Historically Yours: Daniel Boone

By Elizabeth Davis

Few people, if any, have never heard of Daniel Boone. One of America’s first folk heroes, Boone was born in Pennsylvania on November 2, 1734. He was a pioneer, frontiersman, hunter, woodsman, and explorer in what would one day become the state of Kentucky. 

Two of Boone’s sons, Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, settled in Missouri, just north of the Missouri River about 1807 near a salt spring, or “lick” as it was called in those days. Salt was a valuable commodity and many trips were made between St. Charles and the town of Franklin that had sprung up near the salt-lick. The road, which ran parallel to the Missouri River between the two towns became known as the Boonslick Road.

About 1810, Hannah Cole, a widow with nine children, along with her brother-ins-law’s family, founded the first settlement south of the Missouri River across from Franklin. The town became Boonville, but contrary to popular belief, it was not named after Daniel Boone. It was named after his sons, Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone. 

To add more confusion to the mix, Boonville is not in Boone County. It is in Cooper County which was organized on December 17, 1818 and named after Sarshel Benjamin Cooper. One of Boonville’s biggest challenges is explaining to tourists that Boonville is not in Boone County. 

There is a Boone County, Missouri, which is just one county east of Cooper County. Named after Daniel Boone, the county was established on November 16, 1820, less than two months after Boone’s death on September 26. 

Although Daniel Boone died almost two hundred years ago, I would be remiss if I didn’t let readers know that Daniel Boone, (a.k.a. Patrick Lee) will be at Cooper’s Ridge, just outside of Boonville, for an 1818 Southern Dinner in October.  “Liberty Trees” is sponsored by the Hannah Cole Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Trees are to be planted in Boonville’s Walnut Grove Cemetery.   David Barton, who wrote Missouri’s first constitution, and several Revolutionary War veterans are buried there. 

Elizabeth Davis was born and raised in Cooper County, Missouri, and has written HISTORICALLY YOURS for the Boonville Daily News for over ten years. She has covered the Civil War, US history, and Cooper County history. In celebration of Missouri’s Bicentennial, she has syndicated her column statewide and encourages readers all over the Show Me State to submit topic suggestions for future columns to [email protected]