Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Paddys Bluff

Located in the southern most part of our county lies the river town of Dycusburg.  Once, one of the most thriving of our river towns, the river was one of the most used means of transportation and transporting of goods and people to and from this section of our county.  The Cumberland River provided the waterway for this town.  Here, history tells us, some of our first mined fluorspar was shipped from this port.  Packet boats carried people and supplies to and from Paducah daily.  Many pioneers is search of new lands arrived in Crittenden by means of river transportation to Dycusburg.

Located just up the river a short distance is the rocky hillside bluff that is known as Patty's Bluff.  

Two stories are common regarding the legend of Paddy's Bluff.  This first one  was printed in The Crittenden Press in 2003, by editor, Chris Evans.

Paddy was an Irishman who settled on the high limestone-laden peak that overlooks the Cumberland on its eastern shore.  Old-timers tells that Paddy and some pioneer buddies were partaking in a dose of home-made spirits one afternoon when the bluff's namesake offered up a wager.  He bet the others that he could ride one of his farm animals, a domesticated buffalo, off the cliff and into the river unscathed.  He planned to ride the bison back up the hill and continue the party.

The water was high at the time and it may have seemed plausible that this gruff, old Irishman could pull off the feat.  However, legend had it that he was never seen again, sucked up by the swirling current.

The second story was written by fellow Crittenden Countian, Marion F. Pogue.  It story says that a doughty Irishman landed his canoe at the foot of a bluff on the Cumberland River, long before the outbreak of the American Revolution.  He built a cabin, cleared some land and planted a peach orchard.  He lived in comparative quiet for a few years, and then he was attacked by Indians.

His trusty rifle spoke death until his ammunition was exhausted.  His cabin door was broken down by the savage blows.  The next comers to his cabin found his skull crushed by a tomahawk and a number of Indians that had been killed, pierced by his rifle balls.  His cabin was in ruins and his peach orchard beginning to bear fruit. Irishman Patty gave his life to civilization and his name to Paddy's Bluff.

What ever version of the legend you care to believe, it seems certain that Paddy's Bluff traces its name more than 200 years into history.  The picture above was made in 1996 from the rocky ledge of Paddy's Bluff looking down onto the beautiful Cumberland River.  It continues its journey as it did then taking with it the secrets and legends of hundreds of years.

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