Petty, also known as Lookout and Dowlin, is a rural community at the junction of U.S. Highway 82 and Farm roads 137 and 1509 sixteen miles southwest of Paris in western Lamar County. It was first settled after the Civil War and was originally known as Lookout for its location on a small rise. After the Texas and Pacific Railway was built through the area in the mid-1880s, the town's name was changed to Dowlin, reportedly because passengers were frightened when conductors called out the name Lookout. In 1886 a post office was established, and the town's name was changed to Petty in honor of J. M. Petty, a local landowner. By 1890 the town had a church, a general store, a district school, several steam-powered gristmills and gins, a blacksmith, a furniture maker, a drug store, and an estimated population of 350. The town continued to grow during the 1910s and 1920s, reaching a peak population of 500 in the early 1930s. Subsequently the town steadily declined. The number of businesses fell from twelve in 1933 to only two by 1965; in the same period the population dwindled to about 100. In the early 1990s Petty was a dispersed rural community; it had an estimated population of 100 and two rated businesses. The population remained the same in 2000.