Pendleton is on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and Farm Road 1237, six miles northwest of Temple in northern Bell County. A community known as Pendletonville, a quarter mile south of the site of present Pendleton, grew up around the railroad station in the early 1880s and was named for George C. Pendleton, a local merchant and politician and a future lieutenant governor of Texas. Between 1884 and 1890 the town grew from forty inhabitants to 150, and by 1914 it had an estimated population of 400, a post office, Baptist, First Christian, and Methodist churches, three cotton gins, a bank, and three general stores. The Pendletonville school was the second largest district school in the county in 1903, when it served 151 pupils.
The community changed its name to Pendleton in 1908. A slow decline began in the 1920s. The population ranged between 200 and 260 through the 1930s. The 1940s brought a further drop in population; in 1949 the community had eighty people, two churches, a school, and three businesses. In 1988 Pendleton had a population of sixty and one business. Through 2000 the population was still sixty.