Forreston is on U.S. Highway 77 and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas tracks eight miles south of Waxahachie in south central Ellis County. At first the site was called Howe's Settlement, after William R. Howe, who arrived around 1843 and is credited as being the area's first settler. Thus Forreston can lay claim to being the oldest settlement in Ellis County. By the mid-1840s a community had been established under the name Chambers Creek, so named by Gen. Edward H. Tarrant in honor of his friend Gen. Thomas J. Chambers. Chambers had received a large land grant in the area as a gift from Mexico for his services as a judge. The community received a post office in 1846 and served as the original county seat of Navarro County until the organization of Ellis County in 1850 placed Forreston within the new county's boundaries. From its beginnings the community provided a school for area farmers. Over the next three decades a church, two cotton gins, and several stores were added. The arrival of the Katie Railroad by the early 1890s stimulated rapid population growth, and gradually businesses moved closer to the tracks. Capt. Carr Forrest, a prominent local businessman and Forreston's first postmaster, donated land for the railway depot. At that time the town, already frequently referred to as Forrest or as Forrest's Store, was renamed Forreston. By 1904 it had well over 200 residents. Throughout the twentieth century Forreston served farmers as a shipping point and as a school and church community. Its population peaked at a reported high of 350 by the mid-1940s. Later the population declined somewhat, diminishing to 300 by 1986, when Forreston supported eleven businesses. The population continued to be reported as 300 in 1990, but had dropped to 200 in 2000.
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.
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