County, East Texas
Highway 79, FM 124 and FM 1251
11 miles W of Carthage
Population: 80 (2000)
in a Pecan Shell |
John Allison was an ambitious man who is
credited with being Fair Play's first citizen. Allison was a storekeeper / blacksmith
who also operated a boardinghouse. When Panola County was organized in 1846, John
Allison became the first Panola County Judge.
A post office opened in
1851 and a traveler is said to have been the source of the town's name. He expressed
his feelings about the fair dealings he had received and evidently John Allison
submitted this praise on the post office application. By 1885, Fair Play had a
population of 100 with two schools, two churches, and basic businesses. By 1890
it had declined by half and the post office closed in 1904. Mail was thereafter
sent through Beckville.
was reported at 90 during the Great Depression and the school merged with those
in Carthage. Although many residents left after
WWII, it still reported
a population of 80 for the 2000 census.
: Music from two country masters|
(Excerpted from "THE EAST TEXAS SUNDAY DRIVE BOOK" by Bob Bowman)
"... At Beckville, take FM 124 and
proceed in a southerly direction until you come to the community of Fair Play
at the intersection with U.S. 79. Travelers supposedly gave the town its name
in gratitude for the way they were treated at John Allison's store, hotel and
blacksmith shop in the l850s. One legend tells the story of a young girl, member
of a wagon train moving west, who died here and was buried in a local cemetery.
Over the years, townspeople have tended to the grave as if it were one of their
own. Just down the road from Fair Play is another rural village known as Rake
Pocket, which supposedly got its name because merchants often cheated visitors.
From Fair Play, take U.S. 79 back to Carthage,
completing your Sunday Drive." more
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