Any Kentuckian should recognize this man like I learned to do long ago. It would hardly be fair to post these Friday frontier facts without first paying tribute to Daniel Boone. But before we go further you need to unlearn, as I did, anything Fess Parker taught you. The real Boone is much more interesting and complicated. And no, he didn't wear a coonskin cap - he thought them uncouth!Dr. Benjamin Rush, noted colonial physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, had little good to say about frontiersmen. But I doubt he ever met Boone. As a child I used to wonder what it was like being the famed frontiersman's daughter (he had four). Jemima was my favorite (his, too). The typical frontiersman roaming the 18th-century woods was infested with vermin, foul-mouthed, superstitious, belligerent, and illiterate. More than a third of them couldn't write their names. Then there was Boone. Boone stood out, not because he was a character, but because he had character. One relation described him this way: "he had a soft, almost effeminate voice, and extremely mild and pleasant manners." Surprised? Here's more. He lived with the Shawnee and liked them. Two of his sons were killed by Indians yet he never bore a grudge. He fathered ten children though he spent more time away from home than at home. He was swindled out of thousands of Kentucky acres. He only admitted to killing one Indian and then in the most genteel terms. His only autobiography was lost when his canoe hit a log and capsized. He was plagued with severe arthritis. He moved to Missouri and died there at age 86, but his bones were brought back to Kentucky. Boone has always been my hero. Only 16 more Fridays till The Frontiersman's Daughter is on shelves!
Boone: A Biography, Robert Morgan.
Frontier Living, Edward Tunis