William Johnson McDonald, lawyer, banker, and philanthropist, eldest son of Henry Graham and Sarah (Johnson) McDonald, was born on a farm near Howland, Texas, on December 21, 1844. He attended McKenzie College, where Rev. John W. P. McKenzie was guardian of the orphaned William and his two brothers. McDonald left college in 1864 to join the Confederate Army but returned when the war ended and was graduated in 1867. He received a thorough classical training and developed a deep interest in astronomy, botany, zoology, and geology.
He supported himself for the next two or three years by teaching school and plying the printer's trade while studying law.
He opened a law office in Clarksville in 1881 and became recognized as one of the best civil lawyers of Northeast Texas. He also prospered financially; from a small beginning as a moneylender, he advanced to the presidency of banks that he organized in Clarksville, Paris, and Cooper.
On the establishment of the Paris bank, later First National Bank in 1887, he moved to Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life. The current location of First National Bank was built in 1916, with its brick structure one of the few buildings downtown the survive the fire.
Increasing wealth made little change in his habits; he continued to work hard and to live modestly. He made contributions to charity and helped a number of young men to get an education, and when his fortune had become well assured, he traveled to Europe and Mexico, as well as to various points in the United States. In 1895 and 1896 he studied botany in summer school at Harvard University.
McDonald never married. He died in Paris on February 8, 1926, leaving an estate of over a million dollars, the bulk of which he bequeathed to the University of Texas to establish an observatory. His heirs contested the will, and the university eventually made an out-of-court settlement by which it received $800,000.
The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory at Mount Locke near Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County. This site was selected because of its high ratio of clear nights, its 6,800-foot altitude, and its quite low latitude that permits observation of southern skies. Until 1948, its 82-inch telescope was second largest in the world.
Eugene Clifton Stallings Jr. (born March 2, 1935) grew up in Paris, Tx and is a retired American football player and coach. He played college football at Texas A&M University (1954–1956), where he was one of the "Junction Boys", and later served as the head coach at his alma mater from 1965 to 1971. Stallings was also the head coach of the St. of the NFL (1986–1989) and at the University of Alabama (1990–1996). Stallings' 1992 Alabama team completed a 13–0 season with a win in the Sugar Bowl over Miami and was named the consensus national champion. Stallings was also a member of the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University. He was inducted into the College Hall of Fame as a coach on July 16, 2011.
Gary B.B. Coleman was a renowned American soul blues singer, guitarist, songwriter and record producer. Born in 1947 in Paris, Texas to L.C. and Willie Mae Wilson Coleman, Gary taught himself to play guitar at age 11, and lived a childhood greatly inspired by blues and jazz music.
By age 15, Gary experienced working with fellow Texan blues artist, Freddie King, and later performed alongside Lightnin’ Hopkins in concert. Gary went on to form his own band, and also began his career as a blues promoter booking musicians at venues in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
Coleman began his recording career in 1986, where he selfproduced his debut album, Nothin’ but the Blues , as well as his own independent record label, Mr. B’s Records. After his debut placed #74 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart , Gary signed with Ichiban Records of Atlanta, Georgia, and released six albums between 1988 and 1992.
In addition to his personal albums, Gary was praised for assisting other artists in achieving a spot in the blues music entertainment industry. While working with Ichiban Records, Coleman produced a total of 30 albums by accomplished artists such as Blues Boy Willie, Chick Willis, Little Johnny Taylor, and Buster Benton. Coleman proved to be a versatile asset behind the scenes of Ichiban, as he continued to write song material, scout talent, and play the guitar or keyboard for other records.
On February 14, 1994, Gary fell to an untimely death at the age of 47 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Funeral services were held at the New Salem Baptist Church in Paris, with burial at Restlawn Garden Cemetery.
Robert Matthew Van Winkle (born October 31, 1967), known professionally as Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper, actor, and television host. Raised in Paris, Tx, Ice released his debut album, Hooked, in 1989 on Ichiban Records, before signing a contract with SBK Records, a record label of the EMI Group, which released a reformatted version of the album in 1990 under the title "To The Extreme" which became the fastest-selling hip hop album of all time and contained Ice's best-known hits: "Ice, Ice, Baby" and a cover of "Play That Funky Music". "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts and has been credited with helping to diversify hip hop by introducing it to a mainstream audience.
Shangela Laquifa Wadley, commonly referred to as Shangela, is the stage name of D.J. Pierce, a professional drag queen, actor, a contestant from RuPaul's Drag Race and comedian from Paris, Texas. Shangela is best recognized as the only contestant to compete on three separate seasons of the Emmy-award winning reality series Rupaul's Drag Race (seasons 2, 3 and All Stars 3).
As an actor, Shangela (aka D.J. Pierce) has guest starred on network television shows like "2 Broke Girls," "Glee," "Bones," “The Mentalist,” “X-Files,” and more. She has appeared in films including "Hurricane Bianca" (2016), ”Kiss Me, Kill Me" (2015), “Hurricane Bianca 2” and “A Star Is Born” with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. In 2012, she co-starred with Jenifer Lewis in a four-part scripted YouTube series called “Jenifer Lewis and Shangela.”
Raymon Emmett Berry (born February 27, 1933) is an American former professional football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a split end for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 to 1967, and after several assistant coaching positions, was head coach of the New England Patriots from 1984 to 1989. With the Colts, Berry led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards three times and in receiving touchdowns twice, and was invited to six Pro Bowls. The Colts won consecutive NFL Championships, including the 1958 Championship Game—known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played"—in which Berry caught 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. He retired as the all-time NFL leader in both receptions and receiving yardage.
A true Paris native, Alexander Mack Aikin Jr. and his family moved to Lamar County in 1907, where he attended Paris Junior College. Aikin became a renowned American politician who served in the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate from 1937-1979, making him the longest-tenured legislator in Texas history at the time of his retirement.
Aikin was honored with the proclamation of "A. M. Aikin Day" in 1973, during which his portrait was hung in the Texas Senate chamber.
Benjamin Cas Haley (born 1980 in Paris, Texas) is an American singer-songwriter. He and his reggae-inflected music first appeared to a national audience on Season 2 of America's Got Talent in 2007, where he came in 2nd place. After his audition, judge Piers Morgan said that Haley sang "Walkin On the Moon" better than Sting.
Haley's self-titled debut album was released in 2007 and reached No. 8 on Billboard's Reggae Albums chart.
Easy Star Records released Haley's follow-up album, Connection, on September 14, 2010. It reached No. 2 on Billboard's Reggae Albums chart in 2010.
Haley released his third album, La Si Dah, on May 28, 2013, on Easy Star Records. Cas was nominated as best reggae rock entertainer for the 32nd annual International Reggae and World Music Awards.
In 2020, Cas Haley was the grand prize winner of the Lincoln Motor Company's "Chart Your Course" contest. His winning song, "Every Road I'm On," beat out over 1,600 entrants.
Blake Neely (born April 28, 1969 in Paris, Tx) is an American composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and author. Neely has contributed to and been credited on dozens of film and TV projects over the years such as: Everwood (which earned him a 2003 Emmy Award nomination for the theme), on the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, King Kong, The Last Samurai, The Great Buck Howard, and many more. Other film projects in which he is the sole composer are Elvis and Anabelle, Starter for 10, and The Wedding Date.
In addition, Neely has composed the music for over twenty television series, including The Mentalist and You.
He has frequently collaborated with Greg Berlanti, including Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.
He has also been credited alongside several well known composers such as Michael Kamen, James Newton, Vangelis, (for his work on the Mythodea project as arranger and conductor), and Hans Zimmer.
As an author, he has written over 25 instrumental method books such as the best-selling piano method Piano For Dummies.
Ben H. Love was born in Vernon, Texas in 1924 to Nell Scott and Benton F. Love. Ben grew up in his late grandfather’s homestead in Paris, Texas, during the prime years of the Great Depression. As a child, Ben attended West Paris Elementary School. He went on to graduate as President of the Paris High School Class of 1941, and continued his education at The University of Texas.
Love spent 22 years at Texas Commerce, most of them as president of the bank or its parent company, Texas Commerce Bancshares. He helped revolutionize Texas banking with modern business practices that emphasized aggressive sales and marketing.
Under his guidance, Texas Commerce Bancshares expanded until it became the state's second-largest lending institution. After mergers with other banks, TCB became JPMorgan Chase, now the largest bank in Texas.
In addition to serving as a director on 12 different NYSE corporate boards, Ben assumed many other established positions including Chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership, Chairman of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, President of Reserve City Bankers Association, Founding Chairman of the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, and President of The University of Texas Ex-Students’ Association- Houston.
Love was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus” from The University of Texas, and in 1983, Texas A&M University’ Business School designated him as “Texas Business Executive of the Year”. In 1989, Ben was inducted into The Texas Business Hall of Fame, and was named “Houston’s Greatest Individual” by The Greater Houston Partnership in 2004.
David Earl Philley, born May 16, 1920 in Paris, Tx, was an outfielder who played in Major League Baseball. A switch hitter who threw right-handed, he debuted on September 6, 1941 and played his final game on August 6, 1962.
Philley played for eight different teams in a long, 18-season career. He led American league outfielders in assists three different years (1948, 1950, 1953) and once in outs (1950).
Philley reached the majors in 1941 with the Chicago White Sox. Philley was with the White Sox for five-and-a-half years before moving to the Philadelphia Athletics early in the 195 season. After playing for Philadelphia in the 1951 through 1953 seasons, he next played for the Cleveland Indians in 1954. He was acquired by the Baltimoore Orioles during the 1955 season and finished the year with a .299 batting average, leading the Orioles in batting. Later in his long career, Philley played for the Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, and Boston Red Sox, including second stints with Chicago and Baltimore. While in Cleveland, he appeared in the1954 World Series.
William Scott Scudder (born February 14, 1968) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher.
Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1st round of the 1986 MLB amateur draft, Scudder made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cincinnati Reds on June 6, 1989, and appeared in his final game on May 22, 1993.
On May 20, 1988, Scudder pitched a no-hitter for the Cedar Rapids Reds against the Wausau Timbers.
Scudder was a member of the Cincinnati Reds team that defeated the Oakland Athletics in the 1990 World Series. He pitched scoreless innings in both the NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates and in the World Series against Oakland.
Though mainly a starter during his career, Scudder did pick up one save. On April 17, 1991, Scudder pitched 3 shutout innings to close out a 5-1 victory over the Padres.
Snowy, Paris, TX native, released her second album, delivering her Snowflake album, after releasing a single of the same title in 2019, for her second outing, Snowy taps Gwalla Cobain and fellow Texan S3nsi Molly on the 11-track collection which contains her best work yet.
The hitmaker has been building an undeniable buzz since her initial arrival in 2018 and followed her breakout success with notable mentions, “Man Up,” “Go” and “Mike Jones.”
Tyler Dow Bryant (born February 24, 1991) is an American guitarist from Paris, Tx. He is best known as the lead guitarist and vocalist of the rock band Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. In 2011, Bryant formed Dead Cool Dropouts with The Veronica's.. He later contributed to their 2014 self-titled album.
Tyler has recorded with music producers Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, and Roger Alan Nichols. In March 2011, Tyler released his first EP, called My Radio, which was later followed by another EP, From the Sandcastle. Tyler has also been confirmed as a warm up artist for Guns N' Roses Not in this Lifetime Tour. He released Truth Or Lies in 2019, his third album after 2013's Wild Child and his second self titled album.
Elle Evans is an American actor and model from Paris, Tx. She rose to prominence in the ‘Grammy Award’-nominated controversial yet extremely popular music video of the Robin Thicke song ‘Blurred Lines’ featuring Pharrell Williams. Elle won the ‘Miss Louisiana Teen USA’ title and finished as the third runner-up of the ‘Miss Teen USA 2008’ pageant. She posed for ‘Playboy’ and became the ‘Playboy Playmate of the Month.’ She is one of the faces of ‘NYX’ cosmetics.’ She is represented by ‘Wilhelmina Models,’ ‘Rogers and Cowan,’ and ‘Elite Model Management.’ Elle has, over the years, worked in commercials for several brands, such as ‘AXE Apollo Cologne,’ ‘Wet 'n Wild’ cosmetics, and ‘Mary Kay’ cosmetics. She was featured in ‘Maxim’ and on the cover of ‘FHM France.’ She gained fame with ‘Blurred Lines’ and appeared in music videos of ‘Haunted’ and ‘Superpower’ by Beyoncé. She has also appeared in the films ‘The Love Witch’ and ‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.’
Tia Lynn Ballard (born May 11, 1986) is an American voice actress and ADR director affiliated with Funimation. Some of her notable roles are Zero Two in Darling in the Franxx, Kusano in Sekirei, Rin Ogata in Rideback, Mizore Shirayuki in Rosario + Vampire, Nanami Momozono in Kamisama Kiss, Happy in Fairy Tail, Yashiro Nene in Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Itsuki Nakano in The Quintessential Quintuplets, and Kokomi Teruhashi in The Disastrous Life of Saiki.
John Charles Morris (born October 2, 1984 in Paris, Tx) is an American actor, singer, and former model. He is best known for his role as the voice of Andy Davis in the Toy Story films.
In 1991 while auditioning for the role of Andy in Toy Story, Morris brought some of his X-Men action figures and made voices for them; the Pixar staff loved it and gave him the part. Morris was brought back on to Toy Story 3 by the request of the director Lee Unkrich.
He also has minor fame for voicing "Pepper Roni" in the 1997 video game Lego Island.
Beverly Leech was born on May 23 in Paris, Texas, USA as Beverly Ann Leech. She is an actress, whose craft was directly shaped and deeply inspired by Stella Adler. Known for Blood Work (2002), First Kill (2018) and Square One Television (1987). She is a member of Academy Award Winner, Robert Moresco's, The Actors Gym, developing new works by writers in Film, Television, and Stage. Beverly is also a 20+ year member of The Southern Poverty Law Center, dedicated to correcting racial and social injustice.
Charles Rufus Baxter (November 4, 1929 – March 10, 2005) was an American medical doctor born in Paris, Tx. Baxter was one of the doctors who unsuccessfully tried to save U.S. President John F. Kennedy after he was shot in Dallas, Texas, in 1963.
Baxter graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1950. He then attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas where he received his medical degree in 1954.
Baxter was the emergency room director at Parkland Memorial Hospital when Kennedy was shot, and famously said of the event in 1988:
As soon as we realized we had nothing medical to do, we all backed off from the man with a reverence that one has for one's president, and we did not continue to be doctors from that point on. We became citizens again, and there were probably more tears shed in that room than in the surrounding hundred miles.
He also operated on Texas Governor John Conally, who had been wounded in the attack.
Baxter made advances in the treatment of burn victims, and founded the burn unit and a skin-graft bank at Parkland.
He died in Dallas, Texas, on March 10, 2005, of pneumonia, aged 75.