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John O. Perry

John O. Perry, judge county court, Newton, Baker County, son of John and Martha (Partin) Perry, was born in Crawford County, Georgia, April 3, 1835.

His father was a native of North Carolina, who, on the death of his father when he was a boy, left that state and came to Georgia. He dwelt awhile in Burke County, then went to Twiggs County, where he married his wife (who was a native of South Carolina), and, later moved to Crawford County—among its earlier settlers. He was a farmer, but took an active part in politics, holding the offices of bailiff and tax collector many years. When advanced in years he moved to Jefferson county, where he married a second time, and died in 1863, aged sixty—six years. An older brother, William Perry, died while a soldier in the War of 1812. Judge Perry’s mother died in Crawford County, in 1856, aged fifty-seven years. Both parents were members of the Primitive Baptist Church. They had eight children, of whom those living are: John O., the subject of this sketch; M. F., treasurer, Crawford County; Caroline Becham, wife of Washington Becham, Crawford County; and Martha L. Seely, of Terrell County. The deceased are: William R., died in Florida, in 1881, aged sixty-one years; Columbus B., of the Twelfth Georgia Rregiment, died October, 1861, on Greenbriar River, aged twenty-four years; America, drowned when two years old; Bettie, died at twenty-three; ]ane, wife of Robert Hancock, died in Crawford County, sixty years of age.

Mr. Perry remained on the farm, and attended the common schools until he was sixteen years old, when he engaged as a clerk in a neighboring store until he was of age. He then went to Bainbridge as bookkeeper for J. H. Colbert & Co. He was elected marshal and held the office until he left for the Confederate Army as a member of the Bainbridge Independents, Capt. J. W. Evans, First Georgia Regiment, Col. Ramsay. After serving here a year he enlisted in the Abell Battery, Florida Artillery, with which he remained as first gun sergeant until Gen. Johnston surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina, April 26, 1865. He was in the battle at Greenbriar River, Virginia; at Olustee and other battles in Florida, and the battles around Savannah, besides many minor engagements.

After the war he returned to Bainbridge, finding nothing left but a wife and three children. He soon left for Mitchell County, Georgia, where he engaged in farming, with excellent success, for four years. The latter part of 1869 he moved to, and settled in the woods on the land he now owns, and which has since been his home—on the Flint River, between two and three miles below Newton. Besides this 250-acre tract, under improved and profitable cultivation, he has one of 500 acres partially cleared, and several other tracts. He is a progressive and good farmer, full of energy, and very popular. Besides his farming interests he is largely interested in real estate in Baker and adjoining counties.

April 1, 1876, he was appointed judge of the county court, and is now serving his tenth term—will have served twenty years on the expiration of his present term, April 1, 1896—and during his nineteen years service the decisions of but one case have been reversed, and he has never, from any cause whatever, failed to hold his court at the stated time. He is thoroughly alive to the interests and progress of the county and its development.

Mr. Perry was married in Abbeville, Alabama, Nov. 29, 1859, to Miss Sarah, daughter of Edwin J. Cole, a leading merchant of Clayton, Barbour County, Alabama, a union which has been blessed with four children: Mrs. Lulu A. May, Florida; Walter C., traveling salesman, Bainbridge, Georgia; Edwin J., cashier, Bainbridge State Bank; Willie Frank, died when two years and six months old.

Mr. Perry was president of the county board of education fifteen years, or until the law was passed against holding two offices at the same time. He is a member of the American Legion of Honor, and has been grand commander of Georgia, and was Georgia’s representative to the supreme council held at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August, 1893. He also was Georgia’s representative at Detroit, Michigan, in August, 1895. Himself and wife are exemplary and active members of the Presbyterian Church, of which he has been a ruling elder twenty-one years. He has been superintendent of the Newton Sunday School twenty years, and president of the Sunday School Association of the county fifteen years. Baker County cannot, and it might safely be said that no county can, claim a more useful citizen. Judge Perry is now in his sixty-first year. He is hale and hearty, strong and active, and is a total abstainer from all intoxicants, not having so much as tasted wine or strong drinks for the last twenty-three years of his life.

Source: Memoirs of Georgia, Containing historical accounts of the states civil, military, industrial and professional interests and personal sketches of many of it’s people, Volume I, The Southern Historical Association, Atlanta, Georgia, 1895.

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