Tippah County Historical Museum
Tippah County Museum
106 Siddall Street
Ripley, Mississippi 38663
Anita Decker, Curator
Summer Hours 2015: 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Winter Hours 2015-16: 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
The Tippah County Historical Museum located at 106 N. Siddell St. (just behind the Peoples Bank of Ripley) is full of historical data about the county, its past, and the many noted figures and events that have helped shape our storied past and molded our future. Tippah County is proud of its rich southern heritage and tradition and has put on display many of its most important artifacts that tells the story of what has made our community a unique place to live, work, and play.
Tippah County has earned the distinction as one of the ten original counties formed from the Chickasaw Session of 1832. Before this time, the Chickasaws occupied and controlled the area despite Mississippiâ€™s statehood in 1817. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Indians had several large towns along the Natchez Trace and traded considerably with the English and the Americans. In fact, large numbers of artifacts have been found in the county, and the county has rare unspoiled fossil finds found in only one other site in the United States. Tippah County is believed named after a beautiful Chickasaw Indian princess.
Ripley, the county seat, was named in honor of General Eleazor Wheelock Ripley, a Congressional 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 as its center. Interestingly, court was first held in a log cabin on the northeast corner of Ripleyâ€™s square until a brick courthouse was erected in 1838.
During the Civil War, Tippah County furnished large numbers of troops and military leadership for the Confederate Army. The 2nd Mississippi fought at Manassas in Virginia in 1861 and the 3rd Mississippi fought at Fort Donelson. The 7th Mississippi was formed and served with General Bedford Forrest. That same year, the courthouse was burned by Federal troops, though many valuable records were preserved and hidden for over two years until the warâ€™s completion. The present day courthouse was built in 1870.
Tippah County is home to the oldest recorded continuous running open flea market in the United States. The First Monday Flea Market is host to more than 200,000 annual visitors 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 White Rose of Memphis and the great-grandfather of Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner, who also lived in Ripley as a child. You can find it all including facts about the founding of Blue Mountain College, the Paul J. Rainey estate, and the legendary feud between Col. William Falkner and his business partner and longtime friend, R. J. Thurmond, that eventually led to the death of Col. Falkner on the streets of Ripley.
There is so much to see at the Tippah County Historical Museum and in the area that a day should be planned to take in all the information.