Daniel Boone

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Related to Daniel Boone: Davy Crockett
Daniel Boone
BirthplaceDaniel Boone Homestead, Oley Valley, Berks County, Pennsylvania

Boone, Daniel,

1734–1820, American frontiersman, b. Oley (now Exeter) township, near Reading, Pa.

The Boones, English Quakers, left Pennsylvania in 1750 and settled (1751 or 1752) in the Yadkin valley of North Carolina. Daniel served as a wagoner in Braddock's ill-fated expedition (1755) against Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) and almost certainly took part in Gen. John Forbes's successful march on the same place in 1758. He became interested in Florida, but his wife, the former Rebecca Bryan, whom he married in 1756, refused to accompany him. He explored (1769–71) the Kentucky region thoroughly, and its prospects delighted him.

Attacks by Native Americans turned back his first colonizing attempt (1773), but in Mar., 1775, as advance agent for Richard HendersonHenderson, Richard,
1735–85, American colonizer in Kentucky, b. Hanover co., Va. An associate justice of the North Carolina superior court (1769–73), Henderson was long interested in Western lands and was the chief promoter of the Transylvania Company.
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 and the Transylvania CompanyTransylvania Company,
association formed to exploit and colonize the area now comprising much of Kentucky and Tennessee. Organized first (Aug., 1774) as the Louisa Company, it was reorganized (Jan., 1775) as the Transylvania Company.
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 and with an armed band of 30 men, he blazed the famous Wilderness RoadWilderness Road,
principal avenue of westward migration for U.S. pioneers from c.1790 to 1840, blazed in 1775 by the American frontiersman Daniel Boone and an advance party of the Transylvania Company. Feeders from the east (Richmond, Va.) and the north (Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
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 and founded Boonesboro (or Boonesborough) on the Kentucky River. Henderson arrived in a few weeks with additional settlers, and later in the same season Boone guided a second party, including his family. When Kentucky was made a county of Virginia in 1776, he was elected a captain of militia.

In the American Revolution, while on an expedition to find salt in the Blue Licks on the Licking River, Boone and his party were captured (Feb., 1778) by Shawnee and taken to British headquarters at Detroit. Highly regarded by his captors, he was adopted as a member of the tribe. He led them to think that he would prevail on the other settlers to surrender, but, after four months of captivity, he escaped in time to prepare Boonesboro for an attack by the tribe, which then failed. A disgruntled element charged Boone with disloyalty, and although he was promptly acquitted and elected major, he left Boonesboro and, after collecting his family, which had returned to North Carolina after his capture, founded (1779) a new settlement, Boone's Station, near what is now Athens, Ky.

Boone served several terms as representative in the Virginia legislature. His titles to large tracts of land were adjudged imperfect, and despite his services to Kentucky he lost his best holdings through ejectment suits. Disgusted, he and Rebecca followed (1799) a son to Missouri, where the Spanish government granted him a large tract in the Femme Osage valley and made him district magistrate. When the United States assumed jurisdiction over this territory after the Louisiana Purchase (1803), his land titles were again found to be defective, but the direct intercession of Congress (1814) restored part of his acreage.

Boone's adventures became well known through the so-called autobiographical account that appeared in the widely read Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke (1784), by John Filson, and Lord Byron's verses on him in Don Juan gave his name international prominence. Historical scholarship has disproved many of the legends about him; nevertheless these still attest to those qualities of courage and determination that earned him enduring popularity.


See biographies by J. Bakeless (1965), R. G. Thwaites (1963, repr. 1971), and R. E. McDowell (1972).

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Boone, Daniel

(1734–1820) American frontiersman in coonskin cap. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 90]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Boone, Daniel

(1734–1820) frontiersman; born near Reading, Pa. His parents were Quakers. He learned to hunt and trap by the age of 12. He moved with his family to North Carolina (1750–51) and in 1755 he took part in General Braddock's diasastrous campaign, where he met John Finley, a hunter who told him stories of the Kentucky wilderness. He explored in Kentucky (1767–68, 1769–71) and led the first settlers there in 1775. He founded Boonesborough, a fortified settlement. He was captured by Shawnee Indians (1778) but escaped in time to defend Boonesborough against an Indian attack. Later, his claims to large tracts of Kentucky lands were not validated and he moved to West Virginia (1788), and then to present-day Missouri (1799) where he remained until his death. He has retained his place as the archetypal American frontiersman.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Daniel Boone should not have gone hunting in Kentucky, since Indians claimed this area.
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