A group of property and other legal documents connected to the family of Daniel Boone (1734–1820), the frontiersman whose exploits made him one of America’s first folk heroes. The earliest dates to 1779 and is associated with Squire Boone’s Station, one of the first large settlements in the territory named for its founder who was Daniel’s younger brother.
Squire Boone (1744–1815) was a jack of many trades, including frontiersman, long hunter, soldier, city planner, politician, land locator, judge, politician, gunsmith, and miller. He ventured on many long hunts with Daniel into the Kentucky wilderness, including the infamous trek in 1775 when his brother was hired to blaze what became known as the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky, assisting in the settlement of Boone's Station, present day Boonesborough.
One of the eight documents in this collection, dated August 5, 1779, is a legal complaint made by Squire Boone concerning 800 acres in what was then known as Kentucky County, Virginia. He claimed Captain Robert Elliot of the continental ship Morris offered him land for $600. “Robert did not in fact warrant and defend the before mentioned premises according to his contract,” states Squire’s complaint, forcing him to purchase the land at a greater price, an alleged injury equal to 1,000 pounds. This document, which is crudely reinforced on the verso, is signed “Sebastian for the plaintiff.”
The property in question is described in the document as “on the north side of Clear Creek (a branch of Brashears creek) and adjoining to and below land claimed by the said Boone on south Clear Creek in the County of Kentucky and state of Virginia.” The disputed land lay adjacent to Squire Boone's Station, also known as Painted Stone Station, established in late 1779 on the Clear Fork of Brashear's Creek, two miles north of present-day Shelbyville. Its alternate name came from the creekside rock painted with Boone's name and the date of his visit in 1776 when he was first scouting and claiming the area. In 1780, Squire brought 13 families to Painted Stone, the first permanent settlement in the county. He was wounded in April 1781 when Indians attacked and most of the settlers abandoned the undermanned station. He returned in the winter of 1783 to find the entire site burnt to the ground but remained and over the next year, built a grist and sawmill.
Squire also began acting as a land locator for wealthy land speculators who did not want to personally risk living on the frontier. However, due to financial losses in this line of work, he lost his own property, including the station in 1786. This collection includes a one-page document that contains four land surveys completed in 1783 for property owned by Squire Boone and nearby land owned by George Holeman, who were embroiled in a legal dispute during this period. The surveys were done by Joseph Helms and witnessed by Alex Breckenridge. This document has been crudely reinforced along the edges and verso. Two additional manuscript documents, noted as copies for the defendant and concerning a deposition by Zachariah Fisher, are dated May and July 1794 and relate to the Holeman property issue.
Further reinforcing the legal and financial troubles Squire experienced, this collection also includes a half-page printed document completed in manuscript in 1785 ordering the Sheriff of Jefferson County in the Common-Wealth of Virginia to attach goods and chattles of Squire Boon to satisfy a debt in the sum of 609 pounds, 14 schillings, and 8 pence. On the verso of the document, the handwritten judgement says it relates to a claim brought by (Colonel) John Bowman, who was the first military commander and military governor of Kentucky County.
This group includes a document signed on February 19, 1788 by Moses Boone, the cousin of Daniel. The one-page manuscript, dated February 19, 1788, pertains to a financial obligation of 16 pounds (“money of Virginia”) to James Moon, the sheriff of Jefferson County. The document is also signed by his cousin, Rachel (Boone) Merrifield. There is silk tape reinforcement to the verso.
There are also two later documents in this collection from the mid-1800s. A quarter-page manuscript document dated March 29, 1848 in Louisville and signed by William Boone is related to a payment of $100 for digging sewers. The second is a handwritten letter on Boone & Boone Law and Collection Office letterhead from Louisville dated January 6, 1874, inquiring with R.M. Collins regarding the availability of “Collins History of Kentucky.”
Except as otherwise noted, the manuscripts in this collection are toned with creasing from prior folds, but otherwise in very good condition. They provide a different perspective on the hardships experienced by pioneers trying to establish a foothold in this vast new territory where land speculation was rampant and claims to property were often tenuous. Item #72617