1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boone, Daniel

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BOONE, DANIEL (1734-1820), American pioneer and backwoodsman, of English descent, was born near the present city of Reading, Pennsylvania, on the 2nd of November (N.S.) 1734. About 1751 his father, Squire Boone, with his family settled in the Yadkin Valley in what is now Davie county, North Carolina, then on the frontier. Daniel worked on his father's farm, and spent much of his time hunting and trapping. In 1755 he served as a wagoner and blacksmith in Braddock's disastrous expedition against the Indians. In 1765 he visited Florida, and in 1767 he first visited the Kentucky region. With several companions, including John Finley, who had been there as early as 1752, he spent two years, 1769-1771, roaming about what is now Kentucky, meeting with numberless adventures, coming in conflict with roving bands of Indians, and collecting bear, beaver and deer skins. He served in Lord Dunmore's War (1774), and in 1775 led to Kentucky the party of settlers who founded Boonesborough, long an important settlement. On the 7th of February 1778 he, and the party he led, were captured by a band of Shawnees. He was adopted into the Shawnce tribe, was taken to Detroit, and on the return from that place escaped, reaching Boonesborough, after a perilous journey of 160 m., within four days. In time to give warning of a formidable attack by his captors. In repelling this attack, which lasted from the 8th to the 17th of September, he bore a conspicuous part. He also took part in the sanguinary “Battle of Blue Licks” in 1782. For a time he represented the settlers in the Virginia legislature (Kentucky then being a part of Virginia), and he also served as deputy surveyor, sheriff and county lieutenant of Fayette county, one of the three counties into which Kentucky was then divided. Having lost all his land through his carelessness in regard to titles, he removed in 1788 to Point Pleasant, Virginia (now W. Va.), whence about 1799 he removed to a place in what is now Missouri, about 45 m. west of St Louis, in territory then owned by Spain. He received a grant of 1000 arpents (about 845 acres) of land, and was appointed syndic of the district. After the United States gained possession of “Louisiana” in 1803, Boone's title was found to be defective, and he was again dispossessed. He died on the 22nd of September 1820, and in 1845 his remains were removed to Frankfort, Kentucky, where a monument has been erected to his memory. Boone was a typical American pioneer and backwoodsman, a great hunter and trapper, highly skilled in all the arts of woodcraft, familiar with the Indians and their methods of warfare, a famous Indian fighter, restless, resourceful and fearless. His services, however, have been greatly over-estimated, and he was not, as is popularly believed, either the first to explore or the first to settle the Kentucky region.

The best biography is that by Reuben G. Thwaites, Daniel Boone (New York, 1902).