Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Monument for a Kentucky Hero

Daniel Boone is recognized as one of the heroes in Kentucky history. While he may not have led the life portrayed by Fess Parker  as Daniel Boone on television, he certainly led an exciting life. Kentuckians can thank him for blazing a trail through the Cumberland Gap, opening up the western frontier in 1769 and then,  a few years later,  settled an area he called Boonesborough.[1]  He left Kentucky for Missouri, though, when his land speculations failed and he fell into debt.[2]

Boone died in Missouri in 1820 and was buried beside his wife, Rebecca, in an unmarked grave  near Marthasville, Warren County, Missouri.[3]   More than 20 years later, a movement was begun, at the instance of citizens of Kentucky, to exhume the remains of Daniel and Rebecca Boone and have them re-buried in Frankfort, the capitol of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. [4]  They were the first persons buried in Frankfort Cemetery on September 13, 1845. The day of their re-burial in Frankfort, all businesses were closed and  there was a grand parade composed of  public officials, officers and  soldiers of the late war, members of fraternal organizations, militia members in uniform, Sunday Schools and teachers, clergy and members of the Methodist Episcopal Conference as well as gentlemen on foot, strangers and citizens in carriages and strangers and citizens on horseback.[5] And, of course, there was military music.

The call went out all over Kentucky for its citizens to contribute to the erection of a suitable monument for Daniel and Rebecca Boone. [6] Men in each area of each county were appointed to collect donations for the monument. The following notice appeared in Livingston County:

" It appearing to the Court that the remains of  Daniel Boone & wife have been removed from Missouri  to Kentucky the state of his youthful & daring [illegible] now rest in the public Cemetery at Frankfort, the Capital of our state, without a tomb or monument to mark the place where they rest[?] and It appearing that our beloved Commonwealth desires & have determined to appeal to her citizens & to the remaining Persons of the state & their  Sons & descendants for donations & gifts to be appropriated to erecting a Suitable Monument to their memory. And this Court, feeling [illegible] on this subject & conscious that the undertaking is a good & patriotic one & to enable all within this County males & females,  old & young, to participate in it   Do think proper to appoint the following persons as agents to receive gifts & donations for this purpose & who will report to this Court at the next December Court, to wit -
For Salem -  Wm. McCroskey
For Berry's Ferry & Neighborhood -  U.G. Berry & N. Barns
For Hopewell Furnace - Hiram Leathers & Jas. H. Leech
For The Point - John H. Wood
For Smithland - John E. Newman, Jas. L. Dallam, John C. McGraw, D.W. Patterson & John A. Martin
Together with the Magistrates & Deputy Sheriffs"[7]

Daniel and Rebecca Boone got their monument, but not until the Kentucky Legislature appropriated $2000 for the monument in 1860.[8]  But that isn't the end of the story of the monument. It was damaged during the Civil War and in 1904, $2000 was appropriated to restore the monument.[9]

Then, in 1983, a forensic anthropologist in Kentucky, stated he found clues that Daniel Boone might not be buried in Frankfort Cemetery. He believed  that a man of African descent had, by mistake, been buried there beside Rebecca  and very likely Daniel was still buried in Missouri. [10]  Of course, Missourians claim Daniel is still buried in Missouri and Kentuckians are certain Daniel's remains rest in Frankfort Cemetery. Whether or not Daniel Boone is buried in Frankfort Cemetery can be debated, but one thing is certain - he remains  a Kentucky hero.

[1] "Daniel Boone Biography (1734-1820),", accessed 20 Dec 2018.
[2] "Daniel Boone," Wikipedia,, accessed 20 Dec 2018.
[3]  Ibid.
[4] Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky Passed at December Session 1848, Chapter 207, An Act to Incorporate the Boone Monumental Association, approved Feb. 12, 1849, (Frankfort, Ky: A.G. Hodges & Co, 1849) 145.
[5] Ms. Jennie C. Morton. "History of The Frankfort Cemetery(From the Streets of the Capital), Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 7, No. 19 (Jan 1909)pp 23, 25-34, JSTOR <https://www/> accessed 19 Dec 2018.
[6] Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, December Session 1848, Chapter 207.
[7] Livingston County, Kentucky Court Order Book K:32-33, 10 Aug 1848.
[8] "Daniel Boone," Wikipedia.
[9] The Kentucky Statutes, Fifth Edition, Vol. I, Chapter 88A, (Louisville, KY: The Baldwin Law Book Company, 1915) 1420, accessed 18 Dec 2018.
[10] "The Body in Daniel Boone's Grave May Not Be His," The New York Times, 21 July 1983, New York Times Archives online, <, accessed 19 Dec 2018.

Published 2 Jan 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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