THE saga of the pioneers that settled the great West is one of the most compelling and romantic chapters in the history of the United States of America. The first three settlements beyond the Alleghany Mountains were made in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. From these vantage points, the population gradually expanded clear to the West Coast.
One of the first to explore this vast wilderness was Daniel Boone. He was born on February 11th 1735, in Exeter Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Always the rambler, Boone left his home about six years before the American Revolution. With very few companions, his journeys lead him to the country south of the Ohio River. Here, on the banks, he looked abroad over a landscape of streams, forests and hills. This virtually unknown wilderness was home to many tribes of Native Americans; that often despised his presence. But for this Boone was well prepared. He had over time become versed in many Indian customs and was well regarded as a mighty hunter. His cap was made of fur and wore buckskin clothing same as the Native American. Confidently armed with his trusty hunting knife and rifle, he was prepared for any confrontations.
Boone made many daring adventures and hair-raising escapes among Native Americans captivity. He was several times captured, but always got away. His companions were not so lucky, for three of them were killed and one reportedly eaten by wolves. During a short period of peace, Boone and his brother built themselves a cabin of lodge poles and bark and stayed the winter hunting, fishing and surveying the broad country. In 1775, Boone returned to North Carolina for ammunition and supplies. He found his family well and happy but was determined to take them to his newly discovered utopia.
At first, the Natives were fond of Boone when he was captured, as his hunting skills provided much needed game for food. However, on his last hunt for the Indians he returned to find 500 warriors dressed in war-paint and headed for Boonesborough. He quickly made his escape, and rejoined his family, after traveling 160 miles in four days on one meal.
After his escape, the Natives made the settlements suffer greatly, they were cruel and hostile. Much mischief, and dreadful deeds were done in the early times. The true meaning of the name Kentucky means “the dark and bloody ground,” as it was indeed in the times of Boone.