The legendary 18th century pioneer and frontiersman Daniel Boone played a prominent role in the settlement of North Carolina, and he spent decades exploring here in the Piedmont. Boone and his family’s contributions are being honored this month in and around the place he once called home.
Much of Boone’s life was spent in the Yadkin Valley. In 1773, after more than two decades of hunting and trading throughout the region, Boone and his family set off for Kentucky. Historian and author Randell Jones says this year marks the 250th anniversary of their departure.
"Boone’s move to Kentucky was just before the beginning of the American Revolution," says Jones. "So, here we are approaching the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution and this is a way for North Carolinians to begin to be involved in thinking through that era of our history and what was going on before the Revolution."
Visitors will get a glimpse of frontier life during Carolina’s early history. Festival organizer Margaret Martine has a strong connection to this period. She says she herself is a descendant of Daniel Boone’s brother Israel who would have been her 7th great grandfather.
"We’ll have a blacksmith site working," she says. "We’ll have a man that’s here showing salt-making techniques. We’ll have live music all day. We’ll have a lot of Celtic music. We have a wonderful woman who’s going to be speaking about the early American language of fans. Effley Howell will be talking about the African American experience in our area during that time."
And there will be spinning, cooking from the hearth, and a replica cabin built from stones from the original site. The Daniel Boone and Scots in the Valley Festival takes place this Saturday in Ferguson, North Carolina.
Daniel Boone Fun Facts:
Although Daniel Boone has been portrayed in films wearing a coonskin cap, the great explorer did not care for them and never wore one himself. He often wore a wide-brimmed felt or beaver hat similar to the Quaker-style hats preferred by men in Pennsylvania where he was born.
Daniel Boone never actually lived in Boone, North Carolina, but he spent many overnight hunting trips there. In 1894, the county seat of Watauga County was named in his honor.
Boone was actively involved in establishing Boonesborough, Kentucky's second settlement in 1775. Fort Boonesborough has since been renovated as a working fort. The state park is open for tourists through the end of October.
More Daniel Boone Fun Facts:
Boone's family was Quaker, and fled Pennsylvania due to religious persecution they faced after two of the oldest Boone children married non-Quakers and were subsequently disowned by the local Quaker community.
While in Kentucky in February of 1778, Daniel Boone was captured by a group of Shawnee Native Americans and held for several months before escaping.
Boone was unlucky in real estate, small business ventures, and horse selling leaving him often in debt.