Kerens, at the junction of State highways 31 and 309 and Farm roads 667 and 3096, fourteen miles east of Corsicana in eastern Navarro County, was established in 1881 when the St. Louis Southwestern Railway of Texas built through the county. It was named for Judge R. C. Kerens of St. Louis. The railroad bypassed the nearby settlement of Wadeville, and within a short time all of the businesses from Wadeville moved to the new town. Two attorneys in Corsicana, Samuel R. Frost and Bryan F. Barry, bought the plat and offered lots for sale in 1881 and 1882. A post office opened in 1882, and the town was incorporated in 1888. W. P. Noble was the first mayor, and Sam Sluggs was sheriff. By the mid-1890s the town had three cotton gin-mills, four grocery stores, two hotels, two drug stores, a wagonmaker, and a weekly newspaper named the Navarro Blade. The estimated population in 1896 was 500. The first school was built shortly after the town was founded, and by 1906 two schools were operating, one with 242 White students and one with 121 Black students. Kerens reached a peak population of 1,800 in 1929 and afterward declined. By 1950 the town had a population of 1,287 and forty-four registered businesses. In 1961 the population reached a low of 1,123. In 1990 Kerens had a population of 1,702 and twenty-three businesses. The population dropped to 1,681 by 2000, but the community supported eighty-six businesses.
Support Texas History Now
Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.
Annie Carpenter Love, History of Navarro County (Dallas: Southwestern, 1933). Wyvonne Putman, comp., Navarro County History (4 vols., Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975–84).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Christopher Long, “Kerens, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 22, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/kerens-tx.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.