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American History
3.15 Boone's relationship with the Indians

Daniel Boone, a famous hunter from North Carolina, opened up a road through the forest, from the mountains of Eastern Tennessee to the Kentucky River. It was called the "Wilderness Road," and over it thousands of emigrants went into Kentucky to settle. Boone, with others, built the fort at Boonesboro', Kentucky, and went there to live. That fort protected the settlers against the Indians, and so helped that part of the country to grow until it became the state of Kentucky.

One day Boone's young daughter was out, with two other girls, in a canoe on the river. Suddenly some Indians pounced on them and carried them off. One of the girls, as she went along, broke off twigs from the bushes, so that her friends might be able to follow her track through the woods. An Indian caught her doing it, and told her that he would kill her if she did not instantly stop. Then she slyly tore off small bits of her dress, and dropped a piece from time to time.

Boone and his men followed the Indians like bloodhounds. They picked up the bits of dress, and so easily found which way the savages had gone. They came up with the Indians just as they were sitting down round a fire to eat their supper. Creeping toward them behind the trees as softly as a cat creeps up behind a mouse, Boone and his men aimed their rifles and fired. Two of the Indians fell dead, the rest ran for their lives, and the girls were carried back in safety to the fort.

Later, Boone himself was caught and carried off by the Indians. They respected his courage so much that they would not kill him, but decided to adopt him; that is, take him into the tribe as one of their own people, or make an Indian of him. They pulled out all his hair except one long lock, called the "scalp-lock," which they left to grow in Indian fashion. The squaws[5] and girls braided bright feathers in this lock, so that Boone looked quite gay. Then the Indians took him down to a river. There they stripped him, and scrubbed him with all their might, to get his white blood out, as they said. Next, they painted his face in stripes with red and yellow clay, so that he looked, as they thought, handsomer than he ever had before in his life. When all had been done, and they were satisfied with the appearance of their new Indian, they sat down to a great feast, and made merry.

After a time Boone managed to escape, but the Indians were so fond of him that they could not rest till they found him again. One day he was at work in a kind of shed drying some tobacco leaves. He heard a slight noise, and turning round saw four Indians with their guns pointed at him. "Now, Boone," said they, "we got you. You no get away this time." "How are you?" said Boone, pleasantly; "glad to see you; just wait a minute till I get you some of my tobacco." He gathered two large handfuls of the leaves: they were as dry as powder and crumbled to dust in his hands. Coming forward, as if to give the welcome present to the Indians, he suddenly sprang on them and filled their eyes, mouths, and noses with the stinging tobacco dust. The savages were half choked and nearly blinded. While they were dancing about, coughing, sneezing, and rubbing their eyes, Boone slipped out of the shed and got to a place of safety. The Indians were mad as they could be, yet they could hardly help laughing at Boone's trick; for cunning as the red men were, he was more cunning still.

Boone lived to be a very old man. He had owned a good deal of land in the west, but he had lost possession of it. When Kentucky began to fill up with people and the game was killed off, Boone moved across the Mississippi into Missouri. He said that he went because he wanted "more elbow room" and a chance to hunt buffalo again. He now begged the state of Kentucky to give him a small piece of land, where, as he said, he could "lay his bones." The people of that state generously helped him to get nearly a thousand acres; but he appears to have soon lost possession of it. If he actually did lose it, then this brave old hunter, who had opened up the way for such a multitude of emigrants to get farms at the west, died without owning a piece of ground big enough for a grave. He is buried in Frankfort, Kentucky, within sight of the river on which he built his fort at Boonesboro'.


Directions: Answer the following multiple choice questions. Also, answer the following questions on a sheet of paper:
  1. How did Boone escape from the Indians?
  2. How did Boone spend his old age?

Q 1: Where was he buried?
He was buried in Frankfort, Kentucky
He was buried in Missouri
He was buried in Mississippi

Q 2: The passage on the whole suggests that Boone was very --------------
brave though did not possess timely action
Courageous and Possessed ready wit
Cunning and not brave enough

Q 3: How was Boone escape at the gun point?
By slipping among them.
By pouncing on Indians.
By filling eyes, mouths and noses of Indians with the stinking tobacco dust.

Q 4: Why did Indians want to adopt Boone?
For his bravery
For his personality
For his friendly behavior

Question 5: This question is available to subscribers only!

Question 6: This question is available to subscribers only!


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