Neches is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 79 and Farm roads 321 and 2574, on the Union Pacific Railroad nine miles northeast of Palestine and four miles from the Neches River in eastern Anderson County. In 1872 the International-Great Northern Railroad was built through the area, and J. J. Davis and Murdock McDonald, local landowners, donated land for a train station and a townsite. A post office with the name Nechesville was opened in the community that year, and the first school was built about the same time. By 1884 the community had a Masonic Lodge, two steam sawmills, a gristmill, two churches, two general stores, two saloons, a school, and an estimated population of 100. Nechesville shipped lumber. Stovall Academy was in operation three miles from the community in 1866. It was moved to town and renamed Neches Normal Institute and later Neches High School. By 1890 the community had grown to an estimated 400 residents and had added two cotton gins and a hotel. J. B. McDonald, a local store owner who also acted as justice of the peace, advertised as a supplier of "meats and justice." The community changed its name to Neches in 1892. In 1896 a monthly newspaper, the Southern Poultry Journal, was published in the town. Another newspaper, the Neches Tribune, was published in the community before the 1930s. Neches had 261 inhabitants in 1900 and an estimated 400 in the 1920s and 1930s. It was a prosperous community with twenty-four businesses and an estimated 900 inhabitants in 1939. It began to decline in the 1940s; the population fell to 280 in 1949 and 111 in 1970. In 1985 Neches had three churches, two community halls, a school, and six business establishments. The population was 114 in 1990. By 2000 the population was 175.