Shelbyville is at the junction of Farm Road 417 and State Highway 87, seven miles southeast of Center in east central Shelby County. The area was settled in the 1820s by people who came from Tennessee, and the community was originally called Nashville. The community was the county seat of Shelby County. The Congress of the Republic of Texas changed its name to Shelbyville in 1837, for Isaac Shelby, hero of the American Revolution and governor of Kentucky. Shelbyville was the scene of the beginning of the Regulator-Moderator War, and most of the major battles of the feud were fought in its vicinity. The town had a Republic of Texas post office established by 1843. In 1866 the county records were moved to the center of the county by night and hidden there. This led to a new county-seat designation that same year. In 1884 Shelbyville had a church, a school, a mill, two gins, and a population estimated at 150. By 1914 the population had increased to an estimated 300. The town continued to grow through the 1920s, and in 1929 it had an estimated population of 600. The population fell to an estimated 300 in 1933. From that point, the town began to grow again, reaching 550 inhabitants in 1949. During the 1960s the community declined once more, and in 1988 Shelbyville had a population estimated at 215 and five rated businesses. In 2000 the community had thiry-eight businesses and still reported a population of 215.
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