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The Adventures of Daniel Boone: the Kentucky rifleman

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SOME men choose to live in crowded cities;—others are pleased with the peaceful quiet of a country farm; while some love to roam through wild forests, and make their homes in the wilderness. The man of whom I shall now speak, was one of this last class. Perhaps you never heard of Daniel Boone, the Kentucky rifleman. If not, then I have a strange and interesting story to tell you.

If, when a child was born, we knew that he was to become a remarkable man, the time and place of his birth would, perhaps, be always remembered. But as this can not be known, great mistakes are often made on these points. As to the time when Daniel Boone was born, there is no difficulty; but people have fallen into many blunders about the place. Some have said that he was born in England, before his parents left that country; others that he came into this world during the passage of his parents across the Atlantic. One has told us that he was born in Virginia; another in Maryland; while many have stated that he was a native of North Carolina. These are all mistakes. Daniel Boone was born in the year 1746, in Bucks county, in the state of Pennsylvania.

From some cause or other, when the boy was but three years old, his parents moved from this home, and settled upon the Schuylkill river, not far from the town of Reading. Here they lived for ten years; and it was during this time that their son Daniel began to show his passion for hunting. He was scarcely able to carry a gun, when he was shooting all the squirrels, rackoons, and even wild-cats (it is said), that he could find in that region. As he grew older, his courage increased, and then we find him amusing himself with higher game. Other lads in the neighborhood were soon taught by him the use of the rifle, and were then able to join him in his adventures. On one occasion, they all started out for a hunt, and after amusing themselves till it was almost dark, were returning homeward, when suddenly a wild cry was heard in the woods. The boys screamed out, "A panther! a panther!" and ran off as fast as they could. Boone stood firmly, looking around for the animal. It was a panther indeed. His eye lighted upon him just in the act of springing toward him: in an instant he levelled his rifle, and shot him through the heart.

But this sort of sport was not enough for him. He seemed resolved to go away from men, and live in the forests with these animals. One morning he started off as usual, with his rifle and dog. Night came on, but Daniel did not return to his home. Another day and night passed away, and still the boy did not make his appearance. His parents were now greatly alarmed. The neighbors joined them in making search for the lad. After wandering about a great while, they at length saw smoke rising from a cabin in the distance. Upon reaching it, they found the boy. The floor of the cabin was covered with the skins of such animals as he had slain, and pieces of meat were roasting before the fire for his supper. Here, at a distance of three miles from any settlement, he had built his cabin of sods and branches, and sheltered himself in the wilderness.

It was while his father was living on the head-waters of the Schuylkill, that young Boone received, so far as we know, all his education. Short indeed were his schoolboy days. It happened that an Irish schoolmaster strolled into the settlement, and, by the advice of Mr. Boone and other parents, opened a school in the neighborhood. It was not then as it is now. Good schoolhouses were not scattered over the land; nor were schoolmasters always able to teach their pupils. The schoolhouse where the boys of this settlement went was a log cabin, built in the midst of the woods....