History

Tippah Treasures 005

 

Though competitively positioned for the needs of tomorrows workplace, the Tippah County Community is proud of its southern heritage and tradition.

Tippah has earned 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 Mississippis statehood in 1817. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Indians had several large towns along the Natchez Tract 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.

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 Ripleys 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 3rdMississippi 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 wars completion. The present-day courthouse was built in 1970.

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, an author and the great-grandfather of Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner, who also lived in Ripley as a child.