A Native American trail, sometimes referred to as the Kickapoo Trace, and early Anglo-American roads traversed this area prior to the settlement of the pioneer families of Isaac Briscoe and Jacob Sheltman in the mid-1840s. By 1871 a village called Brooklyn, which included a combined school, church, and lodge building, general store, saloon, and blacksmith shop, was established about one mile south of here.
Brooklyn's business and housing activity shifted here after the Texas & Pacific Railroad extended its line through this area in 1873. A post office opened in 1873 and the town was renamed Forney for noted railroad official John W. Forney. By 1891 Forney had become a bustling town with more than 50 business establishments including a bank, opera house, and two hotels.
Ranch and farm produce, including cotton, Bois d'Arc wood products, and the area's nationally recognized blackland prairie hay were shipped by rail at Forney and the town prospered. In the 1920s U.S. Highway 80 (The Dixie Highway) and an interurban railroad came through the town. Beginning with the Great Depression Forney's agricultural economy declined for several decades. Eventually Forney experienced a revival of growth as a bedroom community of Dallas, Texas.