Tippah County, one of the northern tier counties in Mississippi, is bounded by the State of Tennessee, on the east by Alcorn and Prentiss Counties, on the south by Union County, and on the west by Benton County. Its total area is about 464 square miles. Ripley, the county seat, is about 30 miles southwest of Corinth, and about 80 miles east-southeast of Memphis Tennessee.
Few areas of comparable size contain such a wide variety of topography and soils as does Tippah County. The differences are due to the different geologic formations exposed in the county, all of which are coastal plain deposits laid down when all of Mississippi except part of Tishomingo County was covered by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The region was home to the Chickasaw Indians, a tribe that belonged to the Muskhogean family of Indians, were closely related to the Choctaw who lived in southern Mississippi. The Chickasaws were great traders, and much European silver, jewelry, and pottery has been found in their graves.
The first white men to set foot on the soil of north Mississippi were the conquistadores of Hernando DeSoto, who spent the winter of 1540-41 near Pontotoc. In May 1541, DeSoto and his band moved northward, crossed the Tallahatchie River at or near present site of New Albany, and followed the trail that today is essentially the route of U.S. Highway 78 to the Mississippi River.
On February 14, 1836, more than a year before removal of the Chickasaws to the west began, the Mississippi Legislature divided the Chickasaw Cession into ten counties: Tishamingo, Itawamba, Chickasaw, Pontotoc, Marshall, Lafayette, Panola, Tunica, DeSoto and Tippah.
The name “Tippah” is a Chickasaw word meaning “cut off” and is taken from the creek of the same name that flows across much of the original county from east to west before emptying into the Tallahatchie River. The creek probably was named because it, and the ridges on either side “cut off” the northern part of the region from the southern portion.
Walnut was established on November 6, 1872. This land which is located at the intersection of US Highway 72 and MS Highway 15 was bought from the Chickasaw Indian Cession in 1836 by Henry Hopkins. The town was first incorporated as Hopkins, MS and changed to Walnut on July 10, 1876.
Chalybeate, Mississippi is a town located about 2 miles southeast of Walnut. The town derived its name from the iron-impregnated water of the area. It was first called Chalybeate Springs due to the two springs located at the foot of the hill near the center of the community. From the very beginning the water from the springs was considered to be beneficial to health and the community was considered a health resort.
Chalybeate Elementary School
In 1889, a school was created and obtained excellent teachers. A boarding house for these teachers and for persons wanting to drink the spring water. It soon became a trading center that served a wild area. For many years, the village operated a sawmill when lumber was plentiful and a cotton gin.
The community began in the middle to late 1800’s. It was named after George Tipler, who owned the town’s first store. The first post office was established here in 1873.