Fairplay History 1936
The next settler in Fairplay school district was perhaps Ed Sweat, who settled just north of Fairplay on the old Sam Allison or Smith place. In 1838 John and Primes Williams came. John Williams settled near where S. T. Allison now lives, and Primes settled near the old William's Cemetery just west of Fairplay. It was Primes that gave the land for the first school, church, and cemetery.
The Williams bought bread corn from the Rev. Isaac Reed when they came. Reed had a number of slaves. It is said that he was a very pleasant and social man. His wife was money maker but not so social as her husband. After loading, Reed insisted that they stay for dinner. Mrs. Reed said, "Oh! It is a long time until dinner," to which John Williams replied, "We are not in a hurry," and stayed. The result was dinner was served in a short time.
The Barksdales Wyatts, the widow Hail, who was a daughter of the old man Wyatt and widow Morgan, all came together in 1838. None of these headwrighted land in what is now Fairplay school district except widow Morgan. She settled near where Bob Browning now lives. Wash Wyatt's wife was a Morgan so he lived with his mother-in-law.
Stephen Allred, Sr., and his son-in-law, James Robinson came in 1841. Robinson borrowed an axe from Primes Williams, with which he cut the logs, split the punchions, and boards for the floor and cover of his house. (Told by his son Steve Robinson, who is still living .)
From the records these seem to be the only that headwrighted land in the district that settled on. it. Most of them with their families are buried in the Old Williams Cemetery. Herrins Morris and others headwrighted land, but lived out of what is now Fairplay district. These were all from Tennessee. The records show that all that settled in this section before 1850 were from Tennessee. Others that came here early that have descendants living here now are the Gentry's who settled here in 1847, the Allisons, 1849 (Allison first settled on east side of Sabine River), Murrays 1850, Harris 1851, (Harris first settled in Rusk County in 1848), Shams 1858.
Prime Williams' wife died before coming to Texas. So in 1841 he and widow Hail were married. John Williams and Newt Williams, Prime Williams' sons, were staunch Methodists. Newt was grown up and interested in church affairs from a youth. He was a Colonel in the Civil War and it is said he would hold a religious service before going to bed. It is only surmising but perhaps they were instrumental in Littletown Fowler, the early Methodist Missionary to Texas, coming this way. Anyway he seems to have made Primes Williams (Newt's father) Headquarters while in this section. It was Primes, as already referred to, that gave land for the church and cemetery. The old records of church have been lost and we do not know just when it was organized but know the house was there in 1841. This was about three miles from Reed's Church, Bethel, which is now Clayton. From records we can find that these were the only two churches, in what is now Panola County, west of the Sabine river, until 1845, when Macedonia was organized.
Fowler was said to be one of the most consecrated and untiring workers, that ever came to Texas. He is buried in Sabine County under the pulpit of a small community church, his tombstone forms the back of the pulpit.