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The Captivity Of Boone And Kenton
by [?]

Colonel Smith was not the first whose captivity was passed in the Ohio country, but there is no record of any earlier captivity, though hundreds of captives were given up to Bouquet by the Indians. In spite of the treaties and promises on both sides, the fighting went on, and the wilderness was soon again the prison of the white people whom the savages had torn from their homes. The Ohio tribes harassed the outlying settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia, whose borders widened westward with every year; but they were above all incensed against the pioneers of Kentucky. Ohio was their home; there they had their camps and towns; there they held their councils and festivals; there they buried their dead and guarded their graves. But Kentucky was the pleasance of all the nations, the hunting ground kept free by common consent, and left to the herds of deer, elk, and buffalo, which ranged the woods and savannas, and increased for the common use. When the white men discovered this hunter’s paradise, and began to come back with their families and waste the game and fell the trees and plow the wild meadows, no wonder the Indians were furious, and made Kentucky the Dark and Bloody Ground for the enemies of their whole race, which they had already made it for one another in the conflicts between the hunting parties of rival tribes. It maddened them to find the cabins and the forts of the settlers in the sacred region where no red man dare pitch his wigwam; and they made a fierce and pitiless effort to drive out the invaders.

Among these was the famous Daniel Boone. He had heard of the glories of the land from a hunter who wandered into Kentucky by chance and returned to North Carolina to tell of it among his neighbors. Two years afterwards, in 1769, when a man of forty, Boone came to see for himself the things that he knew by hearsay, and he found that the half had not been told. But among other surprises in store for him was falling into the clutches of an Indian hunting party which ambushed him and the friend who was with him. They both escaped, and soon afterwards Boone’s brother and a neighbor, who had followed him from North Carolina, chanced upon their camp. Boone’s friend was before long shot and scalped by the Indians; the brother’s neighbor was lost in the woods and devoured by the wolves. Then the brother went home for ammunition, and Boone was left a whole year alone in the wilderness. The charm of its life was so great for him that after two years more he returned to North Carolina, sold his farm, and came to Kentucky with his family. Other families joined them, and the little settlement founded in the woods where he had ranged solitary with no friend but his rifle and with foes everywhere, was called Boonesborough.

The Revolutionary War broke out, and the Ohio Indians, who had hitherto fought the pioneers as Englishmen, now fought them as Americans with fresh fury, under the encouragement of the British commandant at Detroit. In January, of 1778, Boone took thirty of his men, and went to make salt at the Blue Licks, where, shortly after, while he was hunting in the woods, he found himself in the midst of two hundred Indian warriors, who were on their way to attack Boonesborough. He was then fifty years old, and the young Indians soon overtook him when he tried to escape by running, and made him their prisoner. His captors treated him kindly, as their custom was with prisoners, until they decided what should be done with them, and at the Licks his whole party gave themselves up on promise of the same treatment. This was glory enough for the present; the Indians, as they always did when they had won a victory, went home to celebrate it, and left Boonesborough unmolested.