Lamar County, Texas



Willet Babcock
The Standard
Sept. 2, 1881
Submitted & © by Carole Curry

Willet Babcock
Clarksville: Willett Babcock died in Paris last Saturday evening. He was well known and respected citizen and had accumulated considerable property. He had a furniture store in our town, in charge of Mr. Albert Michaels, which we understand will be closed out and Mr. Michaels will to to Paris to take charge of the business there.

Willet Babcock
The Dallas Morning News
Tuesday, May 1, 1979, p. 3C
Submitted & © by Carole Curry

The 20 foot tall statue of an angel or saint leaning on a cross is certainly for real. Erected in 1881, the life sized figure topping an elaborate 6 foot pedestal still stands, and the religious robe clad statue still wears cowboy boots. The pedestal, inscribed 'Willet Babcock, Oct. 6, 1828, died 1881, Love Never Dies', also features upside down torches, symbolizing the end of a life. No one can figure why Babcock's, monument features the cowboy boots, because he was a cultured gent, owner of an opera house and manufacturer of fine furniture. It's unlikely he died with his boots on. This monument with a sense of humor was created by German stone mason Gustave Klein, who made many of the more elaborate tombstones in the Paris cemetery.

Willet Babcock
Fort Worth Star Telegram
Unknown Date
Submitted & © by Carole Curry

Booted, But... Jesus?
By Mike Menichini
Star-Telegram Writer
Paris- In Paris, Texas, they call it the 'Jesus in Cowboy Boots.' But it is debatable whether the marble sculpture in Evergreen Cemetery is really meant to be Jesus Christ. What is not debatable, however, is that the otherwise typical Biblical figure depicted is wearing cowboy boots and boot-cut pants. 'I don't think it's Jesus,' said Elizabeth Booth, Paris historian who has become the unofficial authority on the monument. 'It's just a Biblical figure, not Saint Michael or any of those but probably, an angel. But everybody calls it Jesus in Cowboy Boots.
The figure, with its long hair and flowing gown, is leaning against a sculptured cross. It has a sullen, weary expression. The monument was commissioned for the Babcock family plot by Willet Babcock in 1880. The monument is believed to be the work of Gustov Klien, a German immigrant who worked here for the North Texas Marble Works. Klien's name is carved into the base of the monument, Mrs. Booth said. The work which cost the Babcock family $2,500 was completed in 1882, one year after Babcock died, she said. 'But why he put the boots on there I can't tell you. I just couldn't associate cowboy boots with the man (Babcock),' she said. Babcock, who was 52 when he died was a prominent business and civic leader. He was a dealer in fine furniture, and built the Babcock Opera House In 1880, a year before he died. The upper floor was used for performances, the lower for display of big furniture. 'Only the sure-enough cowboys wore boots in those days,' Mrs. Booth said. 'As one of those (business leaders), you wouldn't think he would wear boots.

Willet Babcock
Unknown Paper
Unknown Date
Submitted & © by Carole Curry

Historian Doubts Statue Is Christ
Jim Blassingame, 39, is assistant director of the cemetery. Blassingame's father is the director, as was his grandfather and great-grandfather. He said Babcock commissioned the work after his brother, Caleb, died in 1880 at the age of 48. But it is uncertain whether Babcock had the boots added to the sculpture as some unknown testimonial to his brother or if Klien added them himself after Willet Babcock died. 'I wouldn't even try to guess on that,' said Mrs. Booth. Blassingame said there are other things about the monument that has piqued curiosity. 'It is the only Biblical figure in the cemetery that faces a direction other than east,' he said. It faces, a generally northern direction.
'Some people say that meant they were atheist, but they weren't. Mrs. Booth said those rumors may have started because the Babcock Plot is located near a plot of an avowed atheist. Residents may have the two confused, she said.
Gustov Klien died in 1884. He also was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. His monument also has a Biblical figure, but without cowboy boots. His employer provided the monument for less than $100, Mrs. Booth said. Shortly after World War One, Paris Mayor J. W. DeWees received a letter from some people in Germany who claimed they were Klien's relatives. They said the war had left them destitute and asked the city to sell Klien's monument and send them the proceeds. Their request was denied, but a collection was taken up and an undetermined amount of money was sent to Germany, Mrs. Booth said. The Babcock monument has suffered more at the hands of souvenir hunters than the weather over the years, Blassingame said. 'They're the same kind of people that go to Pike's Peak and pick up rocks,' he said. Several years ago, the monument even served as the drop point for a drug deal. Arrests were made in the incidence Blassingame said. Mrs. Booth, 60, became interested in the Evergreen Cemetery monuments while researching her husband's genealogy in 1969. Her interest grew, and she began gathering material on other families with roots in Paris' history. She also has given lectures on the town's history and helped to catalog a history of the county for the public library. 'It's something that's been going on for a long time in the East and up North, but around here it was still pretty new,' she said. Her hobby was considered somewhat unusual then- like cowboy boots on Jesus.'

Belinda Babcock
Unknown Paper
Unknown Date
Submitted & © by Carole Curry

Belinda Babcock
Mrs. Belinda Babcock, aged eighty-four years, died at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon at her home at the corner of 22nd and Kaufman streets, after a prolonged illness. The funeral will be held at 3 o'clock tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon at the First Baptist church of which she was a devoted member, and will be conducted by Rev. W. B. Kendall.
The deceased was a native of Indiana and came to Paris in 1859, and had lived here continuously since then. She was the widow of Willet Babcock, a well known citizen of Paris, who was the first chief of the volunteer fire department.
She never had any children, but is survived by a sister, Miss Clara Lee, who made her home with her, and by a number of nephews and nieces. Hon. Frank Lee, one of her nephews, who is assistant United States attorney at Muskogee, OK, will arrive this morning to attend the funeral.
The deceased was a sweet, gentle woman, with a kind word for everybody, was very charitable and a great benefactor to all of her friends, and her greatest pleasure was in alleviating the sufferings of the poor.

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Submitted & © by Carole Curry


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Submitted & © by Carole Curry


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Submitted & © by Carole Curry


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Submitted & © by Carole Curry


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Submitted & © by Carole Curry


Willet & Belinda Babcock

Evergreen Cemetery



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