In Cherokee County, Jacksonville is located due south of Tyler where US 69 and US 79 meet Hwys 135 and 204, on the lake named after it.
Early in Jacksonville's history, agriculture was the main focus of the local economy. Jacksonville was a leading center of peach production from the 1880s to 1914; thereafter, tomatoes were the primary crop until the 1950s, and the town was dubbed the "tomato capitol of the world." Livestock was-and in the 1980s remained-an important aspect of the economy. In the mid-1980s the manufacture of plastics was the leading local industry.
In the 1990s Jacksonville reported 13,020 residents and 551 businesses. Its economy includes tourism, as well as light manufacturing enterprises, retail stores, agricultural businesses, two colleges, a seminary, a hospital, and a clinic.