Located in the easternmost county of Texas, this town was little more than a forest of oaks and beeches when laid out in 1853. Due to its central location, it was elected county seat the same year, winning over Burkeville, the former county seat.
Maj. John Moore, an early settler, built the first house in Newton and also the first courthouse - a two-story frame structure. It was finished in 1856. The second (present) courthouse was finished in 1903.
With the arrival of the Orange and Northwestern Railroad in 1905, Newton began to grow. Buildings increased from four in 1859 (two homes, a store, and a saloon) to 15 in 1913. The town was incorporated (1935) and is the county's only incorporated town.
A formal education system began with the W. H. Ford Male and Female College in 1889. It became part of the public school system in 1906. The first bank - Newton County Bank - was established in 1906. The "Newton News" was printed prior to 1920.
Over the years forest products have been the basis of town's chief industries. Sawmills provided employment, as did plants for manufacturing baskets, turpentine, tool handles, and furniture. The town is now the county's main trade center.