The Jefferson and Northwestern Railway Company was chartered on November 5, 1899, to connect Jefferson, Marion County, with a point on the Moses D. Frazier survey to the northwest, four miles southwest of Linden in Cass County, for a distance of twenty miles. The capital stock was $20,000. The principal place of business was Jefferson. The members of the first board of directors were J. R. Darwell, F. J. Clark, L. E. Prussell, M. D. Grigsby, and E. Parker, all of Jefferson; and H. W. Adams and Joseph M. Dickeon, both of Dallas.
In 1912 the railroad built thirty-six miles of track between Jefferson and Camp and between Bivens and Linden. In 1916 the line reported passenger earnings of $5,000 and freight earnings of $42,000; that year the railroad owned two locomotives and ten cars. In 1917 it completed four miles of track between Camp and Marietta. In 1926 it built nine miles between Marietta and Naples, owned four locomotives and fifty cars, was listed as a Class II railroad, and reported passenger earnings of $6,000 and freight earnings of $116,000. In 1931 the railroad owned four locomotives and seven cars, was listed as a Class III Railroad, and reported passenger earnings of $270 and freight earnings of $36,000. The twenty-nine miles between Linden Junction and Naples was abandoned in 1933, and in August 1934 the line was sold under foreclosure. A new company, the Jefferson and Northwestern Railroad Company, chartered October 31, 1934, acquired the line effective January 1, 1935. Operations of the company were discontinued on September 9, 1941, and the line was abandoned the following year.