In 1881, when the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway ("Katy" Railway) was built from Fort Worth toward Alvarado, it needed a source of water for its locomotives. The Rev. Henry C. Renfro sold land for a train depot and town site with the stipulation that the new town be named after his good friend, teacher and mentor, Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. The first lot was sold on Oct. 10, 1881. This date is considered to be the town's Founder's Day.