Pernall Center was founded by John Pernall in 1852 as Walters Center, which he named after friend Hyll Walters. Three years later, in 1855, the settlement received a Post Office and a police station. The settlement remained Walters Center until 1858, when John Pernall died, and the settlement was renamed in his honor. By the early 1860s, Pernall Center began experiencing problems with alcohol. To help end the problem, the settlement's government banned alcohol from being sold or consumed within the town limits. This ban lasted for thirty years. In 1874, the "Pernall Center Alcohol Rebellion" began, and a violent protest broke out in the streets. The protest resulted in fifty-three dead and fifteen jailed.