Fulton County Kentucky
Fulton County was created on January , 1845, the 99th, out of Hickman County. It was fittingly named for the famous steamboat inventor, Robert Fulton, “the engineer who helped usher in the era of the paddle wheelers and turned the river into an even more important artery of commerce”. (Paducah Sun article, September 6, 1966, by Bruce Gardner)
Containing 184 square miles, its creation was the result of efforts to keep the town of Moscow from becoming the county seat of then Hickman County. Moscow was a thriving trade center strategically located near the center of the County. Those wanting to keep Clinton as county seat teamed with resident in the town of Hickman and surrounding areas to get their State Representative to introduce a bill establishing Fulton County. The bill was enacted with the interesting and unusual provision that the town of Hickman should be the county seat upon condition that the sum of $4,000 should be pledged and secured on or before the month of August following enactment for the purpose of erecting a courthouse. (Hickman County Kentucky Pictorial Book) The courthouse was raised in 1847.
Fulton County contains the “thumb” (called Madrid Bend) that sticks out into the Mississippi (dividing the county into two parts) and runs eastward until it ends at the Graves County boundary. Its southern boundary is the Tennessee state line and its northern boundary is part of the Mississippi River and Hickman County.
Operating continuously (more or less as it closed for a short period 1991-199) since 1840, a ferry service connects Hickman (Fulton County), Kentucky to Dorena, Missouri. This 12 car capacity ferry operates from April 1 to December 24 yearly and is located at River Mile Marker 922 (from New Orleans) approximately halfway between St. Louis and Memphis.
The largest city in the county is the City of Fulton. Incorporated in 1872, the city grew and in the 1890s, the Illinois Central consolidated the rail line serving Fulton linking it to the rest of the nation. The city became the system’s primary banana refrigeration stop in the early 20th century and was once called the Banana Capital of the World. The International Banana Festival began in 1963 but has since been discontinued.