Rankin is near the intersection of Farm roads 877 and 984, fifteen miles southeast of Waxahachie in southeastern Ellis County. The area was settled by Thomas F. Alston, who built the first house there in 1876. This region apparently was also popular with various outlaws, including Sam Bass, Bonnie Parker, and Clyde Barrow. The settlement received a post office under the name Astonia in 1879 and grew slowly during the remainder of the nineteenth century. By 1892 it had two businesses, three churches, and a school. In March 1900 the community changed its name to Rankin and received a post office under this name. The new name was for Frederick Harrison Rankin, one of Stephen F. Austin's original Old Three Hundred settlers, who had settled on Chambers Creek in Ellis County before 1874. The Rankin post office operated for five years. In 1933 Rankin had a population of thirty-four and three businesses. After climbing to a high of seventy-five in 1945, the population declined to forty by 1964. In 1990 it was twelve. The population remained the same in 2000.
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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