Perry County is located in west central Alabama. From the northern part of the county where forests cover the trailing end of the Appalachian Mountains, the hills and valleys give way to the grass covered prairies and geometric crop lands of the fabled Black Belt.
Perry County was established December 13, 1819 and was named for Commodore Oliver H. Perry, a U.S. Navy officer. Its county seat is Marion, which is also known as the College City. Marion is the home of Judson College and Marion Military Institute. Judson College was established for women in 1838 and is the nation’s fifth oldest women’s college. It is named for Anne Hasseltine Judson, the first American female to become a foreign missionary. Marion Military Institute was established in 1842 and on June 1, 2006 it became a public institution under the authority of the Alabama State Board of Education.
This rural county has a population of 10,643 with 67.9% representing African Americans, 31.2% Caucasians and the remaining 0.9% is Hispanic and other. Perry County has seven educational outlets including Judson College and Marion Military Institute. More than 62% of county residents are high school graduates and 10% are college graduates (based on 2000 Census reports).
Among the major agricultural industries in Perry County are catfish farming, beef cattle and dairy cattle. Principal agricultural crops in Perry County include forestry products, soybean production and wheat and corn production. Area manufacturing companies include TekPak Laguna Salada and Citation-Marion.
Visitors are attracted to Perry County by its exquisite antebellum homes, remarkable confederate cemeteries, antique malls, civil war and civil rights heritage and historical churches, many of which were built in the 1800s.
The Perry County Extension Office has three full-time employees and a number volunteers who help with Extension programs. Some of the more popular Extension programs in the county are 4-H, EFNEP (Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program), NEP (Nutrition Education Program), Family and Consumer Science, Forestry, Agricultural and Natural Resources. More than 500 youth participate in 4-H through in-school and community based clubs.