Mesquite, on Interstate highways 20 and 30 and Loop 635, between Dallas, Garland, and Balch Springs in east central Dallas County, was established by the Texas and Pacific Railway in May 1873 and named after nearby Mesquite Creek. Station agent William Bradfield was the first settler in the town, which attracted residents from the surrounding farm communities of Long Creek, New Hope, Haught's Store, and Scyene. A post office began at Mesquite in 1874, and Dallas County's longest-running newspaper, the Mesquiter, was established there by R. S. Kimbrough in 1882. Citizens incorporated the town in 1887 and selected J. E. Russell as mayor. Early industries included cotton gins and a brick factory. During these years outlaws Jesse James, Cole Younger, and Belle Starr (see STARR, MYRA MAYBELLE SHIRLEY) lived in the vicinity. Sam Bass held up a Texas and Pacific train as it passed through town, escaping with $30,000. The town grew slowly until the 1950s. Its population was 135 in 1890, 687 in 1910, 729 in 1930, and 1,696 in 1950. By 1960, however, its population was 27,526, chiefly as a result of the growth of neighboring Dallas. In 1970 more than 50,000 persons resided in this bedroom community, and in 1980, more than 67,000. By 1974 industry at Mesquite included Western Electric, Associated Optical, Dalworth Paint, Saint Joe Paper, Hownet, Fritz Chemical, and Horticulture Printing. In the 1980s Mesquite covered some thirty-five square miles. At that time the city supported several shopping centers, a public airport, and Eastfield Community College. Tourist attractions included Heritage Square, the World of Animals park, Lake Ray Hubbard, and the Mesquite Rodeo, which performed every Friday and Saturday from April 1 to September 1. In 1991 the population of Mesquite was reported as 105,049, with more than 2,000 businesses. The population was 124,523 with 4,000 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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Mesquite by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
140,594 2019 Texas Demographic Center
139,824 2010 Texas Demographic Center
124,523 2000 Texas Demographic Center
101,484 1990 Texas Demographic Center
67,053 1980 Texas Demographic Center
55,131 1970 Texas Demographic Center
27,526 1960 Texas Demographic Center
1,696 1950 Texas Demographic Center
1,045 1940 Texas Demographic Center
729 1930 Texas Demographic Center
674 1920 Texas Demographic Center
687 1910 Texas Demographic Center
406 1900 Texas Demographic Center
135 1890 Texas Demographic Center