Praries & Lakes
2010 Census - 8,078
2000 Census - 7,669
Commerce, Texas
Commerce Texas History:
In 1873, William Jernigin and his sons built a store on his farm which was near the present city center. When the town was inhabited by 100 families, Jernigin donated land for a town square. Originally the settlement did not have a name. When Jernigin traveled to Jefferson on business, he apparently sent his purchases to his home town under the name Commerce, and the name stuck. Commerce incorporated in 1885 when it had twelve businesses, a hotel and livery stable, a wood shop and wagon factory, a cotton gin, and a church and a school. The first jail was built in 1885; before this, prisoners were tied to a horse rack in the middle of town where they remained until someone paid their bond. In 1887, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (the Cotton Belt) built a line connecting Commerce to Texarkana, Sherman and Fort Worth. During the 1890s, the Texas Midland Railroad connected Commerce to Ennis and Paris, Texas. Commerce first became a college town in 1894 when the East Texas Normal College was moved from Cooper to Commerce to take advantage of the railroad connections. The college joined the Texas state college system in 1917, and became a university in 1965, and replaced the railroads and cotton as a major factor in the town’s economy. Commerce is located at the intersections of SH 224, SH 24, SH 50, SH 11 and FM 71, 40 miles northeast of West Tawakoni and Lake Tawakoni, 65 miles northeast of Dallas, 34 miles northeast of Lake Lavon, 30 miles northeast of Farmersville, 25 miles northeast of Caddo Mills, 15 miles northeast of Greenville, 60 miles east of McKinney, 54 miles southeast of Sherman, 31.5 miles southeast of Bonham and Bonham State Park, 26 miles southeast of Celeste, 39 miles southwest of Paris and Pat Mayse Lake, 16.7 miles southwest of Cooper and the Jim Chapman Reservoir, 19.8 miles northwest of Sulphur Springs, 48 miles northwest of Quitman, and 38 miles northwest of Lake Fork and Emory, Texas.       
Max the Bois d' Arc Tree:
Max was honored as the largest Bois d' Arc Tree in Texas, but is now in second place because Corpus Christi now has a larger tree. The thorny tree that was once exported to Oklahoma to serve as fence lines before the advent of barbed wire. The tree’s apples are inedible. Commerce celebrates the tree with the annual Bois d’Arc Bash which is held during the weekend closest to September 25, the day the town incorporated.