Colmesneil is located in north-central Tyler County, about 9 miles north of Woodville, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 69 and Farm Road 256. Colmesneil began in about 1882 with the crossing of two railroad lines: the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO) that ran between Rockland in northern Tyler County to Beaumont, and the Trinity & Sabine that ran west from Colmesneil to Trinity, and became the railroad center for Tyler County. The town was named after one of the first conductors on the T&NO, William T. Colmesneil, who bought a town lot there in 1883. The W. T. Colmesneil house still stands and is now a museum of local history. Colmesneil's former sister town just to the north, Ogden, flourished on its own for a while—in competition with Colmesneil—before being consolidated into Colmesneil in 1888. In 1889 Colmesneil boasted a population of about 2,200 people, larger than Beaumont. Many of those people worked at the large, well-equipped sawmill owned by the Yellow Pine Lumber Company. At that same time, large quantities of hides, cotton, corn, and other commodities were being brought to Colmesneil from surrounding counties to be shipped to market on the two railroad lines. People in Colmesneil didn't work all the time though. Besides socials organized by the two churches and the school, there was a literary society and an Opera House. Once a month a trade day was held which included horse racing down the main street plus boxing and wrestling matches and other events. Then in 1893 a fire at the Yellow Pine sawmill destroyed much of the northern part of town which signaled a turning point in the growth of that section. The sawmill wasn't rebuilt so the people and businesses that remained were mostly located in the southern end of town. The town never regained its economic success but has continued to attract residents with quality schools and churches, plus the water recreation activities at nearby Lake Amanda, Lake Tejas, and Lake Sam Rayburn. Colmesneil's population in 2010 was 596, the majority between the ages of 18-64.
Lou Ella Moseley, Pioneer Days of Tyler County (Fort Worth: Miran, 1975).
Handbook of Texas Online: Megan Biesele, "Colmesneil, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlc42), accessed November 04, 2012.
James E. and Josiah Wheat and others (compiled by The Tyler County Sesquicentennial Committee), Sketches of Tyler County History (Bevil Oaks: Whitmeyer, 1986). Brenda Joe Goode, "History of Colmesneil," 1997, on file at the Whitmeyer Genealogy Library, Woodville.