Mesquite, TX (Dallas County)

By: Susanne Starling

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 1, 1995

Mesquite, on Interstate highways 20 and 30 and Loop 635, between Dallas, Garland, and Balch Springs in east central Dallas County, was established by the Texas and Pacific Railway in May 1873 and named after nearby Mesquite Creek. Station agent William Bradfield was the first settler in the town, which attracted residents from the surrounding farm communities of Long Creek, New Hope, Haught's Store, and Scyene. A post office began at Mesquite in 1874, and Dallas County's longest-running newspaper, the Mesquiter, was established there by R. S. Kimbrough in 1882. Citizens incorporated the town in 1887 and selected J. E. Russell as mayor. Early industries included cotton gins and a brick factory. During these years outlaws Jesse James, Cole Younger, and Belle Starr (see STARR, MYRA MAYBELLE SHIRLEY) lived in the vicinity. Sam Bass held up a Texas and Pacific train as it passed through town, escaping with $30,000. The town grew slowly until the 1950s. Its population was 135 in 1890, 687 in 1910, 729 in 1930, and 1,696 in 1950. By 1960, however, its population was 27,526, chiefly as a result of the growth of neighboring Dallas. In 1970 more than 50,000 persons resided in this bedroom community, and in 1980, more than 67,000. By 1974 industry at Mesquite included Western Electric, Associated Optical, Dalworth Paint, Saint Joe Paper, Hownet, Fritz Chemical, and Horticulture Printing. In the 1980s Mesquite covered some thirty-five square miles. At that time the city supported several shopping centers, a public airport, and Eastfield Community College. Tourist attractions included Heritage Square, the World of Animals park, Lake Ray Hubbard, and the Mesquite Rodeo, which performed every Friday and Saturday from April 1 to September 1. In 1991 the population of Mesquite was reported as 105,049, with more than 2,000 businesses. The population was 124,523 with 4,000 businesses.

A Stake in the Prairie: Mesquite, Texas (Mesquite Historical Committee, 1984).


  • Communities
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Susanne Starling, “Mesquite, TX (Dallas County),” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 23, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995

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