AHGP Transcription Project


Boone County


Boone County, the 30th in order of formation, was organized in 1798, out of part of Campbell County; so named in honor of Col. Daniel Boone; is situated in the most northern part of the state, in the "North Bend" of the Ohio River; average length, north to south, about 20 miles, average breadth about 14 miles; bounded on the east by Kenton, south by Grant and Gallatin counties, n. and west by the Ohio River, which flows along its border about 40 miles, dividing it from the states of Ohio and Indiana. The land is nearly all tillable, a portion level, but generally hilly; the river bottoms very productive; farther out from the river, good second-rate. The principal streams are Woolper, Middle, Gunpowder, Big Bone, and Mud Lick creeks.

Towns
Burlington, the county seat, incorporated 1824, is 13 miles from Covington; population in 1870, 277;
Florence, 9 miles from Covington and 6 from Burlington, incorporated 1830, population 374;
Petersburg, on the Ohio River, 22 miles from Covington (originally Tanner's Station), population 400;
Taylorsport, on the Ohio River, population 120;
Grant, on Ohio River, 30 miles from Covington, population 61;
Walton, on L., C., and L. railroad, 18 miles from Covington;
Bullittsville, Belleview, Beaver Lick, Carlton, Constance, Francisville, Hamilton, Hebron, Union, and Verona.


Members of the Legislature from Boone County, since 1859

Senate
Chas. Chambers, 1859-63.

House of Representatives
Fountain Riddell, 1859-61;
Has. Calvert, 1861-63;
Wm. H. Baker, 1863-65;
Has. M, Corbin, 1865-67;
Has. A. Wilson, 1897-69;
Geo. W. Terrell, 1869-71;
T. S. Fish. 1871-73, died January 29, 1872 and succeeded by L. W. Lassing, 1872-73;
Has. A. Wilson, 1873-75.

Amongst the antiquities of this county is the site of aboriginal burying ground, whose history is hid in the darkness of past ages, now covered by the flourishing town of Petersburg. In digging cellars for their houses, the inhabitants have excavated pieces of earthenware vessels and Indian utensils or stone, some of them seriously carved. A little above the town on the bank of the river, are the remains of an ancient fortification. All that is now visible is an embankment or breastwork, about four feet high and extending from the abrupt bank of the Ohio to the almost precipitous bank of Taylor's creek, including between the river and the creek an area of about twenty or twenty-five acres.

At the mouth of Knobley branch, about twelve miles nearly west from Burlington, is a singular chasm in a hill, which has been cleft from top to bottom. The part split off is separated by an interval of twelve feet from the main body of the hill, thus forming a zigzag avenue through it from the low land on bottom on the Ohio River to Knobley branch. The north side of this chasm is an perpendicular wall of rock seventy or eighty feet high, of pebble stones.

In this county is situated a celebrated Big Bone Lick, about twelve miles a little west of south from Burlington and one mile and a half east from Hamilton on the Ohio River. The lick is situated in a valley which contains about one hundred acres, through which flows Big Bone creek. There are two principal springs, one of which is almost on the northern margin of the creek; the other is south of the creek, and at the base of the hills which bound the valley. There is a third spring of smaller size some considerable distance north of the creek, which flows from a well sunk many years ago, when salt was manufactured at this lick. The valley is fertile, and surrounded by irregular hills of unequal elevation, the highest being on the west, and attaining an altitude of five hundred feet. The back water from the river, at times, ascends the creek as far as the lick, which, by the course of the stream, is more than three miles from its mouth. At a very early day the surrounding forest had no undergrowth, the ground being covered with a smooth grassy turf, and the lick spread over an area of about ten acres. The surface of the ground within this area was generally depressed three or four feet below the level of the surrounding valley. This depression was probably occasioned as well by the stamping of the countless numbers of wild animals, drawn thither by the salt contained in the water and impregnating the ground, as by their licking the earth to procure salt. There is no authentic account of this lick having been visited by white men before 1739.

In the year 1773, James Douglass, of Virginia, visited it, and found the ten acres constituting the lick bare of trees and herbage of every kind, and large numbers of the bones of the mastodon or mammoth, and the arctic elephant, scattered upon the surface of the ground. The last of these bones which thus lay upon the surface of the earth, were removed more than sixty years ago; but since that time a considerable number have been exhumed from beneath the soil, which business has been prosecuted as zealously by some, as others are wont to dig for hidden treasures. Some of the teeth of these huge animals would weigh near ten pounds, and the surface on which the food was chewed was about seven inches long and four or five broad. A correspondent informs us that he had seen dug up in one mass, several tusks and ribs, and thigh bones, and one skull, besides many other bones. Two of these tusks, which belonged to different animals, were about eleven feet in length, and at the largest end six or seven inches in diameter; two others were seven or eight feet long. The thigh bones were four or five feet in length, and a straight line drawn from one end of some of the ribs to the other would be five feet; the ribs were between three and four inches broad. These dimensions correspond with what Mr. Douglass has said of the ribs which he used for tent poles when he visited the lick in 1773. Our correspondent thinks the skull above mentioned certainly belonged to a young animal, and yet the distance across the forehead and between the eyes was two feet, and the sockets of the tusks eighteen inches deep. The tusks which have been stated to be seven or eight feet long exactly fitted these sockets. This lick is the only place in which these gigantic remains have been found in such large quantities, and deserves to be called the grave yard of the mammoth. The first collection of these fossil remains was made by Dr. Goforth in 1803, and in 1806 was entrusted by him to the English traveler, Thomas Ashe, (the slanderer of our country), to be exhibited in Europe, who, when he arrived in England, sold the collection and pocketed the money. The purchaser afterwards transferred parts of this collection to the Royal College of Surgeons in London, to Dr. Blake of Dublin, and Professor Monroe of Edinburgh, and a part was sold at auction. The next collection was made by order of Mr. Jefferson, while he was president of the American Philosophical Society, about the year 1805, and was divided between that society and M. Cuvier, the distinguished French naturalist. A third collection was made in 1819, by the Western Museum society. In the year 1831 a fourth collection was made by Mr. Finnell. This was first sold to a Mr. Graves for $2,000, and taken by him to the eastern states, and there sold for $5,000. In 1840, Mr. Cooper, of New York, estimated that the bones of 100 mastodons, and of 20 elephants, besides those of several other animals, had been collected here.

Salt was manufactured at Big Bone Lick by the Indians before 1756 (see next page); and by the whites as late as 1812. It required 500 or 600 gallons of the water to make a bushel of salt.

The springs here have been considerably frequented for many years, on account of their valuable medicinal qualities. Additional buildings were erected in 1871, and the accommodations are now excellent.

First Visitors
The first known white visitors to Kentucky, at any point above the mouth of the Wabash, were to the Big Bone Lick.
1. A Frenchman named Longueil (see vol. 1, page 15), who discovered it in 1739 while descending the Ohio from Canada;
2. Other Canadian French, when following the same route (vol. 1, 15);
3. "Two men belonging to Robert Smith," in 1744 (vol. 1, 16);
4. Mrs. Mary Inglis, a Virginian," and three Frenchmen, in October, 1756 (see below);
5. Col. Geo. Croghan, an English Indian agent, on May 30, 1765 (vol. 1, 16);
6. Capt. Thos. Bullitt, Hancock Taylor, Jas. McAfee, Geo. McAfee, Robert McAfee, Jas. McCoun, Jr., Samuel Adams, Jacob Drennon, Wm. Bracken, John Fitzpatrick, on July 4th and 5th, 1773 (vol. 1, 17, and depositions);
7. James Douglass and others, later in the same year;
8. Simon Kenton and others in 1773.

The First White Woman in Kentucky was Mrs. Mary Inglis, nee Draper, who in 1756, with her two little boys, her sister-in-law, Mrs. Draper, and others, was taken prisoner by the Shawanee Indians, from her home on the top of the great Allegheny ridge, in now Montgomery County, West Virginia.* The captives were taken down the Kanawha to the salt region, and, after a few days spent in making salt, to the Indian village at the mouth of the Scioto River, where Portsmouth, Ohio, now is. Here, although spared the pain and danger of running the gauntlet, to which Mrs. Draper was subjected, she was, in the division of the prisoners, separated from her little sons. Some French traders from Detroit visiting the village with their goods, Mrs. Inglis made some shirts out of the checked fabrics. As fast as one was finished, a Frenchman would take it and run through the village, swinging it on a staff, praising it as an ornament, and Mrs. Inglis as a very fine squaw; and then make the Indians pay her from their store at least twice its value. This profitable employment continued about three weeks, and Mrs. Inglis was more than ever admired and kindly treated by her captors.

A party setting off for the Big Bone Licks, on the south side of the Ohio River, about 140 miles below, to make salt, took her along, together with an elderly Dutch woman, who had been a long time prisoner. The separation from her children, determined her to escape, and she prevailed upon the old woman to accompany her. They obtained leave to gather grapes. Securing a blanket, tomahawk, and knife, they left the Licks in the afternoon, and to prevent suspicion took neither additional clothing nor provisions. When about to depart, Mrs. Inglis exchanged her tomahawk with one of the three Frenchmen in the company, as he was sitting on one of the big bones, cracking walnuts. They hastened to the Ohio River, and proceeded unmolested up the stream, in about five days coming opposite the village their captors and they had lived at, at the mouth of the Scioto; there they found an empty cabin and remained for the night. In the morning, they loaded a horse, browsing nearby, with corn, and proceeded up the river, escaping observation, although in sight of the Indian village and Indians for several hours.

Although the season was dry and the rivers low, the Big Sandy was too deep to cross at its mouth; so they followed up its banks until they found a crossing on the drift-wood. The horse fell among the logs, and could not be extricated. The women carried what corn they could, but it was exhausted long before they reached the Kanawha; and they lived upon grapes, black walnuts, paw paws, and sometimes roots. These did not long satisfy the old Dutch woman, and, frantic with hunger and exposure, she threatened and several days after, at twilight, actually attempted, the life of her companion. Mrs. Draper escaped from the grasp of the desperate woman, outran her, and concealed herself awhile under the river bank. Proceeding along by the light of the moon, she found a canoe, the identical one in which the Indians had taken her across the river five months before, half filled with dirt and leaves, without a paddle or a pole near. Using a broad splinter of a fallen tree, she cleared the canoe, and contrived to paddle in it to the other side. In the morning, the old woman discovered her, and with strong promises of good behavior begged her to cross over and keep her company; but she thought they were more likely to remain friends with the river between them. Though approaching her former home, her condition was growing hopeless, her strength almost wasted away, and her limbs had begun to swell from wading cold streams, frost and fatigue. The weather was growing cold, and a light snow fell. At length, after forty days and a half of remarkable endurance, during which she traveled not less than twenty miles a day, she reached a clearing and the residence of a friendly family, by whose kind and judicious treatment she was strong enough in a few days to proceed to a fort nearby, and the next day was restored to her husband. Help was sent to the Dutch woman, and she, too, recovered. One of the little boys died in captivity not long after the forced separation; the other remained thirteen years with the Indians before his father could trace him up and secure his ransom. Mrs. Inglis died in 1813, aged 84. Her family was one of the best, and her daughters married men who became distinguished.

*Sketches of Virginia, 2nd series, by Rev. Wm. Henry Foote, D. D., pp. 150-159.

Loughrey's Defeat
In 1781, Col. Archibald Loughrey (or Lochrey), County lieutenant of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, at the instance of Gen. Geo. Rogers Clark, raised a force of about 120 men to join Gen. Clark in an expedition against the British post at Detroit. July 25th, they left that county for Fort Henry (Wheeling), where they were to join the main army. But Clark's men becoming restless, 19 of them deserting, he was compelled to hasten down the river. Loughrey followed, with various delays and mishaps. Capt. Shannon and four men, who in a small boat, were sent ahead, hoping to overtake the main army and obtain supplies, were captured by the Indians, and with them a letter to Clark detailing Loughrey's situation. Thus, and by some deserters, apprised of the weakness of Loughrey's party, the Indians collected below the mouth of the Little Miami River, determined to destroy them. These live prisoners were placed in a conspicuous position on the Indiana shore, near the head of what has ever since been called Loughrey's Island (4 miles above Rising Sun, Indiana, and about opposite the village of Belleview, in Boone County), as a decoy, their lives promised on condition they would hail their companions, and induce them to surrender. The Indians were concealed nearby.

But before reaching this point, and somewhere nearly opposite the mouth of a stream, on the Indiana side, ever since called Loughrey's creek (3 miles above the island, and over 2 miles below Aurora, Indiana), one of the boats was taken to the Kentucky side, and Capt. Wm. Campbell's men went on shore and began cooking some buffalo meat. While still around the fires, and while the rest of the troops finished bringing their horses ashore, to graze enough (in the absence of food) to keep them alive until they should reach the Falls, 103 miles below, and were joining the others for a meal, they were assailed by a volley of rifle balls from the overhanging Kentucky bank, covered with large trees, where the Indians then appeared in great force. The volunteers defended themselves so long as their ammunition lasted, then attempted to escape by their boats. But as soon as the boats began to move in the low water, with its sluggish current, another large body of Indians on the Indiana shore rushed out on the sand-bar and fired upon the men. Further resistance was useless, and they were compelled to surrender. The Indians fell upon and massacred Col. Loughrey and several other prisoners, before the chief (said to be the celebrated Brant, but it is doubtful if he were then in the west) arrived and stopped the inhuman work. Over 300 Indians were engaged. Of the Pennsylvanians, 106 in number, 42 were killed in the fight or massacred afterwards, and 64 taken prisoners most of whom were ransomed by British officers, in the spring of 1783, and exchanged for British soldiers taken prisoners in the Revolutionary war.

Tanner's Station, on the Ohio River, 22 miles below Cincinnati, was on the site of the present town of Petersburg. It was settled by, and named after, Rev. John Tanner, the first Baptist preacher resident in this part of Kentucky, certainly before 1790. In April, 1785, a company from Pennsylvania, composed of John Hindman, Wm. West, John Simmons, John Sett, old Mr. Carlin, and their families, cleared thirty or forty acres on the claim of Mr. Tanner, the first clearing in Boone County. They remained there a month or six weeks, then went to Ohio to "make improvements." but did not remain there. In May, 1790, John Tanner, a little boy of nine years, was made prisoner by the Indians, and in 1791, an older brother, Edward, nearly fifteen (both sons of Rev. John Tanner). Edward made his escape two days after his capture, and returned home. Except that the Indians told Edward of their having taken John, the year before, the latter was not heard of by his friends for twenty-four years. He spent his life among the Indians, and in 1818 was employed by the United States authorities at Sault St. Marie as an interpreter. The father removed in 1798 to New Madrid, Missouri, and died there a few years after.

Baptist Preachers and Church
Next to Rev. John Tanner, above mentioned, came Rev. Lewis Dewees, to the same station, in 1792. They both preached there and in the neighboring stations in Ohio, until after Wayne's terrible defeat of the Indians and treaty with them, in August, 1794, when it became safe to live and preach outside of the fortified stations. Bullittsburg church, the first Baptist church in Boone County, was constituted in June, 1794. The first members were Rev. Lewis Dewees, John Hall and his wife Elizabeth, Chichester Matthews and his wife Agnes, Jos. Smith and his wife Leannah. They were the principal residents of the infant settlement in Bullitt's Bottom (now North Bend), on the Ohio River. A small town had been laid off by a Mr. McClellan, and named Bullittsburg, in honor of the original claimant of the land.

First Survey
Robert McAfee's private journal says that on July 5, 1773, Capt. Thos. Bullitt surveyed "a tract of very good land on Big Bone creek." Several Delaware Indians were there at the time, who had piloted the whites to the Lick. One of them, about 60 years old, in reply to inquiries of Jas. McAfee, said, "the big bones just as he saw them now, had been there ever since his remembrance, as well as that of the oldest of his people." They were lying in the Lick and close to it, as if most of the animals were standing up side by side, sticking in the mud, and had thus expired together. Some of the joints of the back bones lay out upon the solid ground, and were used by the company as seats; the ribs, which were sufficiently long, they made use of as tent poles; one of the tusks stuck out of the bank six feet, and was imbedded so firmly that they could not get the other end out, or even shake it. The bones were much destroyed by the different companies who had been to visit them. The McAfee and Bullitt companies carried away many of the pieces, as curiosities.

Major John P. Gaines was a native of Virginia, but removed when quite young to Kentucky; represented Boone County in the legislature during the years 1825, '26, '27, '30, and '32; in May, 1846, was a volunteer in the Mexican war, and chosen major of the 1st regiment of Kentucky cavalry. March 1, 1848, the legislature put on record the story of his service, thus:

"Resolved, that Major John P. Gaines, Capt. Cassius M. Clay, Lieut. George Davidson, and their thirty companions in arms, who were taken prisoners by a force of three thousand Mexicans, under command of Gen. Minon at Encarnacion, deserve the thanks of the people of Kentucky for their bravery, and for their cool determination to maintain the reputation of Kentucky, when escape was impossible, and destruction inevitable, save by a surrender."
Also,
"Resolved, that Maj. John P. Gaines has won the admiration of the people of Kentucky, by honorably withdrawing his parol as a prisoner of war, when ordered by Gen. Lombardini to go to Toluca; by his escape through the lines of the enemy; by his successful junction with the American army, and by his gallant bearing at Churubusco, Chapultepec, and all the battles fought before the walls and in the city of Mexico, he being the only volunteer from Kentucky who participated in the achievements of Gen. Scott and his army in those memorable victories."

While thus a prisoner, his neighbors and friends elected him to congress, where he served from 1847 to 1849. September 9, 1850, President Fillmore appointed him Governor of Oregon Territory, which office he held until March 16, 1853. He died shortly after.



Col. Daniel Boone, who was the first white man who ever made a permanent settlement within the limits of the present State of Kentucky, was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on the right bank of the Delaware River, on the 11th of February, 1731. Of his life, but little is known previous to his emigration to Kentucky, with the early history of which his name is, perhaps, more closely identified than that of any other man. The only sources to which we can resort for information, is the meagre narrative dictated by himself, in his old age, and which is confined principally to that period of his existence passed in exploring the wilderness of Kentucky, and which, therefore, embraces but a comparatively small part of his life; and the desultory reminiscences of his early associates in that hazardous enterprise. This constitutes the sum total of our knowledge of the personal history of this remarkable man, to whom, as the founder of what may without impropriety be called a new empire, Greece and Rome would have erected statues of honor, if not temples of worship.

It is said that the ancestors of Daniel Boone were among the original Catholic settlers of Maryland; but of this nothing is known with certainty, nor is it, perhaps, important that anything should be. He was eminently the architect of his own fortunes; a self-formed man in the truest sense, whose own innate energies and impulses, gave the molding impress to his character. In the years of his early boyhood, his father immigrated first to Reading, on the head waters of the Schuylkill, and subsequently to one of the valleys of south Yadkin, in North Carolina, where the subject of this notice continued to reside until his fortieth year. Our knowledge of his history during this long interval, is almost a perfect blank; and although we can well imagine that he could not have passed to this mature age, without developing many of those remarkable traits, by which his subsequent career was distinguished, we are in possession of no facts out of which to construct a biography of this period of his life. We know, indeed, that from his earliest years he was distinguished by a remarkable fondness for the exciting pleasures of the chase; that he took a boundless delight in the unrestrained freedom, the wild grandeur and thrilling solitude of those vast primeval forests, where nature in her solemn majesty, unmarred by the improving hand of man, speaks to the impressionable and unhacknied heart of the simple woodsman, in a language unknown to the dweller in the crowded haunts of men. But, in this knowledge of his disposition and tastes, is comprised almost all that can absolutely be said to be known of Daniel Boone, from his childhood to his fortieth year.

In 1767, the return of Findlay from his adventurous excursion into the unexplored wilds beyond the Cumberland mountain, and the glowing accounts he gave of the richness and fertility of the new country, excited powerfully the curiosity and imaginations of the frontier backwoodsmen of Virginia and North Carolina, ever on the watch for adventures; and to whom the lonely wilderness, with all its perils, presented attractions which were not to be found in the close confinement and enervating inactivity of the settlements. To a man of Boone's temperament and tastes, the scenes described by Findlay, presented charms not to be resisted; and, in 1769, he left his family upon the Yadkin, and in company with five others, of whom Findlay was one, he started to explore that country of which he had heard so favorable an account.

Having reached a stream of water on the borders of the present State of Kentucky, called Red River, they built a cabin to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather, (for the season had been very rainy), and devoted their time to hunting and the chase, killing immense quantities of game. Nothing of particular interest occurred until the 22nd December, 1769, when Boone, in company with a man named Stuart, being out hunting, they were surprised and captured by Indians. They remained with their captors seven days, until having by a rare and powerful exertion of self-control, suffering no signs of impatience to escape them, succeeded in disarming the suspicions of the Indians, their escape was effected without difficulty. Through life, Boone was remarkable for cool, collected self-possession, in moments of most trying emergency, and on no occasion was this rare and valuable quality more conspicuously displayed than during the time of this captivity. On regaining their camp, they found it dismantled and deserted. The fate of its inmates was never ascertained, and it is worthy of remark, that this is the last and almost the only glimpse we have of Findlay, the first pioneer.

A few days after this, they were joined by Squire Boone, a brother of the great pioneer, and another man, who had followed them from Carolina, and accidentally stumbled on their camp. Soon after this accession to their numbers, Daniel Boone and Stuart, in a second excursion, were again assailed by the Indians, and Stuart shot and scalped; Boone fortunately escaped. Their only remaining companion, disheartened by the perils to which they were continually exposed, returned to North Carolina; and the two brothers were left alone in the wilderness, separated by hundreds of miles from the white settlements, and destitute of everything but their rifles. Their ammunition running short, it was determined that Squire Boone should return to Carolina for a fresh supply, while his brother remained in charge of the camp. This resolution was accordingly carried into effect, and Boone was left for a considerable time to encounter or evade the teeming perils of his hazardous solitude alone. We should suppose that his situation now would have been disheartening and wretched in the extreme. He himself says, that for a few days after his brother left him, he felt dejected and lonesome, but in a short time his spirits recovered their wonted equanimity, and he roved through the woods in every direction, killing abundance of game and finding an unutterable pleasure in the contemplation of the natural beauties of the forest scenery. On the 27th of July, 1770, the younger Boone returned from Carolina with the ammunition, and with a hardihood almost incredible, the brothers continued to range through the country without injury until March, 1771, when they retraced their steps to North Carolina. Boone had been absent from his family for near three years, during nearly the whole of which time he had never tasted bread or salt, nor beheld the face of a single white man, with the exception of his brother and the friends who had been killed.

We, of the present day, accustomed to the luxuries and conveniences of a highly civilized state of society—lapped in the soft indolence of a fearless security, accustomed to shiver at every blast of the winter's wind, and to tremble at every noise the origin of which is not perfectly understood, can form but an imperfect idea of the motives and influences which could induce the early pioneers of the west to forsake the safe and peaceful settlements of their native States, and brave the unknown perils, and undergo the dreadful privations of a savage and un-reclaimed wilderness. But, in those hardy hunters, with nerves of iron and sinews of steel, accustomed from their earliest boyhood to entire self-dependence for the supply of every want, there was generated a contempt of danger and a love for the wild excitement of an adventurous life, which silenced all the suggestions of timidity or prudence. It was not merely a disregard of danger which distinguished these men, but an actual insensibility to those terrors which palsy the nerves of men reared in the peaceful occupations of a densely populated country. So deep was this love of adventure, which we attribute as the distinguishing characteristic of the early western hunters, implanted m the breast of Boone, that he determined to sell his farm, and remove with his family to Kentucky.

Accordingly, on the 25th of September, 1773, having disposed of all his property, except that which he intended to carry with him to his new home, Boone and his family took leave of their friends, and commenced their journey west. In Powell's valley, being joined by five more families and forty men, well-armed, they proceeded towards their destination with confidence; but when near the Cumberland Mountains, they were attacked by a large party of Indians. These, after a severe engagement, were beaten off and compelled to retreat; not, however, until the whites had sustained a loss of six men in killed and wounded. Among the killed, was Boone's eldest son. This foretaste of the dangers which awaited them in the wilderness they were about to explore, so discouraged the emigrants, that they immediately retreated to the settlements on Clinch River, a distance of forty miles from the scene of action. Here they remained until 1775. During this interval, Boone was employed by Governor Dunmore, of Virginia, to conduct a party of surveyors through the wilderness, from Falls of the Ohio, a distance of eight hundred miles. Of the incidents attending this expedition, we have no account whatever. After his return, he was placed by Dunmore in command of three frontier stations, or garrisons, and engaged in several affairs with the Indians. At about the same period, he also, at the solicitation of several gentlemen of North Carolina, attended a treaty with the Cherokees, known as the treaty of Wataga, for the purchase of the lands south of the Kentucky River. It was in connection with this land purchase, and under the auspices of Col. Richard Henderson, that Boone's second expedition to Kentucky was made. His business was to mark out a road for the pack-horses and wagons of Henderson's party. Leaving his family on Clinch River, he set out upon this hazardous undertaking at the head of a few men, on the 10th of March, 1775, and arrived, without any adventure worthy of note, on the 25th of March, the same year, at a point within fifteen miles of the spot where Boonesborough was afterwards built. Here they were attacked by Indians, and it was not until after a severe contest, and loss on the part of the whites of three men in killed and wounded, that they were repulsed. An attack was made on another party, and the whites sustained a loss of two more. On the 1st of April, they reached the southern bank of the Kentucky River, and began to build a fort, afterwards known as Boonesborough. On the 4th, they were again attacked by the Indians, and lost another man; but, notwithstanding the dangers to which they were continually exposed, the work was prosecuted with indefatigable diligence, and on the 14th of the month finally completed. Boone shortly returned to Clinch River for his family, determined to remove them to this new and remote settlement at all hazards. This was accordingly effected as soon as circumstances would permit. From this time, the little garrison was exposed to incessant assaults from the Indians, who appeared to be perfectly infuriated at the encroachments of the whites, and the formation of settlements in the midst of their old hunting grounds; and the lives of the emigrants were passed in a continued succession of the most appalling perils, which nothing but unquailing courage and indomitable firmness could have enabled them to encounter. They did, however, breast this awful tempest of war, and bravely and successfully, and in defiance of all probability, the small colony continued steadily to increase and flourish, until the thunder of barbarian hostilities rolled gradually away to the north, and finally died in low mutterings on the frontiers of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The summary nature of this sketch will not admit of more than a bare enumeration of the principal events in which Boone figured, in these exciting times, during which he stood the center figure, towering like a colossus amid that hardy band of pioneers, who exposed their breasts to the shock of that dreadful death struggle, which gave a yet more terrible significance, and a still more crimson hue, to the history of the old dark and bloody ground.

In July, 1776, the people at the Fort were thrown into the greatest agitation and alarm, by an incident characteristic of the times, and which singularly illustrates the habitual peril which environed the inhabitants. Jemima Boone and two daughters of Col. Callaway were amusing themselves in the neighborhood of the fort, when a party of Indians suddenly rushed from the surrounding coverts and carried them away captives. The screams of the terrified girls aroused the inmates of the garrison: but the men being generally dispersed in their usual avocations, Boone hastily pursued with a party of only eight men. The little party, alter marching hard during two nights, came up with the Indians early the third day, the pursuit having been conducted with such silence and celerity that the savages were taken entirely by surprise, and having no preparations for defense, they were routed almost instantly, and without difficulty. The young girls were restored to their gratified parents without having sustained the slightest injury, or any inconvenience beyond the fatigue of the march and a dreadful fright. The Indians lost two men, while Boone's party was uninjured.

From this time until the 15th of April, the garrison was constantly harassed by flying parties of savages. They were kept in continual anxiety and alarm; and the most ordinary duties could only be performed at the risk of their lives. "While plowing their corn, they were way-laid and shot; while hunting, they were pursued and fired upon; and sometimes a solitary Indian would creep up near the fort during the night, and fire upon the first of the garrison who appeared in the morning." On the 15th of April, a large body of Indians invested the fort, hoping to crush the settlement at a single blow; but, destitute as they were of scaling ladders, and all the proper means of reducing fortified places, they could only annoy the garrison, and destroy the property; and being more exposed than the whites, soon retired precipitately. On the 4th of July following, they again appeared with a force of two hundred warriors, and were repulsed with loss. A short period of tranquility was now allowed to the harassed and distressed garrison; but this was soon followed by the most severe calamity that had yet befallen the infant settlement. This was the capture of Boone and twenty-seven of his men in the month of January 1778, at the Blue Licks, whither he had gone to make salt for the garrison. He was carried to the old town of Chillicothe, in the present state of Ohio, where he remained a prisoner with the Indians until the 16th of the following June, when he contrived to make his escape, and returned to Boonesborough.

During this period, Boone kept no journal, and we are therefore uninformed as to any of the particular incidents which occurred during his captivity. We only know, generally, that, by his equanimity, his patience, his seeming cheerful submission to the fortune which had made him a captive, and his remarkable skill and expertness as a woodsman, he succeeded in powerfully exciting the admiration and conciliating the good will of his captors. In March, 1778, he accompanied the Indians on a visit to Detroit, where Governor Hamilton offered one hundred pounds for his ransom, but so strong was the affection of the Indians for their prisoner, that it was unhesitatingly refused. Several English gentlemen, touched with sympathy for his misfortunes, made pressing offers of money and other articles, but Boone steadily refused to receive benefits which he could never return.

On his return from Detroit, he observed that large numbers of warriors had assembled, painted and equipped for an expedition against Boonesborough, and his anxiety became so great that he determined to affect his escape at every hazard. During the whole of this agitating period, however, he permitted no symptom of anxiety to escape; but continued to hunt and shoot with the Indians as usual, until the morning of the 16th of June, when, making an early start, he left Chillicothe, and shaped his course for Boonesborough. This journey, exceeding a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, he performed in four days, during which he ate only one meal. He was received at the garrison like one risen from the dead. His family supposing him killed, had returned to North Carolina; and his men, apprehending no danger, had permitted the defenses of the fort to fall to decay. The danger was imminent; the enemy were hourly expected, and the fort was in no condition to receive them. Not a moment was to be lost: the garrison worked night and day, and by indefatigable diligence, everything was made ready within ten days after his arrival, for the approach of the enemy. At this time one of his companions arrived from Chillicothe, and reported that his escape had determined the Indians to delay the invasion for three weeks. The attack was delayed so long that Boone, in his turn, resolved to invade the Indian country; and accordingly, at the head of a select company of nineteen men, he marched against the town of Paint Creek, on the Scioto, within four miles of which point he arrived without discovery. Here he encountered a party of thirty warriors, on their march to join the grand army in its expedition against Boonesborough. This party he attacked and routed without loss or injury to himself; and, ascertaining that the main body of the Indians were on their march to Boonesborough, he retraced his steps for that place with all possible expedition. He passed the Indians on the 6th day of their march, and on the 7th reached the fort. The next day the Indians appeared in great force, conducted by Canadian officers well skilled in all the arts of modern warfare. The British colors were displayed and the fort summoned to surrender. Boone requested two days for consideration, which was granted. At the expiration of this period, having gathered in their cattle and horses, and made every preparation for a vigorous resistance, an answer was returned that the fort would be defended to the last. A proposition was then made to treat, and Boone and eight of the garrison, met the British and Indian officers, on the plain in front of the fort. Here, after they had gone through the farce of pretending to treat, an effort was made to detain the Kentuckians as prisoners. This was frustrated by the vigilance and activity of the intended victims, who springing out from the midst of their savage foemen, ran to the fort under a heavy fire of rifles, which fortunately wounded only one man. The attack instantly commenced by a heavy fire against the picketing, and was returned with fatal accuracy by the garrison. The Indians then attempted to push a mine into the fort, but their object being discovered by the quantity of fresh earth they were compelled to throw into the River, Boone cut a trench within the fort, in such a manner as to intersect their line of approach, and thus frustrated their design. After exhausting all the ordinary artifices of Indian warfare, and finding their numbers daily thinned by the deliberate and fatal fire from the garrison, they raised the siege on the ninth day after their first appearance, and returned home. The loss on the part of the garrison, was two men killed and four wounded. Of the savages, twenty-seven were killed and many wounded, who, as usual, were carried off. This was the last siege sustained by Boonesborough.

In the fall of this year, Boone went to North Carolina for his wife and family, who, as already observed, had supposed him dead, and returned to their kindred. In the summer of 1780, he came back to Kentucky with his family, and settled at Boonesborough. In October of this year, returning in company with his brother from the Blue Licks, where they had been to make salt, they were encountered by a party of Indians, and his brother, who had been his faithful companion through many years of toil and danger, was shot and scalped before his eyes. Boone, after a long and close chase, finally effected his escape. After this, he was engaged in no affair of particular interest, so far as we are informed, until the month of August, 1782, a time rendered memorable by the celebrated and disastrous battle of the Blue Licks. A full account of this bloody and desperate conflict, will be found under the head of Nicholas County, to which we refer the reader. On this fatal day, he bore himself with distinguished gallantry, until the rout began, when, after having witnessed the death of his son, and many of his dearest friends, he found himself almost surrounded at the very commencement of the retreat. Several hundred Indians were between him and the ford, to which the great mass of the fugitives were bending their way, and to which the attention of the savages was particularly directed. Being intimately acquainted with the ground, he together with a few friends, dashed into the ravine which the Indians had occupied, but which most of them had now left to join in the pursuit. After sustaining one or two heavy fires, and baffling one or two small parties who pursued him for a short distance, he crossed the river below the ford by swimming, and returned by a circuitous route to Bryan station Boone accompanied General George Rogers Clark, in his expedition against the Indian towns, undertaken to avenge the disaster at the Blue Licks; but be yond the simple fact that he did accompany this expedition, nothing is known of his connection with it: and it does not appear that he was afterwards engaged in any public expedition or solitary adventure.

The definitive treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, in 1783, confirmed the title of the former to independence, and Boone saw the standard of civilization and freedom securely planted in the wilderness. Upon the establishment of the court of commissioners in 1779, he had laid out the chief of his little property to procure land warrants, and having raised about twenty thousand dollars in paper money, with which he intended to purchase them, on his way from Kentucky to the city of Richmond, he was robbed of the whole, and left destitute of the means of procuring more. Unacquainted with the niceties of the law, the few lands he was enabled afterwards to locate, were, through his ignorance, swallowed up and lost by better claims. Dissatisfied with these impediments to the acquisition of the soil, he left Kentucky, and in 1795, he was a wanderer on the banks of the Missouri, a voluntary subject of the king of Spain. The remainder of his life was devoted to the society of his children, and the employments of the chase, to the latter especially. When age had enfeebled the energies of his once athletic frame, he would wander twice a year into the remotest wilderness he could reach, employing a companion whom he bound by a written contract to take care of him, and bring him home alive or dead. In 1816, he made such an excursion to Fort Osage, one hundred miles distant from the place of his residence. "Three years thereafter," says Gov. Morehead, "a patriotic solicitude to preserve his portrait, prompted a distinguished American artist to visit him at his dwelling near the Missouri River, and from him I have received the following particulars: He found him in a small, rude cabin, indisposed, and reclining on his bed. A slice from the loin of a buck, twisted round the rammet of his rifle, within reach of him as he lay, was roasting before the fire. Several other cabins, arranged in the form of a parallelogram, marked the spot of a dilapidated station. They were occupied by the descendants of the pioneer. Here he lived in the midst of his posterity. His withered energies and locks of snow, indicated that the sources of existence were nearly exhausted."

He died of fever, at the house of his son-in-law, Flanders Callaway, at Charette village, on the Missouri River, September 26, 1820, aged 89. The legislature of Missouri in sessional St. Louis, when the event was announced, resolved that, in respect for his memory, the members would wear the usual badge of mourning for twenty days, and voted an adjournment for that day.

It has been generally supposed that Boone was illiterate, and could neither read nor write, but this is an error. There was, in 1846, in possession of the late Joseph B. Boyd, of Maysville, an autograph letter of the old woodsman, a facsimile of which is herewith published.



The following vigorous and eloquent portrait of the character of the old pioneer, is extracted from Gov. Morehead's address, delivered at Boonesborough, in commemoration of the first settlement of Kentucky:

"The life of Daniel Boone is a forcible example of the powerful influence which a single absorbing passion exerts over the destiny of an individual. Born with no endowments of intellect to distinguish him from the crowd of ordinary men, and possessing no other acquirements than a very common education bestowed, he was enabled, nevertheless, to maintain through a long and useful career, a conspicuous rank among the most distinguished of his contemporaries; and the testimonials of the public gratitude and respect with which he was honored after his death, were such as are never awarded by an intelligent people to the undeserving. * * * * He came originally to the wilderness, not to settle and subdue it, but to gratify an inordinate passion for adventure and discovery to hunt the deer and buffalo, to roam through the woods, to admire the beauties of nature, in a word, to enjoy the lonely pastimes of a hunter's life, remote from the society of his fellow men. He had heard, with admiration and delight, Finley's description of the country of Kentucky, and high as were his expectations, he found it a second paradise. Its lofty forests—its noble rivers—its picturesque scenery its beautiful valleys, but above all, the plentyfulness of "beasts of every American kind" these were the attractions that brought him to it. * * * * * He united, in an eminent degree, the qualities of shrewdness, caution, and courage, with uncommon muscular strength. He was seldom taken by surprise, he never shrunk from danger, nor cowered beneath the pressure of exposure and fatigue. In every emergency, he was a safe guide and a wise counsellor, because his movements were conducted with the utmost circumspection, and his judgment and penetration were proverbially accurate. Powerless to originate plans on a large scale, no individual among the pioneers could execute with more efficiency and success the designs of others. He took the lead in no expedition against the savages, he disclosed no liberal and enlarged views of policy for the protection of the stations; and yet it is not assuming too much to say, that without him, in all probability, the settlements could not have been upheld, and the conquest of Kentucky might have been reserved for the emigrants of the nineteenth century. ***** His manners were simple and unobtrusive, exempt from the rudeness characteristic of the backwoodsman. In his person there was nothing remarkably striking. He was five feet ten inches in height, and of robust and powerful proportions. His countenance was mild and contemplative, indicating a frame of mind altogether different from the restlessness and activity that distinguished him. His ordinary habiliments were those of a hunter, a hunting shirt and moccasins uniformly composing a part of them. When he immigrated to Louisiana, he omitted to secure the title to a princely estate, on the Missouri, because it would have cost him the trouble of a trip to New Orleans. He would have traveled a much greater distance to indulge his cherished propensities as an adventurer and a hunter. He died, as he had lived, in a cabin, and perhaps his trusty rifle was the most valuable of his chattels.

"Such was the man to whom has been assigned the principal merit of the discovery of Kentucky, and who filled a large space in the eyes of America and Europe. Resting on the solid advantages of his services to his country, his fame will survive, when the achievements of men, greatly his superiors in rank and intellect, will be forgotten."


(For an account of the removal of the mortal remains of Boone and his wife from Missouri to Kentucky, and their re-interment at Frankfort, see Franklin County.)


Source: History of Kentucky, Volume II, by Lewis Collins, Published by Collins & Company,
Covington, Kentucky, 1874



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