Early settlers were plagued by their proximity to Oklahoma Territory or Indian Territory and the marauding Native Americans that often descended upon north central Texas to raid white settlements.
In 1885 the settlement had a population of 300, two gristmills, a number of cotton gins, a school, and several churches. By 1910 the town had been bypassed by rail lines, and its population had fallen to 112. The population was sixty-eight by the late 1940s, when one business operated there. The community's post office closed sometime after 1930. By the late 1960s, when the last population figures were reported for the community, only fifty-one persons lived in Illinois Bend.