guest post

The constitutionally sombre and the constitutionallysanguine

posting time:2023-12-06 22:18:57

As for the rough and hearty mob at the door, Daniel must have known not a few of them well; though they had been children in the days when he and William Clark's brother strove for Kentucky. It seems fitting that the soldiers with this expedition should have come from the garrison at Kaskaskia; since the taking of that fort in 1778 by George Rogers Clark had opened the western way from the boundaries of Kentucky to the Mississippi. And among the young Kentuckians enlisted by William Clark were sons of the sturdy fighters of still an earlier border line, Clinch and Holston Valley men who had adventured under another Lewis at Point Pleasant. Daniel would recognize in these--such as Charles Floyd--the young kinsmen of his old-time comrades whom he had preserved from starvation in the Kentucky wilderness by the kill from his rifle as they made their long march home after Dunmore's War.

The constitutionally sombre and the constitutionallysanguine

In May, Lewis and Clark's pirogues ascended the Missouri and the leaders and men of the expedition spent another day in La Charette. Once again, at least, Daniel was to watch the westward departure of pioneers. In 1811, when the Astorians passed, one of their number pointed to the immobile figure of "an old man on the bank, who, he said, was Daniel Boone."

The constitutionally sombre and the constitutionallysanguine

Sometimes the aged pioneer's mind cast forward to his last journey, for which his advancing years were preparing him. He wrote on the subject to a sister, in 1816, revealing in a few simple lines that the faith whereby he had crossed, if not more literally removed, mountains was a fixed star, and that he looked ahead fearlessly to the dark trail he must tread by its single gleam. Autumn was tinting the forest and the tang he loved was in the air when the great hunter passed. The date of Boone's death is given as September 26, 1820. He was in his eighty-sixth year. Unburdened by the pangs of disease he went out serenely, by the gentle marches of sleep, into the new country.

The constitutionally sombre and the constitutionallysanguine

The convention for drafting the constitution of Missouri, in session at St. Louis, adjourned for the day, and for twenty days thereafter the members wore crape on their arms as a further mark of respect for the great pioneer. Daniel was laid by Rebecca's side, on the bank of Teugue Creek, about a mile from the Missouri River. In 1845, the Missouri legislators hearkened to oft-repeated pleas from Kentucky and surrendered the remains of the pioneer couple. Their bones lie now in Frankfort, the capital of the once Dark and Bloody Ground, and in 1880 a monument was raised over them.

To us it seems rather that Kentucky itself is Boone's monument; even as those other great corn States, Illinois and Indiana, are Clark's. There, these two servants unafraid, who sacrificed without measure in the wintry winds of man's ingratitude, are each year memorialized anew; when the earth in summer--the season when the red man slaughtered--lifts up the full grain in the ear, the life giving corn; and when autumn smiles in golden peace over the stubble fields, where the reaping and binding machines have hummed a nation's harvest song.

C. A. Hanna, "The Scotch-Irish," 2 vols. New York, 1902. A very full if somewhat over-enthusiastic study.

H. J. Ford, "The Scotch-Irish in America." Princeton, 1915. Excellent.

A. G. Spangenberg, Extracts from his Journal of travels in North Carolina, 1752. Publication of the Southern History Association. Vol. I, 1897.

Top Ranking