Categories: Southern Pioneers | American Revolution | American Childhood Legends, Kentucky | Berks County, Pennsylvania | American Heroes | Frontiersman, Scouts | Famous People of the 18th Century | Namesakes US Counties.
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"Many heroic actions and chivalrous adventures are related of me which exist only in the regions of fancy. With me the world has taken great liberties, and yet I have been but a common man." 
Daniel Boone (November 2, 1734 [O.S. October 22] – September 26, 1820) was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now Kentucky, which was then part of Virginia but on the other side of the mountains from the settled areas. Despite some resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, in 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first American settlements west of the Appalachians. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.
Boone was a militia officer during the Revolutionary War (1775–83), which in Kentucky was fought primarily between the American settlers and the British-aided Native Americans. Boone was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1778, who after a while adopted him into their tribe. Later, he left the Indians and returned to Boonesborough to help defend the European settlements in Kentucky/Virginia.
Boone was elected to the first of his three terms in the Virginia General Assembly during the Revolutionary War, and fought in the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782. Blue Lick was one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War, coming after the main fighting ended in October 1781.
Following the war, Boone worked as a surveyor and merchant, but fell deeply into debt through failed Kentucky land speculation. Frustrated with all the legal problems resulting from his land claims, in 1799 Boone emigrated to eastern Missouri, where he spent most of the last two decades of his life (1800–20). Boone remains an iconic figure in American history. He was a legend in his own lifetime, especially after an account of his adventures was published in 1784, making him famous in America and Europe. After his death, he was frequently the subject of heroic tall tales and works of fiction. His adventures — real and legendary — were influential in creating the archetypal Western hero of American folklore. In American popular culture, he is remembered as one of the foremost early frontiersmen. The epic Daniel Boone mythology often overshadows the historical details of his life.
Boone rarely attended school. He worked on the farm and spent his time hunting. When Boone was 12 years old his parents gave him his first rifle. Boone was already very good with a gun before he received this gift. In 1750 Boone's family moved to North Carolina.
During the French and Indian War Boone joined General Edward Braddock's expedition and tried to drive out the French from Fort Duquesne which is now Pittsburgh. Braddock was ambushed. Boone was able to escape. He returned home and was married. At age 21 Boone married Rebecca who was just 17 years old. Rebecca and Boone moved because Boone felt there were too many people in the area.
In 1769 Boone and Rebecca lived in the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina. He learned about the Watauga Country from John Finley. Finley told Boone about the blue-green water and the giant forests. Boone organized a group of six men which including his brother-in-law, John Stuart, and his brother Squire. He packed his haversack, gathered his powder horn and bullet pouch, and saddled his horse. Daniel Boone and six men decided to go to a new land that was just beyond the Appalachian Mountains. His thought was that if he could stand in his front yard and see smoke from a neighbor's chimney that it had become too crowded.
On this trip Boone dressed like a true outdoorsman. He wore a fringed hunting shirt that came almost to his knees. He carried a tomahawk and a knife in his belt. Leather straps over Boone's shoulder held his powder horn and pouch. He liked wearing a black felt hat.
Boone set out to find new land with more elbow room. Boone crossed the mountains and followed the Watauga River on an Indian trail called the Warriors' Path to a place now named Butler, Tennessee. During his journey he came across three trappers Julius Dugger, Andrew Greer and John Honeycutt. These men are recorded as being the first white men to settle the area which is now Johnson County. Boone then traveled farther into the wilderness into the area now known as "Kaintuckee". On this trip Boone noticed his horse hobbling. He left the horse in a pasture of green grass near a stream. He continued on with the group to "Kaintuckee". Boone stayed in Kentucky trapping and hunting for two years.
In the spring of 1771 on his return trip home Boone followed the same trail through a valley in East Tennessee. He was stopped by the Cherokee who took all his furs and skins. Boone continued on home. In the beautiful valley where he had left his horse to die two years earlier Boone found his horse not only alive, but fat and handsome with a sleek coat. When the horse saw Boone he whinnied and trotted over to meet Boone. Boone wrapped his arms around his horse "Old Roan". Ever since the stream through this valley has been called Roan Creek after Boone's horse.
Boone made several trips back and forth to this area before settling there. He told many people about the land he had traveled through on his journeys. Boone was quoted as saying, "You'll find plenty of rich fertile soil, an abundance of game, and timber for log cabins." In 1773 a group took Boone's advice and set out for Kentucky. They turned back when the Indians tortured and killed Boone's oldest son James.
In 1775 Richard Henderson bought land from the Cherokee Indians. He sent Boone to improve the trails to his new land in Kentucky. Boone chose a site by the Kentucky River for a fort. He built the fort in 1775. After this Boone went back to get his wife and daughter Jemima. He took them to the fort which was named Boonesborough.
In 1778 Boone was captured by Shawnee Indians. They took him to their village north of the Ohio River. Chief Blackfish adopted Boone into the tribe. One day Boone heard a war party was going to attack Boonesborough. Boone escaped to warn his friends.
After the warning the men in Boonesborough made the fort stronger. The women stored extra and food and water inside the fort. The first Indian attack failed. The Shawnee then began to dig a tunnel under the fort. When the men in the fort saw this they built a tunnel too. They planned to meet the Indians in the middle. Then the Indians started shooting flaming arrows into the fort. Luckily rain came. The rain not only put out the fires, but caved in the Indians' tunnel. With this defeat Blackfish left.
After the Revolutionary War was over Boone tried to sell his land in Kentucky. The United States said he had registered his land with the Spanish, not the United States so he had no right to it. The land was not his.
After this in 1799 Boone moved to Missouri. He was appointed magistrate in the district by the Spanish. Boone was responsible for keeping law and order. He had to judge law cases. In 1814 this land became part of the United States. Again Boone lost his land. Finally the United States gave Boone part of the land back as a reward for helping millions move west. Boone lived the rest of his life in Missouri.
Boone died September 26, 1820. After his death his remains were moved to Frankfort, Kentucky. In 1915 The Daniel Boone Trail was marked through North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The trail begins on the Yadkin River and ends at Boonesborough. Boone's route, now know as the Boone Heritage Trail, enters Johnson County at Trade and continues through Shouns, Mountain City, and Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, then through Damascus, Virginia, on into Kentucky.
Daniel Boone was interred in Frankfort, Franklin, KY.
He may have been reinterred. One source has the burial as Bryan Cemetery, Marthasville, Montgomery County, Missouri.
Seven U.S. states have counties named in Daniel Boone's honor: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska and West Virginia.
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