Jonesboro, first known as Jones Mill, is at the intersection of State Highway 36 and Farm Road 1602, nineteen miles northwest of Gatesville on the Hamilton-Coryell county line. Two brothers, William L. and David Jones, built a steam sawmill and gristmill on the Leon River in 1866. In the aftermath of the Civil War several families came to the area, and the community that developed became known as Jones Mill. Construction of a large frame building to be shared by the school, church, and Masonic organization began in 1869 and was completed in 1873. The Jones Mill post office was established in 1871 with Charles Pate as postmaster. The name of the community was changed to Jonesboro in 1877, and by the mid-1880s it had two steam gristmills and cotton gins, a sawmill, three churches, a district school, and 350 residents. By the early 1890s the community's population had risen to 700. When the Stephenville, North and South Texas Railway bypassed Jonesboro in 1911, part of its population was drawn away. Jonesboro's population was estimated at 450 in 1914. Though the town's economy was boosted in the 1930s, when State Highway 36 was completed as part of a government work project, its population continued to fall: it was reported at 378 from the 1930s through the mid-1960s. The population fell to 200 by the mid-1970s and was reported at that level through 2000. Jonesboro was the focus of an independent school district that included southeastern Hamilton and northwestern Coryell counties.
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.
Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl | © Texas State Historical Association
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