One of the most famous figures of the frontier, Daniel Boone clashed with the Shawnee and sought to exploit the riches of a newly settled region. Despite Boone's fame, his life remains wrapped in mystery. The Boone legend, which began with the publication of John Filson's The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boone and continues through modern times with Fess Parker's Daniel Boone series, has become a hopeless mix of fact and fiction. Born in 1815, archivist Lyman Draper was a tireless collector of of oral history and is responsible for much of what we do kw about Boone. Particulary interested in frontier history, Draper conducted interviews with the famous and the obscure and collected thousands of manuscripts (he walked hundreds of miles through the South to save historical materials during the Civil War.) In ann 1851 visit with Boone's youngest son, Nathan, and Nathan's wife, Olive, Draper produced over three hundred pages of tes that became the most important source of information about Daniel. The interviews provide a wealth of first-hand information about Boone's years in Kentucky, his capture by Indians, his defense of Fort Hood, his lengthy hunting expeditions, and his final years in Missouri. My Father, Daniel Boone is an engaging account of one of America's great pioneers, in which Nathan makes a point of separating fact from fiction. From explaining the methods his father used to track game to detailing how land speculation and legal problems from title claims caused Boone to leave Kentucky and take up residence farther west, Nathan Boone's portait of his father brings a crucial period in frontier history to life.
Neal O. Hammon is an architect and amateur historian. He is the co-author of Virginia's Western War: 1775-1786 and numerous articles on Kentucky history.