Friday, November 23, 2012

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone marker, Kanawha County, WV (Click any photo to enlarge)Kanawha County, WV

Marker Text: Across the Great Kanawha River, lived Daniel Boone, the noted frontiersman, from about 1788 to 1795. He represented Kanawha County in the Virginia Assembly, 1791; was Lieut. Col. of Virginia militia during Indian wars.

Location: On U.S. Route 60, in Daniel Boone Park, east of Charleston, WV. I have photographed the marker twice, the second time the marker had been refurbished and moved further west of its original location in the park. Erected by the West Virginia Department of Culture and History in 1979. This marker is located near the prior post of the “Craik-Patton House” within the same park.

  Another stone memorial marker is located across the park road from the state marker, notice the dates on each marker do not match.

Daniel Boone stone monument in the Daniel Boone ParkDaniel Boone
The Western Virginia
Pioneer 1788-1799
1789 Lt. Col. Of Kanawha Militia
An Organizer of Kanawha County
1791 Delegate to Virginia Assembly
His Cabin was Across the River
from Cave in Cliff Above
He hunted Deer and Made Salt
From a Spring at the Water's Edge
Erected by Kanawha Valley Chapter Daughters of American Revolution

  After you travel around and take photos of a couple of thousand historical markers, you begin to see some trends develop, particularly in regard to specific individuals. One such individual is Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone was one of those bigger than life American frontiersmen and his name appears on many historical markers related to early American history. For example, he is mentioned in yesterdays marker in Kentucky in references to Boone's Road and Boonesborough, KY. and in a prior post called, “Lincoln's Virginia Ancestors.” Daniel Boone traveled a great deal for a person of this period in history and markers throughout several states record those specific moments in his life and our nation.

  Today's marker is simply titled, “Daniel Boone” and I have found about sixty markers with his name in the title of the marker and about 80 or more containing his name in the text. These numbers are probably a conservative estimate and there are most likely many more. In researching some markers I have discovered that Daniel Boone was apart of the underlying story, but he was not mentioned in the marker text itself.

  Daniel Boone was born in Berks County, PA in the community of Birdsboro about eight miles southeast of Reading, PA on November 2, 1734. Boone spent the first 16 years of his life on the Boone Homestead, which is now a museum to Boone's youth.

Daniel Boone marker, west of Charleston, WV in the Daniel Boone Park (Click any photo to enlarge)

Marker is in Daniel Boone Park, originally marker was further down the road on the right.  Stone monument is on the right in photo.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  What is unusual about this marker is if you read accounts of Daniel Boone's life, the accounts simply skip over the years between 1788-95, at best they only make a passing comment of his living in the Kanawha River Valley of what is now West Virginia.

  Daniel Boone's Kentucky experiences are what gained him renown as an American frontiersmen and those years were from 1769 to about 1785. Little has been written about the 30 years of his life after 1785, except that he settled in western Virginia in 1788 and in 1799 removed to Missouri. From an early deed recorded in the court house of Fayette County, KY, dated April 28, 1786, states the papers were signed by Boone and his wife at Point Pleasant, where they were residing. From Point Pleasant, Boone and his family moved up the Kanawha River (southeast) in 1789 and settled on the south side of the river almost opposite the mouth of Campbell's creek, where they lived until 1799. Even the dates on this marker don't match with accounts of Boone's life in this area from other sources. Boone was a man of real life adventures and legend.

Daniel Boone stone monument in the Daniel Boone Park.  (Click any photo to enlarge)

Stone monument is near entrance to boat ramp with the Kanawha River in the background to the right.

  The house that was located about four miles up river of what then was the city of Charleston and across the river from today's marker, was cut from rough hewn logs and was built in two parts of one room each. There was a passage between the rooms and a long porch in front. After Boone left for Missouri, his son, Jesse Boone, lived in the house until 1816.

Daniel Boone stone monument, Kanawha River in background.  Daniel Boone spent most of his time living here employed in surveying. His fellow surveyors were composed of George Arnold, Edmund Price, Thomas Upton and Andrew Hatfield. In 1795 they ran two surveys of one hundred thousand acres each from the site of Madison, the county seat of Boone county, to the Kentucky line. In 1791 he made the report of his survey and the original documents are still preserved in the West Virginia Department of Archives and History in the capitol annex. Boone's last survey, before leaving the Kanawha valley, was made on September 8, 1798 with Daniel Boone, Jr., as marker and Mathias Van Bibber as chainman.

  Shortly after the county of Kanawha was formed by the legislature of Virginia, Boone was elected in 1789 as lieutenant-colonel of the Kanawha militia and made numerous reports through Colonel George Clendennin to the governor of Virginia. The next year he was elected to succeed Andrew Donnally as the county's delegate to the Virginia legislature. He shouldered his pack, took his gun, and made the entire trip to Richmond and return on foot. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to make a trip like that on foot, but that was a characteristic that made Boone who he was as a person. Boone served in the legislature with George Clendennin, the founder of Charleston.

Daniel Boone marker, west of Charleston, WV in the Daniel Boone Park

Photo of marker looking in the opposite direction.  One of two entrances to the park is on the right.

  One of Boone's adventures while a resident of this valley resulted in Boone County, WV being named for him. About 1795 there was a family of Flinn's living on Cabin Creek. The Flinn home was attacked by Indians, the mother and father were killed and a daughter named Cloe Flinn was taken prisoner. When Boone learned of the tragedy, he knew the location of the Indians and succeeded in rescuing her from their camp. Now being an orphan, Boone took the girl into his own home and her a member of the family.

Former location of the Daniel Boone marker in the Daniel Boone Park

Photo of the marker before it was refurbished and moved further west in the park.

  About 50 years later, a proposal came before the Virginia legislature to form two counties from Logan County. St. Clair Ballard, a grandson of the Cloe Flinn who was rescued by Daniel Boone, was a member of this legislature from Logan county. When the time came to give the new county a name, Mr. Ballard told the story of his grandmother's rescue by Boone and moved by way of acknowledgment to Boone's services, that the county be given his name. The motion was unanimously passed.

  I have many more markers with mentions of Daniel Boone and I will attempt to tell the story of Daniel Boone through them. The challenge will be in separating fact from legend though some of the legends are quite interesting as well.

1 comment:

  1. I challenge anyone to name more famous, infamous or heroic figures of any state than those who were born of, connected to, or deeply rooted in West Virginia History.

    Just as historical markers are being moved (or removed completely) - the people of West Virginia are being misrepresented and the state's history rewritten.
    When did concrete, steel and glass become more suitable as a sign of societal advancement than the rich culture - carved out of dense mountain ridges, in possibly the most beautiful geographical area of the world?

    We have not evolved. We are not a civilized society and will remain in decline until we reclaim what we have neglected and put behind us.

    While many parts of West Virginia may very well be 30 to 50 years behind the fast-moving lifestyle of today, I would give up a ticket to Heaven to return and live out my days with the most non-politically-correct mountain folk who know they're already there. May God continue to bless the mountain folk and the land throughout Appalachia.