LIFE OF DANIEL BOONE
"Daniel Boone Protects His Family"
Source: "A history of the pioneer families of Missouri : with numerous
sketches, anecdotes, adventures, etc., relating to early days in Missouri : also, the lives of Daniel Boone and
the celebrated Indian chief Black Hawk : with numerous biographies and histories of primitive institutions"
by Wm. S. Bryan, Columbia, Mo.: Lucas Bros., 1935. Submitted by K.Torp
One of the pioneers of Missouri, who is still living, in St. Charles county (MO), in his 79th year, and who knew
Daniel Boone intimately, as a youth knows an old man, thus describes his personal appearance during the last nineteen
years of his life:
" He was below the average height of men, being scarcely five feet eight inches, but was stout and heavy,
and, until the last year or two of his life, inclined to corpulency. His eyes were deep blue, and very brilliant,
and were always on the alert, passing quickly from object to object, a habit acquired, doubtless, during his hunting
and Indian fighting experiences. His hair was gray, but had been originally light brown or flaxen, and was fine
and soft. His movements were quick, active and- lithe, his step soft and springy, like that of an Indian. He was
nearly always humming or whistling some kind of a tune, in a low tone; another habit of his lonely days in the
woods. He was never boisterous or talkative, but always cool and collected, and, though he said but little, his
words carried weight with them, and were respected and heeded by his hearers. I never saw him angry or disconcerted
in the least, and bis manners were so kind and gentle towards every one, that all who knew hifa loved him. During
the last year or two of his fife, he became feeble and emaciated, and could no more enjoy himself at his favorite
pastime of hunting; but his grand spirit never faltered or clouded, and, to the day of his death, he was the same
serene, uncomplaining man he had always been.
The historian Peck, who visited Boone in 1818, two years before his death, thus speaks of him:
" In boyhood I had read of Daniel Boone, the pioneer of Kentucky, the celebrated hunter and Indian-fighter;
and imagination had portrayed a rough, fierce-looking, uncouth specimen of humanity, and, of course, at this period
of life, a fretful and unattractive old man. But in every respect the reverse appeared. His high, bold forehead
was slightly bald, and his silvered locks were combed smooth; his countenance was ruddy and fair, and exhibited
the simplicity of a child. His voice was soft and melodious. A smile frequently played over his features in conversation.
At repeated interviews, an irritable expression was never heard. His clothing was the coarse, plain manufacture
of the family; but everything about him denoted that kind of comfort, which was congenial to his habits and feelings,
and evinced a happy old age.
" Every member of the household appeared to delight in administering to his comforts. He was sociable, communicative
in replying to questions, but not in introducing incidents of his own history. He was intelligent, for he had treasured
up the experiences and observations of more than fourscore years. The impression on the mind of the writer, before
a personal acquaintance, that he was moody, unsocial, and desired to shun society and civilization, was entirely
removed. He was the archetype of the better class of western pioneers, benevolent, kind-hearted, liberal, and a
true philanthropist. That he was rigidly honest, and one of nature's noblemen, need not be here said. It is seen
in his whole life. He abhorred a mean action, and delighted in honesty and truth. o o o He was strictly moral,
temperate, and chaste."
The portrait which we give as a frontispiece, is from a photograph of the painting made by Mr. Chester Harding,
the distinguished artist of Boston, who came to Missouri in 1820, at the request of Revs. James E. Welch and John
M. Peck, expressly to paint the picture. Boone, at that time, was at the home of his son-in-law, Mr. Flanders Callaway,
near the village of Marthasville, in Warren county. He was at first very much opposed to having his portrait painted,
being governed by feelings of modesty and a strong dislike to anything approaching display or public attention
; but he was finally prevailed upon by friends and relatives to sit for his picture. He was quite feeble at the
time, and was supported in his chair by Rev. Mr. Welch. He wore his buckskin hunting shirt, trimmed with otter's
fur, and the knife that is seen in his belt, is the same that he carried with him from North Carolina on his first
expedition to Kentucky.
This picture is pronounced by persons who knew Boone intimately, to be a perfect likeness, and the following certificate
from Rev. James E. Welch, who is still living, at Warrensburg, Mo., may be of interest in this connection:
"I, James E. Welch, of Warrensburg, Johnson Co., Mo., hereby certify that I believe this portrait to be a
correct copy of Harding's picture of Col. Daniel Boone, which was painted in the summer of 1820. I stood by and
held the Colonel's head while the artist was painting it, and my impressions at the time were, that it was an excellent
likeness of the old pioneer, which I believe was the only picture ever taken of Col. Boone.
"Given under my hand, May 16, 1876.
"JAMES E. WELCH."
Daniel Boone was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1734. His grandfather, George Boone, was a native
of England, and resided at Brandwich, about eight miles from Exeter. In 1717 he emigrated to America, with his
family, consisting of his wife and eleven children, two daughters and nine sons. Soon after his arrival in America
he purchased a large tract of land in what is now Bucks county, Pennsylvania, settled upon it, and named it Exeter,
after his native town. The township still bears that name.
The names of only three of the eleven children have come down to the present time, John, James, and Squire. The
latter was the father of Daniel Boone. He had seven sons and four daughters, whose names are here given in the
order of their births, from information furnished by the late Daniel Bryan, the celebrated gunsmith of Kentucky,
who was a nephew of Daniel Boone: Israel, Sarah, Samuel, Jonathan, Elizabeth, DANIEL, Mary, (mother of Daniel Bryan),
George, Edward, Squire, Jr., and Hannah. The maiden name of the mother of these children was Sarah Morgan.
When Daniel was a small boy, his father removed to Berks county, not far from Reading, which was then a frontier
settlement, exposed to assaults from the Indians and abounding with game. Panthers, wild-cats, and other dangerous
wild animals were numerous, and young Daniel, at a very early age, began to exhibit both skill and courage in hunting
One day, while out hunting, in company with several other boys, a loud cry was heard ringing through the woods.
They all knew too well that the sound proceeded from the throat of a fero-cious panther, and all except Boone fled
in terror. He bravely stood his ground, and shot the panther dead just as it was in the act of springing upon him.
'This and other similar incidents soon gave him an enviable local reputation, which was a forerunner of his national
celebrity at a later period.
Boone's school days were short, and his education, so far as book knowledge was concerned, imperfect. The school
houses of that period (a few specimens of which are still to be seen in some of our frontier settlements) were
built of rough, unhewn logs, notched together at the corners, and the spaces between them filled with mud and sticks.
A large chimney, built of sticks and plastered with mud, supported at the back and sides, where the fire burned,
with a wall of stones, stood at one end; a hole cut in the side, and closed with a frame of puncheons, or often
with nothing more than a blanket or the skin of some wild animal, constituted the door, while a window was made
on the opposite side by removing a log and covering the aperture with a puncheon, fastened to the log above-with
hinges of raw hide, which admitted of its being raised or lowered as the weather and light permitted. No glass
was used, as it could not be had. The earth formed the floor-rough clapboards, fastened with .wooden pins, or weighted
down with poles and stones, the roof, and the seats were made by splitting saplings in the middle and setting them,
with the flat side upward, on four pins for legs, two at each end. The only writing desk was an inclined puncheon,
supported-on wooden pins that were driven into the logs.
It was in such a school house as this, surrounded by a dense forest that furnished fuel for the fire, and near
a spring of sparkling water that provided draughts for the thirsty, that Boone received his education, which embraced
only a few easy lessons in spelling, reading, arithmetic and writing.
His school days came to a sudden and rather violent end. The teacher, a dissipated Irishman, kept his bottle of
whisky hid in a thicket near the school house, and visited it frequently during the day for refreshment and consolation.
The boys noticed that after these visits he was always crosser and used the rod more freely than at other times,
but they did not suspect the cause. One day, young Boone, while chasing a squirrel, came accidentally upon the
teacher's bottle, and at the first opportunity informed his playmates of his discovery. They decided, upon consultation,
to mix an emetic with the liquor, and await the result. The emetic was procured that night, and promptly placed
in the bottle next morning. A short time after school opened, the teacher retired for a few minutes, and when he
came back he was very sick and very much out of humor, Daniel Boone was called up to recite his lesson in arithmetic,
and upon his making a slight mistake, the teacher began to flog him. The boy, smarting with pain, made known the
secret of the whisky bottle, which so enraged the school master that he laid on harder and faster than ever. Young
Boone, being stout and athletic for his age, grappled with the teacher; the children shouted and roared, and the
scuffle continued until Boone knocked his antagonist down on the floor, and fled out of the room.
Of course the story spread rapidly over the neighborhood, and the teacher was dismissed in disgrace, Daniel was
rebuked by his parents ; and so ended his school days.
When Daniel was about eighteen years of age, his father moved his family to North Carolina, and settled on the
Yadkin river, in the north-western part of the State, about eight miles from Wilkesboro. Here game was abundant,
and the young hunter spent much of his time in the pursuit of his favorite amusement.
He was often accompanied on his hunting expeditions by one or more of the sons of Mr. William Bryan, a well-to-do
farmer who lived near his father's, who was blessed with a number of stalwart sons and blooming daughters. Their
association and mutual love of hunting soon begot a strong friendship, which lasted through life ; and, being strengthened
and cemented by intermarriage and continued association, was transmitted through their children to future generations,
and the two families are still closely allied by ties of blood and friendship.
But it was not farmer Bryan's sons, alone, that drew Daniel Boone so often to the house. There were other attractions
there in the bright eyes of a daughter named Rebecca, and it soon be-came whispered about that Daniel was courting
her. These whisperings were at length confirmed by the announcement of the approaching wedding, which came off
in due time, and was celebrated in the most approved style of the times.
Rebecca Bryan was a very attractive, if not really a handsome young woman, and the love which she inspired in the
breast of young Boone never cooled or abated during their long and eventful married life. Each was devoted to the
other, and the dangers and hardships through which they passed cemented their love and drew them more closely together.
She was in every respect a fit companion and helpmeet for the daring pioneer.
Nine children resulted from, this marriage, viz.: James, Israelr Susanna, Jemima, Lavinia, Daniel M., Rebecca,
Jesse, and Nathan.
James, the eldest son, was killed by the Indians, in his 16th year, while his father was making his first attempt
to move his family from North Carolina to Kentucky. The particulars of this sad event will be given elsewhere.
Israel was killed at the battle of Blue Licks, in Kentucky, August 19, 1782, in his 24th year.
Susanna married William Hayes, an Irishman, and a weaver by trade. They lived in St. Charles county, Mo., and she
died in her 40th year.
Jemima married Flanders Callaway, and lived in what is now Warren county, Mo. She died in 1829, in her 67th year.
the family were living in the fort at Boonesborough, Ky., she and two young friends, Betty and Frances Callaway,
daughters of Col. Richard Callaway, were captured by the Indians while gathering wild flowers on the opposite bank
of the Kentucky river, which they had crossed in a canoe. They were pursued by Boone and Callaway and six other
men, and recaptured the following day.
Lavinia married Joseph Scholl, and lived in Kentucky. She died in her 36th year.
Daniel M. married a Miss Lewis, of Missouri, and died July 13, 1839, in his 72d year. He settled in Darst Bottom,
St. Charles county, in 1797, but moved to Montgomery county in 1816. He held several important positions under
the government, and during the Indian war was appointed Colonel of the militia. He made most of the early government
surveys in the present counties of St. Charles, Warren, Montgomery, and Lincoln. At the time of his death he was
living in Jackson county. In personal appearance he resembled his father more than any of the other children. He
was below the medium height, and stoutly built had light hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, and his voice was like
Rebecca, the youngest of the four daughters, married Phillip Goe, and lived and died in Kentucky.
Jesse married Cloe Vanbibber, and settled in Missouri in 1819. He had received a good education, and became a prominent
and influential man before his death, which occurred in 1821, at St. Louis, while serving as a member of the first
Missouri Legislature. His children were, Alonzo, Albert Gk, James M., Van D., Harriet, Minerva, Pantha, and Emily.
Nathan Boone, the youngest child of Daniel Boone, came to Missouri in 1800. He married Olive Vanbibber, a sister
of Jesse Boone's wife, and they had thirteen children, viz: James, Howard, John, Delinda, Malinda, Mary, Susan,
Nancy, Jemima, Lavinia, Olive, Melcina, and Mahaley. Nathan Boone was also a surveyor, and made a number of government
surveys. At the commencement of the Indian war of 1812-1815 he raised a company of rangers, and received his commission
as Captain from President Madison in March, 1812. In August, 1833, he was commissioned Captain of dragoons by President
Jackson, and during President Polk's administration he was promoted to Major of dragoons. In 1850 he was again
promoted, and received his commission as Lieutenant-Colonel of dragoons from President Fillmore. He died October
16, 1856, in his 76th year; and his wife died November 12, 1858, in her 75th year.
Nathan and Jesse Boone were tall, square-shouldered, powerfully built men, with light hair and blue eyes, like
For several years after his marriage, Boone followed the occupation of a farmer, going on an occasional hunt, when
the loss of time would not interfere with the proper cultivation of his crops.
But as the population increased, his neighborhood began to fill up with a class of citizens who possessed considerable
means, and were somewhat aristocratic in their habits, which, of course, did not suit Boone and his plain backwoods
associates, who longed for the wild, free life of the frontier. Several companies were, at different times, organized
and penetrated the wilderness along the head waters of the Tennessee river, in quest of game, and, finally, in
1764, Boone and a small party of hunters proceeded as far as Rock Castle, a branch of the Cumberland river, and
within the present boundaries of Kentucky. This expedition was undertaken at the solicitation of a company of land
speculators, who employed Boone to ascertain and report concerning the country in that quarter. He was highly pleased
with the country, climate, abundance of game, etc., but owing to his duties at home, he did not make another expedition
to Kentucky until 1769.
In 1767 a hunter named John Finley, accompanied by two or three companions, proceeded as far as the Kentucky river,
and spent a season in hunting and trading with the roving bands of Indians. To them the country seemed almost a
paradise, and upon their return to North Carolina they gave such a glowing description of it that Boone and several
of his neighbors decided to go on an excursion there; but several months elapsed before their arrangements could
A party of six was formed, and Boone chosen their leader. His companions were John Finley, John Stewart, Joseph
Holden, James Moncey, and William Cool. They set out on their perilous journey May 1, 1769, and by the 17th of
June they were in the heart of the Kentucky wilderness. They carried nothing with them except their rifles, tomahawks,
knives and ammunition. They slept in the woods, without covering, and depended for food upon the game they killed
each day. Their dress consisted of a loose, open frock, made of dressed deer skin, and called a hunting shirt;
leggins, made of the same material, covered their lower extremities, to which was appended a pair of moccasins
for the feet. A cap, made of beaver or raccoon skin, covered their heads, and the capes of their hunting shirts
and seams of their leggins were ornamented with leather fringe. Their under-clothing, when they wore any, was made
of coarse cotton.
Such a suit as this would stand almost any amount of wear and tear, and it was what they needed in climbing the
rocky mountains and forcing their way through the dense thickets of undergrowth and briars that lay in their course.
No thorn or briar could penetrate the heavy deer skin, and they could tread upon the most venomous serpent with
impunity, as its fangs could not reach their flesh.
Vast herds of buffalo roamed over the prairies and through the wilderness of Kentucky, at that time, and Boone
and his companions spent the summer in hunting them, and examining the country. It is generally supposed that the
scene of their summer's operations lay in what is now Morgan county, on the waters of Red river, a branch of the
And here we must correct an error that has existed since the earliest settlement of Kentucky, in regard to the
meaning of the name. Kain-tuck-eels a Shawnee word, and signifies, "at the head of the river." The repeated
statement that it meant "dark and bloody ground," is a fiction.
The habits of the buffalo are peculiar. In moving from one place to another they travel in vast herds, and always
go in a stampede. The cows and calves, and old and decrepid ones are placed in front, while the stout and active
ones bring up the rear. Nothing will stop or turn them, and woe to any that stumble and fall, for they are immediately
trampled to death by those behind. When a ravine, creek, or river comes in their way, they plunge in and swim across,
the weak and timid ones being forced in by the strong. If any living thing gets in their way, death is the inevitable
On two occasions Boone and his companions came near being trampled to death in this way, and nothing but their
presence of mind saved them. One time they sprang behind trees, and as the buffaloes passed on either side, they
coolly punched them with the breeches of their guns, and laughed to see them jump and bellow. The next time, however,
they were in the open prairie, with no trees to protect them. Death seemed unavoidable, for the herd was so large
that it extended a mile or more on either side, and the speed of the fleetest horse could not have carried them
out of danger. To run, therefore, was useless, and nothing apparently remained but to stand and meet their fate,
terrible as it might be. Several of the party were unnerved by fright, and began to bewail their fate in the incoherent
language of terror. But Boone remained perfectly cool. "Now, boys," said he, "don't make fools of
yourselves, for I will bring you out of this scrape yet." As the herd approached, he carefully examined the
flint and priming of his gun, to see that all was right. By this time the buffaloes were within thirty yards of
him, when coolly raising his rifle to his shoulder, he glanced along the bright barrel, touched the trigger, and
the sharp report rang out above the roar of the rushing bisons. A large bull in the front rank, plunged forward,
and fell, mortally wounded and bellowing, at their very feet. As the herd came on they would snort and spring around
their wounded companion, and thus a lane was opened through their ranks, and the hunters were saved.
In December they divided into two parties, for the greater convenience of hunting, and that their observations
might be extended over a larger area of country. Boone and Stewart formed one party, and on the twenty-second of
December they were on the banks of the main Kentucky river. In the evening of that day, as they were descending
a small hill near the river, a party of Indians rushed out of a thick cane-brake, and made them prisoners* They
offered no resistance, for they knew it would be useless, the odds being so great against them, but quietly handing
their guns and accouterments to their captors, they signified their willingness to obey whatever commands might
be given to them. In fact, for the purpose of deceiving the Indians and throwing them off their guard, they pretended
to be well pleased with their new associates, and went along with them as cheerfully as if they were all out on
a hunting expedition together.
So completely were the Indians deceived that they kept very little guard over their prisoners, but suffered them
to do pretty much as they pleased, and treated them with marked hospitality. At night they all lay down and went
to sleep, seeming to feel no apprehension that the white men might try to escape.
Thus the time passed until the seventh night, when Boone, having matured his plans, decided to make an attempt
to escape. Great caution was necessary, lest the savages should awake and discover them. Any attempt to run away,
where kindness and hospitality have been shown to a captive, is a mortal offense to an Indian, and can only be
atoned for by the death of the offender.
Late at night, when the Indians were in their deepest slumbers, Boone gently awakened Stewart, and by signs and
whispers made known his purpose. Securing their guns, knives, etc., the two hunters quietly stole away, and successfully
made their escape.
They took their course as near as possible in the direction of their old hunting camp, and traveled all the balance
of that night and the next day. But when they reached it they found it deserted and plundered. No trace of their
friends could be found. Boone and Stewart supposed they had become disheartened and returned to North Carolina,
but in this they were mistaken; and from that day to this no clue to the fate of the balance of the party has ever
been discovered. The most probable conclusion is, that they were killed by the Indians, and their remains devoured
by wild animals.
Boone and his companion continued their hunting, but with more caution, for their ammunition had begun to fail,
and their late experience led them to be more vigilant in guarding against surprise by the Indians.
One day, early in January, 1770, while hunting in the woods, they discovered two men at some distance from them,
and being in doubt as to whether the}r were white men or Indians, Boone and his companion grasped their rifles
and sprang behind trees. The strangers discovered them at the same time, and began to advance and make signs that
they were friends. But this did not satisfy Boone, who very well knew that the Indians often resorted to such tricks
to deceive their enemies and throw them off their guard. So he gave the challenge, "Halloe, strangers! who
are you?" The answer came back, "White men, and friends."
Imagine Boone's surprise and delight upon discovering in one of the strangers his brother, Squire Boone, who, in
company with another adventurer, had come from North Carolina in search of his long absent brother, bringing news
from his family, and fresh supplies of powder and lead. They had traced the white hunters by their camp fires and
other signs, and only an hour before the meeting, had stumbled upon their camping place of the previous night.
This happy meeting infused new life and spirit into the entire party, and they continued their hunting with renewed
energy and zeal.
But only a few days elapsed before a sad misfortune befel them. Daniel Boone and Stewart while hunting in company,
at some distance from their camp, were again attacked by a party of Indians. Stewart was shot and scalped, but
Boone made his escape. Still another misfortune befel them shortly after this. The man who had come with Squire
Boone from North Carolina, went into the woods one morning, and did not return. The two brothers supposed he was
lost, but after several days of diligent search, they gave him up, supposing he had taken that method to desert
them and make his way back to the settlements. But he was never seen alive again. Long afterward, a decayed skeleton
and some fragments of clothing were discovered near a swamp, and these were supposed to be his remains. The manner
of his death was never known, and by some unaccountable oversight his name was never made public.
The brothers were now entirely alone, but they were not despondent or indolent. They continued their hunting during
the day, and sang and talked by their fires at night. They built a rough cabin to protect themselves from the weather,
and, though surrounded by dangers on all sides, they were contented and happy.
As spring approached, their ammunition began to fail, and it was decided that Squire Boone should return to North
Carolina for fresh supplies.
On the 1st of May the brothers shook hands and separated. Squire took up the line of march for the settlements
on the Yadkin river, more than five hundred miles distant, leaving Daniel alone in the wilderness.
For several days after the departure of his brother, he was oppressed by a feeling of loneliness, and his philosophy
and fortitude were put to a severe test. In order to relieve himself from this feeling, and to gain a more extended
knowledge of the country, he made long tours of observation to the south-west, and explored the country along the
waters of Salt and Green rivers.
The time for his brother's return having arrived, he retraced his steps to their old camp, and upon his arrival
there discovered, by unmistakable signs, that it had been visited by Indians. His absence, therefore, had doubtless
saved him from capture, and perhaps death.
On the 27th of July his brother returned, and a joyful meeting ensued. He rode one horse, and led another heavily
ladened with the necessaries required. His brother's family he reported to be in good health and comfortable circumstances,
which afforded great consolation and relief to the long absent husband.
Convinced that the portion of country they were now in was infested by bands of Indians, and that the horses would
most likely excite their cupidity and lead to their capture, they decided to change their location. Acting upon
this decision, they left their old camping ground, and proceeded to the country lying between Cumberland and Green
rivers, which they thoroughly explored. They found the surface broken and uneven, abounding in what are called
sink holes, or round depressions in the earth, which are not unusual in cavernous limestone regions; the timber
was scattering and stunted; the soil seemed thin and poor, and they soon became dissatisfied with that portion
of the country.
In March, 1771, they returned by a north-eastern direction, to the Kentucky river, where the soil appeared more
fertile, and the country more heavily timbered; and here they resolved to fix the site of their projected settlement.
Having now completed their observations, they packed up as much peltry as their horses could carry, and departed
for their homes on the Yadkin river, determined, as soon as possible, to return with their families and settle
permanently in Kentucky.
It was a joyful meeting that took place between Daniel Boone and his family, for he had been absent two years,
during which time he had seen no other human being except his travelling companions and the Indians who had taken
him prisoner, and had tasted neither bread nor salt. And of the party of six who left the Yadkin two years before,
he alone lived to return. Any one less enamored of frontier life, would have been disheartened at these trials,
and satisfied to spend the remainder of his days in the enjoyment of a quiet domestic home. But he seemed to regard
himself, during his entire life, as an instrument in the hands of Providence for opening and settling up the western
wilderness, and acted as much from a sense of duty as a love of adventure.
Notwithstanding Boone's anxiety to remove his family to the hunting grounds of Kentucky, more than two years elapsed
before he had completed his arrangements for so doing. He had no trouble in persuading his wife and family to accompany
him, for they were willing and anxious to follow wherever he would lead. They had seen enough of frontier life
to know its dangers, and realize the discomforts and inconveniences they would have to endure; but these did not
deter them, for the pioneer women of those days were as daring and self-sacrificing in their sphere as their husbands,
sons and brothers. Moreover, they had bright dreams of vast plantations and future wealth for their children and
descendants in the midst of the rich forests of Kentucky, where land could then be had for the occupation; and
these visions no doubt had their influence in nerving them to meet the perils of a pioneer life.
On the 25th of September, 1773, Daniel and Squire Boone, with their families, bade farewell to their friends on
the Yadkin, and set out on their march for the distant land of Kentucky. A drove of pack-horses carried their provisions,
clothing, bedding, ammunition, etc., and a number of milk cows, driven b}' the young men, supplied nourishment
for the children.
At Powell's Valley, through which their route lay, they received an accession to their party of five families and
forty well armed men. This valuable reinforcement gave them new courage, and the}' proceeded on their way with
lighter hearts and increased confidence. But they soon met with a misfortune that changed the whole aspect of affairs,
and caused the expedition to be abandoned for the time being.
Their route led them over Powell's, Walien's, and Cumberland mountains, it having been marked out by the brothers
on their return from their previous expedition. In the latter range, near the junction of Virginia, Kentucky, and
Tennessee, there is a singular opening, now called "Cumberland Gap," and it was through this the party
intended to pass. As they were approaching it, seven of the young men, who had charge of the cattle, and who bad
fallen some five or six miles in the rear of the main body, were suddenly and furiously attacked by a party of
Indians. Six were killed on the spot. The seventh, though unarmed, made his escape, and the cattle were dispersed
in the woods. Among the slain was James Boone, the eldest son of Daniel, who, in the opening promise of manhood,
thus fell a victim to savage ferocity.
The rest of the party heard the firing, and hastily returned to the scene of the massacre, but too late to save
their friends. The Indians were driven off, and the dead buried, in the midst of the lamentations and tears of
their friends and relatives.
The emigrants were so disheartened and terrified by this calamity, that a retreat was resolved upon; and they returned
to the settlements on Clinch river, in the south-western part of Vir-ginia, forty miles from the scene of the massacre.
Here Boone remained until June, 1774, when a messenger from Governor Dunmore arrived in the settlement, with a
request from him that Daniel Boone would go immediately into the wilderness of Kentucky and conduct from thence
a party of surveyors, who were believed to be in great danger from the Indians. Boone was now in his fortieth year,
with finely developed physical powers, and a mind well trained for the work that lay before him. He set out immediately,
in company with another pioneer named Michael Stoner, and in sixty-two days they had performed the journey, accomplished
their object, and returned home, having traveled in that time, eight hundred miles, on foot.
Among the party of surveyors which Boone and his companion had thus rescued, were Thomas Bullet, Hancock Taylor,
James Harrod, and James, Robert, and George McAfee, several of whom afterward settled in Kentucky, and established
families that are still in existence in that State.
During Boone's absence in Kentucky, several tribes of Indians, whose country lay to the north-west of the Ohio
river, commenced open hostilities against the white settlers, and upon his return he was appointed to the command
of three contiguous garrisons on the frontier, with the commission of captain. Several skirmishes ensued at different
times, and the campaign finally ended with the battle of Point Pleasant, at the junction of the Great Kenhawa and
Ohio rivers, in which the Indians were routed and dispersed, although their numbers greatly exceeded those of their
opponents. The white troops consisted of eleven hundred men, in three regiments, commanded by General Andrew Lewis.
The Indians were commanded by the celebrated chief Cornstalk, who led them with great courage and sagacity.
At the close of hostilities, Boone returned to his family, and spent the following winter in hunting.
Early in 1775, he was employed by a company of land speculators, called the Transylvania Company, who had purchased
large bodies of land in Kentucky, from the Indians, to explore the country and open a road from the settlements
on the Holston to the Kentucky river. He was supplied with a company of well armed men, and proceeded at once to
the task assigned him, which he found to be a very difficult one. Hills, mountains, and rivers had to be crossed,
thick cane-brakes and dense forests penetrated, and all in the face of a vigilant, wily, and treacherous Indian
foe. On the 22d of March, 1775, when they had ar-rived within fifteen miles of the future site of Boonesborough,
they were fired upon by the Indians, and two of the party were killed and two wounded. Three days afterward they
were again fired upon, and two more men were killed and three wounded.
The following letter from Boone to Col. Richard Henderson, president of the land company by which he was employed,
explains these two affairs in his own language :
"APRIL 1ST, 1775.
"After my compliments to you, I shall acquaint you with our misfortune. On March the 25th, a party of Indians
fired on my company about half an hour before day, and killed Mr. Twitty and his negro, and wounded Mr. Walker
very deeply, but I hope he will recover.
"On March the 28th, as we were hunting for provisions, we found Samuel Tate's son, who gave us an account
that the Indians fired on their camp on the 27th day. My brother and I went down and found two men killed and scalped,
Thomas McDowell and Jeremiah McPeters. I have sent a man down to all the lower companies in order to gather them
all to the mouth of Otter Creek. My advice to you, Sir, is, to come or send as soon as possible. Your company is
desired greatly, for the people are very uneasy, but are willing to stay and venture their lives with you; and
now is the time to flusterate their (the Indians') intentions, and keep the country, whilst we are in it. If we
give way to them now, it will ever be the case. This day we start from the battle ground, for the mouth of Otter
Creek, where we shall immediately erect a fort, which will be done before you can come or send; then we can send
ten men to meet you, if you send for them.
I am, Sir, your most obedient
N. B. We stood on the ground and guarded our baggage till day, and lost nothing. We have about fifteen miles to
Cantuck, at Otter Creek. "
Boone having selected a site on the banks of the Kentucky river, they began, on the 1st day of April, to erect
a stockade fort, which was called Boonesborough. This was the first permanent settlement of whites within the limits
During the building of the fort they were constantly harrassed by the Indians, who seemed stung to madness at the
idea that white people should presume to erect houses on their hunting grounds. But they could not prevent the
work from progressing, and by the middle of June the fort was so far completed as to afford protection against
This fort was built in the form of a parallelogram, about two hundred feet long, and one hundred and seventy-five
broad. At the four corners there were projecting block-houses, built of hewn logs, fitted close together, and well
supplied with port holes for rifles. The spaces immediately adjoining these block-houses were filled with stockades
for a short distance, and the remaining spaces on the four sides, except the gateways, were filled with rough log
cabins, built close together, and likewise supplied with port holes for rifles. The two gates were placed on opposite
sides, and were constructed of puncheons or split slabs, strongly barred together, and hung with heavy wooden hinges.
The plan of this fort was followed in the construction of all the others that were subsequently erected, both in
Kentucky and Missouri.
The fort having been completed, Boone left his men to guard it and prepare ground for a crop of corn and vegetables,
while he returned to Clinch river for his family.
Nothing of importance occurred during this trip, or the return to Boonesborough, which they reached in safety.
Mrs. Boone and her daughters were the first white women that ever stood on the banks of the Kentucky river, which
are now in the midst of the blue-grass region, so famous for its beautiful and accomplished women.
Shortly after the arrival of Boone and his family, three other families joined them, viz : McGary, Hogan, and Denton.
These were soon joined by others, and the little settlement began to assume a flourishing aspect.
In the summer of 1775 other stations and settlements were established in the new territory; and the strength and
confidence of the whites increased daily. Harrod's and Bryan's Stations, and Logan's Fort were built about this
time. Bryan's Station was besieged by the Indians several times, and a number of fights occurred at and near it;
so that it became one of the principal points among the white settlements. The city of Lexington was also established
during the summer of 1775. A party of hunters while encamped on the site of the future town, were joined by an
emigrant, who brought news of the opening events of the revolution, and the battle of Lexington. Excited by their
patriotic feelings, the hunters immediately decided to name their encampment Lexington, in honor of the first battle
The spring of 1776 opened auspiciously for the new settlers. The Indians, though by no means friendly, made no
direct attacks upon them, and being comparatively unmolested, they pro-ceeded to clear away the brush and "deaden"
the timber around their stations and forts, preparatory to planting the summer's crops. In the mean time their
food consisted of the game they killed in the woods, and such supplies as they had brought with them from the older
Thus the time passed quietly away until the 14th day of July, 1776, when the whole country was thrown into a state
of excitement and anxiety by the capture of Jemima Boone and Betsy and Frances Callaway, daughters of Col. Richard
Callaway, who had moved to Kentucky early that spring. The girls were about fourteen years of age, were devoted
friends, and spent most of their time together. On the evening of their capture they were amusing themselves by
rowing along the river in a canoe, which they handled with great dexterity. Anticipating no danger, and, being
governed by the desire that possesses ail human beings, to know what lies beyond them, they crossed over to the
opposite shore. Here the attention of the girls was caught by a cluster of wild flowers, and desiring to possess
them, they turned the prow of the canoe toward the shore. The trees and shrubs were thick, and extended down to
the water's edge, affording a safe shelter for a band of Indians who lay concealed there. Just as one of the girls
was in the act of grasping the flowers, an Indian slid stealthily down the bank into the water, and seizing the
rope that hung at the bow of the canoe, turned its course up stream, in a direction to be hidden from the view
of the fort by a projecting point. At the same time four other Indians appeared with drawn tomahawks and knives,
and intimated to the girls by signs and motions that if they caused any alarm they would be killed on the spot.
But, terrified at their sudden and unexpected capture, the girls shrieked for help. Their cries were heard at the
fort, but too late for their rescue. The canoe was the only means the garrison had of crossing the river, and that
was now on the opposite side and in possession of the enemy. None dared to swim the stream, fearing that a large
body of Indians were concealed in the woods on the opposite bank.
Boone and Callaway were both absent, and night set in before their return, and arrangements could be made for pursuit.
The following account of the pursuit and recapture of the girls is given by Col. Floyd, who was one of the pursuing
"Next morning by daylight we were on the track, but found they had totally prevented our following them, by
walking some distance apart through the thickest canes they could find. We observed their course, and on which
side we had left their sign, and traveled upwards of thirty miles. We then imagined that they would be less cautious
in traveling, and made a turn in order to cross their trace, and had gone but a few miles before we found their
tracks in a buffalo path; pursued and overtook them on going about ten miles, just as they were kindling a fire
to cook. Our study had been more to get the prisoners, without giving the Indians time to murder them after they
discovered us, than to kill them.
"We discovered each other nearly at the same time. Four of us fired, and all rushed on them, which prevented
them from carrying away any thing except one shot gun without ammunition. Mr. Boone and myself had a pretty fair
shot, just as they began to move off. I am well convinced I shot one through, and the one he shot dropped his gun;
mine had none. The place was very thick with canes, and being so much elated on recovering the three little broken-hearted
girls, prevented our making further search. We sent them off without their moccasins, and not one of them with
so much as a knife or a tomahawk."'
As stated elsewhere, Jemima Boone afterward married Flanders Callaway, a son of Col. Richard Callaway, and brother
to her young friends with whom she was captured.
After this incident the settlers were more cautious, being convinced that the country was infested by bands of
hostile Indians, who were watching each station for the purpose of picking up any stragglers that might come in
their way. Guards were therefore placed around the corn fields where the men worked, and these were relieved from
time to time by the laborers in the fields, who, in their turn, stood guard.
During the remainder of the Summer of 1776 they were greatly harrassed by the Indians, who hardly suffered a day
or night to pass without making some kind of demonstration against one or more of the stations; and when fall came,
they had produced so great a panic among the whites that many of them left in consternation, and returned to their
old homes. It required all the address and persuasion of the oldest and bravest of the pioneers to prevent the
settlements from being entirely deserted.
The following year, 1777, was a dark one for those who remained, and many of the bravest became discouraged. The
stations were frequently assailed by large bodies of Indians; individuals were shot and scalped by a concealed
foe, and most of the cattle and horses were destroyed or driven away.
The forts and stations at that time were very weakly manned, and they could easily have been captured by a concentrated
movement of the savages. The entire effective force did not exceed one hundred men, and these were divided between
some three or four stations.
During these trying times Boone was not idle. As dangers thickened and appearances grew more alarming, he became
more silent and thoughtful than usual; and as the pioneers, with their loaded rifles in their hands, sat around
their fires in the evening and related tales of hair-breadth escapes from the Indians, Boone would sit silently
by, apparently unheeding their conversation, and busily engaged in mending rents in his hunting shirt and leggins,
moulding bullets, or cleaning his rifle. But he was their undisputed leader in everything, and no enterprise of
importance was undertaken without first consulting him. Often, with one or two trusted companions, but more frequently
alone, he would steal away into the woods as night approached, to reconnoitre the surrounding forests, and see
if he could find any signs of the presence of an enemy. During the day, when not otherwise employed, he would range
the country in the double capacity of hunter and scout, and supply the garrison with fresh game, while he kept
himself fully informed as to the movements of the savage foe. On these excursions, which often extended a long
distance from the fort, he would frequently meet new settlers, and conduct them in safety to the stations. Entirely
unselfish, he was always more ready to assist others, and to aid in ail public enterprises, than to attend to his
own interests, and it was this characteristic that left him a poor man when he died.
During the winter of 1777-78 the people began to suffer greatly for salt, the cost of bringing so heavy an article
across the mountains on horseback, being so great that but few of them could afford to use it. Therefore, after
considering the matter, it was decided that thirty men, headed by Captain Boone, should take such kettles as could
be spared, and proceed to the Lower Blue Licks, on Licking river, and there manufacture salt. They commenced operations
on new year's day, 1778.
Boone filled the three positions of commander, hunter, and scout, and kept the men supplied with meat while he
guarded against surprise by the Indians. They proceeded with their work without being molested, until the 7th of
February, when Boone, who was hunting at some distance from the Lick, was surprised by a party of more than one
hundred Indians, accompanied by two Canadians. He attempted to make his escape, but was soon overtaken by some
of their swiftest runners, and captured.
This party was on a winter's campaign (an unusual thing with the Indians, and therefore unlooked for by the whites),
to attack Boonesborough. This information Boone obtained soon after his capture, and knowing that the weak and
unsuspecting garrison could not withstand an assault from so large a force, he was filled with apprehension for
their safety, and began to devise some means to prevent the attack. He well understood the Indian character, and
knew how to manage them.
Pretending to be pleased with their company, he soon gained their confidence, and then made favorable terms with
them for his men at the Lick, assured that their capture would prevent an attack upon the fort, and thus save the
women and children. On approaching the Lick, he advanced in front of his captors, and made signs to the salt-makers
to offer no resistance. They, having perfect confidence in their leader, and knowing he had obtained favorable
terms for them, did as directed, and quietly surrendered. The result proved Boone's sagacity. The expedition against
Boonesborough was immediately abandoned, and the Indians, with their prisoners, set out at once for their own country.
The generous usage promised before the capitulation was fully complied with, and the prisoners were treated with
all the hospitality that could be expected from savages. They arrived at Old Chillicothe, the principal Indian
town on the Little Miami, on the 18th of February, where most of them were subsequently ransomed by the British
authorities, and returned to their friends.
Boone was afterward court-martialed for his conduct in this and subsequent affairs, but upon investigation he was
not only honorably acquitted, but promoted for his sagacity and foresight.
On the 10th of March, 1780, Boone and ten of his companions were conducted by forty Indians to Detroit, where they
arrived on the 30th, and were treated with great humanity by Governor Hamilton, the British commander at that post.
The fame of the
distinguished pioneer had preceded him, and this no doubt had much to do with the generous treatment of himself
and men. The latter were ransomed and paroled, but the Indians refused a ransom of one hundred pounds sterling
which the Governor offered for Boone. They professed a deep affection for him, and declared their intention to
take him back to their own country and adopt him as one of their warriors. His reputation as a hunter and fighter
naturally led them to believe that he would be a valuable acquisition to any of their tribes.
This decision on their part greatly annoyed him, for he was exceedingly anxious to return to his family in Kentucky,
and he now realized that it would be a long time before he would have an opportunity of doing so.
But he was too shrewd to manifest any disappointment or vexation in the presence of the Indians, for anything of
the kind, or the slightest attempt to escape, would have added tenfold to their vigilance over him. So he pretended
to be well pleased with their determination, and expressed a desire to accompany them as soon as they were ready.
They returned to Chillicothe in April, where he was adopted by Blackfish, a distinguished Shawnee chief, after
the Indian fashion, to supply the place of a deceased son and warrior.
After his adoption he was regarded with great affection by his Indian father and mother, and was treated on all
occasions with marked attention as a distinguished hunter and mighty brave. He took care to encourage their affection
for him, and treated all his fellow-warriors in the most familiar and friendly manner. He joined them in their
rifle and musket shooting games, and gained great applause by his skill as a marksman; but was careful not to excel
them too frequently, as nothing will so soon excite the envy and hatred of an Indian as to be beaten at anything
in which he takes pride.
After he had been with them some time he was permitted to go alone into the woods in quest of game, but his powder
was always measured to him and his balls "counted, and when he returned he was required to account in game
for all the ammunition he could not produce. But by using small charges of powder, and cutting balls in halves,
with which he could kill squirrels and other small game, he managed to save a few charges of powder and ball for
use in case he should find an opportunity to escape.
One evening early in June, he was alarmed, upon returning from his day's hunt, to see a large body of four hundred
and fifty warriors collected in the town, painted and armed for the war-path. His alarm was greatly increased a
few minutes later, by learning that their destination was Boonesborough. He at once decided to lose no more time,
but make his escape immediately, and proceed as rapidly as possible to the settlements in Kentucky, and alarm the
people in time to save them from a general massacre.
That night he secreted about his person some jerked venison, to sustain him during his long journey; and early
the next morning he left the Indian village, with his gun on his shoulder, as if he were going into the woods for
his usual day's hunt. But after wandering about for some time, as if in quest of game, in order to allay the suspicions
of any spies that might follow him, and having placed several miles between himself and the town, he suddenly changed
his course in the direction of Boonesborough, and set off with all his might for his beloved home. The distance
exceeded one hundred and sixty miles, which he traveled in less than five days, eating but one regular meal, which
was a turkey that he shot after crossing the Ohio river.
Until he left that stream behind him, his anxiety was very great, for he knew that he would be followed, and being
but an indifferent swimmer he anticipated trouble in crossing the river. But he was rejoiced upon reaching its
banks to find an old canoe that had floated into the brush and lodged. There was a hole in one end of it, but this
he contrived to stop, and the frail vessel bore him safely to the Kentucky shore.
His appearance at Boonesborough was almost like one risen from the dead, and he was received by the garrison with
joyful shouts of welcome. His capture and journey to Detroit were known by reports of prisoners who had escaped,
but his friends did not expect ever to see him again. His wife, despairing of his return; had conveyed herself
and some of the children, on pack-horses, to her father's home in North Carolina, and he keenly felt the disappointment
at not meeting her. The tongue of calumny, too, ever ready to stir up strife, endeavored to bring about a permanent
separation of these two devoted people, but without success, though it cost them both much trouble and anguish.
This is a period of Boone's life that he never mentioned to his most intimate friends, and justice indicates that
the historian should also cover it with the mantle of silence.
The garrison of the fort had become careless in their duties ; had dispersed over the neighborhood in the pursuit
of their various occupations, and had suffered the works to get out of repair. But the intelligence brought by
Boone of the threatened invasion, aroused them to a sense of their danger, and great activity at once prevailed
in making the necessary repairs and strengthening the fortifications. Information soon reached them, however, that
on account of Boone's escape, the expedition had been abandoned for the present.
This gave them a short breathing spell, and Capt. Boone decided to improve it to the best advantage. Early in August,
with a company of nineteen men,, he made an excursion into the Indian country, for the purpose of frightening them,
and to send out the impression that the whites were no longer so weak that they needed to stand entirely upon the
When within a short distance of an Indian village on Paint Creek, a branch of the Scioto, they met a party of thirty
warriors on their march for Kentucky. A battle ensued, in which one Indian was killed and two wounded; when the
rest gave way and fled. Three horses and all their baggage were captured, while the Kentuckians maintained no loss
Learning that a large body of Indians, under the celebrated chief Blackfish, who was Boone's adopted father while
in captivity, supported by a few Canadians, commanded by Captain Duquesne, were on the march for Boonesborough,
the heroic little band immediately started on their return to Kentucky. The army of Indians and Canadians lay between
them and their destination, but they adroitly spied out their position, passed them in safety, and reached Boonesborough
in time to give the alarm.
On the 7th of September this formidable army appeared before the fort, and demanded its-surrender "in the
name of his Britannic Majesty," with assurances of liberal treatment if the demand were complied with. It
was a critical moment, for the garrison consisted of only from sixty to seventy men, with a large number of women
and children. If they offered resistance, and were defeated, which seemed to be a foregone conclusion, in view
of the overpowering numbers of the enemy, all alike would fall victims to the tomahawk and scalping knife ; but
if they accepted the terms offered, and surrendered, there was a possibility that they would be saved.
In the mean time a dispatch had been sent to Col. Campbell, on the Holston, for reinforcements, and if they could
by any means delay the attack until these were within reach, they would be safe. At this critical juncture, Boone
had recourse to stratagem, in order to gain time. He requested that the garrison be allowed two clays to consider
the proposition to surrender, and his. request being granted, the time was employed in collecting the cattle and
horses within the walls of the fort, and filling every vessel with water from the spring, which was outside the
palisades. (By a singular oversight, the springs, both at Boonesborough and Bryan's Station, were not enclosed
within the walls of the fortifications, and on several occasions, during the different sieges that occurred, they
were greatly pressed for water.) These duties were performed by the women and girls, in order that the enemy might
have no opportunity to learn the real weakness of the garrison.
The arrangements having been completed, Captain Boone, toward the close of the second day, ascended one of the
bastions and announced to Duquesne that the garrison had decided not to surrender, and added: "We laugh at
your formidable preparations, but thank you for giving notice and time to prepare for denfence."
He expected an immediate assault, and the men were prepared for it, but on the contrary, Duquesne came forward
with another proposition for a surrender. He declared that his orders were to take the garrison captives, and treat
them as prisoners of war, instead of murdering them; and that they were prepared with horses to convey the women
and those who could not travel on foot, to the British possessions. He further proposed that the garrison depute
nine men to come within their lines and agree upon the terms of a treaty.
Boone and his companions very well understood that these fair promises had a sinister motive at the bottom, and
meant treachery ; but they wanted to gain time, and were willing to consent to almost any conditions that would
cause delay. So they signified their acceptance of the last proposition, and appointed the place of meeting on
the open plat of ground in front of the fort.
Ever ready to sacrifice himself for the good of others, Boone decided to lead the party on this hazardous adventure,
and called for eight additional volunteers. Every man in the fort stepped forward in answer to this call, and eight
of the shrewdest and stoutest were selected. The names of four of these have been preserved. They were, Flanders
Callaway, Stephen Hancock, William Hancock, and Squire Boone.
Before leaving the fort, twenty men with loaded rifles were stationed so as to command a full view of the proceedings,
with orders to fire on the Indians in case treachery should be manifested.
The terms offered by Duquesne were exceedingly liberal; so liberal, in fact, that Boone and his companions knew
they did not come from honest hearts ; but in order to gain time, they humored the whims of the enemy and held
a long conference with them. At its close, the Indians proposed that, in order to make the terms more binding,
and to revive an ancient custom on this great occasion, two Indians should shake hands with one white man, and
thus manifest their friendliness. Even to this proposition, which they knew would end in an attempt at their capture,
Boone and his party acceded. They were entirely unarmed, as it would have been regarded as a breach of confidence
to have appeared upon the treaty ground with arms in their hands; but each man felt able to cope with two of his
savage foes. When the latter approached, each grasped a hand and arm of the white men, and a scuffle immediately
ensued, for the Indians attempted to drag them off as prisoners. But at this critical moment, the guard in the
fort fired upon the Indians and threw them into confusion, and Boone and his companions knocked down or tripped
their antagonists, and fled into the fort. Squire Boone was the only one of the party who was hurt, and he received
only a slight wound.
The main body of Indians, who were prepared for the turn affairs had taken, now rushed forward and made a furious
assault upon the fort. But they met with a warm reception, and were soon glad to withdraw to the cover of the woods
After the first assault they remained at a respectful distance, for they had a wholesome dread of the rifles of
the Kentuckians, which would shoot further and with much greater accuracy than their old smooth-bore muskets. Most
of their balls were spent before they reached the fort, and fell harmlessly back from the tough oaken palisades.
Finding they could not carry the fort by assault, they attempted to set it on fire, by throwing combustibles upon
the roofs ; and for a time this new mode of attack seemed about to prove successful. But a daring young man climbed
to the roof in the midst
of a shower of balls, and remained there with buckets of water until the fire was extinguished.
Failing in this attempt, the Indians, under directions from the Canadians, resorted to another experiment, and
tried to enter the fort by means of a mine. The fort stood about sixty yards from the river, and they began an
excavation under the bank, which concealed them from view. But their project was detected by the muddy water seen
at a little distance below, and it was defeated by the Kentuckians, who began a countermine within the fort, and
threw the dirt over the palisades. While the men were engaged in digging this mine, Captain Boone constructed a
wooden cannon, which was loaded with powder, balls, old nails, pieces of iron, etc. It was his intention to place
this instrument at the head of the mine, and as the Indians entered, fire it into their midst. But on the 20th
of the month they raised the siege and departed for their own country, having lost thirty-seven warriors killed,
and many more wounded. The Kentuckians had two men killed, and four wounded. After the departure of the Indians,
one hundred and twenty-five pounds of musket balls were picked up around the fort, besides those that penetrated
and were made fast in the logs.
During the siege the women and girls moulded bullets, loaded the rifles, and carried ammunition to their husbands,
fathers, and brothers; besides preparing refreshments, nursing the wounded and assisting in various other ways.
Jemima Boone, while carrying ammunition to her father, received a contusion in her hip from a spent musket bail,
which caused a painful, though by no means dangerous wound.
While the parley was in progress between Boone and the Indians, previous to the first attack, a worthless negro
deserted and went over to the enemy, carrying with him a large, long-range rifle. He crossed the river, and stationed
himself in a tree, so that by raising his head above a fork, he could fire directly down into the fort. He had
killed one man and wounded another, when Boone discovered his head peering above the fork for another shot. "
You black scoundrel!" said the old pioneer, as he raised his rifle to his shoulder, " I'11 fix your flint
for you," and quickly running his eye along the bright barrel of his rifle, he fired. The negro fell, and
at the close of the battle was found at the roots of the tree with a bullet hole in the center of his forehead.
The distance was one hundred and seventy-five yards.
Shortly after the siege of Boonesborough, Captain Boone was tried by a court-martial, under several charges, the
principal of which were the surrender of his men at Blue Licks while they were making salt, and friendliness toward
the Indians while a prisoner among them.
Mr. Peck says the charges were preferred by Col. Richard Callaway, aided by Col. Benjamin Logan. But so far as
Callaway was concerned, this is a mistake, as we learn from old pioneers still living, who were well acquainted
with both Boone and Callaway, and who often heard them relate the history of those stirring times. The strongest
friendship and utmost confidence always existed between Boone and Callaway, and their families after them; and
neither Callaway, or any of Boone's friends, ever thought there was the least shadow of an excuse for the trumped
up charges that were made against him. The trial resulted in the complete vindication of Boone, and his promotion
to the rank of Major.
In the autumn of 1778, Major Boone went to North Carolina for his wife and family, who were greatly rejoiced to
see him alive and well once more. But he did not remove them to Kentucky until two years later.
In 1770, the government of Virginia established a Court of Commissioners, to hear and determine ail disputes relative
to land claims in Kentucky, and to grant certificates of settlement and pre-emption to those who were entitled
to them. This brought out a large number of families and single persons who were interested in these claims, and
for a time the Commissioners were overrun with applications. Most of the titles obtained at this time were afterward
declared invalid, through want of compliance with law and the indefinite location of many of the claims, and heavy
losses and great distress were occasioned thereby. Major Boone sold all his property, and invested nearly everything
he possessed in land warrants. He was also entrusted with large sums of money by friends and acquaintances who
deputed him to make their entries for them, and while on his way from Kentucky to Richmond with this money, amounting
to about $20,000, he was robbed of every cent, and left worse than penniless. Most of those who lost money by this
misfortune readily gave up all claims against Boone, and freely exonerated him from any blame in the affair; but
a few charged him with their losses, alleging that he was robbed through his own carelessness, and these held him
to account for the money they had placed in his hands. Several years after his removal to Missouri, the venerable
old pioneer returned to Kentucky and paid every cent of these claims.
The following extract from a letter written by Col. Thomas Hart, of Lexington, in 1780, to Captain Nathaniel Hart,
is a fine tribute to the character of Boone under the trying ordeal through which he was at that time passing:
" I observe what you say respecting our losses by Daniel Boone. I had heard of the misfortune soon after it
happened, but not of my being a partaker before now. I feel for the poor people, who, perhaps, are to lose even
their pre-emptions; but I must say I feel more for Boone, whose character, I am told, suffers by it. Much degenerated
must the people of this age be, when amongst them are to be found men to censure and blast the reputation of a
person so just and upright, and in whose breast is the seat of virtue, too pure to admit of a thought so base and
dishonorable. I have known Boone in times of old, when poverty and distress held him fast by the hand; and in these
wretched circumstances I have ever found him of a noble and generous soul, despising every thing mean; and therefore
I will freely grant him a discharge for whatever sums of mine he might have been possessed of at that time."
As previously stated, Major Boone returned to Kentucky with his family in 1780. In October of that year, he and
his brother, Squire Boone, went to the Blue Licks on a hunting expedition, and as they were returning home they
were fired upon by a party of Indians in ambush. Squire Boone was killed and scalped, and the Major was pursued
several miles by the aid of an Indian dog; but he shot the dog and escaped. This calamity made a deep impression
upon the old pioneer, and for a long time it preyed heavily upon his mind. His attachment to his brother was naturally
very strong, and it had been increased and strengthened by fellowship in wanderings, sufferings and dangers for
About this time Kentucky was divided into three counties, by the Legislature of Virginia, and a civil and military
government organized. Each county formed a regiment, and John Todd, an estimable and popular man, was elected Colonel
for one of the counties (Lincoln), with Boone as Lieutenant-Colonel. Colonel Clark was commissioned Brigadier-General
and placed in command of the three regiments. With this military organization, and their augmented numbers, the
settlers began to feel secure, and did not anticipate any more serious trouble with the Indians.
But in this they were disappointed, for late in the autumn the savages again began to commit depredations upon
the outposts and exposed settlements, and did considerable damage, besides creating a great deal of alarm. Boonesborough,
however, was not molested, being now in the interior and surrounded by other forts and stations.
On the morning of the 14th of August, 1782, Bryan's Station, situated about five miles northeast of Lexington,
Was attacked by a large force of Indians under the notorious Simon Girty. The garrison numbered only about fifty
men, and the station was not in the best condition to withstand a siege. Early in the morning of the 14th they
were aroused by the hooting and yelling of savages, and hastily gathering into the block-houses, they saw a small
party of Indians near the woods on one side of the station, yelling and dancing and gesticulating, and now and
then firing a shot toward the fort. This party was so small, and appeared so contemptible, that some of the younger
men wanted to rush out and whip them immediately; but fortunately there were older heads in the fort, and experienced
Indian fighters, who knew that this was merely a ruse to entice them out of their fortifications, when they would
be attacked by the main body, which they felt assured was concealed at no great distance. Runners were immediately
dispatched to Lexington and other points for assistance, who, secretly making their way out of the station and
passing through the corn fields, reached their destinations in safety. Busy preparations were then commenced to
get everything ready for a siege, when the startling discovery was made that they were out of water. The spring
was outside of the palisades, and water had to be conveyed from it in buckets. The question now arose as to how
they should get the water. It would not do for the men to go after it, for that would bring on the attack at once;
so it was proposed that the women and girls should be the water carriers this time. The proposition was directly
made known to them, but they did not receive it with favor. Some murmured, and said that the men evidently thought
very little of their wives and daughters, if they were willing to send them where they were afraid to go themselves,
and that if they were too badly scared to go to the spring, they had better hand their rifles over to the women
and let them defend the fort. "We are not afraid," said the spokesman, "to go to the spring; but
we know that if the men leave the fort we shall immediately be attacked by the entire force of the enemy, while
you can go without exciting any suspicion or being in any danger, as the Indians know it is customary for you to
bring the water." Finally, an old lady arose, got a couple of buckets, and started to the spring, saying that
she was no better than a man, anyhow, and was not much afraid of the red-skins either. Her example was silently
followed by the rest, and they soon returned with their buckets filled with water. But some of the younger ones
manifested a good deal of haste on their return, and as they entered the gate of the fort their eyes were very
wide open, while much of the water in their buckets was spattered over their dresses and on the ground. The danger
they had faced was indeed very great; for in the brush around the spring there lay concealed more than four hundred
painted warriors, who could almost have grasped them by their dresses if they had been so disposed.
As soon as these preparations were completed, thirteen daring young men were selected and sent out to attack and
pursue the small party of Indians that were in view, while the balance of the men, with loaded rifles in their
hands, were placed on the opposite side of the fort. The stratagem was successful. The small party of Indians retreated
to the woods, pursued by the thirteen young men. Girty heard the firing, and supposing the main body to have left
the fort, gave the signal yell, and instantly the woods and undergrowth around the spring seemed alive with yelling
savages. Firing a heavy volley at the fort, they rushed furiously, with Girty at their head, against the nearest
gate. But the Kentuckians were prepared for them, and their unerring rifles scattered death and destruction among
their ranks. So deadly was the fire that they were seized with consternation, and fled precipitately into the woods.
Here they were rallied by Girty and their chiefs, and with renewed yells came on to the second assault. But the
leaden hail of the Kentucky rifles rained upon them again, and again they fled in consternation. After this an
irregular fight was kept up for several hours, in which but little damage was done to either side.
About two O'CLOCK in the afternoon a reinforcement of fifty men, on horseback and on foot, arrived from Lexington
for the relief of the garrison. The Indians were aware of their ap-proach, and lay in ambush for them. The horsemen
rushed through without the loss of a man; but the footmen were not so fortunate. They first entered a cornfield,
through which they
should have passed to the fort, concealed as they were from the enemy; but, eager to get a shot at the redskins,
they emerged into the road again, fell into the ambuscade, and lost six men.
The Indians, alarmed at this reinforcement, and expecting the arrival of other parties soon, were in favor of an
immediate retreat to their own country. But Girty, furious at being foiled in his attempt to subdue the station
by force, and smarting from a slight wound received in the morning, resorted to stratagem with the hope of gaining
his purpose. He crawled to a stump, near one of the bastions, and demanded a parley. Commending their manly defence
and bravery, he urged that further resistance was useless, alluded to the large number and fierceness of his followers,
and asserted that he had a large reinforcement near at hand with several pieces of artillery. He warned them that
if they continued to resist, and were finally captured by force, they would all be massacred; but assured them,
"upon his honor," that if they would surrender then, they should be treated as prisoners of war. The
commander of the station would not deign to pay the least attention to him, but he was answered in a taunting and
pungent manner by a young man named Reynolds, who told him that he had a worthless dog, to which he had given the
name of Simon Girty, in consequence of his striking resemblance to the man who bore that name; that if he had artillery
and reinforcements he might bring them on, but if he or any of the naked rascals with him found their way into
the fort, they would disdain to use their guns against them, but would drive them out with whips, of which they
had collected a large number for that purpose. When he ceased speaking, some of the young men began to call out,
"Shoot the scoundrel!" "Kill the renegade!" etc., and Gir-ty, seeing that his position was
no longer safe, crawled back, crestfallen, to the camp of his followers, and next morning they had disappeared.
Information of the attack on Bryan's Station had spread with great rapidity all over the country, and reinforcements
came pouring in from every direction. Colonel Boone and his son Israel and brother Samuel, headed a strong party
from Boonesborough; Colonel Stephen Trigg brought up the forces from Harrodsburg, and Colonel John Todd came with
the militia from Lexington. Among the latter were Majors Harlan, McGary, McBride, and Levi Todd. Colonel Benjamin
Logan, who resided at a greater distance, raised a large force, but did not arrive in time to participate in the
pursuit and the disastrous battle which followed.
A council of the officers was held to decide upon what course should be followed. A large majority were eager for
a fight, and favored immediate pursuit; but Colonel Boone, knowing the strength of the enemy, and realizing how
hard it would be, in the midst of a battle with the Indians, to successfully control a body of raw militia, hastily
collected together, without organization or drill, deemed it advisable to await the arrival of Colonel Logan and
But his wise counsels were not heeded. Colonel Todd was heard to say that Boone was a coward, and if they wanted
the glory of a victory they should press forward immediately.
The opinions of the majority prevailed, and the men were marched out to follow the trail. Boone and the more experienced
ones soon became convinced that the Indians wanted to be followed, for instead of trying to hide their trail, as
usual, they had taken pains to make it as plain as possible. The trees were marked with their tomahawks, the ground
was much trodden, and their camp-fires were few, showing a design to mask their numbers.
But no Indians were seen until the Kentuckians reached the bluffs of the Licking, opposite the Lower Blue Licks,
when a few were discovered leisurely marching over a ridge on the opposite side of the river.
Colonel Todd now ordered a halt, for further consultation before crossing the river, and, notwithstanding his intemperate
language of the morning, especially solicited the views of Colonel Boone. He was still of the opinion that they
had better await the arrival of Colonel Logan, for the Indians were very strong, and he had no doubt were well
posted in ambush on the opposite side of the river. But in the event of a determination to proceed, he advised
that the troops be divided into two parties, one of which should proceed above the bend of the river and cross
in the rear of the enemy, while the other, crossing at the ford, where they then were, should proceed along the
trail and attack them in front.
The position selected by the Indians was a strong one. The river, by making an abrupt curve to the north, or opposite
side from the army, encircled a ridge for a mile or more in extent. Near the top of this ridge, on opposite sides,
two ravines headed and ran down to the water's edge. They were filled with brushwood and trees, forming an admirable
hiding place for the five hundred warriors who lay concealed there. The army, in following the trail, would be
enclosed, as if in a net, by these two ravines, and exposed to a raking fire on all sides, while the enemy was
completely sheltered from their fire and hidden from view.
While Boone and Todd were still consulting as to what course should be pursued, Major McGary, who was a warm friend
of Boone, and who had become incensed at the intemperate language used by Colonel Todd, in the morning, in reference
to him, raised the war whoop, spurred his horse into the river, and called out, "All who are not cowards,
follow me, and I will show you where the Indians are." On the impulse of the moment, nearly the entire army
followed him, yelling and whooping, to the opposite shore; and the rest, with Boone and Todd, soon followed. The
latter rode up to Major McGary and demanded, in an excited manner, what he meant by his rash conduct, when McGary
replied, "You wanted to fight, and, by g-d, I thought I would give you a chance."
Colonel Boone now advised that some scouts be sent forward to examine the ground, and, if the enemy were present,
ascertain his position. Those who had been eager for the fray in the morning, were now, in the presence of the
enemy, willing to heed the advice of the old pioneer, who still remained as cool and collected as if nothing unusual
Two bold and experienced scouts were selected and sent forward, but, though they proceeded half a mile beyond the
ravines, no Indians were discovered. Orders were now given to march, and the army advanced, Colonel Todd commanding
the center, Trigg the right, and Boone the left. They proceeded to within forty yards of the ravines, when suddenly
the entire body of Indians poured a destructive fire into their ranks, from both sides of the ridge. The dead and
wounded fell thick at the first discharge, but the brave Kentuckians stood their ground like heroes - notwithstanding
they were greatly outnumbered and fought at such a disadvantage. Colonel Trigg fell at the first fire, and with
him a large number of the Harrodsburg troops. Major Harland's advance guard maintained their ground until three
men only remained, their commander having fallen covered with wounds. Colonel Todd was mortally wounded near the
commencement of the battle, and when last seen he was
reeling on his horse, with the blood streaming from his wounds. Major McGary fought like a tiger, but escaped unhurt.
Colonel Boone was as cool as if he were merely on a hunting expedition, and gallantly led his men into the thickest
of the fight.
The army having been thrown into confusion, the Indians rushed upon the men with hideous yells and drawn tomahawks,
and the retreat commenced at once. The fugitives rushed down the slope of the ridge to the river, and plunging
in, waded or swam across, followed closely by the Indians. Many of them would have been killed in the river except
for the presence of mind of a man named Netherland, who on former occasions had been called a coward, but in this
instance acted like a hero. Being mounted on a spirited horse, he had outrun the main body of his retreating comrades,
and had safely reached the opposite bank of the river. Looking back, he saw the Indians rushing into the river
to kill those who were struggling with the current, and wheeling his horse, he called out to some ten or a dozen
men who were near him, "Halt! fire on the Indians, and protect the men in the river." His loud, stern
command had the desired effect, and a volley from a dozen rifles checked the savages and gave the men an opportunity
to cross in safety.
Many of the Indians swam the river above and below the ford, and continued the pursuit for more than twenty miles,
killing some, and taking a few prisoners. The defeated army never halted until it reached Bryan's Station, thirty-six
Colonel Boone was one of the very last to leave the battle field, and when he saw that the rout was hopeless, he
directed all his energies to the preservation of as many lives as possible. Just as he was leaving the field, he
came upon his son, mortally wounded. For a moment he was overcome by the feelings of a tender and loving father,
and, with tears streaming from his eyes, raised the dying form of his boy in his arms, and made his way toward
a place of safety near the river, below the curve and the ravine, where he knew he could easily cross the current.
He had proceeded but a few steps when a powerful Indian, with raised tomahawk, sprang before him; but in a moment
the contents of Boone's gun entered his body, and he fell lifeless to the ground. Before he reached the bank of
the river, his son expired in his arms, when, straining him to his bosom as he took a last look at the beloved
face, he laid the still and lifeless form gently on the ground, and made his escape.
This event made so deep an impression on the mind of the old pioneer, that, to the day of his death, he could not
mention it without shedding tears. His brother, Samuel was severely wounded, but escaped.
Of the one hundred and eighty-two persons who went into battle, about one-third were killed, twelve wounded, and
seven carried off prisoners. These were put to death by torture after they reached the Indian towns.
This disastrous battle covered Kentucky with mourning, for nearly every family in the little settlements had a
relative or friend killed.
The following report of the battle, made by Colonel Boone to Gov. Harrison, of Virginia, will be read with interest,
as being one of the few official documents that remain from, his pen :
"BOONE'S STATION, FAYETTE COUNTY, "August, 30th, 1782.
"Present circumstances of affairs cause me to write to your Excellence as follows. On the 16th instant, a
large number of Indians, with some white men, attacked one of our frontier stations, known by the name of Bryan's
Station. The siege continued from about sunrise till about ten o'clock the next day, when they marched off. Notice
being given to the neighboring stations, we immediately raised one hundred and eighty-one horsemen, commanded by
Colonel John Todd, including some of the Lincoln county militia, and pursued about forty miles.
"On the 19th instant, we discovered the enemy lying in wait for us. On this discovery, we formed our columns
into one single line, and marched up in their front within about forty yards before there was a gun fired. Colonel
Trigg commanded on the right, myself on the left, and Major McGary in the centre, and Major Harland the advanced
party in front. From the manner in which we had formed, it fell to my lot to bring on the attack. This was done
with a very heavy fire on both sides, and extended back of the line to Colonel Trigg, where the enemy was so strong
they rushed up and broke the right wing at the first fire. Thus the enemy got in our rear, with the loss of seventy-seven
of our men, and twelve wounded. Afterwards we were reinforced by Colonel Logan, which made our force four hundred
and sixty men. We marched again to the battle ground; but, finding the enemy had gone, we proceeded to bury the
"We found forty-three on the ground, and many lay about, which we could not stay to find, hungry and weary
as we were, and somewhat dubious that the enemy might not have gone off quite. By the sign, we thought that the
Indians had exceeded
four hundred; while the whole of this militia of the county does not amount to more than one hundred and thirty.
From these facts your Excellency may form an idea of our situation.
"I know that your own circumstances are critical; but are we to be wholly forgotten? I hope not. I trust about
five hundred men may be sent to our assistance immediately. If these shall be stationed as our county lieutenants
shall deem necessary, it may be the means of saving our part of the country; but if they are placed under the direction
of General Clark, they will be of little or no service to our settlement. The Falls lie one hundred miles west
of us, and the Indians northeast; while our men are frequently called to protect them. I have encouraged the people
in this county all that I could; but I can no longer justify them or myself to risk our fives here under such extraordinary
hazards. The inhabitants of this county are very much alarmed at the thoughts of the Indians bringing another campaign
into our country this fall. If this should be the case, it will break up these settlements. I hope, therefore,
your Excellency will take this matter into your consideration, and send us some relief as quick as possible.
"These are my sentiments, without consulting any person. Colonel Logan will, I expect, immediately send you
an express, by whom I humbly request your Excellency's answer. In the meanwhile, I remain, &c.
The day after the little army of one hundred and eighty-two had left Bryan's Station, Colonel Logan arrived there
at the head four hundred and fifty men. Fearful of some disaster, he immediately ordered a forced march, and set
out on the old trail. They had proceeded only a few miles when they met the first party of fugitives, who, as usual
in such cases, could give only an excited and unsatisfactory account of the affair. Colonel Logan now decided to
return to the station and await the arrival of more of the survivors, in order that he might obtain additional
information, and know better how to proceed. By night they were all in, and the true story became known.
Late that night, Colonel Logan, accompanied by Colonel Boone and a few of the survivors, started for the battle-ground,
which they reached at noon the next day. The Indians were gone, but the sight was horrible. Dead and mutilated
bodies were strewn through the timber, submerged in the river, and spread over the rocky ridge. Immense flocks
of vultures were hovering in the air, perched in the trees, or feeding on the bodies of the slain. The savages
had mangled and scalped many, the wolves had torn others, and the oppressive heat of August had so disfigured their
faces that in many cases their friends could recognize them only by their clothing. They were buried as de-cently
as circumstances would admit, and Logan and his men returned to Bryan's Station.
As soon as the intelligence of the defeat at Blue Licks reached General Clark at Louisville, he began to make arrangements
for a formidable expedition into the Indian country, and, with his usual energy and determination, was soon on
the march at the head of a large force. Colonel Boone went along as a volunteer scout, preferring that position
to any command that could be given him.
The march was conducted so rapidly and with so much secrecy, that the army came within half a mile of Girty and
his party, on their return from Kentucky, before they were aware of its presence, or that such a force was even
in existence. Two Indians, loitering in the rear, discovered the Kentuckians, and hastily fleeing to their companions
gave the alarming intelligence that a mighty army was close upon them.
They instantly evacuated their camp and fled, dispatching runners to all the surrounding towns to give the alarm.
The towns were abandoned, and when General Clark and his men entered them they found nothing but deserted lodges.
Upon entering Old Chillicothe they found fires still burning and provisions in process of cooking.
Of this expedition Colonel Boone said:
"The savages fled in the utmost disorder, evacuating their towns, and reluctantly left their territory to
our mercy. We immediately took possession of the town of Old Chillicothe without opposition, it being deserted
by its inhabitants In this expedition we took seven prisoners and five scalps, with the loss of only four men,
two of whom were accidentally killed by our OWN army."
The troops destroyed four other towns, cut the standing corn in the fields, and desolated the whole country. The
destruction of their towns and property paralyzed the Indians more than a defeat or battle would have done, and
the expedition, by teaching them the superiority of the white people, both in numbers and means of carrying on
war, put an end to their raids and depredations, and the people of Kentucky, except in some of the frontier settlements,
which were visited occasionally by small parties of Indians, were allowed to enjoy the blessed fruits of peace.
Colonel Boone, with his receipts for military services, and the proceeds of his own industry, was enabled to pay
for several tracts of land, on one of which he built a comfortable log cabin, and cleared a farm, where he expected
to spend the remainder of his days. For several years he cultivated his crops, and, during the hunting season,
amused himself at his favorite occupation.
His last encounter with the Indians in Kentucky was of an amusing rather than a dangerous character, and was in
substance as follows, as related by himself:
Boone never used tobacco, but he had raised about one hundred and fifty hills of the weed, on his farm, for the
use of his neighbors. When it was ripe and ready to be housed, he built a pen of fence rails, about twelve feet
high, and covered it with cane and grass ; and in this enclosure the tobacco was hung in three tiers, one above
the other, to dry and "cure." In a short time it was so dry and crisp that it would crumble into powder
upon being rubbed or roughly handled.
One day while removing the sticks of tobacco from the lower tier to the upper ones, and while standing with his
feet on the poles of the lower tier, he was startled to hear the gruff Indian salutation of "How!" immediately
under him. Looking down, he saw four Indians, with guns in their hands, who had entered by the low door, and were
now looking up at him. Seeing that he observed them, they addressed him as follows: "Now, Boone, we got you.
You no get away any more. We carry you off to Chillicothe this time. You no cheat us any more. Damn!" Boone
recognized them as some of his old friends who had captured him at the Blue Licks in 1778, and addressing them
pleasantly, he said, "Ah! old friends! Glad to see yon. Just wait one moment, and I'll come down." He
parleyed with them for some time, asking about old acquaintances, and pretending to be pleased with the opportunity
of going with them; until, having diverted their attention from him, he gathered a bundle of dry tobacco and threw
it down upon their upturned faces, at the same time jumping upon them with as much of the tobacco as he could gather
in his arms. Their mouths, eyes, and noses were filled with the pungent dust, which blinded them and set them to
sneezing violently; and in the midst of their discomfiture Boone rushed out and made his way to his cabin, where
he had the means of de-fence. But notwithstanding his narrow escape, he could not withstand the temptation to look
back and see the result of his achievement. The Indians were groping about with outstretched hands, feeling their
way out of the pen, calling him by name, and cursing him for a rogue, and themselves for fools.
In 1792 Kentucky was admitted into the Union as a State. As courts of justice were established in every community,
litigation increased, and was carried to a distressing extent. Many of the old pioneers, who had cleared farms
in the midst of the wilderness, and were prepared to spend the remainder of their days surrounded by peace and
plenty, had their homes wrested from them, through lack of legal titles, by greedy and avaricious speculators,
and were cast adrift in their old age, to again fight the battle of existence. Colonel Boone was among the sufferers.
Every foot of his land was taken from him, and he wrs left penniless. His recorded descriptions of location and
boundary were defective, and shrewd speculators had the adroitness to secure legal titles by more accurate and
better defined entries.
Disgusted with legal quibbles and technicalities, and disheartened at his misfortunes, Boone decided to once more
seek a home in the wilderness. About the year 1790 he removed to the Kenhawa Valley, in Virginia, and settled near
Point Pleasant, where he remained until 1795, when he removed to Missouri, or Upper Louisiana, as it was then called.
His son, Daniel M. Boone, had already settled in that country, and gave such glowing accounts of the climate, soil,
game, etc., that the old pioneer's imagination was captivated. About the same time he received an invitation from
the Spanish Lieutenant-Governor, Zenon Trudeau, to remove there, offering as an inducement a large grant of land.
He at once decided to accept the invitation. Accordingly, gathering up such articles as were convenient to carry,
and with his trusty rifle, "Old Checlicker," on his shoulder, his chattels, and a portion of his family
on pack-horses, he started on his journey to the new land of promise. All his family subsequently followed him,
except his two daughters, Lavinia and Rebecca, who, as previously stated, lived and died in Kentucky. His son Jesse
remained in the Kenhawa Valley, where he had married, until 1819, when he too came to Missouri.
For several years after Colonel Boone's removal, Upper Louisiana remained under Spanish rule, and the promise of
the Lieutenant-Governor was faithfully fulfilled. On the 24th of January, 1798, he received a concession of 1,000
arpents of land, situated in femme Osage District. He afterward made an agreement with the Spanish authorities
to bring one hundred families from Kentucky and Virginia to Upper Louisiana, for which he was to receive 10,000
arpents of land. The agreement was fulfilled on both sides; but in order to confirm his title to this grant, it
was necessary to obtain the signature of the direct representative of the crown, who resided in New Orleans. Colonel
Boone neglected this requirement, and his title was declared invalid when the country came into the possession
of the United States.
His title to the first grant of 1,000 arpents was also declared invalid, but was subsequently confirmed by special
act of Congress. Both the Spanish and American governments required actual settlement of lands granted in the ordinary
way, to confirm the title; but in 1800 Boone received the appointment of Commandant of Femme Osage District, and
was informed by Don Charles D. Delassus, who had succeeded Don Zenon Trudeau as Lieutenant-Governor, that as his
duties as Commandant would require a considerable portion of his time, the Spanish government would dispense with
the actual settlement of the land in order to confirm his title. Relying upon this promise, he neglected to have
the proper entries made upon the records, and when the United States government purchased Upper Louisiana there
was nothing to show that Boone had fulfilled the requirements, and his claim was declared invalid.
He subsequently petitioned Congress to have his title confirmed, and the petition was granted. The following is
a copy of his petition, with the report of the committee to whom it was re-ferred, as given in the American State
Papers, vol. 2, page 10:
To the Senate and Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled. The petition of Daniel Boone, at
present an inhabitant of the territory of Louisiana, respectfully shoiaeth :
That, your petitioner has spent a long life in exploring the wilds of north America; and has, by his own personal
exertions, been greatly instrumental in opening the road to civilization in the immense territories now attached
to the United States, and, in some instances, matured into independent States.
An ardent thirst for discovery, united with a desire to benefit a rising family, has impelled him to encounter
the numerous hard-ships, privations, difficulties, and dangers to which he has unavoidably been exposed. How far
his desire for discovery has been extended, and what consequences have resulted from his labors, are, at this time,
unnecessary to be stated.
But, while your petitioner has thus opened the way to thousands, to countries possessed of every natural advantage,
although he may have gratified his thirst for discovery, he has to lament that he has not derived those personal
advantages which his exertions would seem to have merited. He has secured but a scanty portion of that immeasurable
territory over which his discoveries have extended, and his family have reason to regret that their interest had
not been more the great object of his discoveries.
Your petitioner has nothing to demand from the justice of his country, but he respectfully suggests, that it might
be deemed an act of grateful benevolence, if his country, amidst their bounties, would so far gratify his last
wish, as to grant him some reasonable portion of land within the territory of Louisiana.
He is the more induced to this request, as the favorite pittance of soil to which he considered he had acquired
a title under the Spanish government, has been wrested from him by a con-struction of the existing laws not in
his contemplation, and beyond his foresight. Your petitioner is not disposed to murmur or complain; but conscious
of the value and extent of his services, he solicits some evidence of their liberality.
He approaches the august assemblage of his fellow-citizens with a confidence inspired by that spirit which has
led him so often to the deep recesses of the wilds of America; and he flatters himself that he, with his family,
will be induced to acknowledge that the United States knows how to appreciate and encourage the efforts of her
citizens, in enterprises of magnitude, from which proportionate public good maybe derived.
The following is the report of the committee to which the petition was referred, as presented to the Senate, January
That, at a period antecedent to the revolutionary war, Daniel Boone, the petitioner, possessing an ardent desire
for the exploration of the (then) Western wilderness of the United States, after traversing a length of mountainous
and uninhabited country, discovered, and, with a few bold and enterprising fellows, established, with a perilous
hardihood, the first settlement of civilized population in the (now) State of Kentucky. That, in maintaining the
possession of that country until the peace of 1783, he experienced all the vicissitudes of a war with enemies the
most daring, insidious, and cruel, and which were aided by Canadians from the British provinces of Upper Canada;
and that during that contest he lost several children by the hands of the savages.
That it appears to the committee, that although the petitioner was not officially employed by the government of
the United States, yet that he was actually engaged against their enemies, through the whole of the war of the
That in the exploring, settling, and defending of that country, he eminently contributed to the early march of
Western population, and which has redounded to the benefit of the United States. That your petitioner is old, infirm,
and, though dependent on agriculture, by adverse and unpropitious circumstances, possesses not one acre of that
immeasurable territory which he so well defended, after having been the pioneer of its settlement. The petitioner
disclaiming all idea of a demand upon the justice of his country, yet requests, as a grateful benevolence, that
Congress would grant him some reasonable portion of land in the territory of Louisiana. The committee, upon the
whole circumstance of the merit and situation of the petitioner, beg leave to report the bill without amendment.
Notwithstanding this favorable report, and the justice of the petition, the Board of Land Commissioners reported
adversely to the grant, and it was not until three years after (December 24, 1813,) that Boone was confirmed in
his title to the 1,000 arpents of land conceded to him by the Spanish government.
The territory of Louisiana was at that time overrun with, greedy land speculators, who would resort to perjury,
forgery, and even murder, to obtain their object; and it was very essential that the Land Commissioners should
be careful in granting titles. Hence the difficulty Boone encountered in securing meager justice.
In every community there were drunken, worthless fellows who acted as standing witnesses for these speculators,
and would sign any paper, or swear to any statement that was required of them. One of these characters, Simon Toiton,
by name, gave the following evidence in a case tried at Kaskaskia, in August, 1807:
"I, Simon Toiton, being in my sober senses, having taken no drink, and after mature reflection, having been
apprised that I had given a great number of depositions relating to land titles, as well those derived from donations
as from improvements; that, by means of those depositions, great quantities of lands have been confirmed to different
persons in whose favor I have given these depositions; I do consequently declare, as I have already declared to
several persons, that I am ignorant of the number I may have given, since I was drunk when I gave them, a failing
to which I am unfortunately addicted ; and that, when I am in that state, any one, by complying with my demands,
may do what they please with me if this work had been proposed to me when in my senses- [Here something has been
omitted.] I declare that I recollect that, on the last day of November, 1806, I was sent for; before setting out,
I drank a quart of liquor; and that there might be no want of it, I took it again on my arrival: before beginning
the certificates, I took another quart, and this continued until midnight nearly. I recollect at that time to have
given twenty-two or twenty-three depositions; that is to say, I copied them from models, to which I made them conform;
observing to those persons that what I did could be of no validity. They told me not to mind that, that it would
be of service to those for whom I gave them; and that I aught not to fear anything, or make myself uneasy. I declare
solemnly that all these last depositions are false, as well as those I had given previously to that time, no matter
in whose favor I may have given them; because, to my knowledge, I have never given any except when I was in liquor,
and not in my sober senses. I furthermore declare that I am not acquainted with any improvements in this country."
Is it any wonder, in view of the above, that it was hard for the gallant old pioneer to secure a title to a small
portion of the lands which he justly owned, or that he lost the greater portion of those which had been granted
him by the liberality of the Spanish government? More than one-half of the applications for titles to lands, made
at that period, were rejected; and against the names of most of the disappointed applicants the significant words,
"Forgery," "Perjury," etc., are written in the records of the land office at Washington. Among
the names are some that stood high in public affairs, and have come down to posterity as disinterested patriots
and honest pioneers.
Colonel Boone and his family were the first Americans that settled within the present limits of the State of Missouri.
The French had established trading posts at several points, and had formed a village of four or five hundred inhabitants
at St. Louis, but there were no regular settlements beyond these. Louisiana was discovered, settled and held in
possession by the French until 1762, when, by a secret treaty, it was transferred to Spain. The few inhabitants
at the different trading posts knew nothing of this treaty for several years afterward, and when it became known
it was a source of great sorrow to them. But the new rule was so mild that they soon ceased to regard it as a misfortune.
It was the policy of the Spanish authorities to encourage emigration from the United States. Fears were entertained
of an invasion of the country by the British and Indians from Canada, and the American people, being regarded as
the natural adversaries of the British, it was supposed they would readily fight to repel an invasion. In 1781
St. Louis was attacked by a small army of British and Indians, as a retaliation for the part the king of
Spain had taken in favor of the independence of the United States. Fifteen hundred Indians, and a small party of
British soldiers, constituted the invading force, which came down the Mississippi. In the battle that ensued, more
than sixty of the inhabitants were killed, and about thirty taken prisoners. At this crisis, Gen. George R. Clark,
who was at Kaskaskia with several hundred men, besides the Illinois militia, appeared on the opposite side of the
river. The British immediately raised the siege and retreated, and the Indians, declaring that they had no hostile
intentions against the Spanish government, but had been deceived by the British, dispersed to their villages.
This event caused the Spanish authorities to increase their efforts for the encouragement of American immigration,
and the most liberal offers were made and disseminated throughout the Western settlements. The result was that
the American population increased rapidly, and when the country was transferred to the United States in 1804 more
than three-fifths of the population were Americans.
During the Spanish administration, no religious sect was tolerated except the Roman Catholic. Each emigrant was
required to be a Catholic, but this requirement was evaded by a pious fiction in the examination of the Americans;
and Protestant families of all denominations settled in the province, obtained land grants, and were undisturbed
in their religious beliefs. Protestant ministers came over from Illinois and preached in the cabins of the settlers,
unmolested by the Spanish officers; although, for the sake of keeping up a show of authority, they were occasionally
threatened with imprisonment in the calabozo at St. Louis.
The late Reverend John Clark, a devoutly pious, but rather eccentric preacher, whose residence was in Illinois,
made monthly excursions to the Spanish territory, and preached in the houses of the religious emigrants. He was
a man of great simplicity of character, and much respected and beloved by all who knew him, amongst whom was M.
Trudeau, the gentlemanly Commandant at St. Louis. M. Trudeau would delay till he knew Mr. Clark's tour for that
occasion was nearly finished, and then send a threatening message, that if Monsieur Clark did not leave the Spanish
country in three days, he would put him in prison. This was repeated so often, as to furnish a pleasant joke with
the preacher and his friends.
During these times, Mr. Abraham Musick, who was a Baptist and well acquainted with the Commandant, and who likewise
knew his religious principles, presented a petition for leave to hold meetings at his house, and for permission
for Mr. Clark to preach there. The Commandant, inclined to favor the American settlers secretly, yet compelled
to reject all such petitions officially, replied promptly that such a petition could not be granted. It was in
violation of the laws of the country. "I mean," said the accomodating officer, "you must not put
a bell on your house, and call it a church, nor suffer any person to christen your children but the parish priest.
But if any of your friends choose to meet at your house, sing, pray, and talk about religion, you will not be molested,
provided you continue, as I suppose you are, un bon Catholique." He well knew, that, as Baptists, they could
dispense with the rite of infant baptism, and that plain, frontier people, as they were, could find the way to
their meetings without the sound of the "church-going bell."
As early as the year 1800, the population of Femme Osage District had increased so much that some sort of a local
government was required, and on the 11th of June of that year Colonel Boone was appointed Commandant of the District.
The powers of his office were both civil and military, and were almost absolute, if he had possessed either the
means or the desire to make them so. His decision of all questions was final, except those in regard to land titles,
which could only be decided by the crown or its direct representative.
But few crimes or misdemeanors were committed, and then summary justice was dealt out t& the offender. Whipping
on the bare back was generally the punishment, and so just and equitable were Boone's sentences that the most abandoned
characters never thought of raising objections to them or harboring resentment afterward.
In 1801 the territory of Upper Louisiana was ceded back to France by Spain, and in 1803 the country was purchased
from France by the United States. During that interval the French did not again assume the government of the province,
but the Spanish laws remained in force. The formal transfer of the country to the United States was made in March,
1804, and one year later the territory of Louisiana was regularly organized by act of Congress. As a temporary
arrangement, the Spanish laws remained in force for a short time, and Colonel Boone continued to exercise the authority
of his office. In fact, during the remainder of his life he had more to do with the government of his settlement
than the laws, or the officers elected and appointed under them. The people had such unbounded confidence in his
wisdom and justice that they preferred to submit their disputed questions to his arbitration, rather than to the
uncertain issues of law.
During the first few years of their residence in Upper Louisiana, Colonel Boone and his wife lived with their son,
Daniel M., who had built a house in Darst's Bottom, adjoining the tract of 1,000 arpents of land granted to his
father by the Spanish government. This entire tract, with the exception of 181 acres, was sold by Daniel M. Boone,
who had charge of his father's business, to pay the old Colonel's debts in Kentucky, of which he had left quite
a number upon his removal to the Spanish dominions, and although his creditors never would have made any demands
upon him, yet he could not rest easy until they were paid. All his earnings, which he derived from peltries obtained
in his hunting excursions, were carefully saved, and at length having made a successful hunt and obtained a valuable
supply of peltry, he turned it all into cash, and visited Kentucky for the purpose of paying his debts. He had
kept no book accounts, and knew not how much he owed, nor to whom he was indebted, but, in the honest simplicity
of his nature, he went to all with whom he had had dealings, and paid whatever was demanded. When he returned to
his family he had half a dollar left. "But," said he to his family and a circle of friends who had called
to see him, "now I am ready and willing to die. I have paid all my debts, and nobody can say, when I am gone,
'Boone was a dishonest man.' "
There is only one deed on the records in St. Charles signed by Daniel Boone, and that is for 181 acres of land
(being a portion of the 1,000 arpents) sold to Wm. Coshow, August 6, 1815, for $315. The witnesses were D. M. Boone
and John B. Callaway.
Colonel Boone and his son laid off a town on the Missouri river, and called it Missouriton, in honor of the then
territory of Missouri. They built a horse mill there, which was a great thing for those early days, and for a while
the town flourished and promised well. At one time, an effort was made to locate the capital of the territory there,
but it failed, and the town soon declined. The place where it stood has since been washed away by the river, and
no trace of it now remains. There is still a post-office in the neighborhood, called Missouriton, but the town
no longer exists.
The settlers did not experience much trouble with the Indians until after the commencement of the war of 1812,
and the settlements rapidly extended over a portion of the present counties of St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, Montgomery,
and Callaway; and in 1808, a settlement was formed in (now) Howard county, near the salt springs, called Boone's
Salt was very scarce among the first settlers, and it was so expensive that but little was used. It had to be transported
on horseback from Kentucky, or shipped in keel-boats and barges from New Orleans up the Mississippi river to St.
Louis, from whence it was distributed through the settlements by traders, who charged enormous profits.
Sometime early in the commencement of the present century, Colonel Boone, while on a hunting expedition, discovered
the salt springs in Howard county; and during the summer of 1807 his sons, Daniel M. and Nathan, with Messrs. Baldridge
and Manly, transported kettles there and made salt, which they floated down the river that fall in canoes made
of hollow sycamore logs, daubed at the ends with clay.
The making of salt at these springs subsequently became a regular and paying business, and, assisted by the tide
of immigration that began to flow there, led to the opening of the Booneslick road, which for years afterward was
the great thoroughfare of Western emigration.
The remaining incidents of Colonel Boone's life, of interest to the public, are so closely connected with the events
of the Indian war of 1812-15, that we cannot give them without going into a history of those times, and as that
would interfere with the arrangement of this work, we must now bring this sketch to a close.
On the 18th of March, 1813, Colonel Boone experienced the saddest affliction of his life, in the death of his aged
and beloved wife. She had been the companion of his toils, dangers, sorrows and pleasures for more than half a
century, participating in the same generous and heroic nature as himself. He loved her devotedly, and their long
and intimate association had so closely knitted their hearts together that he seemed hardly able to exist without
her, and her death was to him an irreparable loss.
She was buried on the summit of a beautiful knoll, in the southern part of (now) Warren county, about one mile
southeast of the little town of Marthasville. A small stream, called Teuque creek, flows by the foot of this knoll,
and pursues its tortuous course to where it empties into the Missouri river, a few miles to the southeast. Her
grave overlooked the Missouri bottoms, which are here about two miles in width, and now, since the timber has been
cleared away, a fine view of the river can be obtained from that spot. Soon after the death of his wife, the old
pioneer marked a place by her side for his own grave, and had a coffin made of black walnut for himself. He kept
this coffin under his bed for several years, and would often draw it out and lie down in it, "just to see
how it would fit." But finally a stranger died in the community, and the old man, governed by the same liberal
motives that had been his guide through life, gave his coffin to the stranger. He
afterward had another made of cherry, which was also placed under his bed, and remained there until it received
his body for burial.
The closing years of his life were devoted to the society of his neighbors, and his children and grandchildren,
of whom he was very fond. After the death of his wife, wishing to be near her grave, he removed from his son Nathan's,
on Femme Osage creek, where they had lived for several years previously, and made his home with his eldest daughter,
Mrs. Flanders Callaway, who lived with her husband and family on Teuque creek, near the place where Mrs. Boone
was buried. Flanders Callaway removed from Kentucky to Missouri shortly before the purchase of the territory by
the United States, and received a grant of land from the Spanish government.
Frequent visits were made by the old pioneer to the homes of his other children, and his coming was always made
the occasion of an ovation to "grandfather Boone," as he was affectionately called. Wherever he was,
his time was always employed at some useful occupation. He made powder-horns for his grandchildren and neighbors,
carving and ornamenting many of them with much taste. He repaired rifles, and performed various descriptions of
handicraft with neatness and finish.
Twice a year he would make an excursion to some remote hunting ground, accompanied by a negro boy, who attended
to the camp, skinned and cleaned the game, and took care of his aged master. While on one of these expeditions,
the Osage Indians attempted to rob him, but they met with such prompt and determined resistance from Boone and
his negro boy, that they fled in haste, and molested them no more.
One winter he went on a hunting and trapping excursion up the Grand river, a stream that rises in the southern
part of Iowa and empties into the Missouri river between Carroll and Ray counties. He was alone this time. He paddled
his canoe up the Missouri and then up the Grand river, until he found a retired place for his camp in a cave among
the bluffs. He then proceeded to make the necessary preparations for trapping beaver, after which he laid in his
winter's supply of venison, turkey, and bear's meat.
Each morning he visited his traps to secure his prey, returning to his camp in such a manner as to avoid discovery
by any prowling bands of Indians that might be in the vicinity. But one morning he had the mortification to discover
a large encampment of Indians near his traps, engaged in hunting. He retreated to his camp and remained there all
day, and fortunately that night a deep snow fell and securely covered his traps. He continued in his camp for twenty
days, until the Indians departed ; and during that time he had no fire except in the middle of the night, when
he cooked his food. He was afraid to kindle a fire at any other time, lest the smoke or light should discover his
hiding place to the savages. When the snow melted away, the Indians departed, and left him to himself.
On another occasion he took pack-horses and went to the country on the Osage river, accompanied by his negro boy.
Soon after he had prepared his camp he was taken sick, and lay for a long time in a dangerous condition. The weather
was stormy and disagreeable, which had a depressing effect both upon the old Colonel and his servant boy. Finally
the weather cleared up, and there came a pleasant and delightful day. Boone felt that it would do him good to walk
out, and, with the assistance of his staff and the boy, he made his way to the summit of a small eminence. Here
he marked out the ground in the shape and size of a grave, and told the boy that in case he should die he wanted
to be buried there, at the same time giving full instructions as to the manner of his burial. He directed the boy,
in case of his death, to wash and lay his body straight, wrapped in one of the cleanest blankets. He was then to
construct a kind of shovel, and with that instrument and the hatchet, to dig a grave, exactly as he had marked
out. Then he was to drag the body to the spot and push it in the grave, after which he was to cover it, placing
posts at the head and foot. Poles were to be placed around and over the surface, to prevent the grave from being
opened by wild beasts; the trees were to be marked, so the place could be found by his friends, and then the boy
was to get the horses, pack up the skins, guns, camp utensils, etc., and return home, where he was to deliver certain
messages to the family. All these instructions were given with entire calmness, as if he were directing his ordinary
In December, 1818, Boone was visited by the historian, Rev. John M. Peck, who was deeply and favorably impressed
by the venerable appearance of the aged pioneer. Mr. Peck had written his biography, and expected to obtain some
additional notes from him, but was so overcome by veneration and wonder, that he asked only a few questions. If
he had carried out his first intention he would no doubt have given us a perfectly correct account of the life
of this remarkable man, but as it was, a number of mistakes crept into his work, and many events of interest that
occurred during the last few years of Boone's life were lost forever.
In the latter part of the summer of 1820, Boone had a severe attack of fever, at his home at Flanders Callaway's.
But he recovered sufficiently to make a visit to the house of his son, Major Nathan Boone, on Femme Osage creek.
The children had heard of his sickness, and were delighted to see grandfather again, and everything was done that
could be to make him comfortable. For few days he was happy in their society, and by his genial disposition and
pleasant manners diffused joy and gladness throughout the entire household.
One day a nice dish of sweet potatoes-a vegetable of which he was very fond-was prepared for him. He ate heartily,
and soon after had an attack from which he never recovered. He gradually sank, and, after three days' illness,
expired, on the 26th of September, 1820, in the 86th year of his age.
He died calmly and peacefully, having no fear of death or the future state of existence. He had never made any
religion, or united with any church, but his entire life was a beautiful example of the Golden Rule-"do unto
others as you would that they should do unto you." In a letter to one of his sisters, written a short time
before his death, he said that he had always tried to live as an honest and conscientious man should, and was perfectly
willing to surrender his soul to the discretion of a just God. His mind was not such as could lean upon simple
faith or mere belief, but it required a well considered reason for everything, and he died the death of a philosopher
rather than that of a Christian. His death was like the sleep of an infant-quiet, peaceful and serene.
THE HOUSE IN WHICH DANIEL BOONE DIED.
(The first stone dwelling-house erected in Missouri.)
We present on this page a picture of the house in which Daniel Boone died. At the time of his death he occupied
the front room on the first floor, to the right of the hall as you enter.
It has been stated in many of his "lives" that he died at a deer "lick," with his gun in his
hands, watching for deer. In others, that he died, as he had lived, in a log cabin. But on the contrary, the house
was, and is- for it is still standing, just as represented in the picture - a neat, substantial, and comfortable
The remains of the departed pioneer were sorrowfully placed in the coffin he had prepared, and conveyed, the next
day, to the home of Mr. Flanders Callaway. The news of his decease had spread rapidly, and a vast concourse of
people collected on the day of the funeral to pay their last respects to the distinguished and beloved dead.
The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. James Craig, a son-in-law of Major Nathan Boone and the house being too
small to accommodate the immense concourse of people, the coffin was carried to the large barn near the house,
into which the people crowded to listen to the funeral services. At their close the coffin was borne to the cemetery
and sadly deposited in the grave that had been prepared for it, close by the side of Mrs. Boone.
At the time of Boone's death the Constitutional Convention of Missouri was in session at St. Louis, and upon receipt
of the intelligence a resolution was offered by Hon. Benjamin Emmons, of St. Charles, that the members wear the
usual badge of mourning for thirty days, in respect to the memory of the deceased, and adjourn for one day. The
resolution was unanimously adopted.
The Boone family were noted for longevity. George Boone, a brother of Daniel, died in Shelby county, Ky., in November,
1820, at the age of eighty-three; Samuel, another brother, died at the age of eighty-eight; Jonathan at eighty-six;
Mrs. Wilcox, a sister, at ninety-one; Mrs. Grant, another sister, at eighty-four, and Mrs. Smith, a third sister,
at eighty-four. There is no record of the deaths of the rest of Boone's brothers and sisters, except those given
heretofore, but they all lived to be old men and women.
When Colonel Boone made choice of a place of burial for himself and family, and was so particular to enjoin his
friends, if he died from home, to remove his remains to the hill near Teuque, he did not anticipate an event which
occurred a quarter of a century after his death, and which resulted in the remains of himself and wife finding
their last resting place on the banks of the Kentucky river, in the land he loved so well.
The citizens of Frankfort had prepared a tasteful rural cemetery, and, at a public meeting, decided that the most
appropriate consecration of the ground would be the removal of the remains of Daniel Boone and his wife. The consent
of the surviving rel-atives was obtained, and in the summer of 1845, a deputation of citizens, consisting of Hon.
John J. Crittenden, Mr. William Boone and Mr. Swaggat, came to Missouri on the steamer Daniel Boone, for the purpose
of exhuming the relics and conveying them back to Kentucky. The graves were situated on land belonging to Mr. Harvey
Griswold, who at first objected to the removal, as he intended to build a monument over them, and beautify the
place. Mr. Griswold was supported in his objections by a number of influential citizens, who claimed that Missouri
had as much right to the remains of Daniel Boone as Kentucky, especially as the old pioneer had selected the location
of his grave, and had given such particular instructions in regard to his being buried there.
The gentlemen from Kentucky finally carried their point, however, and on the 17th of July, 1845, the remains of
Daniel Boone and his wife were removed from their graves. The work was done by King Bryan, Henry Angbert and Jeff
Callaway, colored. Mrs. Boone's coffin was found to be perfectly sound, and the workmen had but little difficulty
in removing it; but Colonel Boone's coffin was entirely decayed, and the remains had to be picked out of the dirt
by which they were surrounded. One or two of the smaller bones were found afterward, and kept by Mr. Griswold as
The remains were placed in new coffins prepared for their reception, and conveyed to Kentucky, where they were
re-interred, with appropriate ceremonies, in the cemetery at Frankfort on the 20th of August, 1845. A vast concourse
of people from all parts, of the State had collected to witness the ceremonies. An oration was delivered by Hon.
John J. Crittenden, and Mr. Joseph B. Wells, of Missouri, made an appropriate address.
The graves on the hill near Teuque creek were never refilled, but remain to-day as they were left by the workmen,
except that the rains have partly filled them with dirt, and they are overgrown with weeds and briars. Rough head
stones had been carved by Mr. Jonathan Bryan, and placed at the heads of the graves. These were thrown back on
the ground, and are still lying there. Recently, pieces of these stones have been chipped off and sent to Kentucky
Source: "A history of the pioneer families of Missouri : with numerous
sketches, anecdotes, adventures, etc., relating to early days in Missouri : also, the lives of Daniel Boone and
the celebrated Indian chief Black Hawk : with numerous biographies and histories of primitive institutions"
by Wm. S. Bryan, Columbia, Mo.: Lucas Bros., 1935. Submitted by K.Torp