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Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone: An American Life

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Daniel Boone
    Book Description:

    The embodiment of the American hero, the man of action, the pathfinder, Daniel Boone represents the great adventure of his age -- the westward movement of the American people. Daniel Boone: An American Life brings together over thirty years of research in an extraordinary biography of the quintessential pioneer. Based on primary sources, the book depicts Boone through the eyes of those who knew him and within the historical contexts of his eighty-six years. The story of Daniel Boone offers new insights into the turbulent birth and growth of the nation and demonstrates why the frontier forms such a significant part of the American experience.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2886-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    (pp. IX-XVI)
  4. 1 “LET THE GIRLS DO THE SPELLING”: The Boyhood of Daniel Boone
    (pp. 1-9)

    In 1717 Daniel Boone’s grandfather, George Boone, took the courageous step of uprooting his large family from the sleepy village of Bradninch in England and sailing to America. A weaver by trade, fifty-one-year-old George Boone was well past the age when one would normally determine to start a new life. But he was driven by the same two desires that would later encourage the zest for adventure and historic actions of his famous grandson: freedom and land.

    As a religious dissenter, a Quaker, George Boone had heard remarkable tales of a sanctuary for Quakers in the New World, a colony...

    (pp. 10-25)

    Both England and France were strongly pressing their claims to the Ohio Valley, part of which was later to become Kentucky, and Daniel Boone would get his first taste of Indian warfare all too soon. England asserted its right to the territory under the Virginia charter of 1609 and the explorations of Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam, who took possession of the region for the Crown in 1671. They claimed English sovereignty over the lands drained by the New River and the lands associated with the waters into which that river emptied. By claiming the New River, a tributary of...

    (pp. 26-39)

    Boone had now explored to the north, south, east, and west. Daniel weighed the advantages and drawbacks of emigration in each general direction and determined that his new home would be to the west, to the land of greatest risk and greatest reward—Kentucky. Boone and many other Americans who drew the same conclusion were, in effect, willing to disregard the British Proclamation of 1763, which forbade settlement west of the Alleghenies.

    According to Lord Barrington, England intended, after conquering and winning the Ohio Valley, to maintain the region from the mountains to the Mississippi as a desert for the...

    (pp. 40-52)

    For the next two years Daniel farmed and hunted, each in its season, and undoubtedly kept a keen eye out during his travels for new lands to explore and settle. Although little information survived about Boone’s activities during this period of time, he did often go hunting with an old weaver named Joe Robertson, who had a celebrated pack of bear dogs. The two hunted in the Brushy Mountain and Watauga areas and once ventured as far as “the French Lick” (now Nashville) on the Cumberland before returning with a load of skins. Daniel also may have used these years...

    (pp. 53-64)

    Daniel stated the matter simply in the “autobiography”: “I … undertook to mark out a road in the best passage from the settlement through the wilderness to Kentucke … having collected a number of enterprising men, well armed.” Thirty backwoodsmen warmly greeted Boone’s arrival at Long Island on Holston River. Among those present were Squire Boone, Michael Stoner, Benjamin Cutbirth, Col. Richard Callaway, David Gass, William Bush, Capt. William Twitty and his slave, and Felix Walker, who chronicled the expedition.

    On March 10, 1775, the woods began to resound with the ring of axes. Blazing the trail through Powell’s Valley...

    (pp. 65-81)

    The December 1, 1775, opening of a Transylvania land office in Kentucky sparked a rush of claimants. Among the many men issued certificates of settlement for making improvements that year was Daniel Boone. Unfortunately, claim boundaries often overlapped unintentionally, creating “shingled” claims and immense losses for Boone and others in the future. For the time being, however, most of December 1775 proved uneventful in Kentucky, and the uninterrupted peace provided a sense of security. The Indians neither seemed to notice nor mind the growing invasion of their territory; only in December did the tribes north of the Ohio learn that...

    (pp. 82-93)

    To try to remedy the lack of salt, Boone and thirty men set out on January 8, 1778, for the lower salt spring of the Blue Licks on the Licking River. They were to be the first of two contingents from Boonesborough to make salt for the different garrisons that constituted the Kentucky settlements, whose weakened state ruled out the normal trip to the North Holston wells as too long. Boonesborough’s own salt lick, created by a sulphur stream, would not produce salt for human consumption. The water at the Blue Licks was very weak; 840 gallons had to be...

  11. 8 PATRIOT OR TRAITOR?: Boonesborough Besieged
    (pp. 94-107)

    On his return to Boonesborough, Daniel found that Jemima, who had wed Flanders Callaway, was the only immediate family member who had not gone back to North Carolina. All had thought he was dead. Returning to his empty cabin, he received an unexpected greeting when the family’s old cat, which had not been found since Rebecca and the children went back to the settlements, jumped into his lap.

    Daniel had no time to indulge his emotions and his loneliness. During the four and one-half months of his captivity the lack of leadership had taken a heavy toll on Boonesborough. Little...

    (pp. 108-120)

    Daniel’s absence from Kentucky was marked by many changes. In the spring of 1779 Colonel Bowman mounted an attack on Old Chillicothe with two hundred men. He burned the village and destroyed the crops but withdrew without forcing a surrender. During the raid a shot ripped Blackfish’s leg open from knee to thigh. Boone’s “father” died a few weeks later from the resulting infection.

    A successful campaign north of the Ohio River in the summer of 1778 by George Rogers Clark had brought about the capture of the British outposts of Cahokia, Kaskaskia, and Vincennes. Governor Hamilton of Detroit, however,...

  13. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  14. 10 “OUR AFFAIRS BECAME MORE AND MORE ALARMING”: The Disaster at Blue Licks
    (pp. 121-132)

    Encouraged by their victory at Little Mountain, the native forces continued their offensive. In June 1782 the Indians decisively defeated a force of approximately five hundred militia from Virginia and Pennsylvania on the Sandusky River in Ohio. Col. William Crawford, the commander, died only after a two-hour ordeal of slowly burning at the stake, during which he was scalped and had burning coals poured on his bleeding head. Simon Girty, the much feared “white Indian,” was said to have watched the spectacle with great enjoyment.

    The high point of the Indian onslaught occurred in August. Seventy braves attacked Hoy’s Station...

  15. 11 “YOUR LAND IS ALL SURVAYD”: Prosperity, Debt, and Retreat
    (pp. 133-149)

    Daniel Boone had one of his closest escapes about the same time as the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which brought the Revolutionary War to a close. He had taken to raising some tobacco as a cash crop to supplement his income and had built a small curing shed. One day when he was on the poles, or rafters, of the shed raising a tier of dried leaves to add more tobacco below, he looked down and discovered four grinning Shawnees. One of them said, “Now, Boone, we got you. You no get away any more. We carry you off to...

  16. 12 “I WANT MORE ELBOW-ROOM”: Bound for Missouri
    (pp. 150-160)

    Some dreams never die. Although sixty-three and rheumatic, Boone kept faith in his dream of owning land. His dream, the same dream his grandfather George had when he left England for Pennsylvania, also passed on to his children. Like his great-grandfather, Daniel’s son Daniel Morgan Boone went ahead to investigate the possibilities of a new “promised land.” As early as 1795 Daniel Morgan had hunted and explored the region along the Mississippi and the upper waters of the Tombigbee River, but had not found that country to his liking, and was eager to undertake another journey. In the fall of...

  17. 13 ONE LAST HUNT: The Final Decade
    (pp. 161-177)

    Perhaps these events and thoughts about his own mortality caused Daniel to emphasize his softer side. Sometime about 1809, Daniel and Rebecca took a room in St. Charles. They had heard that their young grandson James, who had been sent to school there by his father, Nathan, was homesick; they went there to make a home for him. The move also allowed the ailing Daniel to receive a doctor’s care.

    Daniel also finally mellowed a bit in his feelings about Kentucky. Sometime about 1810 he was in Kentucky making his way to the Indiana shore of the Ohio River to...

  18. 14 “THE SONS OF DANIEL BOONE”: A Hero’s Legend and Legacy
    (pp. 178-184)

    One of the first public tributes to Boone came about because of a hurried joint commercial venture between Chester Harding and James Otto Lewis, a part-time actor and engraver in St. Louis, who hoped to capitalize on Boone’s fame. Harding furnished a portrait for Lewis to engrave and sell. The advertisement that ran in theMissouri Gazetteon October 11, 1820, played in part upon Boone’s fading from the pantheon of American heroes and read as follows:




    For Publishing by Subscription, an Engraving of the venerable Col. DANIEL BOONE

    … To transmit to the posterity of...

  19. NOTES
    (pp. 185-196)
    (pp. 197-206)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 207-216)