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Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1755. Boone was a hunter from the time he was old enough to hold a gun to his shoulder. He got just enough education to know how to read and write in a rough way. But in the woods, he learned the lessons that made him the great pioneer and explorer.

One day, the boy did not return from his hunting. The neighbors searched several days before they found him. He had built a little cabin of sod and boughs. Skins of animals were drying around the hut, and the young backwoodsman was toasting a piece of meat before the fire. This love for the wilderness was the ruling passion of his life.

By the time Daniel was thirteen, the part of Pennsylvania in which he lived had become settled. The Boones, like true backwoodsmen, moved to a wilder region on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina. While Daniel's father and brothers cleared a new farm, the boy hunter was left to supply the table with meat.

One of Boone's modes of hunting was by "shining deer," as it was called in that country — that is, hunting deer at night with torches, and killing them by shooting at their glistening eyes. One night Boone, hunting in this fashion, saw a pair of eyes shining in the dark which he thought to be deer's eyes, but which proved to be those of a neighbor's daughter, whom Boone afterward married.

As the country was settling, he moved on to the headwaters of the river, where he and his young wife set up their log cabin in the lonesome wilderness. At this time, the Alleghany Mountains formed a great wall, beyond which was a vast wilderness, with no inhabitants but American Indians and wild animals. Boone was too fond of wild life and too daring not to wish to take a peep over the mountains and get a sight of the land on the other side. Fifteen years before the Revolutionary War began, he pushed across the mountain wall and hunted bears in what is now Tennessee.

In 1769, Boone went into Kentucky with five others. Here he hunted the buffalo for the first time and came near being run down by a herd of them. At length, he and a man named Stewart were taken captive by the Indians. Boone pretended to be very cheerful. When he had been seven days in captivity, the Indians, having eaten a hearty supper, all fell into a sound sleep. Boone sat up. One of the Indians moved. Boone lay down again. After a while, he rose up once more. As the Indians all lay still, he wakened Stewart, and they took two guns and quietly slipped away, getting back in safety to a cabin they had built. But they never found any trace of the four men who had crossed the Alleghanies with them.

One day, when Boone and Stewart were hunting, a lot of arrows were shot out of a canebrake near them, and Stewart fell dead. Boone's brother and another man had come from North Carolina to find Daniel. The other man walked out one day and was eaten up by wolves. There were now only the two Boones left of eight men in all who had crossed the mountains.

By this time, Boone ought to have had enough of the wilderness. But the fearless Daniel sent his brother back to North Carolina for ammunition and horses, while he spent the winter in this almost boundless forest, with no neighbors but Indians, wolves, and other wild creatures. This was just what Daniel Boone liked, for he was himself a wild man.

Once the Indians chased him. Seeing them at a distance, following his tracks like dogs after a deer, he caught hold of one of those long, wild grapevines that dangle from the tall trees in Kentucky and swung himself away out in the air and then dropped down. When the Indians came to the place, they could not follow his tracks, and Boone got away.

He lived alone three months, until his brother returned. Then the Boones selected a spot on which to settle and went back to North Carolina for their families and their friends. On their way out again, in 1773, the Indians attacked Boone's party and killed six men, among whom was Boone's oldest son. The women of the party now went to the nearest settlement, but Boone made several journeys to and fro. In 1775, just as the Revolutionary War broke out, he built a fort in Kentucky, and called it Boonesborough. Even while building the fort, Boone and his friends were attacked by Indians. When the fort was completed, Boone's wife and daughters came to Boonesborough, and they were the first European women in Kentucky.

A daughter of Boone's and two other girls were captured by the Indians while picking flowers outside of the fort. These cunning backwoods girls managed to drop shreds torn from their clothes and to break a bough now and then, so as to guide their fathers in following them. The party was overtaken by Boone and others, and the girls were rescued. To tell of all the battles around Boonesborough, or of all of Daniel Boone's fights and escapes, would take a great part of this book. Once, when hunting, he encountered two Indians. He "treed," as they called it — that is, he got behind one of the large trees of the forest. The Indians did the same. Boone partly exposed himself, and one of the Indians fired, but Boone, who was very quick, dodged at the flash of the Indian's gun. He played the same trick on the other. Then he shot one of the Indians and had a hand-to-hand fight with the other. The Indian struck at him with his tomahawk, but Boone protected himself with his gun barrel, and killed the Indian with a knife such as hunters of that time carried in their belts.

One day, Boone was attacked by a group of Indians. He tried the speed of his legs, but one young Indian was swifter than he, and he was captured. The Indians thought him a great prize. They shaved his head except for a single lock, painted his face, and dressed him up like an Indian. Then they gave him to an old woman who had lost her son. She had her choice to adopt him or give him up to be burned alive. After looking at him a long time the old woman made up her mind to adopt him.

The Indians among whom Boone was a prisoner were fighting on the English side in the Revolution. The English officers who were then at Detroit bought all their captives from the Indians, except Boone, and they offered five hundred dollars for Captain Boone. But the Indians would not sell so great a warrior. The English officers were sorry for him, and out of real kindness, when they could not buy him, they offered him money. Boone refused to receive any favors from those who were fighting against his country.

Boone pretended to like the Indian way of living. He stayed a long time with them and took part in all their sports. He seemed to have forgotten his own people. But when he found that they were preparing to attack Boonesborough, he got ready to escape. Pretending to chase a deer, while holding a piece of his breakfast in his hand, he succeeded in getting away. By running in streams of water, he kept the Indians from following his tracks. He lived on roots and berries and only ventured to shoot his gun off once to get food.

When Boone got back to Boonesborough, he found that his family had given him up for dead and gone back to North Carolina. He repaired the fort and defended against five hundred Indians who attacked it.

Boone brought his family to Kentucky again and was in many severe fights after this. Kentucky had no rest from bloodshed until Wayne defeated the Indians in Ohio, in 1794. When Kentucky had filled up with settlers, the old pioneer went off to Missouri so as to get "elbow-room." The amusements of his old age were lying in wait for deer, shooting wild turkeys, and hunting for bee-trees. He was eighty-five years old when he died.


Study the lesson for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read and/or listen to the story.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary terms.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Answer the review questions.


Famous pioneer, explorer, and woodsman Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1735. As a boy, he disappeared for several days, and a search party found him outside a hut he'd constructed, toasting meat over a fire. When Pennsylvania became more settled, Boone and his family moved to the wilderness of North Carolina. Boone enjoyed 'shining deer,' hunting the shining eyes of deer at night by torchlight. When he grew up, he married and built his own log cabin in the wilderness. He explored over the mountains into Tennessee and hunted bears. He pushed further, exploring Kentucky, where he hunted Buffalo and was captured by local American Indians. Boone escaped the Indians while they slept, and he survived. Once American Indians tracked Boone through the woods, but Boone escaped them by swinging on a grapevine to obscure his tracks. Boone built a Fort in Kentucky, called Boonesborough, where he and other men brought their families. Boone's daughter and two other girls were captured by American Indians, but the girls were able to leave clothing shreds and break branches, enabling Boone and his men to track the girls and free them. Boone engaged in many skirmishes with the Indians, and eventually he was captured. He lived with the Indians for a long time, before finally escaping. His family had abandoned Boonesborough, thinking him dead, so Boone rebuilt his fort, fetched his family, and brought them back to Kentucky. When Kentucky became settled, Boone set off again for the wilderness of Missouri. He lived a long life, dying at age 85.


Pioneer: An early settler in a new country.
Wilderness: A wild country or country without inhabitants.
Dangle: To hang down.
Cabin: A small house.
Cane Brake: A thicket of growing canes. The canes are useful for making fishing rods.
Ammunition: Things used to load a gun, including powder, bullets, and caps.
Fort: A place built to keep out enemies in war.
Shreds: Little strips or threads torn off.
Rescued: Saved from danger, recovered.
Tomahawk: An Indian's hatchet.
Adopt: To take for one's own child.
Squaw: An Indian woman.
Bee Tree: A tree in which a swarm of wild bees has stored honey.


Activity 1: Narrate the Story

  • Narrate the events aloud in your own words.

Activity 2: Study the Story Picture

  • Study the story picture and describe how it relates to the story.

Activity 3: Map the Story

  • Find the places Daniel Boone lived and explored - Pennsylvania (PA), North Carolina (NC), Tennessee (TN), Kentucky (KY), and Missouri (MO).

Activity 4: Complete Copywork, Narration, Dictation, and Art   

  • Click the crayon above. Complete pages 47-48 of 'American History Copywork, Narration, Dictation, and Art for Third Grade.'


Question 1

Why did Boone's family leave Pennsylvania?
1 / 5

Answer 1

Boone's family left Pennsylvania for North Carolina when Pennsylvania became too settled for their liking.
1 / 5

Question 2

What is 'shining deer?'
2 / 5

Answer 2

'Shining deer' involves hunting deer at night using torches. The deer's eyes shine in the torchlight, revealing their presence.
2 / 5

Question 3

How did Boone escape the American Indians tracking him through the woods?
3 / 5

Answer 3

Boone swung on a grapevine to hide his tracks and evaded the American Indians.
3 / 5

Question 4

What was Boonesborough, and where was it located?
4 / 5

Answer 4

Boonesborough was the fort Boone built in Kentucky.
4 / 5

Question 5

Why did Boone leave Kentucky?
5 / 5

Answer 5

Boone left Kentucky for Missouri when it became too settled for his liking.
5 / 5

  1. Why did Boone's family leave Pennsylvania? Boone's family left Pennsylvania for North Carolina when Pennsylvania became too settled for their liking.
  2. What is 'shining deer?' 'Shining deer' involves hunting deer at night using torches. The deer's eyes shine in the torchlight, revealing their presence.
  3. How did Boone escape the American Indians tracking him through the woods? Boone swung on a grapevine to hide his tracks and evaded the American Indians.
  4. What was Boonesborough, and where was it located? Boonesborough was the fort Boone built in Kentucky.
  5. Why did Boone leave Kentucky? Boone left Kentucky for Missouri when it became too settled for his liking.


  1. 'The Burning of Jamestown by Howard Pyle. (1905, {PD-old-auto-1923})' Wikipedia. commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howard_Pyle_-_The_Burning_of_Jamestown.jpg. n.p.