Rolling Fork offers the relaxed atmosphere of small town living. Ours is a friendly town, deeply rooted not only in
history, but a deep sense of family. Almost everybody in Rolling Fork drives with one hand because they are waving
to their friends, neighbors and even visitors with the other.
Surrounded by corn, cotton and soybean fields, at first glance Rolling Fork might appear to be like most other Mississippi Delta towns, but there are other things to do and experience here you can't anywhere else. From the Blues, to the Teddy bear, to a tragic love story and a Civil War battle, the Rolling Fork community has some unique stories to tell.
While Clarksdale may claim Muddy Waters as their native son, he's actually ours. The father of modern Chicago Blues, McKinley "Muddy Waters" Morganfield was born here, and his relatives still live here. You can visit our "Blues Shack" just behind the Sharkey County Courthouse, which is reminiscent of the type of shotgun house Morganfield would have lived in. In December 2008, the Mississippi Blues Trail Commission dedicated a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker honoring Morganfield just steps from the Blues Shack. Also on the courthouse square is the Muddy Waters Memorial Gazebo, and murals throughout the downtown area feature images of the Blues man. And, while you're here, you can visit the Sharkey-Issaquena County Library's Blues listening station to hear many of Morganfield's most famous songs. In celebration of the city's musical heritage, each spring the community hosts the Deep Delta Festival. The festival showcases local and regional performers, arts and crafts and food vendors, all centered around the Blues Shack.
The idea for the world's most iconic toy, the Teddy bear, was inspired by a political cartoon depicting President Theodore Roosevelt's refusal to shoot a black bear while on a hunt just a few miles from Rolling Fork in 1902. The community celebrates Roosevelt's conservation legacy, his bear and the repatriation of the Louisiana Black Bear in Mississippi with the Great Delta Bear Affair—a festival held annually on the fourth Saturday in October in Downtown Rolling Fork. Each year, the Great Delta Bear Affair has chainsaw woodcarver Dayton Scoggins carve a bear from a huge cypress log that is donated to Rolling Fork. The bears can be seen welcoming visitors throughout town.
Prehistoric Indian mounds dot Rolling Fork and the surrounding area, and one group of mounds known as the Rolling Fork Mounds is the latest known occupation of Native American mounds in the Lower Mississippi Valley. But, it is a ceremonial Indian mound located just north of Rolling Fork that offers one of the most picturesque views in the Delta. Atop the mound sits Mont Helena, a circa 1896 home with a history that is centered around the tragic love story of Helen Johnstone Harris and Henry Vick. Mont Helena had fallen into disrepair over the decades, but a continuing restoration project by its current owner, Drick Rodgers, has returned much of the home to its original splendor. The Friends of Mont Helena group produces a dramatic retelling of the love story, "Mont Helena: A Dream Revisited," each spring inside the home. For more information, or for tickets, visit www.monthelena.com.
The Steele's Bayou Expedition at Rolling Fork, known in certain circles as the Battle of Rolling Fork, was in fact the only time Major General William T. Sherman was stopped on his march to the sea. In March of 1863, as part of the Vicksburg Campaign, Admiral David Porter's Mississippi River Squadron traveled along Steele's Bayou to Deer Creek. The creek proved nearly impassable, and as the ironclads progressed at a snail's pace toward Rolling Fork they were halted by trees and willow branches felled by local residents and Confederate troops. Attempts at retreat were thwarted by Confederate soldiers and more trees. Union forces were able to fight off the southern soldiers, and Porter and his vessels were able to travel back along Steele's Bayou to the Mississippi River. That attempted expedition to reach Vicksburg accomplished nothing.
You can learn about these and other stories by visiting our Visitors Center and Museum, located just off Highway 61 on Walnut Street. The center is manned by volunteers ready to tell you all about our area, and is open Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special tours may be arranged by calling 662.873.2232.
Rolling Fork is also home to one of the finest small town medical communities in the state. The Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital provides general medical and emergency services to the two county area. On its campus are doctor's and dentist's offices; and a fitness center, pharmacy and rehabilitation center are located just across the street. The hospital's campus also features one of Rolling Fork's two walking and fitness tracks.
The city's close proximity to the only bottomland hardwood forest in the U.S. Forest Service system, Delta National Forest, makes it the perfect place for hunters, fisherman and other outdoor enthusiasts. The forest's 60,000 acres are located entirely in Sharkey County and feature lakes for fishing, primitive camping areas, hiking and horseback riding trails, and areas for hunting many species of wildlife.