The explorer, frontiersman, and one of our first American folk heroes, Daniel Boone was born today in 1734. Now WE know em

This 1820 painting by Chester Harding is the only portrait of Daniel Boone made from life.

This 1820 painting by Chester Harding is the only portrait of Daniel Boone made from life.

Daniel Boone was born October 22, 1734 (O.S.) in the Oley Valley near the modern city of Reading, Pennsylvania.

Because the Gregorian calendar was adopted during his lifetime, his birthday is sometimes given as November 2, 1734 (N.S.) although Boone himself called October 22nd his birthday.

Daniel was the sixth of eleven children of a Quaker family and learned to hunt to help put food on the table with his first rifle given to him on his 12th birthday.

In 1750, the 16 year old Daniel moved with his family to North Carolina after his two oldest siblings married outside of the Quaker community and his family was expelled.

Daniel Boone never attended church again.

Then in 1754, Daniel served with the British military during the French and Indian War.

By 1755, he had become a wagon driver for the British General Edward Braddock, with the intention of pushing the French out of the Ohio Country.

His expedition ended in defeat at what is known today as the Battle of the Wilderness on July 9, 1755.

Daniel returned home on August 14, 1756 and married his neighbor Rebecca Bryan. The couple initially lived in a cabin on his father’s farm and eventually went on to have ten children.

Then in 1758, a conflict erupted between the British forces and the Cherokee, their allies in the French and Indian War (which continued in other parts of the continent).

After the Yadkin Valley was raided by Cherokee, the Boones and many other families fled north to Culpeper County, Virginia.

Daniel Boone served in the North Carolina militia during this “Cherokee Uprising”. His militia expeditions deep into Cherokee territory beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains separated him from his wife for about two years.

He continued to support his growing family in these years as a market hunter, collecting pelts for the fur trade. Almost every autumn, Boone would go on “long hunts”, extended expeditions into the wilderness lasting weeks or months.

Boone would travel alone or with a small group of men, accumulating hundreds of deer skins in the autumn, and trapping beaver and otter over the winter.

His hunting route followed a network of bison migration trails, known as the Medicine Trails. When Boone and the long hunters returned in the spring, they sold their take to commercial fur traders.

Then in 1762, Daniel Boone, his wife and four children moved back to the Yadkin Valley from Culpeper.

By the mid-1760s, with peace made with the Cherokee, colonial immigration into the area increased.

The competition of new settlers decreased the amount of game available.

Boone had difficulty making ends meet; he was often taken to court for nonpayment of debts, so he sold his land to pay off creditors.

After his father’s death in 1765, Daniel Boone traveled with his brother Squire and a group of men to Florida, which had become British territory after the end of the war, to look into the possibility of settling there.

According to a family story, Boone purchased land near Pensacola, but Rebecca refused to move so far away from her friends and family.

So, Daniel Boone moved his family to a more remote area of the Yadkin Valley, and he began to hunt westward into the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now Kentucky, which was then part of Virginia but on the other side of the mountains from the settled areas.

Despite some resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, in 1775 Daniel Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky.

There Daniel Boone founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first American settlements west of the Appalachians.

His grandson, Enoch Boone, became the first white man born in Kentucky.

Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.

Daniel Boone became a militia officer during the Revolutionary War, which in Kentucky was fought primarily between the American settlers and the British-aided Native Americans.

In 1778, Boone was captured by Shawnee warriors who after a while adopted him into their tribe.

Later, he left the Indians and returned to Boonesborough to help defend the European settlements in Kentucky/Virginia.

Daniel Boone was elected to the first of his three terms in the Virginia General Assembly during the Revolutionary War, and fought in the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782.

Blue Lick was one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War, coming after the main fighting ended in October of 1781.

Following the war, Daniel Boone worked as a surveyor and merchant, but fell deeply into debt through failed Kentucky land speculation.

Frustrated with the legal problems resulting from his land claims, in 1799 Daniel Boone emigrated again, this time to eastern Missouri, where he spent most of the last two decades of his life.

Daniel Boone remains an iconic figure in American history.

He was even a legend in his own lifetime, especially after an account of his adventures was published in 1784, making him famous in both America and Europe.

After his death on September 26, 1820, Daniel Boone frequently became the subject of heroic tall tales and works of fiction.

His adventures — both real and legendary — were influential in creating the archetypal Western hero of American folklore.

In American popular culture, he is remembered as one of the foremost early frontiersmen. The epic Daniel Boone mythology often overshadows the historical details of his life.

Now WE know em







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