Friday, April 10, 2009

friday's frontier fact

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!

Happy Friday.

Boone: A Biography, Robert Morgan.
Frontier Living, Edward Tunis


  1. thank you for your thoughtful and kind comment on my blog. and especially thanks for the prayer for my little one. She is much better now that she is on antibiotics.
    your encouragement means alot to me. Sometimes as a full-time Mommy and Wife, I can begin to feel weary and worn out. But I love my "job". it's the best one on earth!

  2. I just wanted to let you know I have been enjoying your Friday's Frontier Facts. As a life-long Kentuckian, I especially loved this week's post about Daniel Boone. I live in Harrodsburg, home of Old Fort Harrod, once inhabited by Daniel Boone. Up until 3 years ago, we also had the yearly summer drama "The Legend of Daniel Boone." Unfortunately, due to budget problems and economic declines, the drama is no longer a summer highlight in our historic town.

    I'm looking forward to reading your new book. I am the book reviewer for the Mercer Public Library, with a weekly book review column in The Harrodsburg Herald. I think your book will be just the kind of story the citizens of Harrodsburg enjoy.

  3. Lisa,
    So glad your little girl is better - that's always scary as a mom. I've been following your blog ever since you stopped here several months ago but my dial-up wouldn't let me comment - just this week we finally have wireless so I was able to connect with you! It's a joy to see a happy (if weary) mother with happy children. I think of Psalm 113:9 as I write this to you. YOu are so right - your job is the best job on earth! It even trumps being a writer:) Bless you!

  4. Hi Bobbi,
    I've been to Harrodsburg many times, especially in childhood. It's so rich in history. In fact, my mom took me to an outdoor drama there when I was about 7 but I got very ill and I'm not sure we ever saw it!
    I miss those summer dramas like you. Nearer home in Berea, I saw "Wilderness Road" many times over the years at the open air theater there.
    I'm so pleased that you want to read my book. I hope the good folks of Harrodsburg like it - you, too.
    I try to come home as often as I can but it isn't often enough. You are a lucky woman for remaining in the bluegrass state!
    I've enjoyed your blogs and appreciate your being a booklover and promoter of good fiction! Bless you! Please stay tuned for more Friday frontier facts:)