Tippah Treasures 005


Though competitively positioned for the needs of tomorrow's workplace, the Tippah County community is proud of its southern heritage and tradition.

Tippah County was one of the ten original counties formed from the Chickasaw Cession of 1832. Before this time, the Chickasaws occupied and controlled the area despite Mississippi’s statehood in 1817. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Chickasaw Indians had several large towns along the Natchez Trace and traded with the English and the Americans. Large numbers of artifacts have been found in the county. In addition, the county has rare, unspoiled fossils found at only one other site in the United States. Tippah County is believed to have been named after a beautiful Chickasaw Indian princess.

Ripley, the county seat, was named in honor of General Eleazer Wheelock Ripley, a Congressional Gold Medal holder and War of 1812 hero. As is typical of many early southern settlements, Ripley was built in the form of a square with a courthouse at its center. Court was first held in a log cabin on the northeast corner of Ripley’s square until a brick courthouse was erected in 1838.

During the Civil War, Tippah County sent a large numbers of soldiers and military leaders for the Confederate Army. The 2nd Mississippi fought at Manassas, Virginia in 1861 and the 3rd Mississippi fought at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. The 7th Mississippi was formed and served with General Nathan Bedford Forrest. On July 3, 1864, a skirmish known as the Battle of Whitten Branch occurred just northwest of town. Afterwards, the courthouse was burned by Union troops. However, many valuable records were first removed from the courthouse, hidden, and preserved for over two years until the war ended. The present-day courthouse was built in 1870 and renovated in 1928.

Tippah County is home to the oldest recorded, continuous running, open flea market in the United States. The First Monday Flea Market hosts more than 200,000 visitors annually to its monthly weekend festivities.

Several notable persons have Tippah County connections, including author John Grisham; opera and movie star Ruby Elzy; the father of bluegrass music Bill Monroe; journalist Bill Street and Col. William Falkner, famed author of The White Rose of Memphis and the great-grandfather of Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner, who lived in Ripley as a child.