PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Thursday, May 8, 2008

First Monday

Mike and I drove a bit south of here on Sunday and enjoyed some North Mississippi history – and shopping. We went to Ripley, MS and visited First Monday.

Situated on 50 acres just south of Ripley, First Monday began in 1893 at the courthouse square as “trade day” when local farmers came to town once a month to trade their produce, mules, huntin’ dogs and so forth. There wasn’t much cash floating around, but a person could make a good deal if he had the right goods to trade.

As years moved on, the crowds became too much for the business district so it was relocated to a more expansive location. When the time came that most folks had day jobs, the timing was changed so that First Monday actually took place the weekend before the first Monday of each month.

Admission is free and parking is just $1.50 for the day. There are approximately 1,100 vendor spaces. The variety of items for sale has expanded making the event a giant flea market. It is the largest of its kind in the state and one of the oldest in the nation.

As Mike and I wandered the gravel paths, we saw farm implements, guns, new oak furniture, iron skillets and “dinner bells,” puppies, chickens, ducks, geese, llamas, tires, trees and shrubs, and just about anything else you can imagine. Several booths sold cd’s. At one minute, you’d hear raunchy Delta blues, and a few steps later you’d pick up the rhythms of way-back country tunes.

Naturally, there was a good measure of burgers and carnival food. Not even that was pricey. We had to come home with something, so we bought a jar of Amish, sugarless peach preserves.

There’s even a First Monday music festival in October that we might have to check out.

The two-story house you see in the photo above is a former plantation home on the grounds that is now the site of the Tippah County Heritage Society. It’s said by some to have been the home of William Faulkner’s grandfather.

In 1999, at the suggestion of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, First Monday was documented by the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture for inclusion in a Library of Congress bicentennial project know as “Local Legacies.”

Tippah County has a few other interesting factoids. For starters, both Mike’s mother and mine were born there, although I don’t think they’ve put up historical markers yet. President Bill Clinton’s grandmother was born there, and his great-grandfather, Simpson (Dick) Green Ayers, is buried there. Simpson also happens to be Mike’s great-great-great-grandfather. Mike and the former President are about the same age, so the generation difference in relation to their common ancestor is . . . well, complicated. The relationship is explained in a previous post at


Willow Goldentree said...

I'm glad that you got out. :)

Scarlett said...

Thank you, Willow. All three of us had a good time.