Prior to 1866, Shelby County had two towns, Shelbyville (the county seat) and Buena Vista, followed by Center, which then became the County Seat around 1866.
In 1875, Mr. Paul Bremond obtained a charter for the HE & WT (Houston East & West Texas) and began building a rail route. Surveys for the new railroad along the northern edge of Shelby County accounted for three new towns: Timpson, Tenaha and Joaquin, followed by Bobo and Blair, also on the HE&WT route.
Timpson, named in honor of Paul C. Timpson, who spearheaded the original incorporation of the town, was laid out in the midst of the woods, and, as surveyed by the railroad's surveyor, covered one mile square.
As the survey of the town was divided up into lots and blocks and named streets, railroad officials and stockholders were honored by having their names used for the streets. City streets today still bear the names Bremond, Jacob, Timpson and Garrison.
T. S. Garrison, who became known as the "Father of Timpson," built and operated the town's second railroad, which ran from Timpson to Carthage. The Marshall, Timpson and Sabine Pass Railway Company was chartered on August 6, 1896. It was later purchased by the Texas and Gulf Railway Company.
Timpson became a boom town because of the railroad. Merchants rushed to get located in the new town. In 1899, the Southern Pacific Company gained control of HE&WT, following the conversion from three-foot gauge to 56-1/2 gauge in 1894. It was after the new track was laid that a depot was built on the Town Square across from Park Plaza. According to A. L. Rack, longtime depot agent in Timpson, there were on average, 20 cars per day through Timpson during WWI, and around 24 per day during WWII, carrying men and supplies to their destinations. Commercial and passenger service also was heavy during those years.
The depot and passenger trains of Timpson’s past are but memories to the older members of what now is a scenic stop on U S Highway 59 between Shreveport and Houston. But honoring our train town heritage is evident in our local Chamber of Commerce’s train logo, country music great, Tex Ritter’s song lyrics mentioning the railroad line through Timpson, Tenaha, Bobo and Blair, and most recently the huge turnout in this little town when Union Pacific stopped one of the last steam locomotives in downtown Timpson on its way home.