||Selected Land Records of Daniel Boone [manuscript]
||Draper Manuscripts: Daniel Boone Papers, 25 C 4, 27, 58 and 26 C 81, 143, Wisconsin Historical Society.
||6 / 1
Daniel Boone was born in 1734 to a large farm family in Bucks
Pennsylvania, where he received little if any formal education.
When he was sixteen the family moved to the wilds of western North
Carolina and at the age of twenty-one, in 1755, he enlisted in the American
militia. He participated in Braddock’s failed attack on the
French Fort Duquesne (modern Pittsburgh), where he met explorer
After marrying and farming in North Carolina for more than a
decade, in 1767 Boone and two companions crossed the Cumberland
Mountains to the edge of Kentucky on a winter hunting trip. The
next year he received a visit from Findley, who asked his help
finding a viable route for emigration into the West.
They left in May 1769, passed through Cumberland Gap, and a
month later were in Kentucky’s fertile valleys, where Boone
spent two years hunting and exploring. See AJ-159 for his son’s
recollections of his stories about this trip. In 1773 he led a
group of family and friends to settle there but they were driven
back by Indians. In 1775 they tried again, cutting the
Wilderness Road and founding Boonesborough.
The Indian inhabitants attempted to eject white interlopers
for most of the next two decades. Important encounters took
place in 1776, 1778, and 1782 before hostilities effectively
ended in 1794. In 1778 Boone was captured by the Shawnee, as
described in AJ-150.
In the 1780s and 1790s Boone held virtually all important
public offices in the region. He became one of its wealthiest
landowners and speculators, controlling nearly one hundred
Legal and financial difficulties plagued him, however, and when
in 1799 the Spanish government invited him to start a new
settlement in Missouri, he headed further west and planted roots
near present-day St. Charles. He finally paid off his Kentucky
debts in 1814 and died in Missouri in 1820, at the advanced age
These few pages are selected from volumes 25C and 26C of the
Draper Manuscripts (Daniel Boone Papers), two of the
of manuscripts that Lyman Copeland Draper collected for his
unfinished biography of Boone. In an advertisement for that
book, Draper said he had acquired all the original papers of
“carefully rolled up in the pieces of deer skin in which
he left them” and he supplemented these with hundreds of pages
of interview notes, letters, and reminiscences by people who had
known the Kentucky frontiersman. For more documents on early
Kentucky, see AJ-125, AJ-150, AJ-151, AJ-155, AJ-157, and AJ-159.
Other Internet and Reference Resources
The literature on Daniel Boone and the exploration and
settlement of Kentucky is immense. A convenient online source of
digitized images is the Kentuckiana Digital Library at
project of the Kentucky Virtual Library.
Another useful website is
“The First American West: the Ohio
River Valley 1750-1820”
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/, a collection of fifteen
of original historical materials documenting the land, people,
exploration, and transformation of the trans-Appalachian West,
selected from the collections of the University of Chicago
Library and the Filson Historical Society of Louisville,
A discussion of Daniel Boone as an iconic figure in American
history can be found at
produced by the American Studies Program, University of
Virginia. This article assesses and examines Boone as
“natural man,” and the
Boone” as depicted in works published between 1784 and 1992,
including books by John Filson, Daniel Bryan, W.H. Bogart,
Timothy Flint, John Metcalfe, Theodroe Roosevelt, and J.M.
Finally, the University Library, University of Louisville,
kyhistory/boone.html provides links to Daniel Boone
biography, Boone family history, and Boone historic sites.