Twist is an unincorporated community in Cross County that had its origins when Ira Twist of Chicago acquired land in the area and sent his son John Francis (Frank) Twist to oversee efforts to clear the timber and convert the land to agricultural production. After the 1918 Spanish Flu weakened his heart, Frank was joined by his brother Clarence. The land stayed in the family until the early 1980s, and at one time John F. Twist Jr. was cited for his pioneering efforts in land leveling, irrigation, and topsoil conservation.
The town was essentially the headquarters and commissary for the Twist operations, along with about 500 houses for sharecroppers, an African American church, juke joint, and other gathering places for those who worked the land. Schools, medical facilities, and other services were available in nearby Earle. Twist has been made famous by B. B. King, who often told the story of naming his guitar Lucille after an incident in a juke joint there. Blues musician Little Mack Simmons also was born in Twist.