John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott.

Daniel Boone, the pioneer of Kentucky online

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by


in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.







"His youth was innocent; his riper age,
Marked with some act of goodness every day;
And watched by eyes that loved him, calm and sage,
Faded his late declining years away.
Cheerful he gave his being up and went
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent."






The name of Daniel Boone is a conspicuous one in the annals of our
country. And yet there are but few who are familiar with the events of
his wonderful career, or who have formed a correct estimate of the
character of the man. Many suppose that he was a rough, coarse
backwoodsman, almost as savage as the bears he pursued in the chase, or
the Indians whose terrors he so perseveringly braved. Instead of this,
he was one of the most mild and unboastful of men; feminine as a woman
in his tastes and his deportment, never uttering a coarse word, never
allowing himself in a rude action. He was truly one of nature's _gentle_
men. With all this instinctive refinement and delicacy, there was a
boldness of character which seemed absolutely incapable of experiencing
the emotion of fear. And surely all the records of chivalry may be
searched in vain for a career more full of peril and of wild adventure.

This narrative reveals a state of society and habitudes of life now
rapidly passing into oblivion. It is very desirable that the record
should be perpetuated, that we may know the scenes through which our
fathers passed, in laying the foundations of this majestic Republic. It
is probable that as the years roll on the events which occurred in the
infancy of our nation will be read with ever-increasing interest.

It is the intention of the publisher of this volume to issue a series of
sketches of the prominent men in the early history of our country. The
next volume will contain the life and adventures of the renowned Miles
Standish, the Puritan Captain.


Fair Haven, Conn.



_The Discovery and early Settlement of America._ PAGE

Discovery of the New World. - Of Florida. - Conquest and cruelties of De
Soto. - The Wigwam. - Colony at St. Mary. - Sir Walter Raleigh and his
Colonies. - Grant of King James. - Settlements in the Virginia. - Adventures
of John Smith. - Arrival of Lord Delaware. - Terrible massacres. - Pressures
of Colonists to the West. - Doherty Trade with Indians. - Attempted
Colony on the Tennessee. - Daniel Boone. 9


_Daniel Boone, his Parentage, and early Adventures._

Trials of the Colonists. - George Boone and his home. - Squire Boone. - Birth
and character of Daniel Boone. - His limited education. - A pioneer's
camp. - A log house and furnishings. - Annoyance of Boone on the arrival of
Scotch emigrants. - His longings for adventure. - Camp meetings. - Frontier
life. - Sports. - Squirrel hunting. - Snuffing the candle. 36


_Louisiana, its Discovery and Vicissitudes._

Louisiana, and its eventful history. - The expedition of De Soto. - The
Missionary Marquette. - His voyage on the Upper Mississippi. - The Expedition
of La Salle. - Michilimackinac. - Its History. - Fate of the "Griffin." - Grief
of La Salle. - His voyage of Discovery. - Sale of Louisiana to the United
States. - Remarks of Napoleon. 74


_Camp Life Beyond the Alleghanies._

John Finley and his adventures. - Aspect of the Country. - Boone's Private
Character. - His Love for the Wilderness. - First view of
Kentucky. - Emigrants' Dress. - Hunter's Home. - Capture of Boone and Stewart
by the Indians. - Their Escape. - Singular Incident. 89


_Indian Warfare._

Alleghany Ridges. - Voyage in a canoe. - Speech of Logan. - Battle at the
Kanawha. - Narrative of Francis Marion. - Important commission of
Boone. - Council at Circleville. - Treaty of Peace. - Imlay's description
of Kentucky. - Settlement right. - Richard Henderson. - Boone's letter. - Fort
at Boonesborough. 109


_Sufferings of the Pioneers._

Emigration to Boonesborough. - New Perils. - Transylvania
Company. - Beneficence of its Laws - Interesting incident. - Infamous conduct
of Great Britain. - Attack on the Fort. - Reinforcements. - Simon Kenton and
his Sufferings. - Mrs. Harvey. 129


_Life in the Wilderness._

Stewart killed by the Indians. - Squire Boone returns to the
Settlements. - Solitary Life of Daniel Boone. - Return of Squire
Boone. - Extended and Romantic Explorations. - Charms and Perils of the
Wilderness. - The Emigrant Party. - The Fatal Ambuscade. - Retreat of the
Emigrants. - Solitude of the Wilderness. - Expedition of Lewis and
Clarke. - Extraordinary Adventures of Cotter. 151


_Captivity and Flight._

Heroism of Thomas Higgins and of Mrs. Pursley. - Affairs at
Boonesborough. - Continued Alarms. - Need of Salt. - Its Manufacture. - Indian
Schemes. - Capture of Boone and twenty-seven men. - Dilemma of the British
at Detroit. - Blackfish adopts Colonel Boone. - Adoption Ceremony. - Indian
Designs. - Escape of Boone. - Attacks the Savages. - The Fort Threatened. 182


_Victories and Defeats._

Situation of the Fort. - Indian Treachery. - Bombardment. - Boone goes to
North Carolina. - New Trials. - Boone Robbed. - He returns to
Kentucky. - Massacre of Colonel Rogers. - Adventure of Col. Bowman. - New
Attack by the British and Indians. - Retaliatory Measures. - Wonderful
Exploit. 209


_British Allies._

Death of Squire Boone. - Indian Outrages. - Gerty and McGee. - Battle of
Blue Lick. - Death of Isaac Boone. - Colonel Boone's Narrow Escape. - Letter
of Daniel Boone. - Determination of General Clarke. - Discouragement of the
Savages. - Amusing Anecdote of Daniel Boone. 230


_Kentucky organized as a State._

Peace with England. - Order of a Kentucky Court. - Anecdotes. - Speech of Mr.
Dalton. - Reply of Piankashaw. - Renewed Indications of Indian
Hostility. - Conventions at Danville. - Kentucky formed into a State. - New
Trials for Boone. 249


_Adventures Romantic and Perilous._

The Search for the Horse. - Navigating the Ohio. - Heroism of Mrs.
Rowan. - Lawless Gangs. - Exchange of Prisoners. - Boone Revisits the Home
of his Childhood. - The Realms beyond the Mississippi. - Habits of the
Hunters. - Corn. - Boone's Journey to the West. 271


_A New Home._

Colonel Boone welcomed by the Spanish Authorities. - Boone's Narrative to
Audubon. - The Midnight Attack. - Pursuit of the Savages. - Sickness in the
Wilderness. - Honesty of Colonel Boone. - Payment of his Debts. - Loss of
all his Property. 292



Colonel Boone Appeals to Congress. - Complimentary Resolutions of the
Legislature of Kentucky. - Death of Mrs. Boone. - Catholic
Liberality. - Itinerant Preachers. - Grant by Congress to Colonel
Boone. - The Evening of his Days. - Personal Appearance. - Death and
Burial. - Transference of the Remains of Mr. and Mrs. Boone to Frankfort,
Kentucky. 320


_The Discovery and early Settlement of America._

Discovery of the New World. - Of Florida. - Conquest and cruelties of De
Soto. - The wigwam. - Colony at St. Mary. - Sir Walter Raleigh and his
Colonies. - Grant of King James. - Settlements in the Virginia. - Adventures
of John Smith. - Arrival of Lord Delaware. - Terrible massacres. - Pressures
of Colonists to the West. - Doherty Trade with Indians. - Attempted Colony
on the Tennessee. - Daniel Boone.

The little fleet of three small vessels, with which Columbus left Palos
in Spain, in search of a new world, had been sixty-seven days at sea.
They had traversed nearly three thousand miles of ocean, and yet there
was nothing but a wide expanse of waters spread out before them. The
despairing crew were loud in their murmurs, demanding that the
expedition should be abandoned and that the ships should return to
Spain. The morning of the 11th of October, 1492, had come. During the
day Columbus, whose heart had been very heavily oppressed with anxiety,
had been cheered by some indications that they were approaching land.
Fresh seaweed was occasionally seen and a branch of a shrub with leaves
and berries upon it, and a piece of wood curiously carved had been
picked up.

The devout commander was so animated by these indications, that he
gathered his crew around him and returned heartfelt thanks to God, for
this prospect that their voyage would prove successful. It was a
beautiful night, the moon shone brilliantly and a delicious tropical
breeze swept the ocean. At ten o'clock Columbus stood upon the bows of
his ship earnestly gazing upon the western horizon, hoping that the
long-looked-for land would rise before him. Suddenly he was startled by
the distinct gleam of a torch far off in the distance. For a moment it
beamed forth with a clear and indisputable flame and then disappeared.
The agitation of Columbus no words can describe. Was it a meteor? Was it
an optical illusion? Was it light from the land?

Suddenly the torch, like a star, again shone forth with distinct though
faint gleam. Columbus called some of his companions to his side and they
also saw the light clearly. But again it disappeared. At two o'clock in
the morning a sailor at the look out on the mast head shouted, "Land!
land! land!" In a few moments all beheld, but a few miles distant from
them, the distinct outline of towering mountains piercing the skies. A
new world was discovered. Cautiously the vessels hove to and waited for
the light of the morning. The dawn of day presented to the eyes of
Columbus and his companions a spectacle of beauty which the garden of
Eden could hardly have rivalled. It was a morning of the tropics, calm,
serene and lovely. But two miles before them there emerged from the sea
an island of mountains and valleys, luxuriant with every variety of
tropical vegetation. The voyagers, weary of gazing for many weeks on the
wide waste of waters, were so enchanted with the fairy scene which then
met the eye, that they seemed really to believe that they had reached
the realms of the blest.

The boats were lowered, and, as they were rowed towards the shore, the
scene every moment grew more beautiful. Gigantic trees draped in
luxuriance of foliage hitherto unimagined, rose in the soft valleys and
upon the towering hills. In the sheltered groves, screened from the sun,
the picturesque dwellings of the natives were thickly clustered. Flowers
of every variety of tint bloomed in marvellous profusion. The trees
seemed laden with fruits of every kind, and in inexhaustible abundance.
Thousands of natives crowded the shore, whose graceful forms and
exquisitely moulded limbs indicated the innocence and simplicity of Eden
before the fall.

Columbus, richly attired in a scarlet dress, fell upon his knees as he
reached the beach, and, with clasped hands and uplifted eyes, gave
utterance to the devout feelings which ever inspired him, in
thanksgiving to God. In recognition of the divine protection he gave
the island the name of San Salvador, or Holy Savior. Though the new
world thus discovered was one of the smallest islands of the Caribbean
Sea, no conception was then formed of the vast continents of North and
South America, stretching out in both directions, for many leagues
almost to the Arctic and Antarctic poles.

Omitting a description of the wonderful adventures which ensued, we can
only mention that two years after this, the southern extremity of the
North American continent was discovered by Sebastian Cabot. It was in
the spring of the year and the whole surface of the soil seemed carpeted
with the most brilliant flowers. The country consequently received the
beautiful name of Florida. It, of course, had no boundaries, for no one
knew with certainty whether it were an island or a continent, or how far
its limits might extend.

The years rolled on and gradually exploring excursions crept along the
coast towards the north, various provinces were mapped out with pretty
distinct boundaries upon the Atlantic coast, extending indefinitely into
the vast and unknown interior. Expeditions from France had entered the
St. Lawrence and established settlements in Canada. For a time the whole
Atlantic coast, from its extreme southern point to Canada, was called
Florida. In the year 1539, Ferdinand De Soto, an unprincipled Spanish
warrior, who had obtained renown by the conquest of Peru in South
America, fitted out by permission of the king of Spain, an expedition of
nearly a thousand men to conquer and take possession of that vast and
indefinite realm called Florida.

We have no space here to enter upon a description of the fiendlike
cruelties practiced by these Spaniards. They robbed and enslaved without
mercy. In pursuit of gold they wandered as far north as the present
boundary of South Carolina. Then turning to the west, they traversed the
vast region to the Mississippi river. The forests were full of game. The
granaries of the simple-hearted natives were well stored with corn; vast
prairies spreading in all directions around them, waving with grass and
blooming with flowers, presented ample forage for the three hundred
horses which accompanied the expedition. They were also provided with
fierce bloodhounds to hunt down the terrified natives. Thus invincible
and armed with the "thunder and lightning" of their guns, they swept the
country, perpetrating every conceivable outrage upon the helpless

After long and unavailing wanderings in search of gold, having lost by
sickness and the casualties of such an expedition nearly half their
number, the remainder built boats upon the Mississippi, descended that
rapid stream five hundred miles to its mouth, and then skirting the
coast of Texas, finally disappeared on the plains of Mexico. De Soto,
the leader of this conquering band, died miserably on the Mississippi,
and was buried beneath its waves.

The whole country which these adventurers traversed, they found to be
quite densely populated with numerous small tribes of natives, each
generally wandering within circumscribed limits. Though these tribes
spoke different languages, or perhaps different dialects of the same
language, they were essentially the same in appearance, manners and
customs. They were of a dark-red color, well formed and always disposed
to receive the pale face strangers with kindliness, until exasperated by
ill-treatment. They lived in fragile huts called wigwams, so simple in
their structure that one could easily be erected in a few hours. These
huts were generally formed by setting long and slender poles in the
ground, inclosing an area of from ten to eighteen feet in diameter,
according to the size of the family. The tops were tied together,
leaving a hole for the escape of smoke from the central fire. The sides
were thatched with coarse grass, or so covered with the bark of trees,
as quite effectually to exclude both wind and rain. There were no
windows, light entering only through the almost always open door. The
ground floor was covered with dried grass, or the skins of animals, or
with the soft and fragrant twigs of some evergreen tree.

The inmates, men, women and children, seated upon these cushions,
presented a very attractive and cheerful aspect. Several hundred of
these wigwams were frequently clustered upon some soft meadow by the
side of a flowing stream, fringed with a gigantic forest, and exhibited
a spectacle of picturesque loveliness quite charming to the beholder.
The furniture of these humble abodes was extremely simple. They had no
pots or kettles which would stand the fire. They had no knives nor
forks; no tables nor chairs. Sharp flints, such as they could find
served for knives, with which, with incredible labor, they sawed down
small trees and fashioned their bows and arrows. They had no roads
except foot paths through the wilderness, which for generations their
ancestors had traversed, called "trails." They had no beasts of burden,
no cows, no flocks nor herds of any kind. They generally had not even
salt, but cured their meat by drying it in the sun. They had no ploughs,
hoes, spades, consequently they could only cultivate the lightest soil.
With a sharp stick, women loosened the earth, and then depositing their
corn or maize, cultivated it in the rudest manner.

These Indians acquired the reputation of being very faithful friends,
but very bitter enemies. It was said they never forgot a favor, and
never forgave an insult. They were cunning rather than brave. It was
seldom that an Indian could be induced to meet a foe in an open
hand-to-hand fight. But he would track him for years, hoping to take him
unawares and to brain him with the tomahawk, or pierce his heart with
the flint-pointed arrow.

About the year 1565, a company of French Protestants repaired to
Florida, hoping there to find the liberty to worship God in accordance
with their interpretation of the teachings of the Bible. They
established quite a flourishing colony, at a place which they named St.
Marys, near the coast. This was the first European settlement on the
continent of North America. The fanatic Spaniards, learning that
Protestants had taken possession of the country, sent out an expedition
and utterly annihilated the settlement, putting men, women and children
to the sword. Many of these unfortunate Protestants were hung in chains
from trees under the inscription, "_Not as Frenchmen but as Heretics._"
The blood-stained Spaniards then established themselves at a spot near
by, which they called St. Augustine. A French gentleman of wealth fitted
out a well-manned and well-armed expedition of three ships, attacked the
murderers by surprise and put them to death. Several corpses were
suspended from trees, under the inscription, "_Not as Spaniards, but as

There was an understanding among the powers of Europe, that any portion
of the New World discovered by expeditions from European courts, should
be recognised as belonging to that court. The Spaniards had taken
possession in Florida. Far away a thousand leagues to the North, the
French had entered the gulf of St. Lawrence. But little was known of the
vast region between. A young English gentleman, Sir Walter Raleigh, an
earnest Protestant, and one who had fought with the French Protestants
in their religious wars, roused by the massacre of his friends in
Florida, applied to the British court to fit out a colony to take
possession of the intermediate country. He hoped thus to prevent the
Spanish monarchy, and the equally intolerant French court, from
spreading their principles over the whole continent. The Protestant
Queen Elizabeth then occupied the throne of Great Britain. Raleigh was
young, rich, handsome and marvelously fascinating in his address. He
became a great favorite of the maiden queen, and she gave him a
commission, making him lord of all the continent of North America,
between Florida and Canada.

The whole of this vast region without any accurate boundaries, was
called Virginia. Several ships were sent to explore the country. They
reached the coast of what is now called North Carolina, and the
adventurers landed at Roanoke Island. They were charmed with the
climate, with the friendliness of the natives and with the majestic
growth of the forest trees, far surpassing anything they had witnessed
in the Old World. Grapes in rich clusters hung in profusion on the
vines, and birds of every variety of song and plumage filled the groves.
The expedition returned to England with such glowing accounts of the
realm they had discovered, that seven ships were fitted out, conveying
one hundred and eight men, to colonise the island. It is quite
remarkable that no women accompanied the expedition. Many of these men
were reckless adventurers. Bitter hostility soon sprang up between them
and the Indians, who at first had received them with the greatest

Most of these colonists were men unaccustomed to work, and who insanely
expected that in the New World, in some unknown way, wealth was to flow
in upon them like a flood. Disheartened, homesick and appalled by the
hostile attitude which the much oppressed Indians were beginning to
assume, they were all anxious to return home. When, soon after, some
ships came bringing them abundant supplies, they with one accord
abandoned the colony, and crowding the vessels returned to England.
Fifteen men however consented to remain, to await the arrival of fresh
colonists from the Mother Country.

Sir Walter Raleigh, still undiscouraged, in the next year 1587 sent out
another fleet containing a number of families as emigrants, with women
and children. When they arrived, they found Roanoke deserted. The
fifteen men had been murdered by the Indians in retaliation for the
murder of their chief and several of his warriors by the English. With
fear and trembling the new settlers decided to remain, urging the
friends who had accompanied them to hasten back to England with the
ships and bring them reinforcements and supplies. Scarcely had they
spread their sails on the return voyage ere war broke out with Spain. It
was three years before another ship crossed the ocean, to see what had
become of the colony. It had utterly disappeared. Though many attempts
were made to ascertain its tragic fate, all were unavailing. It is
probable that many were put to death by the Indians, and perhaps the
children were carried far back into the interior and incorporated into
their tribes. This bitter disappointment seemed to paralyse the energies
of colonization. For more than seventy years the Carolinas remained a
wilderness, with no attempt to transfer to them the civilization of the
Old World. Still English ships continued occasionally to visit the
coast. Some came to fish, some to purchase furs of the Indians, and
some for timber for shipbuilding. The stories which these voyagers told
on their return, kept up an interest in the New World. It was indeed an
attractive picture which could be truthfully painted. The climate was
mild, genial and salubrious. The atmosphere surpassed the far-famed
transparency of Italian skies. The forests were of gigantic growth, more
picturesquely beautiful than any ever planted by man's hand, and they
were filled with game. The lakes and streams swarmed with fish. A
wilderness of flowers, of every variety of loveliness, bloomed over the
wide meadows and the broad savannahs, which the forest had not yet
invaded. Berries and fruits were abundant. In many places the soil was
surpassingly rich, and easily tilled; and all this was open, without
money and without price, to the first comer.

Still more than a hundred years elapsed after the discovery of these
realms, ere any permanent settlement was effected upon them. Most of the
bays, harbors and rivers were unexplored, and reposed as it were in the
solemn silence of eternity. From the everglades of Florida to the
firclad hills of Nova Scotia, not a settlement of white men could be

At length in the year 1607, a number of wealthy gentlemen in London
formed a company to make a new attempt for the settlement of America. It
was their plan to send out hardy colonists, abundantly provided with
arms, tools and provisions. King James I., who had succeeded his cousin
Queen Elizabeth, granted them a charter, by which, wherever they might
effect a landing, they were to be the undisputed lords of a territory
extending a hundred miles along the coast, and running back one hundred

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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottDaniel Boone, the pioneer of Kentucky → online text (page 1 of 18)