Waco (/weɪkoʊ/) is a city in and the county seat of McLennan County, Texas. The city has a 2009 estimated total population of 126,217. The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of McLennan County and has a 2007 estimated population of 224,668.
Prior to the founding of Waco in 1849, a Wichita Native American group known as the "Waco" (Spanish: Hueco or Huaco) lived on the land of present-day downtown Waco. In 1824 Thomas M. Duke explored the area and reported to Stephen F. Austin describing the village: "This town is situated on the West Bank of the River. They have a spring almost as cold as ice itself. All we want is some Brandy and Sugar to have Ice Toddy. They have about 400 acres (1.6 km2) planted in corn, beans, pumpkins, and melons and that tended in good order. I think they cannot raise more than One Hundred Warriors." After Austin aborted the first attempt to destroy their village in 1825, he made a treaty with them. The Waco eventually moved out of the region, settling north near present-day Fort Worth. In 1872 they joined other Wichita tribes on a reservation in Oklahoma. In 1902 the Waco received allotments of land and became official US citizens.
Neil McLennan settled in an area near the South Bosque River in 1838. Jacob De Cordova bought McLennan's property and hired a former Texas Ranger and surveyor named George B. Erath to inspect the area. In 1849, Erath designed the first block of the city. Property owners wanted to name the city Lamartine, but Erath convinced them to name the area Waco Village, in honor of the Native Americans who had lived there. In March 1849, Shapley Ross built the first house in Waco, a double-log cabin, on a bluff overlooking the springs. His daughter Kate soon became the first white child to be born in Waco.