ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Daniel Boone in Kentucky
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Daniel Boone in Kentucky
|Daniel Boone in Kentucky
Daniel and Rebecca Boone are buried beneath
this monument in Frankfort, Kentucky. The famed
frontiersman changed the course of American history.
Daniel Boone blazed the
Wilderness Road through the
gap in 1775. More than
300,000 settlers followed.
Grave of Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone and his wife
Rebecca are said to rest
beneath this monument in
Daniel Boone in Kentucky
The Most Famous Frontiersman
|Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Daniel Boone's Hunting Hut?
Legend holds that these
timbers are the remains of a
hut built by Daniel Boone. The
name "D. Boon" was found
carved on them.
Kentucky & Daniel Boone
Boone was the first pioneer to
see much of Kentucky, but he
paid a heavy personal price
because of his life on the
|Historic Sites of the Early Frontier
| The frontiersman Daniel Boone was one of
the most remarkable individuals in American
history. His name is forever connected to the
history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,
even though he lived out the last years of his
life in Missouri.
Daniel Boone was borne in a log cabin near
what is now Reading, Pennsylvania, on
October 22, 1734. A calendar change during
his lifetime altered his birthday to November
2, 1734, but Boone preferred the October
date and always used it.
His father, Squire Boone, was a member of
the Religious Society of Friends, now usually
called the Quakers. He came from England
to Pennsylvania in 1713 as part of William
Penn's colony for families being persecuted
for their religious beliefs.
Daniel Boone grew up on the western frontier
of Pennsylvania, where he learned to hunt
and received his first rifle when he was only
12 years old. By that age he had already
developed a love for the wilderness that
would continue throughout his life.
Boone was raised a Quaker and grew up in
the pacifist ways of his parents. He got along
well with the Indians he encountered along
the Pennsylvania frontier in his use and
learned much about hunting and tracking
The Boone family moved to the Yadkin River
valley of North Carolina in 1750. Daniel
Boone was then 16 years old. Although
some have liked to portray him as a youth so
in love with hunting that he received little or
no education, Daniel actually could read
quite well. He often carried books including
the Bible and Gulliver's Travels on his long
hunting trips and sometimes entertained
friends by reading to them after the day's hunt.
Daniel Boone served as a wagoner during
the French and Indian War and was present
at Braddock's Defeat (also called the Battle of
the Monongahela) in 1755. He survived the
bloody attack in which over 500 men were
killed and over 450 wounded and witnessed
Colonel George Washington's coolness
under fire first hand.
Boone returned home to North Carolina
where he married Rebecca Bryan on August
14, 1756. The two eventually had ten children.
The Cherokee Uprising broke out in 1759
and the Yadkin Valley was attacked by war
parties of Cherokee Indians. The Boones
fled into Virginia, but Daniel served in the
fighting of the Cherokee war as a member of
the North Carolina militia.
It was during this time that the frontiersman
began to range deeper and deeper into the
mountains on his hunting expeditions. These
trips often lasted for months, but Boone was
a good hunter and was able to provide for his
family with the hides he brought back from
In 1765, Daniel Boone traveled south to
Florida, which had been taken over by the
British at the end of the French and Indian
War. He and his brother Squire explored
Florida and Boone purchased land in
Pensacola. Rebecca, legend holds, refused
to move so far away from her family.
Daniel Boone never settled in Florida, but
members of his family eventually did and
remain there to this day.
Returning to North Carolina, the hunter made
his first trip over the mountains to Kentucky in
1767. The so-called Regular excitement,
which ended at the Battle of Alamance,
began while Boone was on this trip into
For a man so in love with the wilderness,
Kentucky was a paradise to Daniel Boone.
He went back across the mountains in 1769
only to be captured by a Shawnee hunting
party which took all of his hides and ordered
him off. Boone did not leave, but remained in
Kentucky for two years after the incident, not
returning to North Carolina until 1771.
While the hunting trips gave Boone a chance
to disappear into the wilderness he loved,
they also brought extreme danger. In 1773
his son James was tortured to death by
Indian warriors after he was captured in an
attack on a group of settlers being led to
Kentucky by Daniel Boone.
Despite this heart-rending loss, Boone
continued his explorations. In 1775, he was
hired by Richard Henderson to blaze a road
to Kentucky. Henderson planned to establish
a new colony there that would be called
Transylvania. This trail passed through the
Cumberland Gap and was first known as
Boone's Trace but later as the Wilderness
Daniel Boone was one of the leaders in the
Transylvania effort. He established Fort
Boonesborough in 1775 and moved his
family there in the fall of that year.
Despite war and the loss of his son Israel at
the Battle of Blue Licks, Daniel Boone stayed
in Kentucky and helped clear the way for the
20,000 settlers that followed him over the
Wilderness Road by the end of the 18th
Sadly, he later was sued over conflicting land
claims and finally decided that there was no
longer room for him in the state he lost two
sons to help found. In 1799, Daniel Boone
left the United States and moved to Missouri,
then part of Spanish Louisiana.
Welcomed by Spanish officials, he was
appointed to serve as a judge and military
commandant in the Femme Osage District.
He held those positions until the Louisiana
Purchase was completed in 1804. Not only
did Boone lose his positions when Missouri
became part of the United States, he also
lost his land once again. It took him ten years
of appeals to the U.S. Government to have it
Family tradition holds that Daniel Boone
continued his journeys west well into his
senior years. One story places him on the
Yellowstone when he was in his 80s. As
amazing as such a journey would have been,
it was entirely possible. A U.S. Army officer at
Fort Osage, Missouri, reported seeing him
on his way to the Platte when Boone was 85
Daniel Boone died in Missouri on September
26, 1820. His remains along with those of
his wife Rebecca were disinterred in 1845
and carried back to Kentucky for burial
beneath a special monument in Frankfort. Or
at least so Kentuckians believe. Missourians
hold that the wrong graves were excavated
and that Daniel and Rebecca still rest
peacefully in Missouri.
|Photos by Brian Mabelitini