Yantis is at the intersection of State Highway 154 and Farm Road 17, near the Lake Fork Reservoir, twelve miles north of Quitman in northwest Wood County. Harry M. Matthews was said to have settled the area as early as 1860, and by 1870 a gristmill and cotton gin was being run in the area by J. Singleton. The community was served by the Quitman post office before receiving its own in 1885. Yantis was named for its first postmaster, George R. Yantis, who by 1890 was also running a gristmill and gin at the community of thirty-five people. The population climbed to fifty by 1892 and to sixty by 1896, by which time the community had at least fifteen businesses, including a mason and two gristmills and gins. At that time Yantis also had a sheriff, a justice and bailiff, two churches, and five schools that served 251 students. By 1914 the town of 300 had a phone connection and twenty-one businesses, including the Yantis State Bank. The population peaked at 500 in the early 1930s then fell to 400 by 1943. The June 1947 discovery of the Yantis oilfield nearby apparently had no lasting effect on the community, as around that time population fell again to 350, then to 290 by 1949. By the late 1960s Yantis had incorporated. The town had a population of 174 and three businesses in 1968. In 1988 Yantis reported a population of 209 and eight businesses. In 1990 the population was 210. The population reached 321 in 2000.