Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone, (1734-1820)

Daniel Boone – aft 1810

That’s right, the real Daniel Boone! Believe it or not, he’s not that distant within our linage. I’ll post almost all of his information from Wikipedia since there is so much of it and for the most part, everyone should already know who Daniel Boone is.

He was an American pioneer and frontiersman whose exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone became famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies. Despite resistance from American Indians, for whom Kentucky was a traditional hunting ground, in 1775 Boone blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky. There he founded Boonesborough, one of the first English-speaking settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains. By the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 people had entered Kentucky by following the route marked by Boone.

Boone served as a militia officer during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783), which, in Kentucky, was fought primarily between American settlers and British-allied American Indians. Boone was captured by Shawnees in 1778 and adopted into the tribe, but he escaped and continued to help defend the Kentucky settlements. He was elected to the first of his three terms in the Virginia General Assembly during the war and fought in the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782, one of the last battles of the American Revolution. Boone worked as a surveyor and merchant after the war, but he went deep into debt as a Kentucky land speculator. Frustrated with legal problems resulting from his land claims, in 1799 Boone resettled in Missouri, where he spent most of the last two decades of his life.

Boone remains an iconic, if imperfectly remembered, figure in American history. He was a legend in his own lifetime, especially after an account of his adventures was published in 1784, making him famous in America and Europe. After his death, Boone became the subject of many heroic tall tales and works of fiction. His adventures—real and legendary—helped create the archetypal frontier hero of American folklore. In American popular culture, Boone is remembered as one of the foremost early frontiersmen, even though mythology often overshadows the historical details of his life.

Early Life

An 1820 painting by Chester Harding is the only known portrait of Daniel Boone made during his lifetime.

Boone was born on October 22, 1734 (“New Style” November 2), the sixth of eleven children in a family of Quakers. His father, Squire Boone (1696–1765), had emigrated to colonial Pennsylvania from the small town of Bradninch, England, in 1713. In 1720, Squire, a weaver, and blacksmith married Sarah Morgan (1700–1777), whose family were Quakers from Wales. In 1731, the Boones built a one-room log cabin in the Oley Valley in what is now Berks County, Pennsylvania, near present Reading, where Daniel was born.

Boone spent his early years on the Pennsylvania frontier, often interacting with American Indians. Boone learned to hunt from local settlers and Indians; by the age of fifteen, he had a reputation as one of the region’s best hunters. Many stories about Boone emphasize his hunting skills. In one tale, the young Boone was hunting in the woods with some other boys when the howl of a panther scattered all but Boone. He calmly cocked his rifle and shot the predator through the heart just as it leaped at him. The story may be a folktale, one of many that became part of Boone’s popular image.

In Boone’s youth, his family became a source of controversy in the local Quaker community. In 1742, Boone’s parents were compelled to publicly apologize after their eldest child Sarah married a “worldling”, or non-Quaker, while she was visibly pregnant. When Boone’s oldest brother Israel also married a “worldling” in 1747, Squire Boone stood by his son and was therefore expelled from the Quakers, although his wife continued to attend monthly meetings with her children. Perhaps as a result of this controversy, in 1750 Squire sold his land and moved the family to North Carolina. Daniel Boone did not attend church again, although he always considered himself a Christian and had all of his children baptized. The Boones eventually settled on the Yadkin River, in what is now Davie County, North Carolina, about two miles (3 km) west of Mocksville.

Boone received little formal education since he preferred to spend his time hunting, apparently with his parents’ blessing. According to a family tradition, when a schoolteacher expressed concern over Boone’s education, Boone’s father said, “Let the girls do the spelling and Dan will do the shooting.” Boone was tutored by family members, though his spelling remained unorthodox. Historian John Mack Faragher cautions that the folk image of Boone as semiliterate is misleading, arguing that Boone “acquired a level of literacy that was the equal of most men of his times.” Boone regularly took reading material with him on his hunting expeditions—the Bible and Gulliver’s Travels were favorites. He was often the only literate person in groups of frontiersmen, and would sometimes entertain his hunting companions by reading to them around the campfire.

Hunter, Husband, and Soldier

When the French and Indian War (1754–1763) broke out between the French, British, and their respective Indian allies, Boone joined a North Carolina militia company as a teamster and blacksmith. In 1755, his unit accompanied General Edward Braddock’s attempt to drive the French out of the Ohio Country, which ended in disaster at the Battle of the Monongahela. Boone, in the rear with the wagons, took no part in the battle and fled with the retreating soldiers. Boone returned home after the defeat, and on August 14, 1756, he married Rebecca Bryan, a neighbor in the Yadkin Valley. The couple initially lived in a cabin on his father’s farm, and would eventually have ten children, in addition to raising eight children of deceased relatives.

I can’t say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.

In 1758, conflict erupted between British colonists and the Cherokees, their former allies in the French and Indian War. After the Yadkin Valley was raided by Cherokees, the Boones and many other families fled north to Culpeper County, Virginia. Boone saw action as a member of the North Carolina militia during this “Cherokee Uprising,” periodically serving under Captain Hugh Waddell on the North Carolina frontier until 1760.

Boone supported his growing family in these years as a market hunter and trapper, collecting pelts for the fur trade. Almost every autumn, despite the unrest on the frontier, Boone would go on “long hunts”, extended expeditions into the wilderness lasting weeks or months. Boone went alone or with a small group of men, accumulating hundreds of deer skins in the autumn, and trapping beaver and otter over the winter. When the long hunters returned in the spring, they sold their take to commercial fur traders. On their journeys, frontiersmen often carved messages on trees or wrote their names on cave walls, and Boone’s name or initials have been found in many places. A tree in present Washington County, Tennessee, reads “D. Boon Cilled a. Bar on tree in the year 1760”. A similar carving, preserved in the museum of the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky, reads “D. Boon Kilt a Bar, 1803.” The inscriptions may be genuine, or part of a long tradition of phony Boone relics.

According to a popular story, Boone returned home after a long absence to find Rebecca had given birth to a daughter. Rebecca confessed she had thought Daniel was dead, and that Boone’s brother had fathered the child. Boone did not blame Rebecca and raised the girl as his own child. Boone’s early biographers knew the story but did not publish it. Modern biographers regard the tale as possible folklore since the identity of the brother and the daughter vary in different versions of the tale.

In the mid-1760s, Boone began to look for a new place to settle. The population was growing in the Yadkin Valley, which decreased the amount of game available for hunting. Boone had difficulty making ends meet; he was often taken to court for nonpayment of debts. He sold what land he owned to pay off creditors. After his father’s death in 1765, Boone traveled with a group of men to Florida, which had become British territory after the end of the war, to look into the possibility of settling there. According to a family story, Boone purchased land in Pensacola, but Rebecca refused to move so far away from friends and family. The Boones instead moved to a more remote area of the Yadkin Valley, and Boone began to hunt westward into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Death and Burial

Boone died on September 26, 1820, at his son Nathan Boone’s home on Femme Osage Creek, Missouri. He was buried next to Rebecca, who had died on March 18, 1813. The graves, which were unmarked until the mid-1830s, were near Jemima (Boone) Callaway’s home on Tuque Creek, about two miles (3 km) from present-day Marthasville, Missouri.

In 1845, the Boones’ remains were disinterred and reburied in a new cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Resentment in Missouri about the disinterment grew over the years, and a legend arose that Boone’s remains never left Missouri. According to this story, Boone’s tombstone in Missouri had been inadvertently placed over the wrong grave, but no one had corrected the error. Boone’s Missouri relatives, displeased with the Kentuckians who came to exhume Boone, kept quiet about the mistake and allowed the Kentuckians to dig up the wrong remains. No contemporary evidence indicates this actually happened, but in 1983, a forensic anthropologist examined a crude plaster cast of Boone’s skull made before the Kentucky reburial and announced it might be the skull of an African American. Black slaves were also buried at Tuque Creek, so it is possible that the wrong remains were mistakenly removed from the crowded graveyard. Both the Frankfort Cemetery in Kentucky and the Old Bryan Farm graveyard in Missouri claim to have Boone’s remains.

Find A Grave Memorial in Missouri

Find A Grave Memorial in Kentucky


Daniel Boone remains an iconic figure in American history, although his status as an early American folk hero and later as a subject of fiction has tended to obscure the actual details of his life. He emerged as a legend in large part because of John Filson’s “The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boon”, part of his book The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucky. First published in 1784, Filson’s book was primarily intended to popularize Kentucky to immigrants. It was translated into French and German and made Boone famous in America and Europe. Based on interviews with Boone, Filson’s book contained a mostly factual account of Boone’s adventures from the exploration of Kentucky through the American Revolution, although many have doubted if the florid, philosophical dialogue attributed to Boone was authentic. Often reprinted, Filson’s book established Boone as one of the first popular heroes of the United States.

Timothy Flint also interviewed Boone, and his Biographical Memoir of Daniel Boone, the First Settler of Kentucky (1833) became one of the best-selling biographies of the 19th century. Flint embellished Boone’s adventures, doing for Boone what Parson Weems did for George Washington. In Flint’s book, Boone fought with a bear, escaped from Indians by swinging on vines (as Tarzan would later do), and so on. Although Boone’s family thought the book was absurd, Flint greatly influenced the popular conception of Boone, since these tall tales were recycled in countless dime novels and books aimed at young boys.

Many heroic actions and chivalrous adventures are related of me which exist only in the regions of fancy. With me the world has taken great liberties, and yet I have been but a common man.



Royal Marvin Beaty


Clertha Maynard


William Silas Mainord


Julia Ann Hunter


Lindsey Common Hunter


Hannah Boone


Edward Nettie Boone

elder brother

Daniel Boone

Comments are closed.