Vista K. McCroskey

BROWNING, TEXAS. Browning (Browning's) is on Farm Road 2767 and the eastern edge of the Chapel Hill oilfield nine miles southeast of Winona in eastern Smith County. The town was named for its earliest settlers. Around 1850 Isaiah Browning traveled to the area from Oxford, Mississippi, and early in the 1870s built the first large house there; the house was still standing in 1990. The Browning's community was granted a post office in 1879, with William A. Owens as first postmaster. In 1884 I. W. Browning owned the local gin and gristmill, and the partnership of Browning and Bradshaw owned the town's general store. In 1898 the community's post office was moved to Starrville, but it operated again in Browning from 1899 to 1902, when it was again transferred to Starrville. During the 1890s the population stabilized at around fifty, and the community had a sawmill, a church, a district school, and a saloon. In 1903 it had two one-teacher schools, one with fifty-one white students and the other with forty-seven black students. By 1933 the town reported a population of twenty-five and one business. Records for 1936 show no school at the community, and by 1952 local students attended classes in the Holts Independent School District. A 1966 map showed a few scattered dwellings in the area, near Corinth Church and just south of Prairie Creek. In 1990 and 2000 the community reported a population of twenty-five.

"The Browning House," Chronicles of Smith County, Spring 1964. "Post Offices and Postmasters of Smith County, Texas: 1847–1929," Chronicles of Smith County, Spring 1966. "School Sights," Chronicles of Smith County, Fall 1969. Donald W. Whisenhunt, comp., Chronological History of Smith County (Tyler, Texas: Smith County Historical Society, 1983).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Vista K. McCroskey, "BROWNING, TX," accessed September 24, 2018,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox