Burkburnett was first settled in the 1860s by pioneers D.P. McCracken and H.C. Ackers on Gilbert Creek in northeastern Wichita County. Cowboys on the giant Samuel Burk Burnett 6666 Ranch derisively called the community "Nesterville." In 1907 Joseph A. Kemp and Frank Kell from nearby Wichita Falls bought part of the Burk Burnett ranch for their railroad and laid out the present townsite. It is said the town was named for Burk Burnett when President Theodore Roosevelt personally interceded with the Post Office Department. (Roosevelt had been Burnett's guest on a wolf hunt in the area in 1905.)
The 1918 Fowler oil discovery turned the struggling farming community into a boom town. Oil derricks were so close together old-timers say it was almost possible to walk across town from derrick to derrick without touching the ground. The 1941 movie "Boomtown," with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, was based on those wild oil-boom days.
The boom is gone and oil pours less freely today. Farming, ranching, and diversified industries provide stability to the economy, and several parks provide picnic facilities.