Downingtown was incorporated by decree of court in
May of 1859. By an election held at the Swan Hotel on the 28th of
that month Captain James Lockhart was chosen first burgess. The borough
limits embraced 760 acres, taken from the township of East Caln.
In 1702 surveys were made here in right of purchases made in England for Joseph Cloud and
Daniel Smith. Joseph Hickman was perhaps the first resident owner
of land, which he sold to Thomas Moore. Thomas Moore died
around 1736 and the property was purchased by John Taylor and sold by him to
different persons. Thomas Downing bought 561 acres in 1739, it being
nearly all that lay north of the Philadelphia road. In 1752 a number of
citizens of this vicinity petitioned the commissioners for a bridge over the
Brandywine but with what success has not been discovered. In 1784 the
place was generally called Milltown, but sometimes Downingtown. July 4,
1876, the citizens of Downingtown celebrated the centennial anniversary of
independence by a public meeting at which the history of the locality,
prepared by Dr. John P. Edge, was read as a part of the ceremonies.