Ackerly is on U.S. Highway 87 and at the junction of Farm roads 2002 and 2212, partly in the southeastern corner of Dawson County and partly in Martin County. It was established in 1923 with the breakup of the Slaughter Ranch into farming tracts. The town was named for its founder, Paul Ackerly, who was from Georgia. W. A. Wilson served as the first postmaster when the post office opened in 1924. A school district composed of portions of Dawson, Borden, Martin, and Howard counties was organized the following year, and a school was built and later expanded. Ackerly was the center for the local agricultural area and was incorporated in the early 1960s. In 1948 it had a population of 500, four gins, and thirty businesses. By 1980 the population had declined to 317. In 1990 the population was 243, and in 2000 it was 245 with thirty businesses.