Family Stories

Boone A Biography by Robert Morgan

Good morning, all!  To let you know why you haven’t heard much from me in the last month, Covid found me.  I’ve never felt so weak.  Cough and congestion made it difficult to do anything – even write a blog!  I did find time to read more and wanted to share with you Robert Morgan’s Boone A Biography.  I finished it in a few days – was one of those you can’t put down.  Reading about Daniel Boone’s life was fascinating, but to me the most important part for someone who had ancestors that came after Boone and experienced the trip to Kentucky from Virginia and North Carolina, was the descriptions of the land, the hardships during the journey and the difficulty of life after reaching the new land.  Being involved with the Transylvania Company gave Boone troubles and headaches that lasted the remainder of his life.  After taking Richard Henderson and others through the Cumberland Gap to the area of Kentucky that would become Boonesborough, Daniel Boone and his men went back to the gap and hacked a ‘road’ back to the area, a way for new settlers to find their way to their Kentucky land.  And being 200 miles from civilization as was then known, the settlers of Boonesborough, as well as Harrodsburg and Logan’s Station, were dependent upon themselves to grow crops, hunt game for meat and build a fort for safety.

Difficulties with the various Indian tribes that didn’t want to share their hunting lands with the new settlers, as we can readily understand, caused much bloodshed from both sides.  Daniel Boone included many Indians as friends from his earliest days in Kentucky, that in later days became enemies, and later friends, who visited him during his Missouri years.

Boone realized that too many settlers in one area wiped out game in a short amount of time.  Boonesborough residents had to go further and further afield for bear and deer.  Yes, bear was considered a choice meat!  During his time in Kentucky he saw the last of the buffalo – not seeing them again until a trip to Yellowstone in his later years.

Until reading this book I didn’t know how much the British wanted to take the Kentucky lands, with help from various tribes, to enter Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania from the west as a two-front assault during the American Revolution.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Draper Papers.  1838-1850 Lyman Draper roamed Kentucky and other areas, interviewing settlers, coping letters and other papers, with the intent of writing about these early Kentuckians and document the Indian Wars.  Some even volunteered to give him original records.  Draper visited Boone’s son Nathan in Missouri, staying for three weeks, writing down the memories from all Boone’s family living the area..  Lyman eventually published ten volumes but had so many more stories to tell.  The Draper Manuscripts are housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society and consist of material from 1740’s through 1810 – 500 volumes!  This has always been a personal goal, to visit and see what information I can gather from this extensive collection.  Since I now live in next-door Michigan, I believe it will happen!

As we all know, Boone’s life was charmed in his love of hunting and being in the woods, but as with everyone he had his pain and sorrows to deal with.  Sons James and Israel were killed by Indians, as well as brother Edward – killed because he looked very much like Boone.  Daniel Boone was not good with money or paperwork.  Not filing the correct papers for land left him penniless in his old age. 

I can’t say enough about this book.  I think anyone who has ancestors who came to Kentucky during the early days will have a much better appreciation of what those ancestors endured coming to Kentucky to make it their home.      

9 replies »

  1. Thanks as always…. and from Half Off Books, too! One of my favorite places to browse.
    Don’t have a current email address for you and need to pick your brains. I’m doing a project with HHS and have come across some very interesting documents. Wondered if you already had them or would like me to share….
    Quick question: transcribing sales receipts from 1830 – 1850, what does Dr mean in that context?

    Please don’t post this…. it’s from one Dutch Cousin to an adopted one! thanks for all you do

  2. I am sorry to hear of your illness with Covid and hope you are truly on the mend. Thank you for the recommendation of this book, Boone, A Biography. I will be reading it as soon as I get hold of a copy. I have many ancestors who were in Kentucky from the beginning. A sixth great grandfather, Samuel Whiteside Hargis was killed by Indians with Daniel Boone’s son James on Oct 9, 1773 on the Wilderness Trail, on Wallen’s Creek near Stickleyville. Another ancestor lost her husband Capt Peter A’Sturgus at Floyd’s Defeat on Beargrass Creek when they lived near Boone’s brother, Squire Boone. Many stories. Thank you for trying to capture and relate them.

  3. I sure enjoyed reading your post. I will definitely find the book. Life sure was hard then. 500 manuscripts. Wow. Would love to read those too.
    Hope you are recovering now. I’m glad you felt like reading.

  4. Thanks for the book recommendation. There is a Boone somewhere in my mother’s family so I look forward to reading this biography to find out more of the family’s history. I too want to visit the Wisconsin Historical Society. There are a lot of papers about early settlers in Iowa at that archives as Iowa, for a time, was judicially part of the Wisconsin Territory.

  5. I do have ancestors that were in that area during and after Daniel Boone, there was even some family history that his daughter Lavinia, was married to a family member, however, I found that was not true, but it’s in the family history, this was very interesting I will have to get this book

  6. Thank you for the review. Somewhere in the ancestorial past, my family is related to the Boone family. Most of my mom’s family do come from the South. I already knew quite a bit of what you talked about from the book, but I think this book may be a good read.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. I am going to add it to my reading list! Hope you recover quickly now!

  8. Thanks so much for this post. I am descended from Daniel Boone’s older sister, Sarah, and her husband John Willcockson, with connections to the Calloway and Cutbirth families who were related by marriage and made the move to Kentucky from North Carolina. I am looking forward to adding this book to my family history collection. I’m so sorry to hear about your encounter with COVID and I hope you are well on the mend and able to be up and around again as you are accustomed to being.

  9. Thank you! My husband’s mother’s families (Talbot(t) and Lancaster) moved from Maryland to Kentucky.

Leave a Reply