March 28, 2009

Daniel Boone

I finally finished reading "Boone" written by Robert Morgan and although Daniel Boone remains a shadowy figure of the frontier era in American history, you get a good sense of what made the man tick. Daniel Boone was famous in his own time and this generated stories about Boone that were half truths and outright fiction. The real story of Daniel Boone is complicated and far more interesting than the fictional accounts.

Boone never wore a coonskin hat. He thought they were uncouth, heavy, and uncomfortable. He preferred the beaver felt hat to protect himself from the sun and rain.

In Boone's own time he had detractors who accused him of everything from treason to fraud. He was court-martialed once, only to be exonerated of all charges.

In Boone's prime, he would be gone for months at a time, the longest being when he went on his first exploration of Kentucky for two years. When he arrived back home his wife didn't recognize him upon first sight.

Robert Morgan frequently refers to Boone's love of the wilderness in sexual allegories. Boone inspired writers such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman.

Daniel Boone was captured by a tribe of Shawnee Indians and became the honorary son of the chief, Black Fish. He escapes and returns to Boonesboro four months later to warn settlers of a pending attack by the British and Shawnees.

Towards the end of Boone's life in Missouri, people passing through would stop by to meet and talk with the famous pioneer. When he got wind of a visitor he would often disappear.

He lived to be eighty-five years old and was buried in Missouri. Boone and his wife, Rebecca, were later moved and are now buried in Frankfort, Kentucky.

1 comment:

  1. wow, fascinating stuff, I can see why the book was so engaging. I think I might buy it for us.