Early is at the intersection of U.S. highways 67 and 84, on Pecan Bayou just east of Brownwood in central Brown County. The area was settled by farmer Welcome W. Chandler in the early 1850s, and in 1856 the land was part of the site of Brownwood. In 1858 Brown County's first post office was established in Chandler's home. Around 1869 problems over the water supply and a disputed land title induced many citizens of Brownwood to move from the east to the west side of Pecan Bayou. Though people continued to live on the site, the east side of Pecan Bayou was not considered to be a separate community until the mid-twentieth century. In 1928 a new school district, named for Walter U. Early, an attorney who donated land for several school buildings, was formed on the site, and the Anderson, Ricker, Delaware, and Jenkin Spring schools consolidated with Early. In 1935 the Early school had 271 pupils and 9 teachers. The Early community began to grow around the school in the 1940s. A Baptist church was built across from the school in 1942, followed by a Church of Christ building in 1947. In 1948 the community had six businesses, two churches, and the school. Early incorporated on December 15, 1951, when it had an estimated 600 inhabitants. The Early Lions Club was organized in 1957. Early grew to 819 inhabitants by 1960 and to 1,097 by 1970. A Methodist church was built in 1979, and a second Baptist church in 1984. Heartland Mall, the first mall in the Brownwood area, opened there in 1980, when the community had 2,313 inhabitants. A city hall was built in 1982, and a post office was opened in 1985. In 1990 the community included four churches, the Early weekly Press, the Early Independent School District, and 2,380 inhabitants. The population was 2,588 in 2000.
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Early by the Numbers
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|3,118||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|2,762||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|2,588||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|2,380||1990||Texas Demographic Center|