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Incorporated in 1869, the city of De Soto, Missouri is in southeastern Jefferson County, and is often spelled as one word: DeSoto. The town was organized in 1857, and named for the Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto, who claimed the Louisiana Territory for Spain. De Soto was part of the Louisiana Territory, and was transferred from France to Spain, then back to France again before being sold to the United States in 1803. In that year, Isaac Van Metre built a cabin in the area that was to become De Soto. The St. Louis Iron Mountain Railroad reached De Soto in 1859, establishing a depot there, as well as a railroad car repair shop, roundhouse, and other facilities. In 1881, the Missouri Pacific Railroad acquired the line, operating the facilities until it merged with the Union Pacific Railroad in 1982. The depot and roundhouse are closed today, although the railroad car repair shop remains. De Soto is known for tornado activity. Thomas Clement Fletcher, the 18th governor of Missouri, was a resident of De Soto.


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