scenic landscapes, and outdoor recreational opportunities. The area is home to the Ouachita National Forest, which attracts visitors with its hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting activities. The county continues to honor its historical roots, preserving and commemorating significant landmarks, such as the Perry County Courthouse and the Museum of the Grand Prairie.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Perry County, Arkansas.

  • 1818: Perry County is established as the 12th county in the state of Arkansas.
  • 1837: Perryville is designated as the county seat of Perry County.
  • Late 1800s: Perry County experiences growth and economic prosperity due to the timber and railroad industries.
  • 1927: The Hollis-Berry Bridge is constructed, connecting Perry County with Yell County.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression impacts Perry County's economy, causing hardships for its residents.
  • 1962: Lake Harris is created, providing recreational opportunities for Perry County residents.
  • 1995: Perry County Historical Museum is established in Perryville.
  • 2017: Perry County celebrates its bicentennial, marking 200 years since its establishment.