Born in Connecticut, Perkins came to Liverpool, N.S., in 1762. Perkins kept up good relations with his many friends, family and partners back in New England. He was an enterprising merchant involved in many areas, including lumbering and in the fishery; he traded to various outside markets such as the West Indies, the Thirteen Colonies, Newfoundland, and Europe. He was involved in shipbuilding; and during the war years was engaged in privateering. Perkins was very much involved in the life of his community: town clerk, county treasurer, commissioner of roads, judge; and, for more than 30 years, a member of the House of Assembly, though he only attended 11 of 40 sessions. Perkins is likely best known to historians because he kept a "comprehensive and voluminous diary" (1766-1812). "It is indeed a mine of information for the study of economic, political, and social institutions, shedding light on ... daily events in a pioneer settlement ... [and providing] illuminating glimpses of the war at sea." (DCB.) The diary was reprinted by The Champlain Society over the years (1948-78) in five volumes.