Front Matter Our Country Long Ago The Barbarous Indians The Mounds Where the Northmen Went The Northmen in America Queer Ideas Prince Henry the Navigator Youth of Columbus Columbus and the Queen "Land! Land!" Columbus and the Savages Home Again Columbus Ill-treated Death of Columbus How America Got its Name The Fountain of Youth "The Father of Waters" The French in Canada French and Spanish Quarrels The Sky City Around the World Nothing but Smoke Smith's Adventures The Jamestown Men Smith Wounded Pocahontas Visits England Hudson and the Indians The Mayflower Plymouth Rock The First Thanksgiving Snake Skin and Bullets The Beginning of Boston Stories of Two Ministers Williams and the Indians The Quakers The King-Killers King Phillip's War The Beginning of New York Penn and the Indians The Catholics in Maryland The Old Dominion Bacon's Rebellion A Journey Inland The Carolina Pirates Charter Oak Salem Witches Down the Mississippi La Salle's Adventures Indians on the Warpath Two Wars with the French Washington's Boyhood Washington's Journey Washington's First Battle Stories of Franklin Braddock's Defeat Wolfe at Quebec England and her Colonies The Stamp Tax The Anger of the Colonies The Boston Tea Party The Minutemen The Battle of Lexington Bunker Hill The Boston Boys The British leave Boston Declaration of Independence A Lady's Way of Helping Christmas Eve The Fight at Bennington Burgoyne's Surrender Winter at Valley Forge The Quaker Woman Putnam's Adventures Indian Cruelty Boone in Kentucky Famous Sea Fights The "Swamp Fox" The Poor Soldiers The Spy A Traitor's Death Two Unselfish Women Surrender of Cornwallis British Flag hauled down Washington's Farewell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

Boone in Kentucky

As you have heard, the land south of the Ohio suffered much from Indian raids. This part of the country had already been the scene of so many Indian battles that it well deserved the name of Kentucky, or the "dark and bloody ground." Six years before the Revolutionary War began, Daniel Boone, a hardy pioneer, first crossed the Alleghany Mountains and came into this beautiful region. Seeing the tall forest trees and plentiful game, he thought it would be a good place to live in.

After wandering about it for months, and escaping from the hands of some Indians who had taken him captive, Boone made up his mind to settle there. He therefore went back to North Carolina for his wife and daughter, and, with his brother and several other pioneers, returned to Kentucky where he formed a settlement called Boonesboro (1775). Like all pioneer villages, this was merely a collection of a few log huts, surrounded by a tall palisade to serve as a rampart against Indian attacks.

Boone's daughter and two younger girls, little suspecting danger, once went out in a canoe to pick flowers along the banks of a stream. Suddenly several Indians sprang out of a thicket, seized them, and bore them off into the woods. While the younger girls cried helplessly, Boone's daughter, seeing it was of no use to struggle, quietly followed her captor. But she took care to leave the print of her shoe here and there where the soil was damp, to break twigs of bushes, and to fasten shreds of her dress to the briers along the way, so that her tracks could be followed.

As soon as the girls' capture was discovered, Boone and six other men set out in pursuit. Thanks to the girl's clever way of marking her passage, they soon came to where the savages were camping in the woods. Creeping up stealthily, the white men noiselessly got between the children and the Indians, for they knew the latter would kill and scalp their captives at the first alarm. The Indians, suddenly finding themselves in danger, hastily fled, leaving captives and weapons behind them.

In the third year of the Revolutionary War, some Indians, hired by the British to make war along the frontier, came to attack Boonesboro. But the place was so gallantly defended by the settlers that they could not get in. They vainly directed a steady fire against the palisades for some time, and then withdrew to a short distance to rest.

Elizabeth Zane brings powder


The settlers, who had very little powder within the palisade, were anxious to secure a keg full of powder that was standing in a hut near by. Still, they knew that if a man ventured out, the Indians would probably kill him, and they did not feel that they could spare a single one. A brave girl, Elizabeth Zane, therefore insisted upon going, for she said they could easily get along without her, although they needed all the men.

At her request, the gate was opened, and she sped like an arrow to the house where the powder had been left. The Indians, astonished at the sight of a woman running out of the fort, stood perfectly still. In a few seconds they saw her rush back, her apron full of powder.

Now they understood what it all meant; but it was too late to stop the brave girl, who had reached the fort in safety. The powder thus secured saved the settlement; for the Indians, after losing many men, gave up the siege and went home.

In 1778, while out hunting, Boone was captured by Indians, who carried him off to Detroit. They were about to kill him when an old squaw claimed him to take the place of her son who had been slain. The Indians consented, and Boone was adopted by the squaw, who pulled out all his hair, except a scalp lock, which she dressed with feathers in fine Indian style.

Boone now made believe to be quite satisfied to stay with the Indians; so they took him out hunting every day, giving him only a certain amount of powder and bullets. Boone was such a good marksman that he soon found he could kill his game with half a bullet and less powder. He therefore secretly cut his bullets in two, and although he brought back a bird, rabbit, or deer for every charge the savages gave him, he really saved half his ammunition without their suspecting it.

When he had thus collected enough powder and bullets, Boone stole a piece of dried meat and some parched corn, and went out hunting, as usual. But as soon as he got out of sight he began running as hard as he could. As he ran he hid his traces, so the Indians could not follow him. Thus he darted along fallen trees, jumped from stone to stone, ran up and down shallow streams, and once, at least, grasped a trailing grapevine, and, swinging hard, landed on his feet a long distance ahead.

The Indians, finding out his escape, soon started to follow him; but while they were hunting around for his broken tracks, he ran on, pausing to rest only when his strength gave out. Boone thus reached the Ohio, where he had the good luck to find a leaky canoe, in which he paddled across the stream.

Then, for the first time, he used one of the bullets he had saved to kill a turkey, which he roasted over the first fire he had dared to light since his escape. Tramping thus all the way from the Indian camp to Boonesboro, Boone found his home deserted. At first he thought all his family had been killed; but he soon heard they had merely gone back to their old home, thinking he was dead.

Boone's Grapevine


As he knew the Indians would soon come to attack Boonesboro, Boone collected about fifty-five men, who helped him repair the palisade. They were scarcely through their work when more than four hundred Indians appeared, led by a French officer serving in the British army. When they bade Boone surrender, he answered: "We are determined to defend our fort while a man of us lives."

Although the Indians tried to break into the fort, they were driven back, and their bullets had no effect on the heavy logs of the palisade. Next they made an attempt to set fire to the fort, but the flames were quickly quenched; and when they began to tunnel a way into the place, they were forced to give it up.

Weary of vain attempts, the Indians finally withdrew; and when they had gone, Boone and his companions picked up a hundred and twenty-five pounds of bullets, which had fallen harmlessly along the palisade. Later on, Boone brought his family back to Kentucky; but the Indians continued to make trouble during the next ten years. Still, when those dark days were all over, so many settlers came into Kentucky that Boone declared the place was too crowded for him, and said he needed more elbow-room.

He therefore removed first to a place near the Great Kanawha, and then to Missouri, which at that time belonged to Spain. Here he lived long enough to see many settlers cross the Mississippi. He was again saying that he felt crowded, and talking of moving still farther west, when he died, at the age of eighty-five, still hale and hearty, and a famous hunter and pioneer.