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Missouri Counties
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Missouri Counties

Missouri has one hundred and fourteen counties and one independent city. St. Louis City is separate from St. Louis County and is referred to as a "city not within a county." Following the Louisiana Purchase and the admittance of Louisiana into the United States in 1812, five counties were formed out of the Missouri Territory at the first general assembly. Most subsequent counties were apportioned from these five original counties.

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Perry County, Missouri

Perry County Education, Geography, and HistoryPerry County, Missouri Courthouse

Perry County is a county located in the southeastern portion of the state of Missouri. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 18,971. Its county seat is Perryville. The county was officially organized on November 16, 1820 (effective January 1, 1821) from Ste. Genevieve County and was named after Oliver Hazard Perry, a naval hero of the War of 1812.

Etymology - Origin of Perry County Name

Named for Oliver H. Perry, naval hero of the War of 1812.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

History of Perry County

Created by a law passed on November 16, 1820, the last county constituted before the admission of Missouri to the Union. The territory was originally a part of the Ste. Genevieve district. Boundaries were designated thus: on the southeast by the Birmingham Hills, on the south by the brakes of Apple Creek, on the southwest by Whitewater River and Saline Creek, on the west by the Saline Hills. The Mississippi River forms the east and northern boundaries, with Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois on the northwest, Madison County on the west, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau counties on the south. The County court was organized May 21, 1821 in the home of Bede Moore by Lewis Cissell, D.L. Caldwell, and Samuel Anderson. The county was divided into three townships: Brazeau, the southern part between Apple Creek and Cinque Hommes Creek; Bois Brule, the northeastern part; and Cinque Hommes, the rest of the territory. Commissioners were appointed to locate a seat of justice, but no move was made toward the erection of a courthouse until 1825. For the "Saxon Migration" of 1839, which was largely responsible for the settlement of the county, see under Altenburg. The county was named for Captain Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819), a great naval hero of the War of 1812. Perry took charge of the construction of a fleet with which the Americans hoped to wrest from the British the control of Lake Erie. By 1813 a squadron of nine vessels had been built and manned. Perry won the battle of Lake Erie September 19, 1813, and sent to Gen Harrison the famous laconic message: "We have met the enemy and they are ours..." "So," says a Perry county historian "when the founders of our county looked for a name, they unanimously chose that of the great naval hero," who had just passed away. Nine counties in other states bear the name Perry, and there are twenty towns so named, including one in Ralls County, Missouri. (Conard, Douglass I 169, 170, CENTENNIAL HIST. OF PERRY COUNTY MISSOURI, Houck III 268)

Source: Hamlett, Mayme L. "Place Names Of Six Southeast Counties Of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1938.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 484 square miles (1,250 km2), of which 474 square miles (1,230 km2) is land and 9.8 square miles (25 km2) (2.0%) is water. It is located across the Mississippi River from Illinois.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Randolph County, Illinois (north)
  • Jackson County, Illinois (northeast)
  • Union County, Illinois (east)
  • Cape Girardeau County (southeast)
  • Bollinger County (southwest)
  • Madison County (southwest)
  • St. Francois County (northwest)
  • Ste. Genevieve County (northwest)


Of adults 25 years of age and older in Perry County, 71.2% possesses a high school diploma while 9.9% holds a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools

Altenburg 48 Elementary School - Altenburg - (K-08)
Perry County School District No. 32 - Perryville

Private schools

United in Christ Lutheran School - Frohna - (PK-8) - Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Immanuel Lutheran School, Perryville - (PK-8) - Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
St. Vincent De Paul Schools, Perryville - (PK-12) - Roman Catholic
St. Vincent De Paul Elementary School (PK-6)
St. Vincent De Paul High School (7-12)

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