This town between Lawrence and Topeka was named for John D. Perry, president of the Exchange Bank of St. Louis and president of the Eastern Division of the Union Pacific. He was influential in getting the Union Pacific through Lawrence.
Perry is actually the surviving representation of a string of little settlements that sprang up along the Delaware and Kansas Rivers in the Kentucky Township of Jefferson County.
Rising Sun was the first town established in the township in 1857, on the north bank of the Kansas River near the present Lecompton Bridge. Rising Sun grew rapidly taking care of river traffic until Perryville (now Perry) was laid out by the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1865 and took over river transportation. Rising Sun's founders then moved their buildings one mile west of Perryville and started the town of Medina. The same year Centerville was laid out halfway between Perryville and Medina (three towns in a one mile strip); Centerville died out due to business rivalry. Medina's peak growth featured as many saloons as businesses and railroad crews became unfit for work after the long weekends of drinking. The officials moved the depot and crew station to Perryville and refused to stop the trains at Medina which spelled the doom of the pioneer village.
By 1871, Perry had over a dozen business, two hotels, a print shop, a grist mill and elevator and a depot.