7 Frontier Survival Hacks Worthy of Daniel Boone

7 Frontier Survival Hacks Worthy of Daniel Boone

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Steven Rinella stands at a curious intersection in American culture. He’s an adventurer, a conservationist, a hunter, a TV host, a best-selling author with an MFA in writing, and a student of the history of frontier explorers like Daniel Boone. Not many figures can tell such eloquent stories about “eating questionable meat” in the wild and getting charged by grizzly bears—stories that are peppered with practical advice on how to handle yourself in the backcountry, based on the adventures of hunters from hundreds of years ago.

The 43-year old author of The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game volumes I and II and host of the television show “MeatEater” (you can see it on Netflix) has hunted game across Montana, Michigan and Alaska, among other places. His campfires have seared the meat of everything from bear and mountain lion to red stag and waterfowl.

We asked Rinella to distill his adventures and his reading on Daniel Boone into seven fundamental guidelines. Read up, then set out.

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1. Wild Game Can Be Dangerous

What does trichinosis feel like? “Intense muscle pain,” Rinella says. “It can take a month to hit, and that’s why it is hard to figure out what is going on. The worms burrow out of your vascular system and into your muscles.” Rinella contracted trichinosis by eating undercooked bear meat in Alaska. That is a mistake he will never make twice.

Just about any omnivore or carnivore can carry trichinosis, and the way to kill the parasite is to make sure meat is cooked to 160 degrees. If you’re in the wilderness, you’re not likely to have a meat thermometer. Rinella cautions to cook meat so it’s entirely brown—not a hint of pink.

In the days of frontier people, he says, trichinosis must have run rampant. “Daniel Boone, in his hunting camp in one fall [circa the turn of the 19th century], once killed 155 black bears and prepared it to sell to markets. That was a lot of meat potentially contaminated, and people did not have the knowledge of what might have been in that meat,” he says. “I suspect people at the time had very high parasite loads.”

While trichinosis is pretty much gone from USDA-inspected grocery meat, it can still be found in the wilderness. The upshot: Save medium-rare cravings for a steakhouse—after the backcountry adventure is over.

Video: How He Contracted Trichinosis
: Steven Rinella breaks down how he and several members of the ‘MeatEater’ crew contracted trichinosis after eating some questionably cooked bear meat.

2. Marksmanship Is Paramount

In the days of Boone, commercial hunters would often be hunting on land that did not belong to them. Native Americans, for example, would protect their hunting grounds fiercely. Which meant that hunters were often being hunted themselves. It was imperative that every kill be accomplished with a single shot, because a second shot could give away the hunter’s location, and he himself could then become the prey.

“When you’re out in the woods, and you hear a gunshot, it is very hard to place—where it came from,” says Rinella. “But once you’re paying attention and you hear a second shot, you can place where it is coming from. For hunters like Boone, marksmanship meant getting the job done in a single shot, for reasons of survival.”

Today hunters stress marksmanship for another reason: “The humane nature of how you kill an animal you intend to use for food,” says Rinella. “Today, you want to be as fair to the animal as possible by diminished suffering and waste. If you have to shoot an animal more than once, you’re losing that much more meat.” There is another reason too, he explains, telling the story of the time he got “a bad hit” on a moose, in British Columbia. The moose charged him. He made it out alive, but, he says, “that’s not something you can afford to have happen to you.”

READ MORE: 5 Stunning Real-Life Survival Stories

3. Always Pay Attention to the Direction Water Is Flowing

“When you read Daniel Boone’s descriptions of his travels,” says Rinella, “he is usually describing them in terms of creeks and drainages. Follow this creek to that creek. Follow this drainage to that drainage. Early maps were generally big flat landscapes with few internal features but all the waterways were marked on them. People knew to pay close attention to that, because that is how they could figure out where they were and where they were going.”

What does that mean for people in the outdoors today? Water, and the direction it is moving, are the best ways to give you a sense of the topography around you, to keep track of where you are, and to find your way if you are lost. “Small things are going to flow into bigger things,” says Rinella. “Typically, settlements, habitations, roads and major trails are in river valleys and on bodies of water. If you are lost, your best bet is to find water and follow it downstream.”

The real trick, however, is to use water and its movement to keep yourself from getting lost in the first place.

Video: The Best Bacon Story Ever
: Steven Rinella tells the story of his hero Daniel Boone’s black-bear enterprise.

4. Keep Meat Cool, Dry and Insect Free

Rinella points out that today, as in the times of early frontier explorers, field care is a key skill for hunters. What is field care? “When you’re in a survival or a hunting situation,” he says, “when you kill an animal, the animal’s flesh is very hot. Our body temperature is 98.6 degrees. Some big game animals will run warmer. An animal’s own heat can make its flesh spoil quickly.”

Field care is the practice of quickly separating the meat from the hot organs. The first step is getting the heat out of the animal, then keeping the meat cool, dry and insect free. In Boone’s day, hunters had tricks to keeping meat safe, such as packing it in the hulls of boats where it would be close to cold water that would keep it cool. Today, modern conveniences can help, like waterproof hunting bags that hold raw meat and can be buried in snow or kept in a cool creek.

“When you get good at this, it’s crazy what you can get away with,” says Rinella. “You can keep meat stable and usable for an amount of time that would be shocking to most people.”

5. To Find Prey, Follow the Food Chain

“In the early frontier days,” says Rinella, “hunters were mindful of paying attention to food sources. They knew that the best way to find prey is to look for the food sources that this prey will be looking for. This is a prime example of how we can learn from these earlier hunters.”

What does this mean practically? When hunting for bear to kill for food, look for the food the bear will be looking for first, being mindful of the season—skunk cabbage in spring, for example. The same with deer. Rinella points out that deer cannot eat acorns off of oak trees. But during autumn, when acorns scatter the earth under oak trees, the deer will feed on them. So wherever oaks drop acorns, there will likely be deer.

A lot of hunters get around this issue these days by creating artificial food plots. Hunters can manipulate animal behavior by planting sources of food in certain places. For hunters in undisturbed landscapes, however, it is best to follow the advice of Boone. “To ‘hunt in the animals’ own kitchen,’ ” Rinella says, “is a saying I have been hearing my whole life.”

VIDEO: False-Charged By a Grizzly Bear in British Columbia: Steven Rinella and Ryan Callaghan have a close call with a grizzly sow and her two cubs.

6. Learn What’s Worthy of Fear—And What Isn’t

It is human nature to fear animals that have the ability to kill humans. Sharks, grizzlies, big cats, little snakes—all have the capacity to strike terror in human beings. But…reality check! “People become fixated on glamorous risks,” says Rinella, “but being afraid of things like mountain lions is not warranted, by any kind of data we have.” The real potential risks for the outdoor adventurer are much more mundane, says Rinella: getting cut by tools, burned while cooking, hypothermia, heatstroke and drowning.

“We have hundreds of thousands of black bears in the U.S.,” says Rinella. “Every year, statistically, less than one person gets killed by a black bear. Yet people live in fear of these creatures, and that is distracting from the things that can really be problematic.”

Rinella has spent much of his life in the backcountry in bear territory. But the closest calls for both himself and those around him have been from hypothermia, while traveling in remote Alaska. “The problem with hypothermia is that you lose your ability to troubleshoot,” he says. “You’re already in a bad spot because you have hypothermia, then it strips you of your ability to deal with it. There’s this downward spiral.”

Point? Worry less about traveling with bear pepper spray and more about having the proper equipment for weather and plenty of water.

7. Expect Freakish Occurrences

Several years ago, Rinella was hunting in the Chugach range in Alaska with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. There were potential risks—rock slides and grizzly bears. The group came upon an alder patch when from above, a porcupine smacked his brother’s girlfriend where her neck met her shoulder. A beautiful day turned ugly quickly, as porcupine quills cause severe pain and, if the wound is not treated, infection can occur.

“Going into that trip,” says Rinella, “if you had asked me to make a list of the 100 things that could possibly go wrong, a porcupine run-in would not have made that list.”

The potential for freakish occurrences has always been part of hunting and outdoor adventure, says Rinella, pointing to an instance during Daniel Boone’s day when someone in Boone’s camp was bitten by a rabid wolf. He became rabid himself and died of the disease some years later. What are the chances of getting bitten by a wolf, even in Boone’s time? Not high. In the same vein, Rinella can recount tales of his own strange mishaps. Once, in winter in northern Michigan, he was hiking on a lake frozen with 12 inches of ice. “You could drive a car on ice that thick,” he says. He came across a part of the lake where heavy beaver travel had kept the ice thin and he plunged through. He has seen other instances of limbs falling off trees, nearly killing people.

Point? “Whatever list of potential problems you can create before you head out on an adventure, it will never be long enough.” Prepare mentally for that which can never be prepared for.

7 Frontier Survival Hacks Worthy of Daniel Boone - HISTORY

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Daniel Boone's place in American history is unique and secure

Daniel Boone's place in American history is unique and secure. He set the general pattern which later western heroes followed, personified the epic move westward, and "Kilt a bar" that became a myth. The prototype for Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, Paul Bunyan, and the American cowboy, he has not been outshone by more spectacular or successful adventurers. Boone was the American Moses who led us into the Promised Land.

That he was also a modest man who claimed to have killed only one Indian, an illiterate man who had difficulty writing his own name, and an unsocial man who drifted westward in search of elbow-room, only heightens his achievement. It also raises the question: how is it that Boone has been exalted, more than such equally brave companions as Squire Boone, Harrod, McAfee, and Logan?

His fame rests both upon the quality of his life and acts, and upon historical circumstances. Boone had the good fortune to be active when many writers and intellectuals, influenced by Jean Jacques Rousseau, dreamed of the noble savage who was free from the shackles of society and convention. Despite its coonskin trim and backwoods flavor, Boone's image is modeled after the Enlightenment "natural man." John Filson's biography (translated into French in 1785 and into German in 1790) spread Boone's fame. Here was the innately good man of the forest a rustic Ben Franklin. His very weaknesses (aggressive individualism, mania for solitude, non-conformity) appealed to his admirers. Even Lord Byron was impressed, as his Boone tribute in Don Juan shows. He sums up Boone's life, to which he devoted seven stanzas of Canto Eight, thus:

"Boone lived hunting up to ninety
And what's still stranger, left behind a name
For which men vainly decimate the throng
Not only famous, but of that good fame
Without which glory's but a tavern song,--
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
Which hate nor envy e'er could tinge with wrong."

Later, Boone made an admirable hero for the Jacksonian Democrats of the 1830's. He remains today the unsurpassed pathfinder of a nation which no longer has a western frontier.

The elevation of Boone was the triumph not only of the times, but of five Americans who fostered his reputation. John Filson, Timothy Flint, James Fenimore Cooper, Lyman Draper, and Dan Beard were largely instrumental in establishing him as a major American hero. He would probably have achieved high status even had lesser men championed his cause, though he himself did little to publicize his exploits. Not to discredit Boone (who was a sterling man) nor to make heroes of his publicists (who were less heroic) is this analysis made but to illuminate the relationship between the great man and those who revere him.

Boone was born near Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1734, the sixth son of Squire and Sarah Boone. The promise of religious freedom had caused Daniel's grandfather to leave England and settle twelve miles north of Philadelphia. Eventually he moved to Oley Township, now Berks County, Pennsylvania. The Boones were born wanderers, always answering the call of that something which manages to stay just beyond the ridge. Young Daniel got little education even for that place and time. Later he made some attempt to further his training and improve his highly individualistic handwriting. Uncle John Boone tried to guide Daniel in bookish ways, but gave up because Daniel lacked interest. To John Boone, Squire Boone made the much-quoted (probably apocryphal) statement in defense of his son: "Let the girls do the spelling, and Dan will do the shooting." Daniel was early exposed to the wilderness, and became familiar with wild life in the dense Pennsylvania woods. He learned his forest lore while caring for his father's cattle on twenty-five acres located miles from the main farm. That task he neglected, and the herd was usually left to wander at will.

Dan Boone was fifteen when his parents left home and headed for the Valley of Virginia. For a year and a half they lived near Harrisonburg before moving to Rowan County, North Carolina. (A nearby Virginian neighbor was John Lincoln his great-grandson would share America's top heroic honors with George Washington, whose ancestors were by then well established on the Northern Neck.) Daniel Boone married young after having almost shot his wife-to-be while "fire-hunting" for deer. In those days, the hunter would flash a torch until he attracted a curious deer light reflected in the animal's eyes revealed his target. Boone once caught sight of gleaming eyes and raised his long rifle to shoot, but discovered just in time the figure of Rebecca Bryan. She rushed home to tell her father she had been chased by a panther. Later on, at the proper moment, she rushed into the panther's den.

The young couple had been married three years when Boone took his wife and two children to Virginia to avoid the Indian uprising brought about by wanton killings of Cherokees. They settled in Culpeper County, where he made a living hauling tobacco to Fredericksburg. But this was no life for a man of Boone's temperament so he sold his property and left with six families and forty men for Kentucky. The party was attacked by Indians near Cumberland Gap. Six were killed, including Boone's son James, who was in the rear of the main party. Such memorable tragedies as this merely added to Boone's fame. Virginia's governor chose him to warn the surveyors in the Kentucky territory of the impending uprising. Boone and "Big Mike" Stone covered eight hundred miles in sixty-two days, going as far as the Falls of the Ohio. After that Daniel was placed in command of Moore's Fort in the Clinch River Valley. In 1775, he was commissioned by Colonel Richard Henderson to hack out the Wilderness Road to Boonesborough, where he built the fort that has been re-built for plays and movies a thousand times.

Here he and his companions resisted several savage attacks and rescued Jemima Boone and the Calloway girls, who had been kidnapped by the Indians. Later Daniel himself was captured at Blue Licks, adopted as a son by the Shawnee Chief, Blackfish, and given the tribal name, "Big Turtle." The following year he escaped in time to warn his comrades at Fort Boone of an Indian raid. These were ideal episodes for the legend-makers, who found good hunting in the tales of the Dark and Bloody ground.

In later life Boone's chief concern was contesting the loss of land which he had improperly entered. Ejectment suits deprived him of his holdings. Dismayed, the old hunter left the Kentucky that later considered him its special saint, and moved west. Eventually he reached what is now Missouri, where his son Daniel lived. There he became magistrate of the district. Once again his holding was voided, this time by the United States land commissioner but in 1814 Congress confirmed his claim. He traveled back to Kentucky to pay off his debts and (says tradition) ended up with fifty cents. He stayed only long enough to transact his business. Then he headed west again to spend his last years with his son Nathan. Admirers traveling into the wilderness to see the frontier sage wondered why he preferred to live his life out on the cutting edge of the frontier. His supposed answer was in keeping with Rousseau's natural man. "It was too crowded back East. I had to have more elbow-room."

Boone's uneventful later years did not dull his earlier achievements, nor diminish the respect with which Americans viewed him. James Audubon recorded after interviewing him: "The stature and general appearance of this wandered of the western forests approached the gigantic. The very motion of his lips brought the impression that whatever he uttered could not be otherwise than strictly true." This appraisal is all the more remarkable when we note that Boone was only five feet eight inches tall. Audubon viewed Boone as more than a historical figure. The component parts of the myth were recognizable even then: a Promised Land beyond the mountains land-hungry families who considered it a new Eden someone leading the people westward a lone wanderer guiding his generation on a God-sanctioned mission.

That scores of people had preceded Boone in Kentucky--Couture, Walsh, Nairns, Morgan, Finley, and Stone, for example-served but to enhance the Boone saga. Their achievements were laid at his feet. Some have lamented this and seen it as a gross injustice. Actually it is a normal process with heroes their lives polarize many of their contemporaries' feats and accomplishments. Certainly in Boone's case, as Clarence Alvord put it, "popular fancy was granted opportunity for unrestrained imagination in creating myth, which age so hallowed that even well trained historians have hesitated to submit it to the violet rays of scientific analysis." 2

Boone himself tried in vain to discredit the idea that he never relished civilization. Actually he got along reasonably well with his neighbors, and sought companionship, particularly in his old age. Boone was no sulking misanthrope. With his native capacity for leadership and decision, his enduring stoicism despite setbacks, and his love of the outdoors, he epitomized the unmachined men of our frontier. These qualities are particularly appealing in our own twentieth century, now that science and technology have brought on perplexing problems. Americans look with nostalgia at the image of a man most happy when farthest away from multiple gadgets, factories, and smokestacks of civilization. An apt epitaph for Boone is Mark Twain's last line of Huckleberry Finn: "But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before." So had Daniel.

The first writer to perceive epic qualities in the Boone story, and to record them, was an early schoolmaster and explorer named John Filson. Born on a southeastern Pennsylvania farm in 1747, Filson was struck by the vision of frontier adventure. At the close of the Revolution he moved west, spent a year in Kentucky as a school teacher, and secured several thousand acres of land. He wrote The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucky. The appendix, called "The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boone," is the first authentic sketch of Boone. Florid and pedantic, it purports to be an autobiography, though meditations in "sylvan shades" about "the ruins of Persepolis or Palmyra" were about as familiar to the real Boone as discussions of the latest coiffures at Versailles.

Only Daniel's illiteracy saved him the shock he might have got from reading such a line as this: "The diversity and beauties of nature I met with in this charming season expelled every gloomy thought . . . At a vast distance I beheld the mountains lift their venerable brows and penetrate the clouds." Small wonder that the book made much more of an impression at Versailles than it did at Boonesborough. The 1785 translation couched in Chateaubriandlike prose, became popular among French writers and courtiers. Though later scholars have considered Filson's story pompous and inaccurate, it was endorsed by Boone himself, both as being the best account of his life, and as "not having a lie in it."

The book's popularity can be gauged by the number and variety of editions it enjoyed. Five years after the first printing in Wilmington, Delaware, it appeared in Paris as Histoire de Kentucke, Nouvelle Colonie a l'ouest de la Virginie in Philadelphia as the Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone, One of the Original Settlers of Kentucke and in Leipzig as Reise nach Kentucke und Nachrichten von dieser neu Angebauten Landschaft in Nordamerika. After that, excerpts and paraphrases cropped up almost continuously.

Among Filson's other accomplishments were the publishing of the Kentucky Gazette, and the laying out of Losantville, which grew into Cincinnati. There was an ironic as well as a tragic note to his death. The man whose pen had caused so many Indians to bite the dust was himself tomahawked while traveling up the Little Miami River in October, 1788. And there was no Daniel Boone to save him.

In 1934 Kentucky's Filson Club celebrated its semi-centennial and the sesquicentennial of the Filson volume, which the club's president called "one of the most important in American pioneer history, the foundation of Boone's reputation." Filson was following the great trail blazer through the unpredictable realm of Public Acclaim. To Timothy Flint, as to Parson Weems before him, history was a means of conveying moral ideas and edifying stories, not a scientific recounting of past events. When Weems finished describing Washington, and Flint Boone, their subjects had haloes. Born near North Reading, Massachusetts, Timothy Flint graduated from Harvard in 1800. Sharing the fate of most of his classmates, he became a preacher. Soon he agreed with his congregation that his was not the theological bent. While supposedly preparing sermons, he was reading Chateaubriand. While thinking of Biblical analogies, he was dreaming of frontier heroism and collecting autographs of early pioneers. "There is a kind of moral sublimity in the contemplation of their adventures and daring," he wrote. "They tend to reinspire something of that simpliciyt of manners, manly hardihood, and Spartan energy and force of character which forms so conspicuous a part of the nature of the settlers of our western wilderness."

He learned about Boone, "the Achilles of the West," through Daniel's grandson, Albert Gallatin Boone. While inaccuracies dot Flint's biography, Albert always maintained that it was the best of the Boone accounts. Some vividness comes from Flint's romantic conception of Boone as a walking embodiment of coonskin individualism, and America's unique contribution to history. In his mind he saw Boone as he saw William Weldon in his own novel, Shoshonee Valley: "disgusted with social and civilized life, and anxious to purge his own soul by lonely treks into the interior." To cleanse his own spirit, Flint traveled thousands of miles in the west, suffering from fever and ague, always moving restlessly on. His was indeed a life of quiet desperation, of endless wandering and adoration. Only the strength of his own hero worship sustained him.

Unlike the Parson, Flint did not hit upon any legend remotely comparable to that of George Washington and the cherry tree. The event of Boone's life which comes closest is the killing of a bear, and the subsequent carving on a birch tree, "D. Boon kilt a bar." How many trees have been subjected to real knifes, and how many bears slain by imaginary Daniel Boones, historians dare not guess.

Flint pictures, without historical justification, his hero slipping tartar emetic into the whiskey bottle of his Irish schoolmaster, and this becomes the episode which ended Boone's brief schooling. In his last chapter Daniel takes up the creed of the noble savage. "Such were the truth, simplicity, and kindness of his character, there can be but little doubt, had the gospel of the Son of God been proposed to him, in its sublime truth and reasonableness, that he would have added to all his virtues, the higher name of Christian." When some objected to such fabrication on Flint's part, he replied with an unanswerable line that Parson Weems might have endorsed: "Like Pindar's razor, the book was made not for use but to sell."

And sell it did. Fourteen editions appeared between 1833 and 1868. Flint's stories were retold by others and his fanciful Boone dialogues plagiarized so blatantly, that even the typographical errors were copied without much correction. The Trailblazer most people read about today came first from the brain of Timothy Flint and has been public property ever since.

Against the forces of evil the "sinewy sons of Enterprise" prevailed, pushing on into the "rude featured Wilderness". Finally reaching the Mississippi, they envisaged a time when "Freedom's Cities and Republics too" would prosper. As poetry it was a bit embarrassing but it suggested a nice mythology.

The author who best moulded the fictional image of Boone was born in his father's village of Cooperstown, New York and raised near the eighteenth century frontier. James Fenimore Cooper's literary career began on a playful wager, but his novels soon established him a serious American writer. William Thackeray thought Cooper's Leatherstocking a better fictional figure than any invented by Scott, one to rank with Uncle Toby, Sir Roger de Coverly, and Falstaff. And Leatherstocking, like his fellow creations Hawkeye, Natty Bumpo, and Deerslayer, was a thinly-disguised Boone.

Cooper specifically acknowledged his debt to the Boone stories and based part of The Last of the Mohicans on Daniel's rescue of his own daughter and the two other white girls from the Cherokees. He said Boone went beyond the Mississippi "because he found a population of ten to the square mile inconvenient." While there is some question of the extent to which Cooper drew directly from Boone's life, it is certain that he used him as a model. Like Boone, Leatherstocking had a historic mission. Both appealed to an America intoxicated with the heady wine of Manifest Destiny, typifying moral stamina, courage, and will-power. Cooper's paragon looked and dressed like the real Boone: he was tall, leathery and solemn. His long rifle was as essential for a public appearance as his trousers. So was the coonskin hat, sitting casually on his noble head. The Old World could--and did--contemplate him in admiration.

The Leatherstocking Tales presented vividly and convincingly the struggle for empire in the forests, modeled actually on Boone's struggle for survival. Utterly simple and admirable, Leatherstocking demonstrated that it was not polish or costume that made for greatness. What a man was inside, not how he appeared, really mattered. In this way the country cousin, America, justified herself to that debonair rake, Europe.

During Boone's own lifetime he served as model for such books as James Hall Legends of the West and Robert Montgomery Bird Nick of the Wood. In the hands of a writer as skillful as William Gilmore Simms, clever variations of the theme appeared. Boone's reputation rose like smoke from a mountain cabin on a crisp, still December morning.

In the National Capitol, Horatio Greenough portrayed the contest between civilization and barbarism as a death struggle between Boone and an Indian brave. He set an artistic prototype. Many chose to use this figure, but only one artist painted Boone from real life. This was Chester Harding, who traveled to Missouri to see Boone in 1819. John J. Audubon, Thomas Sully, Alonzo Chappel, W. C. Allen, Reuben Macy, J. B. Langacre, and Y. W. Berry did portraits but George C. Bingham best reflected Boone's symbolic importance in "The Emigration of Daniel Boone." This showed the old man leading a group of eager settlers into the new Eden. It epitomized American thinking on the subject and the leader.

Walt Whitman added considerably to the growing cult of the coonskin Moses. A Long Islander, Whitman fell in love with the western mirage, and then with the west, which he visited in 1848. His 1855 volume of poetry, Leaves of Grass, was a loud and indiscriminate yes. In it even a mouse was miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. The stereotyped hero who roamed through its cacophonous pages was closely related to Boone:

"Come my tan-faced children, Follow well in order, get your weapons ready, Have you your pistols? have your sharp-edged axes? Pioneers! O pioneers! Have the elder races halted? Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied over there beyond the seas? We take up the task eternal, and the burden and the lesson, Pioneers! O pioneers!"

Thus Whitman glorified the kind of leader of which Boone was the original, praising the trailblazer's exploits in vigorous and explosive verse. He said well what many already believed: the true America was west.

Boone has long been a favorite with our historical novelists. Winston Churchill's protagonist in The Crossing ( 1903) meets Sevier, Boone, and Kenton in a fictional account of the Wilderness Campaign. Elizabeth Maddox Robert The Great Meadow ( 1930) uses the spirit of Daniel Boone as a motivating factor. The family of Berk Jervis travels from Virginia to Harrod's Fort, where its members are separated by an Indian attack. The intervention of Boone brings about their final reunion. Stewart Edward White' The Long Rifle ( 1932) has as its central figure Andy Burnett, who inherits a long rifle from his grandfather's friend, Daniel Boone. The list of novels also includes D. M. Henderson Boone of the Wilderness, C. H. Forbes Lindsay Daniel Boone, Back-woodsman Horatio Colony Free Forester, A. B. Guthrie The Big Sky, Caroline Gordon's Green Centuries, Katherine Clugston Wilderness Road, and Felix Holt Dan'l Boone Kissed Me.

More than all of these writers, however, it was dilatory Lyman C. Draper who brought Boone into historical prominence. Young Draper inbibed tales of frontier heroism from his father in nineteeth-century western New York state, and read even more of them during his years at Graanville College in Ohio. He became Peter A. Remsen's protege, and collected material for the latter's histories and biographies. Eventually Draper moved to Wisconsin. There, as Secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society, he set to work in 1854 to make its archives one of the most important in the nation.

For half a century the meticulous Draper used his limited funds and support to assemble 478 bound volumes covering the years 1735-1815. No one is better represented in them Daniel Boone about whom 39 volumes center five embody Draper's longhand life of Boone up to 1778--still the most detailed and authoritative ever written. Sixteen contain information on Boone furnished by descendants, neighbors, and friends. Others deal with inscriptions, stories, and legends. They prove that Boone was the subject of apocryphal stories even in early manhood, and specify places that claim to be the one where "D. Boon Kilt a bar." There are "eye-witness accounts" of Indians being killed by Boone, in contrast to Boone's own statement that he killed only one Indian in all his life letters from Boone's relations and associates original documents and surveys and notes and allusions pertaining to his life. While gathering these, Draper contacted all the direct and collateral descendants of Daniel Boone, and was authorized to do a biography. He collected a variety of documents unequalled for any frontier figure, and opened them up for historians and text-book writers. His material supplied valuable testimony about Boone's status among his contemporaries. Draper impressed a group of people who might not have been touched by Filson, Flint and Cooper. He made Boone a respectable subject of scholarly historical probing. Dusting off the coonskin hat, Draper found an exalted position for it in the academic hat-rack.

Draper's obsession with details eventually became a curse, and his procrastination an albatross. "I have wasted my life in puttering, but see no help for it," he wrote. "I can write nothing so long as I fear there is a fact, no matter how small, as yet ungarnered." He was fascinated by the physical exploits of men he would have emulated, had not an undersized body and a desk job rendered such things impossible. Like Timothy Flint he found atonement in endless travel, copy work, and the dream world of vicarious adventure. How dark and somber it can be under the lengthening shadow of a great man!

In 1854 Draper and B. J. Lossing entered a contract for the joint authorship of a Boone biography. Draper's dallying prevented the partnership from maturing. It lasted, on paper, for fifteen years, during which Lossing published some Boone material on his own. Draper finally completed King's Mountain and Its Heroes in 1883. Exacting in scholarship but discursive in style, it embodied the romantic concept that frontiersmen, fresh from the farms, could defeat the disciplined regiments of the British tyrant. In 1889 Draper did a perceptive essay on the collection of autographs (a phase of the hero-building process in which he was a past master), but he never completed another book. No crumb from a hero's table was too small or insignificant for this little man. Like T. E. Eliot's memorable J. Alfred Prufrock, Draper wondered how he should begin, and how he should presume. Yet he did the archivistic job so well that, so far as the early frontier is concerned, no one need undertake it again.

Calf Foot Jelly

Do you know where that yummy strawberry gelatin comes from? Many vegetarians and vegans have given up jelly because it comes from animals.

Calves foot jelly is no different. It is something of a casserole served cold. Really, it would be categorized as a terrine in French cooking.

  • You need 2 calves feet cut in cross wise sections (find a butcher)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 3 Hard Boiled Eggs

Start buy bringing your calves feet to a boil. Skim the scum that rises to the top. Remove the calves feet and start them in another pot of cold water. To this pot add your carrots and onions diced. Bring to a simmer and cook on the lowest setting for 6 hours.

Next, remove the calf’s feet. Remove the meat from the bones and discard them. Chop the meat, tendon and cartilage up in small pieces. Then mix with your 4 cloves of garlic minced fine.

In a terrine or clear glass dish slice your hard-boiled eggs and lay them on the bottom of the dish or terrine. Next spread your meat and garlic mixture over the eggs.

Finally, pour the remaining liquid over the mix, slowly. Try not to disturb your eggs.

Let this mix cool and harden. Then cut into squares to serve, chilled.

2. The Sankebetsu Brown Bear Attacks of 1915

Ussuri brown bear along the Shiretoko Pass in Hokkaido, Japan.

The Japanese island of Hokkaido is home to a hulking subspecies of brown bear called ussuri that can grow larger than a grizzly. They can also be deadly aggressive, with 86 ussuri attacks recorded on Hokkaido since 1962, including 33 fatalities.

But the worst bear attacks in Japanese history took place over a harrowing week in December of 1915, when a ravenous bear awoke early from hibernation and went on a killing spree in the frontier outpost of Sankebetsu that ended with seven people dead, mostly women and children.

The hungry and agitated bear, which weighed 750 pounds and measured nine feet long, killed its victims by stalking them in their homes. Even when the town assembled an armed security squad, it was unable to stop the almost-daily attacks. The bear was wounded multiple times by gunfire, but kept returning to claim more victims, including a pregnant woman and an infant.

Finally, professional bear hunters were called in to kill the bear. Traumatized, most of the villagers moved away from Sankebetsu where a shrine stands today to commemorate the lives lost in this brutal and historic attack.

Should I Use the Mud Cell to Generate Electricity?

Overall, you will find that a mud cell generates relatively small amounts of electricity when compared to the size of the device. Something is better than nothing, so it will still take a lot of work to multiply that electricity and be able to use it even to produce the same voltage as you would get from a AAA battery.

You can most certainly try building a mud cell power generator to see how it works, and then try to adapt it to produce more power.

Here’s what you need to achieve to produce more electricity:

  • Find some way to get existing bacteria to boost their metabolism 200 – 300 times the current rate.
  • Get the bacteria to multiply faster.
  • To generate electricity, the bacteria actually form networks of conductive “bridges” or “wires” in the growing medium. At this time, it is not known if the bacteria themselves are producing the most optimal pattern for conducting electricity from one place to another. Changing the pattern may improve efficiency and it may also boost the amount of current produced by the generator.
  • Find a way to make the cells smaller: see if you can use a more liquefied mud cell, and then irrigate it with a steady flow of nutrient rich water. Provide some kind of growing film for the bacteria so they aren’t washed away each time the mud cell is bathed in water. Even though nanotechnologies may be outside of your available list of materials, they may one day be useful for making an optimized structure for the bacteria to live in and generate electricity across. This leads to a smaller footprint for each cell, as well as higher levels of efficiency.
  • Get equipment that will help you find out the answers to several questions: a microscope and access to white papers on nanotechnology, conductive material molecular structures, and other materials may be of use to you.

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James McBride: his actual musket, and his epic life as a frontiersman and soldier

Family tradition has it that this French and Indian War era American musket was used by James McBride (1726-1812) to fight in the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774. It was previously on display at the Augusta County Historical Society Museum in Staunton, Virginia, as part of their year-long exhibit on Lord Dunmore’s War It was also pictured in “Augusta County, Virginia’s Western Frontier,” by Gordon Barlow, at page 100. But the best part of this gun’s story hasn’t been told until now . . . .

One of the things that makes this gun interesting is that it was likely made on the Virginia frontier during the French and Indian War era, and possibly in Staunton, Virginia, by the Committee of Safety of Augusta County. How do we know this? It completely lacks decoration, and was clearly intended for military use. The musket utilizes iron mountings, and a mish-mash of recycled and gunsmith made parts. It has a bore of .75 caliber. And while I call this a “musket,” it could also be viewed as somewhat of a large caliber “smooth rifle,” given that it has sights, was probably used as we would think of a rifle being used (i.e., ranger style use, rather than military line formation use). Lastly, this gun probably pre-dates the period in which “rifles,” with actual rifled barrels, became commonly used on the frontier.

Most frontiersmen in the French and Indian War period, and probably the post-French and Indian War period (i.e., 1750-1770) would have carried smoothbore long guns. Of course there were rifles, but most in the early days would have had fowlers of some sort – which is basically a shotgun originally made for sporting purposes. The difference between a “fowler” and a “musket” is mostly its intended purpose, and minor physical differences related to military use. They both have a smoothbore, with no rifling inside the barrel. However, generally a musket will have sling swivels, in order to attach a sling, and will also have a bayonet lug, because soldiers in that era were generally required to have a bayonet. Exceptions to this were colonial militia, especially in Virginia, who were documented as generally carrying knives and tomahawks in lieu of a bayonet (and as having rifles).

As such, this is sort of a “grey area” gun: made clearly for military use, but not made for use in a formal line of 18th century infantry. It lacks a bayonet lug, required for the attachment of a bayonet. Also, it has sights for aiming, which military muskets usually lacked, since they really didn’t aim, by design. This gun was made to aim. The evidence points to frontier militia use. Aiming, and the use of a tomahawk or belt axe and knife, rather than a bayonet.

Here is the musket pictured with a powder horn, which also saw service at the Battle of Point Pleasant, which is of course an important event for those of us interested in the history of the Virginias. It’s hard to believe, but the Battle of Point Pleasant may not be the most exciting event of this gun’s life. James McBride lived a full life, as far as action is concerned. Both of these definitely look the part.

James McBride is believed to have been born in 1726 in Wigtown, Scotland. He sailed to Virginia in or about 1730-1732. Tradition has it that he came over with four brothers, three of whom were killed during the subsequent French and Indian War. Their names, according to family records, were William, Jaseth, John and Andrew.

There is an interesting story about James’ wonderings on the frontier prior to his military career. Legend has it that James may have been the first documented white frontiersman to venture into Kentucky as far as the Kentucky River. Frost’s “History of Kentucky” records that the name of James McBride was found cut in the bark of a Beech tree, along with the date 1755. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Register of Kentucky State Historical Society:

1751 Christopher Gist explores eastern Kentucky.

1754 James McBride explores Kentucky to the mouth of the Kentucky River

Register of Kentucky State Historical Society, Volumes 1-20, Kentucky Historical Society, 1922, at page 118.

Even going back to the earliest history books on Kentucky, McBride is mentioned. John Filson (1747-1788) was an American author Kentucky historian, published Daniel Boone’s memoir, “The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon,” in 1784. He claimed that James McBride was the discoverer of Kentucky. Now obviously he wasn’t the first white man to step foot in Kentucky, but it’s an interesting story, and there’s enough separate accounts of it to give strong evidence that he ended was there in 1754 and/or 1755.

Frost’s “History of Kentucky” further mentioned that James married “Miss Crawford, who was descended from the English nobility, and that their son, William, married a Miss Lee . . . .” This is the key to identifying that adventurous James McBride with this same James McBride. Family tradition, recorded in the 19th century, records that James McBride of the Kentucky tree marking fame, is the same guy.

James’ nephew William, who was interviewed by the Rev. John D. Shane in 1840, recalled that:

“I went to old Mr. Kirkham’s, in Woodford, and took down, as he told me, about my uncle Jas: McBride that lived on the waters of Buffalo or Elk, in the frontier part of Va. My uncle had lived with his father 2 years. Jas: McBride was unfortunate in his addresses to a lady, and with gun in hand, and alone, made it westward ho! for about 9 mos. before he returned. 1754 or 5. The particulars of this, as noted down at the time, were handed to Mr. Crittenden for Mr. Butler.

Interview with William McBride by Rev. John D. Shane, The Draper Manuscript Collection, Series CC, Kentucky Papers,Vol. 9-12, Pages: 257-263 State Historical Society of Wisconsin Division of Archives and Manuscripts

So apparently James was living on the Virginia frontier, around Buffalo Creek, which is referring to the Buffalo Creek in what is now Rockbridge County, Virginia – near Lexington, Virginia (then Augusta County, Virginia). Buffalo Creek is a tributary of the Maury River, which flows through Lexington, Virginia. You pass over it on I-81, just South of Lexington – near the Natural Bridge. James apparently did the 18th century version of speeding down the driveway in a pickup truck, throwing gravel, while an angry father of a young girl peppered his tailgate with birdshot. Then he is supposed to have wandered his way into being the first white guy to mark his name on a tree in Kentucky – even preceding the famous Daniel Boone.

So in 1754 or 1755, James made his way to the mouth of the Kentucky River and carved his name in a tree. It’s possible that he was attempted to claim land by “tomahawk rights,” which is essentially marking your name or initials on boundary trees. If this was the case, his efforts were cut short by the outbreak of military tension, and ultimately war, on the frontier.

.75 caliber bore, which is an indication this was thrown together during the French and Indian War. Being the standard caliber for British troops, using their “Brown Bess” muskets, this caliber would have offered the ability to use British ammunition without modification.

We don’t know exactly how it happened, but somehow James ended up in George Washington’s “army,” in June of 1754. In George Washington’s personal papers, it notes that James McBride joined them in June of 1754, having joined with other new recruits gathered by Capt. John West. I’m not sure if he wondered down to the Kentucky River before or after joining Washington. But since he was reported by family to have been gone for a couple years, it could have been either before or after. There are a couple other James McBrides in the record books, but only one who is really old enough, and only one who can be placed in the Virginia and Pennsylvania frontier during 1754-55.

Sling swivels, in the front and back – a necessary component for military use during the 18th Century. And all iron hardware.

It was only a month after McBride signed up with Washington in June of 1754, that Washington surrendered Fort Necessity, and his little army returned to Virginia – fortunately allowed to keep their guns. Maybe that’s when James headed to Kentucky.

That’s certainly possible, because there’s about a year long gap there where an adventurous soul such as himself would have done something interesting . . . . The next year, in 1755, James again joined a unit with Col. Washington, under the command of General Braddock. Family tradition states that he was joined by his brothers at this time. The Virginia Militia was led by George Washington, then a Lieutenant Colonel. Thomas Jefferson McBride described expedition as it relates to the McBride family:

The five McBride brothers all joined the command under Washington. This army under Braddock reached the Monongahela River on July 8th of that year, and on the 9th day of July the battle was fought and Braddock was mortally wounded, near where the city of Pittsburgh now stands. George Washington was his aide-de-camp with the rank of colonel and saved the army from utter destruction through the attach of the Americans on that day. This battle is known in history as “Braddock’s Defeat”.

The five McBride brothers were all in this battle. Three of them, Joseph, John, and Andrew were killed in the fight on the first day. William and James were left out of the five, and three or four days after the battle while reconnoitering the Indians killed the eldest brother, William.

And my father and mother told me that Indian friends told them that after they had killed him they cut out his heart and cooked it and ate it, because it was the heart of a very brave man, and according to Indian tradition the eating of this heart would furnish great courage to the red man.

History of McBrides , Thomas Jefferson McBride, great grandson of James McBride and Mary Crawford McBride of Tennessee,History of McBrides, housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

It’s unusual for a military musket to have a front sight… but it does. If you’ve got one gun, and you’re on the frontier, you are likely going to need to aim when using solid roundballs. It makes sense.

James McBride, being an adventurous Scots-Irish wanderer, having found his way into the battle of Braddock’s Defeat, and having survived, he stayed for a while in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area, possibly to console and assist his sister-in-law who lived there. While in Lancaster, he met Mary Crawford, who was the daughter of Col. John Crawford. Mary was born around 1736-38, so she was probably 18 or so. This is another detail tying this particular James McBride, with the same legendary tree marker who explored Kentucky in 1754-55 – since he was supposed to have married a woman named Crawford, who came from “nobility.”

Family tradition has it that this was yet another cliche‘ moment of forbidden romance for James, who was sort of a frontier hobo and part-time cobbler and shoemaker, and Mary, who was the daughter of an important and well-connected Pennsylvania family. Instead of finishing the job of making all their shoes, which is what he was supposed to do, he instead ran off with their 18 year old daughter:

Now sometime about the close of this war, so the story runs, it was the custom of the country then to hire a shoemaker to come to your home and make the shoes for the whole family. There was in that neighborhood a rich old planter by the name of Crofford, (Crawford) who hired James McBride, Sr. to make shoes for the entire family. I never learned how many children there were, but anyway he had a daughter about eighteen years of age at that time, so it turned out that while James was making the shoes for the family he fell in love with the girl and the girl with him, and that by the time the shoemaker was ready for his money she was ready to go with him.

Now, the young couple knew it would not do to let the old folks know, because the Croffords were a wealthy family and would not consent to the marriage, so they planned that when he left she would meet him at a certain place that evening. So James took his pony bob and his blankets, his old trusty gun with plenty of ammunition, his stew kettle in which he stowed his grub. This stew kettle he used to cook with, and went to the place appointed. And the young lady true to her promise met him there, so she rode the pony bob and her lover walked by her side to lead and guide the pony, and so they traveled all night to the Southwest. And you must remember that one hundred forty years ago Southwestern Virginia was a wilderness, so that by daylight the next day they were way out in the wilds of Western Virginia.

Their departure was taken so slyly that that the Crofford family could find no trace of them, so they continued their journey to the southwest part of Virginia to the Clynch (Clinch) River Country, and there they made their home, and this young lady who was my great grandmother on my father’s side lived away from her people for there was bad blood between the Croffords and James McBride, Sr.

But when the oldest son William McBride was sixteen years of age, he went back to visit his mother’s people and was welcomed by them. Now I want to say that to this woman (Mary Crawford) there were ten sons born. The oldest one was named William. I cannot recollect all of the named but I have heard Father speak of his uncle Joseph, John, Andrew, and so on. Now, as I have said there were ten of them who grew up to manhood. The oldest son William, remained on the old home plantation with his father, while the others left.

History of McBrides, Thomas Jefferson McBride, great grandson of James McBride and Mary Crawford McBride of Tennessee,History of McBrides, housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

It’s likely that this event took place around 1757. It’s also possible they just eloped without formally getting married, in order to avoid the powerful Crawford family discovering their whereabouts. Tax records show that they probably moved first to James’ old place on Buffalo Creek, in Rockbridge County, because he shows up on the tax records there until about 1760. Note also that he did not pay his taxes for 1755, implying that he gone during that period of time.

In 1760, James apparently signed up in a military unit again, enlisting in the 2nd Virginia Regiment under Col. Byrd, thus receiving a bounty. Apparently after that he deserted and fled the area. It’s possible he was fleeing the Crawford family, or maybe he just took the money and ran. There was a lawsuit filed over this in 1775. James and his wife Mary moved to the Clinch River area of Southwestern Virginia. This is documented, because family tradition has him living there at that time, and more importantly for the historian, he was involved in several lawsuits there – in both 1764 and 1765. In both cases, he was identified as a “soldier,” as his occupation. One of the plaintiffs who sued him was Samuel Davis. A decade later, they would serve together in the same unit at the Battle of Point Pleasant.

James and Mary Crawford McBride had the following children, as best as the records can tell:

William McBride, born in 1758 in Virginia Daniel McBride, born in 1760 in Henry County, Virginia James McBride, Jr., born in 1765 in Virginia Isaac McBride, born in 1770 in Virginia Maggie McBride, born in 1773 Thomas Crawford McBride, Sr., born in 1777 in the Clinch River area of Virginia Andrew McBride, born in 1779 in Patrick County, Virginia and Joseph Crawford McBride, born in 1780 in Botetourt County, Virginia.


They lived somewhere in the Clinch River area of Southwest Virginia. That was likely the vicinity of Patrick County, Virginia, which wasn’t formed until 1791, and which was previously Henry County, Virginia, and prior to that, part of Pittsylvania County, I believe. Anyways, it’s in the same general area as Bedford County, and where the Clinch River begins. Most records fro their family at the end of the 18th century seem to occur at the Patrick County courthouse.

The oldest son, William, lived with his father his entire life. His son James, born in 1787, therefore lived with his grandfather, whom he was named after, and almost assuredly heard first hand accounts of his life. It was grandson-James’s son, Thomas Jefferson McBride, who provides the family stories, as told to him by his father, James – now preserved by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Here are a few of the stories he documented about his great grandfather James McBride’s exciting frontier experiences:

Way back in those days of 1760 the people of the colonies lived under more difficulties than the people of these United States do now. They lived on coarse fare such as cornbread and wild meat. Hogs were very scarce in those days, so the first settlers of Southwestern Virginia had to live on cornbread and such wild meats as they could kill, such as wild turkeys, possums, coons, quail, deer and bears. The turkeys, possum and raccoons they could find on every hand, but sometimes they had to go out in the wilds of what is now Kentucky to get the deer and black bear that they all loved for meat. This was exceedingly dangerous, of course. Not only on account of the wild animals, but on account of the Indians.

Kentucky seemed to be the great battle ground of the Indians of the South and of the North. It was called by them the field of blood. Now in order for our people to be on the safe side they went in company twice a year, in the fall and in the spring and killed deer and bear meat sufficient for their needs. The first year there was plenty of deer and bear and was not so hard, but when the game got scarce then at times it required a great deal of time to find the game and bag enough to get along with, so now I want to relate an incident that happened in the life of James McBride, Sr. my great-grand-father, in one of his busts in Kentucky as I have heard my father and mother tell it.

The one time he and two others went to Kentucky to hunt bear and they separated, so it happened that great-grand-father spent two or three days hunting alone and only got one small deer, so the third day in the evening he was tired and discouraged and had stopped to take a nap, and as he stood there alone he heard a noise and he turned and looked and saw a big black bear about a rod from him and coming at him with its mouth wide open. He leveled his gun but it was done so quick the bear was only hit on the base of the ears so it only made Mr. bear very mad and it was a fight to the finish, so as luck would have it there was a stone right near that Grand-father grabbed and as the bear came up on a charge then he let him have it between the eyes and down he fell and then with his hunting knife he finished him in short order. Then he skinned him and cut up the meat, and put it on his pack saddle and returned home with his supply of bear meat for his dear wife and children.

Another time he went with others on a hunt into Kentucky, and after hunting alone for a day or two he found late one evening a cave where a bear had went in in the fall to winter during the winter. As it is well known to all that a fat bear houses up for all winter in the fall. This bear had gone into the cave late in the fall so grand- father built a fire and camped there all night until morning, then he made a torch out of a pine knot and crawled down into the cave until he got near enough to see the
eyes of the bear, then he shot him and as he was dragging the bear out of the cave, and he stopped to rest he saw the bear shake as though something had taken a hold of it, and so he reached over the dead bear and got a hold of another live one, so he pulled the dead bear out of the cave and then shot at the other one, so he had two fine big bears to skin and the meat to bag, and then he returned home with plenty of meat for the dear family.

Another time he and two others went far down into the wilds of Kentucky on a bear and deer hunt. One of the party was to make and keep camp while the other two went out to hunt. So as it happened one day the two that went out to hunt found two deer licks. These were places where the deer came to lick the ground on account of the salt deposits which were in the earth. So Grand- father built up a blind at the one that he had taken to watch. He tied his pony to a blackjack tree and laid down in the brush to watch for the deer to come. Late in the afternoon he saw, as he first thought, looking down into the valley nine big black turkeys come up the trail to the blind, but as he saw that they had stopped and went back down below he knew that they were not turkeys but Indians, so he went to his pony and untied him, and crossed the bridle reins over his head and stood on the opposite side of the pony to watch and see if the Indians came.

So after while he saw nine Indians come on the slope toward him. The old chief was in front stepping carefully with two large silver plates hung down on his breasts and as they came near Grand-father raised his rifle across the back of the pony and drew a bead on the chief’s breast between the two plates and at the sound of the gun the Chief fell dead on the spot. Grandfather said his first impulse upon killing the chief was to go and get the two silver plates but his second thought was that he had better get out. So he leaped on his pony and as he started the pony ran under a blackjack tree and the limbs of the tree pulled his hat off, and away he went bareheaded across the hills to the camp. He said the pony had always been a great stumbler but that on this ride of three or four miles he never stumbled once.

So when he got back to the camp his comrade there said that he had heard the report of a gun and that at about a half an hour later he heard the report of a second gun. So they waited until after night for the other man to come in and as he did not come they came to the conclusion that the Indians had killed him, which later proved to be so, because the Indians had taken a colored woman prisoner and she was with the Indians at their camp afterwards. She made her escapt and told about a white man killing the Indian Chief and loosing his hat as he went under the tree, and that about a half an hour afterwards another white man came up and that the Indians killed him and scalped him.

History of McBrides, Thomas Jefferson McBride, great grandson of James McBride and Mary Crawford McBride of Tennessee,History of McBrides, housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Here’s where Point Pleasant enters the story. In 1774, the state of Virginia gathered an army of frontiersmen from its Western regions, in order to march against the Shawnee in the Ohio country, following several years of vicious attacks, back and forth between the Shawnee and Virginian settlers on the frontier. Ever since the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, the Shawnee were supposed to stay on their side of the Ohio, and the Virginians were supposed to stay on theirs. Of course this wasn’t happening, as the settlers were flooding into modern day West Virginia, and building forts pretty much everywhere.

One of the first settlers in the Greenbrier Valley arrived at this very spot in 1750 or 1751, and fell in love with this little valley, called Wolf Creek, in present day Monroe County, WV. Jarrett’s Fort was built off in the distance along Wolf Creek, several miles above the Greenbrier River.

Settlement had reached the Greenbrier Valley. Everything beyond the Greenbrier Valley was still somewhat of a no-man’s land. There were no roads no forts, no towns, etc. The army, commanded by Gen. Andrew Lewis, was to rendezvous at “Camp Union,” a.k.a. Fort Savannah, the site of present day Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Inscription at the site of Camp Union aka, Fort Union, aka Fort Savannah. Present day Lewisburg, West Virginia. Capt. Arbuckle lived in a log cabin probably where that little modern structure sits today, on the other side of the street, directly across from the log barracks building (circa 1790s-1800). That’s US Route 219 in the pic, which by all accounts, would have run directly through the stockade of the fort.

James McBride, ever the soldier, volunteered in Captain Thomas Buford’s Company of Bedford County, Virginia Volunteers, who marched to Camp Union for the rendezvous. Also with him was a William Bryant – which is supposed to be Bryan – one of my great uncles. In the records they always either added a “t” or even an “s” for some reason. They still do. “Bryan – no t.” I still have to say it all the time . . . . Also serving with James, and William Bryan, was the guy who sued him 9 or 10 years earlier, Samuel Davis.

The Bedford Company indeed joined the army at Camp Union, on the “Big Levels” of the Greenbrier Valley. When General Lewis, at his camp in Greenbrier, took account of his forces, there were among them Captain Thomas Buford of Bedford with his Independent Company of Riflemen, consisting of six officers and forty-five privates. General Lewis made up his forces into two regiments and one Battalion The Augusta County Regiment commanded by Colonel Charles Lewis the Botetourt County Regiment commanded by Colonel William Fleming, and the Fincastle County Battalion commanded by Colonel William Christian. Captain Buford’s Company of Riflemen was a part of the Botetourt Regiment.

The “Lewis Spring” located at the actual site of Camp Union, as it appears today. Present day Lewisburg, WV. The fort was off to the right. It probably did not encapsulate the spring, but it may have. You can still see the spring run when the water level is up. The actual site of Camp Union. It was probably a fairly large fort, by frontier standards, and would have included that stone foundation, the log structure across the street (which is not from the fort), and half of the next block to the right of those structures. An old photo showing the old Greenbrier County jail, which is the stone foundation that’s still standing. This was built on part of the original site of Camp Union, which is why the county built it’s jail on it. In the background, you can see the hillside where the Lewis Spring is.

The men who composed Lewis’ army were used to warfare but they had for years been fighting a defensive war against a steadily treacherous and resourceful foe. Now they were to be afforded an opportunity for aggressive warfare, to meet the Indians, follow them upon defeat, and destroy their towns, and finally put an end to the threat of the Red men, and free the frontier from the dread that was almost ever present in the breast of every man because of fear of savage attack upon his wife, his children and his home. When this frontier army realized that such was to be the nature of the mission upon which they marched, they became impatient for the fray.

Lewis’ army has been well described as “an army of civilized men, encamped on the borderland of the Savage Empire.” From any viewpoint, they were an interesting body of men. They were principally clad in the picturesque habiliments of the primitive frontier.

The hunting shirt and leather breeches and leggings were the conspicuous articles of the costume the headgear was home made from the skins of animals or knit from wool. Most men carried both a butcher knife and tomahawk—not the Indian tomahawk, but a narrow, slender hatchet of steel the flint–lock rifle was the rule, the water-proof skin pouches and the gracefully curving powder horns, many quaintly and even artistically carved, completed the equipment.

There were here and there officers in uniform, of the British Colonial regulation but many, even of the officers, made no pretense at wearing anything except the ordinary civilian garb.

But when we look through the inconsequential externals to things worthy of more important consideration, what a group of men do we behold! Some had been with Washington at Fort Necessity some with Braddock upon the field of his fate on the Monongahela, and “others with Forbes at the capture of Fort Duquesne and still others with” Colonel Henry Boquet on his expedition into the Ohio wilderness.

An Address to the Memory of Captain Thomas Buford by Landon C. Bell to the Peaks of Otter Chapter of the DAR, October 31, 1931 http://www.bufordfamilies.com/CaptJohnThomasBuford.htm

James McBride’s gun appears to have had a long career. As is sometimes seen on 18th century frontier guns, the hammer on the flintlock had been cocked so many times, for so many years, probably under times of stress (rather than being gentle as when target shooting), then it eventually stressed the mortice around the left end of the lock, creating a gap, and probably requiring periodic maintenance through the years.

Indeed, James McBride, one of those men, had apparently been at both Fort Necessity and at Braddock’s Defeat – as had their new general, Andrew Lewis. Captain Buford’s Bedford men were a part of the force which marched under General Lewis and Colonel Fleming. They reached the mouth of Elk – Charleston, in ten days on September 22, 1774.

A historical marker noting the general route of the march of Gen. Lewis and his army. This is US Route 60 in the background, which is the general path – with some variances. The North bank of the Kanawha River, close to Point Pleasant. The army marched along this bank of the Kanawha River. After the battle, General Lewis sent men through this field, all the way to the hill in the distance, which is 3 mile creek, to gather the scattered horses. My family was involved in the battle, and about a decade later, bought this exact field from Andrew Lewis, who owned thousands of acres here. My fifth great grandfather built a log cabin here, a stone’s throw from the river bank, which stood until the great flood of 1937, at which point it was bulldozed into the river.

The battle itself took place on October 10, 1774 – from sunrise to sundown. It was a battle for the ages, with both sides fighting with skill and great bravery. The Shawnee were led by the great chief commonly known as Cornstalk. Unfortunately, we have no details on the specifics of the experience of the Buford Company during the battle. But we do know that the Bedford men were a part of Col. William Fleming’s division.

This is how the point appears today. This is literally the point of land where the Virginians were camped. 20 years later, one of the vets returned and built a log tavern on the site, which still stands today. It’s called the “Mansion House.” An old photo of the Mansion House.

After the initial shots were fired, alerting the Virginians to the fact that a massive Indian army was about to surprise them, Gen. Lewis ordered two divisions to march forward and attack: Col. Charles Lewis took the right, towards the high-ground, and Col. Fleming took his division to the left, along the Ohio bank. On meeting the enemy on the right-side, where the Indians already had the high-ground, Col. Charles Lewis himself was immediately shot, with a mortal wound. He was a convenient target wearing his scarlet uniform. He had been a frontiersman’s frontiersman, with a legendary frontier resume’. He had remarked to somebody that if he was going to die, he would die well-dressed. Remarkably, similar to the McBride family, the Charles Lewis family kept both is still-loaded rifle, and his powder horn, as keepsakes. I honestly don’t know where either of these are today, but I really wish I did.

A sketch of the battle, as drawn by a participant.

Here are photos I found of both of them, which I haven’t seen anywhere else. Your’e welcome. Yes I like to share instead of just keeping them to myself in hopes of one day finding them at a garage sale:

Charles Lewis powder horn Charles Lewis Flintlock Rifle

Col. Fleming left us a great account of his Division’s experience on meeting the enemy. Fleming was also shot – numerous times actually – though he survived to casually write about holding his intestines inside his wounds, and operating on himself.

The attack upon Colonel Fleming’s force was even more determined. On the field Fleming was heard constantly among his men exhorting them: “Don’t lose an inch of ground advance outflank the enemy.”

He received two balls through his left arm and was shot through the breast – a gaping wound from which his lungs protruded. He gave his last command: “Keep between them and the river,” and with the greatest coolness retired to the camp.

It was necessary to throw seven companies to the reinforcement of Lewis’ right wing. This left few, if any reinforcements which, even in an emergency, could have been sent to the left wing. But it held its ground. The fighting, from behind trees, logs and other natural cover, was vigorous and long continued. Evidently, the Indians gave way in retreat, but to take advantage of it required cautious judgment for to become too much exposed in following up a retreat meant danger, even disaster. But the Virginians pressed them back with vigor, until it was too dangerous, because of the favorable ground the Indians occupied to go farther. The battle line was now continuous, and well defined and extended over a front of about a mile and a quarter.

An Address to the Memory of Captain Thomas Buford by Landon C. Bell to the Peaks of Otter Chapter of the DAR, October 31, 1931 http://www.bufordfamilies.com/CaptJohnThomasBuford.htm

The main street in Point Pleasant. This is exactly where the battle occurred.

Capt. Buford was unfortunately mortally wounded. He died in camp at the point on October 10, 1774, and was buried there, and remains there today. He was likely buried in the camp’s powder magazine, along with Col. Charles Lewis.

After the Battle of Point Pleasant, James still had a lot of fight left in him, apparently. Records show that after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he enlisted with the Fifth Virginia Regiment, organized at Richmond, Virginia. He enlisted as a private, but likely due to his experience, was promoted to a Sergeant. His pay records survive, and among other things, show that he was at the Battle of Ticonderoga – yet another brutal defeat for colonial/American forces. In all, he served from October of 1776, until he was discharged in February of 1778.

The downtown courthouse in Point Pleasant. This would have been in the midst of the battle. Additionally, this is the exact spot – about where this marker is, I’m told, that Cornstalk was originally buried in 1777 when he was murdered here. When they later built the original courthouse which sat here, they found his remains, and reinterred him where the current monument stands in the park.

His records also show that he led a unit of Virginia Riflemen during this time with the Fifth Virginia, which is again consistent of him using a different type of weapon. Though this musket isn’t a rifle, per se, it was clearly designed and used in an identical fashion – albeit with somewhat less accuracy due to the lack of rifling. But it also had more versatility, in that it could also be used as a shotgun, or a combination thereof. I’ve seen many early rifles which had been bored out and converted to smoothbores – including the famous “Brass Barreled Rifle,” which I got to examine a couple of weeks ago.

The Brass Barreled Rifle – the second oldest known rifle dated by the maker. And that’s only 1771. The oldest is the “Schreit” Rifle, dated 1761. This is another reason it’s a much safer bet that early frontiersmen like McBride had a smoothbore, rather than a rifled barrel.

James’ descendants continued to serve in the Virginia Militia. There are existing records of his grandson, Major Isaac McBride, of Rockbridge County – Lexington, VA area – who led a company of Virginia Militia in the War of 1812, and who is still buried in Virginia. Isaac was the brother of William McBride, James’ son born in 1758. We know that William lived in the Clinch River area. So James and his family populated multiple areas of Southwestern Virginia.

It isn’t known exactly when James died, but it is likely around 1812, when his son William, who lived with him until his death, packed up and moved to Tennessee.

UPDATE 11/25/19: We have now reunited James McBride’s musket with the powder horn which was paired with it, both having descended together in the McBride family, as mementos of James McBride. Check it out:

7 Frontier Survival Hacks Worthy of Daniel Boone - HISTORY

The Marlow family's experiences are worthy legends of the old west. When they settled here during the peak of the cattle drives, this location was ideal for recovering cattle lost among the tickets and dense cross timber woods that covered the area to the east. Some say the Marlow brothers merely rounded up stray longhorns, others that the deliberately rustled from the edges of the large herds and hid the cattle in the woods to the east. Whatever the truth, the brothers were falsely accused of stealing horses by a US Marshal and were hunted down Their story has been told in literature, ballads, and film, including the film, The Sons of Katie Elder.

Local tradition has it that to avoid capture the brothers used a cave on Wild Horse Creek as a hideout. Indeed, Marlow's youth have ling considered it a rite of passage to looked for the cave. Then, in June 2004, The tire of a city worker's heavy mower dropped into an opening in the ground northwest of here. Upon investigation, the opening proved to be what subsequent research suggest is the Marlow 's hideout.

You can view the legendary Marlow Outlaw Cave just a short distance to the north on the west back of the creek before you.

(Image: Courtesy of the Denver Public Library)
Oklahoma '07 Centennial

Pioneer Memories Of the Marlow Outlaw Cave

In 1976 Mrs. John (Elsie) Howard wrote about the story of the Marlow family based on information she had been given at the time and childhood memories. The following is and excerpt:

"Not many years has passed from the tie of the tragic happenings of the famous Marlows before I came here with my family, the W.T. Ward's in 1895. I am telling this from my own memories, from friends and neighbors. These stories were more of a reality when I was allowed to go to some the places of the happenings.

In a group of children with whom I went was Susie Pounds and her brother Walter, who was older and acted as our guide. We went north to the first section line of railroad crossing. Between there and Wild Horse Creek was then a beautiful wooded area. Still standing was the log cabin, half-dugout home of the Marlow family.

Here we had to pull away weeds that had grown up around the doorway. We could have looked through the cracks in the wall where the clay had weathered and dropped from between the logs, but we pushed open the door that hung on one hinge. Hanging cobwebs swished across our faces, daylight streamed from corner rafters: mice went scurrying into hiding under the trash on the dirt floor.

I had a feeling we were closing a ghost inside as we pulled the creaking door as merely closed as we could and went to explore the remains of the half-dugout. The planks for the door had rotted and falling. It surely didn't look as if it had ever been home for anyone.

We made our way down the creek, our bare feet digging into the cooling soft sand of its banks. I was breathless with excitement as we finally stood at the mouth of the cave, gazing into the hideout of the famous outlaws. Muck like the tumble-down home, use and misused had broken away part of the cave entrance that had once been braced with logs. I was never in the cave, but was told men with lanterns had explored it only to find remains of camping gear. While standing at the water's edge, our feet dangling into the stream, Walter told us the story of the Marlow family as he knew it . "

. Visit the Marlow Area Museum for the rest of the story.

Dr. Wilson Williamson Marlow and his child bride, Martha Jane

The Marlow Outlaw Cave

The Marlow family came to Indian Territory and settled on the Chisholm Trail just to the east of the division between Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory, and from the beginning their story was worthy of Old West legend.

Hundreds of thousands of longhorn cattle passed through here, driven from their ranges in Texas to Kansas markets, and the site was an ideal base for recovery of cattle lost or "lost" in the woods and tickets of the area.

During this time in history the five Marlow brothers also worked for a cattle outfit, and were unjustly accused of stealing horsed by the United States Marshal. The saga of the family is a colorful tale, which has been told in books, songs, and film, including the John Wayne movie"The Sons of Katie Elder".

The Legend of the Marlow brothers and their day-to-day lives along the banks of Wild Horse Creek on the Chisholm Trail continued with and unexpected turn on June 21, 2004, when the tire of a city worker's heavy mower dropped into and opening in the ground at the northwest end Marlow's Redbud Park. The dirt ceiling fell into the floor of the cave leaving it exposed.

The stories about a Marlow brother's cave, where they were romantically rumored to have fled to safety and to stash items of value, had been passed down through the years like a local birthright. Marlow 's youth have considered it a rite of passage to look for the cave.

Upon the 2004 discovery local historians began putting the evidence and clues together to verify the cave finding on the northwest end of Redbud Park.

Along with first hand accounts passed down for generation to generation, newspaper clippings from 19th century issues of The Marlow Magnet were uncovered which confirm the location on the west side of Wild Horse Creek.


Born along the Chisholm Trail and on the banks of Wild Horse Creek, the legend of the Marlow family and the five Marlow brothers has been proven to be more fact than fiction.

Dr. Williamson Marlow and his wife, Martha Jane, a relative of Daniel Boone, first established a homestead in this area during the early 1800's. The site of the original Marlow family home is reported to have been located just north of Redbud Park.

Somewhat of a nomad by nature, Dr. Marlow provided medical treatment to many settlers in this portion of Indian Territory and to many cowboys driving cattle up the Chisholm Trail. He also farmed while his sons reportedly herded horses, selling many the animals to the U.S. Army located at neighboring Ft. Sill. Dr. Marlow died in 1885.

In 1888 his five sons were accused of horse-stealing, a charge which was later proven to be unfounded. Four of the brothers (Charlie, Alfred, Boone and Lewellyn) were arrested and transported by a U.S. Marshall to the Federal Court in Graham, Texas, for trial. Hearing of his brother's arrests, George Marlow took the entire family to Graham to clear his brothers but soon found himself behind bars.

Boone Marlow ultimately escaped and returned to the Marlow area in Indian Territory, while his four brothers were scheduled to be transported to a safer (?) jail in Weatherford, Texas. Several attempts were made by Graham citizens and law enforcement officials to lynch the Marlows. On the night of January 19, 1889, the brothers were shackled in pairs

George to Lewellyn and Charlie to Alfred

for the trip to Weatherford. When the group reached Dry Creek outside of Graham, a signal was given and a hidden mob opened fire on the seemingly defenseless Marlows.

The guards ran to join the mob while the brothers leaped from the wagon and armed themselves with guns taken from guards. In the vicious gunfight that followed, Lewellyn and Alfred were killed. Both George and Charlie were seriously wounded.

Retrieving a dead mob member's knife, George Marlow unjointed his dead brothers' ankles. He and Charlie used a wagon to escape the ambush site. Three members of the mob were also killed and a number of others wounded. Several members of the mob were later prosecuted and convicted for the assault upon the brothers.

Boon was later poisoned near Hell Creek west of Marlow. His corpse was then shot in an attempt to obtain a $1,500 reward, but his killers, too, were brought to trial.

Alfred, Boone and Lewellyn are buried in a small cemetery at what was once Finis,Texas, outside of Graham. George and Charlie Marlow survived the attack, eventually moving their families to Colorado where they became outstanding citizens, serving as law enforcement officers.

In 1891, after sentencing mob members for their part in the attack, Federal Judge A.P. McCormick was quoted as saying, "This is the first time in the annals of history where unarmed prisoners, shackled together, ever repelled a mob. Such cool courage that preferred to fight against such great odds and die, if at all, in glorious battle rather than die ignominiously by a frenzied mob, deserves to be commemorated in song and story."

from left to right:
George, Boone, Alfred, Lewellyn and Charles

Charlie & George Marlow

The two survivors of the tragic events of 1889, George and Charlie Marlow, went on to live long and productive lives, leaving many descendants throughout the U.S..

George Marlow was born in 1858, and was 30 years old on January 19,1889, when the battle of Dry Creek took place, with one hundred armed men on one side, and the four shackled Marlow brothers on the other.

When the gun fire ended George stood alone, with two brothers dead, and one badly - near mortally - wounded. Shackled to his dead brother, hit by gunfire in his right hand, he was forced to sever Lewellyn's leg to free himself and tend to his brother Charlie who was barley alive.

After surviving the ambush, and vindicated of any wrong doing, George went to live in Colorado Territory, eventually accumulating 480 acres. Within seven years after the family arrived in Colorado, George Marlow was elected president of the school board of district 3 where he served for many years. he was also sworn in as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal for a time. George Marlow died on July 3, 1945, and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Denver, Colorado.

Charles or "Charlie" Marlow was born in 1860. While not the oldest, he was in many respects the leader of the brothers. He was 29 years old at the bloody battle of Dry Creek.

Once the ambush began, the mob was astonished found the boys had wrestled guns away from their guards, and were ready to fight to the death with undaunted courage. The attackers began a hasty retreat into the timber to get ready for a charge, planning to annihilate the Marlow at once.

Even thought hit by a rain of bullets in the throat and lungs while shackled to his dead brother, Alfred, Charlie survived the attack. Exonerated by the law of any wrong doing, Charlie moved to Colorado Territory where he homesteaded, and eventually accumulated over 500 acres. It was during these early days of ranching Charlie served as a deputy to help Quell riots among miners. Charlie finally retired to California in 1922 where he died on January 19, 1941, fifty-two years to the day after his brothers died on Dry Creek. He carried the lead from the 1889 battle in his body to the grave. He is buried in historic Forest Lawn Cemetery, Pasadena, California.


Alfred or "Alf" Marlow's life ended under the moonlight on January 19, 1889, during the battle of Dry Creek. At the first alarm of attack, Alfred, while shackled to brother Charlie, jumped over the side of the hack and away from the the mob and as fast as the chains would permit, to the hack where the guards were. Alfred grabbed hold of the barrel of a gun belonging to one the mob.

During the attack, three masked men passed close to Alf and fired several times point blank. He threw down his empty revolver, snatched up Winchester to fire back, but fell headlong, with fifteen bullets in his head, shoulder and chest.

George shouted to Alfred but only the echo in the lonesome trees answered - Alfred was dead. Charlie was barely alive when George steeled his will, and unjointed Alf's ankle separating the two brothers.

Standing 5'7" tall, with slightly bowed legs, Boone Marlow's small appearance was an obvious contrast to his fiery disposition, and no-nonsense attitude. He was by far the scrappiest of the Marlow brothers. His Maternal namesake, Daniel Boone, may have put his mark on him - a fighter and a survivalist.

The only one the the five Marlow brothers to have actually killed before the ambush, albeit in self-defense both times, young Boone Marlow was poisoned while hiding out on Hell Creek, west of Marlow , for $1500 reward.

His death came only days after the Dry Creek Battle, and he never knew about the bloody attack and tragic cost to his family Hew was buried beside Alfred and Elly, who were laid to rest in the Finis Cemetery. Before leaving the place, Mother Marlow and the wives of the brothers had the spot enclosed by a stone wall, a single headstone marking the place, containing their names, ages, time and cause of death.

In the beginning Lewellyn was called "Elly" as a nickname for the baby of the family of now fourteen children. Mother Marlow was 45 of age when Lewellyn was born. A "Elly" grew older, some called him "Ep"or "Eply".

Lewellyn was typical of the cowboys along the Chisholm Trail. The Marlow Brothers put nearly five years at this work, because they were born and bred to an outdoor existence and preferred it to any other. The Marlow family's free, nomadic lives were changed forever at Dry Creek.

Shackled to brother George during the gory battle, you Elly was so shot to pieces by the mob that it was necessary to bind strips of cloth about him until he could be dressed for the grave.

Elly and Alfred were buried in one grave, and their original headstone, carved by Mother Marlow and their wives, now rests in the Marlow Area Museum at the request of the family.

The Marlow Area Museum, located in 127 W. Main, features exhibits of local pioneers, history and color.

Elmo Powell, a great-grandson of a sister of the Marlow brothers, shows one of a set of original shackles used in their arrest.

Elmor Powell holding one of the shackles

The special area created by members of the Marlow family holds many artifacts of the family and the Marlow brothers. Included is the original tombstone of Alfred, Boone and Lewellyn from the Finis Texas cemetery. Family photographs, artifacts, books and publication are all available for the public to browse through and enjoy.

"The Sons of Katie Elder", starring John Wayne and Dean Martin, a movie based on the lives of the Marlow brothers, and books telling their saga, "A Pilgrim Shadow" and "Life of the Marlow's A True Story of Frontier Life of Early Days", along with other informations, are there for you to take home to learn more about the Marlow family and it struggle to survive on the frontier.

"The Marlow brothers never won fame like Jesse James and the Wild Bunch, but their story is a riveting saga of adventure and tragedy unparalleled in the American Wild West.

This is raw late 1800s history at its finest and most tragic, a story of hate, death, love, injustice, brutality, vengeance and triumph." --- Leon C. Metz, author of "Pat Garrett and John Welsey Harding".

The original headstone of Alfred, Boone and Lewellyn, upon which the shackles rest, is now located in the Marlow Area Museum, 127 W, Main.

The lettering was carved by mother Marlow and the women in the family.

Historical Site sign, Wild Horse Creek, Wild Horse Creek running threw the Park,fall colored trees and Outlaw Cave building in background, all were located in or near Redbud Park

The Marlow Mercantile is the home of the Marlow Museum.
Museum is on the third floor
Located on 2nd and Main in Marlow,OK
The Museum has an exhibition of the Marlow Brothers

The Red King’s Rebellion

Well, yesterday we commemorated the “First Thanksgiving.” Today, let’s look at how things turned out 50 years later.

Miles Standish does battle. By N.C. Wyeth.

The Robert E. Howard Forum is worthy territory for any Frontier Partisan to explore. Howard was a Texas-born-and-bred writer of pulp fiction in the 1920s and ’30s, best known for his character Conan of Cimmeria. In addition to “weird” stories that essentially created the genre of Sword & Sorcery, Howard wrote adventure, Westerns, and many, many boxing stories.

The uninitiated might not expect that a forum devoted largely to Conan would be a font of interesting information and discussion on a wide range of topics. Sure, there are provocative images of mostly-nekkid “Barbarian Women” (nuthin’ wrong with that, is there?), but there are also discussions of Viking and Celtic history and archaeology. Most to the point here, there are threads devoted to Native American history and archaeology — including a thread devoted to this here blog!

That’s all fitting — Conan was a map-maker and a bit of a student of comparative religion and philosophy himself, and Robert E. Howard was, above all, a serious student of history.

What follows is abstracted from a forum conversation with moderator and friend Deuce Richardson. Deuce weighs in on King Philip’s War of 1676 — the per capita bloodiest conflict in American history.

Many of us celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. In 1621, Massasoit, sachem of the Wampanoags, sat down with the Pilgrims for their harvest feast. Fifty-four years later, this is what his son had to say in Plymouth:

“The English who came first to this country were but a handful of people, forlorn, poor and distressed. My father was then sachem. He relieved their distresses in the most kind and hospitable manner. He gave them land to plant and build upon.…They flourished and increased.…By various means they got possessed of a great part of his territory. But he still remained their friend till he died. My elder brother became sachem. They pretended to suspect him of evil designs against them. He was seized and confined and thereby thrown into illness and died. Soon after I became sachem, they disarmed all my people.…Their lands were taken.…But a small part of the dominion of my ancestors remains. I am determined not to live until I have no country.”

The next time Metacomet came to Plymouth, he was in pieces, having been drawn and quartered as a “traitor” to his supposed overlords. His head remained on a spike for decades. His wife and son had been sold into slavery and shipped to the West Indies months before he himself died, still fighting. Such was the justice of the “saintes” of Plymouth.

Metacomet, known to the English as King Philip.

Right now would seem to be an appropriate time to look at Russell Bourne’s The Red King’s Rebellion:

It examines all the factors leading up to and through “King Philip’s War” (1675-1678). Bourne is a direct descendant of a colonist who lived through the war. He traveled all over New England researching local accounts, both from the colonists and the Indians. He also examines the various schools of thought that have prevailed about that conflict over the centuries.

I found Bourne very even-handed. He doesn’t paint either the Algonquins or the settlers as good or evil. He blames the war on a breakdown in politics on both sides. However, if there are “bad guys” in the situation, it would be the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation. Unlike the other Puritan or Baptist colonies (Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut), the Pilgrims were pretty consistently belligerent during that period. They basically stopped trying to get along.

Whenever there was any sort of crisis, the Pilgrims always doubled down. In the process, they often dragged the other colonies in with them. They high-handedly arrested Philip’s brother, Alexander, who mysteriously died in Plymouth right after being released. Philip/Metacomet was the son of Massasoit, the Wampanoag sachem who befriended the Pilgrims and helped them survive the first several years.

Some of the accounts from the time are jaw-dropping. The Pilgrims were incredibly superstitious. At one point, an Injun was hanged partly on the “evidence” of a corpse bleeding in his presence. At the end of the war, with 9,000 men, women and children dead, the Pilgrims happily sold hundreds of Algonquins of various tribes (including converted Christians) into slavery to be sent to the West Indies, which was a deferred death sentence (no money from a corpse!).

The upshot of the war was that it showed the colonies couldn’t handle their own affairs peaceably. Hitherto fairly independent, the colonies were brought firmly under the British Crown and consolidated into the Dominion of New England.

We’re in the midst of the 340th anniversary of that devastating conflict right now.

Robert E. Howard scholar Steve Tompkins was absolutely right that the Pilgrims lived in a “sword-and-sorcery world”, both physically and spiritually. There are numerous mentions of swords and other non-gunpowder weapons in the hands of the colonists. The redoubtable Benjamin Church had a favorite cutlass. There are numerous references in the annals of the time to “fire and sword”.

There were also several mass hallucinations of an apocalyptic character which wouldn’t have been out of place in 675AD as opposed to 1675AD. Comets were seen that are wholly unknown to modern astronomy. Ghostly cavalcades were heard just out of sight. A saintly figure materialized amidst the English forces at Hadley and promptly disappeared at the moment of victory.

The fur trade decline put both the Pilgrims and Algonquins under stress, as Bourne points out. The pious “freemen” of Plymouth Plantation were also feeling the pinch demographically, as their more tolerant Puritan neighbors in Boston and elsewhere had attracted more colonists.

The Pilgrim response, as usual, was to double down. They sought to become even more “righteous” to counteract the tribulations sent from on high. They also got more high-handed and less tolerant of the very natives who engineered their initial survival. One thing they did was to demand, at various times, that certain Injun settlements hand over all firearms. An insidious policy, since to do so meant starvation and to refuse was to be accused of imminent hostilities.

There were also the asymmetric legal responses. Native workers within the Plantation could not take a walk on a Sunday without being fined (or worse). Three Wampanoags were accused of murdering one Christian Injun. They were convicted on negligible evidence and hanged in Plymouth. Matoonas was a Christianized Nipmuc sachem who lived north-west of Plymouth. His son was wrongly convicted of a murder (such was the opinion even of many settlers) and his head put on a spike. Matoonas never forgave it and he wreaked bloody vengeance in years to come.

Such actions are emblematic of the events that brought on King Philip’s War.

One example of Bourne’s even-handedness is his balanced treatment of Benjamin Church. Church was basically the savior of Plymouth and the other New England colonies, despite not being particularly fond of the “saintes” (sic) back in Plymouth. He also had Native American friends and brought more Injuns back to the colonists’ side than all other commanders combined.

Not only was he “America’s First Ranger”, he was also one of the first authors of Colonial America.

The early warfare between the Puritan settlers and the Indians of New England was extraordinarily savage.

Several things (all derived from primary sources of the time) jumped out at me while reading Bourne’s book…

One is that the Injuns were (or were reported to be) as tall or taller than the colonists. You see this replicated clear on to the Plains Wars period. Philip/Metacomet was considered a tall, handsome man (much like Tecumseh 130 years later).

A Pequot warrior. The Algonquin peoples of the east coast were tall, robust and handsome people.

Another item would be the technological advances by the Algonquins in just 50 years. The tribes went from an advanced Neolithic level to having their own forges and livestock in a very short span of time. They built quite respectable stone fortifications (by the colonists’ own admission) in the Narragansett last redoubt on Rhode Island. Many roads in New England follow the routes laid down by the natives. However, the Algonquins were not allowed to advance further.

You see the same thing with the Five Civilized Tribes in the American South. It really doesn’t fit the narrative of “they were savages and didn’t want or try to deal with the new situation.” Despite their best efforts, they simply weren’t given any time.

Community Reviews

BOONE was a fascinating read, and offered many things I look for in a great biography: insight, understanding of why the subject is worth knowing, human perspective, and historical perspective, all in a narrative that flows like a good story. Robert Morgan, more known for his fiction, has accomplished much of this, though I dropped the fifth star because it needed some additional editing to remove a fair amount of unnecessary repetition and to improve the flow in a few places where the narrative BOONE was a fascinating read, and offered many things I look for in a great biography: insight, understanding of why the subject is worth knowing, human perspective, and historical perspective, all in a narrative that flows like a good story. Robert Morgan, more known for his fiction, has accomplished much of this, though I dropped the fifth star because it needed some additional editing to remove a fair amount of unnecessary repetition and to improve the flow in a few places where the narrative bogs down. For the most part, however, this book was both edifying and entertaining.

The first words of the book are "Forget the coonskin cap he never wore one." This sets the tone for one of the themes of the book -- that the myth of Daniel Boone was a phenomenon in itself and was often at odds with the real man, or was at least a larger-than-life image that served the purposes of those who helped create it. The author leaves no doubt, however, that Boone was a complex man of remarkable skill, industry, and courage.

Irony plays a starring role in the life of Daniel Boone. For someone whose fame and reputation were widespread -- during his lifetime and beyond -- Boone was a terrible businessman who was constantly, throughout his life, in trouble because of profligate spending and inattention to record-keeping and the details of proper legal transactions. His many prolonged adventures and exploratory expeditions made him an often absent husband to Rebeccah and their 10 children, though they moved many times to join him. Yet again and again he was celebrated, written about, elected to public office, and chosen for jobs over others without these weaknesses. The greatest irony of Boone's life is that his hunger for adventure and wilderness, for discovering uncharted territory, for living at one with Nature like the Indians, and the resulting trails that he blazed, actually paved the way for the rush of settlers westward that destroyed so much of what he loved. He lived long enough to appreciate and regret this irony.

Boone's relationship with the native Americans was particularly interesting in light of the conflicting stories about him and the suspicion by some whites that he was more sympathetic to the Indian cause than to theirs. He was greatly admired by many Indians for being such a skilled woodsman and hunter. When he was captured by the Shawnees for several months, he was adopted by the kidnappers, and there is good evidence that the bonds he formed with many members of that tribe endured to the very end of his life. Yet his reputation as an Indian fighter was made through his fearless and ferocious defense of various forts and settlements against Indian attacks he had furs and horses stolen by the Indians time and again and many among his family and friends were killed by Indians, including his sons James and Israel, and his brother Ned. The dangers and hardships of frontier life were masterfully and vividly portrayed in this book.

Perhaps the most compelling part of the book was the strong case made by the author for the impact that Boone and his legend had on thinkers, writers and artists in the decades after his death. He quotes historian Richard Slotkin, "[I]t was the figure of Daniel Boone, the solitary, Indian-like hunter of the deep woods, that became the most significant, most emotionally compelling myth-hero of the early republic. The other myth-figures are reflections or variations of this basic type." We find Boone's incarnations in the heroes of James Fennimore Cooper (e.g. Leatherstocking, Hawkeye and Natty Bumppo). The works of Thomas Cole, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Lord Byron, and Walt Whitman all reflect strong inspiration of Daniel Boone and the life he loved. "[By the 1850s], the image and legend of Boone had pervaded the American consciousness. Boone had become a figure of America's ideal self, a touchstone of poetry and history and national identity."

Boone is a fantastic biography of an interesting early American. It is thorough and great at veering the reader away from the mythical "coonskin cap wearing baaar killer." However, sometimes it&aposs cumbersome in details. While interesting, this biography takes a patient reader in my opinion.

I&aposm a Kentucky girl and loved all the great details about my state. Mr. Morgan uses familiar landmarks and accurate depictions of the Bluegrass State. Having had school field trips and long weekend visits to ma Boone is a fantastic biography of an interesting early American. It is thorough and great at veering the reader away from the mythical "coonskin cap wearing baaar killer." However, sometimes it's cumbersome in details. While interesting, this biography takes a patient reader in my opinion.

I'm a Kentucky girl and loved all the great details about my state. Mr. Morgan uses familiar landmarks and accurate depictions of the Bluegrass State. Having had school field trips and long weekend visits to many of the locations described, it was nice to hear more of the history of Kentucky's infancy.

Even though it took me longer than normal to complete, Boone was well worth the time. . more

What strikes me as the greatest accomplishment of Robert Morgan in this biography of Daniel Boone is stripping away the myth and describing the person. Boone himself was a complex figure. He was a great success as a trapper and explorer. He routinely failed as a businessman and land speculator. He was lucky and he made his own luck. Despite being so well known to Americans, he died in Missouri at 86 and was pretty much broke. His story was such that he was mentioned in the works of poets and wri What strikes me as the greatest accomplishment of Robert Morgan in this biography of Daniel Boone is stripping away the myth and describing the person. Boone himself was a complex figure. He was a great success as a trapper and explorer. He routinely failed as a businessman and land speculator. He was lucky and he made his own luck. Despite being so well known to Americans, he died in Missouri at 86 and was pretty much broke. His story was such that he was mentioned in the works of poets and writers. James Fennimore Cooper based a number of novels on his life and exploits, Natty Bumppo, "la longue carabine," the Pathfinder, Hawkeye, and so on.

The book does a nice job of relating his family background, his childhood, and his increasing interest in trapping, hunting, and exploring. He fought in the French and Indian War (serving with Braddock on this ill-starred campaign) and the Revolutionary War. He was instrumental in helping the process of development of American interests in Kentucky. His relationship with Native Americans was complex.

His business efforts, designed to provide security for his family, routinely ended in failure. Land that he thought had been given him in Kentucky was lost through court action he once lost $20,000 as he was going back to Virginia to deposit this and finalize land claims and so on.

And, a stunning realization. . . . He went with a group of explorers and visited the Yellowstone area while he was in his mid 70s! How many 70 year olds would be able to cross half a continent in 1809 and return?

This book is a wonderfully balanced view of the life of Boone. For those who want to know the man more than the myth, this is most rewarding. Some nice features: a genealogy at the outset, a brief chronology of Boone's life. More maps would have been useful, to place his travels and life in a broader geographic perspective. Nonetheless, a fine work.
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Watch the video: 7 Frontier Survival Hacks Worthy of Daniel Boone


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