HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAN’L
By Don Clare
This year marks the 275th anniversary of the birth of our county’s name sake, Daniel Boone. Now, wouldn’t we be remiss to let this milestone event come and go without some kind of celebration or recognition?
On December 13, 1798, the Kentucky General Assembly voted in favor of creating the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s thirtieth county, to officially take effect “on June 1 of (the) next (year).” That was quite an honor to bestow on a man who was still alive. Boone was 64 years old then and living in Kentucky. Ironically, 1798 was the same year that a warrant for Boone’s arrest was issued for failure to appear in a court case over a land dispute. The sheriff failed to locate him. And the same year that saw Boone County take its first breath, Boone exhaled his last as a Kentuckian and left the(then) United States and headed for Spanish owned Missouri where he was actually treated as the folk hero to which we only paid lip service.
Daniel Boone was born on October 22, 1734 (Old Style or Julian calendar) which corrects to November 2, 1734 in the New Style (Gregorian Calendar) in Berks County, Pennsylvania to Quaker parents Squire and Sarah Boone. After the Boones were ostracized from their Quaker community when oldest daughter Sarah became pregnant and married the non-Quaker father, Squire moved the family to the Yadkin Valley, North Carolina. Daniel was 16 years old. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Daniel served in the British Military as a wagon driver for General Edward Braddock, who was campaigning at the time in the Ohio Country to expel the French Army. After Braddock’s famous defeat, Boone returned home to North Carolina where he and his family resided until the Cherokee Indian uprising in 1759 caused him to head to Culpeper, Virginia.
Because of his skill as a hunter and his love for the outdoor wilderness, Boone’s chosen profession was that of a market hunter to support his growing family of ten children. This involved going on ‘long hunts, which kept Boone away from home for as long as two years at a time. It was after one of these two year hunts that Boone returned home to a new baby daughter, Jemima (do the math).
All throughout his adult life and frontier career, Boone heard stories of a wondrous, fertile land of abundant vegetation and wildlife, much like the Garden of Eden described in his Bible and not far removed from the tales of travels and explorations into unknown lands as in his favorite reading material, Gulliver’s Travels. Contrary to popular belief, Boone was not illiterate. By comparison to most men of his time, he was on an equal par as far as literacy was concerned, and far above the rest as a skilled hunter and frontiersman. So much so, Boone was an actual folk hero and legend while still alive. John Filson had published a book entitled The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke, in which was featured his work The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boon. But Boone being a man of few words, especially the word braggadocio, Filson took the liberty to create and embellish the words he represented as coming from Boone himself.
Boone first set foot in what is now Kentucky in the fall of 1767 with brother Squire on a long hunt. He was 33 years old. In May of 1769, he returned for another two year hunt, this time being robbed of all his furs by the Shawnee who considered him a trespasser. He was back again in 1772 and then again in 1773, this time with his entire family and a group of neighbors numbering about fifty. By this time, Kentucky was in his blood, and the blood of him and that of his family was destined to stain the landscape of his beloved frontier. The rest is history, and this history is available to every citizen of Boone County in the extraordinary collection of local and state history at our own Boone County Public Library. Celebrate this 275th milestone of our county namesake, Daniel Boone by researching and reading about his life and exploits. The library staff can point you in any direction of interest you may have concerning the life and exploits of Daniel Boone. Learn why you should be proud to live in Boone County, Kentucky.