Blue Licks Burial Party of Daniel Boone:
Body Retrieval of Israel Boone and Thomas Boone
 
By Donna Dodd Terrell Jones, B.A., M.A., J.D.
 

Daniel Boone’s Fayette County Militia forces returned to the Lower Blue Licks’ battlefield before Benjamin Logan’s contingent initially went there many days, if not a week,  later. Most accounts of the Battle of Blue Licks focus only on the burial party which was lead by Benjamin Logan.  However, after the Battle of Blue Licks at least two, and probably more, “burial parties” [1]returned to the battlefield to rescue survivors and to retrieve and “bring in” remains for at-home burials.  An early after-the-Battle-of-Blue-Licks burial party involved Daniel Boone and a contingent probably largely of those from or who had retreated to Boone Station. Boone made his initial return to the post-battle Lower Blue Licks field of engagement to retrieve at least the bodies of his son, Israel, and of his nephew, Thomas so they could be returned to their home at Boone Station for burial.  Thomas was the son of Daniel Boone’s brother, Samuel and his wife Sarah Day Boone.  At that time Daniel, Rebecca, Samuel and Sarah Day Boone all lived in Fayette County at Boone Station with a host of other Boone families and relatives.  In keeping with their strongly held pioneer moral code[2]   Daniel and Samuel returned the Indian-slain bodies of their sons to what is now known as The Boone Station State Historical Site, 240 Gentry Road in Lexington, Kentucky. Both Israel Boone’s and Thomas Boone’s bodies were interred at Boone Station. [3]

C. Frank Dunn Believed Boone Returned the Day After Battle

          C. Frank Dunn believed  that Daniel Boone and a party  returned to the Blue Licks battlefield the day after the battle.  This return was well before Logan first went to the battlefield approximately four to ten  days after the battle. [4]  Dunn thought Israel’s body was brought home to Boone Station when the first and  Boone-led burial party  went to  Blue Licks prior to Logan’s later trip.   Dunn’s assessment was  based on information garnered by Dunn at the 1925 Boone Family Reunion held in Lexington.[5]

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE BATTLE OF BLUE LICKS

          The following section of this article is devoted to supplying the reader with background information on the Battle of Blue Licks.

Israel Boone and Thomas Boone Died at the Battle of Blue Licks 

Israel Boone did participate in and was killed[6] during the Battle of Blue Licks.[7]    Also Thomas Boone participated in and died in the Battle of Blue Licks.[8] Rachael Denton reported regarding “Blue Licks Defeat” that “Five of the Boone’s Station men were killed + one John Morgan – taken prisoner, 2 subsequently returned – Israel Boone was killed.”[9]

Samuel Boone Participated in the Battle of Blue Licks             

 “The name Samuel Boone is on the list” of those participating in the Battle of Blue Licks.[10]        

 The Battle of Blue Licks

             To fully understand how Israel Boone and Thomas Boone came to be buried at Boone Station after they lost their lives in the Battle of Blue Licks a cursory review of what transpired at the Battle of Blue Licks is appropriate.   To frontier Kentuckians the Battle of Blue Licks was that generation’s D-Day, Pearl Harbor or 9/11. A condensed account of the August 19, 1782 Battle of Blue Licks follows.

Indians under the influence of Col. Byrd, Capt. Caldwell, Simon Girty and British Canadian sympathizers[11] surrounded and commenced a siege on Bryan Station.   After several days, they departed to Blue Licks.  The pioneer men, under the commands of Col. John Todd and Col. Stephen Trigg, pursued the Indians to Blue Licks.  They did not wait for reinforcements being brought from Lincoln County by Col. Benjamin Logan.  Prior to approaching the Blue Licks, Daniel Boone, then being thought to be only a Lieutenant Colonel  and not in command, cautioned against proceeding. He suspected an ambush.  Boone’s admonition was not heeded.  The men, perhaps under the rash encouragement of Hugh McGary, ill-advisedly charged ahead.  They were ambushed. The result was great loss of life by the pioneers.  Cols. Todd and Trigg, were killed.  Benjamin Logan’s reinforcements from Lincoln County, in the southeastern part of what is now Kentucky,  arrived at Bryan Station (which is approximately forty miles from the Lower Blue Licks battle site) roughly eight hours after the battle had ended. 

Different Trails Back from Lower Blue Licks to Bryan and Boone Stations

Presumably, after the Battle of Blue Licks the survivors would have returned to their home stations (largely Strodes, Boonesborough, McGees or the garrison at Lexington) or they may have gone with their new commander back to Boone Station or they may have gone to Bryan Station.  In the 1780’s those returning from the Lower Blue Licks to either Bryan Station or Boone Station usually initially followed a buffalo trail into present day Bourbon County until the route split and those going to Boone Station veered off onto a southeastward path. Those going on to Bryan Station stayed on the southwestward buffalo trace. [12]

After the Battle of Blue Licks Daniel Boone returned to Boone Station probably via the southeastward trail to Boone Station. Others probably  retreated along the southwestward buffalo trail to Bryan Station. Blue Licks was approximately six (on horseback)  to eight (on foot)  hours or between thirty-three and about forty miles away[13] from Boone Station.  Daniel Boone was very familiar with the route from Boone Station to the Lower Blue Licks as he and others traveled there frequently on the well established buffalo trail[14] to boil down salt.   Boone’s familiarity with the route resulted in the 1783 Fayette County court appointing him “to view and mark the most convenient way.”  [15]  

Boone Stored Bodies in a Cave Until Transport to Boone Station

Traditions exist that at some time shortly after the battle Boone carried  Israel’s body from the battlefield and initially stored it in a nearby cave.[16] This presumably happened as soon as was possible after Boone abandoned Israel’s body on the battlefield, took Israel’s  horse and fled from the imminent threat of losing his own life.[17]  Boone’s reported storage of one or more bodies in the nearby cave along the river may have taken place within a few hours of the battle.  Thereafter, the bodies may have been retrieved and transported back to Boone Station on a trip Boone made to the battlefield before Logan got there.  Or, alternatively, the bodies may have been stored in the cave on an interim trip Boone, and probably others, made back to Blue Licks after the battle but before the day that Logan and his burial party first ever went to the battlefield. Since the temperature deep inside a cave is usually around 55 degrees, the relative coolness of the cave may have served to somewhat preserve the cave stored bodies  until the time when Boone retrieved and transported the bodies back to Boone Station. .

Boone’s Post-Battle Return to Boone Station                                      

After the Battle of Blue Licks Daniel Boone initially returned to Boone Station. [18] According to an 1897 account by Bennet H. Young, a member of The Filson Club, “When daylight came [the day after the Battle of Blue Licks]...Boone had found safety in his own fort [Boone Station]; Captain Ellis was with him.” [19] He told  Rebecca  the news of their son’s death.[20]   Presumably Samuel did the same and similarly informed Sarah Day of their son’s death.   

Logan’s Troops Encountered Returning Battle Survivors                           

             Some of the Blue Licks battle survivors went back to Bryan Station.[21] Logan’s reinforcements were barely beyond Bryan Station, probably on the buffalo trace to the Lower Blue Licks, when they met some retreating battle survivors.  This initial encounter between Logan and the battle weary survivors probably did not involve any of the Boones who, in returning to Boone Station, would likely have already veered off the buffalo trace onto a more southeasterly path towards Boone Station.  Reportedly “those [battle survivors] on horseback, arrived [back at Bryan Station] within six, and others on foot, within eight, hours, after the battle.” [22] Subsequently, upon hearing of the battle devastation,  all of Logan’s forces retreated to Bryan  Station.  [23]    After meeting the battle survivors, Col. Logan “returned to the Bryant’s [sic]  Station and Lexington forts.” As any remaining Bryans at Bryan Station[24] were largely Boone relatives, and as Logan had recently supported Calloway in Calloway’s efforts to have Boone charged with and tried at Logan’s Fort for treason,   it is hard to imagine that Logan was very comfortable remaining within the confines of the Bryan Station fort. It may have been less disdainful for him to have gone to the nearby fort at Lexington where no Boones actually resided, though Boone sympathizers were also there.  Logan probably heard reports of Trigg and Todd’s deaths and realized that, resultingly, Boone, Logan’s nemesis, was now in command in Fayette County where all of this was taking place.  Moreover, just prior to the Battle of Blue Licks the Indians had mounted a siege upon Bryan Station and Logan may have feared that after their pronounced victory at Blue Licks the Indians would again return to Bryan Station to finish it off. Resultingly, Logan may have feared for his personal safety.  Thus, it would stand to reason that Logan, personally, and perhaps as opposed to his troops, may have fled to the Fort at Lexington.          

Logan Refused to Go to Blue Licks Until Assured of No Indian Threat

              Only one post-battle returning  party personally included Logan. [25]  Though Daniel Boone was a part of the single trip Logan personally  made to the Blue Licks battlefield  [26] such did not preclude Daniel Boone from having made prior post-battle trips to the Lower Blue Licks battlefield.   Logan did not personally return to the battlefield until Logan had “satisfied himself that the Indians had crossed the Ohio and were beyond his reach.” [27]  When Logan  finally went to the battlefield, he and his force [28] had a sole purpose:  to bury  the dead.[29]  They were not concerned with an Indian attack.

Multiple Time-lines Exist for Logan’s Post-battle

Burial Party’s Return to the Blue Licks Battlefield

             Within two to ten days after the battle Logan and his burial party eventually  went  to the Blue Licks Battlefield. 

               Reportedly, in Shane’s interview with Josiah Collins, Collins claimed  that at Bryan Station and Fort Lexington  Logan “gave positive orders for none to leave those places till he could get all the strength from the south side of Kentucky together to pursue the Indians.[30]  Perhaps Logan feared the Indians, worried about his troops’ safety or  balked at offering support under Daniel Boone’s command.   Col. Logan apparently did not try to issue orders regarding the regular residents of Boone Station,  Boonesborough, McGee’s Station, Bryan Station or Strodes Station.  Those are the Fayette County stations from which Boone had largely  recruited his Fayette County militia forces[31] and , apparently, Logan, as head of the Lincoln County Militia,  had no military presence or influence over any of the militia members from those locations.   Logan would necessarily have confined any orders to “stay put” to his own Lincoln County militia members as, within Fayette County,  they would have been the only troops over which Logan, arguably,  had any command authority.  After the Battle of Blue Licks, all other available troops were under the command of Col. Boone.

The reported time frames for when  Logan personally went to Blue Licks vary greatly.  It has been suggested that Logan went to the battlefield at some time between one and ten days after cessation of the battle.   According to Marshal, after Logan arrived at Bryan Station he and his troops , “...halted...until the rear came up-which was one day- and...late in the evening, resumed his march...the greater part of the night..and [arrived at]...the licks [at sunrise].[32]  Marshal does not make it clear “late in [what] evening” Logan allegedly resumed his march or how long it was until “the rear (which may have been additional troops called to come from the south side of Kentucky) came up”.  Ranck reported Logan went to Blue Licks “[o]n the second day after the battle.”[33] Cotterill commented of Logan that,   “His delay of four days in marching to the battlefield is inexplicable.”[34]  Kerr’s History of Kentucky echoes H. Marshall’s report.[35] Lewis Collins thought Logan stayed at Bryan Station until the last of the battle survivors had returned.[36]  As Squire Boone, with his badly broken thigh, took at least three days to return and, thereafter, it would have been almost a one day march to Blue Licks,  Collins apparently thought Logan did not commence his journey towards or arrive at  the battlefield for at least four days. Lofarro has concluded Logan did not arrive at the Blue Licks until five days after the battle. [37] Faragher thought Logan’s first personal journey to the battlefield was on August 24th, the fifth day after the battle.[38] On August 26, 1782 Levi Todd wrote from Lexington to his brother, Capt. Robert Todd that “Col. Logan ...went to the [Blue Lick battle] ground on the 24th.” [39] Flint thought the Battle of Blue Licks transpired on August 19, 1782 but that Logan did not arrive at the battle ground to bury the dead until August 25th, the sixth day after the battle.[40]  A similar report was made by John Bradford.[41] On October 3, 1782 Col. Arthur Campbell of Washington County, Virginia wrote to Col. William Davies that “Logan is a dull narrow body, from whom nothing clever need be expected...he reached the field of action six days afterwards.”[42] Smith concluded  the “vanguard” of Logan’s force went back to Bryan’s “until the [unspecified] rear came up.”[43]  It is unclear whether Smith means when the “rear” of the fugitives from the battle got to Bryan Station  or the “rear” of Logan’s contingent of reinforcements arrived at Bryan Station probably from Harrodsburg and/or points south of Lexington.  Smith continues, “...late in the evening, [unspecified “they”] began a march for the battle-ground...to bury the dead. At noon the next day they arrived [at the battlefield]...[t]he savages were gone.” Depending on interpretation, Smith’s report could mean that the “vanguard” of Logan’s force  went to Blue Licks on either one day after the battle or the fourth day after the battle. Mastin’s evaluation suggests it was so long before Logan’s south side forces (probably a contingent from Harrodsburg) could be collected that it was the following Sunday (seven days after the battle) before Logan and those south side forces could get to the battleground. [44] According to Josiah Collins, the battle took place on Monday morning but it was a full seven days later,  “the next Sunday before they [Logan and his troops] could get to the battleground…I was with them to bury the dead.”[45]   Hammon suggests  that Logan moved out his army [perhaps from Bryan Station] four days after the day of the battle to advance to Blue Licks. [46] Hammon also sets forth that “[i]t was ten days before...men could...bury the dead.”[47]         

Discrepancies exist regarding when Logan’s burial party went to the Blue Licks battlefield.  Most agree it was many  days after the battle before Logan’s forces went to the battlefield.  After the Battle of Blue Licks Logan’s fear of Indians, temerity, animosity towards Boone and ineptitude in the face of Boone’s superior command rendered him no obstacle to Fayette Countians  being free to act in accordance with their strongly held rescue and retrieval moral code which would have compelled them to return to the battlefield at the earliest possible time.

Circumstances of the Rudimentary Burials Logan’s Party Afforded

          Once they eventually got to the battlefield only the most rudimentary treatment was initially accorded by the Logan-led burial party to the majority of Blue Licks battle victims’ bodies.  The treatment given to the forty-some-odd whose remains were addressed by the Logan-led burial party at Blue Licks was a mass accumulation of the bodies in one place. [48]  They were not buried as that term is known today.  Bradford explained,  “The solemn rites of sepulture were performed in a very rude manner.  The ground was so rocky, that without spades or shovels, it was with great difficulty a quantity of earth could be collected sufficient to cover the mangled remains of the slain.[49]   Bakeless interprets,  “As much earth as possible was scraped away.  The men, with Logan personally present, built a stone wall four feet high and forty feet long.  Behind this they piled the dead, throwing over them rocks, logs, brush, more rocks - anything to keep the animals off.” [50]   Hammon documents that the bodies were “thrown together promiscuously” and merely “covered with stones and old logs, as was the manner of burying in those times on such occasions.”[51]

BOONE RETURNED TO THE BLUE LICKS BATTLEFIELD 

BEFORE LOGAN EVER WENT TO THE LOWER BLUE LICKS

          The Boones returned to the battlefield to retrieve their sons’ bodies (and perhaps the bodies of others).  This is known because:  (1)  the Boones’ strong  moral code which dictated their burial practices for Indian-slain pioneers required such actions;  (2)  Daniel Boone, as Fayette County militia commander, was not constrained by Benjamin Logan’s “stay put” order;  (3) Boone had ample time to make interim trip(s) to the battlefield before Logan ever got there because Logan long postponed Logan’s battlefield visit;  (4) John Bradford’s report establishes that persons other than Logan’s forces returned to the battlefield;  (5) Boone’s forces probably first returned to Blue Licks to garner the “all clear” Indian scouting report Logan required before Logan would go there;  (6) Boone’s letter to Gov. Harrison establishes he returned to the battlefield under continued Indian threat, and thus, Boone was at the battlefield before Logan went there;  (7) Boone’s Fayette County militia (Lexington garrison participants) returned to the battlefield before Logan;  (8) body decomposition reports from Boone’s Fayette County militia establish that on the battlefield they saw identifiable intact remains many days before Logan’s troops eventually encountered only unidentifiable putrid remains;  (9) Israel Boone’s far less decomposed body was encountered much earlier than were the putrid remains of those  buried by Logan’s burial party; (10)  Boone’s milita returned to Blue Licks shortly after the battle as is established by  Samuel Boone Jr.’s pension application; (11)  Boone’s milita is probably responsible for Michael Stoner’s swift rescue from the battlefield apparently days before Logan eventually arrived; (12)  many battle casulaties were not buried at Blue Licks and, thus, some were carried off before Logan arrived;  (13)  Daniel Boone’s precedent for burying a son, James, establishes that he would have returned to Blue Licks for Israel’s and Thomas’s remains;  and (14)  four families (Gordon/Frank, Boone/Barker,  Trigg/Christianson and Todd)  who were allied with Daniel Boone and who lost family members in the battle banned together and, with the help of Hugh McGary,  together took affirmative actions for generations to keep the  Boone Station cemetery lands’ title in the hands of  one of those four families.  

(1)Frontier Moral Codes Would Have Compelled a Swift Body Retrieval and at Home Burial of Boone’s Indian-slain Relatives and Friends

              On the Kentucky frontier, and particularly within the Boone family, traditions and moral codes for how to deal with the victims of Indian attack established that the men of Boone Station would have made every possible post-battle effort to swiftly retrieve the bodies of their family members and neighbors from the battlefield and to swiftly return them to their home-site station for burial at that station.  Explanation of this code and research supporting the existence of this code has previously been set forth in a separate article. [52]  Fundamentally, the code required that upon notice to the community a “burial party” of pall bearers was almost immediately formed[53] and sent out to the site where the victim was slain to retrieve the body to prevent as much plundering and desecration of the body as was possible.  Thereafter, the body was “brought in” (carried back home, often on a litter between packhorses),  to the home place and it was interred in soil nearby to the homestead.  But for the interment (obviously), the same moral code applied to the treatment accorded to those thought to have been wounded in an Indian attack who were incapable of removing themselves from the attack site and were left behind by those fleeing from the Indians for their own lives.  This moral code was driven, in part, by a strong repulsion for the desecration that the Indians often inflicted upon a victim’s body, by a strong English churchyard burial tradition that, on the frontier,  was adapted into a “homeyard” burial tradition and by a strong sense of duty to the victim.  Simply put, on the Kentucky frontier this code dictated the only decent way to behave.  Frontierspersons who did not adhere to this code were deemed to have disgraceful character flaws.  The Boones followed this pattern with regard to Daniel’s brother, Edward[54],  Daniel’s brother-in-law, William Bryan and any number of other pioneers[55].

(2) Boone’s Elevated Rank Post-Battle;  Boone Controls

Fayette County Militia;  Logan/Boone Animosity

             Cols. John Todd and Stephen Trigg were both killed in the Battle of Lower Blue Licks.  Consequently, Daniel Boone “became the ranking officer of the Fayette militia.”[56]   On November 1, 1780 Kentucky County had been divided by the Virginia Assembly into the three counties of Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln and Daniel Boone had been commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel of the County of Fayette, under John Todd as Colonel.[57]    When Todd and Trigg both died at Blue Licks, Boone was next in line to assume their command.  As early as February 7, 1781 Daniel Boone may have already been commissioned a “Full Colonel”.  Thus, Boone may have unknowingly equally ranked Logan, Todd and Trigg during the Battle of Blue Licks.[58]   Post-battle, as the then top Fayette County militia official carrying at least equal rank with Logan, Boone was not subject to Logan’s Lincoln County command.  Logan had recently provoked and participated in the court martial prosecution of Boone on treason charges.  Boone had been fully acquitted.  This foiled court martial took place at Logan’s fort (aka St. Asaph’s) near the present town of Stanford in what was then, and is still now, Lincoln County.  The post-battle action almost exclusively took place in Boone’s Fayette County territory (in 1782 the battle site was still within Fayette County), thus, Boone likely out-ranked  Logan with regard to most all post-battle decisions involving Fayette County militiamen.  In Boone-friendly Fayette County after the Battle of Blue Licks one would have to wonder whether people most hated the Indians or Benjamin Logan.  Certainly, any post-battle alliance of the Boone forces with those of Benjamin Logan would likely have been at best tenuous.  Boone was not constrained by Logan’s orders. After the Battle of Blue Licks Boone and the Fayette County militia were apparently on their own. 

(3) Boone’s Burial Party Would Have Had Time to Return to the Battlefield and Do Body Retrieval Work Before Logan’s Burial Party Ever Went There

Ihe Lower Blue Licks was approximately an eight hour journey on foot or a six hour journey on horseback from Bryan Station.  It would have been a similar treck from Boone Station.  Thus, within the likely four to ten days between the battle and Logan’s eventual journey to the battle site there was plenty of time in which Daniel Boone and his burial party could have previously arrived at the battleground and done their rescue and  body retrieval work. The Boones could have swiftly returned on August 20, 1782,  found  Israel’s and Thomas’s (and perhaps others)   remains,  retrieved them and stored them, according to tradition,[59]  in the nearby cave for later transportation or  the Boones could have retrieved them, very briefly stored them and almost immediately  transported them to Boone’s Station.

 

(4) Bradford’s Report Indicates that Boone’s Forces Returned

That a Boone funeral contingent did return to the battlefield before Logan’s militia group ever arrived is evidenced by John Bradford’s report that militia (probably from Fayette County)  as well as friends of the killed and missing returned to the Blue Licks to address burial of the dead. [60]  A Boone led group of people from Boone and nearby stations would far more likely have been composed of militia and “friends of the killed and missing” than would have been the Lincoln County troops of Logan.  

(5) Boone’s Militia Scouted Battlefield to Assure Logan of Indian Absence 

          Logan had to “satisfy himself that the Indians had crossed the Ohio” before Logan would travel to the battlefield.  Thus, prior to Logan eventually going, someone else had to make prior post-battle Indian surveillance and scouting treks to the Blue Licks battlefield.  Since Logan’s troops were under his orders to stay confined in the forts at Bryan Station and Lexington, then it must have been Boone and his Fayette County militia members who first returned to the battlefield and eventually assured Logan that there was no longer an Indian presence there.  Thus, Boone must have made one or more returns to the battlefield prior to when Logan’s burial party went there.

(6) Boone’s Letter to Gov. Harrison Evidences that Boone Preceeded Logan

               That Boone made a post-battle trip to the Blue Lick’s battlefield before Logan is evidenced by Boone’s August 30, 1782  post-battle letter to Virginia Governor Harrison.[61] In that letter Boone  says that at some unspecified juncture while Boone was once present at the Blue Licks battlefield  as a burial party member, Boone was working swiftly and cursorily due to hunger, exhaustion and continued fear of Indian attack. [62]   As there was no continued fear of Indian attack when Logan eventually went to the battlefield, then  Boone must have led a separate and earlier burial party to the battlefield and he must have done this shortly after the battle when he and his burial party were exhausted, hungry and in fear of imminent  Indian attack because, perhaps, the Indians had not yet or had only very recently left the field. Certainly, very soon, perhaps one day or less, after the battle, hunger, exhaustion and fear of Indians was much more problematic that it would have been on days four through ten after the battle when it is most likely that  Logan personally  first went to the battlefield after having been assured by some other knowledgeable source that the Indians were no longer present at or near the battlefield.  

(7) Boone’s Lexington Garrison Militiamen Returned to Blue Licks Before Logan Ever Went There.

Fayette Countians and, more specifically, Lexingtonians (probably including Levi Todd who then lived in Lexington and whose brother, John, died in the battle) quickly returned to the Blue Lick’s Battlefield after the battle was over. This is evidenced by a grizzly story of their behavior.   According to George W. Ranck’s  1883 “Guide to Lexington” [63]  Ranck wrote, “The old fort[meaning Lexington’s garrison]…shared in the terrible disaster of Blue Licks.  After this …massacre an Indian, who had skulled behind the savage army to plunder the bodies of the slaughtered whites, was killed by one of the Lexington garrison, and the settlers, burning with indignation and wild with grief over their great calamity, mounted his head upon a pole, which they planted upon the roof of the block house.”   Thus, at least one member of the Lexington garrison[64] returned to the battlefield so soon that at least one Indian was still present and plundering bodies.

(8)  Greatly Varying Body Decomposition and Identifiability Accounts Evidenced that Different Burial Parties Saw the Remains Many Days Apart.                                     

              The decomposition and desecration accounts regarding Blue Licks Battle victims’ bodies varied so widely that it is impossible to reconcile the discrepancies unless it is assumed that different reporters from different burial parties  were conveying information garnered at different times over widely varying days and, perhaps, in different weeks.  Generally, the gross and putrid level of body decomposition Logan’s burial party met was far more advanced  than the level that Boone’s burial party encountered.      

              The conditions Logan’s personally-led burial party encountered at Blue Licks were horrific. Bradford reported:

              A solemn silence pervaded the whole party as

 they approached the field of battle. No sound was uttered

 but the cry of the gorged vulture hovering over their heads. 

 Those who were drawn by affection to the horrid spectacle

with the hope of saving some relic of hair or garment from

a lost father, brother or friend, were denied this favor.  The

remains of the mangled bodies were so distended by the

excessive heat of the weather, or so disfigured by the 

tomahawk, vultures and wild beasts,  that it was impossible

to distinguish one individual from another. [65]

 

              Bradford’s account of the Logan-led burial party’s encounter with  horrifically and gastly decomposed bodies does not comport with Daniel Boone’s account.  Nathan Boone reported that Daniel Boone’s burial party encountered conditions wherein “ none of the bodies (which my father used to say was remarkable) were torn or eaten by varmints [sic]”[66]   The only way to correlate these widely conflicting accounts is to assume that Daniel Boone’s account was in reference to an observation he made very shortly (perhaps one day) after the battle while Bradford’s report reflects experiences garnered from observers who saw the battlefield four to ten days after the battle.

                  Whether any bodies were identifiable is also disputed, and, thus, suggests that the body identification reports were based upon the experiences of different burial parties arriving many days apart at the Blue Licks.    John Bradford’s Kentucky Gazette reported  the bodies were so “mangled,” “distended,” “tomahawked” and “preyed upon by animals” that it was “impossible to distinguish one individual from another.”[67] Yet, other accounts reflect Nathan Boone’s report that the bodies were not all so totally indistinguishably desecrated.  Judge Samuel Wilson, author of the 1927 book, Battle of the Blue Licks, August 17, 1782 and a member of the Pioneer National Monument Association acknowledged the variations in reports about the conditions of victims’ remains when he wrote: 

The statement commonly made that the bodies of the dead

had been so mutilated or were in such an advanced state

of decomposition that none of them could be recognized

is too broad to be taken literally.   We know positively,

from unquestionable authority, that Isaac McCracken, John

Kennedy, and, probably, Joseph Lindsay were identified by

relatives and friends, and there is good reason for thinking that

virtually all of those expressly named by Levi Todd in the list

he furnished his brother, Captain Robert Todd, on August 26,

1782, were obtained by examination of the bodies on the battle-field.

 

             This careful and conservative soldier does not say recognition was impossible but only that “it was hard to know one from another.” The list he prepared of the “names of the killed” contains a total of 45 names.  Of this number, it turned out  that all, in fact, but three, who had been taken prisoners, were slain.  Add to this the fact, reported by Colonel Logan, that “Trigg was quartered,” and it must be obvious that such minute and accurate details could not have been learned so soon after the battle, if the dead had been disfigured beyond all possibility of identification [68] 

             It is obvious that if some accounts of corpse conditions reported little decomposition and indicated that identification was readily accomplished and if  other accounts of corpse conditions reported grotesque decomposition to the point that identification was unachievable, then the observations underlying these vastly differing reports were made at widely differing times.  The observations, no doubt, were taken days apart and by different burial parties.  It is obvious that Levi Todd, a battle participant,  returned to the battlefield very shortly after the battle and  many days before Logan’s burial party finally arrived. 

(9) The Good Condition of Israel Boone’s Body Indicates It was Retrieved for Burial Long Before Logan Arrived at the Battlefield

             Unlike the bodies encountered by Logan’s burial party, Israel Boone’s corpse was  identifiable, undisturbed by animals,  capable of examination and far from totally putrid. 

                                           Nathan Boone’s Report

               Nathan Boone explained, “He [Daniel Boone] recognized his son Israel from the locality and some marks.  My poor brother’s face was blackened and swollen, as were all the others on the battle ground....”[69]  As the corpses encountered by Logan’s burial party allegedly were unidentifiable, obviously, if Nathan’s account is to be believed,  Israel’s remains were retrieved by an earlier burial party than Logan’s.

                                             Olive Boone’s Report

               Olive Van Bibber Boone, wife of Nathan Boone,  recalled, “They found Israel had been shot through the heart when he came back later with the burial party.” [70]  Thus,  Israel’s body “came back” to Boone Station with a burial party.  Also when that happened Israel’s body was sufficiently intact to be capable of examination for determination of the cause of death.  Thus, when examined upon return to Boone Station,  Israel’s body was not in the same greatly advanced state of decomposition as were the bodies Logan encountered.  Obviously Israel’s body had not stayed on the battlefield as long  as had  those bodies that laid on the battlefield in sweltering August heat  until Logan’s burial party eventually addressed them on the fourth to  tenth day after the battle.  Olive’s report evidences that Israel’s  “burial party” was not one and the same as  Logan’s burial party and that Israel’s burial party arrived at the battlefield fairly soon after the battle had ended.  Olive’s account supports that a Boone led burial party preceeded the Logan led burial party to the Blue Licks battlefield.

                                            Mrs. Rachel Denton’s Report

          Mrs. Racheal Denton said[71] of the Boone Station contingent for the Battle of Blue Licks that:  “Blue Lick’s defeat – Five of the Boone’s Station men were killed + one John Morgan – taken prisoner, 2 subseqently returned [killed bodies of Israel and Thomas] – Israel Boone was killed.”[72]  That two of the five Boone’s Station men were “subsequently returned” evidences that a probably Boone led burial party retrieved, brought in and buried at Boone Station the remains of Israel and Thomas Boone.

                                          Delinda Boone Craig’s Report

                Delinda Boone Craig reported, “[a]t the subsequent  burying of the dead, when Col. Logan went out, Col. Boone was along, recognized Israel-he was buried with the others.”[73]  It is interesting that Delinda, like Rachael Denton, uses the word “subsequent” regarding the burial of the Boone Station dead after the battle.  Delinda’s remark about  “when Col. Logan went out” poses more questions than it provides answers.  Is  Col. Logan having “went out”  a reference to the time after Logan’s arrival in Fayette County but when Logan was apart from Boone?  Is it Delinda’s way of referring to the perhaps several day period when Logan temporarily abandoned Boone’s command and the cause, ordered his troops not to leave the forts at Lexington and Bryan Station and failed to follow Boone’s lead while Logan apparently was sequestered (maybe at Bryan Station or Fort Lexington)?  Was Delinda referring to when Logan simply went out of consideration as a source of help and stayed away from the battlefield until he was assured the Indians had gone?     Delinda’s account states with assurance that Daniel Boone was with a post-battle burial party and while with that burial party Daniel Boone  “recognized” Israel.  This  “recognition” must have taken place very soon after the battle and before the August heat had provoked gross decomposition.  Since Logan’s personally led burial party encountered severely decomposed remains, that Israel’s body was recognizable suggests it was retrieved  days before Logan ever arrived at the battlefield.  Delinda says that  Israel’s body was buried “with the others” but she does not say where he was buried or what “others” he was buried with.  If Daniel Boone and Samuel Boone and their own separate-from-Logan’s burial party returned to the Blue Licks battlefield much faster and sooner than did Logan’s group, and if the Boone burial party retrieved bodies for transport back to Boone Station, then it is possible that the Boone burial party retrieved not only the bodies of Israel and Thomas Boone.  Delinda’s use of the word “Others” could mean that they retrieved other Blue Licks casualties who may also have been buried in the  Boone Station graveyard.  Some primary candidates for being “others” are Capt. John Gordon, Col. Stephen Trigg and Col. John Todd, all of whom  had family members subsequently involved in maintaining title to the Boone Station lands and cemetery.

               A wide disparity in the reported degree of decomposition of remains encountered at Blue Licks’ battlefield has been reported. Those returning within one day of the battle encountered far less decomposition than did those who  returned from four to ten days after the battle. This evidences that more than one “burial party” returned to Blue Licks. 

(10) Samuel Boone Jr.’s Pension Application Evidences A Boone Station Rescue Contingent  Returned to Blue Licks Long Before Logan Arrived           

             Revolutionary Soldier Samuel Boone, Jr.’s pension application establishes that after the battle at  Lower Blue Licks  the men at Boone Station soon  returned to the battlefield to bring in the Boone Station victims of the battle.  In August of 1782 there were  two “Battles of Blue Licks”. Kentucky has two Blue Licks locations. One is  Upper Blue Licks and the other is Lower Blue Licks.  The Battle of Blue Licks, which is the focus of this paper,  took place at Lower Blue Licks and was the second of the two battles to be fought.   The much smaller  Battle of Upper  Blue Licks (also called “Holder’s Defeat”)  occurred on or about August 12, 1782.   Samuel, Jr., son of Samuel and Sarah Day Boone and nephew of Daniel Boone, explained  he was detached to join  Major John Holder in pursuing Indians who had kidnaped Major Hay’s son, James, and Col. Richard Calloway’s son, John.   Major Holder and Samuel, Jr. and their contingent overtook the Indians at the Upper Blue Licks but were defeated.  After this “first” August of 1782 battle at Upper  Blue Licks  the surviving troops returned to Boone Station.  A few days later Indians conducted a siege on Bryan Station and very few men were available in the fort at Lexington to help with that siege because they were out as the burial party for the casualties of  Holder’s Defeat.[74]  Approximately a week later the  August 19, 1782 battle at Lower Blue Licks  took place.  After the Lower Blue Licks battle, in keeping with the strong frontier moral code,   a contingent from Boone Station did swiftly return  to the Lower Blue Licks to search for dead and or wounded.   Samuel Boone Jr.’s pension application set forth  that after the Upper Blue Licks battle  he remained at Boone Station and “...in a few days several of the wounded who were in the battle of the Lower Blue Licks were brought in, and he aided in taking care of them.” [75]  Thus,  after the Lower Blue Licks’ battle Boone Station  men returned to the battle area soon enough after the battle to be able to retrieve the wounded and have them brought in to Boone Station within a few days.  During this time they would also likely have brought  in  Boone Station’s casualties, Israel and Thomas Boone.   Thus, Samuel Boone’s pension application substantiates that close in time to the end of the battle Boone Station men returned to the battle area in search of their station’s battle casualties.

(11) Michael Stoner’s Story Indicates Next Day Return of a Rescue Party                          

               Michael Stoner’s  oft repeated (but seemingly undocumentable) story  suggests  that pioneer  forces returned to the battlefield  on the day after the Battle of Lower Blue Licks.  Michael Stoner supposedly was injured in the Battle of Blue Licks. Allegedly, he survived the post-battle Indian atrocities by hiding under bushes where, the day after the battle he was discovered and rescued by forces who had returned to the battlefield in search of wounded and bodies.  As Logan apparently did not return for from four to ten days after the battle,  Stoner’s rescue was most likely accomplished by  Boone’s forces. 


 

(12) Many of the Battle’s Casualties Were Not Buried at Blue Licks

               Many Blue Lick’s battle casualties were not  buried at Blue Licks.  Some of the casualties were retrieved and carried off  for burial elsewhere. Not all Blue Licks casualties had a grave at Blue Licks. 

Daniel Boone reported a loss of 77 men and added that they found but “forty-three on the ground, and many lay about which we could not stay to find.”[76]  Bradford reported that the “whole number” of pioneer soldiers participating in the Battle of Blue Licks was “176, out of whom 61 were killed, and 8 taken prisoners.” [77] Belue’s notes set forth that “Americans lost 77 men out of a force of 182.” Bakeless explained that Logan’s  burial party  did the best they could do but, nevertheless, “they did not find them all.  A few years later, a surveyor who carried a chain through the battleground said that he ‘never saw bones thicker in any place; never buried nor nothing.’ ”[78]

               Of the casualty bodies apparently not put into the mass grave by the Logan-led group, some remained unburied and some were carried away by  militia, family and friends who flocked to the battlefield.[79] 

               Judge Twyman claimed, “[T]he bones of Stephen Trigg...[ were]...gathered up later  for a separate burial.” [80]  A burial party other than Logan’s removed Trigg’s remains from the battlefield at a separate time and, ultimately, apparently interred them  in a place other than at Blue Licks.

               Individual  burials at other locations after bodies had been put in the mass grave by Logan’s men, could have taken place. Such post-burial re-burial events would not have been unique.   On August 11, 1838 Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in his notebook “It is the custom in this part of the country - - and perhaps extensively in the interior of New England - - to bury the dead first in a charnel – house, or common tomb, where they remain till decay has so far progressed as to secure them from the resurrectionists.  They are then reburied, with certain ceremonies, in their own peculiar graves.”[81]

          Because it is established that the bodies of many who died at Blue Licks did not necessarily get placed in the mass grave created at Blue Licks by Logan’s troops, therefore, it is possible that bodies of Blue Licks victims could have been buried elsewhere.

(13) Daniel Boone’s Precedent for Burying a Son, James, Establishes that he Would Have Returned to Retrieve Israel’s and Thomas’s Remains 

               A precedent exists for what Daniel Boone considered to be a proper burial for a beloved son, suddenly killed in the wilderness by Indians, when an initial rudimentary treatment of the remains was necessary due to imminent threat of further Indian attack.  Under these conditions, after an initial cursory treatment of the remains, Boone returned to the site where the body was left, re-acquired the body and effectuated  a subsequent proper burial of his son’s remains.  Daniel Boone did all of this  with the body of his son, James, who was killed by Indians in Powell Valley on the Wilderness Trail.[82]  On October 10, 1773 on his initial attempt to move his family into Kentucky and somewhere in the vicinity of Jonesville, Virginia,[83] Boone’s son, James, was brutally tortured and  murdered by Indians.  Boone’s party, which was about three miles apart from James’ group, went to the horrific scene the morning following the massacre.    Using a course of action that parallels Boone’s fast return  to his son Israel’s body in1782  after the Battle of Blue Licks,  in 1773 Boone swiftly went to his son James’s body within hours of James’s demise  and in both situations Boone feared further and imminent Indian attacks.[84]   In both instances Boone handled his sons’ bodies with a initial lesser degree of dignity than that which he ultimately accorded to them.  In 1782  Israel’s body was temporarily stored in a cave until Boone could bring it in to his home at Boone Station for burial.[85]   In 1773  “...the Mendinall brothers...James (Boone) and Henry (Russell were)...buried...in a common grave”[86] at their death site because at that time they were on the trail in transit and they were temporarily  “homeless”.   James Boone and his fellow victim,  Henry Russell, were both wrapped in the same sheet Rebecca sent with the burial party for just such a purpose.[87]  The pioneers group was so frightened by this attack that their journey was thwarted.  Most  returned  to North Carolina.  The Boones retreated to a friend’s cabin at the Clinch River. Seven months later, in May of 1774,  Daniel Boone returned “to look at the grave [of James].” [88]  Regarding James’ grave,  Bakeless reports that  “[l]ogs had, as usual, been laid above the graves to keep the wolves off, but the ravenous beasts had pawed them aside and dug part way down.  Boone opened the grave....” [89]  Boone “...found the bodies undisturbed.  Unwrapping Rebecca’s sheet, for the first time he gazed upon the mangled body of his son...He carefully re-wrapped them [James and Henry] in his saddle blankets and re-buried them separately, disguising the graves as best he could to deter animals and Indians.” [90]                     

          In the case of James, Daniel Boone swiftly went to his son’s body even though the threat of further Indian attack was imminent.  Boone swiftly secured his son’s remains the best that he could under the circumstances.  Boone later returned to retrieve James’s  remains and to accord them a more appropriate burial.  Consequently, it is more than reasonable to assume that when Israel was killed Boone swiftly went to his son’s body even though the threat of further Indian attack was imminent, that Boone swiftly secured his son’s remains the best he could under the circumstances (perhaps by storing them in a nearby cave)  and that Boone again returned as soon as was possible to retrieve the remains and to accord them the most appropriate burial he, at the time, could effectuate.  Additionally, if Israel’s remains had been somewhat decayed when Boone was dealing with them, apparently an unfavorable body decomposition state was no deterent to Boone’s moral ethic that required him to give his sons a dignified burial.  This is evidenced by the fact that Boone personally exhumed and handled  James’s remains almost seven months after James’s death.

(14)  Four Families of Blue Licks’ Victims Collaborated to Keep Title to the Boone Station Cemetery Lands 

               After the Battle of Blue Licks in late 1782 or  in 1783 Daniel Boone left Boone Station.  Daniel Boone’s claims to this land seemingly had been thwarted.  However, his brother, Samuel Boone and Samuel’s wife, Sarah Day Boone and many members of the Samuel/Sarah Day Boone  family line refused to accept that they would not be permitted to acquire title to the land Daniel Boone had claimed which now held the remains of their brother, their sons and other family members.     Thus, the Samuel Boone branch of the family remained at Boone Station which, at that point, supposedly belonged to absentee Virginian, William Strother Madison.  Over the largest part of the next approximately 209 years the family of Samuel Boone (father of Blue Licks casualty, Thomas Boone) gained and retained title to the Boone Station lands including the cemetery.  The Samuel Boone/Barker line garnered control over the Boone Station cemetery and lands in conjunction with and no doubt in collaboration with the families of other Blue Lick’s casualties  Stephen Trigg, John Todd and John Gordon.   This information, which  is the subject of and documented within one or more future and separate article(s) indicates the Boone/Barker family’s loyalty to their conviction that Israel and Thomas and Edward Boone were buried at Boone Station. 

CONCLUSION

          The only land from Kentucky that Daniel  Boone had ever been able to claim from pioneer times and had, since pioneer times, been able to continually possess was that land  holding the Boone  bodies in the Boone Station graves.  All that can presently be hoped for is that Kentucky does not now, or ever,  participate in assisting others to  de-consecrate and, in effect,  repossess those graves  by the old Boone Station homestead which have long been said to be made up of  the family dust.


[1]  The term “burial party” is used broadly  in this document  just as it was also used on the frontier.  On the frontier the word “burial” included more behavior than just the interment of a body.  More often than not a “burial party”  travelled to the death site, retrieved and bundled and transported the body, returned it to the homesite and then dug the grave and interred it very nearby to the deceased’s home.  Thus, simply because a “burial party” went to a death site did not mean that the bodies they found at the death site were buried at that death site.  See this author’s separate article on Indian-Slain Pioneer Burial Practices by Donna Dodd Terrell Jones on the website of “The Journal of Kentucky History and Genealogy,” http://jkhg.org/indian_slain_pioneers_burial_practices.htm.

2 See this author’s separate article on Indian-Slain Pioneer Burial Practices by Donna Dodd Terrell Jones on the website of “The Journal of Kentucky History and Genealogy.”http://jkhg.org/indian_slain_pioneers_burial_practices.htm.

3  See this author’s separate article on Boone Station Burial Reports for Israel Boone and Thomas Boone by Donna Dodd Terrell Jones on the website of “The Journal of Kentucky History and Genealogy.” http://jkhg.org/boonestationburialreports.htm.

4  Kentucky Citizen Newspaper, Paris, Kentucky, 12/12/1958, pp. 12-13, “Circumstances Surrounding Death and Burial of Edward Boone, Brother of Famed Frontier Explorer.”

5 On June 4, 1925 the very first nationwide Boone Family Association Reunion of a thousand or more gathered participants convened in the then small town of Lexington, Kentucky.  See Lexington Leader, June 3, 4 and 5,  1925.

6 During the Battle of Blue Licks to save his own life Daniel Boone had to temporarily abandon his mortally wounded son and did so utilizing his son’s mount (Draper Manuscript 6 S 151-74).    Boone abandoned Israel knowing Israel’s remains, if discovered, would likely be scalped (Belue, p. 78) This knowledge would have highly motivated Boone to swiftly retrieve his son’s body.  That Daniel and Rebecca and Samuel and Sarah Day Boone’s sons had died as the result of the fatal self-assuredness  of those  who failed to heed Daniel Boone’s ambush  warnings (Marshall, H., History of Kentucky, 1824, Vol. 1, p. 136-137)  must have created additional anxst for those grieving parents.  

[7] See separate article  by this author regarding Boone Station Burial Reports for Israel Boone and Thomas Boone. http://jkhg.org/boonestationburialreports.htm 

[8] Neal Hammon, Daniel Boone and the Defeat at Blue Licks,  published by The Boone Society, Inc., 2005,  Appendix 33 at p.121.  (Hereinafter Hammon/Blue Licks);   see also Draper Manuscript 22 C 60, the letter of Sarah Hunter;  and see also  Rebecca Boone Grant Lemond to Lyman C. Draper, March 1844, Trimble County, Kentucky, Draper Manuscripts, 22C33.   Further see Archives and Collection of the Papers of Hazel Arterburry Spraker housed in the Seattle, Washington Public Library, specifically the research of Mrs. George Guilvezan of Wisconsin that supported the inclusion of Thomas Boone’s name on The Childress Family Association’s Blue Licks Monument.  For additional information see this author’s article on Boone Station Burial Reports for Israel Boone and Thomas Boone. http://jkhg.org/boonestationburialreports.htm 

[9] Draper Manuscript 23 C 104(2). 

[10] Neal Hammon, Daniel Boone and the Defeat at Blue Licks,  published 2005 by The Boone Society, Inc., Appendix 33 at p.121.  (Hereinafter Hammon/Blue Licks). 

[11]  Hammon/Blue Licks, p. 102.

[12]  See author’s article entitled “Edward Boone’s Death (not Burial) Site. http://jkhg.org/eboonearticle.htm.

[13]  It was a “days march”.  Faragher,John Mack,  Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, 1992, Henry Holt & Company,  p. 217.  Those who escaped at Blue Licks were said by Daniel Booone  to have returned to Lexington  “in a few hours”. Filson, John, Daniel Boone, “Autobiography”, Kentucke, p,78, It is 33 miles from Bryan Station to Blue Licks. Hammon/Blue Licks, p. 65.  The battle began in the morning and Netherland’s band reached Bryan Station “that evening”. Bakeless, John,  Daniel Boone, Master of the Wilderness, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1989,  pgs.. 295 and 302.

[14] In Shane’s interview with Ben Guthrie  (11 CC 253-57)  it was reported that in the fall of 1782 men from Bryan Station and “Big Crossings” (probably Cross Plains  aka  Boone Station) cut out the road from Bryan Station to Blue Licks and that after they got out of the cane and after they got from Cross Plains to Bryan Station, then they followed buffalo traces which, allegedly, were as plain as roads.

[15]  Faragher,  John Mack, Daniel Boone:  The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, 1992, Henry Holt & Company,  p. 225  (hereinafter, Faragher).  

[16]  See the author’s prior article on Reports of Israel Boone and Thomas Boone Burials at Boone Station. http://jkhg.org/boonestationburialreports.htm  

[17]   Hammon, Neal O., editor, My Father, Daniel Boone, The Draper Interviews with Nathan Boone, The University Press of Kentucky, 1999 at p.77. (Hereinafter: Hammon/My Father)(Draper Manuscript 6 S 151-174).

[18]  Bakeless, John, Daniel Boone, Master of the Wilderness, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1989 (original copyright 1939) at page  305 (hereinafter Bakeless).   

[19] Young, Bennett H., “The Battle of the Blue Licks”, 1897, Louisville, John P. Morton & Co., publisher, at page 64.       This account comports with the 1967 recollection  of the author’s grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Barker Dodd. 

[20] Faragher,  p. 222.

[21] William Elsey Connelley and E. M. Coulter, Ph.D., History of Kentucky, edited by Judge Charles Kerr, Vol. V, American Historical Society, New York & Chicago, 1922, p.198 (hereinafter Kerr).

[22] Marshall, H., History of Kentucky, Geo. S. Robinson, printer, Frankfort, Ky., 1824, Vol. I, p. 141.

[23] Marshall, H., History of Kentucky,  Geo. S. Robinson, printer, Frankfort, Ky., 1824, Vol. I, pp. 142-143 (hereinafter Marshall).

[24]  By the time of the Battle of Blue Licks many, if not most, of the Bryans may have moved elsewhere as they, like the Boones, had recently received a ruling from the Virginia land court that their claim to the Bryan Station property was being disallowed in favor of  Virginians.

[25] Kerr, Vol. V,  p. 199 

[26]  Hammon/My Father at p.78.

[27]  Collins, Lewis (1797-1870);  Collins, Richard H. (1824-1889), Historical Sketches of Kentucky, history of Kentucky, 1874, pub. Covington, Kentucky:  Collins & Co. at p. 27 (hereinafter Collins).

[28] Belue, Ted Franklin, editor,   A Sketch of the Life and Character of Daniel Boone, a Memoir by Peter Houston, Stackpole Books, 1997 at p. 27. (Hereinafter:  Belue).

[29]   William Elsey Connelley and E. M. Coulter, Ph.D., History of Kentucky, edited by Judge Charles Kerr, Vol. I, p. 191 ( Boone  letter of August 30, 1782 from Boone’s Station to the Governor of Virginia). (Hereinafter:   Kerr).

[30]  Mastin, Bettye Lee, “Lexington, 1779 Pioneer Kentuck As Described by Early Settlers” at p. 36.

[31]  Mastin, Bettye Lee, “Lexington, 1779 Pioneer Kentuck As Described by Early Settlers” at p. 37.

[32]   Marshall, H.,  History of Kentucky, Vol. I, p. 143,

[33]   Ranck, George Washington,  History of Lexington, Kentucky, Its Early Annals and Recent Progress, 1872  Cincinnati;  Robert Clark & Co., p. 93 (hereinafter Ranck).

[34]  Cotterill, R.S.,  History of Pioneer Kentucky, originally  1917, Johnson & Hardin, Cincinnati;  version referenced:  Kentucky Imprints, Berea, Kentucky 1972,  at page 197 (hereinafter Cotterill).

[35]  Kerr, Vol. I, p. 199.

[36]  Collins, p. 27.

[37]  Lofarro, Michael A.,  The Life and Adventures of Daniel Boone,  University Press of Kentucky, 1978;  Revised ed., 1986, Rpt. 1992) p. 105 (hereinafter Lofarro/Adventures).

[38]  Faragher, p. 222. 

[39]  Letter of August 26, 1782 of Levi Todd to Capt. Robert Todd, George Rogers Clark Papers at the Virginia State Library and Archives, Microfilm #10, Box 643, 16353-10-1. 

[40]  Flint, Timothy,  The Life and Adventures of Daniel Boone, The First Settler of Kentucky,  first pub. 1833, pub. 1856 Cincinnati;  Applegate & Co., p. 205. 

[41]   Clark, Thomas D., editor, The Voice of the Frontier: John Bradford,’s Notes On Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1993, p. 58 (hereinafter Bradford).

[42]  October 3, 1782 letter of Col. Arthur Campbell of Washington County, Virginia to Col. William Davies;  George Rogers Clark Papers at the Virginia State Library and Archives, Microfilm Box 643, Folder 167, 16676-10-31. 

[43]   Smith, Zachariah Frederick, The History of Kentucky, pub. 1886,  Louisville:  Courier-Journal Job Printing Co.,  p. 215.  

[44] Mastin, Bettye Lee, “Lexington, 1779:   Pioneer Kentucky As Described by Early Settlers”, Lexington-Fayette County Historic Commission, 1979, Lexington, Kentucky,  at p. 36.

[45]  Reid, Darren R., codifying John Dabney Shane’s 1841 interview with Josiah Collins in “Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontier:  Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795”;  published 2009 by McFarland & Company, Inc., Box 611, Jefferson, North Carolina 28640, at page 94.

[46]   Hammon, Neal,  Daniel Boone and the Defeat at Blue Licks, p. 65.

[47]   Hammon, Neal, Daniel Boone and the Defeat at Blue Licks,  Appendix 23, p. 102.

[48]   Belue,  p. 54 ( photo byline); Faragher, p. 222;  Lofaro, p. 105.

[49]   Bradford,  p. 58.

[50]   Bakeless,  p. 305.

[51]   Hammon/Blue Licks at p. 65.  

[52] See author’s separate article on Frontier Burial Traditions for Indian-slain Pioneers. http://jkhg.org/indian_slain_pioneers_burial_practices.htm

[53]  When, in 1780,  Daniel Boone’s brother, Edward, was killed by Indians Daniel Boone travelled all night by foot back to Boone Station and upon his arrival there he immediately put together a burial party of seven other men to return to the death site and retrieve and “bring in” to Boone Station for burial Edward’s remains.  See separate article by author entitled “Edward Boone’s Burial Site”.  http://jkhg.org/edward_boone.htm

[54] In 1780 Daniel Boone retrieved the Indian-slain body of his brother, Edward, and returned it to Boone Station for burial.  See the author’s prior article on Frontier Burial Traditions for Indian-Slain Pioneers. http://jkhg.org/indian_slain_pioneers_burial_practices.htm

[55] In about 1792 or 1793 Rollin Hay, Daniel Williams and [unknown] Crook were killed, presumably by Indians, when they were about a dozen miles from their homes at Hays Station in Madison County.  According to Draper’s interview with Daniel Boone’s brother,Samuel Boone,  “the bodies were brought in & buried.” (Draper Manuscript 22 S 241-68).   The Samuel Boone who reported this incident was the same Samuel Boone who had been at the battle of Blue Licks and there lost his son, Thomas.  Samuel Sr.’s report of having “brought in and buried” the other boys’ bodies in 1792-93 suggests that if Samuel Boone Sr. had done as much for others he would also have done the same after the Battle of Blue Licks for his own son and nephew and that he would have returned Thomas’s and Israel’s bodies from Blue Licks to Boone, Station for an at home Boone Station burial. See the author’s prior article on Frontier Burial Traditions for Indian-Slain Pioneers. http://jkhg.org/indian_slain_pioneers_burial_practices.htm

 

[56]  Faragher, at p. 224; Hammon/ Blue Licks, at p. 65.

[57]  Wilson, Judge Samuel M., The Filson Club Quarterly, Vol. 8, #4,  October 1935, “Daniel Boone”, at p. 197.

[58]  See “An Inventory of the Papers of Hazel Atterbury Spraker in the Archives of the Seattle Public Library” at Vol. 15, starting at page 69, the “Return of Field Officers-Militia Bat. 11/5/82, described as being “Page from one of George Rogers Clark’s Orderly Books: ‘Return of Field Officers belonging to The Militia Batalion [sic] 5th Novr. [sic] 1782.’ Shows Daniel Boone’s Commission as a Full Colonel Feb. 7, 1781.  From State Hist. Soc. Of Wisc., Draper MSS 63J129.”

[59]  See author’s article on Boone Station Burial Reports for Thomas and Israel Boone wherein a number of stories are recanted that tell of Daniel Boone, post-battle, having returned to the battlefield, picked up the body of Israel, carried it down the hill and across the river where he stored it inside the relative coolness of  a cave.  Boone allegedly was familiar with the cave because he and others often used it as housing when they made frequent trips to the Lower Blue Licks to boil down salt.  It is possible that very shortly after the battle Boone did store one or more bodies in the cave where they stayed for a day or two while Boone waited for the Indians to leave and while Boone  made arrangements to get together the pack horses and liters or pall bearers necessary to carry his family members’ bodies back to Boone Station for burial.  http://jkhg.org/boonestationburialreports.htm

[60]  Bradford,  p. 58 

 [61]  August 30, 1782 letter of Daniel Boone to Gov. Harrison, George Rogers Clark Papers at the Virginia State Library and Archives, Microfilm #10, Box 643, 16355-10-3.

[62]  Young, Bennett H., History of the Battle of Blue Licks, Louisville, John P. Morton and Company, 1897, p. 85-86.

[63]   The Lexington Leader, June 30, 1938 at p. 20.

[64] It is probable that Levi Todd returned to the battlefield very shortly after the battle and that he did so with Daniel Boone. Judge Samuel Wilson’s 1927 book on Blue Licks indicated as much at p. 93.  Levi, grandfather of Mary Todd Lincoln, was a major in the Fayette County militia under Boone.  He, like Boone, was an official of Fayette County (Boone was sheriff) and it was Levi Todd who, just prior to the Battle of Blue Licks,  had led about 40 men, largely from Boone Station, to the defense of the then-under-Indian-siege Bryan Station. Levi participated in the Battle of Blue Licks and lost his brother, Col John Todd, on that battlefield.   Levi succeeded Daniel Boone as commander of the Fayette County Militia. The brick home, Ellerslie,  Levi Todd built in Fayette County (now demolished for construction of the defunct Lexington Mall but soon to become a branch of Southland Christian Church) was on what is now the Richmond Road and only a few miles from Boone Station.  Levi Todd was, for 27 years the Clerk of Fayette County.  It was at Levi Todd’s home, Ellerslie,  in 1803 that a group managed to acquire from Todd’s round stone storage building and destroy many deeds.    Many of the destroyed deeds are thought to have reflected situations where pioneer claims (much like Daniel Boone’s claim to  Boone Station) which had been  made by the pioneers who had settled, lived on, improved and cultivated the land, had been stricken in favor of conflicting allegedly prior claims made by absentee Virginia gentry, like William Strother Madison.

Madison supposedly perfected his paperwork on the Boone Station site claim in Virginia only a few days before Boone had thought he had  accomplished as much by doing his paperwork in Kentucky.  Thus, Madison had wrangled title to Boone Station from the Boones. It is entirely possible that the deed according title for Boone Station to William Strother Madison  was among those deeds burned at Levi Todd’s in 1803.   Thus, it is fair to assume that Levi Todd would have been closely allied with the Boones, that he would likely have retreated from the battle at Blue Licks to Boone Station and that shortly, thereafter, he would have traveled back to the Blue Licks battlefield with Daniel Boone and others, as a burial party, to retrieve remains, perhaps of his brother Col. John Todd, for transportation back to Boone Station.  Also, it is not at all unthinkable that Levi Todd would have done all of this before Benjamin Logan finally went to the battlefield.

[65] Bradford, p. 58.

[66] Hammon/My Father,  p. 78.

[67]  Bradford, p. 58.

[68]  Wilson, Samuel, p. 93.

[69]  Hammon/My Father,  p. 78.

[70]  Hammon/ My Father, probably p. 78 (citing Draper Manuscript 6 S 18-254).

[71]  It is unclear, but Mrs. Denton may have been including in her count Charles Hunter.  Hunter died within yards of Boone Station when he was being returned to Boone Station after having been wounded trying to “storm” Bryan Station.  Hunter and about 40 others had tried to get  through the Indians to get inside Bryan Station to reinforce those inside the fort who were attempting to defend that fort against the Indians’ seige.  DAR records of  revolutionary soldiers buried in Fayette County (as are footnoted elsewhere in this essay)  establish that Charles Hunter is buried at Boone Station.

[72]  Draper Manuscript 23 C 104 (2)

[73]  Hammon/Blue Licks, pp.117- 118, appendix 31, Report of Delinda Boone Craig, circa 1866 [DM 30 C 61-3].  

[74]  Reid, Darren R. codifying John Dabney Shane’s interview with Josiah Collins, Draper Manuscripts 12 CC 64-78; 97-110 in “Daniel Boone and Others on the Kentucky Frontier & Autobiographies and Narratives, 1769-1795”;  published 2009 by McFarland & Company, Inc., Box 611 Jefferson, N.C. 28640.  

[75]  Spraker, Hazel Atterbury, The Boone Family, The Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont 1922 at p.635.

[76]  Kerr,  p. 191.

[77]  Bradford,  p. 57. 

[78]  Bakeless, p. 305.

[79]  Robert Morgan offers the idea that Israel was permanently buried at Blue Licks by the Logan-led party and in a grave separate from the mass grave.  This is the Israel burial resolution in his  book, Daniel Boone, A Biography (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2007 at p. 329).  Morgan bases his claim on Faragher’s report of Nathan Boone’s report.   Morgan cites  Faragher (p. 222) for Morgan’s  assertions that on the day Logan was present Daniel permanently buried Israel at Blue Licks in a separate grave.  Faragher reports: “Nathan Boone believed that his father found Israel and buried him separately from the others, but other members of the family thought that Israel was interred with the others in the mass grave that is now marked by a monument at the crest of the hill.” It is unclear whether Nathan’s reference to the “others” means the “others” at Blue Licks or the “others” (like Israel and Thomas Boone and perhaps John Gordon, Stephen Trigg and/or John Todd ) whose remains were retrieved from the battlefield and transported to Boone Station for burial at Boone Station, or elsewhere. Morgan’s theory bypasses  that “other members of the family thought that Israel was interred with the others in the mass grave [at Boone Station].”  Morgan fails to take into consideration that Daniel Boone’s burial party  returned sooner to the battlefield than did Logan’s and that Daniel Boone’s militia  acted earlier than and separately from Logan’s. Morgan claims  Nathan Boone said that Daniel Boone buried Israel when Boone allegedly  “dug” a separate grave at Blue Licks (p. 329).  However,  Morgan’s cited source (Faragher at p. 222)  makes no mention of Nathan having reported that Boone “dug”.  Morgan’s claim that Boone “dug” is made despite Morgan’s subsequent assertion that Logan’s burial party was “without picks and shovels”(Morgan  p. 333). Bradford also reported that the Logan burial party at Blue Licks had no digging utensils when he wrote: “The solemn rites of sepulture were performed in a very rude manner.  The ground was so rocky, that without spades or shovels, it was with great difficulty a quantity of earth could be collected sufficient to cover the mangled remains of the slain” (Clark, Thomas D., editor, The Voice of the Frontier, John Bradford’s Notes on Kentucky, The University Press of Kentucky, 1993, p. 58 (citing Wilson, Battle of the Blue Licks, 91-93)). If a separate grave was “dug” by Daniel Boone for Israel it must have been dug at a different time and place than during the Logan-led trip at the Blue Licks battlefield.   The separate grave “dug” for Israel  was dug at Boone Station days before the Logan-led trip to the Blue Licks battlefield ever took place.  

[80]  Hammon/Blue Licks,  p. 65 at footnote 79 [citing Draper Manuscript 5C18-51; Wickliffe, op. cit., referencing  Judge Twyman .]

[81]  The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Vol. 9, p. 154, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1883.

[82]  Hammond,My Father, Daniel Boone, p. 39-41.

[83]  Hammond, My Father, Daniel Boone, p. 151.

[84]  Bakeless, p. 72.

[85]  Jones, Donna Dodd Terrell,  article on “Boone Station Burial Reports for Israel Boone and Thomas Boone” on the website of “The Journal of Kentucky History and Genealogy” in the section entitled “Historic Kentucky People and Places.” http://jkhg.org/boonestationburialreports.htm

[86]  Faragher, p. 94.

[87]  Draper Manuscript MS 4.8.12, the 1884 report of Col Auburn Pridemore indicates that Rebecca, herself, wrapped her own son’s body in her linen sheet.

[88]  Hammond, My Father Daniel Boone, p. 41.

[89]  Bakeless, p. 75. 

85  Faragher, p. 97.  Boone did not transport James “home” as the Boones were then “homeless”.  Their Kentucky homesteading journey having been thwarted and their North Carolina homes having been relinquished, in their uncertainty they were guests of David Gass. See Faragher, pp. 89-97.  It is to be wondered if Daniel Boone ever  wrapped the bodies in his saddle blankets and completed their journey to Kentucky by  transporting the remains  to Boone Station for burial.  No specific evidence has as yet surfaced to support such a mere thought.  However, any such action would have been completely in character for the very loyal fatherhood of Daniel Boone.

 
© Copyright 2011 by Donna Dodd Terrell Jones.  All rights reserved.  May not be copied or reprinted without permission of the author.
 

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