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The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was one of the most devastating fires in U.S. history. The fire destroyed much of the city, including over 17,000 buildings and left more than 100,000 people homeless. The fire started in a barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, but the cause of the fire is still debated to this day.
Perry County, Illinois has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1827. The area was originally inhabited by indigenous communities, notably the Shawnee and Delaware tribes. European settlement began in the early 1800s when pioneers arrived seeking fertile farmland and opportunities for trade along the Mississippi River.

The county was named after Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero in the War of 1812, and it soon became a thriving agricultural community. Early settlers primarily engaged in farming, raising livestock, and mining for coal. The county's proximity to the Illinois Central Railroad in the mid-1800s also played a crucial role in its development, allowing for easier transportation of goods and increased trade.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Perry County experienced economic growth and innovation. Coal mining expanded significantly, creating jobs and bringing an influx of immigrants, especially from Eastern Europe. The coal mining industry thrived until the mid-20th century, when a decline in demand led to a reduction in mining operations.

Present-day Perry County is a blend of its rich history and modern development. The county continues to be primarily rural, with agriculture and coal mining as key industries. The county seat, Pinckneyville, is a vibrant center for business, education, and recreation, offering amenities such as parks, schools, and a farmers market. Perry County's historical sites and museums, such as the Fannie May Coal Mine and Museum, attract visitors interested in learning about the county's heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Perry County, Illinois.

  • Perry County was established in 1827.
  • First settlements were made in the area in the early 1800s.
  • In 1829, Pinckneyville was chosen as the county seat.
  • Perry County sent soldiers to fight in the American Civil War.
  • In the late 1800s, coal mining became a significant industry in the county.
  • In 1892, a tornado struck Pinckneyville, causing significant damage.
  • The Du Quoin State Fair began in 1923 and has since become an annual event.
  • Perry County experienced economic growth and development throughout the mid-1900s.
  • In 1984, the Pyramid State Recreation Area was established, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation.
  • Perry County continues to thrive as a rural community with a rich history.