Timpson is on the Southern Pacific Railroad at the junction of U.S. highways 87, 84, and 59, fifteen miles northwest of Center in northwestern Shelby County. It was founded in 1885, when the Houston, East and West Texas Railway was being constructed through the area, and was named for P. B. Timpson, an engineer on the railroad. Timpson received a post office that year with James H. Blankenship as first postmaster. It soon became the most important shipping center in the county and by 1890 had a population of 1,200 with a commercial and industrial base that included two sawmills, a weekly newspaper, and a canning factory. The town had been incorporated by 1892 and by 1925 had become a shipping point for lignite mined in the area. Timpson apparently experienced a boom in the 1920s; its population increased to an estimated 2,500 by 1927. The boom collapsed in the 1930s, however, and the population declined steadily until 1968, when it was estimated as 1,050. Afterward it remained relatively stable. In 1988 Timpson had an estimated population of 1,106 and twenty-seven rated businesses. In 1990 it had 1,029 residents, and in 2000 the population was 1,094.