Wednesday, August 24, 2022

A TALE OF DANIEL BOONE by Marisa Masterson

 I came across a true story recently that intrigued me. A tale from early in the settlement of the United States by whites.

It comes from the time when settlers poured into what is now Tenessee and Kentucky. A period when the unknown West truly made up the majority of the United States, and it was illegal for those same whites to be in that area.

England's law forbidding settlement in what was Cherokee and Shawnee territory didn't stop Daniel Boone. Along with others, he led his family into Kentucky and set up a small fort named Boonesborough. Only, the native people didn't take kindly to having their treaty with England broken.

Painting by C. Wimar
The story goes that fourteen-year-old Jemima Boone and two friends left the fort one day. They took the group's only canoe and floated down the river. One account says that they wanted to pick grapes.

Regardless of their reasons, a raiding party watched from the trees on the opposite side of the river. The men jumped into the river while the girls paddled frantically. It was useless. The natives snatched the three screaming girls.

Remember, this was Daniel Boone's girl. She knew her father would come after her. He would follow her trail, so she determined to leave him a trail to follow.

She and the other two bent branches, broke twigs, and dropped both berries and leaves when their captors led them through the forest. The long dresses worn by the girls slowed the raiding party's escape. One of the men cut off the garments at the knee. I wonder if that left the girls feeling vulnerable or hopeful, perhaps thinking they could run better and possibly get away from this band of Cherokee-Shawnee.

The trail marked by the girls disappeared once the natives took them into a stand of river cane. But Daniel Boone took a chance on a buffalo trail he knew in that area. Following it, he found the camp and attacked. 

In the end, two natives were killed and the girls were rescued. Interestingly, those three girls' future husbands all took part in their rescue that day.

The story was so popular on the frontier that James Fennimore Cooper included it in his book The Last of the Mohicans. 

To read more, check out two of my sources for this frontier tale--

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