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History of
Paducah Chapter, NSDAR

Chief Paduke Monument The Chief Paduke monument, now located on Jefferson and 18th streets, is one of the Paducah Chapter's gifts to the people of Paducah. Our chapter was founded December 2, 1897.

The Paducah Chapter was formed by Mrs. E. E. Reed in 1897, when the National Society was only seven years old. The Chapter, therefore, finished its hundredth year in December 1997. Originally conceived as the George Rogers Clark Chapter, the Paducah ladies found that another group (from outside Kentucky) had already taken that name for themselves, and consequently opted for "Paducah” in honor of Chief Paduke, whom they believed to have accompanied General Clark.

For a time, Paducah was home to a second DAR Chapter. The Fort Jefferson Chapter was organized by Mrs. Rosina White Bradshaw in 1910, and remained active until the late 1930s. They provided the state organization with a report in 1937, but did not do so in 1938. It may have been a telling understatement that, in the latter year, the Regent of the Paducah Chapter reported, "We have not been so active this year on the account of the flood."

Between them, the two Paducah Chapters have been quite active in the state and national level DAR activities. Several state officers and one state regent have come from Paducah, and two state conferences have been held here. In addition, the George Rogers Clark Society Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.), sponsored by the Paducah Chapter DAR, has provided leadership at the state level and national level. The most recent example of this leadership is evident in the 1995-1996 service of Jean Ellen Hiter Melton as state president. Mrs. Melton also served as Mid-Southern Regional C.A.R. treasurer, several times as a page, and aide chairman of the National Society of the Children of the American Revolution.

In addition to its support of the national and state objectives, documented elsewhere, the Paducah Chapter has been very active in local civic service. One of the earliest and most lasting contributions of the Paducah Chapter was a provision of a safe drinking fountain (both for humans and horses). The Chief Paduke Statue now located on Jefferson Street at 19th Street was originally purchased in 1909 by the Paducah DAR as part of a public fountain at Fifth Street and Broadway. Other fountains were commissioned at Third Street and Broadway, Seventh and Washington Streets, and Tenth and Jackson Streets. The Chapter helped pay for the fountain at Yeiser Park.

The bust of George Washington that currently resides in the Market House Museum was cast for the Paducah Chapter NSDAR for presentaton to the old Washington High School as part of the dedication ceremonies of the school, and stayed there until the school was demolished. The Market House itself was preserved largely as a result of action by the membership of the Paducah Chapter NSDAR working with the city fathers. The chapter had commissioned busts of Lincoln and Jefferson for those schools at the same time as the Washington bust. When the schools were demolished, the busts were thrown out. Mrs. Ruth Lessley found the Washington bust in the trash and rescued it. She took care of it for many years before asking the city museum to care for it. As long as she was able, she borrowed the bust from the museum to display at our Washington luncheon.

More recently, the Paducah Chapter contributed to the Veterans Memorial at the McCracken County Courthouse, participated in the Columbus Quincentennial, and presented American Flags to new citizens at citizenship ceremonies held in Paducah since 1996. The 1996 event was the first to be held here in many years. The Chapter celebrated its centennial birthday on December 2, 1997, that included a special luncheon and the placing of a commemorative stone in a prominent location near the McCracken County Courthouse.

Currently the Chapter assists the city with participating in the Veteran's Day Parade and by sponsoring an essay contest. The contest is open to students K-12, in four categories. The last contest had 939 entries.

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