Thrall is on the Missouri Pacific Railroad and U.S. Highway 79, six miles east of Taylor in eastern Williamson County. It was founded in 1876 as a railroad station on the International-Great Northern line and was first called Stiles Switch, after a family that owned a ranch at the site. The Stiles school was opened in the 1880s, and a gin was built in the 1890s. When a post office-general store was opened in 1901, the name Thrall was chosen for the community, after Homer S. Thrall, a Methodist minister and historian much admired by the Stiles family. The Stiles school, which, with 215 pupils and five teachers in 1903, was the second largest school in the county, was moved to a larger building and renamed Thrall School in 1908. The town was a farming and cattle center in the early years of the twentieth century. It had a bank and a population of 150 in 1914. In 1915 Thrall was caught up in an economic boom resulting from the discovery of oil on nearby farms. Some 200 wells were dug in the area, and the population may have climbed as high as 3,000 over the next few years. By 1920 the oil boom had leveled off, and the population of the town had fallen to 272. Another oil boom in the early 1930s in the area had less of an impact on the community. Thrall grew slowly after 1930, remaining a town of just over 400 people through the 1930s and 1940s and then growing to 584 inhabitants in 1952. After some minor fluctuations, the population of Thrall had returned to some 593 people in 1988. In 1990 the population was 550. By 2000 the population had reached 710.