About The Ripley transcript. (Ripley, Miss.) 1837-18??
Ripley, Miss. (1837-18??)
- The Ripley transcript. : (Ripley, Miss.) 1837-18??
- Place of publication:
- Ripley, Miss.
- Geographic coverage:
- James B. Walker
- Dates of publication:
- Began in 1837.
- Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 9 (Oct. 5, 1837).
- sn 87065590
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
The Ripley Transcript and The Ripley Advertiser
Tippah County was established in 1836 from land ceded to the United States by the Chickasaw. Located in the northeast corner of Mississippi, its mostly timbered, hilly terrain and fertile creek bottoms were more suitable for small farms than large plantations. Most landowners had few, if any, slaves; in 1860 slaves accounted for around 28 percent of the county population, well below the state average 55 of percent.
The first newspaper in Ripley, the Tippah County seat, was the four-page weekly Ripley Transcript (1837-1842?); owned and edited by James B. Walker, it began the year the town incorporated. Walker proposed to ". . . furnish the news of the day in the commercial and political world . . ." and "to promote and uphold the interest of the farmer merchant and mechanic [sic] . . ." Although the paper's political affiliation is not clearly stated, the state and local political candidates it featured supported the Whig-backed national bank as a solution for the financial crisis. The newly independent Republic of Texas was a common editorial topic; locally, reliable mail delivery was a concern.
After 1842 and until 1879, the Ripley Advertiser (1842-1897?), a four-page Democratic weekly, was often the town's only newspaper. By September 1843, John F. Ford was proprietor/publisher and also usually the editor of the Advertiser. Early content included literature, editorials, legal notices, legislative and local news, advertisements and prospectuses of other newspapers. After the June 1845 murders of the Adcock family in Tippah County and the subsequent confession, incarceration, and execution of Andrew J. McCannon for the crime, the Advertiser and other newspapers throughout the nation reported the incident. Joining his father by 1873, R. F. Ford became sole owner in 1885. Throughout the 1890s content shifted towards more general interest stories; and obituaries, marriage announcements, agricultural news, and a woman's column were added; national news was sparse. By June 1893, when the masthead declared "Official Organ of Tippah County," news from other county towns and the board of supervisor proceedings appeared. Due to ill health, Ford sold the newspaper in 1894; the Advertiser continued for at least another two years, expanding to eight pages in May 1896.
With no navigable streams, rugged terrain, and poor roads, Ripley was desperate for improved transportation; for example, an April 11, 1860 letter to the editor of the Advertiser described three failed railroad efforts. In 1872, wealthy lawyer and businessman, William Clark Falkner, was instrumental in finally getting a railroad to Ripley. Like his more famous great-grandson, Nobel prize-winner William Cuthbert Faulkner, Falkner also was an author. His most famous novel,The White Rose of Memphis, was serialized in the Advertiser, with individual chapters published from July 1880 until July 1881. The Ripley Advertiser covered the exploits of William Clark Falkner, the town's most famous and colorful citizen in great detail.
With a new state constitution in 1890, the next decade saw the codification of white political supremacy and non-citizenship for most African Americans in Mississippi. The Ripley Advertiser supported the constitutional convention, as seen in a January 29, 1890 reprint. In addition to editorializing on Democratic attitudes towards race, the Advertiser was a strong supporter of small farm owners, declaring in an August 20, 1890 issue that ". . . the Democratic party is the farmer's friend, and advocates such legislation as will work to the farmer's interest."
Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History