How much do I want to read more? 6/10
I didn't know who he was.
Sure enough, he was an adventurer, a nature lover.
I find myself in this story, at least when I was a kid.
It's so funny how he and his sister got smallpox.
He may be mistaken with Davy Crockett, but they are actually two very different men.
Who Was Daniel Boone?
Go back in time more than two hundred years. Much of America was wilderness. Elk and bear roamed the forests, and buffalo wandered the plains. White settlers clashed with great Indian tribes. Two hundred years ago, the American frontier was wild and dangerous — people struggled just to survive.
One man, more than anyone, loved this untamed land. By foot and on horseback, he blazed trails for others to follow. A great hunter and woodsman, he led the first pioneers across the Appalachian Mountains into a paradise of fields and forests. Today we know it as the state of Kentucky. No wonder he became famous throughout the world as a frontier hero. No wonder his nickname was the Great Pathfinder.
Chapter 1 - The Boy Hunter
Daniel fell in love with the outdoors almost as soon as he could walk. He hated to be inside. It was the woods that felt like his true home.
Daniel would do almost anything to avoid being cooped up in the family’s log cabin — even risk his life.
He and his sister hatched a plan. One night, after their parents went to sleep, the two snuck out. They headed straight to the house of a little boy who had smallpox. They wanted to make sure they got sick. So they crawled into bed with him. Then they ran home. Sure enough, both little Boones fell ill. They were lucky, though. They survived.
Daniel was tough and scrappy. If something bad happened, he always bounced back. Though he was small for his age, he was hardy and very strong. By age five, he could chop firewood with an ax as big as he was.
Daniel also had a fierce independent streak. He liked being alone. Although he had many friends, he stayed somewhat apart.
In 1744, when Daniel was ten, Squire bought a big grassy field six miles from home. His cows would graze there. For the next five summers, Daniel’s job was to care for the herd. Each day as the sun rose, he took the cows to the pasture. Each day as the sun set, he brought them back. Those were perfect months for the boy: He spent all his time outside.
His eye was sharp, his instincts keen, and he had no fear. Soon he could find animal tracks that older hunters had missed.
Perhaps his most important teachers were Indians, especially the Delaware.
The braves also showed him ways to survive in the forest — how to stay warm in the snow, how best to cook fresh meat. Daniel learned the ways of the Indians — to respect all of the natural world. Soon he set aside the black clothes Quakers wore.
He dressed in buckskin and grew his hair like a brave. He wanted to be a man of the woods.
He’d rise at dawn, when the grass was still wet with dew, and roam the forest all day. He even went hunting by moonlight. He did not kill for sport or for pleasure — he killed to have food, to stay alive. There were no grocery stores, no clothing stores. Animal skins were made into clothing, blankets, and rugs, so people could survive the cold winters. The teenager’s hunting skill meant his family would never starve or freeze.
The Boone family came to rely on Daniel more and more. So did other folks. It was the custom of the time to share meat and skins with others who didn’t have them. Daniel was always generous to people in need.
He grew to be a strong, broad-shouldered young man with piercing blue-gray eyes. Although he was known throughout Pennsylvania for sharpshooting, he had many other skills. From Squire, Daniel learned how to fix broken guns. His father also taught him to shoe horses and to repair tools and wagons. He also knew enough carpentry to build a house.
With all the work around the farm, Daniel had no time for school. He probably never set foot inside a classroom. His father, for one, didn’t care.
“Let the girls do the spelling,” Squire once said. “Dan will do the shooting.”
When he was about fourteen, Daniel learned to read and write. The wife of one of his older brothers taught him how. He never mastered spelling, but he became a devoted reader. He took books with him on hunting trips. At night, he read by the light of the campfire. He also learned some arithmetic. Daniel’s lack of schooling didn’t make him different from his friends. In fact, on the frontier, he was considered well educated.
But his best subject was the woods. There, no sound escaped him, and every animal track was familiar. He rarely got lost. It was as though the trees themselves helped him find his way.
When Daniel was hunting, nothing seemed to distract him. Yet with other tasks, his mind wandered. Out in the meadow, for instance, he’d sometimes forget to watch the herd. Once, he left the cows alone for days.
The herd was peacefully grazing. All of a sudden Daniel spotted fresh tracks in the pasture. A bear! Without thinking, off he went. Not only did he leave the cows, he didn’t tell anyone where he was going.
By nightfall, Sarah was worried. Where was Daniel? When he still wasn’t home the next morning, she became frantic. Hurrying to town, she set up a search party to find her favorite child. For two days the men looked everywhere. It seemed like Daniel had simply disappeared. His family feared he was lost in the mountains forever.
But that afternoon someone spied smoke in the distance. Was the boy alive? By evening, the men found him. Daniel was sitting happily by a fire, eating dinner. He had killed his first bear.
Now, not even sixteen years old, he was about to set out for a new frontier.