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My Father, Daniel Boone: The Draper Interviews with Nathan Boone

Edited by Neal O. Hammon
With an Introduction by Nelson L. Dawson
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    My Father, Daniel Boone
    Book Description:

    One of the most famous figures of the American frontier, Daniel Boone clashed with the Shawnee and sought to exploit the riches of a newly settled region. Despite Boone's fame, his life remains wrapped in mystery.The Boone legend, which began with the publication of John Filson's The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boone and continued through modern times with Fess Parker's Daniel Boone television series, has become a hopeless mix of fact and fiction. Born in 1819, archivist Lyman Draper was a tireless collector of oral history and is responsible for much of what we do know about Boone. Particularly interested in frontier history, Draper conducted interviews with the famous and the obscure and collected thousands of manuscripts (he walked hundreds of miles through the South to save historical materials during the Civil War). In an 1851 visit with Boone's youngest son, Nathan, and Nathan's wife, Olive, Draper produced over three hundred pages of notes that became the most important source of information about Daniel. The interviews provide a wealth of accurate, first-hand information about Boone's years in Kentucky, his capture by Indians, his defense of Fort Boonesboro, his lengthy hunting expeditions, and his final years in Missouri. My Father, Daniel Boone is an engaging account of one of America's great pioneers, in which Nathan makes a point of separating fact from fiction. From explaining the methods his father used to track game to detailing how land speculation and legal problems from title claims caused Boone to leave Kentucky and take up residence farther west, Nathan Boone's portrait of his father brings a crucial period in frontier history to life.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4398-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Maps and Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Genealogy of the Boone Family
    (pp. xii-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)
    Nelson L. Dawson

    Daniel Boone is a unique American icon, the personification of that quintessential national hero, the frontiersman. He was already a figure of considerable fame in Kentucky in the 1770s, but John Filson’sThe Adventures of Col.Daniel Boone, published on Boone’s fiftieth birthday in 1784, made him a figure of national, even international, renown.

    Boone’s stature, paradoxically, was largely unaffected by painful, repeated failure. His fortunes began to decline almost simultaneously with the end of the Revolutionary War and the publication of Filson’s biography. Unsuccessful in business both as a merchant and as a speculator and by 1789 “unable to...

  7. 1 His Early Life
    (pp. 9-22)

    Lyman Draper:Colonel Boone, what can you tell me about yourself and your father?

    Nathan Boone:My name is Nathan Boone; I am the son of Colonel Daniel Boone. I was born at Boone Station, now Cross Plains, Fayette County, Kentucky, on March 21, 1781, and this is my wife, Olive Van Bibber Boone, the daughter of Peter Van Bibber, who was born in Greenbriar County, on the bank of Greenbriar River, on January 13, 1783, but when she was two years old, her father moved to Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

    My father, Colonel Daniel Boone, used to say that...

  8. 2 The Hunter
    (pp. 23-38)

    Nathan Boone:When [John] Finley came to North Carolina in 1768 or 1769, he looked up my father, Daniel Boone, whom he had not seen since the Braddock campaign. I have no recollection about Finley’s appearance, character, size, or age. But while he was there my father told him how he had attempted to reach Kentucky by way of the Big Sandy River and had failed. Finley said there must be a better way across the mountains than along the Big Sandy River; the Cherokee Indians frequently went to war against the northern Indians and must have a path across...

  9. 3 To Kentucky
    (pp. 39-52)

    Lyman Draper:Can you tell me anything about your father’s first attempt to settle Kentucky, in 1773?

    Nathan Boone:I have some recollections of the Powell Valley defeat, but I don’t know how they were formed. The tragedy occurred on the northern bank of Wallen’s Creek. My brother, James Boone, was shot through his hips and rendered helpless. The affair was witnessed by a Negro who hid in the driftwood in the creek. He saw Big Jim, a man with very high cheekbones, an unusually broad face, and a peculiar chin, whom he easily recognized. This Indian was well known...

  10. 4 Captured by Indians
    (pp. 53-64)

    Lyman Draper:Tell us about Colonel Boone being made a captive at the Blue Licks in February 1778. I believe in his narrative it says he was taken February 7 and surrendered the men the next day.

    Nathan Boone:I think it was Saturday when my father was taken and Sunday when he surrendered up the others.¹ He said he went out on horseback to kill meat for the company. The buffalo seldom visited the licks in the winter; they then would keep near the cane as the best winter’s range and lived in summer mainly on grass. I remember...

  11. 5 Siege of Boonesboro
    (pp. 65-74)

    Nathan Boone:Getting back to my story. After his return to Boonesboro, my father, Daniel Boone, went to repairing the fort. The men enlarged it, as the palisades were entirely down on one side. The roofs of the houses were in shed style, all in the same direction, slanting into the fort.¹

    Another escaped prisoner soon came in, reporting that the Indians were delaying their attack two weeks because of my father’s escape and had sent an express to Governor Hamilton. When the settlers heard of this postponement, they delayed repairing the fort. It was then that my father carried...

  12. 6 Bryan’s Station and the Blue Licks Defeat
    (pp. 75-86)

    Lyman Draper:I would assume that Colonel Boone told you about the relief of Bryan’s Station and the Battle of Blue Licks.

    Nathan Boone:Absolutely. William Hays, my brother-in-law, headed the party from Boone’s Station that went to the relief of Bryan’s Station. Hays was a brave man and always foremost, but he was bad-tempered and drank to excess. He was eventually killed by his son-in-law, about 1808 on the Femme Osage, in St. Charles County, Missouri.¹

    The men from Boone’s Station somewhere joined the Lexington men and marched to Bryan’s together. Prior to reaching the fort, there was a...

  13. 7 Point Pleasant
    (pp. 87-100)

    Nathan Boone:After he settled and closed his business at Limestone, my father, Daniel Boone, gathered up his movable property and there sold out his merchandise. He then moved and began residing at Point Pleasant in one of the upper occupied houses just up the Kanawha from the Point. He did not renew the stock of merchandise except probably once and possibly not at all. He had to trade for furs and peltries.

    Lyman Draper:I have a document which shows that in October 1789, Daniel Boone was recommended to the governor by the court of Mason County, Virginia, for...

  14. 8 Back to Kentucky
    (pp. 101-106)

    Nathan Boone:While at school in Kentucky, I formed an attachment for the place, and more especially for the quietness and safety of the interior from Indian dangers. I wanted my parents to move back to Kentucky, and they agreed.

    In the spring or summer of 1795, I came down the Ohio with my father and mother. We landed at Limestone and proceeded to Bourbon County, where we settled on a tract of unimproved land owned by my brother Daniel M. Boone. The little farm was on the waters of the Brushy Fork of Hinkston, about six miles east of...

  15. 9 To Missouri
    (pp. 107-118)

    Nathan Boone:About the time my father moved from Point Pleasant to Kentucky, my brother Daniel went down the Mississippi, exploring and examining the country, and hunted and trapped on the upper waters of Tombigbee River. He did not like that country, and his attention was directed towards Missouri. He had heard something about Missouri when going down the Mississippi. In the fall of 1797, he decided to go and see the country. Colonel James Smith, the old pioneer and captive, and Joseph Scholl, my brother Daniel’s brother-in-law, agreed to accompany him. Father took an interest in this exploration and...

  16. 10 Hunting in Missouri
    (pp. 119-128)

    Nathan Boone:I remember an early hunt conducted by me and Isaac Van Bibber. He afterwards lived at Loutre Lick on the Bourbeuse River or Creek.¹ My father, Daniel Boone, hunted occasionally for amusement around home. He and Mother moved in with my family and in 1805 built a small house in my yard, and there the old couple lived by themselves for several years. They lived there until just before my mother’s death in March 1813. In the spring of that year she had, together with my father, gone up to Flanders Callaway’s to make maple sugar.

    In the...

  17. 11 The War of 1812
    (pp. 129-134)

    Nathan Boone:Towards the close of 1811, the Indians killed the Neal family, his wife and several children, who were living on the Mississippi River near Salt River. Prior to this, Lewis Jones and I were sent out to spy and went up towards the head of Loutre Creek. Soon after the attack on Neal’s family, we went into that region and scouted above Neal’s residence. Then, in the latter part of the winter of 1811-1812, Governor William Clark wrote and ordered me to raise a company of rangers for three months’ service, which I did. My commission bears the...

  18. 12 The Last Years
    (pp. 135-140)

    Nathan Boone:Early in 1813 my father and mother went up to Flanders Callaway’s at the mouth of Charette Creek, located within a mile of Marthasville, on the Missouri.¹ Their place was twelve miles from my house. In 1799 Flanders Callaway had settled within a mile of me and remained there seven or eight years. My parents went up to Callaway’s to aid in sugar making, as he had a good sugar camp. Mother, while there, camped at the sugar camp, which was four miles from Callaway’s residence, up Charette Creek, and she remained there about a month. When she...

  19. Appendix A: Nathan Boone’s Letter
    (pp. 141-146)
    Nathan Boone
  20. Appendix B: Family Genealogy
    (pp. 147-148)
    Nathan Boone
  21. Postscript
    (pp. 149-152)

    Since the hardcover edition of this book was published in 1999, additional research into the life of Daniel Boone has revealed new information pertaining to the accuracy of some of the statements made by his son Nathan Boone. Some of the discrepancies are minor, such as his statements about his father’s surveying ability.¹ Whenever inaccuracies were discovered, I attempted to make them known.

    More extensive research into the land records pertaining to Daniel Boone has revealed that Nathan Boone was probably not being completely honest with Lyman Draper when he described his father’s business matters. His interview with Draper in...

  22. Notes
    (pp. 153-168)
  23. Bibliography
    (pp. 169-174)
  24. Index
    (pp. 175-180)