TRENTON, TEXAS. Trenton is on State Highway 121, U.S. Highway 69, State Highway Spur 220, and Farm roads 151, 814, and 815, twelve miles southwest of Bonham in extreme southwestern Fannin County. The first settlers arrived by wagontrain from Tennessee in 1852. At the time the area was known as Wild Cat Thicket, from the abundance of wild animals, including wildcats, in the vicinity. After the Missouri, Kansas and Texas built through the area, and Dr. W. C. Holmes, the “father of Trenton,” laid off a townsite, the community of Trenton came into existence; it received a post office in 1881. It was named for Trenton, New Jersey. People apparently moved into the community almost at once; private subscriptions eventually funded the construction of a depot there. By the mid-1880s Trenton had 200 residents, a school, and two churches, as well as some fifteen businesses, including a steam gristmill, a hotel, and a boardinghouse. At that time it shipped cotton, corn, and oats produced by area farmers. By the late 1890s the community, which had incorporated, had a population of over 300, served by more than thirty businesses, including a newspaper.
A public school opened at Trenton in 1896, and between 1900 and the mid-1920s the community population rose from 420 to 616. A national bank opened there in 1901 and by 1914 was capitalized at $40,000. In 1926 there were two schools, which enrolled a total of 300 students, and the small banking and trade center had some forty businesses. In the early 1930s farmers in the vicinity, influenced by P. E. Brown, began large-scale commercial production of onions. This new crop grew rapidly in importance, and production reached a peak in 1933, when 158 carloads were shipped from Trenton. In the mid-1930s the community had twenty-eight businesses. The population of Trenton had declined to 490 by 1936, but rose to 634 by 1948 and to 712 by 1967. In 1977 Trenton reported 615 residents and seventeen businesses. By the early 1980s the town had become the third-largest shipping point for onions in North Texas. It had an estimated 682 people and twenty businesses by 1988, and in 1990 its population was 655. The population was 662 in 2000.