Learning about Wilderness Road and Daniel Boone

Jeannette Holland Austin
6 min readJul 14, 2022

The Wilderness Road trail was first marked by Daniel Boone in March of 1775. Ultimately it became known as the great emigrant trail which led from southwestern Virginia via the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky. The Gap was in the Appalachian Mountains in the vicinity of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee down to the Ohio River.

Between 1775 and 1792, more than 300,000 settlers traversed this trail going deeper into the wilderness country as far as the Ohio River.

Daniel Boone was descended from the Quaker, George Boone, who came to America and settled in Philadelphia. The emigrant, George Boone, as well as his descendants, had large families numbering in double-digits. The thing is these descendants traditionally repeated the same names over and over again down the line. Also, many of them seemed to strike a trail of exploration into the American West.

Daniel Boone was born 1734 in Pennsylvania. His parents took the family into the frontier regions of North Carolina when Daniel was but a young lad. Living in the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains during the early 18th century meant that one was always confronted with Indian raids, massacres, and slavery. One of Daniel’s daughters was stolen by the Indians. He fought in the French and Indian War of 1754. Boone and his brothers would venture through the Cumberland Gap on hunting expeditions, and ultimately led their families into Kentucky.

Daniel Boone tells his tale of leaving his home on the Yadkin River in North Carolina.

The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone by John Filson

“I sold my farm on the Yadkin, and what goods we could not carry with us; and on the twenty-fifth day of September 1773, bade a farewell to our friends, and proceeded on our journey to Kentucky, in company with five families more, and forty men that joined us in Powel’s Valley, which is one hundred and fifty miles from the now settled parts of Kentucky. This promising beginning was soon overcast with a cloud of adversity; for upon the tenth day of October, the rear of our company was attacked by a number of Indians, who killed six, and wounded one man. Of these my eldest son was one that fell in the action. Though we defended ourselves, and repulsed the enemy, yet this unhappy affair scattered…

Jeannette Holland Austin

Author of 100+ genealogy books. Owner of 8 genealogy websites available by subscription. https://georgiapioneers.com/subscribe/subscribe.html