Daniel Boone was born November 2, 1734 in a log cabin in Berks County, near present-day Reading, Pennsylvania. Boone is one of the most famous pioneers in United States history. He spent most of his life exploring and settling the American frontier.
Boone had little formal education, but he did learn the skills of a woodsmen early in life. By age 12 his sharp hunter's eye and skill with a rifle helped keep his family well provided with wild game. In 1756 Boone married Rebecca Bryan, a pioneer woman with great courage and patience. He spent most of the next ten years hunting and farming to feed his family. In 1769 a trader and old friend, John Findley, visited Boone's cabin. Findley was looking for an overland route to Kentucky and needed a skilled woodsman to guide him. In 1769 Boone, Findley and five men traveled along wilderness trails and through the Cumberland gap in the Appalachian mountains into Kentucky. They found a "hunter's paradise" filled with buffalo, deer, wild turkey and meadows ideal for farming. Boone vowed to return with his family one day.
In 1775 Boone and 30 other woodsmen were hired to improve the trails between the Carolinas and the west. The resulting route reached into the heart of Kentucky and became known as the "Wilderness Road." That same year Boone built a fort and village called Boonesborough in Kentucky, and moved his family over the Wilderness Trail to their new home.
Boone had numerous encounters with the native people of Kentucky during the Revolutionary War. In 1776, Shawnee warriors kidnapped his daughter and two other girls. Two days later Boone caught up with the Indians and through surprise attack rescued the girls. In 1778, he was captured by another band of Shawnee. Boone learned that the tribe was planning an attack on Boonesborough. He negotiated a settlement with Chief Blackfish of the Shawnee, preventing the attack. The Indians admired their captive for his skill as a hunter and woodsman and adopted him into their tribe as a son of Blackfish. He escaped when he learned the Shawnee, at the instigation of the British, were planning another attach on Boonesborough. The settlement was reinforced and provisioned in preparation for the assault. When British soldiers and the Indians attacked, Boonesborough withstood a ten-day siege and Chief Blackfish and the British finally withdrew.
After the Revolutionary War, Boone worked as a surveyor along the Ohio River and settled for a time in Kanawha County, Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1792, Kentucky was admitted into the Union as the 15th state. Litigation arose that questioned many settlers' title to their lands. Boone lost all his property due to lack of clear title. In 1799, he followed his son, Daniel Morgan Boone, to Missouri which was then under the dominion of Spain. Traveling by canoe, he and his family paddled down the Ohio River to St. Louis.
In 1800, Boone was appointed magistrate of the Femme Osage District in St. Charles County, Missouri. He received a large tract of land for his services. When Missouri was transferred to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Boone once again lost all his land, most of which was sold to satisfy creditors in Kentucky. Boone's wife Rebecca died on March 18, 1813. He spent his remaining years living in his son Nathan's home in the St. Charles area. He went on his final hunting trip at the age of 83.
Daniel Boone died on September 26, 1820 at the age of 85. In 1845 the remains of Boone and his wife were moved to Kentucky to rest in the great pioneer's "hunter's paradise." There is some controversy surrounding the final disposition of Boone's remains. Some say that Daniel and Rebecca are still in Missouri, and that the wrong remains were removed and re-buried. Others have demanded the return of the bodies to Missouri.
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Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America
by Meredith Mason Brown
Brown steers clear of hero worship, seeing Boone in his entirety. Praising him where praise is warranted while scrupulously recording his failingsrisking his family's lives, losing sons in battles with Indians, never succeeding as a land speculator. Yet Boone emerges as a truly remarkable figure.
Boone: A Biography
by Robert Morgan
Poet and fiction writer Robert Morgan portrays Boone in lively prose but also in excessive detail.
Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer
by John MacK Faragher
A reliable and factual life of Boone. The real Boone is far more interesting than the mythical image, and in this book we catch sight of him.
The Life of Daniel Boone
by Lyman Copeland Draper, Ted Franklin Belue (Editor)
Draper set out to write the definitive biography of Boone in the early 1850s, but after 40 years' work, was unable to finish the task. His biography of Boone remained unfinished for 100 years until scholar of early Americana, Ted Franklin Belue, added his authoritative editing. This long-awaited work is filled with little-known information on Boone and his family, long hunters, the Shawnee, the fur trade, and frontier life in general.
Biography - Daniel Boone
A&E's Biography Series looks at the life and times of Daniel Boone.
Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer (1956)
The story of the 18th century legendary frontier scout, Daniel Boone, as he conquers the savage frontier. He guides a party of settlers from North Carolina to Kentucky and faces Indians, food shortages, and bad weather along the way. The climax finds Boone and company defending their fort from a Shawnee Indian attack.
Daniel Boone - Season One (1964)
Fess Parker stars as Daniel Boone in this timeless classic series. Wholesome fun for the entire family!
Myth and Reality in the American Consciousness
This project by the "American Studies Group at University of Virginia" provides a cross-section of Boone portrayals, and attempt to place their points of view in historical context.
Daniel Boone's Move to Kentucky
By Theodore Roosevelt