In 1852 the Rev. Joshua Starr, a Methodist minister from Alabama, bought 640 acres of land here on the Dallas-Shreveport Road. Platting Starrville, one of the earliest towns in Smith County, he sold lots with deed covenants against gambling and liquor. In 1853 he helped organize Starr Lodge No. 118, A.F.&A.M.; Methodists and Masons shared a 2-story building which the church bought from Starr in 1854. The post office was moved from nearby Gum Spring to Starrville in 1857. The town thrived with stores and overnight lodgings for freighters. It had grist mills, sawmills, foundries, and a wagon factory; music teachers, dentists, physicians, photographers. Its churches and schools were highly influential. The Methodists supported a female high school; the Baptists founded Ann Judson Female School. A Union academy, male high school, and female college also existed before the Civil War (1861-65).
Bypassing of Starrville by the Tyler Tap Railroad in the 1870s brought population losses. In 1907 the post office and the Masonic Lodge were removed to Winona. The schools of Starrville and Baker Springs were consolidated in 1924, and later were merged with the Winona public school system.