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Daniel Boone

November 30, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Daniel Boone was an American frontiersman who gained fame for his hunting and trailblazing expeditions through the Cumberland Gap, a natural pass through the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Boone achieved folk hero status during his lifetime, but much of his celebrated image is a mixture of fact, exaggerations and outright fabrications.

Early Life

Boone was born on November 2, 1734, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the sixth child of eleven born to immigrant Quaker parents, Squire and Sarah. He spent much of his childhood tending his family’s cattle and wandering the woods near his home.

Boone had no proper education but could read and write and often took reading material with him on his backwoods trips. He received his first rifle at age 12, learned to hunt and became a skilled marksman, often providing his family with fresh game. According to legend, he once shot a panther through the heart as it charged.

In 1748, Squire Boone sold his land and moved the family to the North Carolina frontier in the Yadkin Valley. After the French and Indian War broke out 1754, Daniel Boone joined the North Carolina militia and served as a wagoner — and narrowly escaped being killed by Indians during the Battle of Monongahela (one of several American Indian wars that Boone would fight against Native Americans).

He survived another Indian attack during the Battle of Fort Duquesne by snatching a horse and dashing away on horseback.

During the war, Boone worked with John Findley, a trader who told him about the wilderness west of the Appalachian Mountains called “Kentucke,” a place rich with wild game and opportunity. Findley later accompanied Boone on his first trip to Kentucky.


On August 14, 1756, Boone married Rebecca Bryan and they settled in the Yadkin Valley and had ten children. Boone supported his large family by hunting and trapping. He often disappeared for months at a time during the fall and winter and returned in the spring to sell his pelts to traders.

In 1759, Cherokee Indians raided the Yadkin Valley and forced many of its inhabitants, including the Boone family, to flee to Culpeper County, Virginia. As part of the North Carolina militia, Boone took many long trips through Cherokee land in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

One story holds that during one of his extended journeys, Rebecca thought Boone was dead and had a relationship with …read more


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