Important Dates in the History of Paris, TX

Please note: Some of these entries may be objectionable, but they are history. We learn from our history - both good and bad. It is my belief that we can't just ignore the bad things in our past. We need to examine them and learn from them so they do not happen again. This article was written in 1932 and things were different then, just as they will be different 70 years from now. - Betsy

Taken from Backward Glances by Alexander White Neville, Volume Two, edited by Skipper Steely - Column dated March 15, 1932

HERE are some facts that will serve to settle arguments that sometimes arise. I have from time to time been called on to give several of these dates. I have documentary evidence of each and they are not based on my memory.

The coldest officially recorded weather in Paris was Sunday, February 12, 1899. At 7:30 that morning it stood at 14 below zero on a private thermometer, which later was found to register one degree higher than the government Instrument. It had reached zero at 8 o'clock Saturday night.

Henry Smith, negro, was burned by the people of Paris the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1, 1893. The crime for which he died was committed the night of Thursday, January 28.

The first great fire in Parts was on Friday, August 31, 1877, beginning about noon. The second began Tuesday, March 21, 1916, about 5 o'clock in this afternoon and burned about twelve hours.

[Yet another devastating fire occurred on April 27, 1896.]

Organization of Lamar county was authorized by act of Texas Congress December 17, 1840, and organization was made early in 1841, the first court being hold in George Wright's store house 1n the present corporate limits of Paris February 22, 1841.

John A. Rutherford was the first presiding or county judge (1841-45) William Brown was the first sheriff (1541-44) and John R. Craddock the first county clerk (1841-52.) The first court house, a frame structure, was built at Lafayette, about three miles northwest of Paris, in 1841. Court site was moved to Mount Vernon. about six miles south of Paris, in 1843 and to what afterwards became Paris, in 1845.

The first brick court house in Paris. was built by Epps Gibbons and Claiborne Chisurn in the center of the square, 1846-47.

The first store was kept by James Johnson, near where is now the corner of South Main and Sherman streets. George Wright had his soon after near where is now the northwest corner of the Plaza.

Claiborne Chisum's residence was the first in what is now the corporate limits of Paris, but George Wright's was the first in the first corporate limits.

The first marriage license was issued February 28, 1841, to John C. Bates and Mrs. Nancy O'Neal and executed March 28, 1841 by Willard Stowell, justice of the peace.

Lamar county voted for prohibition in August, 1904 and delay in the courts prevented closing of the saloons until the latter part of April, 1906.

Clip and preserve this--it will settle an argument sometime.

** The note adds that the last electric car trip was on April 23, 1927. Another note is unreadable.

Other important events -

A tornado devastated the city of Paris on April 2, 1982.

The fountain in the downtown plaza was a gift from Mr. J. J. Culbertson in 1927, taking three years to complete (1924-1927). The Culbertson fountain was built to symbolize what the town had gone through and the rebuilding of Paris after the 1916 fire that destroyed a majority of the city.

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