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The area was first settled in 1847, making it one of the oldest communities in North Texas. A post office was established in 1881, and the settlement was named DeSoto in honor of Thomas Hernando DeSoto Stewart, a doctor dedicated to the community.
By 1885, DeSoto was home to approximately 120 people, a cotton gin, and a general store. Soon after, the population declined to below 50. In 1930, there were 97 people living in the community and several businesses.
After World War II, DeSoto and surrounding areas began to grow. In order to improve the inadequate water distribution system, residents felt the need to incorporate the town. On February 17, 1949, a petition signed by 42 eligible voters was presented to the Dallas County judge requesting an election for incorporation. The vote took place on March 2. Of the 52 people who cast ballots, 50 voted in favor of incorporation and 2 were opposed. On March 3, 1949, the results were entered into the records of the Dallas County Commissioners Court, thereby creating the City of DeSoto. The new city was less than one square mile in size. On March 15, Wayne A. Chowning was elected mayor along with five aldermen. The first city council meeting was held two days later.
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