History of DeSoto
Early YearsDeSoto is one of the oldest settlements in North Texas. It was in 1847, just eleven years after Texas won its independence from Mexico, that families first settled in the area that is now DeSoto. Curtis Parks, one of the first settlers in the DeSoto area, built his home in 1847. He came from Indiana with his wife Amelia. A few of the other early settler families to the area were Thomas Cheshier, Zebedee Heath, Otway B. Nance, Allen Q. Nance, F. M. Hamilton, and John P. Voorhies.
Around the year 1848, T. J. Johnson, fresh from Tennessee, built a tiny general merchandise store near the "crossroads." This crossroads was located where one road (just a wagon trail in those days) went from Dallas to the Shiloh community in Ellis County. Another trail crossed the road, running east and west, from Lancaster to Cedar Hill. This crossroads is now the Belt Line and Hampton roads intersection.
In 1881 a post office was established and the settlement was given the name of DeSoto in honor of Dr. Thomas Hernando DeSoto Stewart, a beloved doctor dedicated to the community. During those early years, DeSoto remained a farming community and not much changed until the 1940s.
City GrowthAfter World War II the area began to grow, as did all of the towns and cities in Dallas County. Because of the growth that the community was experiencing, the people felt the need to incorporate in order to improve an inadequate water distribution system. On February 17, 1949, a petition signed by 42 eligible voters was presented to Dallas County Judge W. L. Sterrett, requesting an election for incorporation. The election was held on March 2, 1949, with 50 votes in favor of incorporation and 2 opposed. On March 3, 1949, the results of the election were entered into the records of the Commissioners Court of Dallas County, thereby creating the City of DeSoto. On March 15, 1949, a City Officers election was held. Wayne A. Chowning was elected mayor, and T.O. Hash, Malcolm Hamm, S.I. Vaughn, Roy E. Spurgin and A. P. Bagby were elected councilmen (aldermen at that time).
The first called City Council meeting was held at the schoolhouse on East Belt Line Road on March 17, 1949, with C. H. Estes appointed as City Secretary. It was determined that the City of DeSoto had a population of approximately 400. DeSoto thus became the nineteenth organized municipality in Dallas County. The City of DeSoto celebrated the 50th anniversary of its incorporation on March 3, 1999.
MayorsSince its incorporation, 21 mayors have served DeSoto including:
Dr. Robert Nunneley
Carl O. Sherman
Curtistene S. McCowan