15 May 2016

Family Lore - Are The Stories True?



I am a panelist in the ESM QuickLessons study group.  We are now at lesson #7.  All of my homework for the previous sessions are on Google Docs.  I decided to start posting my homework here on my blog so everyone has access to it and hopefully learn a thing or two.

I invite everyone to watch the weekly sessions that are the creation of Dear Myrtle who also moderates the discussions.  To watch archived videos of past sessions click HERE.  To watch the sessions live - Wednesdays at 9:00 am Pacific time - click HERE.

Sheri Fenley
Homework for 18 May 2016


Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 7: Family Lore and Indian Princesses,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-7-family-lore-and-indian-princesses : accessed 1 May 2016).



I have always wished for an ancestor that was famous or had been a part of an important historical event. I have come across many collateral relatives that had some great moments in time, but not my direct blood line – until I found a wonderful story about my 5th great grandfather Richard Thomas III.



The story told was that Richard was a minister of the Rockbridge Baptist Church in Bourbon County, Kentucky. The church was organized in 1793 and was one of the early “Primitive Baptist” churches of the Kentucky frontier. While out on a walk one day he came across the bones of Edward Boone, the brother of Daniel Boone. Apparently the spot was on a river bank and water had washed the soil away. Rev. Thomas took the remains and re-interred them in his church's cemetery.

That is a story that is so weird it might possibly be true. I thought it was worth the research time to find out.

After days of searching, I ended up in a maze of manuscripts called the Draper Collection. Here I found several references to the story:

Letter from Sarah Boone Hunter to Lyman Draper, October 6, 1855, Draper Mss 22C54-55

Nathan Boone, son of Daniel, reported on Edward’s death to Draper, Mss. 31C100-101

Letter to Lyman Draper from John Scholl, grandson of Edward and son of Peter Scholl and Mary Boone, daughter of Edward. Draper Mss. 22S269 & 270.

Daniel Bryan, son of William Bryan and Mary Boone, Draper Mss.31C101-102

Joshua Pennington, son of Edward’ sister Hannah, 1854 Draper Mss. 23C43

Information from the above tells this story:

The date is 6 October 1780, Daniel Boone and his brother Edward were returning from a hunting and salt making trip in the Blue Licks when they stopped at a creek to let their horses cool and graze. Daniel decided to go off and hunt while Edward stayed with the horses.

As Edward sat alone beneath a buckeye tree, a group of Shawnee warriors sneaked up and shot him. Hearing the shots, Daniel looked back in horror and saw the Indians standing over Edward’s dead body. Spotting Daniel off in the distance, the Indians released their dog. Daniel brought down the animal with a shot from his rifle and managed to escape back to Boone Station.

Edward’s daughter, Sarah Boone Hunter, in a letter to Lyman Draper, said:

"My father was killed 40 miles from the Station. He was stabbed in 7 places; his fingers were horribly cut with the Indian’s knife. He was scalped and part of his clothing were taken off. I think his coat and pantaloons."

In a newspaper article - "Circumstances Surrounding The Death And Burial Of Edward Boone, Brother Of Famed Frontier Explorer", by Edna Talbott Whitley, The Kentuckian-Citizen, December 12, 1958 - it tells us of over 30 men who went with Daniel Boone the day after his brother's death to bury his body on the site he was killed. Several of these men gave depositions to attest to this fact and can be found in the Draper Manuscripts.

But, the primary source document for Edward Boone’s reburial in the Rockbridge Graveyard is a written account taken by Lyman Draper himself. In an interview, held about 1851 in Columbia, Missouri, William T. Wilson, native of Bourbon County, Kentucky and son of Capt. Henry Wilson (my 5th great grandfather), described the event to Draper.

Wilson, according to Draper, was "long familiar" with the Boone Creek area. Wilson was in a position to know about Elder Thomas reburying Edward Boone. Wilson's brother, Lewis Wilson, married Elder Richard Thomas’s daughter, Sarah A. Thomas (Lewis Wilson and Sarah Anderson Thomas are my 4th great grandparents). This makes William T. Wilson either a primary source (an eye witness to the event) or a very credible secondary source.

In the interview, Wilson draws a plat locating the Rockbridge Baptist Church in relation to Boone Creek and described what happened:

"Millersburg, Ky is some 8 miles below the mouth of Boone’s Creek – a half mile yet higher up the creek to the spring where Edward Boone was buried. The Upper Blue Licks are about 15 miles from Boone’s Lick & the Lower Blue Licks about 20 miles distant. About 1827, the bones of Edward Boone became exposed to view where they were buried, in the road, by the washing of water, near the bank of the creek & close to the spring, & the Rev. Richard Thomas had them removed and re-interred a mile off in the Rockbridge Baptist Church Yard."



So the story is true, right? At the time, when I did the above research, I felt it was true.

Just a couple of months ago, I came across a couple of newspaper articles that now make me question my original thoughts. The first is an article entitled “Pioneer Grave” from the Bourbon News [Bourbon County, Kentucky] dated Tuesday June 29, 1897, page 4, column 3.



After reading this, and noticing that it makes no mention of the re-internment of the remains by Richard Thomas, I am not so sure about the story.

Then I come across this fairly recent article entitled “Descendants want to know where Ned Boone is buried” from the Corbin Times-Tribune [Knox County, Kentucky] dated Thursday November 25, 2004, page 6A, column 1.



It seems that the Boone Society thinks the story is true. I am guessing that they did research in the Draper Manuscripts like I did and came to the same conclusion – that the story is most likely true.

Richard Thomas III is my 5th great grandfather. I am very proud of this particular ancestor. Richard served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain Lytle's Company in Colonel William Taylor's North Carolina Regiment. He was discharged in June, 1778, at Valley Forge, after having served General George Washington himself. Richard's brother, General Philemon Thomas, was the commanding general who took Baton Rouge in the War of 1812.

Richard Thomas was born 19 October 1758 in Orange County, North Carolina to Richard Thomas II and Frances Hawkins. On 19 November 1794, Richard married Elizabeth Bowles, the daughter of Jesse Bowles and Hannah Perkins. I descend through their daughter Sarah Anderson Thomas who married Lewis Wilson.

Richard wrote an article for the "Western Citizen" on 30 April 1825 at the height of the controversy between the Old and New Court of Appeals.

Some Reflections of Affairs on the Present State of Government
by an Old Soldier of the Revolutionary War of 1776

I served four campaigns in that war, am now in the 66th year of my age and have nothing to fear on my own account - yet my sympathies are engaged for my children, my brethren, and my country. Every energy of my mind runs out in desire that minorities and majorities shall possess equal rights, that no power shall rest in the hands of a majority to trample on the rights of any. That power lodged anywhere to trample the rights of others is tyranny. I have conscientiously expressed my belief as to where the master spirits of the store are endeavoring to bring us in the following sheets: To establish Tyranny among us and destroy our present Republican Government and believing that there are thousands now led astray, who are honest and firm republicans in heart I entreat you for your own sakes, and that of your children, reflect before it is too late. With the warmest feelings and sincere wishes for the prosperity of my country I remain a sincere friend to equal liberty and rights.

The Draper Manuscripts are a 491 volume collection of letters, genealogical and historical notes, land records, newspaper clippings, and interview notes pertaining to the frontier history and settlement of the old Northwest and Southwest Territories of the United States from the 1740s to 1830.

491 volumes divided into 50 series of varying lengths. Each series is titled by a geographic area, by a subject, or by the name of a prominent frontier leader:

A George Bedinger Papers Vo. 1
B Draper's Life of Boone Vol. 1-5, 7-9
C Boone Papers Vol. 1-6, 10-33
D Border Forays Vol. 1-5
E Brady and Wetzel Papers Vol. 1-16
F Joseph Brant papers Vol. 1-22
G Brant Miscellanies Vol. 1-3
H Daniel Broadhead Papers Vol. 1-3
J George Rogers Clark Papers Vol. 1-64
K George Rogers Clark Misc….. Vol. 1-5
L Jonathan Clark Papers Vol. 1-2
M William Clark Papers Vol. 1-6
N William Croghan Papers Vol. 1-3
O Daniel Drake Paper Vol. 1-2
P Draper's Biographical Sketches Vol. 1-3
Q Draper's Historical Misc… Vol. 1-8
R Draper's Memoranda Books Vol. 1-3
S Draper's Notes Vol. 1-33
T Thomas Forsyth Papers Vol. 1-9
U Frontier Wars Papers Vol. 1-24
V Georgia, Alabama & So. Carolina Papers Vol. 1
W Josiah Harmar Papers Vol. 1-2
X William Henry Harrison Vol. 1-5
Y Thomas S. Hinde Papers Vol. 1-41
Z Illinois Papers Vol. 1
AA William Irving Papers Vol. 1-2
BB Simon Kenton Papers Vol. 1-13
CC Kentucky Papers Vol. 1-36
DD Kings Mountain Papers Vol. 1-18
EE London Documents At Albany Vol. 1
FF Mecklenburg Declaration, By Draper Vol. 1-3
GG Mecklenburg Declaration Papers Vol. 1-3
HH Mecklenburg Declaration Misc….. Vol. 1-2
JJ Newspaper Extracts Vol. 1-4
KK North Carolina Papers Vol. 1
LL Paris Documents at Albany Vol. 1
MM Robert Paterson Papers Vol. 1-3
NN Pittsburg and Northwest Virginia Papers Vol. 1-10
OO Pension Statements Vol. 1
PP Potter Papers Vol. 1
QQ William Preston Papers Vol. 1-6
RR Rudolph-Noy Papers Vol. 1-10
SS David Shepherd Papers Vol. 1-5
TT South Carolina Papers Vol. 1
UU South Carolina In The Revolution Misc…… Vol. 1-2
VV Thomas Sumter Papers Vol. 1-24
WW John Cleves Symmes Papers Vol. 1-4
XX Tennessee Papers Vol. 1-7
YY Tecumseh Papers Vol. 1-13
ZZ Virginia Papers Vol. 1-16


For further information on the Draper Manuscript Collection, the following links are ones I found to be very useful:





At Internet Archive - www.archive.org - there are 51 books (some are indexes of some of the volumes) about the Draper Manuscripts.
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