FAIR PLAY, TEXAS. Fair Play, a farming community at the junction of U.S. Highway 79 and Farm roads 124 and 1251, eleven miles west of Carthage in western Panola County, is one of the oldest settlements in the area. The site occupies part of Immanuel Antonio Romero's land grant. The first settler there was John Allison, who operated a general store, boardinghouse, and blacksmith shop and became county judge when the county was organized in 1846. A post office was granted to the community in 1851 and was officially named by the comment of a traveler who was impressed with the fair rates and treatment he had received at Allison's store, where the post office was located. A church, used by whites and blacks, was built on Allison's place, and buried in the churchyard were the Allison slaves and family, among them Thomas G. Allison, a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1875. By 1885 Fair Play had two schools, two churches, a sawmill, gristmills, a cotton gin, and an estimated population of 100. Its population dropped to fifty by 1890, and its post office was closed in 1904, when the mail was sent to Beckville. In the mid-1930s Fair Play had a reported population of ninety-five and a church, a school, a sawmill, and several stores. Its school was consolidated with the Carthage school in the 1940s, and after World War II many of the remaining residents moved away. In the mid-1960s the settlement still had three churches, a school, and a store. In 1990 and in 2000 Fair Play reported a population of eighty.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: History of Panola County (Carthage, Texas: Carthage Circulating Book Club, 1935?). Leila B. LaGrone, ed., History of Panola County (Carthage, Texas: Panola County Historical Commission, 1979). John Barnette Sanders, Postoffices and Post Masters of Panola County, Texas, 1845-1930 (Center, Texas, 1964). Claudia Hazlewood
Fairplay today and map location.