Athens, Kentucky - The Kentucky State Park System has a new jewel in it's crown of historical state sites. And like all of the state parks in Kentucky when you get off the beaten path - you see history. And Boone Station is no exception.
Boone Station sets approximately 3 miles off of interstate 75 in Fayette County not far from Lexington. Boone State lies in a beautiful lush, green valley with rolling hills on both sides.
The park has approximately 47 acres and looks like a postcard . While there you can picture yourself walking the hills and meadows of Ireland or Scotland.
It is no wonder Daniel Boone wanted to resettle there, with his family and close friends.
In December of 1779 during one of the coldest winters on record. Daniel Boone wanted to make the move from Fort Boonesborough, a place that he had founded and helped to build. His fellow settlers had named the fort for him.
It was so cold in Kentucky in 1779 that the Kentucky River which ran alongside Fort Boonesborough was frozen solid. It is said that turkeys froze on their perches and fell to the ground and that much of the wildlife died from starvation.
Tempers were running high in Fort Boonesborough since the court-martial of Daniel Boone. This had stemmed from an incident when Boone surrendered himself and his men making salt at the Bluelicks to the Shawnee. Daniel Boone himself, when captured was adopted by the Indian Chief known as Blackfish.
After several months of captivity Boone escaped and made his way back to warn the inhabitants of Fort Boonesborough of an impending attack. But when he returned he found that it was not the same Boonesborough that he had left.
His wife Becky had feared him for dead and returned with his children to North Carolina. Of the other settlers at Boonesborough some greeted him warmly while others thought Boone had become a traitor and a coward. Some wanted him punished for the surrender, especially those that had relatives among the saltmakers.
Some saw what Boone did with the saltmakers at Bluelicks as right and others did not. Boone figured that to fight the Shawnee there would bring about a complete massacre of the men because they were all completely surrounded and outnumbered. What Daniel was thinking (and we can only speculate) is that their only chance was to try a later escape from the Indians and make their way back to the fort at Boonesborough. And some did and some did not. Boone only knew that to take a stand there at the Bluelicks would mean certain death.
Colonel Richard Calloway and others did not see it that way and charges were brought against Daniel Boone and the court martial ensued. But Boone was found not guilty and promoted to Major. After the trial some still felt Daniel Boone guilty and the bitter feelings were evident.
Boone being the man he was and being and not wanting to cause a rift among the settlers decided to leave the fort that he helped to found in favor of a piece of land that had been earlier surveyed along the Kentucky River. This new station to which he moved his family became known as Boone Station. On December 25 of 1779 after a meeting of the land commission Boone began the exodus from the fort at Boonesborough. He took approximately 30 family members and friends with him on that very cold day. For the rest of the winter they lived in half faced shelters and faced all of the cold and hardships that the Kentucky winter threw at them. When spring came they began to build cabins and a stockade.
And now 226 years later we pay tribute to Daniel Boone and the stouthearted men, women and children who believed in him and followed him. Their attitude must have been "if it's good for Daniel Boone it will be good for us."
On July 15, 2006 history was made again with the help of the Kentucky State Parks System. Park Manager Phil Gray, and Living History Coordinator Bill Farmer were joined by park staff and about 35 re-enactors as they portrayed Boone's family and friends at the site. Members of the nonprofit Fort Boonesborough Foundation were also on hand selling drinks.
Photographs of the event are available on both this web site at Boone Station Event and at www.fortboonesboroughlivinghistory.org
If you want to experience and feel the beauty of the land Boone moved to. Stand where he stood and look out over the rolling hills at Boone Station. Go for a visit to Boone Station. You can envision what the station might have looked like in 1779 as they began to build there. You can picture in your mind the beginning of cabins and a stockade to provide protection from Indian raids. The settlers planting fields and milling around at their 18th century tasks with children underfoot. And just maybe as the park system continues to develop this land these sights will become a reality. And some day soon with a little imagination you might just see Daniel Boone ride up and give you a big 'ol Boone welcome.
Visit your local library or go online to learn more about Daniel Boone. Hundreds of books have been written about Daniel Boone but some of the best are: Daniel Boone, By John Bakeless and Daniel Boone by John Mack Faragher. Also plan a visit to Fort Boonesborough just a few miles south of Boone Station.