Fort Boonesborough

Winner of 2 History Awards From the Kentucky Historical Society

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Kentucky History Award

Daniel Boone and The History of Fort Boonesborough

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By Bill Farmer

Richard Henderson, founder of the Transylvania Company in 1775, chose Daniel Boone to head a party of 31 axe men to clear a path through the Cumberland Gap that would run from Long Island of the Holston River, Tennessee, to Otter Creek of the Kentucky River. Blazing the trail presented extraordinary difficulties – the route through the wilderness was a hunter’s trace that was too narrow for a wagon. The task was to combine many trails into one continuous route by clearing underbrush and overhanging foliage. For some stretches however, it meant using axes and tomahawks to clear trees for a new section of trail. It was very expeditiously but roughly done. For decades afterwards, the Wilderness Trail was generally conceded to be the roughest, most disagreeable road on the continent, but was one of the major factors in the opening of the Middle West to colonization. A determined Boone and his loyal followers forged ahead until they reached the settlement site “about 60 yards from the river, and a little over 200 yards from a salt lick.” On the first of April, 1775, Boone and his woodsmen began the construction of several temporary log huts that were immediately dubbed “Fort Boone”.

The modern-day re-constructed Fort opened in 1974.

The Life of Daniel Boone - A Timeline

1713 - Boone's father, Squire, arrives in Philadelphia from the family origins in England.

1720 - Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan marry in the Friends' meetinghouse in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania.

1731 - Boone's parents relocate to the upper Schuylkill River valley.

1734 - Born in Exeter township, near Reading, on October 22. Sarah & Squire Boone's sixth child, Daniel, is born in their cabin on October 22 (according to the Old Style, or Julian, calendar; or November 2, per the new Style, or Gregorian calendar).

1750 - Family leaves Pennsylvania for the western country; Boone engages in his first "long hunt."

1751 - Family settles in Rowan County, North Carolina, on the Yadkin River; Boone takes up hunting as his business.

1755 - French and Indian War begins; Boone with Braddock's army during the disastrous defeat near Pittsburgh. A member of Major Edward Dobb's North Carolina militia, serves as wagoneer in General Edward Braddock's ill-fated march o Fort Duquesne.

1756 - Boone marries Rebecca Bryan on August 14, and they settle in Rowan County, North Carolina.

1757: James, the first of Daniel and Rebecca’s children is born.

1759: Israel, the second child of Daniel and Rebecca is born. During the Cherokee War, family flees to Culpeper County, Virginia.

1760: Susannah, the third child of Daniel and Rebecca is born. Boone first crosses the Blue Ridge during his winter hunt.

1762: Jemima, the fourth child of Daniel and Rebecca is born. The Boones return to Rowan County.

1765 - Boone explores the Florida country with an eye to moving there.

1766 - Family moves to a site farther west, near present Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

1767 - Reaches Kentucky and hunts along the Big Sandy River1766: Levina, the fifth child of Daniel and Rebecca is born.

1768: Rebecca, the sixth child of Daniel and Rebecca is born.

1769: Boone blazed the first known trail from North Carolina into eastern Tennessee, on his way to Kentucky with five other men, including his brother-in-law John Stewart, to hunt and explore in Kentucky. He would remain two years in Kentucky before returning home. Daniel Morgan Boone, the seventh child of Daniel and Rebecca is born. Regulator rebellion in North Carolina. Daniel and John Stewart were captured twice by Indians, being set free the first time, and escaping the second time.

1770: John Stewart disappeared while hunting. Five years later his body was found in a hollow tree where he had hid after begin shot by Indians. Daniel’s brother Squire had arrived in Kentucky with a friend Alexander Neely. Squire had brought ammunition and other supplies, and after hunting for a time with Daniel, returned to home with the furs that had been obtained. He returned later to Daniel with additional supplies.

1771: Daniel and Squire returned home from Kentucky.

1772 - Boone and companions hunt as far west as French Lick (now Nashville), Tennessee, then enter Kentucky and establish a station camp in a cave at the mouth of Hickman Creek along the Kentucky River.

1773: Jesse, the eighth child of Daniel and Rebecca is born. Daniel and friends, including Colonel William Russell, made the first attempt to settle Kentucky. Indians attacked part of the party, killing the Boone's son James and five other men, and as a result the party returned to the settlements.

1774: Sent by Virginia authorities to warn Kentucky surveyors of pending war with Shawnees; leads defense of Clinch River settlements during Dunmore's War. Daniel was commissioned a Lieutenant and then a Captain, and put in charge of three forts along the Clinch River in southwest Virginia.

1775: Boone’s daughter Susannah married Captain William Hays. On March 13 Boone and a party of about thirty axmen depart from Long Island on the Holston to blaze Wilderness Road leading to Kentucky for the Transylvania Company. Founds Boonesborough in the face of Shawnee attacks; brings family to Kentucky. On April 19 shots are fired at Lexington, Massachusetts, beginning the American Revolutionary War.

1776 - On May 23 Indians attack Boonesborough. The Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence. On July 14, Shawnee Indians capture Jemima Boone and Fanny and Betsy Callaway; Boone's party rescues the girls on July 16. Copy of Declaration of Independence reaches Boonesborough in August.

1777 - Indians attack Boonesborough in April; Boone is shot in the ankle but recovers.

1778 - Boone and his men captured by Shawnees while making salt on February 9; he escapes in June; Siege of Boonesborough, September 7-18; rejoins Rebecca and children, who had returned to North Carolina.

1779 - Leads large party of emigrants to Kentucky in September; settles Boone's Station, north of the Kentucky River

1780 - Participates in attack on Shawnee towns in Ohio; brother Edward killed by Shawnees in October.

1781 - Takes elected seat in Virginia assembly in April; captured by invading British forces in June, but soon released.

1782 - One of the commanding officers at the Kentuckians' defeat by Indians at the Blue Licks, where son Israel is killed, August 19; in command of a company that attacks Shawnee towns in November.

1783 - Relocates family to Limestone, on the Ohio River; takes up tavern keeping, surveying, and land speculating.

1784 - The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon by John Filson published on Boone's fiftieth birthday.

1786 - Commands an attack on Shawnee towns in October.

1787 - Helps negotiate prisoner exchange with Shawnees at Limestone in August; takes seat in Virginia assembly in October.

1789 - With Rebecca and youngest children leaves Limestone and relocates at Point Pleasant, farther up the Ohio River.

1791 - Serves once again in the Virginia assembly; wins contract to supply militia companies in western Virginia.

1792 - Dispute over supply contracts leads to his abandonment of business and return to full-time hunting; with Rebecca, soon moves to a cabin near present Charleston, West Virginia.

1795 - To be nearer family, relocates to a cabin on Brushy Fork in Kentucky.

1797 - Daniel Morgan Boone hunts in Spanish Missouri and confers with Lt. Gov. don Zenon Trudeau, who invites the Boones to settle in Missouri.

1797 - Son Daniel Morgan Boone scouts land in Spanish Missouri; governor invites Boones to emigrate.

1798 - Kentucky assembly names county after Boone; Mason County issues warrant for his arrest for debt; leaves Brushy Fork for a cabin at the mouth of the Little Sandy River on the Ohio.

1799 - In September Boone, along with Hays, Bryan and Callaway, moves to the Femme Osage (now St. Charles County) district of Missouri. He receives a grant of 1,000-arpents (850 acres) Daniel and Rebecca build a cabin on land owned by son Daniel Morgan near the present-day town of Matson.

1800 Spanish governor appoints Boone "syndic" (judge and jury) and commandant (military leader) of the Femme Osage region; he serves in both capacities until the American takeover in 1804 following the Louisiana Purchase. Osage warriors briefly capture Boone during his spring hunt along the Niangua

1803 - Boone is injured in a trapping accident of the Grand River. He remains hidden for twenty days from an Indian hunting party. Relocates with Rebecca to cabin on the farm of son Nathan; Louisiana Purchase.

1806 - Appears before the Federal Land Commission, seeking confirmation of his Spanish land grant.

1808 - Boone and companions are robbed by Indians while on a hunt.

1809 - Gets word of rejection of his Spanish land grant; works on petitions to Congress for reinstatement of his Spanish land titles

1812 - Boone volunteers for War of 1812 duty; he is turned down because of his age (78)

1813 - On March 18 Rebecca Boone dies and is buried in the Boone Family Cemetery on a knoll along Tuque Creek on a farm owned by her cousin David Bryan in what is now Marthasville, (Warren County) Missouri.

1814 - Congress grants Boone a tract of Missouri land.

1815 - President James Monroe awards Boone a 1,000 arpent tract of Missouri land (Matson, Missouri), but Boone is forced to sell much of it to pay off old Kentucky claims against him. He sells 300 acres to Jonathan Bryan. He keeps about 180 acres.

1816 - Boone visits Fort Osage (near present-day Kansas City). In time he explores as far west as Nebraska. Some first hand reports allege he pushes on to hunt the Yellowstone country, but family members deny such claims.

1817 - Boone goes on his last hunt.

1820 - In June artist Chester Harding paints Boone's portrait from life while at the log home of Flanders and Jemima Callaway. Boone dies on September 26; he is interred next to Rebecca on Tuque Creek in the cemetery near Jemima's farm. .

1845 - A delegation from Kentucky disinters the Boone graves and reburies remains in Frankfort, Kentucky

The original Fort Boonesborough was built by Daniel Boone and his men in 1775

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