Overton, Texas

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Overton, Texas
The McMillan Memorial Library in Overton, Texas
The McMillan Memorial Library in Overton, Texas
"A Growing Community nestled in the Piney Woods of East Texas"[1]
Location of Overton, Texas
Location of Overton, Texas
Coordinates: 32°16′25″N 94°58′35″W / 32.27361°N 94.97639°W / 32.27361; -94.97639Coordinates: 32°16′25″N 94°58′35″W / 32.27361°N 94.97639°W / 32.27361; -94.97639
Country United States
State Texas
CountiesRusk, Smith
 • Total6.75 sq mi (17.48 km2)
 • Land6.70 sq mi (17.35 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)
502 ft (153 m)
 • Total2,275
 • Density373.58/sq mi (144.24/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code903
FIPS code48-54432[3]
GNIS feature ID1343370[4]
Overton City Hall
A portion of downtown Overton
The abandoned Overton Theater
The First Baptist Church of Overton

Overton is a city in Rusk and Smith counties in the U.S. state of Texas. Overton lies in two counties as well as two metropolitan areas. The Rusk County portion of the city is part of the Longview Metropolitan Statistical Area, while the Smith County portion is part of the Tyler Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The population was 2,275 at the 2020 census.


It was known to the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Creeks who lived in the area as Tiyuk Hekia (Standing Pine); many years later, when it was incorporated, it became known as Overton.

The town was named after Major Frank Overton, an early settler and landowner who donated some of his land for the town site. It was platted in 1873 and a post office was granted that year.

Overton was originally intended to be a crossroads for two railroads. In 1875, the Henderson and Overton Branch Railroad, 16 miles long, was completed and was later joined by the International-Great Northern. When the nearby communities of Bellview, Jamestown, Rocky Mount, and Salem were all bypassed by the railroad, Overton gained the businesses and people who wanted to benefit from the railroad lines. The town offered lots for businesses to relocate, and many took the offer.

The Masons and Odd Fellows built the first school, and a church was constructed in 1875. By 1888 the population had increased to 500 and had all essential businesses, including a newspaper. Overton prospered as an agricultural community, and in 1904 the population had reached 568.

Oklahoman wildcatter C. M. (Dad) Joiner was drilling his third well in 1930,[5] and the town of Overton helped raise the funds he needed to drill. When the well came in, Overton shared in Joiner's success, as churches, schools, and a refinery were built. Hubbard College was founded during this time as well. The town's once agrarian-based economy suddenly revolved entirely around the production of oil.

Overton's population skyrocketed from 426 in 1931 to 3,000 in 1933. By 1936 it was up to 4,500 and the town went through the Great Depression relatively unscathed. But by the end of World War II the population had declined by half—reaching just 2,000 in the 1950s and remaining at that level through the 1970s. In the 1980s Overton was Rusk County's "second city" with a population of 2,430 in 1983. By the 1990s Overton extended into neighboring Smith County.

The City of Overton has had a storied history with Radical Groups claiming the site as their base of operations. The Republic of Texas operated within the City Limits from the Early 2000s, up until the building was mysteriously burned down. Overton has a historical voting base consisting primarily of older, Republican-leaning voters.[6]


Overton is located at 32°16′25″N 94°58′35″W / 32.27361°N 94.97639°W / 32.27361; -94.97639 (32.273608, –94.976306).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.8 square miles (17.5 km2), of which 6.7 square miles (17.4 km2) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km2) (0.59%) is water. Most of the city lies in Rusk County, with a small portion extending into Smith County.

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
Overton racial composition as of 2020[9]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 1,653 72.66%
Black or African American (NH) 349 15.34%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 17 0.75%
Asian (NH) 13 0.57%
Some Other Race (NH) 7 0.31%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 97 4.26%
Hispanic or Latino 139 6.11%
Total 2,275

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 2,275 people, 826 households, and 580 families residing in the city.

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 2,554 people, 935 households, and 639 families residing in the city. The population density was 375.6 people per square mile. There were 1,086 housing units at an average density of 159.7 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 80% White, 16.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.4% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. 4% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 935 households, out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.6 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.9% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 20 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.2 years.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,292, and the median income for a family was $55,261. The per capita income for the city was $18,987. Males had a median income of $28,496 versus $17,237 for females.


Local government[edit]

Department Director
Mayor Curtis Gilbert
City council Reggie Thompson (Mayor Pro Tem), Chris Hall, Monty Ward, Josh Hill, Michael Paul Williams
City manager Shane West
City attorney Blake Thompson
City secretary Laurie Kaczmarek
Police chief Bryan Pool
Fire chief Robert Wall

State government[edit]

Overton is represented in the Texas Senate by Republican Kevin Eltife, District 1. The Rusk County portion of Overton is represented in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican Travis Clardy, District 11. The Smith County portion of Overton is represented in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican Bryan Hughes, District 5.

Federal government[edit]

At the federal level, the two U.S. Senators from Texas are Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Overton is part of Texas' US Congressional 1st District, which is currently represented by Republican Louie Gohmert.



The Overton Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is a community team made up of resident executives and business owners, responsible for attracting new investment and helping expand existing businesses within the City. With a seven-member board, the Overton EDC is funded by a $.0025 sales tax that allows the EDC to accomplish its goals.

Business assistance[edit]

Overton EDC provides business assistance to qualifying companies. They evaluate incentives for businesses to locate or expand in the Overton area and base their findings on taxes assessed and paid, the number of jobs created or retained, wages paid, local purchases of products and services, indirect employment gains and the general benefit of furthering the mission of the city of Overton Economic Development Corporation.

They primarily seek businesses in manufacturing, production, medical/health, hospitality and distribution. Funds may be used in land lease/purchase, building lease/purchase, rehabilitation or construction, capital equipment purchase, infrastructure improvements or employee training.

Funds may not be used for venture or equity capital, working capital/inventories or personal loans. Forms of business assistance include loans/loan guarantees, SBA 504, SBA 7(A) guaranteed and direct loan, and the rural economic development fund.


Most of the City of Overton is served by the Overton Independent School District. The Arp Independent School District and the West Rusk ISD serves small portions of the town.



Notable people[edit]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Overton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[13]


  1. ^ "City of Overton Texas". City of Overton Texas. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ Olien, Diana; Olien, Roger (2002). Oil in Texas, The Gusher Age, 1895-1945. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 170–171. ISBN 0292760566.
  6. ^ "Rusk County, Texas".
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  10. ^ https://www.census.gov/[not specific enough to verify]
  11. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  12. ^ "Max McGee". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  13. ^ Climate Summary for Overton, Texas
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[10][11]

External links[edit]