BLTC Press Titles

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Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe

Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Daniel Boone, Wilderness Scout

by Stewart Edward White


Thus Daniel Boone's name is inseparably connected with the occupation of "the dark and bloody ground" because he was Daniel Boone.

He was one of the many great Indian fighters of his time: lived for years with his rifle and tomahawk next his hand: lost brothers and sons under the scalping knife. He was a master of woodcraft, able to find his way hundreds of miles through unbroken forests, able to maintain himself alone not merely for a day or a week but for a year or more without other resources than his rifle, his tomahawk, and his knife; and this in the face of the most wily of foes. He was muscular and strong and enduring; victor in many a hand-to-hand combat, conqueror of farms cut from the forest; performer of long journeys afoot at speed that would seem incredible to a college athlete. He was a dead shot with the rifle, an expert hunter of game. Other men, long since forgotten, were all these things.

But Daniel Boone was reverent in the belief that he was ordained by God to open the wilderness. He was brave with a courage remarkable for its calmness and serenity. Calmness and serenity, indeed, seem to have been his characteristics in all his human relations. Those who knew him remark frequently on this, speak of the fact that where everyone else was an Indian hater, Boone never cherished rancour against them, so that as honourable antagonists they always met, both in peace and war. He was trustworthy, so that when wilderness missions of great responsibility were undertaken, he was almost invariably the one called. He was loyal to the last drop of his blood, as you shall see in this narrative. He was ready ever to help others. These are simple, fundamental qualities, but they are never anywhere too common; they are rarely anywhere combined in one man: and in those rough times of primitive men they sufficed, when added to his wilderness skill and determination, to make him the leading and most romantic figure. If the Boy Scouts would know a man who in his attitude toward the life to which he was called most nearly embodied the precepts of their laws let them look on Daniel Boone. Gentle, kindly, modest, peace-loving, absolutely fearless, a master of Indian warfare, a mighty hunter, strong as a bear and active as a panther, his life was lived in daily danger, almost perpetual hardship and exposure; yet he died in his bed at nearly ninety years of age.


ANY normal and healthy boy would have revelled in a youth similar to that of Daniel Boone. He was the fourth of seven brothers; and was born on the banks of the Delaware River about twenty miles above Philadelphia. His place in history can be better remembered than by dates when you know that he was just three years younger than George Washington. When he was three years old, the family moved up state to a frontier settlement that has since become the city of Reading. Here he spent his boyhood and his early youth, and here he took his first lessons in a school that was to help him through all his life, the Wilderness.

For at that time Reading was a collection of huts situated in a virgin country. People lived in log houses set in clearings that were slowly and laboriously cut out from the forest. They spent their days swinging the axe, hauling and burning the brush and logs, heaving out the snarled and snaggy stumps which were sometimes burned, but more often dragged to the boundaries of fields where they were set on edge and so formed a fence of many twisted arms and crevices and holes and devious passageways through which such things as woodchucks or squirrels or ruffed grouse or small boys could slip in a fascinating series of games or escapes. And then the soil must be ploughed and planted. Cattle roamed the woods near by, with bells so that they could be more easily found. These must be brought in every night; and while usually they gathered of their own accord anticipating the reward of a few handfuls of corn, often they must be sought for in the depths of the forest. That was in itself a fine training in woodcraft; for not only must one find the cows, but must not get lost oneself. The clothes worn were spun and woven on the place; every item of food and wear, with very few exceptions, were grown or fashioned at home. Never was there lack of fascinating and useful occupation for the little Boones, occupation that not only developed their muscles but their wits.

For one thing was never forgotten. This was on the border of the Indian country. The little settlement of Reading was not near enough the savages' home country to be exposed to the frequent attacks in force which we in company with Boone shall see later; but it was always in danger of raids and forays by stray war parties from over the mountains. It was settled and inhabited in great part by men who in their youth had fought the Indians. As part of their earliest education the children were taught caution when out of sight of home. The woodcraft of moving quietly in the forest, of trying always to see everything before affording a chance of being seen, of freezing into immobility and silence at the slightest unknown sound or movement until it could be identified was impressed upon them as a mother partridge impresses the same thing on her young.

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