BOONE — A one-time resident of North Carolina for more than 20 years, the elderly Daniel Boone gave his last words of encouragement to two of his adult children — Nathan and Jemima — 200 years ago, on Sept. 26, 1820.
He died at his son Nathan’s home in what is now Defiance, in St. Charles County, Mo. Daniel and wife Rebecca had moved near the Missouri River from Kentucky in 1799, bringing family members with them. At that time, their new home was still in Louisiana Territory and owned by Spain. They had lived in Kentucky for approximately 25 years.
Ever searching for land with enough “elbow-room,” Boone lived out the remainder of his days in Missouri, hunting and trapping even into old age. He continued to travel back to places he’d earlier called home, such as Kentucky and Pennsylvania, to settle debts and visit old friends.
The only known portrait made of Boone during his lifetime was painted in 1819, the year before he died, by artist Chester Harding who visited him in Femme Osage River valley (now Defiance), Mo.
After his wife’s death in 1813, Boone lived with his son, Nathan, until his own death in 1820. He was just a month shy of his 86th birthday. He was laid to rest next to Rebecca Boone’s burial place in what is now Marthasville, Mo.
Visitors can now visit their Missouri graves, although their remains were exhumed and relocated to Frankfort, Ky., in 1845.
Many memorials in honor of Boone have since been erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution and other entities throughout America — especially in Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
In North Carolina, the N.C. Daniel Boone Heritage Trail Inc — a nonprofit formed in 2011 — has a mission is to identify and celebrate the life of Daniel Boone during the years he lived in the Yadkin River valley (1752-1773) through educational and historical interpretation. The group also aims to promote heritage and cultural tourism.
NCDBHT is a multi-county collaboration with members in Watauga, Davidson, Rowan, Forsyth, Davie, Iredell, Yadkin and Wilkes counties. For more information on Daniel Boone in North Carolina visit www.ncdanielboonetrail.org.