Lillian is on Farm Road 2738 fifteen miles northeast of Cleburne in northeastern Johnson County. In 1902 G. J. Renfro purchased land from J. W. Cunningham to establish a town that would be near the line of the International-Great Northern Railroad, which had just built into the area. Both men's wives were named Lillian, hence the name of the town. By the next year Lillian had two churches and a school. In 1904 a post office began serving the community, and residents from nearby Pleasant Point moved to the railroad town. Lillian's population and businesses grew rapidly, and a bank opened there in 1905. By 1914 Lillian had a population of 300 and for the next twenty years served as a retail center for area farmers and ranchers. In 1917 the community overcame a fire that destroyed most of the buildings on the south side. By the mid-1920s its population had reached 350. Over the next twenty-five years the Great Depression, World War II, and the growth of Dallas-Fort Worth retarded the growth of Lillian. By the mid-1950s its population had declined to 150. In 1968 the community had 96 residents and three businesses, in 1988 some 100 residents and four businesses, and in 1990 about 105 residents and six businesses. The population remained the same in 2000 with sixteen businesses.
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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