Daniel Boone was a legendary American pioneer who helped explore and settle Kentucky. He gained fame as a trailblazer and hero of the American West.
Born in 1734 near Reading, Pennsylvania, Boone became skilled at hunting and trapping during his childhood. Around 1767 he began making trips into Kentucky, following a trail over the Appalachian
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Mountains. In 1775 Boone and a group of men built the Wilderness Road, running from eastern Virginia to Kentucky across the Cumberland Gap, a pass in the Appalachian Mountains. That same year Boone built the settlement known as Boonesboro on the Kentucky River. He defended this fort against Cherokee attacks many times.
From his youth, Boone had earned a reputation as a brave frontiersman who explored unsettled regions and saved himself from dangerous situations. According to legend, Boone was captured by Indians one night and taken to their camp. He was able to escape by dawn and cut three notches in a tree to mark the spot. Captured by Indians on another occasion, Boone and his companions were released when the pioneer tricked them into thinking he could swallow a knife. Another story says Boone killed a she-bear with his knife just as the animal was attacking him.
Daniel Boone's fame spread across the country during his lifetime, and his legend continued to grow after his death. In 1823 the English poet Lord Byron wrote about him in his masterpiece Don juan. The Society of the Sons of Daniel Boone, which later became part of the Boy Scouts of America, was founded in 1905 to teach children about the outdoors.