Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Daniel Boone in Florida

When I was a kid, we had pretty good teachers, I suppose, but they never told us a fraction of the true story of Daniel Boone, much less even any hints of the meta-true story, as chronicled in my novel The Devil and Daniel Boone. And one of the revelations about the man that astounds me later in life is the fact that he actually traveled to Florida in the course of his wandering ways.

In 1765 - still a few years before he conquered Kentucky - Boone had fallen on hard times, and had sell off all his land to pay off creditors. He traveled with his brother Squire and a group of men to the Sunshine State and explored the St. Augustine area extensively, and the areas surrounding the St. Johns River. He eventually somehow purchased some land in Pensacola despite his finanical dire straits. The British owned Florida at this point in time, having taken it over at the end of the French and Indian War.

Just what adventures Boone and crew got up to while they were here, history does not record - or maybe it does, somewhere in some forgotten dusty shelf in a library, but I haven't gotten wind of it. But I intend to find out, even if I have to go back there to 1765 and see for myself.

We don't even really know why Boone ended up not staying here and moving the family down, since that was the plan all along. There are vague legendary tales without provenance that his wife Rebecca put her foot down and refused to move that far away, but again, scouting out a place to live was the whole raison d'etre for the Florida expedition in the first place. So, no, that story doesn't wash. Something here changed old Daniel's mind about going Floridal, and I'd love to know what it was. Was it something supernatural? Something paranormal? Something spiritual that scared him? Or did he just decide, "you know, it's really kinda hot here, isn't it?"

Some of Boone's relatives did come down and make this state their home, though, and because of this, Florida's eat-up with his descendents, or those claiming to be. Even Pat Boone, born in Jacksonville, has often stated that he is a direct descendant of Daniel, which may or may not be so, but he does appear to be related at least distantly. As I sit here in Jacksonville tonight, I sip Tempranillo wine and ponder on the ponderables of Mr. Boone's presence right where I am sitting now. And when I make my frequent jaunts to St. Aug, I wonder why Boone didn't set up permanent camp in such a magnificent locale. To repeat what I said earlier: I intend to find out.


  1. Well, what have you found out about Daniel Boone not moving to Pensacola? Also, do you know where exactly where the Boone property was in Pensacola? Thanks!
    Dan Bizzell

  2. I too would like to know exactly where Boone purchased property in Pensacola. Supposedly, Florida Governor Brown of St. Augustine asked Daniel Boone and his group to explore Florida for him. If so, wouldn't they have written a report for him? A few years later Florida was turned over to the Spanish. Perhaps the report, if there is one, is sitting in archives in London. Matthew Lee Danison, Cape Canaveral

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.