Daniel Boone

1734 - 1820

Daniel Boone, Southern pioneer, who played a major part in the exploration and settlement of Kentucky.

Boone was born on November 2, 1734, near Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1753 his family settled on the Yadkin River in what is now North Carolina. In this primitive settlement Boone received some schooling and became a skillful hunter and trapper. He served with the forces led by the British general Edward Braddock in the campaign in 1755 against Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War.

Subsequently Boone set out to explore and settle the wilderness around the Kentucky River, making the first of many trips into the region in 1767. Between 1769 and 1771, on his most important expedition, he explored eastern Kentucky, following a trail through the Cumberland Gap with five companions. In 1775, having been engaged as the agent of a Carolina trading company to establish a road by which colonists could reach Kentucky and settle there, he built a stockade and fort on the site of Boonesborough. The first group of settlers crossed the Cumberland Gap to Boonesborough by the road established by Boone, later called the Wilderness Road. During the American Revolution the community suffered repeated attacks by Native Americans, and in 1778 Boone was taken captive by Native American raiders. The settlement, however, was eventually established as a permanent village.

During the early 1780s Boone was forced to abandon his claims to the land around Boonesborough because of invalid titles, and he moved to Boone's Station, Kentucky. He later left Kentucky and from 1788 to 1798 lived near Point Pleasant, Virginia (now West Virginia). About 1799 he settled near St. Louis, in present-day Missouri, where he remained until his death. The region was then under the authority of Spain; in 1803 it became United States territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and in 1814 Boone's claim to the land he occupied was confirmed by the U.S. Congress. He died on September 26, 1820.

"Boone, Daniel," Microsoft® Encarta® 98 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.