Perry Daily Chief - Sept 22 - 1947

Who Was 1st Born In Perry

None of their parents veterans as known. (hand written)


The death Saturday of John Allen, 77, of Des Moines, has brought up the question of who was the first child born at Perry.

Allen's relatives say that he was the first child born here after the town was named. According to other sources (none of them agree) three other men were the first to be born at Perry.

Allen, who was born in 1870 - just one year after Perry was named, lived here from the time that the town boasted a population of 74 until 1902 when the population had jumped to 3,000.

Harry Campbell
F.N. Hastie, who has explored the history of Dallas county and written of it, says that Harry Campbell was Perry's first baby.

Campbell was born January 25, 1869 in a house that some records say was the first house built in town.

He was the son of Perry pioneer, Benjamin Campbell, who built "Perry's first house." It was chance that gave Perry the house. Benjamin Campbell had started to build his house in Alton, but since he was unable to get clear title to the land he moved the lumber to Perry and built here.

H.M. Shively
Another source says that H.M. "Hub" Shively was also born in the first house constructed here. But Shively's birthplace was not the house constructed by Campbell.

"Hub" was born November 22, 1868, in a frame house said to be the first one built after the town was platted in that year.

There seems to be as much argument about who build the first house as who was the first to be born here. But Shively's first home was the first to be built after the town was laid out and Campbell's was the first house to be constructed after the Willis brothers decided on a name for the town.

Shively's first home was located at the lots now occupied by the Traverse garage. The house is still standing on East McKinley st. at the Eleventh st. curve.

Beason, Beeson
The fourth contender for the honor of having been the first child born in the new town of Perry is a man named Beason or Beeson. The records are vague about him, however,

His first name could not be learned Monday, nor the names of his parents, but he was born in 1858 at the site where Perry was later to be located.

Transcribed and contributed by Conni McDaniel Hall, 03 Jan 2022

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