Peniel was a small town just north of Greenville, the county seat, in north central Hunt County. It developed around Texas Holiness University, a private, coeducational college founded in 1899 and associated with the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. It was known originally as Holiness, after the university. A post office opened in 1901. In March 1902 its name became Peniel, after the biblical location at which Jacob wrestled with an angel. The college moved to Bethany, Oklahoma, in 1920. In 1925 the town's population stood at 467. The college moved to Bethany, Oklahoma, in 1920. In 1926 Peniel's population was 571; the town incorporated in 1930. Like many other small communities, however, Peniel suffered as a result of the Great Depression. The town had a population of 367 and seven businesses in 1936; in 1948 it had 415 inhabitants and five businesses. Its population declined rapidly after the 1940s, likely due to employment opportunities in the nearby county seat. Peniel had a population of 157 and eleven businesses in the mid-1950s, and in April 1957 Peniel citizens voted to be annexed to Greenville.
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