Josephine was established in 1888 when the tracks of the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway reached the area. It was named in honor of the daughter of J. C. Hubbard of whom donated land to the Cotton BeltRailroad Company for the townsite.
Another gentleman, Mr. Reed, also donated land for a community known as Reed’s Chapel. Reed’s Chapel was located two miles southeast of Josephine. It consisted of a Methodist Church and school (which occupied the same building), and a burial place that is now known as the Josephine Cemetery. That same year a post office was established. Josephine quickly became a retail market center for area farmers.
People followed cattle trails across the prairies on horseback and in covered wagons, to bring in supplies from Caddo Mills and Greenville, in Hunt County, and Terrell in Kaufman County. In 1889 the Cotton Belt passenger train ran through Josephine to Dallas. It took settlers to the first Dallas Fair.
The town’s population increased from around 200 in 1900 to well over 500 by the mid-1920s. By 1930 the community had paved roads, electricity, a public school, a bank, and 15 businesses. The Great Depression, however, reduced the number of residents to 350 by 1940. Mechanization of farming and job opportunities in the Dallas area combined to decrease the population to just under 300 by 1960, but by 1982 it had increased to 416. In 2000 Josephine’s population was reported as 600, and the town had expanded into Hunt County.
Josephine was incorporated in 1955.
During its brief existence, the Congress of the Republic of Texas made significant efforts to plan for the inevitable increase in settlement. One of those efforts was the establishment of the Central National Road, designed to connect the Red River to existing military roads along the Trinity River and points farther west, thus opening much of northeast Texas to both settlement and commerce. On February 5, 1844, the Congress created a five-man commission to supervise the surveying and construction of the road. Commission members, which included John Yeary, received land for their work. Yeary selected property in present Collin County and founded a settlement that grew to become Farmersville. The commissioners chose George Stell of Paris, Texas, as the surveyor for the project. He began his work in April 1844 from a point now within the city of Dallas. He and his assistant traveled northeast, measuring and marking the exact route, which passed through the present counties of Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Hunt, Fannin, Lamar and Red River; only three of them had been formally organized at that time. The new route utilized existing prairies and natural stream
George Stell and his assistant traveled northeast, measuring and marking the exact route, which passed through the present counties of Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Hunt, Fannin, Lamar and Red River; only three of them had been formally organized at that time. The new route utilized existing prairies and natural stream crossings and avoided obstacles like densely wooded areas. It ended at the Kiomatia Crossing of the Red River near present Jonesborough, Red River County. While records are unclear as to whether construction was ever completed, history shows the Central National Road was short-lived, soon replaced by the Preston Road and other early routes, and eventually by rail lines. It did, however, help open northeast Texas to increased growth and development. Through Yeary’s association with the road and his settlement in Collin County, it also directly impacted the early growth in the population of this area. (2005)
If you have any more information or family photographs regarding the history of Josephine please contact Robin Tiller at City Hall.