Seventeen year old Rebecca Boone rode to her wedding to Daniel Boone behind her father on his horse, sitting on a second saddle called a pillion. The dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty wore the finest that the frontier afforded in that day.
Weddings were important events in the backwoods so they were celebrated by nearly everyone living in the area for miles around. Daniel Boone and his party, astride their mounts, came upon a group of well-wishers. They reveled in firing their weapons in the air, covering the wedding party with smoke and causing one or more to nearly fall from their horses.
When the group was within a mile of their destination two of the young men raced off on horseback to fetch a bottle of whiskey. When they returned, it was passed around and rapidly drank.
Following the wedding the pillion was taken from her father’s horse and strapped behind Daniel’s saddle. Horses were both a necessity and luxury at the time. Horseback was the normal mode of travel and pack horses were used for transporting and other burdens.
Honeymoons weren’t very private on the frontier. Many of the couple’s friends who attended the wedding also gathered at the cabin where the newlyweds spent their first night.
There was a feast of wild turkey, bacon, venison and vegetables, eaten from pewter dishes, plates and wooden bowls. The elders saw that Daniel had a good helping of corn whiskey and they teased him about “starting a large family.” The alcohol, dancing and teasing eased most of Daniel’s jitters.
After the party was in full swing several of Rebecca’s girlfriends scaled the ladder to the loft and put her to bed before climbing back down below. Several of the young men led an entourage up the ladder and delivered Daniel to the bedside of his new bride before leaving them alone.
The friends and family continued the festive occasion below. Later that evening food was sent up to the newlyweds and soon the guests departed.
In the following days Daniel and Rebecca settled into a cabin in Squire Boone’s yard. During this time, in the late 1750’s, there were several Indian uprisings that resulted in young Rebecca being left alone. Daniel was part of a large force of patriots who drove the French from Fort Duquesne. He later told of killing his first Indian during this assault. Meanwhile, Rebecca molded bullets at home and helped ward off Indians on more than one occasion.
Treaties were continually broken by senseless killings. It resulted in the Indians going on the warpath, seeking revenge. Young Boone eventually took his family to an area near Fredericksburg, Virginia. They traveled in a two-horse wagon where he secured work as a wagoner. He became restless and began taking extended hunting excursions. He was always interested in Indians and studied their ways while in the wild.
Daniel met George Washington at this time. Washington was a few years older than Daniel and when he became president in 1789, Boone boasted that they were good friends. With the passing of time Daniel Boone’s fame rivaled that of the nation’s first president.
In 1749 Daniel bought 640 acres from his father but time would tell that his heart wasn’t in farming. Soon he was on extended scouting and hunting trips again. By this time it was in frontier Virginia and in what would become east Tennessee and into the territory that would become Kentucky.
Daniel and Rebecca had a long and happy marriage, surviving many dangers of the pioneer period. Many instances found Daniel absent, in the wilds, for months at a time.
Child after child was born even during Daniel’s extended long-hunting forays and at times when he was an Indian captive. On one occasion Daniel was gone for two years before returning and there were several times in which Rebecca thought he was dead. Daniel was also guilty of daillance on one or two occasions but he and Rebecca forgave and forgot.
“All that is needed for happiness is a good horse, a good gun and a good wife,” Daniel said many times in his later years especially when Rebecca was within earshot. He displayed much affection for Rebecca who was said to be gentle, loving, kind and a good worker.
The death of Rebecca, in Missouri, at the age of 73, was a monumental loss to Daniel. Their marriage spanned 56 years.
Editor’s note: Jadon Gibson, a 1962 UK graduate, is a free-lance writer from Harrogate, Tenn.