Honey Island is at the junction of Farm roads 1003 and 1293, thirty-five miles northwest of Beaumont in central Hardin County. It is on high land between Cypress and Flat Cypress creeks, which rise in heavy rain, making the site a temporary island. During the Civil War the area is said to have attracted numerous Jayhawkers, who subsisted partially on honey found in the numerous beehives there. In 1901 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway established a station known as Matile at the site. The heavily wooded area attracted the interest of the timber industry, and by 1907 the Matile Lumber Company and the Honey Island post office had been established. By the next year the Texas Lumber Manufacturing Company was operating there. The R. A. Meyer Lumber Company bought the Honey Island mill in 1920 and sold it eight years later to the Kirby Lumber Company (see KIRBY, JOHN HENRY). The mill closed during the Great Depression, although the Civilian Conservation Corps established there in 1933 eased some of the area's economic woes. The Kirby mill reopened after the depression and reached a daily capacity of 150,000 board feet of cut timber by 1949. Having discontinued logging operations at nearby Camp Seale, the mill closed permanently in 1955.
After the mill was abandoned, Honey Island's population decreased markedly. In 1950 census figures reported 1,250 inhabitants at the community; in the mid-1980s and in 1990 its population was reported at 400. By 2000 the population was 401. In 2016 the population was estimated to be 200. Many residents who remained there after the Honey Island mill closed found jobs with the new Kirby mill in Silsbee. The site at Honey Island continued to be a noted recreational spot, with a large pool, fed by well water, drawing many area swimmers until the pool closed in the late 1990s. .