Daniel Boone - Children, Home and TV Show

Daniel Boone was an early American frontiersman who gained fame for his hunting and trailblazing expeditions through the Cumberland Gap, a natural pass through the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Boone achieved folk hero status during his lifetime, but much of his celebrated image is a mixture of fact, exaggerations and outright fabrications.

Early Life

Boone was born on November 2, 1734, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the sixth child of eleven born to immigrant Quaker parents, Squire and Sarah. He spent much of his childhood tending his family’s cattle and wandering the woods near his home.

Boone had no proper education but could read and write and often took reading material with him on his backwoods trips. He received his first rifle at age 12, learned to hunt and became a skilled marksman, often providing his family with fresh game. According to legend, he once shot a panther through the heart as it charged.

In 1748, Squire Boone sold his land and moved the family to the North Carolina frontier in the Yadkin Valley. After the French and Indian War broke out 1754, Daniel Boone joined the North Carolina militia and served as a wagoner — and narrowly escaped being killed by Indians during the Battle of Monongahela (one of several American Indian wars in which Boone would fight against Native Americans).

He survived another Indian attack during the Battle of Fort Duquesne by snatching a horse and dashing away on horseback.

During the war, Boone worked with John Findley, a trader who told him about the wilderness west of the Appalachian Mountains called “Kentucke,” a place rich with wild game and opportunity. Findley later accompanied Boone on his first trip to Kentucky.


On August 14, 1756, Boone married Rebecca Bryan and they settled in the Yadkin Valley and had ten children. Boone supported his large family by hunting and trapping. He often disappeared for months at a time during the fall and winter and returned in the spring to sell his pelts to traders.

In 1759, Cherokee Indians raided the Yadkin Valley and forced many of its inhabitants, including the Boone family, to flee to Culpeper County, Virginia. As part of the North Carolina militia, Boone took many long trips through Cherokee land in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

One story holds that during one of his extended journeys, Rebecca thought Boone was dead and had a relationship with his brother, which produced a daughter whom Boone claimed as his own.

One of Boone's six sons, Israel, was killed at the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782, one of the last skirmishes of the Revolutionary War (Boone was also at the battle and saw his son die).

Boone in Kentucky

In the fall of 1767, Boone took a short excursion through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. On May 1, 1769, he headed back to Kentucky on a longer trip, helping to open a trail for future pioneers.

Shawnee Indians captured him and one of his companions on December 22, stole their pelts and warned them never to return. Boone returned home but had no intention of heeding the warning.

Boone returned to Kentucky with his family and a group of immigrants in July 1773. In October, disgruntled Indians attacked members of the party, including Boone's son James. The Indians brutally tortured and killed them, forcing the shaken immigrants back to North Carolina.

Lord Dunmore's War

After the Indian attack, Boone was sent to notify surveyors in Kentucky that war with the Indians was imminent, and armed conflict did indeed break out the following year in Lord Dunmore's War of 1774.

After the settlers' victory in Lord Dunmore's War, the Indians ceded their Kentucky lands, and Richard Henderson’s Transylvania Company hired Boone to blaze the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky.

Once in Kentucky, Boone founded the colony of Boonsborough and sent for his family to join him.


Indian attacks were common in Boonsborough and many settlers eventually left Kentucky.

On July 5, 1776, Indians captured Boone’s daughter Jemima and two of her companions. Boone quickly staged an ambush and rescued the girls, inspiring the historical novel, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.

In February 1778, Shawnee Chief Blackfish captured Boone and adopted him as his own son. Boone, however, escaped four months later and helped Boonsborough defeat the Shawnee at the Siege of Boonsborough.

Boone established the settlement of Boone Station in December 1779. Over the next several years, he relocated to present-day West Virginia and served in the Virginia legislature.

Land Speculator and Slave Owner

Although he was famous as a militia leader, hunter and surveyor, Boone was not adept in business. By most reports he was an aggressive land speculator who often went heavily into debt to acquire property.

Boone was also a slave owner, who at one point in his life owned as many as seven slaves.

After returning to Kentucky in 1795 — in plenty of time to see the opening of the Wilderness Road in October 1796 — Boone refused to testify in a lawsuit against him. A warrant was issued for his arrest and most of his lands were sold.

Because he wasn’t a skilled negotiator — his ability to read legal documents was marginal at best — and after numerous lawsuits, losses and the outstanding warrant for his arrest, Boone lost all of his land in Kentucky by 1798.

Daniel Boone’s Final Years

Anxious to avoid arrest, Boone and his family moved to Spanish-owned Femme Osage, Missouri. After Missouri became part of the United States, Boone lost his lands again, though he later regained and sold most of them.

He was a respected leader in Missouri and in 1807 was appointed a justice of Femme Osage township by Meriwether Lewis, famed leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition who at the time was serving as governor of the region.

At the age of 78, Boone volunteered for the War of 1812 but was denied admission into the armed forces. In 1817, the lifelong outdoorsman went on a final hunt into his beloved wilderness.

Boone lived the last years of his life in Missouri, where he died of natural causes on September 26, 1820, at the age of 85.

Legacy of Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone’s legacy is based on verified facts and on the many tall tales of his adventures in the wilderness, killing bears and fighting Indians.

Boone was a dedicated outdoorsman, passionate explorer and gifted hunter; however, he was also a poor businessman, a slave owner and an inveterate risk-taker who lost much of what he earned.

Nonetheless, author John Filson helped make Boone a living legend when he published The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke, which included an appendix entitled “The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon [sic].”

Americans and Europeans alike devoured romantic tales by Filson and other authors about Boone traversing dangerous wilderness, fending off attacks by wild animals and savages while pushing forth to unknown land, despite the fanciful nature of these stories.

Boone’s name and legacy are remembered today in places like the Daniel Boone Home in St. Charles County, Missouri, and in Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky.

TV Show

Boone's story has inspired books, movies and television shows including the television series Daniel Boone (1964-1970) featuring Fess Parker, the same actor who starred in the Disney miniseries Davy Crockett.


Daniel Boone. The State Historical Society of Missouri.
Who Was Daniel Boone? Daniel Boone Homestead.
The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Daniel Boone

On November 2, 1734, in a little Berks County log cabin-which was built over a spring that still can be seen-there was born a boy whose career almost every American youngster would like to repeat in his own living. Daniel Boone became America’s foremost pioneer woodsman, pathfinder, and Indian fighter. He traveled on foot or horseback from Pennsylvania to North Carolina to Florida to Tennessee to Kentucky to Missouri and back and forth. But this Pennsylvania farm, situated off Route 422 near Baumstown, nine miles south of Reading, was the place Daniel never forgot.

Later in life Daniel returned to this farm, once with his wife and son Nathan, to show them his “home.” Here, until the age of 16, he was prepared for the life of an explorer, for he had all outdoors for his laboratory, and Nature and men (both white-and red-skinned) for his teachers. Here he attended the school of life from which Daniel was never graduated, but just “moved on” to new adventure and conquest.

This constant desire to move on, or, as he put it, “to find more elbow room,” was a family trait among the Boones. His father, Squire Boone, had this urge (Squire is a given name, not a title). And his grandfather, George Boone III, felt the same yearning to try new places long before Daniel’s birth, when he began thinking about coming to America. A weaver in Devonshire, England, George Boone III had heard about the Quaker colony which William Penn had established in America. There, it was said, people of all Christian religions-lived together in harmony, enjoying equal freedom and opportunity for all. Even the native Indians were considered human beings, treated with honesty and hospitality which had won their friendship to such an extent that the region where the Boones eventually settled was called Amity-a name which means friendship.

So George Boone III sent his three older children (in 1712) to America to investigate this incredible land of freedom and friendship. They were his oldest son, George Boone IV, his daughter Sarah, and Squire Boone (who later became Daniel’s father). After an eight week voyage across the Atlantic, they arrived in Philadelphia, but soon moved on to Abington (now asuburb of Philadelphia) and then to North Wales in Gwynned Township, where Welsh and English Quakers had settled. Perhaps the most enthusiastic of these youngsters about coming to America was Squire Boone. For Friend Sarah Morgan, a Welsh Quaker girl he had known and liked in Devonshire, had gone to Philadelphia with her family several years earlier. Squire soon found her and two years later they were married. With his bride he first moved to a farm in Bucks County. But finding this community too crowded for a Boone, he soon moved to what is now Berks County, where he bought land which adjoined the farm of his father, George Boone III, who, persuaded in the meantime by the glowing reports received from his children, had followed them to America.

In that early day Berks County was on the frontier, and the Blue Mountains, a few miles to the north, represented the wall between civilized America and Indian Territory. Though the white settlers of Amity lived in peace with the Indians, even letting their housedoors’ latchstrings out so Indians could come in and sleep beside the hearth at night, there were rumblings beyond the Blue Mountains of the conflicts known as the French and Indian Wars. Squire Boone built his first cabin over a never-failing spring, as precaution against Indian attack. Above the spring, and on the first floor he built the stone fireplace which became the “heart” of all later buildings, and still stands today.

At this hearth Daniel Boone probably studied the little he learned of reading, writing and arithmetic. Above the fireplace hangs a Conestoga (or “Pennsylvania”) Rifle, presented to the Homestead by Daniel Beard, another great scout and first National Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America. The Pennsylvania Rifle was Daniel Boone’s chief instrument in opening up the West. It was the “secret weapon” of that day, for it possessed greater accuracy than the smooth bore British shotgun. The people of Kentucky later claimed this rifle, and called it the “Kentucky Rifle,” as they have also claimed Boone (!). It has been proven, however, that the Pennsylvania Rifle was first made by our Pennsylvania German (or “Dutch”) craftsmen, and was first manufactured in the water-power mills along the Wyomissing Creek in Berks and the Conestoga in Lancaster County. This rifle was as helpful to General Washington in the Revolution as it had been to Daniel Boone in exploring Kentucky.

As Squire Boone’s family and fortune grew, he enlarged the first log cabin and built outbuildings. His weaving business expanded until there were five looms in his home. As he prospered he built a blacksmith shop, where Daniel learned to shoe horses and repair harness and wagons-such as the Conestoga Wagon, which was then the principal means of freight transportation. This practical, blacksmithing skill aided Daniel in his first job, when (in 1755) he accompanied the Braddock Expedition as blacksmith and wagoner, and learned his first lesson on “How Not To Fight Indians.” General Braddock, fresh from Europe, insisted on fighting in formation, rushed about the battlefield reproaching the Colonial troops for “stooping” to fight from cover as the Indians did, until he met humiliating defeat at the hands of an inferior force of French and Indians. The knowledge of how to repair rifles and wagons was invaluable to Daniel on his later expeditions.

The present stone Boone Homestead, it is generally accepted, was built by a later owner, but it encloses the spring and the original hearth (which was “turned around” by creating an opening on the opposite side). The floor boards of “random” width (meaning uneven width, as they came from the primeval forest) are the very same on which Daniel Boone sat, cleaning his first rifle.

The rest of the Boone Homestead, including the barn, blacksmith shop, and log cabin, has been interestingly furnished with the household utensils, furniture, looms, blacksmithing tools-all of the type used when Daniel Boone was young. Indian scouts and woodsmen traveled light, so they did not gather collector’s items for posterity. But if Daniel Boone were to revisit his birthplace today, he would revisit the spring, the open hearth, and the broad floor boards.

Of indoor schooling, “booklarning,” Daniel had very little. Whether he ever attended a school is still disputed. And scores of letters and documents and reports he wrote show that he never mastered spelling. An inscription he carved on a tree in Tennessee “D. Boon cilled A. Bar on tree in the year 1760,” shows the experimental nature of his spelling. Another, (also in Tennessee), “D. Boon killa bar on this tree 1773,” shows little improvement in thirteen years. But the interesting point about these inscriptions is the woodcraft knowledge displayed by Boone. He usually carved his inscriptions on beech trees, which grow so slowly that the expansion of the bark does not distort the lettering for many years. The 1760 inscription was still clear enough to be photographed a hundred years later.

Daniel Boone’s grandfather, however, is known to have been well educated in England, and his grand-uncle was a teacher. So it may be assumed that Daniel’s relatives taught him, for when his teacher-uncle despaired of Daniel’s spelling, Squire Boone smiled and said, “Let the girls (10 the spelling, Daniel will do the shooting.” And the fact that Daniel spent much of his time in surveying, after the settlement of Boonesboro, Kentucky, shows that he did master mathematics.

For training in self-reliance and resourcefulness, Daniel Boone found in Berks County one of the best early schools in America. As John Mason Brown indicates in Daniel Boone: The Opening of the Wilderness:

A woodsman, a real woodsman of Daniel’s kind, is more than a man who is happiest in the woods and has learned every lesson they have to teach him. A true woodsman has no fear of the sounds heard in woods by night or the wild animals stumbled upon by day. Even the thought of being absolutely alone in them does not frighten him. If he really knows the woods, the woodsman knows that their silence will talk to him.

To gain this feeling of being safe in the wilderness, one must learn as a child to be safe among men. Berks County was then the ideal place to teach this to Daniel. For it was then a meeting place of many kinds of people who were learning to live cooperatively together in peace. Each national group brought gifts, and Daniel profited from all of them. The Pennsylvania Germans developed the Pennsylvania rifle and Conestoga wagon (mentioned earlier), and were so expert in farming that many of the English and Welsh turned from farming to hunting, trapping, mining and to the trades they had brought with them. The English contributed the language, law, government, surveying, weaving. This exchange of talents and skills was going on in many parts of Colonial America, but Berks County was one of the few places in which this friendly interchange included the Indians. It was this happy situation, this miniature “united nations,” that educated and prepared Daniel Boone to become the Great Pathfinder.

From these friendly savages the future Indian fighter was learning not only their woodcraft and the language of the Delawares, but also the red men’s habits, character, and way of thinking and feeling. Thus he gained that astonishing ability to “think Indian which in later life enabled him, when trailing Indians, to know exactly what they would do next. John Bakeless, in Master of the Wilderness: Daniel Boone, says, “Many documents from his Kentucky years show Daniel Boone assuring his companions that the Indians would do thus-and-so-as they invariably did !”

Many years later, when Daniel and his companion hunters were captured by a band of Indians, he observed that among them were braves he knew. Instead of being gloomy and fearful of scalping or torture, Daniel pretended to be delighted to meet his Indian friends again. He acted his part so well that some of his white comrades suspected him of treason. But he convinced the Indians so completely that he was adopted by the chief as his son. Daniel’s head was shaven to a forelock and he dressed and lived as an Indian. But eventually he seized the first opportunity to escape, and rescuing his friends, proved his loyalty.

While still a youth, when his family had moved to the Yadkin Valley (in N. Carolina), Daniel had an unhappy but illuminating experience with a red man. In contest after contest he outshot an ambitious brave who finally became so enraged by these defeats that he announced he was going to kill Daniel. The brave disappeared when he heard that Daniel’s father, forgetting his peaceful Quaker ways, had gone out, hatchet in hand, to get the man who was threatening his son. This experience taught Daniel to keep the Indians’ friendship by pretending he could not shoot as well as they could. He was already beginning to “think Indian.”

Daniel received his “high school” education in woodcraft and hunting on a plot of ground a few miles from the Boone homestead, which his father bought for grazing cattle. Since only enough of the pioneer farms was cleared of primeval forest to raise necessary crops for feeding the family and farm stock, many of the farmers sent their cattle in summer to fatten on distant bottom land. Until he was sixteen, Daniel and his mother took the family herd to these distant pastures. The two of them lived in a rough log cabin there, while Squire Boone stayed home, tending to his weaving, blacksmithing and farm.

Daniel was only ten years old when he made this first expedition. He created his own weapons, first a stick of wood with a cluster of heavy roots at the bottom, later a “javelin” he sharpened from a long staff. With these he “learned the hard way” to kill small game, and developed accuracy of eye and aim. At twelve or thirteen he received his first cherished rifle. His duties, driving the cattle out in the morning and rounding them into a gathered herd in the evening, left him plenty of time to hunt. But Daniel did not kill merely for the fun of it. He killed in order to live. The small game he brought in were needed for food, the deer for food and clothing, and the better skins sold for good prices in Philadelphia.

The fact that his father would trust this huge responsibility to Daniel proves not only that Amity was unusually peaceful and safe, but also that Squire Boone was a good teacher and had confidence in his son. This chance “to go it on his own” and to prove his dependability and manhood prepared Daniel Boone for the trials when he lived for periods of a year or two entirely alone in the wilderness of the Indian Territory.

In 1750, when Daniel was 16, Squire Boone moved with his family to the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina. Just why Daniel’s father moved is not clear. After prospering in business and rising to the position of “overseer” in the Quaker church, there were some difficulties with fellow church members over the marriages of a daughter and later a son outside the denomination. A stronger reason for his leaving, however, was that Amity had grown from a wilderness beginning into a “crowded” community and farmland without rotation of crops (known then only to the Pennsylvania Dutch) was becoming exhausted. By 1750 many Quaker and “Dutch” friends of Squire Boone had taken the trail through the Shenandoah Valley toward the southwest, where land was available for the taking.

In the Yadkin Valley, Daniel Boone met hostile Indians for the first time. Nearby lived the friendly Catawbas, but beyond were the Cherokees, who became Daniel’s problem for the coming years. In 1755, Daniel accompanied the Braddock Expedition against Fort Duquesne, not as a soldier but as driver of a Conestoga wagon, and he learned from this disastrous defeat how not to fight Indians.

The youth who had left returned a man. Soon afterward he married Rebecca Bryan, a neighbor’s daughter, “with jet black eyes and hair” and the sturdiness of character that life on the frontier demanded.

Wives then had little time to rest, for they had to cook food, make clothing, mold candles and bullets, tend the garden and live stock, churn butter, raise families and nurse illnesses, while waiting for their famous scout husbands to return home. Then they had to accompany their husbands with their families into the wilderness, continue all the home duties with improvised equipment, and be ready with rifle to join in fighting Indians. Rebecca Bryan Boone-who was “home manager” while Daniel was “advance agent”-might claim equal rights to the fame that Daniel won. And Daniel would probably have been the first to grant them to her!

Proud of their victory over the Braddock Expedition, the Indians invaded the border settlements, including the Yadkin Valley. And to save their family, Rebecca and Daniel Boone fled to Virginia for two years. By then the Cherokees had been defeated. They made peace, and with its coming, Daniel and Rebecca moved back to the Yadkin and bought a large farm there.

But Daniel was a hunter, not a farmer. During the next few years he roamed. He went as far south as Florida, bought a house and property in Pensacola, hoping his family would join him there. But for once in her life, patient Rebecca said, “No !” She could not imagine Daniel in a country without the game he was accustomed to shooting.

Boone returned and then made several hunting trips into Tennessee and Kentucky. But the turning point in his life came when John Finley, whom he had met on the way to Fort Duquesne, drove up to his door as a peddler. John Finley told him about the “secret door” through the mountains into Kentucky, later known as the “Warrior’s Path,” and set him dreaming about the rich hunting grounds beyond the mountains.

Daniel could hardly wait to find this secret and poorly marked Indian trail through the Cumberland Gap to a land where, Finley said, there were wild turkeys in abundance, the passenger pigeons “darkened the sun” at migrating seasons, and buffalo herds were so large that the hunter had to be wary not to be killed in a stampede. On May 1, 1769, Daniel set off with five companions, his brother Squire, brother-in-law John Stuart, and neighbors. They moved slowly, encumbered with pack horses and equipment for a long stay, through the Blue Ridge Mountains, found the Cumberland Gap, and came across the Warrior’s Path which was so skillfully marked that the scout had to “think Indian” to find it.

In seven months’ hunting, they accumulated a valuable store of skins, but found they had placed their main camp too near the Warrior’s Path and had been discovered. They were captured, the fruit of seven months’ hunting taken from them, and when the Shawnee chief released them he warned, “Go home and stay, or the wasps and the yellow jackets will sting you to death.” In an attempt to retrieve some horses Daniel was captured again, but putting on his act of pretending to be happy with Indian friends, he won the confidence of his captors so they relaxed their guard and he escaped with his companions. These men had had enough of Kentucky and returned empty-handed to their homes. But dauntless Daniel decided to stay on, his only companion for a year in the wilderness being “Tick-Licker,” his favorite long rifle. Daniel accumulated another huge supply of pelts. His brother Squire arrived with packhorses and supplies. But again when they had almost reached the Yadkin, a band of northern Indians captured and robbed them, so Daniel returned home with nothing but the knowledge he had gained in almost two years in the wilderness.

The “Great Pathfinder,” nevertheless, always accepted today’s defeat as “home work” to be studied for victory tomorrow.

Daniel spent the next two years restoring the fortunes of his family and preparing for his next expedition. He found the Yadkin was not what it had been before. Heavy taxes were imposed and dishonestly collected. Angry colonists were organized as “The Regulators” to resist the law. These early uprisings foreshadowed the Revolution which was soon to come.

Then Daniel made the big decision-to take his family with him into the wilderness-and Rebecca was willing. Now as obstacles he had not only “the (Indian) wasps and the yellow jackets” but the prohibition of King George III forbidding his “loving subjects” to settle beyond the Appalachian Mountains. On September 25, 1773, Daniel set out with his own and five other families and the brothers of Rebecca, who preferred to leave their families at home until a settlement had been started.

On the first family expedition, he encountered trials and reverses through which only the indomitable Daniel could go, and then ask for more. His son James, sent back for supplies, was captured and tortured to death. Lord Dinsmore’s War with the Indians had broken out and the Boone family had to retreat to Clinch Valley. Then Captain Daniel Boone served in the militia through this war.

On the next expedition Boone went as leader of thirty men all employed by Richard Henderson in a land development project. They reached their destination on April 6,1775. It was the Big Lick just below the mouth of Otter Creek on the Kentucky River. And Daniel achieved the ambition of his young life in founding Boonesboro, Kentucky.

But founding was much easier than keeping. The Revolutionary War was only a year away. Boonesboro had to be defended through it. Daniel spent several years in Indian captivity. And after the war there were the years of surveying and dividing the land. Honest Daniel, who could kill bears and buffaloes and face savage Indians in war paint, was no match for the politician and lawyer of his day. Several times he thought he owned vast tracts of land, but found he had lost them through a trick in the law. So Daniel kept moving on and on, finally to Missouri, where he died in 1820 at the age of 86-a remarkably old age for that time.

He never found the place of peace that he had left in Berks County. Yet he opened up the vast opportunities of the Mid-West for the millions of Americans who live there in security today.

If Daniel Boone were to revisit Berks County today, what do you think he would do? He would probably visit the remembered spring and the hearth in his old home, take down the Pennsylvania Rifle and see if it was exactly like “Tick-Licker,” and walk to the distant pastureland where his mother and he took the herd for summer grazing and he first learned “to go it alone.” And surely he would be pleased to discover that his home had been made a state historic shrine, that the Amity area that had taught him and made him the Great Pathfinder was now called the Daniel Boone Public School Jointure, and that youngsters interested in woodcraft and the out-of-doors are organized as the Daniel Boone Council of Boy Scouts.

As in Maeterlinck’s story, The Blue Bird, Daniel Boone might discover that the happiness he was always seeking and never found, was really here at home in Berks County where many different people learned early to live together in freedom and friendship.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 1959-1960 issue of the Historical Review of Berks County

Daniel Boone was born near Reading, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 1734, the sixth of eleven children born to Squire Boone, a farmer and land speculator (a person who buys land hoping that it will increase in value and be sold for a profit), and Sarah Morgan. His formal education was limited he was more interested in the outdoors. He and his family moved to North Carolina in 1751. After working for his father, Boone became a wagoner (a wagon driver) and a blacksmith.

In 1755 Boone joined General Edward Braddock (c. 1695�), commander in chief of British forces in North America, as a wagoner. Boone participated in Braddock's attempt to capture Fort Duquesne (doo-KANE now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) during the French and Indian War (1754�), a war fought between the British and the French for control over land in North America. While on march he met John Finley, a hunter, whose talk of the Kentucky wilderness greatly influenced Boone's career. When Braddock's command was destroyed by a French and Indian ambush, Boone fled for his life on horseback.

Boone married Rebecca Bryan on August 14, 1756, and settled down in North Carolina, believing that he had all he needed—Ȫ good gun, a good horse, and a good wife." Finley's stories of Kentucky, though, never really left Boone's mind.


Most people think of Daniel Boone as a great explorer and hunter. Though he certainly was these things, he was also much more. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1734, Daniel was the sixth of 11 children born to Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan. He took an interest in the outdoors at an early age and quickly became a good hunter, learning first to hunt with a handmade spear and later, with a rifle given to him by his father.

In 1750, at the age of 15, Daniel and his family moved to the backwoods of North Carolina. As Daniel became older, he started making a living by hunting. By 1765, four times as many people lived in the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina than when the Boones first moved there. The increase in people made hunting more difficult, and Daniel had to travel further and further from home to find game. Daniel also had a large amount of debt from taking out loans to buy hunting provisions. When John Findley approached Daniel about prosperous game in what today is the state of Kentucky, he decided to join the hunting trip and in 1767, went on his first large expedition westward. The land in Kentucky proved to be plentiful in game and was greatly appealing. Daniel permanently moved from North Carolina and sealed his place in history as the person who settled Kentucky.

Boone flourished in his new home. He held many government jobs including lieutenant colonel, legislative representative and sheriff. By 1799, Kentucky was becoming too crowded for the Boone family, so when they were invited by the Spanish to move to Upper Louisiana (present day Missouri) they gladly accepted.

When Daniel Boone came to Missouri, he was 65 years old. He brought his wife, Rebecca, and several of his children with him. Daniel acquired 850 acres located about four miles from the Historic Daniel Boone Home at Lindenwood Park. Though the home on our site is named after Boone, it was actually the home of his youngest son, Nathan Boone. Daniel appeared to have spent little time on his actual property, choosing rather to spend his time in his son's home. The home took several years to construct since it is four stories tall and the limestone walls are 2.5 feet thick. It was built in this way to provide protection in the event of an attack from the nearby Indians. While in Missouri, Daniel kept very busy at his appointed position as Commandant of the region and a Syndic, or judge. Daniel Boone passed away in the home on Sept. 26, 1820.

Missouri provided the Boone family with all the essentials they needed to survive: good land rich for farming and bountiful with trees and plants, natural water sources, and plenty of game to hunt for food. The Historic Daniel Boone Home at Lindenwood Park brings the story of Daniel Boone to life and helps enliven the frontier experience. Though life was quite different in the 1800s, the values of family, exploration and fortitude needed to face the hard life of the frontier remain just as strong and true today. Discovery has brought us far and it is people like Daniel Boone who helped pave the way.

The Life and Times of the Real Daniel Boone

“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.”
—Daniel Boone

When you say the name “Daniel Boone,” all sorts of images pop up. Among these are: Outdoorsman. Adventurer. Trailblazer. Warrior. Countryman. Revolutionary. Most people picture Daniel Boone as a man in a coonskin cap, sitting around reading the Bible by a raging fire in the deep, dark wilderness.

But there’s a difference between the myth we’ve created and the man who actually existed. While some of those larger than life myths have their basis in truth, Daniel Boone lived an extraordinary life—even if he didn’t wear a coonskin cap!

Daniel Boone was born on November 2, 1734 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. His father was Squire Boone, an English Quaker immigrant, and his mother was Sarah Boone, also a Quaker. Daniel was the sixth of eleven children.

His brother’s wife taught him basic reading and writing skills, and after his schoolteacher expressed dismay over Daniel’s education, his father was quoted as saying, “let the girls do the spelling and Daniel can do the shooting.” At the age of 12, Daniel received his first shotgun, and he became such an excellent shot that he provided the family with most of their food.

In 1750, Squire moved his family from Pennsylvania to the Yadkin River in North Carolina. During those years, Daniel became a professional hunter working in the Appalachian Mountains. Sometimes, Boone would be gone for months at a time.

As a gifted hunter and frontiersman, Boone needed to learn Indian ways, languages, and laws so that he could serve as an intermediary between Europe and Native Americans. These skills helped him tremendously and added to his reputation as a great leader and frontiersman. However, Boone was first and foremost a survivor. When he was fighting in the French and Indian War beside the British, he abandoned the fight rather than die, because he believed that living to see another day was better than dying for a cause that was not his own.

On August 14, 1756, Daniel married Rebecca Bryan, a neighbor in the Yadkin River Valley. The couple originally lived in a small cabin on Squire’s farm and would go on to have 10 children. Daniel supported his family by working as a hunter and trapper, and he was often gone on long hunts that could last weeks or months. In fact, when Boone joined the militia during a Cherokee uprising, his expeditions into Cherokee territory beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains kept them apart for over two years.

Boone continued to move his family several times, hoping to find a place where he could support his family and lay down roots. However, after returning to the Yadkin River Valley, he realized that it had become too heavily populated and that game was scarce. He also was out of money because of failed land deals and was often in court because he could not pay his debts. At this point, Boone headed westward to find a better place in Kentucky.

In 1769, Boone was captured by a band of Shawnees who considered him to be a poacher. They confiscated all of Boone’s skins and told him to leave and never return. However, the hunting and trapping was so good there that Boone continued to do both. He returned to North Carolina in 1771, and in 1773, he packed up his family and headed west. However, a band of Delawares, Shawnees, and Cherokees decided to attack Boone’s party and two members were gruesomely tortured and killed. This led the Boones to end their expedition and return home.

Following an agreement with the Cherokee to sell their land claims, Boone was hired by a rich landowner and sent off to blaze a path into the new frontier. It would become known as The Wilderness Trail, and it stretched through the Cumberland Gap and into central Kentucky. By the end of the 18 th Century, more than 200,000 settlers had followed that trail to a new life along the frontier.

Boone continued on to the Kentucky River, where he established a settlement named Boonesborough. Finally, Boone went back for his family and brought them all to the settlement named for him. But trouble and adventure had a way of finding Boone. His daughter, Jemima, and several of her young girlfriends were all kidnapped by a band of Shawnee and Cherokee men and taken into the wilderness.

Boone gathered a posse of men and followed them, striking when they stopped to eat a meal. Boone and his party rescued all of the girls and drove off the kidnappers. This story became one of the many tales about Boone’s life that made his myth grow. In fact, it served as the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s beloved story, The Last of the Mohicans.

During the years that followed, Boone joined the militia and served in the Revolutionary War was captured by the Shawnee, adopted by Chief Blackfish and renamed Sheltowee (“Big Turtle”) escaped and warned the settlers of Boonesborough that the Shawnee were about to attack led the resistance to the attack and won, despite the fact that his group was greatly outnumbered and was later court-martialed because some believed he was loyal to the Shawnee, but he was cleared of all charges against him and even promoted following his testimony to the court.

By the time he was 50 years old, the life he had forged in the wilderness was romanticized in a book written by John Filson that Boone later called ridiculous. True or not, it made Boone into a celebrity and a legend of the American frontier.

While Boone was considered the person who opened up the frontier to other settlers, he didn’t really benefit from it. He was a failed land speculator and spent much of his time in debt. He lost title to the lands he bought in Kentucky and finally left the United States for a fresh start. He moved his entire family to Missouri—then called Spanish Louisiana—in 1799.

Boone spent the final years of his life working as a syndic (magistrate) in Femme Osage county. He seemed more interested in treating people fairly than sticking strictly to the letter of the law. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Boone lost his Spanish land claims once again, but sued for their return and won. However, he had to sell off his lands to settle claims still held by old Kentucky debtors.

He spent his last years in the company of his wife, children and grandchildren, hunting as much as his health allowed. His wife Rebecca died in 1813 and he passed away on September 26, 1820.

The legend of Daniel Boone, however, lives on to this day. In the 19 th century, Boone became a folklore hero through novels that were filled with tall tales. Boone was said to have wrestled bears, swung from vines, and killed huge numbers of Indians. His family tried to point out that all of these adventures were absolutely false Boone was actually very friendly with the Shawnee and Cherokee people, respected their culture and ways, and even went hunting with the same people who kidnapped him!

The Legend Continues with Fess Parker as Daniel Boone

In the 20 th century, Boone’s legend continued to grow. He was the subject of the TV series, Daniel Boone, that ran on NBC from 1964 to 1970. The popular theme song for the series described Boone as a “big man” in a “coonskin cap”, and the “rippin’est, roarin’est, fightin’est man the frontier ever knew!”

Fess Parker as Daniel Boone

Fess Parker starred as Boone, and since he was a tall actor who also played the popular role of Davy Crockett in an earlier TV show, that was how he would be portrayed.

Today, audiences still enjoy the life and legend of Daniel Boone and all of his adventures on INSP.

Daniel Boone despised coonskin caps! He considered them “uncivilized” and instead wore a beaver hat—the same type of hat worn by his father, Squire, and the Quaker men Daniel knew in Pennsylvania. So why is he always depicted in a coonskin cap? That’s because an actor who was helping to sell engravings of Boone’s portrait was hired to play Boone in a minstrel show called “The Hunters of Kentucky.” Since he couldn’t find a beaver hat, he wore a coonskin cap—and another part of the Daniel Boone legend was born.

Daniel Boone - Children, Home and TV Show - HISTORY

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Introducing Daniel Boone

You remember that when the Last French War began, in 1756, the English colonists lived almost entirely east of the Alleghany Mountains. If you will look at your map, you will see how small a part of our present great country they occupied.

Even up to the beginning of the Revolution the Americans had few settlers west of the Alleghanies, and had done very little there to make good their claims to land.

Yet at the close of the war we find that their western boundary-line had been pushed back as far as the Mississippi River. How this was done we shall see if we turn our attention to those early hunters and backwoodsmen who did great service to our country as pioneers in opening up new lands.

One of the most famous of these was Daniel Boone. He was born in Pennsylvania, and, like many of the heroes of the Revolution, he was born in the &ldquothirties&rdquo (1735).

As a boy, Daniel liked to wander in the woods with musket and fishing-rod, and was never so happy as when alone in the wild forest. The story is told that while a mere lad he wandered one day into the woods some distance from home and built himself a rough shelter of logs, where he would spend days at a time, with only his rifle for company.

As he was a &ldquogood shot,&rdquo we may be sure he never went hungry for lack of food. The game which his rifle brought down he would cook over a pile of burning sticks. If you have done outdoor camp cooking, you can almost taste its woodland flavor. Then at night as he lay under the star-lit sky on a bed of leaves, with the skin of a wild animal for covering, a prince might have envied his dreamless slumber.

This free, wild life made him thoroughly at home in the forests, and trained him for the work he was to do later as a fearless hunter and woodsman.

When Daniel was about thirteen years old his father removed to North Carolina and settled on the Yadkin River. There the boy grew to manhood. After his marriage, at twenty, he built himself a hut far out in the lonely forest, beyond the homes of the other settlers.

But he was a restless man and looked with longing toward the rugged mountains on the west. Along the foothills other pioneer settlers and hunters had taken up their abode. And young Boone&rsquos imagination leaped to the country beyond the mountains, where the forest stretched for miles upon miles, no one knew how far, to the Mississippi River. It was an immense wilderness teeming with game, and he wanted to hunt and explore in it.

He was twenty-five when he made the first &ldquolong hunt&rdquo we know about. At this time he went as far as what is now Boone&rsquos Creek, in eastern Tennessee.

Other trips doubtless he made which increased his love for wandering and in 1769, nine years after his first trip, having heard from a stray Indian of a wonderful hunting-ground far to the west, he started out with this Indian and four other men to wander through the wilderness of Kentucky.

For five weeks these bold hunters threaded their way through lonely and pathless mountain forests, facing many dangers from wild beasts and Indians.

Daniel Boone - Children, Home and TV Show - HISTORY

Daniel Boone cabin at Netherland Inn in Kingsport
by W. Dale Carter, copyright 2009

Log cabin on grounds of Netherland Inn complex

The purpose of this article is to set the record straight about the history of the so-called "Boone Cabin" located on the grounds of the Netherland Inn complex. A sign is located beside the cabin with the follow inscription:

Boone Cabin
Children&rsquos Museum

&ldquoIn 1979/80 this 1773 cabin was carefully dismantled and moved from beside the Kentucky Wilderness Road in Duffield, Virginia and reassembled here on the foundation of the Netherland Inn Slave Cabin home of a beloved, Jordan Netherland & his wife Jane Lynn. This was the 1773-75 home of Daniel & Rebecca Boone and later the Ephriam Fraley home. It is a fine specimen of the typical early pioneer log architecture of the region&rdquo.

Interpretative marker at Netherland Inn (see inset left for "1773 Boone Cabin")

While there is some notion that Daniel Boone and his family lived in a log cabin in Duffield, Virginia from the Fall of 1773 until the early Summer of 1775, the idea is without merit and is based on local folklore and is not supported by any known documentation. Factual documentation clearly shows that Boone set out with a party of five families from his home in North Carolina on his way to Kentucky. He traveled as far as the mouth of Wallins creek in present day Lee County, Virginia, but he was forced to abort the journey when the Indians attacked a part of the expedition that was traveling about three miles to the rear of the main party. His son James was killed. The Boone expedition party decided it was too dangerous to continue the journey to Kentucky and some of the members of the Boone expedition returned to their homes in Carolina. Boone decided to take his family to the safety of Moore&rsquos fort located in Castlewood, Russell County, Virginia. His family resided there from October 1773 until June of 1775.

The Draper manuscripts located in the Wisconsin Historical Society collections at Madison Wisconsin has the following document:

&ldquoAn amusing story is told of the Boone family while they were living in Moore's Fort by Mrs. Samuel Scott of Jessamine County, Kentucky, who was also at the time living in the fort. Mrs. Scott says the men had become very careless in guarding the fort, lounging outside the gates, playing ball and in general lax in their duties. One day Mrs. Boone, her daughter, Mrs. Hannah Carr and some of the other ladies loaded their guns lightly, went out from the fort, shut the gates and shot their guns off in rapid succession like the Indians. The men all scrambled for the fort, but finding the gates shut none could get in, but one young man who managed to climb over the stockade wall. So great was their consternation that some of the men ran right through the pond in front of the fort. After they were finally let in the gates Mrs. Scott says the men were so mad some of them wanted to have the women whipped.&rdquo

Per Emory Hamilton based on the Draper MMS 11 CC 224, this document proves the Boone family was living in Castlewood at Moore&rsquos Fort, Russell County, Virginia, not Duffield in Scott County.

The first owners of the area known today as Duffield were James Parberry, John Preston Jr., and John Balfour. Each obtained a land grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia. John Balfour sold his land grant to John McKinney on 16 Feb 1802 recorded in Lee County Deed Book 1, page 212. When McKinney attempted to establish the bounds of his newly acquired land, he found about 100 acres of his purchase lay within the boundary of the Preston grant and a lawsuit was filed in Augusta County to resolve the conflict of the property surveys. (1)

First landowners in the area of Duffield, Virginia

Due to the great distance of travel from Scott County to Augusta County depositions were taken of local residents and submitted to the court as evidence, and these depositions were recorded in the Augusta County court records. These depositions shed light on the early settlement around Duffield. The depositions show there was no permanent settlement made in the Duffield area before 1775. The Hoosers, Felty and his son John and Abraham built cabins on the North Fork of Clinch River in the Flat Lick around 1777. They were driven from their settlement by the Indians and the area &ldquoremained unsettled and dangerous until after 1785 because of the Indians&rdquo. It is illogical to suggest that Daniel Boone settled his family in the flat lick area in the fall of 1773.

In 1773, not a single family resided in the area around Duffield. The nearest settlement was at Fort Blackmore several miles to the east and on the Clinch River. Several families attempted to settle in Powell Valley in 1774, but they were driven from their homes with the onset of &ldquoDunsmore&rsquos War&rdquo and retreated to the safety of Fort Blackmore and Moore&rsquos fort.

I have researched log home construction for near forty years with the objective of estimating the date of construction of a log building by observing the type of notch used to connect the logs at the corners of the building. Three types of notches were used in this section of the country, namely saddle notch, V notch, and half dove-tail notch.

  1. The very earliest cabins were constructed using round logs and saddle notches. The construction was simple and most anyone with an axe could erect a cabin in a few days. The cabins had no windows and no floor except the raw earth and the roof was constructed of bark or split shingles supported on poles and held in place with weight poles.
  2. A more permanent cabin would have been constructed of small logs 8 to 10 inches in diameter and hewn on two sides to a log thickness of 6 inches, and the logs were connected at the corners by a V notch. The V notch is a simple notch that an unskilled craftsman could make using only an axe as a tool.
  3. The half dove-tail notch is a far superior notch for connecting logs, but it is a complicated notch to fabricate requiring a craftsman with some specials skills that the average person does not possess. To date, I have not identified a single log house in southwest Virginia or northeast Tennessee built before about 1840 that used the half dove-tail notch. The so-called Boone Cabin at the Netherland Inn is constructed with the half dove-tail notch and the craftsmanship of the notches is not of high quality.


The cabin located at the Netherland Inn is constructed using half-dovetail notches. Half-dove tail notches were not used to build log houses in the area before about 1840. Therefore I conclude the so-called Boone cabin was built after 1840 and more likely after the Civil War.

A careful analysis of the construction details and architectural features lead me to believe that the cabin is a hybrid. That is, it contains logs from two or more log buildings. The workmanship is poor. On the south end of the cabin, some of the logs are heavily weathered and other logs are weathered very little. The slope of the half-dovetail notches varies from no slope at all to a slope of 20-30 degrees. The next to the top log on the southwest corner of the building is approximately 4 inches off the center line of the building corner.

Southwest corner of cabin at Netherland Inn

The most unique feature of the building is the construction of the top log on the west side. The log rests on a projection of the log below it. The log it rests on is a short log that butts against another log. This feature is structurally unsound. The top log is hewn on four sides to a dimension of approximately 6 inches by 12 inches and forms the eaves of the house. The rafters rest on this log. I have never before seen this feature in a log house. It is obvious the design of the eave was not incorporated into the design of the original building. The logs on both ends of the cabin that support the eave log contain butt joints, which means they were not a part of the original cabin.

North end of cabin at Netherland Inn

The north end of the cabin is a patch-work of logs that have been pieced together to form the north end of the cabin. Six of the logs contain butt joints. The next to the top log northwest corner joint is out of alignment by at least four inches. It is clear the builders of the cabin used logs from two or more log buildings to construct the north end of the building.

Northwest corner of cabin at Netherland Inn

The sign at the cabin states the &ldquocabin was carefully dismantled and moved from beside the Kentucky Wilderness Road and reassembled&rdquo. This statement leads one to believe the cabin at the Netherland Inn end looks exactly as it did before it was moved to its present site. In my opinion, this statement is not true. The so-called Boone cabin was built with logs from dismantled log buildings. Apparently the workers that erected the cabin at the Netherland Inn complex were not able to find logs that would span the distance between the corners and had to resort to using two logs butt-jointed together to make the span between corners.

This cabin is not &ldquoa fine specimen of the typical early log home architecture of the region.&rdquo Half-dovetail notches were not used in the construction of the early log homes of the area. The unique design of the eaves of the cabin is one of a kind. No other log cabin in the area was constructed with this design. At least seven butt joint logs were used in the construction. No early log home would have used a butt joint. Trees were plentiful, if a log was not long enough to span the distance between the corners a new log would have been cut and notched to fit.

Finally, the log cabin construction is poorly crafted and no way can it be an original log cabin. Boone never lived in the cabin, the cabin was not built in 1773 and Boone never lived at Duffield. The sign next to the cabin needs to be corrected. The public and school children should not be misinformed and lead to believe that they have seen the cabin that the legendary Daniel Boone once lived in. What a travesty!

The true site of the cabin where Daniel Boone was supposed to have lived is located in Russell County, Virginia on the David Gist land claim near Moore&rsquos Fort in Castlewood.

Actual site where Daniel Boone lived on Gist land near Moore's Fort in Castlewood, Russell Co., VA

Rebecca Bryan Boone

Rebecca Bryan was born in Virginia on January 9, 1738, to Joseph Bryan, Sr. and Alee Linville. When she was 10, Rebecca moved with her Quaker family to the Yadkin River valley in the western Piedmont region of North Carolina. Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1734, and his family settled near the Bryans in 1750, when Daniel was 15.

Rebecca and Daniel began their courtship in 1753, and married three years later on August 14, 1756. Their marriage lasted fifty-six years, and they had ten children – six sons and four daughters. The new Mr. and Mrs. Boone didn’t have their own cabin, so they stayed with his folks until they built their own cabin on Sugar Tree Creek. Shortly after they moved into their new home, their first child was born.

During the French and Indian War, Daniel Boone joined British Major General Edward Braddock on his march to attack Fort Duquesne, a French fortification located in present-day Pittsburgh. George Washington, then a young colonial militia leader, also joined the march.

During the trip, Boone worked as a wagoner alongside a trader named John Findley who had traveled to the Native American villages in Ohio and beyond. John told Boone about a place the Native Americans called Kentucke – a hunting ground packed with deer, buffalo, bear, and turkey.

As the men neared Fort Duquesne, they were overpowered and suffered huge losses. Boone grabbed a horse from his wagon team and escaped, eventually returning to North Carolina but dreaming of Kentucky.

The Boones moved back on the Yadkin River in North Carolina in 1759, and Daniel bought 640 acres from his father for 50 pounds. He built Rebecca a cabin there and put in a crop of corn. Soon after, he was off west into the mountains. He’d come home and farm a bit in the spring and summer and then disappear again. In the fall he’d hunt come winter he’d be off trapping beaver.

Eventually, John Findley sought Daniel Boone out and asked him to accompany him on a trip to Kentucky. Joined by four others, they set out in 1769 and crossed through the Appalachian Mountains via Cumberland Gap. Few white men had dared to cross the mountains. The men built a base camp, and spent several months hunting and exploring the great wilderness.

Image: Daniel Boone
Engraving from a painting by Chester Harding

The Shawnee Indians captured Boone’s hunting party several months into the expedition. They claimed the area as their hunting ground, and believed anything caught there belonged to them. The Shawnee took the men’s supplies and deerskins. Boone escaped and finally returned home in March 1771, penniless and empty-handed.

A skilled woodsman, crack shot, and tireless traveler, Daniel Boone journeyed into Kentucky for long periods of time, hunted, then brought back the furs to trade. This often left Rebecca and the ten children she had between 1757 and 1781 behind. She was adept at surviving on her own, and the solid foundation the family relied on for their survival.

Then Daniel decided to sell his farm and take his family into the wilderness – and Rebecca was willing. On September 25, 1773, Daniel set out with his own family and five others and Rebecca’s brothers, who preferred to leave their families at home until a settlement had been started. Their belongings were transported on horseback because the Cumberland Gap wasn’t yet wide enough for wagon crossings.

They were intercepted by Shawnee in an attack that resulted in the death of Boone’s oldest son, James. The party was forced to retreat to the Clinch River in North Carolina, which was the Boones’ next home. They stayed there for almost two years.

During that time Rebecca’s uncle, James Bryan, showed up on their doorstep one day, and his news was not good. His wife had died and there he was with six children to care for, ranging in age from six to sixteen. Rebecca told James to bring the children in to live with her and Daniel. Soon thereafter, the Boones’ ninth child was born.

In 1775, a friend hired Boone to cut a path into Kentucky for a new settlement on land purchased from the Cherokee. Boone led about thirty axmen through the wilderness to clear a path, which eventually became a route to the new frontier and was called the Wilderness Road.

When the group reached the Kentucky River, they built a fort and called it Boonesboro, and other settlers followed. Because Boonesboro was situated in a remote area at the edge of the frontier, settlers fortified the village with a high-fenced wall. Native Americans frequently attacked Boonesboro, hoping to drive the settlers back east.

On Sunday, July 14, 1776, Jemima Boone and her two friends, Elizabeth and Frances Callaway, were canoeing on the Kentucky River when they were captured by a small party of Cherokee and Shawnee men. The settlement of Boonesboro was greatly alarmed and sent out a rescue party organized by Daniel Boone. After three days of searching, they found Jemima and the Callaway girls across the Ohio River.

Image: Jemima Boone’s Rescue
Lithograph by George Fasel

Daniel Boone himself was captured by the Shawnee in 1778. Impressed with his scouting and hunting skills, the Shawnee chief adopted Daniel as one of his own. He lived among the Shawnee for four months before escaping and returning to Boonesboro.

John Filson’s 1784 publication, The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone made Boone a legend in his own time, although Filson stretched the truth in many instances, trying to make Boone’s adventures sound even more fascinating.

After the publication of Filson’s book folks started asking Daniel to locate, survey, and stake out tracts of land for them in Kentucky. He obliged them and set the price for his services at one half of the land he surveyed. By 1788, Rebecca’s husband owned some 50,000 acres of prime Kentucky land.

Whether or not Daniel realized it, he often surveyed land that had previous claims on it. He also had a tendency to put off establishing legal title to the land, and others might have used this delay to establish title for themselves on lands he had surveyed.

As a result, thousands of acres were lost by his customers, which meant Daniel’s portions were lost, too. It wasn’t long before people started to regard this honest backwoodsman as a fraud, and the lawsuits began. Daniel started selling off his own land to pay people back, but discovered that he didn’t always have clear title to it.

In 1792, Kentucky was admitted into the Union as the 15th state. Litigation arose that questioned many settlers’ title to their lands. The Boones eventually lost all their property in Kentucky due to title errors or to pay off debts.

In 1799, Daniel Boone led his family and other settlers across the Mississippi River into Spanish-held Missouri, which was called Upper Louisiana . Spanish authorities were eager to have settlers in the area, and granted Boone 850 acres in the Femme Osage District of what is now Missouri.

Daniel built a canoe from a six-foot poplar tree so he could move some household items by river, and made the journey with his wife, two of his daughters and their husbands, and son Daniel Morgan Boone. Several other Kentucky families came, and son Nathan Boone soon followed.

Image: Boonesboro Kentucky

By the following winter, Rebecca, Daniel, and various others of their extended family were settled on tracts of land on the lower Missouri River, which totaled thousands of acres. Best of all for Daniel, there was a whole new stretch of wilderness for him to explore.

Daniel he was made a commandant, or syndic , in that area. As a syndic, he settled disputes that arose among the settlers. He became famous for holding court under a large tree on his son Nathan’s land. This tree came to be known as the Judgment Tree.

The Boones were doing well in Missouri, until the Louisiana Purchase. In 1804, they again lost their land claims after Spain transferred the territory to France, which in turn sold it to the United States. The Boones remained in the area, living on land family members had secured. Their claim to another tract of land was confirmed by Congress in 1812, in consideration of Daniel’s services.

Rebecca had moved many times during her lifetime. She had created numerous homes in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and finally Missouri where she spent the last fourteen years of her life.

Rebecca Bryan Boone died on March 18, 1813, at the age of 75. She was buried at the Boone-Bryan family cemetery in the Marthasville area overlooking the Missouri River.

In 1815, Nathan Boone was discharged from the Missouri Rangers and moved back into his log home at Femme Osage, and started building a large stone structure that represented his rising status in the community. The walls were built of native blue limestone that were two and a half feet thick. He used oxen to drag the large chunks of limestone to his property.

Daniel Boone helped oversee the construction, and is said to have carved the walnut mantelpieces for the seven fireplaces. The house also includes black walnut beams and oak floorboards, and a ballroom on the top level. Though it is often referred to as the Daniel Boone Home, but it was actually Nathan’s home. Daniel Boone lived in the home from time to time, and spent his final moments there.

Daniel Boone died at Nathan Boone’s home in Defiance, Missouri, on September 26, 1820, the age of 86 – a remarkably old age for the times. He was buried beside his loving wife.


  • Sarah Cassandra Boone 1724-1815 Married 29 May 1742, Berks Co., PA, toJohn Wilcoxson 1720-1782
  • Israel Boone 1726-1756 Married 31 December 1747 toMary S. Wharton
  • Samuel J. Boone 1728-1814 Married in 1748, North Carolina, toSarah Day 1731-1819
  • John Morgan Boone 1730-ca 1808 Married toElizabeth Dagley 1730..1736-
  • Elizabeth Boone 1733-1825 WithWilliam Grant 1726-1804
  • Nancy Boone 1733- WithJames McElwee 1722-1807
  • Jacob Boone 1735-1780
  • Mary Boone 1736-1819 Married in 1755, Rowan Co., NC, toWilliam Bryan 1733-1780
  • George Boone 1739-1820 Married 28 November 1764, Rowan Co., NC, toNancy Ann Linville 1744-1814
  • Edward Boone 1740-1780 Married, Rowan Co., NC, toMartha Bryan 1737-
  • Squire Boone 1744-1815 Married 8 August 1765, Rowan Co., NC, toJane VanCleave 1749-1829
  • Hannah Boone 1746-1828 Married 5 May 1777, Yadkin, Rowan Co., NC, toRichard Pennington 1752-1813

Watch the video: Daniel Boone Home Welcome Video (January 2022).