Boone, Daniel

Boone, Daniel (1734-1820) Frontiersman: Born on November 2, 1734, in Reading, Pennsylvania, Boone learned weaving and blacksmithing from his parents. By the time he was twelve years old, he was skilled in hunting and trapping. In 1750, the Boone family moved west to North Carolina, where Boone reveled in his love of the wilderness. He worked for his father as a blacksmith, while spending his free time developing skills as a woodsman and marksman. During the French and Indian Wars, Boone took part in the unsuccessful 1755 attempt to take Fort Duquesne from the French. Over half the pro-British forces were killed, but Boone escaped on horseback, through dangerous woods. After returning to North Carolina, he met Rebeccah Bryan, whom he later married. Soon, Boone moved to Kentucky, then to the Indian territory west of the Alleghenies, which was unsettled by European-Americans. Little is known about his activities in that region, aside from the fact that he was captured by Native Americans at least twice, although he escaped. In 1775, Boone became an agent of the Transylvania Company, which was formed to colonize the territories which later became Kentucky and Tennessee. He led the first group of pioneers into the territory, and their first settlement was called Boonesborough. Boone worked for the next several years fighting against attacking Indians; hunting, fishing, and trapping for the settlers; surveying land for new settlements and mapping the region. Eventually, Kentucky became a county of Virginia and, as such, began to organize a militia. Boone was made its captain, giving an official title to the position he had unofficially held for years. Boone continued to explore Kentucky territory, holding various government positions and acquiring more land for settlements. Known for personal courage and integrity, he was respected by many on the frontier and in the states. When Kentucky became an independent state, however, Boone's land claims were declared invalid, since the state was no longer held to territorial agreements. Boone left the state and moved to West Virginia, joining his son. They later moved to the Missouri territories. Boone spent the last years of his life arguing over property rights with the federal government. He died on September 26, 1820, in St. Charles County, Missouri.