Boardman Buckley Paddock, North Texas civic, business, and political leader, son of Boardman and Margaret (Buckley) Paddock, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on January 22, 1844, and lived in Wisconsin until he was fifteen. A self-reliant youth, Paddock substituted experience and self-instruction for his lack of formal education. He enlisted in company K of W. Wirt Adams's First Mississippi Cavalry, Army of Tennessee, in 1861, eventually became commander of a select espionage unit, and, on July 2, 1862, earned promotion to the rank of captain, thus becoming one of the youngest commissioned officers in the Confederate Army. After the war he settled in Fayette, Mississippi, where he studied law under a private tutor and was admitted to the bar. Paddock moved to Texas in the fall of 1872. He settled in Fort Worth and made the development of his adopted city and state his major career. Although he participated in a variety of business and civic promotions designed to help the area grow, he is primarily remembered as editor of the Fort Worth Democrat (1873–81), president of the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway Company (1885–89), founder and executive secretary of the Fort Worth Board of Trade (1901–09), and four-term mayor of Fort Worth (1892–1900).
As editor of the Democrat, Paddock advertised the virtues of Texas, Tarrant County, and Fort Worth nationwide. He made the newspaper a major influence on the survival and growth of Fort Worth and a recognized power within the state. Through the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway, he aided in the settlement and development of Southwest Texas, brought additional trade to Fort Worth, and helped to establish the city's reputation as a railroad and distribution center. During his tenure as secretary of the board of trade, Paddock used innovative methods that foreshadowed those of the modern commercial secretary to build the previously unstable board into a well-organized, prosperous, and effective commercial association. Paddock is also remembered as publisher of the 1873 Tarantula Railroad Map (which showed nine railroads radiating from Fort Worth long before the first trunk line's arrival); as president of the Texas Spring Palace (1889–90); as two-time Tarrant County state representative (1881–83, 1913–15); as editor of four books depicting the history of Fort Worth and Northwest Texas; and as a crusader for civic improvement who played important roles in the establishment of the city's first fire department, water works, and school system. As a result of his efforts to publicize Texas and Fort Worth, Paddock became a major figure on state and local levels and a minor celebrity nationwide. Recognizing his contributions to the city, members of the board of trade made him the association's honorary lifetime president in 1910; and in 1913 Tarrant County officials named a new million-dollar bridge over the Trinity River the Paddock Bridge.
Although he was a Presbyterian, Paddock aided in the construction of several early Fort Worth churches. He was a lifelong Democrat. He married Emmie Harper, daughter of a Fayette, Mississippi, planter, on December 10, 1867. Four children were born to the marriage. Paddock died on January 9, 1922, at his home in Fort Worth and was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
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Patricia L. Duncan, Enterprise: B. B. Paddock and Fort Worth-A Case Study of Late Nineteenth Century American Boosterism (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Arlington, 1982). Buckley B. Paddock, Early Days in Fort Worth (Fort Worth, n.d.). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).
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Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Patricia L. Duncan,
“Paddock, Boardman Buckley,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 11, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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