| Builders of Our Country: Book II|
|by Gertrude van Duyn Southworth|
| A lively account of American history told through 31 biographies, beginning with Patrick Henry at the start of the Revolution and ending with Andrew Carnegie at the close of the 19th century. The biographies are so chosen as to acquaint the reader with the chief personages and events in our national life, by including many vivid pictures of each. Ages 10-12 |
THE YOUNG HUNTER
 WHEN white men first came to America they planted
their settlements here and there along the Atlantic coast.
For many years the great unbroken forest, extending
westward from these settlements, deterred the early
colonists from pushing their way into the wilderness
However, a few, bolder than the rest, and with a
stronger love for adventure, did penetrate some little way
into the unexplored country. And then there came a
pioneer whose energy and fortitude helped to set the pace
for the great migrations west. This was Daniel Boone.
Boone was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in
1735, and when still a boy went with the rest of the family
to build a new home on the banks of the Yadkin River in
North Carolina. Here he went to school for a short time
and studied the "three R's." His spelling was original—what
one might expect of a boy who spent nearly all his
time in the fields and the woods.
Boone was a hunter born, and passionately loved the
forest. In its depths he learned to track the deer and
the elk; to imitate the calls of the birds; and to seek out
the hiding places of the panther, bear, and wolf. He
grew up to be a strong, lithe, sinewy man with muscles
At twenty-five Boone started out to explore. He
 pushed his way as far west as Boone's Creek, a branch
of the Watauga River in eastern Tennessee. Here still
stands a birch tree on which can be seen the words he
carved: "D Boon cilled A BAR on this tree year 1760."
These early explorations only made Boone long for
more. He wanted to find the great hunting grounds of
the far interior, the land we now know as Kentucky. To
the Indians this meant "The Dark and Bloody Ground."
Although the region was fair to look upon, the savages
were not far wrong when they gave it such a name. This
blue-grass country lay midway between the northern and
southern Indians. No one tribe owned it, but all used
it as their hunting grounds and were jealous of anyone
else who came there.
PIONEER SETTLEMENTS ON
THE WESTERN FRONTIER.
At last Boone decided to visit the "Bloody" Ground,
and on May 1, 1769, set out accompanied by five other
men. After a long and tedious journey of five weeks, the
 explorers saw before them a beautiful level region which
they knew to be the land they were seeking.
Boone and his companions built a rude shelter of logs,
open on one side. Here they lived, and in the country
around they hunted until December without being molested
by Indians. Then one day they were attacked, and
Boone was captured. For days there was no chance of
escape. But, at last, he succeeded in creeping stealthily
away by night. A year from the next spring Boone
returned to North Carolina.
THE WILDERNESS ROAD AND BOONESBOROUGH
SOME time after, a certain Richard Henderson
concluded a treaty with the Cherokees by which they agreed
to allow white men to settle on the Bloody Ground. When
the treaty was concluded, Henderson sent Boone with a
 company of thirty men to open a pathway from the Holston
River, over the Cumberland Gap, to the Kentucky
River. This was the first regular path into the wilderness,
and it is still called, "The Wilderness Road."
When Boone's party reached the Kentucky they built
a fort which they called Boonesborough. The fort was
oblong in shape. There was a loopholed blockhouse at
each corner. The log cabins were so arranged that their
outer sides formed part of the wall, with a stockade twelve
feet high filling the spaces between. This stockade was
made by driving into the ground heavy timbers, pointed
at the top.
THE FORT AT BOONESBOROUGH.
The building of Boonesborough at this time was most
important, as it offered protection for the settling of
After building the fort, Boone went back to North
Carolina. When he returned to Boonesborough a little
later, he brought with him his family and a band of
Not long after this, Boone's daughter and two girl
companions were surprised by Indians and taken captive.
As they went along, the eldest girl broke off twigs and
dropped them in the path. Seeing her, one of the Indians
threatened her with his tomahawk. However, she
managed to tear off bits of her dress instead and, unnoticed,
scatter them along the trail.
When the girls did not return to their home, Boone
knew at once what had happened. With some neighbors
he started in pursuit. Guided by the twigs and bits of
cloth they overtook the savages just as they were cooking
supper. Firing into the camp, they killed two of the
Indians and frightened the rest away. The girls were
unharmed, although badly scared.
At another time the Indians captured Boone himself
 and carried him off. But because they so admired his
courage and skill, they decided to adopt him into their
tribe in place of killing him. Accordingly he was made to
go through some curious ceremonies. First, all his hair
was taken off, with the exception of a tuft on the top of his
head. Next, he was ducked in the river and scrubbed
well in order to wash out his white blood. With a coat of
paint on his face, with feathers in his scalp lock, and
dressed in Indian costume, Boone certainly resembled his
Although they treated him as one of themselves and
seemingly gave him the utmost freedom, the Indians were
ever watchful lest he
should get away. Cunning and sagacious as
the Indians were, Boone
was a match for them.
Apparently he was quite
contented. One day he
learned that his savage
friends were planning an
attack on Boonesborough. Then by great
good luck he managed to
escape. He had a hundred and sixty miles to
cover and food enough
for but one meal. He
did not dare shoot game
for fear the savages
would hear him. Four days he traveled,
almost without stopping. On the fifth
day he arrived in safety at the fort.
The settlers immediately prepared the defences; and
 when the Indians came to make their attack, they were
repulsed and Boonesborough was saved.
For many years Boone continued to be a useful citizen
of Kentucky. But in due time, Kentucky became too
crowded to suit him. He needed more elbow room. So,
toward the close of the eighteenth century he went
farther west and finally reached Missouri. This state was
then the outpost of civilization. Here he lived until his
Boone's passion for hunting and solitude was a part of
him until the end. Even in his eighty-second year he
went on a long trapping expedition into the wilderness.
He lived to see younger men pushing still farther west,
and it saddened him that he could no longer equal them
Daniel Boone was a typical backwoodsman. In his
life and character we have a good picture of the western
frontiersmen of the eighteenth century, men whose
courage and perseverance opened the way to civilization.
A TYPICAL PIONEER WOODSMAN.
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