Parkton was settled about 1884 and named Piney Forest. A one-room schoolhouse, Piney Forest Academy, was renamed Parkton Institute in 1891. The name Parkton may originate from the name of a railroad engineer who mapped the area adjacent to the first tracks. Another theory is that the town was named for the nearby parking area used by the railroad travelers. The depot, originally on the west side of the tracks, has been preserved by the Parkton Historical Society, through an arrangement with the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. Ten daily trains stopped in Parkton in the years preceding the use of the automobile for mass transportation. Incorporated in 1901, Parkton boasted only one general store at that time, McMillan and Hughes.