Founded in 1839 on the divide between the Red and Sulphur rivers, Paris became the seat of Lamar County in 1844. It was settled by a diverse group of frontier personalities. Sam Bell Maxey—a West Point graduate, attorney and Confederate general—made his family home here. Retired outlaw Frank James (brother of Jesse) clerked in a local dry goods store. The town was home to John Chisum, who became one of the West's foremost cattle barons. Notorious frontier outlaw queen, Belle Starr, tended a farm near town. Today, the town is a commercial center for a fertile agricultural region and home to Paris Junior College.
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