sional hunting concern that took himrninto the Appalachians for months at arntime.rnRiraeher details the worldly educabusinessrnrequired, tion that Boone’srnpointing out how the frontiersman figurernemerged as one of America’s firstrnheroic tvpcs. Most emigrants to thernUnited States had little knowledge ofrnhunting, the domain of the Europeanrnnobilitv, and thus the hunter enjoyed arnspecial status; the backwoods hunterrnhad to acc|uire a knowledge of Indianrnwavs, languages, and law (“the huntingrnwav of life that developed in the backwoodsrndepended on hidian knowledgernand skill,” Riragher notes), making himrnan intermediary between Europe andrnNatie America and enhancing his reputationrneven more. Boone quickly becamernsomething of a local celebrity, andrnwhen the French and hidian War brokernout General Edward Braddock soughtrnthe 21-vear-old’s services for the Britishrncause.rnAs in Pennsvlvania, ovcrhunting depletedrnthe stock of wild game in BluernRidge country. In 1773 Boone led hisrnfamiK to Kentuekv, where he had oftenrnhmited, but a Cherokee attack thatrnkilled his son James forced him to returnrnto North Carolina for two years. Inrn1775 he served as scout for the companyrnbuilding the Wilderness Road, duringrnwhich service he selected the site ofrnBoonesborough (now Boonesboro) onrnthe Kentucky River near present-dayrnLexington. When the Revolution camernBoone was suspected of harboring Toryrnsentiments, both for having helped thernBritish war against the Shawnee nationrnand for failing to express sufficient exuberancernfor the American cause. Still,rnhis neighbors respected him, and at onernpoint after the Revolution he was simultaneouslyrna lieutenant colonel in thernKentucky militia, a representative in thernVirginia state assembly, and a countyrnsheriff, having been elected to all threernposts.rnHis fame continued to grow. In 1783rnone John IMISOU, a Pennsylvania schoolteacher,rnmade the still-hazardous journcrnwestward along the Ohio River intornthe deep woods to find Boone and thernnext ear published a thoroughly romanticizedrnbook called The Discovery,rnSettlement and Present State of Kentucke….rnThe book failed to sell widelyrnin the United States but was quicklyrntranslated into several European languages.rnSoon intellectuals like JohaniirnWolfgang von Goethe were holdingrnDaniel Boone up as the model of Jean-rnJacques Rousseau’s “natural man,” andrnLord Byron devoted scxcral stanzas ofrnhis epic poem Don ]uan to the frontiersman,rncalling Boone “happiest ofrnmortals any where.”rnBut Boone, as Faragher points out,rnwas far from a noble savage. He loved tornread, often c[uoting from the classics orrnreading books like Gulliver’s Travels tornhis companions around the campfircrn(on a map of Kentucky vou will findrnLulbcgrud Creek as evidence of Boone’srnlove for Swift’s book). Later writersrnwould cite Boone’s famous inscriptionrn”Cilled a bar on tree in the vear 1760″rnas evidence of his marginal litcrac’, but,rnas Faragher notes, he was no more laxrnin his orthography than most of hisrncontemporaries. Often portrayed as arnviolent country bumpkin—perhapsrnthrough association with the LowlandrnScots migrants who came to America arndecade after the last wave of Quakers—rnBoone was in fact careful of his groomingrnand appearance, a man of even dispositionrnin whose household, a isitorrnreported, “an irritable expression wasrnnever heard.” Indeed, Boone practicedrnQuaker tolerance, and as an old man,rnat the height of his fame, he frequentlyrnobjected that he had only killed threernIndians in his lifetime.rnBoone may have been a great hunterrnand explorer, but in other pursuits hernwas less than self-sufficient. He oftenrnworked as a surveyor for land companies,rntraveling as far as New Odeans andrneastern Texas in their service. (I le complainedrnthat he could never afford tornlive anywhere those companies claimedrnterritorial rights.) He wasn’t much of arnsurveyor, Faragher notes; his own sonrnNathan admitted that Boone could dealrnwith rectangles well enough but littlernmore, and the irregular pattern of landrnholdings in Kentucky attests to his lackrnof skill. Nor does Boone seem to havernbeen much of a businessman; at onernpoint he owned some hundred thousandrnacres of land but lost most of it tornswindlers. Boone later remarked to a isitingrnjournalist that “while he could neverrnwith safety repose confidence in arnYankee, he had never been deeei ed bvrnany Indian, and he should certainh preferrna state of nature to a state of civilization.”rnStill, the stories multiplied. The contradictoryrnman who “contained multitudes”rn—the admirer of Indians whornparticipated in their destruction, thernslaveholder who cherished liberty, therndevoted familv man who prized solitudernand would disappear into the woods forrnyears at a time—was reduced to a simplemindedrnstalwart in his own lifetime.rn”Nothing embitters my old age more,”rnBoone said, “than the circulation of absurdrnstories. . . . Many heroic actions andrnchivalrous adventures are related of mernwhich exist only in the regions of fancy.rnWith me the world has taken greatrnliberties, and yet I have been but a commonrnman.” The “common man” finall’rnhad enough of his own legend, andrnin 1799 he removed his large extendedrnfamily to Femmc Osage, Missouri, thenrnunder Spanish rule. He had another incentivernto quit the land he had helpedrnsettle: in 1791, Faragher tells us, arnhunter killed the last Kentucky buffalo,rnand by the end of the centurv big gamernwas scarce everywhere in the territory.rnBoone’s celebrated habit of moving bevondrnthe mountains when the smoke ofrna neighbor’s chimney could be seen wasrnan invention of later biographers, butrnhe did object to being unable to providernfor his family.rnWhen death claimed Daniel Boonernon September 26, 1820, at the age ofrn85, he was still very much alive as a figurernof American folklore. /s publiclyrndisgusted as he had been with Kentucky,rnsome of his bones were dug up 25 yearsrnafter his death and reinterred under arnmonument in Frankfort, the state capital;rnthe Kentuekv politicians who engineeredrnthe move rightly reckoned thatrnmany ‘isitors would descend on the site,rnand to this day the monument remainsrna popular tourist attraction. Fhereafterrnscarcely a decade went b when somernnew biography or novel featuring Boonerndid not appear (Faragher docs not sayrnit, but James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstockingrn'[‘ales surely owe a great deal tornthe Boone legend). In our time manyrnpeople learned of Boone through thernimmensely popular I’V show of 1964 torn1970, in which, Faragher notes, FessrnParker simply reprised his portrayal ofrnDavy Crockett in an earlier Disney movie,rnmaking the comparatixely gentlernBoone “the rippin’est, roarin’est, fightin’estrnman the frontier ever knew” andrnextending the legend even farther fromrnthe truth.rnThe real Boone is far more interestingrnthan the mythical image, and thanks tornJohn Mack Eiragher’s livel) book wc finallyrncatch sight of him. Daniel Boone isrnMAY 1993/39rnrnrn