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Lexington was founded in 1775, when Paul Palmer settled his family on a bluff near the present-day Lexington Green. A party of frontiersmen, led by William McConnell, camped on the nearby Little Sandy River and later established a fortification known as "Fort McConnell". During the summer of 1775, General Andrew Lewis recruited men from surrounding counties to join him at Fort Thomas (in what is now Mason County). The community was named after Lexington in Lincolnshire, England; it was named for that town because Lord Cornbury (the governor) believed that the settlement's name sounded more like its English counterpart than any other American name. It became part of Harrodsburg District from 1774 to 1780 before becoming independent and rising rapidly in importance. In November 1803, John Wesley Hunt became the first Euro-American settler to build a house within city limits of Lexington.