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Article 3 (Oct 2017): Remembering Daniel Boone (b. November 2, 1734)
October 27, 2017The late-1700s was a time of conflict and the clash of civilizations. In the east, the American Revolution occupied colonists and, at the same time, some colonists began to push south and west, disrupting hunting territories of Indian nations and setting off gruesome battles. In the thick of that world was Daniel Boone, the sixth of 11 children born in 1734 near the present city of Reading, Pa. Boone's adventures made him a legend in his own time but it came at a huge cost.
In 1769, Boone began a two-year hunting expedition to Kentucky that was to set off a series of tragic events. The Shawnee regarded Boone as a poacher on their hunting ground. They captured him, confiscated his skins, and ordered him to leave the area. But Boone continued to explore and, in 1773, Indian nations upped their aggression in an attempt to stem the tide of settlers. Boone's eldest son, James, and Henry Russell were captured by a band of Delaware, Shawnee and Cherokee, then tortured to death.
But the pressures for immigration continued and so did Boone. In 1775, following more war with the Shawnee, a treaty purchased the Cherokee claim to Kentucky. Boone and his men blazed a new passageway. Using early Indian trails and hacking out new ones, they created the Wilderness Road. It reached from Northern Virginia to what is now Louisville, Ky. He founded the frontier outpost of Boonesborough, and when Kentucky became a county of Virginia, he became a major in the militia.
While in Boonesborough, the Shawnee kidnapped Boone's daughter, but Boone was able to rescue her two days later.
Despite all the conflict with the Shawnee, Boone apparently lived happily among the Indian nation for a number of months, earning him suspicion among his own people.
Boone also served three terms in the Virginia legislature.
During his lifetime, legends made him out to be a hunter of 'savages' or a loner who hated civilization. Boone rejected these myths, however, and said he hated his ever-changing legend.
The descendent of pacifist Quakers, Boone claimed to hate killing and said he intentionally killed one Indian during his life. He died in 1820 in Missouri where he loved to hunt with the Shawnee.
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