Home Page

Paducah, the seat of McCracken county, is located just below the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. The site was chosen by George Rogers Clark during the Revolution and the first settlers probably arrived around 1821. In 1827 the town was laid out by Merriwether Lewis. The original settlement was known as Pekin, but Lewis called his town Paducah. It is said to be named after a legendary Chickasaw leader, Chief Paduke, but it may have been named for a group of Comanche Indians known as the Padoucas. Paducah became the county seat in 1832 when it was moved from Wilmington. The first post office here opened in 1828. It was incorporated as a town on January 11, 1830, and as a city on March 10, 1856

In a letter to his son, Merriwether Lewis Clark, William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame wrote in 1827 that he was going to the mouth of the Tennessee to found a town that would be named to honor the Padouca tribe that once had been most numerous, but had been destroyed by contact with European culture. He wished to honor their memory but changed  the spelling to a more English rather than French--- PADOUCA to PA DU CAH.)
Submitted by: John Robertson