Iconic American explorer and frontiersman Daniel Boone was born in 1734, the sixth child of blacksmith and weaver Squire Boone and his wife, Sarah Morgan. Boone had little formal education. His mother taught him to read and write, while his father taught wilderness skills to his talented son. The Boones moved to Yadkin Valley, North Carolina, when Daniel was 15, and he started his own hunting business. During the French and Indian War, Boone survived Gen. Edward Braddock’s terrible defeat at Turtle Creek by escaping the ambush on horseback. In August 1756, Boone and his bride, Rebecca Bryan, set up their own home in the Yadkin Valley. Boone said he had all the ingredients for a happy life: “A good gun, a good horse and a good wife.” But adventure stories stirred Boone’s interest in the American frontier. In 1769, experienced longhunter Boone led a team of explorers in forging a trail though the Cumberland Gap. His companions included John Finley, with whom he had served in the French and Indian War. Now called the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail, the path he blazed from Long Island of the Holston at what is now Kingsport, through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky, would become the “interstate” for hundreds of thousands of settlers pressing west. Before settling first in Kentucky, then West Virginia and, finally, in Missouri, Boone traveled across Roan Mountain and was a frequent visitor to historic Jonesborough. Learn more about him at the East Tennessee History Center in downtown Knoxville.
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