Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on 2nd November, 1734. His family migrated to North Carolina in 1750 and established a farm by the Yadkin Valley. As soon as he was old enough he became an animal hunter.

Boone joined the expedition led by Major General Edward Braddock as a blacksmith and teamster. He was with Braddock when he was killed on 13th July, 1755.

In 1767 Boone and two companions explored Kentucky. Impressed with what he found he led a party of migrant families from North Carolina to Kentucky in September, 1773. Working for Richard Henderson and his Transylvania Company, Boone helped lay out the Wilderness Road. He also explored the Cumberland Gap of the Appalachian Mountains. He was also involved in the establishment of the Boonesborough Fort on the Kentucky River.

Boone was captured by Shawnees in 1778 and was taken to Detroit but managed to escape. He returned to Boonesborough where he organized the settlers in defending the town from an Indian attack. Over the next few years Boone served as a sheriff of Boonesborough. He also worked as a surveyor.

In 1799 Boone moved to Missouri and in 1814 Congress granted him 850 acres in the area. Boone was forced to sell the land in order to pay his considerable debts incurred while he was in Kentucky. Boone continued to hunt and trap animals until his early eighties.

Daniel Boone died in St. Charles County, Missouri, on 26th September, 1820.

Daniel Boone in about 1760.
Daniel Boone in about 1760.

Primary Sources

(1) Timothy Flint, Biographical Memoir of Daniel Boone (1833)

A lofty eminence was before them. Thinking it would afford them a far view of the meanderings of the river, they ascended it. This expectation was realized. A large extent of country stretched beneath them. Having surveyed it, they proposed to commence their return to rejoin their companions. As they were leisurely descending the hill, little dreaming of danger, the Indian yell burst upon their ears. A numerous party of Indians sprang from the cane-brake, surrounded, vanquished, and bound them, before they had time to have recourse to their arms. The Indians proceeded to plunder them of their rifles, and every thing in their possession but the most indispensable articles of dress. They then led them off to their camp, where they confined them in such a manner as effectually to prevent their escape.

Not knowing a word of the speech of their captors, who knew as little of theirs, they were wholly ignorant of what fate awaited them. The Indians next day marched them off, rapidly towards the north, compelling them to travel at a rate which was excessively annoying to captives in their predicament - manacled, in momentary apprehension of death, and plunging deeper into the wilderness in advancing towards the permanent abode of their savage masters. It was well for them that they were more athletic than the savages, equally capable of endurance, and alike incapable of betraying groans, fear, or even marks of regret in their countenance. They knew enough of savage modes to be aware that the least indications of weariness, and inability to proceed, would have brought the tomahawk and scalping knife upon their skulls, weapons, with which they were thus early supplied from Detroit. They therefore pushed resolutely on, with cheerful countenances, watching the while with intense earnestness, to catch from the signs and gestures of the Indians, what was their purpose in regard to their fate. By the second day, they comprehended the words of most frequent recurrence in the discussion, that took place respecting them. Part, they perceived, were for putting them to death, to prevent their escape. The other portion advocated their being adopted into the tribe, and domesticated. To give efficacy to the counsels of these last, the captives not only concealed every trace of chagrin, but dissembled cheerfulness, and affected to like their new mode of life; and seemed as happy, and as much amused, as the Indians themselves.