IF you’re my age you remember the TV series, and can sing most of the song! Daniel Boone was of course mostly known for the Kentucky years, and somewhat in Missouri later in life. (more on that later) But did you know he spent most of his childhood in Pennsylvania, and late teens-early twenties in North Carolina?
Our campground home for the last 10 days has been on the Yadkin River in Rowan Country, North Carolina. In studying some fun motorcycle trips, I stumbled across a county park called “Boone’s Cave.”
The Boone family were from England and Wales. They were Quakers (hooray for our side), and migrated to Pennsylvania in 1713. Daniel was born in 1734. As the story goes, two of the older siblings married outside the Quaker family of faith and the family was “churched.” (milder word for excommunicated) Consequently they left Pennsylvania, and the church, and settled in the wilderness of central North Carolina. The operative word is wilderness. This cave was home for three families for a full year while they built cabins.
That much is well verified. The trouble is, remains of the cabins or their foundations have never been found. The cave looks out onto the Yadkin River. There is a large rock slab just under the surface that creates a walk-way across during low-water seasons. One set of foundations have been found on the other side of the river that is presumed to be one of the homesteads.
Daniel Boone never attended church again. However, he identified himself as “Christian” and had all of his children baptized. Upon marriage he moved about 55 miles upstream into the edge of the Blue Ridge mountains. There is a town there named Boone, which has much more extensive written history, festivals, folk-sings and the like for the tourists. Boone is on the east side of the crest with Johnson, Tennessee on the west. Boone eventually forged a path through the “gap” to what was to become Kentucky and Tennessee Due to his frontier-blazing, and his exemplary service in the military establishments of the time, he became the first world-wide known name associated with the great American Wilderness. The main attractions to visit are in the Boone National Forest in Kentucky.
As we began I gave you a tease about his later life in Missouri. It was widely believed he was kidnapped by a band of natives and hauled off. However, in the Lewis and Clarke expedition they happened upon this village on the Missouri river above St. Louis and met Daniel Boone. The biographer claims there is ample evidence that he was there willingly and had a second family at that location. Well, whatever, we all have skeletons. He lived to 80 and his grave site is disputed.
Back to the cave: Somewhere on these two-hundred acres is said to be a Cottonwood Tree that is number four in size in the nation. It is sixteen feet around and over one-hundred-sixty-feet tall. This photo is not it. I didn’t hike down into “the wetlands” area of the park to view it as I would have had to climb back out!
If you’re ever near Salisbury or Lexington North Carolina, this is a nice two-hour stroll through a bit of history.