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Kentucky’s BIG Man Comes to Michigan

There are plenty of bigger-than-life men during the American Revolution. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry, to name a few. But hardly any were bigger Daniel Boone, who came to Michigan – as a prisoner.

Born in 1734 in Pennsylvania, Daniel Boone was one of America’s best-known folk heroes. He was always on the go, exploring or settling the American frontier. Although he had little formal education, he was literate. Much of his fame rested on his skill shooting a rifle. Boone also helped cut a trail through the wilderness to Kentucky called the Wilderness Road.

As the Revolution began, Boone built a wooden fort along the Wilderness Road that he called Boonesborough. He lived there with his wife, Rebecca, and their ten children. Hundreds of settlers traveling west stopped at Boonesborough since it was located along the only road going west.

Boone had many encounters with Native Americans. On one occasion, the Shawnees captured him. Because the Indians admired Boone for his skill in Kentucky as a hunter and woodsman, they let him live. They also brought him to Detroit.

They arrived on April 5, 1778.

Henry Hamilton, Detroit’s British commander, was impressed with Boone and tried to buy the frontiersman from his Indian captors. The Indians refused. Nevertheless, Hamilton gave Boone a horse, a saddle, blankets, clothing, and silver trinkets to trade with his Indian captors.

After spending ten days in Detroit, Boone and his captors traveled to Ohio. The Shawnee chief adopted Boone into his tribe and gave him the name Sheltowee, which means Big Turtle. After spending four months as a prisoner, Boone escaped and returned to Boonesborough. In 1782, a force of Detroiters and Michigan Indians defeated Boone and a large group of Kentuckians near Blue Licks, Kentucky. This was the last major battle of the American Revolution.

After the Revolution, Boone left Kentucky and moved to Missouri. He also published his autobiography, which brought him even more fame.

For more great stories on Michigan’s past, look to Michigan History magazine. For more information or a free trial issue, call (800) 366-3703 or visit http://www.michiganhistorymagazine.com/.