County Clerks of Perry County
While the duties of the office have changed somewhat over time, County Clerks have been at the center of county administration from the County’s founding in 1827.
The first Clerk, Humphrey B. Jones, was a physician, attorney and postmaster in Pinckneyville. He served as Clerk for 18 of the first 20 years of the County’s organization and is considered to be one of Perry County‘s founding fathers. The earliest County Clerks were appointed by the County Board of Commissioners. This was soon changed by the Illinois Constitution and County Clerks have since been elected every four years.
County Clerks have historically been the custodians of the County’s vital records, County Board records and property tax extensions. They had also administered county-wide elections once paper ballots came into being in the late 1800s. In the 1960s, County Clerks assumed the duties of Recorder of Deeds, which had previously been handled by the Circuit Court Clerks. In 1980, County Clerks assumed responsibility for all elections held within the county.
The County Clerk’s office was housed in the Perry County Courthouse until 1993, when the office moved to the newly-acquired Perry County Government Building.
The longest serving Perry County Clerk was Frank W. Keith, who won election to the office six times and served from 1942 to 1970.
Below is a chronological list of the individuals who have held the office of Perry County Clerk.
- Humprey B. Jones - June 24, 1827 - August 10, 1839
- John D. Burklow - August 10, 1939 - August 31, 1841
- Josh M. Rice - August 31, 1841 - September 6, 1841
- Humphrey B. Jones - September 6, 1841 - September, 1847
- Charles L. Starbuck - September, 1847 - December, 1849
- Nathan T. Kelley - December 17, 1849 - December 19, 1853
- John Washington Pyatt - December 19, 1853 - December, 1861
- David M. Hoge - December, 1861 - December, 1865
- Leonard T. Ross - December, 1865 - December, 1869
- J. Carroll Harriss - December, 1869 - December, 1873
- Walter Scott Dinsmore Smith - (R) December, 1873 - December, 1890
- Ralph G. Williams - (D) December, 1890 - December, 1894
- John George Taffee - (R) December, 1894 - December, 1902
- Hiram Henry Ward - (D) December, 1902 - January 27, 1904
- John George Taffee - (R) January 29, 1904 - December, 1910
- Horace W. Sims - (D) December 5, 1910 - December, 1914
- William A. Bommerscheim - (D) December, 1914 - March 18, 1918
- Harry H. Baughman - (R) March 20, 1918 - December, 1930
- Merwin W. Eaton - (D) December, 1930 - December, 1942
- Frank W. Keith - (R) December, 1942 - December 1, 1970
- Winton L. Bigham - (D) December 1, 1970 - July 11, 1984
- Judith Rennison - (D) August 8, 1984 - December 3, 1984
- Don Hirsch - (R) December 3, 1984 - December 3, 2002
- Kevin Kern - (D) December 3, 2002 - Present