Edward Boone (1740-80)

Historical Marker #2059 in Bourbon County marks the location of the death of Edward "Ned" Boone, the brother of Daniel Boone.

In 1780, Daniel and Ned Boone were returning to Boone's Station located in present Fayette County, where Daniel lived from 1799 until about 1783. The two men were coming from Blue Licks on the Licking River where they had been hunting. Their horses were loaded with game. They paused in a meadow and Ned suggested they crack some nuts from a grove of trees nearby. Daniel was uncomfortable and commented that this was a likely place for an ambush by Native Americans, but Ned supposedly said "I don’t believe there is an Indian in one hundred miles of this place." Daniel saw a bear lumbering away, followed it into the woods, and shot it. Suddenly shots rang out from the woods, and Daniel realized they had been ambushed. Looking back he saw Shawnees gathered around Ned's body. He heard them say, "We have killed Daniel Boone!" Many people had reported that Ned and Daniel looked similar.

Daniel had no choice but to run and quickly found a hinding place in a canebrake. The Shawnees sent their dog after Daniel, but Boone killed it with his rifle and went deeper into the brake. He heard the Shawnees exclaim over the loss of their dog, but they did not try to find him, evidently satisfied that they had killed the famous Daniel Boone.

Daniel fled on foot, and made the remaining twenty miles to Boone's Station by morning. He led a party back to the place where Ned had been shot, and found a wildcat chewing on his brother's body. There was a report that the Indians took Ned's decapitated head to prove that they had really killed Daniel Boone. Daniel and the others in the party followed the trail to the Ohio River, but did not pursue the Indians across the Ohio. They likely buried Ned's remains where he was killed. On the way back to Boone's Station, they killed game for Ned's widow, Martha, and their five children.

The area where Ned Boone was killed is still referred to as the Cane Ridge, and although canebrakes no longer cover vast stretches of Kentucky, in the state's early days cane (Arundinaria gigantean), grew in abundance in the Bluegrass Region. The plant sometimes grew to a height of 20 feet, and individual cane stalks could grow as much as two inches thick. A dense stand of cane was virtually impenetrable, but animals, such as deer, elk, and especially buffalo, ate the leafy plant year round. Early hunters to Kentucky traversed oceans of cane that stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions due to their attractiveness to game. John Filson's 1784 map of "Kentucee" marked some areas of central Kentucky with an "Abundance of cane," which shows the importance of the plant to early hunters and settlers. The vast expanses of cane are now all but gone. By 1800 most of the canebrakes had been cleared by settlers who sought to make way for their crops.

Images

Boone Creek and Ned Boone's Grave

Boone Creek and Ned Boone's Grave

The Boone Society marked the site of Edward's grave with a stone and fenced area. It is shown as a dark area between the two smaller trees in the middle of this photograph. The location was chosen based on the narratives of interviews by Lyman Copeland Draper. He interviewed Daniel Bryan in 1834 and Thomas S. Bouchelle in 1884 for the account of Ned's death. Courtesy of Hopewell Museum. View File Details Page

Canebrake

Canebrake

This native North American plant spreads by rhizomes and by seed. It once covered vast areas of Kentucky. Cane was almost completely eradicated by the pioneers in the early 1800s to make room for grain crops. The leaves of cane were highly prized as cattle fodder before other feeding crops were extensively grown. Courtesy of Hopewell Museum. View File Details Page

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone

Edward "Ned" Boone reportedly looked like his more famous brother Daniel, shown in this idealized portrait, which was painted in 1839. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

John Filson's Map

John Filson's Map

John Filson's famous 1784 map of "Kentucee" describes large areas of cane in central Kentucky. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Map

Map

This 1795 map shows the Blue Licks area where Ned and Daniel Boone were hunting before being attacked by Native Americans in Bourbon County. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Hopewell Museum, “Edward Boone (1740-80),” ExploreKYHistory, accessed March 24, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/434.

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