POWELL, TEXAS. Powell is an incorporated rural community on the St. Louis Southwestern line, Farm Road 653, and State Highway 31 just east of Lake Corsicana and seven miles east of Corsicana in east central Navarro County. Bud Powell, for whom it was named, was the owner of several hundred acres in the area, as well as the land on which the first railway station was built. After the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the area in 1881, local ranches were divided up and sold as farms, and schools, churches, stores, and businesses were established. The Powell post office opened in 1892, and the Powell oilfield was discovered in 1900, when Navarro County native Henry W. Warren and his associate R. K. Blackshear drilled a productive oil well. For a time the town boomed; its population grew from 248 in 1904 to 500 by 1925. The field reached peak production in November 1923, when it produced more than 33 million barrels of oil, but production declined rapidly, and 1931 was its last year to produce a million barrels. In 1906 Powell had a two-teacher school for some 104 white students, and a two-teacher school for 123 black students. By 1914 two general stores, two grocery stores, two cotton gins, a lumber company, a hardware store, a drugstore, a restaurant, a physician, and the Powell State Bank served the community. Some ten businesses, as well as two churches and scattered dwellings, remained in 1939. From that year through the late 1970s the population dropped from 500 to 112. In the 1980s Powell had 130 residents, a grocery store, a service station, a feed store, a church, the bank, a fire station, and the Chatfield Water Corporation. In 1990 it reported a population of 117. The population was 105 in 2000.
Annie Carpenter Love, History of Navarro County (Dallas: Southwestern, 1933). Fred I. Massengill, Texas Towns: Origin of Name and Location of Each of the 2,148 Post Offices in Texas (Terrell, Texas, 1936). Wyvonne Putman, comp., Navarro County History (5 vols., Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975–84). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).