CLEBURNE, TEXAS. Cleburne, the county seat of Johnson County, is on U.S. Highway 67 thirty miles south of Fort Worth. Its origin and growth can be attributed to its role as a crossroads and transportation center. The site was near the earliest Johnson County road, an old wagon trail that was used by soldiers traveling from Fort Belknap to Fort Graham. The location had an excellent water source on West Buffalo Creek that attracted travelers, including cattlemen from the nearby Chisholm Trail.
The town was named in honor of Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne, under whom many of the men had fought during the Civil War. Cleburne had a post office during its first year and a newspaper, the Cleburne Chronicle, in 1868.
The importance of Cleburne as a transportation center was enhanced by the arrival of the railroad. In 1870 the population was 683; twenty years later the residents numbered 3,727. In 1881 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad was completed from Fort Worth through Cleburne to Temple, and a secondary line connected Weatherford to Cleburne in 1887.
The most important industrial contribution to the city was
made by the Santa Fe Railroad, which in 1898 and 1899 constructed
central machine shops in Cleburne, helping to double the city's
population in the 1890s. In 1882 the Chicago, Texas and Mexican
Central Railway connected Cleburne to Dallas. Two additional railroads
maintained terminals in the city after 1900. The Dallas, Cleburne
and Southwestern Railway completed a spur to Egan in 1902, and
the Trinity and Brazos Valley, commonly called the "Boll
Weevil," operated out of Cleburne from 1904 to 1924. The
former line was sold to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas in 1910.
The track out of Cleburne was abandoned after 1920. The Burlington
and Rock Island used the Boll Weevil track from 1924 until 1932,
when it too was abandoned. The Interurban out of Fort Worth served
Cleburne for eighteen years after 1912. A local streetcar service
operated from 1911 to 1917. Cleburne was still served by Santa
Fe and Amtrak in 1990.
Text from the Handbook of Texas Online