Towns & Communities


Perryville, the oldest town in Decatur County, was incorporated before the county was organized.  It was formerly a part of Perry County.  Located on the Tennessee River, five miles east of Parsons, it was selected for the county seat of Perry County in 1821 by an act of the legislature.  Charles Miles, John Rasser, James Dickson, Charles Graham, W. S. Britt, and William Patterson were appointed to locate the seat.  The town was incorporated in 1825.  Before being named Perryville, it was known as Midtown Community.  Serving on the town board were Joseph Brown, William Jarman, J. S. Allen, J. W. Crowder, Jacob Johnson, James Kolough, and John McClover.

One of the first merchants in the thriving little river town was Samuel McClure.  James M. and Curry Pettigrew of Armagh, Ireland, came to Perryville in 1825 and ran a mercantile business.  They located branch stores in Decaturville, Oak Grove, Spring Creek in Madison County, and Beardstown in Perry County.  William Stout, native of Forfar County, Scotland, met the Pettigrews while on a pleasure trip to this country and joined them in business.  He later sold his business interest in Perryville and moved to Decaturville.

The railroad, which was laid from Memphis to Perryville, spawned new business places in the town.  Two wholesale houses, Holcomb Produce Company and Shaw's Produce House, were started.  W. R. Dennison built the Dennison Hotel in 1897.  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Teague kept travelers in their home.  Grocery stores that emerged because of the railroad were John Adolphus, Readey's Grocery, later operated by his sons, Jess and Zula Ready, John Young's Grocery, Knight Brothers Grocery, J. M. MacMurray's Grocery, and Lemuel Rickman's Grocery.  General merchandise stores were also established.  These included Striegel and Blount Company, L. M. Hearst General Merchandise, and Cole Brothers Store.

The old town of Perryville folded when Gilbertsville Dam was built.  The business places and some houses were flooded.  Merchants sold out, some quit, and the Ready's moved the business to Parsons.

When the land was flooded lakes were formed, thus providing a haven for sportsmen.  In 1944 the Perryville Marina Boat Dock was built by Doc Burton.  Located in what was once a small branch, but now a large lake formed by the dam, it is the deepest indentation along this area.

On Friday, November 26, 1971, the Perryville Post Office was closed.  Velma Bibbs, officer in charge at the post office, took the American flag down.  The last thing to come down was the sign "Perryville Post Office", thus leaving the once thriving river town as a village.

From "Tennessee County History Series: Decatur County" by Lillye Younger 1979. ISBN 0-87870-077-3