Some of Melissa's first settlers came from the old Highlands community, two and a half miles north of present-day Melissa. C.H. Wysong was one of the earliest settlers. A post office was established in 1853. The Houston and Texas Central Railroad was built in Melissa in 1872. The town was laid out at this time. The railroad encouraged many families to come to Melissa. The town is believed to have been named for the daughter of a railroad executive, George A. Quinlan (1838–1901) of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. There is some disagreement about this, as others argue that the town was named after Melissa Huntington, daughter of C. P. Huntington, another well-known railroad executive. Anna, Texas, is named after Anna Elizabeth Quinlan (1878–1952), the only daughter of George Austin Quinlan and his wife Mary Kate Saunders (1851–1884). Quinlan, Texas, is named after George Austin Quinlan himself.
The first school in Melissa was built on land purchased in 1882 by trustees James Graves, John Gibson, and George Fitzhugh, who were early settlers of the area. The first teacher was Mary Huckerston, who taught there for five years. The school began with 38 pupils. Church services were held there for all faiths on Sundays. A two-story brick schoolhouse was built on this site in 1910 to accommodate growth brought by the railroad.
Melissa was an important shipping point in the early 1900s. Corn, wheat, alfalfa hay, wood, and livestock were all sent out on the railroad.
A deadly tornado struck Melissa on April 13, 1921, killing 13 people and injuring many more. The tornado tore the roof off of the brick school building, but the children inside were not seriously injured. However, all churches in the town, three cotton gins, every business house except a bank, the post office, and the Houston and Texas Central railway station, were wrecked. The Waldon Hotel was lifted by the winds, turned halfway around, and thrown up against the school building.
Eight years later, on August 8, 1929, a fire burned down many of the buildings that had been rebuilt after the tornado. Population declined from a high of 500 in 1925 down to 285 in 1949.
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For Sale|3,335 sqft|5 beds|4 baths|0.17 acres|#20094340
For Sale|2,227 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.1377 acres|#20090654
For Sale|3,181 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.2 acres|#20090624
Pending|2,582 sqft|5 beds|2.5 baths|1.657 acres|#20088354
For Sale|3,251 sqft|4 beds|4 baths|1.56 acres|#20083795
For Rent|2,913 sqft|5 beds|4 baths|0.223 acres|#20085216
For Sale|2,789 sqft|3 beds|2.5 baths|0.182 acres|#20082920
For Rent|2,423 sqft|4 beds|3 baths|0.21 acres|#20088599
For Sale|3,474 sqft|5 beds|3.5 baths|0.267 acres|#20083348
For Sale|2,234 sqft|3 beds|3.5 baths|0.152 acres|#20078148
For Sale|2,426 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.18 acres|#20086458
For Sale|3,151 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.126 acres|#20085110
For Sale|2,473 sqft|4 beds|2.5 baths|0.37 acres|#20070598
For Sale|1,248 sqft|3 beds|1 bath|0.603 acres|#20080774
For Sale|2,146 sqft|3 beds|2.5 baths|0.138 acres|#20074103
For Sale|2,230 sqft|4 beds|2 baths|0.149 acres|#20071938
For Sale|1,482 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.11 acres|#20081607
For Sale|1,440 sqft|3 beds|3 baths|0.11 acres|#20081577
For Sale|4,338 sqft|5 beds|5 baths|1.27 acres|#20075918
For Rent|2,348 sqft|4 beds|3 baths|0.172 acres|#20073681
For Sale|1,518 sqft|3 beds|2 baths|0.1148 acres|#20063942
For Sale|2,100 sqft|4 beds|3.5 baths|0.1307 acres|#20063936
For Sale|3,595 sqft|5 beds|4.5 baths|0.174 acres|#20071729
For Sale|3,269 sqft|5 beds|3.5 baths|0.1653 acres|#20075716