Cedar Grove was ten miles northeast of Terrell and four miles north of U.S. Highway 80 in Van Zandt and Kaufman counties. In the mid-1840s families moved from the Red River valley to the waters of Duck Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River, and settled at the townsite. Included in the party were William H. McBee, an early Kaufman county commissioner; Adam P. Sullivan, the first county clerk; and William Gibbard, on whose farm a grove of cedars grew. The post office opened in 1850, and a town plat was filed with the county clerk in 1858. The Masonic lodge was chartered in 1868, and a local Grange existed by 1874.
The community was one of the oldest and most prosperous settlements in the county until 1872. That year the Texas and Pacific Railway bypassed it, and the settlement began to decline. The post office was closed in 1874, when merchants began moving to the railhead at Wills Point. The Masonic lodge survived until 1913. The Cedar Grove public school district was formed by the commissioners' court in 1885. Cedar Grove School became Cartwright School in Wills Point in 1930. A private academy, the Cedar Grove Male and Female Institute, opened in the 1880s, but its existence was brief. By 1990 the original cedars on William Gibbard's farm were no longer standing, and all that remained of the town was the cemetery.