Who was the real Daniel Boone?

Mr. Beat is a social studies teacher who specializes in making history and geography more engaging

Who was Daniel Boone? Will the real Daniel Boone step up? Well, there's a lot of misinformation and mythology about him out there, so in this video Mr. Beat hopes to clear some things up. Here is the story of the most interesting man in America, Daniel Boone. #danielboone #westwardexpansion #apush

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Produced by Matt Beat. Music by Electric Needle Room (Mr. Beat's band). All images and video either by Matt Beat, found in the public domain, or used under fair use guidelines.

Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer by John Mack Faragher
The American Heritage History of the Great West by David Lavender

Photo credits:
Googie Man

Sound credits:
Mike Koenig

Today, Boone is one of the most misunderstood figures in American history. This is mostly due to how he was portrayed later in books in the 19th century, and in numerous comic strips, radio shows, and films in the 20th century. Then of course, there was this TV show about him that was popular in the 1960s. The actor in that show, Fess Parker, basically acted like the same way he did in a previous role, playing Davy Crockett. Needless to say, the show was not historically accurate AT ALL.

Daniel Boone was born on November 2, 1734 in what became Berks County, Pennsylvania, today an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. His parents, Squire and Sarah Boone, were Quakers who escaped persecution for their religious beliefs back in England. Daniel was a middle child, sixth of eleven children. The family lived just down the road from future President Abraham Lincoln’s ancestors. In fact, Abraham Lincoln’s great-grandfather, also named Abraham Lincoln, married Daniel’s cousin Ann.

As a kid, Daniel spent most of his time at the edge of the frontier, often taking his family’s cattle out to graze. He loved wandering in the woods with those cows. He regularly interacted with the nearby Lenape Indians, who the Quakers as a whole had a good relationship with. Daniel actually learned how to hunt from the Lenape, in addition to other local settlers. He got his first rifle at the age of 12, and by 13 he was regularly providing meat for family meals. One time a panther leapt right at him and he calmly cocked his rifled and shot him through the heart. Yeah, that probably didn’t really happen, but the fact that that story got around is evidence Daniel had quite the reputation as a skilled hunter.

Daniel never attended school, but family members did teach him how to read and write. Later, his go-to books were The Bible and Gulliver’s Travels. In 1750, Squire Boone moved the family to North Carolina, settling in the Yadkin River valley, near what is now Davie County. This was again an area at the edge of the frontier. Daniel joined the local militia to help defend the settlements from various local American Indian tribes.

When North Carolina governor Matthew Rowan called for a militia during the French and Indian War, Boone, now 20 years old, volunteered. He served under General Edward Braddock as he led forces to attack at Fort Duquesne, a French military post located at present-day Pittsburgh. George Washington, future President but at the time a young colonial militia leader, was also on that march. Boone worked as a wagoner, meaning he was one of the dudes who drove the horse-drawn wagons. On the trip, Boone met and befriended a trader named John Findley. Findley had lots of experience trading with different groups of American Indians and had traveled quite a bit.

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