Squire Boone, Jr.

Squire Boone Jr. was an American pioneer and brother of Daniel Boone. In 1780, he founded the first settlement in Shelby County, Kentucky. The tenth of eleven children, Squire Boone was born to Nathan “Squire” Boone Sr. and his wife Sarah Boone in Berks County, Pennsylvania at the Daniel Boone Homestead. Although overshadowed by his famous brother, Squire Boone was well known in his day.

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1852 painting of Squire Boone

Squire Boone Jr. was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania on October 5, 1744. In 1749 his family moved to Rowan County, North Carolina[1] and lived in the Yadkin Valley. At age 15, 1759, he was sent back to Pennsylvania to apprentice as a gunsmith under Samuel Boone, a cousin. After five years of apprenticeship he returned to North Carolina. On August 8, 1765, he married Jane Van Cleave, whose father was of Dutch heritage. Together the couple had five children.[2]

From 1767 to 1771 he went on several long hunts with his brother Daniel into the Kentucky wilderness. In 1775, Richard Henderson, a prominent judge from North Carolina, hired Daniel Boone to blaze what became known as the Wilderness Road, which went through the Cumberland Gap and into central Kentucky. Squire Boone accompanied his brother, along with 30 others, eventually establishing Boonesborough, Kentucky.

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In Spring 1779, after the siege of Boonesborough, where Squire had a rifle ball cut out of his shoulder, he moved his family to the settlement at the Falls of the Ohio that would become Louisville. In 1780, he brought 13 families to “Painted Stone”, a tract of land in Shelby County belonging to his father-in-law, and established a Station (fort) there, the first permanent settlement in the county. He was wounded in April 1781 when Indians attacked Painted Stone Station; complications of the gunshot injury would result in his right arm being an inch and a half shorter than his left.

On September 13, 1781, the settlers abandoned the undermanned station and headed for nearby Linn’s Station, however Squire Boone was still too weak from his injury to make the trip, staying behind at Painted Stone Station with his family and one other. The fleeing settlers from the station were attacked in what came to be known as the Long Run Massacre.

In 1782, he began acting as a land locater for wealthy investors who did not want to personally risk living on the frontier. However, due to financial losses in this line of work, he lost his own property, including the station, in 1786, and was forced to settle elsewhere in the county. He served two terms in the Virginia legislature in 1789 and 1790 and was the primary sponsor of a bill to chart the town of Louisville, Kentucky.[2]

After attempting to establish a settlement near present-day Vicksburg, Mississippi and staying with Daniel Boone in Missouri for several years, in 1806[3][4] he eventually settled with his family in Harrison County, Indiana, south of Corydon. There he settled with his four sons and the sons of Samuel Boone. The settlement is in what is now called Boone Township, and it began to flourish early on. Squire Boone personally acquired a large tract of land on the western edge of the township near the cave he and his brother had hid in many years earlier to evade Indians. Boone considered the cave to be sacred and decided that was where he wanted to be entombed.

On his land Boone carved stone out of a nearby hill to build his home. He carved into the quarry wall various religious and political statements that are still there today. Boone would also build Old Goshen Church, one of the first churches in the state. Boone also became a close friend of Harvey Heth and involved in the local politics of the area as one of the leading citizens. He was Harrison County’s Justice of the peace in 1808.[5]

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Marker denoting Squire Boone’s original burial spot.

He died, age 71, on August 5, 1815, and was buried in a cave on his property. His remains were left undisturbed for many years, but in the mid-20th century relic hunters began taking parts of his coffin and even some of his bones. His coffin was then moved deeper into the cave, where it resides today, at the end of the tour of Squire Boone Caverns.

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Notes

  1. The Boone Society – Profile of Squire Boone
  2. Kleber, p. 99
  3. in 1804 according to The Boone Society
  4. A History of Indiana By Logan Esarey, Pg. 205 in 1802 according to The History of Indiana
  5. Indiana and Indianians, 1919, Pg. 299

Sources

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