Yoakum is located partially in western Lavaca County and partially in eastern DeWitt County. In its early years, Anglo-Americans used this site for gathering herds of bawling Texas Longhorns that were driven to market along the Chisholm Trail. With arrival of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass RR in 1887, the townsite was established.
Today, Yoakum derives its economy from 12 leather goods manufacturers. The Land of Leather Days Festival, held on the last weekend of February, salutes the leather industry and features a CASI Chili Cook Off, leather factory tours, carnival, arts and crafts outdoor mall, food booth, country and western dances, and a golf tournament. Once, Yoakum called itself the "Green Wrap" tomato capital of the world and still commemorates this heritage with an annual Tom Tom Festival, with a BBQ cook-off, rodeo, Miss Yoakum Pageant, arts and crafts booths and country and western dances, usually first week of June.