The origin of the name has been lost to history. One book suggests the city may have been named after John Cresson, captain of a wagon train that camped in the area before the Civil War. A similar story is told that Cresson was named for an official with the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad.
Cresson was at one time served by the Fort Worth and Rio Grande, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe and the Nancy Hanks railroad companies. It has been suggested that Cresson was named for Cresson, Pennsylvania, another city with a strong railroading history.