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Daniel Boone was an American icon as a quintessential pioneer, intrepid explorer, and preeminent frontiersman who became one of America's first folk heroes. Boone is most famous for his early exploration and eventual settlement of what is now Kentucky, then Virginia, opposite the settled areas on the other side of the Appalachian Mountains.  Perhaps another kindred spirit and great American outdoorsman and President said it best:
Finally, however, among these hunters one arose whose wanderings were to bear fruit; who was destined to lead through the wilderness the first body of settlers that ever established a community in the far west, completely cut off from the seaboard colonies. This was Daniel Boone...His self-command and patience, his daring, restless love of adventure, and, in time of danger, his absolute trust in his own powers and resources, all combined to render him peculiarly fitted to follow the career of which he was so fond.
President Theodore Roosevelt, 1905
In 1926 Daniel Boone, 1734-1820, Explorer, due to his great achievement in accomplishing his lifelong quest to open the trans-Appalachian frontier of Kentucky for colonial settlement became an Honoree by inclusion in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. A bronze bust was dedicated for the colonnade in an unveiling ceremony on 12 May 1926, City University of New York.
Daniel Boone was born 22 October 1734 (Old Style Calendar), 2 November 1734 ( New Style Calendar) in a log cabin near Reading, in the Province of Pennsylvania. He was the son of Squire Boone, Sr. and Sarah Morgan Boone. His parents were Quakers. Like thousands of Quaker families before them the Boone family left England and found a haven in William Penn’s Province of Pennsylvania and settled in Bucks County. William Penn was an influential Quaker establishing Quaker democratic principles for his Province with the "Pennsylvania Frame of Government."  After settlement in Bucks County, Province of Pennsylvania, the Boone's joined the Gwynedd Monthly Meeting in Montgomery County where Sarah Morgan’s Welsh Quaker family were prominent members. Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan married at Gwynedd MM on 23 September 1720. They continued to live in New Britain Township, Bucks County on a farm he purchased located near present day Chalfont, then called Butler's Mill. Several of their children were born in Bucks County prior to moving to the Oley Valley in Province of Pennysylvania in 1730.
Purchasing a grant of 250 acre tract in Oley Township, Philadelphia County, now present day Exeter Township, Berks County, Squire Boone, a weaver and blacksmith, built a log cabin with a stone foundation at Owatin Run. Their farm was about eight miles southeast of Reading, Pennsylvania. In this log cabin their sixth child, Daniel Boone, was born on 22 October (O.S.) November 2 (N.S.) 1734. Daniel Boone never liked the New Style Calendar date of birth and insisted on using the Old Style, 22 October 1734, as his date of birth all of his life. The Boone log cabin birth place was changed over time by new owners to the present two story house but the original Boone cabin stone foundation is still preserved.
Daniel rarely attended school. When the Boone family arrived in Oley, now Exeter Township, the Quakers held their meetings in the home of George Boone, Sr. In 1736, George Boone Jr. and Squire Boone deeded land for "a meeting house of worship for the friends called Quakers." As was the custom in colonial days each religious group established their own churches, and schools were established within the church or built nearby. Schools were very limited. Exeter Friends' School was not established until 1790 about half a mile from their meeting house. He was taught the "three R's" of reading, writing, and arithmetic from both his sister-in-law Sarah Boone, wife of his brother Samuel, and from his uncle George Boone, a school teacher and surveyor of which Daniel used these early skills to later became a Deputy Surveyor in Kentucky. Daniel Boone being literate was far more educated than his fellow frontiersmen for he would read to them the Bible and Gulliver's Travels around their campfires at night on their long hunts.
He had chores on the farm but spent most of his time hunting. From age ten to sixteen Daniel hunted in the woods around Owatin Run where his father had purchased pasture land. It was here during the summer season Daniel and his mother lived in a small cabin several miles from their homestead where his chore was herding the cows out in morning to graze and gathering them in at evening. Actually Daniel "lived" in the woods hunting for game and exploring while the cows grazed! Daniel did not hunt for sport but did so to provide food for the family's livelihood while his father, a skilled weaver, worked at home. By the time he was sixteen when the family left for North Carolina, he was a skilled, stealthy, expert marksman extremely comfortable hunting and exploring the pristine wilderness alone.
On their farm Squire Boone taught his son Daniel the needed skills of tanning leather and the use of carpenter's tools, a valuable skill used in building his many future cabins that were scattered across the North Carolina and Kentucky wilderness. From his father's shop Daniel learned blacksmithing for its usefulness in not only repairing wagons and harnesses but also in gunsmithing and the repair of rifles. From the Pennsylvania "Dutch" Germans came the "long rifle," first made by the Germans of Berks County. When Daniel was 12 years old, his parents gave him his first rifle, as he was already proficient with a gun. Daniel became superior in marksmanship using this rifle, later called the Kentucky long rifle, which he owned and named "Old Tick Licker" that he kept by his side all his adult life. He claimed he could shoot a tick off an animal without harming the animal. From the friendly Delaware Indians of Berks County Daniel learned their woodcraft, and the ways of the Indians. His marksmanship ability with the long rifle and skill to "think Indian" as well as all the many "lifelong learning skills" served him so well when exploring the unsettled wilderness westward of the Appalachians as well as bringing the pioneer families from the Cumberland Gap up the Wilderness Road to Boonesborough to his beloved "Kentucke." John Bakeless, in "Daniel Boone: Master of the Wilderness," says, “Many documents from his Kentucky years show Daniel Boone assuring his companions that the Indians would do thus-and-so-as they invariably did !”
From his mother, Sarah Morgan Boone, Daniel inherited not only his remarkable physical stature but also his religious convictions that shaped his character that sustained him through horrific personal experiences in opening the wilderness for frontier settlement. Living in Berks County his mother would walk with Daniel and his trusty gun on Sunday mornings through the woods two miles to worship at the Quaker Exeter Meetings. Here he learned Quaker beliefs of personal conviction of conscience and the "inner light" coupled with the responsibility of self to the community as a whole. For the rest of Boone's life until his death on 26 September 1820, he never lost the influence of his childhood Quaker values which shaped his character: his patient peaceful manner, his calmness and reserve, his love of fairness and his tolerance and respect for life and all others. In their religion the Quaker mother was given the essential duty to develop these values within their children as epitomized by the words of President Roosevelt above in describing Boone and "His self-command and patience, his daring, restless love of adventure, and, in time of danger, his absolute trust in his own powers and resources..."
In May 1750, when Daniel was age sixteen the Boone family left Berks County, Pennsylvania, and traveled southward on the Great Wagon Road into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where they settled on Linville Creek in Rockingham County six miles north of Harrisonburg. After staying in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for about a year and a half the family arrived at the Yadkin River in North Carolina late 1751 near the Bryan Settlement. The Bryan Settlement, 1747-1748, established by the Quaker Morgan Bryan, grandfather of Rebecca Bryan Boone, wife of Daniel Boone, was near the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin River. The Great Wagon Road crossed at the Shallow Ford where thousands of pioneers entered the North Carolina Piedmont from their previous sojourns in Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Morgan Bryan, also spelled Bryant on records, on 27 October 1752 received a land grant on Deep Creek about four miles above the Shallow Ford. Squire Boone's land grant dated 29 December 1753 was on Bear Creek which was twelve miles south of the Shallow Ford then in Rowan County, now Davie County. Squire and Sarah Boone sold this Bear Creek land to son Daniel Boone on 12 October 1759 Squire Boone had also purchased another land grant on 30 April 1753 on Grant's Creek or Licking Creek of the Yadkin River. This land grant has been documented as lying and being at the confluence of the Elisha and Dutchman Creeks of the Yadkin River. The Bryan Settlement on the Yadkin River was the earliest due to its opportune proximity with the Great Wagon Road. Of the original settlers Squire Boone Sr. and his family were of vital importance to the improvement of the lives of the settlers. Being a weaver as well as a farmer he was one of a few early settlers who were skilled artisans, craftsmen who provided needed items of cloth for all seasons. His son Jonathan Boone was a joiner, a builder of items for shelter, and Jonathan's father-in-law, James Carter, was a millwright. As the backcountry settlements grew, so did the number of skilled artisans, who were prized among the community. Squire Boone, Sr., and wife Sarah Morgan Boone lived the rest of their lives in the Forks of the Yadkin River, North Carolina. They were buried along with their son Israel Boone at Joppa Cemetery, Mocksville, Davie County, North Carolina.
On 14 August 1756, Daniel Boone married Rebecca Bryan at the Bryan Settlement in Rowan County, North Carolina. They were married by Daniel's father, Squire Boone, who was a Justice of the Peace, in a triple wedding ceremony which followed with a community feast lasting for hours. The couple lived in a small cabin on Squire Boone's homestead while Daniel built their home in time for James Boone, their first born, to be birthed there. Due to Rebecca being from a prosperous family and having a large dowry, Daniel was determined not to have his wife live in a common log cabin, therefore he built a log house. Their home was eighteen by twenty-two feet, with a deep hearth and fireplace with a separate kitchen room. Over time Daniel added an Oak floor over the bare earth and Clapboard siding over the hewed log walls. The home was located at the Bryan Settlement, on Sugartree Creek, a tributary of Dutchman's Creek of the Yadkin, near present Farmington, North Carolina. It was built near the homestead of Rebecca's father, Joseph Bryan, close to the headwaters of the forks of Sugartree, present-day Sugar Creek, on Rainbow Road, two miles east of Farmington, present Davie County. Daniel and Rebecca Boone lived here for nearly ten years, the longest they ever lived in any one location. They had eleven children together.
Daniel regularly pushed westward where game was plentiful trying to avoid areas that were quickly filling with settlers. In the fall of 1766 Daniel and Rebecca Boone decided to leave the Bryan Settlement. Daniel was unhappy with thousands of settlers coming down the Great Wagon Road into the piedmont settlements causing poor hunting and the scarce amount of game which caused him to hunt further and further west into the wilderness. By 1765 there were four times as many settlers in the Forks of the Yadkin River as when they first arrived. Daniel was also in debt to neighbors financing his hunting trips and having to attend court lawsuits paying exorbitant fees to greedy court officials and lawyers which caused him and many others much unrest and rioting in Rowan County leading to the Regulator Movement. For the payment of debt he and Rebecca sold their Bear Creek land on 21 February 1764 for eighty pounds. They migrated sixty miles northwest to the Upper Yadkin River to the wilderness area of Brushy Mountain adjoining the Blue Ridge, settling in a crude cabin on Holman's Creek, a few miles north of present Wilkesboro, Wilkes County, North Carolina. But not satisfied he moved again to a short distance away to Beaver Creek. Near Ferguson, the Beaver Creek cabin was Daniel and Rebecca's last North Carolina home. From this Upper Yadkin home Daniel Boone with family and friends, explored the western wilderness up to and past the Appalachian Mountains.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Daniel Boone was the premier frontiersman, explorer, pathfinder, trailblazer and long hunter who became master of the harsh and dangerous environment upon which he longingly and willfully trod alone or with companions. From age 10 and throughout his life's exploits he became the greatest woodsman in the history of the United States. From the time of his birth in 1734 until his death in 1820 involving seventy of his eighty-six years of life, Daniel Boone, the long hunter, was the unconquerable explorer of the trans-Appalachian wilderness frontier at the edge of the existing western border of colonial civilization whose exploration opened the wilderness of Kentucky for eventual settlement. The early wilderness explorers, called "long hunters" due to the duration of their expeditions, were highly distinctive frontiersmen that mostly lived in southwest Virginia in the Clinch and Holston River Valleys 1760's-1770's and explored as far west as the Ohio and Cumberland river basins of Kentucky and western Tennessee. In the annals of American history, which has mostly ignored their contributions, their fearlessness as explorers was rarely exceeded. They were one and all innately driven by the same intense inquisitive drive, called wanderlust, to explore beyond the existing civilization the land that can't be seen trying but never succeeding to quench the desire of viewing what lies over the next hill, ridge, or torrent of river.
Daniel was age sixteen when he went on his first long hunt with his Berks County childhood friend Henry Miller while they lived on Linnville Creek, about 6 miles from Harrisonburg, Virginia Colony, and prior to Yadkin River, North Carolina Colony settlement. For several months they hunted along the Shenandoah Mountain but not across the Blue Ridge and then south to Big Lick, now present Roanoke and on down to the North Carolina state line. Taking all their furs to Philadelphia which they sold for thirteen hundred dollars, they spent three weeks spending all their hard earned money in "merrymaking" activities going home broke. Boone declared hunting his lifelong profession not missing a hunting season for the next sixty-five years!
In the 1764 expedition Daniel Boone, Samuel Callaway and Benjamin Cutbirth were employed as agents by the land speculator Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina to explore the upper Tennessee and Holston Valley above the forks. During their exploration they came across the Blevin's party at one of their station camps in this area and informed the Long Hunters of their employment and mission. Benjamin Cutbirth, from the Forks of the Yadkin, was the closest of friends to Boone with a like-minded nature and also a long hunter of high character and worth note. They explored together on numerous expeditions including the hazardous blazing of the Wilderness Road and settlement of Boonesborough. Boone saved his life once and likewise Cutbirth "saved" Boone by testifying during the court-martial of Boone after the Siege of Boonesborough. But before Daniel Boone's exploration there was the famous Elisha Wallen (also Walden), the Long Hunter. He holds the distinction of the first recorded long hunt 1761 into Carter's Valley, present Hawkins County, Tennessee, where he named the mountain ridge after himself. Many famous compatriot long hunters of Boone and Wallen were exploring southwest Virginia Colony trekking down the headwaters of the Cumberland River into middle Tennessee reaching the Upper Cumberland per their establishment of many stations: Isaac Bledsoe with Kasper Mansker, 1769, 1771, 1772 expeditions; Henry Scaggs 1765 expedition, and James Smith 1766 expedition and many others. All the long hunters had the innate spirit of adventure to explore the unsettled frontier regions few feared to trod, and the courage and tenacity to endure extreme hardships to open the wilderness for frontier settlement.
During these decades of exploration, the long hunters as well as Daniel Boone looked much like the tales described him: a long, fringed buckskin hunting tunic or shirt, a tomahawk and a knife in his belt, leather straps over his shoulder that held his powder horn, a pouch, and a black felt hat were items of frontier clothing uniquely suited for the tasks of exploration providing needed protection. Boone when elected Fayette County Representative 1780 to the Virginia Assembly, wore his frontier style clothing to the assembly meetings held at Richmond, Virginia, as a badge of honor and distinction.
On Daniel's first known hunt across the Blue Ridge, he left his Sugartree Creek cabin in the Forks of the Yadkin and explored into eastern Tennessee about a hundred miles from the Cherokee towns on the Little Tennessee River. On a beech tree he carved his now famous fourteen by nineteen inch inscription, "D. Boon cilled a Bar on tree in the year 1760" located at present Boone's Creek, a tributary of the Watauga in Washington County, Tennessee. The mighty beech tree stood tall for a hundred years after Boone's death, falling in a storm in 1920. In 1924 the DAR placed a historical marker at the famous location. Another carving is at the Filson Historical Society Museum. But some biographers believe the tree carvings might be forgeries, writing Boone always signed his name with an "e" which did not appear on the carvings.
Daniel went on several important expeditions with his younger brother Squire Boone Jr. Daniel, Squire, and good friend William Hill of Virginia and others took two more expeditions looking for better land to settle: The 1765 Florida Expedition and the 1767 Big Sandy Expedition of eastern Kentucky. From Summer to Christmas 1765 they explored St. Augustine area and up the St. Johns River then over to Pensacola finding swamps, sand hills, and meager game. Daniel still hopeful bought property at Pensacola only to have Rebecca say "NO" being so far from their home in North Carolina and the hunting prospects miserable. Instead of here they moved to the Upper Yadkin River by the Blue Ridge Mountains which provided the opportunity in 1767 to explore the Big Sandy River area of Kentucky as far as present Floyd County. They located the headwaters of the Big Sandy and traveled about a hundred miles hoping it would lead to the Ohio River. A snowstorm settled in and they camped for the winter by a salt springs, now named Boone's Salt Springs. Due to hostile hilly land with much laurel which made travel difficult they decided to turn back for North Carolina. Their 1767 exploration and winter camp was about ten miles west of present Prestonburg, at David, Kentucky, on Russell Fork, a tributary of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River.
In the fall of 1768 Boone's old friend and wilderness explorer and Indian trader, John Finley (also Findley) from the 1755 Braddock's Campaign was in the area where Boone lived on Beaver Creek of the Upper Yadkin. Finley wintered with Boone 1768-69 at his home, and continued his talks and stories of the abundant game and beautiful area of Kentucky when in 1752 he traveled down the Ohio River and into eastern Kentucky. He told Boone of the Warriors' Path leading to a "great gap" in the Cumberland Mountains and into the Kentucky wilderness. But not knowing of the overland route in the area, and Boone having explored other gaps and mountains in this locale, they agreed to a spring 1769 Kentucky expedition. Prior to their trip, Boone, Finley, and Boone's brother-in-law John Stuart were at a Salisbury Court hearing in March, 1769, where Boone's friend Judge Richard Henderson represented Boone in a debt owed. The Judge was also keenly interested in obtaining possession of the Kentucky wilderness, and probably discussed with the explorers their upcoming expedition. Henderson has been credited as financing the trip being a land speculator and in great need of knowledge of the topography and worthiness of the wilderness their expedition would glean.
On 1 May 1769 Daniel Boone's historic two year expedition began. His companions were John Finley, his brother-in-law John Stuart and three camp keepers, Joseph Holden, James Mooney and William Cooley. The explorers left from Boone's cabin on Beaver Creek, Upper Yadkin River, North Carolina, heading toward the Warriors' Path and Cumberland Gap by the landmarks Boone had traveled. They crossed Stone Mt. then Iron Mt. across to Holston Valley to the Wolf Hills then west to Moccasin Gap, crossed Clinch River to Powell's Valley and Walden's Ridge. They happened upon Joseph Martin and men erecting Martin's Station and then took the Hunters' Trail to Cumberland Gap and the Warrior's Path. They were thrilled to locate the gap, with mountain cliffs rising 1,640 feet on either side. The gap was previously discovered by Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750 when he explored the area and named the gap after the Duke of Cumberland.
Following the Warriors' Path north from Cumberland Gap several miles, Boone, Finley, and party came upon thick cane and had to cut a new path northward. Crossing the Cumberland River Boone and Finley continuing down a stream to Flat Lick and across several streams which are tributaries of Laurel River, heading toward Station Camp Creek where they made the base camp. Finley located his old 1752 trading camp, mostly destroyed, at the Indian town called Eskippakithiki in present day Clark County. The party anxious to locate the lush level plains they dreamed of, climbed an eminence 730 feet high and reaching the summit they gazed upon the bluegrass region of Kentucky's richest and most beautiful land overflowing with numerous game of all kinds. The party split so as to gather more pelts with Boone and Stuart as one team. Being overtaken by Shawnee and loosing all their pelts at the smaller camps, upon arriving at the base camp all other explorers had fled and the Indians cleared the camp of all pelts and all items of worth telling them to leave forever.
The angry explorers followed the Indians, stole back two horses only to be caught and taken prisoner. After a seven day march toward the Ohio they escaped on foot and covered the distance back to camp in 24 hours and located their friends on Rockcastle River heading toward Cumberland Gap. Boone and Stuart stayed to hunt and explore and with good fortune Squire Boone, Jr., and friend Alexander Neely arrived with more supplies. It was at this time that Stuart, Boone's brother-in-law was killed, which the body was discovered several years later on another expedition. But extending their 1769 expedition was extremely hazardous due to the fact that the fierce Shawnee who regarded the Kentucky wilderness as their historic hunting grounds as part of the Ohio Valley had not relinquished control having not agreed to nor signed the Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768 between the powerful Iroquois Nation and the British who ignored the rights of the Shawnee with much repercussions. From their perspective Kentucky was their land and they fought fiercely to hold it for almost thirty years against the frontier settlers referred to as "long knives." During this time Boone did extensive exploring over the area of Kentucky. He explored up to Blue Lick in Nicholas County and further north to Big Lick in northern Boone County on the Ohio, then over to the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville, then south to Green River Valley and south to Cumberland River Valley. When he wasn't traveling back to North Carolina for more supplies, Squire Boone Jr., a noted frontiersman in his own right, was alongside of his brother Daniel when scouting the topography of the rivers and quality of soils in different regions in order to report back the condition of the terrain at the end of their expedition in March 1771 to Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina, an interested and wealthy land speculator.
By spring 1773, Daniel Boone, with good friend Benjamin Cutbirth, and others explored the southern part of Kentucky and on the return trip to the Yadkin, met Capt. William Russell living at Fort Preston of Upper Castlewood of the Clinch River Settlement. The enthusiastic explorers convinced Russell of the richness of the land whereupon he overwhelmingly agreed to join the upcoming expedition. The Bryan family members and friends back at the Yadkin also agreed to join. On September 25, 1773, Daniel Boone's expedition group included the Byran families of about forty men along with five families left the upper Yadkin including Michael Stoner and William Bush. Boone and his party traveled westward through the Holston and Clinch valleys then camped on the western side of Walden's Ridge in Powell Valley and waited for Russell's party to arrive from Castlewood.
But good fortune was not to be had for the horrific tragedy of October 10, 1773, was nigh approaching! On that morning a party mostly of Ohio Delaware Indians of the Scioto River attached the James Boone group on Wallen's Creek where James Boone, Henry Russell, Isaac Crabtree, the Hargis and Mendenhall brothers, a youth named Drake, along with two slaves, Adam and Charles, were encamped after they informed Capt. Russell where to rendezvous with Boone's head party. Caught by surprise James Boone, son of Daniel, and Henry Russell, son of Capt. William Russell and all others exclusive of the escapees Isaac Crabtree and Adam were brutally tortured and butchered which sent shock waves into the river valley settlements. The massacre occurred just three miles east of Daniel Boone's main camp in Powell Valley. With overwhelming grief and tremendous disappointment the group turned back to the precarious safety of the Clinch River settlement. While family and friends returned to the Yadkin, Boone (at Moore's Fort) and Capt. Russell (Russell's Fort called Fort Preston) with their families spent the years 1773-1775 in the Clinch River settlement, which was part of the Western Waters (Powell, Clinch, and Holston Rivers) of southwest Virginia east of the Cumberland Gap.
During the French and Indian War, Daniel joined The Braddock Expedition, summer of 1755, led by British Major General Edward Braddock, to attempt capture of Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh) under French control. Boone enlisted and was appointed the rank of Sergeant in Captain Hugh Waddell's Company of Dobb's North Carolina's militia assigned to the Braddock Expedition. On the march from Fort Cumberland, Maryland, General Braddock's forces were ambushed 10 miles from Fort Duquesne. Daniel Boone and Daniel Morgan serving as wagoners with the rear supply column under the command of Colonel Thomas Dunbar had proceeded so slowly to Fort Duquesne, they would manage to avoid battle completely. Daniel Morgan, "the old wagoner," would become an instrumental Brigadier General in winning the southern campaign of the Revolutionary War against Gen. Cornwallis's forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Also with Braddock's forces was Colonel George Washington who took command when Braddock was severely wounded and ultimately died. This defeat at "The Battle of the Monongahela" left the frontier undefended and created future Indian uprisings along the colonial frontier.
After James Boone's death at Powell Valley Daniel and his family lived from 1773-1775 at the forts located at the Western Waters of the Powell, Clinch, and Holston Rivers in southwest Virginia close to Cumberland Gap. The men of this frontier settlement for protection from Indian encroachments formed military units of Rangers supervised by Officers appointed by Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, of which Daniel Boone was one, for the sole purpose of providing protection for the settlers who left their cabins and amassed for safety in the forts during the raging Indian attacks during Dunmore's War of 1774.  Boone was an officer with the rank of Lieutenant while being assigned to Capt. Looney's company to protect the forts while the rest of the militia companies joined Virginia forces to attack the Shawnee Indians on the Ohio.
This battle of Virginians led by Colonel Andrew Lewis against the Shawnee Indians led by Chief Cornstalk occurred at Point Pleasant at the confluence of the Kanawha River and the Ohio. The Battle of Point Pleasant resulted in the culmination of Lord Dunmore's War 1774 due to the overwhelming number of militia forces led by Lewis. Guarding the forts on the Western Waters Lieutenant Boone was assigned command of Fort Moore, the largest and most widely known, but by petition of the settlers at Blackmore's Fort, was also placed in command 1774 as a Captain of Militia and continued his command until leaving for Kentucky in the spring of 1775 to build the Wilderness Road and establish Fort Boonesborough. Being that the forts were twenty miles apart in the Clinch River settlement, Boone spent much time ranging between each fort to protect the settlers whose trust in Boone grew tremendously. He treasured this commission and always kept it with him until he died in his leather purse called "a budget" frontiersmen carried over their shoulders.
After decades of exploration and with the spirit of intrepidity Daniel Boone and his axemen were hired by Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company to blaze the Wilderness Road which started 15 March 1775. Henderson's Transylvania Company, whose goal was to buy from the Indians twenty million acres of land, most of Kentucky and a portion of Tennessee for the establishment of a fourteenth colony called "Transylvania," established Henderson and the company's officers as powerful Proprietors. The original British thirteen colonies land distribution system were controlled by Lords Proprietors, appointed by the King, who had total control of land purchased. The system required an annual quitrent on each acre of land sold which provided a perpetual income for Henderson and his cronies which later became very unpopular with Kentucky settlers. His land grab scheme drew political outrage from the Governor Dunmore of Virginia, and Governor Martin of North Carolina being it was illegal per the British Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Stanwix 1768 and the prior claims to the land by Virginia and North Carolina colonial governments. Governor Martin was so irate he called them "Henderson and his infamous Company of Land Pyrates."
With the forthcoming Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, on 17 March 1775, foremost in mind, Henderson sent Daniel Boone to visit the Tennessee Overhill Cherokee Indian settlement to encourage the Cherokee Indian chiefs with their braves to attend the negotiations. Although a thousand to twelve hundred braves gathered at Sycamore Shoals not all were in agreement prior to the signing of the treaty. Dragging Canoe refused to sign the treaty giving a dire warning, "You have bought a fair land, but you will find its settlement dark and bloody." His father, renowned diplomat Attakullakulla, the great war leader Oconostota, and Sewanooko, otherwise Coronok, all agreed and signed the document. To entice the Indians Henderson sent to Sycamore Shoals on Watauga River, present Elizabethton, Tennessee, ten wagon loads of goods plus money worth ten thousand pounds sterling for fulfillment of the treaty with the Cherokee Indians. The twenty million acres of Kentucky and Tennessee wilderness land as outlined in the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals extended south of the Ohio River, with the western border being Cumberland River at present Lake Barkeley, which extended southward to present Nashville then followed the Cumberland River eastward to its headwaters leading toward Cumberland Gap and on to the Kentucky River which flowed back to the Ohio The treaty actually consisted of two deeds officially recorded and signed by all parties known as the "Path Deed," and the "Great Grant" deed.
Daniel Boone also attended the Treat of Sycamore Shoals to negotiate and mention the boundaries of the purchase, but prior to the official signing the confident Henderson sent Boone to recruit the experienced axemen who then gathered at Long Island on Holston to immediately start to blaze the Wilderness Road on 15 March 1775. Albeit Boone used the term "trace" in his surveys, it was called the Wilderness Road in early writings, now identified by more recent historians as The Boone Trace. To blaze Boone's Wilderness Road was an immense task of sheer determination coupled with valiant courage, sorely tested, of Boone and his axemen crew to spearhead by hacking a rough, narrow path of over two hundred miles through dense pristine woods, underbrush and canebrakes. His crew were well known as some of the best backwoodsmen in the country. Their names were preserved and worth note for many became prominent in the annals of the West.
Boone and his weary but elated axemen accomplished their laden task when they arrived on the south side of the Kentucky River, 1 April 1775, about a mile below the mouth of Otter Creek and established Fort Boone, as called in Henderson's journal, called Fort Boonesborough somewhat later. About half of the axemen assisted Boone in making crude shelters in a hollow close to the Kentucky River before the excited and land driven axemen quickly began to locate and mark their own land on the outer edge of the shelters. So engrossed in their own motives they scattered into the woods to kill as many as possible the animals for their pelts to sell not even finishing adequately the small fort they started. When Judge Henderson and his crew arrived 20 April 1775 with many packhorses, much needed supplies and powder, he immediately realized a much larger area was needed for the eighty men which included sixty-five riflemen with the huge amount of supplies to store. On 22 April 1775 Henderson chose a spot on a plateau about 300 yards distant, with Boone supervising the endeavor, first to clear the land around the newer larger fort now known as Fort Boonesborough. Judge Henderson drew the plans which included the important small log magazine half buried in the ground to hold the valuable gunpowder, and a blockhouse for Henderson's quarters. Over time it became the historic fortified blockhouse pictured today. Judge Henderson gave Daniel Boone much credit and praise for this valuable accomplished feat by naming it Fort Boonesborough, the second earliest settlement in the trans-Appalachian frontier with Fort Harrod being the first in 1774.
Soon to follow were other dauntless souls, those intrepid pioneers of history past, which chose to tread upon that "dark and bloody ground" far from the safety and warmth of their former civilized homesteads into unknown wilderness. Daniel Boone on a subsequent trip brought his family with his brothers Squire Boone, Jr. and Edward Boone's families, Bryan family relatives, and other Yadkin River settlers through the Wilderness Road 1775 to the Fort Boonesborough settlement on the Kentucky River in the bluegrass region of central Kentucky. This historic event, painted by George Caleb Bingham in 1851, titled "Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap," depicted Boone, wife Rebecca, daughter Jemima and her future husband Flanders Callaway., Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky by following Boone Trace, known as the Wilderness Road, blazed by Boone and his crew of axe men March 1775. Newly opened lands provided much opportunity for the newcomers if they could endure the hazards getting to Fort Boonesborough. As in the words of Boone himself, "I've opened the way for others to make fortunes, but a fortune for myself was not what I was after." He applied for a land grant, some 1,000 acres, in his name on the Waters of Licking River and for his son Israel Boone on Boone's Creek where they built Boone's Station. These Certificates of Settlement & Preemption Warrants were dated 24 Dec 1779. Many historical paintings of Boone and the events of Kentucky settlement are displayed at Fort Boonesborough State Park Museum.
While living at Boone's Station with son Israel, Colonel Daniel Boone became a Commissioned Deputy Surveyor, utilizing his knowledge and skills of the Kentucky terrain to survey military surveys, working under the direction of Colonel Thomas Marshall, the Fayette County Surveyor. He executed 150 surveys during the years 1783-86 while living at Boone's Station which he utilized as his headquarters. Daniel Boone was made Deputy Surveyor of Lincoln County under Colonel James Thompson. Daniel Boone's surveys of 1783 for the Billy Bush Settlement, covered 5,350 acres, where Billy was the "pilot marker," the usual survey team member responsible for making sure the surveys did not overlap existing surveys at the land office where surveys were recorded. All of Boone's eleven surveys for the Bush Settlement held through time and were not contested as "overlapping" which was a massive problem of early Kentucky land surveys and ownership. Kentucky historian Willard Rouse Jillson (1954) in his research examined Boone's original survey plat maps and noted Boone "as good as the average" for Kentucky surveyors of his time. Historian Neil O. Hammon (2004) has provided evidence that Boone was a skilled surveyor and fair businessman by noting with evidence most present historians scant analysis in their books on Boone's true skills.
Colonel Daniel Boone was also a Virginia Legislator representing Fayette County to three terms to the Virginia General Assembly at Richmond during the Revolutionary War era at Fort Boonesborough. Fayette County was formed 1780 from Kentucky County (1776) a part of the Colony of Virginia. In 1780 he represented Fayette County at Richmond, Virginia, along with Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Boone in his bravado wore his backwoods frontier clothing to the Assembly floor. The Legislature divided Kentucky into three counties, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Fayette. Boone served several positions in Fayette County as sheriff, coroner, deputy surveyor and Lieutenant Colonel of the Fayette County Militia. Boone served again in 1781 when British forces under Col. Tarleton tried to capture outgoing governor Thomas Jefferson, but the legislature slipped away. And lastly he serve as legislator in 1790 elected by residents at Fort Lee (now Charleston, West Virginia) serving on committees for religion, propositions, and licenses. In Dec 1791 Boone received a contract from Governor Henry "Light-horse Harry" Lee III of Virginia to transport more than a ton of ammunitions to the northwest frontier garrisons, a long arduous trip.
Colonel Daniel Boone's last military battle was when he fought in the Battle of Blue Licks commanded by Colonel John Todd, both of Fayette County Militia. The battle occurred 19 August 1782, on the Licking River, in present Nicholas County, Kentucky (then Fayette County). It was one of the last battles of the Colonial American Revolution. British loyalist and their Shawnee Indian allies ambushed 182 Kentucky militiamen. Of the routed forces 77 militiamen fell dead, including the militia officers Colonel Todd and Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Trigg, noted frontiersmen in their own right (namesakes for Todd County and Trigg County, Kentucky). Boone lost his beloved son, Israel, and nephew Thomas, son of brother Samuel Boone. For Daniel Boone Israel's death was the "hardest blow he ever felt." The Blue Licks area also claimed the life of brother Edward Boone by Indian attack when he and Daniel were hunting October 1780. For the thirty-eight years remaining of Boone's life, upon recalling these painful memories of the Blue Licks brought tears to Daniel's eyes. The evolution of Edward Boone's gravesite is another Boone Saga. If living today, Edward's honored memorial would please the old frontiersman.
Edward and Daniel Boone married sisters, Martha and Rebecca Bryan respectively, whose father, Joseph Bryan, along with his three brothers, settled Bryan Station outside present Lexington, Ky. Bryan Station was attacked just three days before which lead to the Battle of Blue Licks. The heroic efforts of the pioneer women at Bryan Station battle brought inspiration to generations to come. The Memorial Wall inscription reads, ”The Women of Ancient Sparta Pointed out the Heroic Way. The Women of Pioneer Kentucky Trod It.”
The Boone family of men were the original "Go West, young man, go West!" Always seeking new horizons, Daniel Boone and his son Daniel Morgan Boone, left the hardship and disappointments of Kentucky and migrated west to the Upper Louisiana (Missouri) frontier. Son Daniel Morgan Boone in 1796 was first to build a cabin at the mouth of the Femme Osage Creek in St. Charles County, then part of Upper Louisiana, and encouraged his father to also come to this new frontier. Frustrated with all the legal problems resulting from his land claims in Kentucky, Daniel followed his son and emigrated to St. Charles County in 1799. He was also enticed to migrate because in 1798, the Spanish government offered Boone a post as Commandant of the Femme Osage District with a large land grant of 1000 arpens, about 850 acres. But Boone's Spanish grant became voided when the U.S. government in 1803 purchased the Louisiana Territory from the French. Without an acre to call his own, Boone petitioned both House and Senate of the United States Government in 1810 to restore his land grant which "had been wrested from him by a construction of the existing laws." But no legislation had been enacted on the petition until 10 Feb 1814 when congress restored his land through the "Act for the Relief of Daniel Boone." This restored honor was because of his history of leading the westward movement of pioneers during a vital time of expansion.  While living in Missouri, Daniel Boone was honored by the Governor with an appointment as a Syndic for the Femme Osage region which was a magistrate with powers of a sheriff and judge. He kept this position until the Louisiana Purchase by the United States. Daniel Boone died September 26, 1820, about sunrise at the home of his son, Nathan Boone, where Daniel lived the last years of his life in Defiance, St. Charles County, Missouri Territory, United States.  He was buried by his wife Rebecca in Bryan Cemetery, Marthasville, Warren County, Missouri. In 1845 with family permission the remains of Daniel Boone and wife Rebecca Bryan Boone were reinterred in Frankfort, Kentucky, at the Frankfort Cemetery, opposite the Kentucky State Capitol with the Kentucky River flowing between.
"In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!...Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;..."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Colonel Daniel Boone (1734-1820), per historian Michael Lofaro, was the founding father of westward expansion by his exploration and settlement of the Kentucky wilderness and remains an iconic figure in American history. There was genuinely an admirable core of meaning to his life. He was the embodiment of what all want for themselves: love of adventure, physical prowess, resourcefulness, moral courage, and fierce independence. He became a legend in his own lifetime when historian John Filson wrote from Boone's interviews with Filson an "autobiography" in 1784 printed throughout America and Europe. A hunter and explorer to the last years of his life, he died "secure in his place in history as the nation’s archetypal hero of the frontier." Throughout history Daniel Boone was memorialized in numerous historical events in his honor. Like all great men of note, Daniel Boone left footprints on the sands of time; he was a hero in the strife!
Daniel Boone drew this conclusion when reflecting on his life and tribulations in settling the Kentucky wilderness in the interview published in 1784 with the historian John Filson: "My footsteps have often been marked with blood, and therefore I can truly subscribe to its original name. Two darling sons, and a brother, have I lost by savage hands, which have also taken from me forty valuable horses, and abundance of cattle. Many dark and sleepless nights have I been a companion for owls, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the Summer’s sun, and pinched by the Winter’s cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness. But now the scene is changed : Peace crowns the sylvan shade. What thanks, what ardent and ceaseless thanks are due to that all-superintending Providence..."
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