Shankleville is near Clear Creek two miles southwest of Burkeville between State highways 63 and 87, sixty-five miles north of Beaumont in north central Newton County. The community was named for former slaves Jim and Winnie Shankle. Jim was born in Kentucky in 1811, Winnie in Tennessee three years later. They were separated when Winnie's owners moved from Mississippi to Texas, taking Winnie and her three children. Jim later stole away and followed them to the Lone Star State. According to legend, Winnie's owner discovered Jim in hiding and arranged to buy him from his former master. The Shankles had six children in Texas, born between 1846 and 1859.
Jim became a farmer after emancipation and accumulated $200 in real and $125 in personal property by 1870. Although Winnie died in 1883 and Jim in 1888, Shankleville continued to be a center for Blacks living in the Newton-Burkeville area. Over the years the community has been the site of a sawmill, a gristmill, and a cotton gin. One of Winnie's daughters, Mary, married Stephen McBride, who established McBride College in Shankleville, which operated from 1883 to 1909. The community in 1976 had three churches, two cemeteries, and about fifty families. The community was still listed as a populated place in 2004, but no population figures were available.