Founded in 1909 by real estate developer O.D. Jarrell, along with E. C. Haeber, the town was settled at the intersection of an old stagecoach road and the Bartlett and Western Railway that was under construction. Soon after the railroad was completed, a saloon, two stores, a post office, and a bank were built. Because of the proximity of Jarrell to the railroad, the residents of nearby Corn Hill moved to the town. The city reached a population peak of 500 residents in 1914. The closing of the railway and the decline of the cotton industry, however, led to a long term recession. At one point, Jarrell had only 200 residents. After this low point, the city experienced a recovery that increased its population to 410 by 1990. Over 15 new businesses opened in Jarrell in 2009. On May 27, 1997, the town suffered heavily from the destructive F5 Jarrell Tornado, which obliterated the Double Creek Estates subdivision, killing 27 people plus 300 cattle and horses.
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