Ennis is on the Southern Pacific Railroad and at the intersection of Interstate Highway 45, State highways 34, 75, and 287, and Farm roads 85, 879, 1183, 1722, and 3413, fourteen miles southeast of Waxahachie in southeastern Ellis County. Bardwell Lake, a popular recreational area, is less than a mile south of the city limits. The Houston and Texas Central Railway reached the area in 1871, and the community established there was named for an early railroad official, Col. Cornelius Ennis. The David Rose survey of 300 acres and the W. H. Bundy survey of 347 acres were purchased by the trustees of a land company in 1872. Capt. W. G. Veale selected the townsite in May, and Theo Kosse mapped it in August and laid out the streets and alleys. The first train ran through the community that year, on its way from Corsicana to Dallas. Citizens of Burnham, a small town to the south, responded violently to being bypassed and attacked the new community, killing one man and wounding several.

The Ennis post office opened in 1872 with J. M. Dickson as the postmaster and railroad agent. The first church in Ennis was the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, originally founded in Burnham, which moved to Ennis in 1872. As an incentive to settlement, the railroad offered free town lots to any Christian communion that would build a church. Ennis incorporated in November 1873 and held its first election in April 1874; Charles Pannil was elected the first mayor. The Evening Argus was founded in 1873, and the Temperance Council was established to provide an alternative to "drunken carousing." By 1874 the community had a population of 300 and rising land values. Ennis reached 3,000 by 1890, when it had two banks, a cotton compress, three cottonseed depositories, a cotton gin, a fruit-canning business, a brickyard, an opera house, and two weekly newspapers, the Local and the Saturday Review.

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Lisa C. Maxwell | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Ennis is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Ennis is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [-Station]


Latitude: 32.33007510
Longitude: -96.64090900

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


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