Daniel Boone was friends with Clark County frontiersman, Simon Kenton, who was around during the founding of Springfield. Kenton saved Boone’s life during the siege of Boonesborough, now Boonesborough State Park where Boone descendants recently met in Kentucky. MCCLATCHY
Photo: BOB DOWNING
Photo: BOB DOWNING

Commentary: Daniel Boone stories no longer myths, ancient history after meeting descendants

We don’t have royalty in America, but I felt like I met some last week in Lexington, Ky. at the meeting of The Boone Society.

Everyone has heard of Daniel Boone and the important role he played in American history; exploring Kentucky, leading settlers through the Cumberland Gap, and establishing settlements while fighting the British and their Native American allies.

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I’m old enough to fondly remember the Daniel Boone television series, and to have read the stories of Boone’s adventures and challenges.

Boone knew our area well when it was just trees and a river. He came here first as a prisoner of the Shawnee before 1780 and was kept for a time at a village that was located where George Rogers Clark Historic Park is now.

Daniel Boone was friends with our local frontiersman, Simon Kenton, who was around during the founding of Springfield. Kenton saved Boone’s life during the siege of Boonesborough, when he carried a wounded Boone through the gate during an attack.

I remembered the stories of the Boone children; James, Israel, Squire, Susanna, Jemima, Levina, Rebecca, Daniel, Jesse, William and Nathan. Sadly James, Israel, and William did not live long enough to have children.

Those stories may have seemed like myths or ancient history until that weekend when I rode the elevator multiple times with people wearing Boone Society name tags that identified them as descendants of each of Boone’s children that lived to adulthood.

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To top it all we got to meet Daniel Boone, X, which was not to be confused with Malcom X. For Daniel, the X stands for tenth. This young man was the 10th in the line of men named Daniel Boone. I was impressed. Over the weekend those names became more real to me and I enjoyed hearing the tales of their many times great grandparents’ adventures. They knew more details than the books.

One day we traveled to the original site of Fort Boonesborough. I was awed to see more than 100 Boone descendants gathered at the spot where around 240 years ago their ancestors fought to stay alive. These cousins were visibly moved by the experience. They pointed out the river bank where Jemima Boone and her friends were kidnapped. And they showed me where Kenton rescued Boone and carried him through the gate of the fort to safety. I made sure I stood on the spot.

The Boones are very serious about their genealogy and had experts with their computers on hand to straighten out the details of everyone’s family trees. Some had their entire branches memorized, dates and all.

While speaking with the experts we learned that our family rumor that said my husband was a Boone cousin, just might be true. His seventh great grandma was a sister to Daniel Boone’s father, Squire Boone. It was kind of sweet thinking that some of my hubby’s ancestors were a part of this amazing family and we really weren’t that aware of it.

It got me to thinking about the rest of us as we celebrate this Fourth of July. Most of us can name back only two or three generations in our own family tree. We have no idea who was in the seventh, eighth or ninth generation before us. I cannot help but wonder how many of us are unaware that we are also descendants of someone who signed that world changing Declaration?

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Did our ancestors sign a document that ended with these words; “…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

I’m sure the descendants of the signers walk among us, stand in line with us at the grocery, have friended us on Facebook, or dine in the same restaurants with us. No doubt they are in all 50 states. If your family has been in America since before the Civil War, there is a good chance that on one branch of your family you are descended from a Patriot who served in the Revolution.

If you are from a recently arrived family like my maternal grandfather’s side, you have jumped into that great American melting pot with descendants of the forefathers and mothers of this nation. That immigrant from Vietnam, or India, who patiently waited on the immigration list, took the classes, learned English, and took the oath of citizenship yesterday is now one of us. We are all the same and equal now, all Americans, and we share those patriot forefathers in spirit as strongly as blood.

Independence Day belongs to all of us. It is America’s birthday.

In remembrance of the signers, let us all put aside petty politics on July 4, and celebrate our kinship as a sacred honor as our founders did.

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