Cox, Paris (1846–1888)

By: Jeanne F. Lively

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

Paris Cox, founder of Estacado, a Quaker colony in Crosby County, was born near Asheboro, North Carolina, on October 17, 1846, to Gideon and Asenath Cox, who raised their six children with a strong Quaker persuasion. As a young man Cox was drafted by the Confederate States of America to serve in the Civil War. Because of his pacifism, he purchased a legal exemption and moved to Westfield, Indiana, where he met and married Mary C. Ferguson, a young schoolteacher. Cox first went into business with his father-in-law in a sawmill. When the supply of lumber began to dwindle the business suffered, and he sought another opportunity in the West. He joined a group of buffalo hunters and traveled to the Llano Estacado of West Texas. One evening while they were camped above the Caprock west of pioneer Henry C. Smith's house on a hill overlooking a particularly beautiful site, Cox reportedly said, "Here, by the will of God, will be my home." In 1876 he returned to Texas and secured authority to sell land to settlers at twenty-five cents an acre. His colonists became the first settlers on the High Plains of Texas.

In late 1878 Cox revisited the site he had loved. He hired Hank Smith to dig a community well and to break and plant thirty acres of land with various crops in the summer of 1879. In the fall of 1879 Smith wrote that water was found at sixty-five feet and sent samples of good crops he had grown on the thirty-acre Crosby County farm. Encouraged by the news, Cox and his family, then including wife Mary and two sons, and three other families left for the plains. Cox built a sod house at the site. The others decided to live in tents. The winter of 1879 was a severe one, and the early spring brought high winds that blew away the tents and belongings of the other three families, who returned to Indiana. Cox and his family stayed on, planted, cultivated, and harvested excellent crops of corn, oats, millet, sorghum, melons, potatoes, and garden vegetables. A son and daughter were added to their family. Before long several friends and relatives began to arrive in covered wagons. In 1881 Cox persuaded his father and mother to come to the new colony. By the summer of 1882 the settlement comprised ten families.

In 1879 a town was established and named Marietta, in honor of Cox's wife. When the county was organized in 1886, the name was changed to Estacado because the state already had a post office named Marietta. Estacado became the county seat of Crosby County, and ten surrounding counties were attached to the county for judicial purposes. In a general election held on November 2, 1886, Cox was elected district clerk. From 1880 to 1890 the colony flourished. Paris Cox died of throat cancer on November 2, 1888, and was buried in the Estacado Cemetery. See also RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.

Roger Andrew Burgess, The History of Crosby County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1927). Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum, Estacado: Cradle of Culture and Civilization on the Staked Plains of Texas (Crosbyton, Texas, 1986; based on an M.A. thesis by John Cooper Jenkins). Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum, A History of Crosby County, 1876–1977 (Dallas: Taylor, 1978). W. Hubert Curry, Sun Rising on the West: The Saga of Henry Clay and Elizabeth Smith (Crosbyton, Texas: Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum, 1979). Lawrence L. Graves, ed., A History of Lubbock (Lubbock: West Texas Museum Association, 1962). Nellie Witt Spikes and Temple Ann Ellis, Through the Years: A History of Crosby County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1952).
  • Religion
  • Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jeanne F. Lively, “Cox, Paris,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 02, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994