To honor the impact of Daniel Boone the Southern Appalachian Historical Association hosted an educational event at the Hickory Ridge Living Museum in honor of Daniel Boone Day, which falls on June 7 every year.
According to the Library of Congress, frontiersman Boone first saw the forests and valleys of present-day Kentucky on June 7, 1769. For more than a century, the Kentucky Historical Society has celebrated that day as “Boone Day.”
Boone was an early American frontiersman who gained fame for his hunting and trailblazing, which mainly occurred through the Cumberland Gap, a natural pass through the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, according to the Library of Congress.
This year’s Boone Day celebration took place on Saturday, June 11.
“Daniel Boone was so revered that the people of the community felt him important enough to name their town after him and his pioneer spirit,” said Marrena Greer, Historical Interpreter at Southern Appalachian Historical Association. “This was the third year SAHA has hosted a Daniel Boone Day here at Hickory Ridge History Museum. The turnout seems to have doubled since the first event in 2020.”
At the event, sixth-great-grandchild of Daniel Boone, Robert Alvin Crum, spoke about his ancestor’s historical impact while acting as the frontiersman.
“I am a direct descendant of Daniel Boone through his daughter Lavinia and he’s my sixth-great-grandfather. His family moved out of North Carolina into Kentucky and my family moved west into Illinois,” said Crum. “When I came to North Carolina I thought, ‘oh yeah, he also lived here’ and began a series of paintings and am now writing a book called “Return to the Land of my Ancestors.””
After introducing himself to the audience, Crum began acting as Daniel Boone, sharing his journey as a frontiersman and hunter.
At the event, Crum was dressed in what he would have worn on Daniel Boone’s journey to Kentucky, including props like guns, a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection and a hunting knife.
In his presentation, Crum spoke about the day that is celebrated on June 7, when Daniel Boone first saw Kentucky.
“In 1767, I wanted to go into the land they knew as Kentucky. And in that land, I learned that there was plenty of game and, as a commercial hunter, that’s where I wanted to go,” said Crum, speaking as Daniel Boone. “And so, in 1767, for the first time, I knowingly went through the Cumberland Gap and we reached a place where I could see the land of Kentucky. That date, June 7, 1776, later was named National Boone Day because that was the day I first saw Kentucky.”
In addition to the journeys of Daniel Boone, Crum also shared some interesting facts about life at the time. He said that Daniel Boone would likely have never worn a raccoon hide like many people think, but instead a hat that provided protection from the sun.
Also at the event were representatives from the Daniel Boone Chapter of the North Carolina Daughters of the Revolution. The representatives displayed information about the organization and its efforts, including supporting veterans and preserving the legacy of their ancestors. Many of the members were dressed in historically accurate clothing that would have been worn in the mid-to-late 1700s.
In the 18th Century Tatum Cabin, May Bohlen, the president of the North Carolina Boone Heritage Trail, was cooking a meal the way Rebecca Boone likely would have prepared. In the cabin, Bohlen cooked a corn bread with herbs and butter, which was cooked in the fireplace.
The Southern Appalachian Historical Association is a nonprofit organization preserving the High Country’s cultural heritage from its early years of settlement in the late 18th Century.