Burleson began when the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad was planned from Fort Worth to Hillsboro in 1881 and established a depot on the site of what is now called "Old Town" Burleson. Grenville M. Dodge, representing the railroad, purchased the land, originally part of the J. W. Henderson survey, from Rev. Henry C. Renfro. As part of the agreement, Renfro was allowed to name the depot and called it Burleson, in honor of his teacher Rufus C. Burleson, later president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

In its first several decades Burleson was a small community organized around the train depot, agriculture and livestock. By 1890 it had a population of 200, grocers, druggists, a general store, and several cotton gin-gristmills. From 1940 to 1950 the population rose 28 percent, from 573 to 795, and in the next decade the population mushroomed from 795 in 1950 to 2,345 in 1960, as Burleson became a suburb of Fort Worth. The community began to rely less on agriculture and more on business and industry.

By 1980 the population of 11,734 supported 196 businesses. In 1990 the population of Burleson was 16,113. In 2000 the population grew to 20,976. From 2000 to 2015 the population doubled to over 40,000 residents. This thriving community continues to attract families and skilled workers who now call Burleson their hometown.