Today, the Boone Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers the family’s journey to Kentucky and the attack on their party 243 years ago.
John Filson’s The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucky published in 1793 contained the Adventures of Daniel Boone.
An excerpt follows describing his adventures leading up to and during the move to Kentucky:
One day I undertook a tour through the country, and the diversity and beauties of nature I met with in this charming season, expelled every gloomy and vexatious thought.
Just at the close of day the gentle gales retired, and left the place to the disposal of a profound calm. Not a breeze shook the most tremulous leaf.
I had gained the summit of a commanding ridge, and, looking round with astonishing delight, beheld the ample plains, the beauteous tracts below.
On the other hand, I surveyed the famous river Ohio that rolled in silent dignity, marking the western boundary of Kentucky with inconceivable grandeur.
At a vast distance I beheld the mountains lift their venerable brows, and penetrate the clouds. All things were still.
I kindled a fire near a fountain of sweet water, and feasted on the loin of a buck, which a few hours before I had killed.
The sullen shades of night soon overspread the whole hemisphere, and the earth seemed to gasp after the hovering moisture.
My roving excursions this day had fatigued my body, and diverted my imagination. I laid me down to sleep, and I awoke not until the sun had chased away the night.
I continued this tour, and in a few days explored a considerable part of the country, each day equally pleased as the first.
I returned again to my old camp, which was not disturbed in my absence.
I did not confine my lodging to it, but often reposed in thick cane-brakes, to avoid the savages, who, I believe, often visited my camp, but, fortunately for me, in my absence.
In this situation I was constantly exposed to danger and death.
How unhappy such a situation for a man tormented with fear, which is vain if no danger comes, and if it does, only augments the pain.
It was my happiness to be destitute of this afflicting passion, with which I had the greatest reason to be affected.
The prowling wolves diverted my nocturnal hours with perpetual howlings; and the various species of animals in this vast forest, in the day time, were continually in my view.
Thus I was surrounded with plenty in the midst of want.
I was happy in the midst of dangers and inconveniencies.
In such a diversity it was impossible I should be disposed to melancholy.
No populous city, with all the varieties of commerce and stately structures, could afford so much pleasure to my mind, as the beauties of nature I found here.
Thus, through an uninterrupted scene of sylvan pleasures, I spent the time until the 27th day of July following, when my brother, to my great felicity, met me, according to appointment, at our old camp.
Shortly after, we left this place, not thinking it safe to stay there longer, and proceeded to Cumberland river, reconnoitering that part of the country until March, 1771, and giving names to the different waters.
Soon after, I returned home to my family with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucky, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune.
I returned safe to my old habitation, and found my family in happy circumstances.
I sold my farm on the Yadkin, and what goods we could not carry with us, and on the twenty-fifth day of September, 1773, bade a farewell to our friends, and proceeded on our journey to Kentucky, in company with five families more, and forty men that joined us in Powel’s valley, which is one hundred and fifty miles from the now settled parts of Kentucky.
This , promising beginning was soon overcast with a cloud of adversity .
For upon the tenth day of October, the rear of our company was attacked by a number of Indians, who killed six and wounded one man; of these my eldest son was one that fell in the action.
Though we defended ourselves, and repulsed the enemy, yet this unhappy affair scattered our cattle, brought us into extreme difficulty, and so discouraged the whole company, that we retreated forty miles, to the settlement on Clench river.
We had passed over two mountains, viz. Powel’s and Walden’s, and were approaching Cumberland mountain when this adverse fortune overtook us.
These mountains are in the wilderness, as we pass from the old settlements in Virginia to Kentucky, are ranged in a southwest and northeast direction, are of great length and breadth, and not far distant from each other.
Over these, nature hath formed passes, that are less difficult than might be expected from a view of such huge piles.
The aspect of these cliffs is so wild and horrid, that it is impossible to behold them without terror.
The spectator is apt to imagine that nature had formerly suffered some violent convulsion; and that these are the dismembered remains of the dreadful shock; the ruins, not of Persepolis or Palmyra, but of the world!
I remained with my family on Clench until the sixth of June, 1774, when I and one Michael Stoner were solicited by Governor Dunmore, of Virginia, to go to the Falls of the Ohio, to conduct into the settlement a number of surveyors that had been sent thither by him some months before; this country having about this time drawn the attention of many adventurers.
We immediately complied with the governor’s request, and conducted in the surveyors, completing a tour of eight hundred miles, through many difficulties, in sixty-two days.
The Boone Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin shows with an image of George Caleb Bingham’s oil painting depicting Daniel Boone escorting settlers through the Cumberland Gap.