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.