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course until he came to Big Sandy river, having entirely missed the Ohio, and the fertile region of Kentucky. He returned home after a journey of prodigious labor, chiefly among the mountains; and his report was rather calculated to repress than to excite curiosity.
The first adventurer who is known to have penetrated through Kentucky to the Ohio, was John Finley, who, with a few companions, traversed this region in 1769. Of him, or his adventures, little is known. His account of the country - its ex
. tent, its fertility, the abundance of game, and the exuberance of the vegetation, were considered fabulous; and his name would probably have been lost, had it not become connected with that of Daniel Boone, to whom he acted as guide in a subsequent expedition.
Boone was a man of strongly marked character. There is no proof that he possessed great talents, or that he could have shone in any other station than that in which he was placed. His bodily vigor, his love of hunting, his courage, and his perfect equanimity of mind under every vicissitude of fortune, were the prominent points in his character; and his singular adventures, with the fact of his being the first successful explorer of this region, have rendered his name celebrated. He was not a misanthrope, who retired to the woods because he was disgusted with the world, but a man of social and benevolent feelings, of mild and unassuming manners, and of strict integrity. He was bold and daring, deeply imbued with the spirit of adventure, and gifta
ed with an uncommon share of that cool, indomitable courage, which can neither be daunted nor surprised, which is seldom excited into rashness or chilled into despondency, and which enables its possessor to act with calmness in every emergency.
We shall not recount the adventures of Boone, but barely allude to them. Inflamed with curiosity, by the accounts he had heard of the surpassing beauty and fertility of Kentucky, he determined to explore it, and in 1769, set out with one companion. They found the land filled with hostile Indians, against whom they were obliged to keep a continual guard. They wandered with stealthy steps by day, and at night crept into the most secret coverts for repose; practising the arts of savage life for subsistence, and the stratagems of savage warfare for protection. Superior to the Indians in their own mode of warfare, he succeeded in eluding, or in beating them, and continued to roam through these forests for two years. Once, himself and his companion were captured, and escaped; more than once, their camp was plundered; they were robbed of their arms and ammunition; his companion was killed; but still Boone was undaunted. His brother followed him, found him in the wilderness, supplied him with a gun and ammunition, and they wintered together in a cabin formed of poles and bark. In the spring of 1770, the brother returned to North Carolina, leaving Daniel Boone alone in the woods, the only white man in Kentucky. If any proof was wanting, of the ardor with which Boone pursued his designs, or the courage which he imparted to others, it would be found in this separation of the brothers;
the one singly undertaking a painful and dangerous journey, of several hundred miles, without a path or a guide, the other remaining alone in the midst of a wil
a derness, separated from the habitations of white men by a range of almost inaccessible mountains, and surrounded by thousands of enemies, who eagerly sought his life, and daily traced his footsteps with unwearied hostility. The intrepid pioneer continued to rove through the forest, subsisting upon game, and eluding the Indians by cunning devices, until the return of his brother, in the July of the same year; they explored the country together during the remainder of that year, again wintered in the wilderness, and in the spring of 1771, returned to their families.
If we are tempted to wonder at the former achievements of Boone, his next adventure must increase our admiration. In the autumn of 1773, he returned to Kentucky, with his family, accompanied by fortytwo other persons. If formerly he was alone, he was also unincumbered; he now brought his furniture, farming implements, and cattle, and was surrounded by females and children. His party was too small to meet the enemy in open warfare; and it was too large, and too heavily burthened, to escape by flight or concealment. They advanced, however, with confidence, and had penetrated some distance into the wilderness, when they were attacked by a large party of Indians; and six of the emigrants, including the eldest son of Boone, were killed
The savages were beaten off, but the cattle of the whites were dispersed, and themselves so much disheartened, that they recrossed the mountains to the settlements on Clinch river, where they remained until 1774. In the summer of that year, Boone, with one companion, penetrated to the falls of Ohio.
Having again carried his family to Kentucky, in 1775, the only permanent residence of Boone, for some years from this time, was at his station," on Kentucky river; for such was the name which was given in the new settlements to the rude fortresses, to which the early emigrants resorted for protection. Other adventurers followed, and settled around him, looking up to him as their shield in danger, and at all times as their counsellor and guide. The savages continued to annoy them with unceasing hostility; sometimes laying siege to the fort, frequently attempting to surprise it, and continually lurking about in small parties, way-laying the hunters, assailing those engaged in agriculture, and capturing the females and children in sight of the fortress. We should exceed our limits, and unnecessarily shock the feelings of the reader, if we should detail all the achievements of Boone, the privations of himself and his companions, and the barbarities of their unrelenting foes. He continued to sustain himself in the midst of danger, displaying in every emergency, that consummate skill and patient courage, which elevated him above ordinary men; and distinguished by a gentleness of manners, and a benevolence of heart and action, which secured the affection of his friends, and won respect even from his ferocious enemies.
From this time the forests of Kentucky began to be rapidly peopled. The settlers came in small parties, and spread over the whole country, each little colony erecting its own fort, and appointing its own leader. The Indians continued to harrass them. The latter were now more than ever inflamed with rage and jealousy against the Americans, by the arts of the British agents, who supplied them with arms and ammunition, bribed them to hostility by valuable presents, and poisoned their minds by incendiary speeches. The whole district of Kentucky exhibited .scenes of bloodshed.
We must condense these events. The name of Boone is the most conspicuous among the pioneers, because he was the earliest adventurer to the shores of the Ohio, and continued longest to brave the perils of the forest. But there were others who were superior to him in education and strength of mind, and his equals in every other respect. Boone was remarkable for the perfect equanimity with which he bore every trial. Never greatly excited, he was never alarmed nor despondent. Others were allured to the wilderness by ambition or cupidity, in the pursuit of wealth, or lands, or fame; but he seems to have enjoyed the life of the pioneer, and to have dwelt in the woods from choice. Others hunted down the Indians with rancorous hatred; Boone only defended himself against their assaults, and never troubled his head about them while they let him alone. He was good humored, social, and disposed to live in quiet; love of peace, rather than fondness for war, made him a dweller on the frontier; and when the restraints of society pressed around him, when the cavils of the neighborhood became vexatious, or any other cause rendered his residence dis