Direct is twenty-five miles northwest of Paris on Farm Road 79 in northwest Lamar County. According to local tradition, the town was named either for Indians who crossed the river "direct" to obtain whiskey or to a revivalist who believed the local people were going "direct" to hell. The local church was built with money donated by a converted saloonkeeper. A local post office operated from 1887 until after 1954. In 1896 mail was delivered twice weekly, and Direct had three general stores and a cotton gin. By 1914 the community had a population of 218, telephone service, four general stores, and two blacksmiths. State highway maps in 1936 showed numerous businesses and residences at the townsite. By 1945 the population was 250, but after 1949 it began to decline, and in 1983 only seventy residents, a single business, two churches, and scattered dwellings remained. In 2000 the population was still seventy.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
A. W. Neville | © Texas State Historical Association
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