Matson in St. Charles County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Daniel Boone Judgment Tree Memorial
[The plaque on the left when entering the memorial]
Copyright © December 1999
Daniel Boone was born miles east of present Reading, in the colony of Pennsylvania, on October 22 (old Julian calendar), and November 2nd (now Gregorian calendar), 1734. He was the 6th of 10 children of Squire and Sarah (Morgan) Boone. He learned how to hunt and became an excellent marksman at a very early age. He also lived near Indians and learned their ways and how to survive in the wilderness.
In 1750 when Daniel was 15 years old his family left Pennsylvania, going down through the Shenandoah, Virginia, to settle near the forks of the Yadkin River in North Carolina.
The French and Indian War started in 1754, and the next year, Daniel Boone became a wagon driver during General Edward Braddock's ill-fated campaign against the French.
In 1756 Daniel married 17 year old Rebecca Bryan. During their marriage they would have ten children.
When the Cherokee Indians attacked the
Once back in North Carolina, Daniel explored and hunted in present Georgia, Florida, southwest Virginia and Kentucky. In 1769 he [unreadable] other men was killed by Indians. Daniel remained and spent two years hunting and exploring. Following his return, Daniel, in 1773, with a group of families made a failed attempt at establishing the first white settlement in Kentucky. During this attempt, some of the group was ambushed by Indians and the Boone's oldest son James was killed. Only part way into Kentucky at the time, the party turned back to the safety of the settlements.
Daniel was involved in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774, was commissioned as a Lieutenant, then a captain. During the war he was put in charge of three forts in southwestern Virginia along the Clinch River.
In 1775, much of the area of present Kentucky was purchased from the Cherokee Indians by a group of North Carolina businessmen. They named the purchased area Transylvania, the 14th colony. Soon after the purchase, Daniel Boone led the cutting of Boone's Wilderness Trail from Tennessee into the
The next year Daniel's daughter Jemima, and two other girls were captured by Indians. Daniel led the successful rescue efforts. The following year he was wounded in an Indian attack, and during the next year Daniel was captured by Shawnee Indians, and taken to their villages in Ohio, where he was adopted as a son of a Shawnee War Chief. He escaped after five months. Soon after his escape the Indians attacked Fort Boonesborough, where Daniel played a main role in the successful defense. He was afterwards raised in rank to Major, and within the next several years to Lieutenant Colonel, and then to full Colonel in the Virginia frontier militia. During this time he was elected to the Virginia legislature, captured by the British while in Virginia, and appointed to many Kentucky positions, including Lt. Colonel, then Colonel of the county militia, Sheriff, Deputy Surveyor, Coroner, and Trustee for the earliest towns in Kentucky.
The following year Daniel was appointed to the highest position in Fayette County, County Lieutenant (in charge of a whole county, both civil and military). Several years later he and Rebecca moved to the town of Limestone in northern Kentucky where they operated an inn, where Daniel was elected to the Virginia legislature for a second time.
Several years later he moved his family to the Kanawha Valley of present West Virginia, where he was elected in 1791 to the Virginia legislature for the third time. He was also appointed Lt. Colonel of the Kanawha County militia. During this time Daniel rescued six year old Chloe Flinn from an Indian village.
In the mid-1700s the Boones moved back to Kentucky. Daniel Morgan Boone, the oldest living son, began to explore in Spanish Louisiana (Missouri) where he obtained a Spanish Land Grant in 1797. The next year the Spanish Lt. Governor sent a letter via Daniel Morgan Boone, asking Daniel to move from Kentucky to become the head of a colony of emigrants in Spanish Louisiana.
The invitation was accepted in 1799, and the Boone family left Kentucky, the en going overland with the animals, and the women going by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi Rivers. They arrived in Spanish Upper Louisiana (Missouri) in October, and settled along the Missouri River and nearby Femme Osage Creek, being the westernmost settlement of Americans (temporarily as Spanish subjects) west of the Mississippi River.
In 1800 Daniel was appointed the Commandant of the Spanish Femme Osage District, making him the civil administrator, military leader, and judge. His district seems to have run west from near St. Louis to Kansas, and northward from the Missouri River to into present Iowa. In October, Spain transferred Louisiana to France, and within three years France sold the Louisiana Territory to America. Daniel and all of the other officials remained in their positions, for a year or so after the American takeover.
While in Missouri Daniel went on a number of long hunts, obtaining furs which he sold to pay off debts in Kentucky, once traveling as far as the Platte River in present Nebraska. He had several confrontations with the Indians while hunting, and in a couple of instances hid his traps while escaping.
From about 1808, when he was in his mid-70's, Daniel developed illnesses during his long winter hunts, and during some years wasn't able to make long hunts.
Rebecca passed away in 1813, after becoming ill while making sugar maple syrup at their daughter Jemima Callaway's place, near present Marthasville.
In 1820, while at his daughter Jemima Callaway's home, Daniel had an attack of fever. He recovered, and returned to Nathan's, where after a few days, he became ill again, and passed away on September 26th. Like Rebecca, Daniel was buried at what is now known as "Boone Monument Farm", near the town of Marthasville, across the Missouri River from Washington. Daniel had lived in Missouri from 21 years, longer than the time spent in any of the other present states. He never returned to Kentucky to visit as sometimes stated. Missouri was his chosen home.
September and October 1799
At the time the Boone family left Kentucky for Spanish Upper Louisiana (present Missouri) in 1799, Daniel was sixty-four years old, and his wife Rebecca was sixty. Daniel had received a special invitation from the Spanish Lt. Governor at St. Louis, Zenon Trudeau, to come to Spanish Louisiana and establish a colony of Kentucky type frontiersmen. The Boones at the time were living on a tract of land at the far eastern end of Kentucky, about one mile up the Ohio River from the mouth of the Little Sandy River.
The start of the Boone family trip took place during the middle of September. Daniel had already prepared for the trip by hollowing out a 60 foot long pirogue (dug out canoe) from a yellow poplar (tulip) tree, which he cut down about one-and-half miles up the Little Sandy River. This pirogue and several smaller boats were used to carry some of the men, the women and children, and some household items. The group traveled down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi River to the village of St. Louis.
A second group of men, using packhorses and led by Daniel Boone, went by land. Per Daniel's son Nathan, they drove their stock of horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs over a journey of some 600 miles. From the starting point at their home, they went generally north along the west shore of the Ohio River to the town of Limestone (now Maysville). From Limestone they cut westward across Kentucky going through the town of Lexington and on to the town of Louisville. At this point they crossed northward over the Ohio River and westward through present Indiana and Illinois. Both groups probably met at Louisville, where the boats had to be portaged around the large falls at that time in the Ohio River.
The Boone's eighteen year old son Nathan became love sick, and left the boat group at Limestone to go back and marry his sixteen year old girlfriend, Olive Van Bibber. Nathan and Olive then left Olive's hoe in eastern Kentucky in the hope of meeting up with the larger overland group by taking a short cut.
Spain at the time of the Boone family move, claimed essentially all of the land between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. They had some small settlements such as Santa Fe in the present New Mexico and Texas areas, and a few other settlements along the Pacific Coast in California. The Louisiana part of the Spanish claim was somewhat more advanced, with settlement around New Orleans, and the rest of the settlements along the Mississippi River in what is called Missouri. The Spanish Governor was stationed in New Orleans, and the Lt. Governor was stationed in St. Louis. At that time the only Spanish settlements west of the Mississippi were in present day Missouri being mainly the villages of St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Ste. Genevieve, New Madrid, and St. Charles, with smaller settlements at Carondelet (present south St. Louis), San Ferdinand (Florissant), Charette (near present Marthasville), San Andre (Bon Homme), the Salt River area (west of present Hannibal), and lead mining settlements just to the west of Cape Girardeau and St. Genevieve. The reason for inviting the Americans was to shore up the Spanish strength against the English to the north, the sometimes unruly Indians to the west and north, and the Americans slowly advancing toward the Mississippi River from the east. In return the Spanish offered relative social freedom and free land that went on indefinitely to the west.
Sometime in mid-October, both of the Boone groups met on the east bank of the Mississippi River, opposite the village of St. Louis. Daniel crossed over to St. Louis to meet with the Spanish Lt. Governor Trudeau, who had sent Daniel the invitation. Trudeau had been replaced as Lt. Governor by Charles DeLassus, however he had remained at St. Louis in order to meet Daniel Boone. The arrival of Daniel Boone was no small event to the Spanish, as Daniel was already a legend. Daniel was a noted explorer and backwoods hero, who against all odds had led the westward settlement of a key part of America into and through the dark and mysterious unknown wilderness. He had been captured and escaping from Indians, and had rescued others who had been captured. He had been a legislator and a full Colonel in the military, and was recognized as being a person having the highest ranking personal character traits. All in all, Daniel Boone was recognized as a true leader, and when he entered the village of St. Louis the Spanish gave him a gun salute and had a parade performed in his honor.
The Spanish gave Daniel Boone blank concession documents for giving out Spanish Land Grants to the people he had brought along from Kentucky. When the business was concluded, Daniel crossed back over to the east side of the Mississippi River, and both groups proceeded up along the east shore of the river to above the mouth of the Missouri River, where apparently at the first desirable place, they all crossed to the west (St. Charles) side of the Mississippi River. Nathan and his young wife Olive arrived in St. Louis shortly after the others had proceeded up the river. After a short stay in St. Louis, instead of following the others, Nathan and Olive proceeded overland to the village of St. Charles, where they arrived prior to the others. They then came down the trail to this area, and went to the log house that Daniel Morgan Boone had built behind the present town of Matson. Here he left Olive, and then traveled back to St. Charles where he met his father and the others. They all arrived here in mid, to late October, and would have walked right past the south edge of this park as they came from the river and the trail down by the river. Their destination was Daniel Morgan Boone's double room log house, where Daniel, Rebecca, Nathan, and Olive stayed with Daniel Morgan Boone for the first winter, and where Daniel and Rebecca lived their first four years in Missouri.
In June of 1800, Daniel was appointed to the position of Spanish Commandant of the Femme Osage District, at that time his district was region running indefinitely west and north along the north side of the Missouri River. In this role he performed as the civil administrator and military commander of the district, as well as having the dual role of Spanish Syndic (Judge) of civil disputes. In his role he held court under the large elm "Boone Judgment Tree", that is the subject of this park. With Daniel Boone being in true spirits an American in the role of Spanish Commandant and Syndic, he became a focus point for other Americans in Kentucky and Virginia, and for accepting the move westward across the Mississippi River.
After four years, the Americans took charge of the Louisiana Territory, Daniel and Rebecca moved up to Nathan's place on the Femme Osage Creek. Here he remained for a couple of years as an American judge, and no doubt continued to hold court under a similar "Daniel Boone Judgment Tree".
The Boone family group consisted of at least 32 persons, 23 by boat and 9 by land:
-The boat group included Daniel's wife Rebecca: -son Daniel Morgan Boone; daughter Susannah (wife of William Hays) and her nine children, .. Jemima Susannah, Delinda, Daniel, Greenup, Boone, Mahala, and Jesse, and married daughter Elizabeth (wife of Isaac Van Bibber), and Elizabeth's daughter Susannah. Also -daughter Jemima (wife of Flanders Callaway) and her children, .. John, Frances, Susannah, Larkin, and Elizabeth (one daughter Sarah had married and remained in Kentucky). Also -Daniel's brother George; and three unmarried William Linville Boone, son of Daniel's brother George; and three unmarried friends of Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone; ...James Clay, Robert Hall, and Philip Miller.
-The land group included Colonel Daniel Boone; -Captain William Hays and his son William Hays, Jr.; -Flanders Callaway and his son James; -Isaac Van Bibbs, -friends, Forest Hancock and George Buchanan; and one slave.
After their arrival to Missouri:
-the Boone's daughter Jemima Callaway had the last two of her seven children; -- Minerva, and Daniel Boone Callaway.
-their son Daniel Morgan Boone married at age 30 to 14 year old Sarah Griffin Lewis, and they had eleven children; .. John, Nathan, Daniel, Lindsey, Edward, Elizabeth Levica, Alonzo Havington, James, Milton, Cassandra, Morgan, and Nepoleon.
-their son Nathan and Olive had the largest number of children, fourteen: .. James, Delinda, Jemima, Susannah, Nancy, Emilia, Olive, Benjamin, John, Levicia, Melvina, Mary, Sarah, and Mahala.
-daughter Levina and her husband Joseph Scholl remained in Kentucky; however by 1820 most of their eight children had come to Missouri. The eight children were; .. Jesse, Septimus, Marcus, Marcia, Leult, Daniel and Joseph.
-daughter Rebecca and her husband remained in Kentucky. After Rebecca and Philip both died in 1804, Daniel Morgan Boone went back to Kentucky to bring six of the seven children to Missouri to raise within the Boone family. The seven children were; .. Daniel, Nathan, Nicole, Tarleton, Nelly, Dorcas, and William.
-son Jesse, who had married Chloe Van Bibber, remained in Kentucky until 1818. At that time he came to Missouri with his family of nine children; .. Jeremiah, Harriet, Alphonso, Minerva, Panthea, Albert Gallatin, Madison, Emily and Van Daniel.
-prior to the death of Daniel Boone, Jemima and Flanders Callaway's oldest daugher Sarah arrived in Missouri with all of the still living of her 22 children.
By the time Daniel Boone died, over 100 of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were living in Missouri, plus any number of nephews and nieces and their families.
"His home was in the woods, where others were bewildered and lost. He has left a name identified with the history, founders and benefactors of our great republic. In all future time, and in every portion of the globe; in history; in sculpture, in song, in eloquence-the name of Daniel Boone will be recorded as the patriarch of Backwoods Pioneers."
Boone biography - 1833, Timothy Flint
"His manners were simple and unobtrusive, exempt from the rude characteristics of the backwoodsman. He has been assigned a large space in the eyes of America and Europe. Resting on his services to his country, his fame will survive when the achievements of men greatly his superiors in rank and interest will be forgotten."
Boone biography - 1847, John Mason Peck
"His thoughtful, quiet, pleasant face, so often portrayed, is familiar to every one; it was the face of a man who never blustered or bullied, who would neither inflict nor suffer any wrong, and who had a limitless fund of fortitude, endurance, and indomitable resolution upon which to draw when fortune proved adverse. His absolute trust in his own powers and resources, all combined to reneder him peculiarly fitted to follow the career of which he was so fond."
From the Winning of the West - 1894,Theodore Roosevelt
"Poets, historians, and orators have for a hundred years sung the praises of Daniel Boone; his picturesque career possesses a romantic interest that can never fail to charm the student of history. He was great as a hunter, explorer, surveyor, and land pilot - probably he found few equals as a rifleman; no man on the border knew Indians more thoroughly or fought them more skillfully than he did; his life was filled in to the brim with perilous adventure."
Boone biography - 1902,Reuben Gold Twaites
"Undoubtedly of all the men who took part in the early west, none played so extensive a role as Boone. His services began in the French and Indian War, and after France was eliminated as a factor in the New World...he, more than nay other man, made England's colonists acquainted with the beauty and fertility of the vast and well-nigh unoccupied region between the Alleganies and the Mississippi. After the Revolution, Boone once more pointed the way for his countrymen to the land across the Mississippi, he died as he had lived in the very forefront of civilization."
Boone discography - 1910, H. Addington Bruce
"He wasn't boastful — he didn't have to be: the facts were startling enough."
Boone biography - 1939, John Bakeless
"Boone seemed constantly to place himself upon the cutting edge of civilization's advance. To Boone, the frontier was simultaneously a challenge and an inspiration, something to subdue and improve and something to preserve and enjoy. Boone's relationship to the wilderness accurately reflects a basic American attitude that invites and even demands exploration."
Boone biography - 1948, Michael Lofaro
"Daniel Boone was the pathfinder, colonizer, and most often the leader of America's westward expansion, from the English Colonies on the east coast to and through Missouri. Each year as the eastern farmers became poorer due to the farming methods of the time that created poorer soil conditions, the average and poorer farmers in the east looked to the vast wilderness to the west as their American dream for themselves and their families. Someone was needed to penetrate that wilderness, to mark the trail, find the salt source, and to establish a means of settlement. That someone, from North Carolina to Tennessee, then to Kentucky and then onward and through Missouri, was Daniel Boone. Known in his time as being popular as any other led figure in America, his achievements have been washed away and removed from history books by the modern supposed-to-be history scholars. Without Boone, the history of America would have been vastly different."
Boone historian< - 1962 Ken Kamper
They Have Been Overlooked by Historians
Copyright © May 2003
In Missouri the Boone's sons, Nathan, Jesse, and Daniel Morgan Boone, and grandson James Callaway, all played significant roles. Some are listed below:
-By 1805, Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone re-blazed an old Missouri Indian Trail from Daniel Spanish Land Grant in present St. Charles County to the Boone Salt Lick in present Howard County (two-thirds of the way across the present state of Missouri. The trail as called the "Boone Trace" and was the first and main trail west until after the War of 1812.
-Nathan led General William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) across the state in 1808 to the site for building Fort Osage. Clark then sent Nathan to the villages of the Osage to bring them to the fort for treaty. This was not an easy task. The Nathan Boone blazed trail later became the famous in its time Booneslick Trail as far as the later town of Franklin in Howard County, and the front end of the Santa Fe Trail (1822). The Booneslick Trail was also was also the route taken during the 1840' and later to get to the Oregon and California Trails.
-Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, and James Callaway all were named as Captains of the first Companies of U. S. Rangers west of the Mississippi River in 1812. Nathan rose in rank to Major, Daniel Morgan Boone to Lt. Colonel, and James Callaway was killed near Loutre Lick (present Mineola) by Indians in 1815.
-Nathan was named as one of the two representatives of St. Charles County to Missouri's Constitutional Convention in 1820.
-Jesse was elected to the first Missouri legislature.
- Jesse Boone nominated Thomas Hart Benton as one of Missouri's first two U.S. Senators.
-Daniel Mogran Boone was appointed to a five-man commission to locate a permanent capitol for the state. The encyclopedia Britannica states that he platted the town.
-Daniel Morgan Boone was appointed as the Kaw (Kansas) Indian farm instructor and his family was one of the first several families to live in the present Kansas City are (which was then Kaw Indian territory).
-Daniel Morgan House was appointed by the governor to a five-man commission to locate by survey the north boundary line of Missouri.
-Nathan became an officer in the U. S. military spending many years on the frontier to the west of Missouri. He retired as a Lt. Colonel. He surveyed Indian boundaries for the U. S. Government, and played a major role in keeping peace between various Indian tribes.
-The county of Boone, Iowa, is named for Nathan Boone.
-The county of Boone, Missouri, was named for Daniel Boone. It and the town of Boonville, were both named for him during his lifetime.
-The county of Callaway, Missouri, was named for Boone's grandson, Capt. James Callaway.
-The American history related to the Boones has been omitted for various reasons from our modern history records. As an example, the "Boone Settlement", as noted by one of the sergeants with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, remained America's farthest west white settlement thirteen years after the Louisiana Purchase, until 1816, when treaties were completed with the Indians following the War of 1812.
-All of the earliest American trails west of the Mississippi River are Boone blazed trails. Essentially no one went west across the state to settle in the early years without using a Boone trail.
During their time, the Boones were an important family. It is very unfortunate that our history scholars have overlooked the important roles they played in our state's early history, and in the "forgotten" or "overlooked" American history following the Louisiana Purchase.
170 Little Bay Road, Hermann, MO 65041
Two hundred years ago, the real Daniel Boone was sixty-five years old. He and his family had just recently move to the wilderness area west of the Mississippi River, and settled along the Missouri River. At that time he was already recognized as one of America's foremost legends. He personally knew George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and ranked only behind Washington in recognition as one of America's early heroes.
In the years since Daniel Boone's arrival to Missouri, memories of who he was and what he did have faded into oblivion. Myths have been created to replace the truths, and the important historic events in our history books have been replaced by the modern revisionist history. Instead of protecting our heritage records with accurate history, America's history scholars have failed to search out the history facts. As a result of all of these things, we now know much less about Daniel Boone than was known two hundred years ago.
Well, he was a man of nearly impeccable character. He had courage to a fault (ignored fear), was very compassionate, totally honest, and because he knew the ways of the Indians and the Indian's means for survival in the wilderness, people on the frontier were totally willing to trust him with their lives. He was the quiet-type, natural leader along the frontier.
Daniel Boone was America's first non-European explorer. He was an exceptional hunter, marksman, path-maker and pathfinder, the epitome of man's challenge with the nature, the colonizer, soldier, civil servant, and humanitarian. He is noted in accepted accounts for being captured several times by Indians and escaping, for healing the wounded, for rescuing children taken into Indian captivity, for rescuing white men who had been lost, and for relating to Indians as friends in peaceful times. In all things, Daniel Boone represented a good image for others to follow.
Famous persons who came along later, such as Andrew Jackson, Davey Crockett, and Abraham Lincoln, all found some degree of acceptance and recognition as backwoods images due to the earlier acceptance of Daniel Boone. In Boone's image and way of life, and the legendary recognition of it, we still see his influence in how we hunt, camp, and explore in nature, and when we travel we still follow Boone's trails with our modern highways. As an example of his influence, much of the image and character traits of Daniel Boone were instilled into the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905. Soon after this group was united with a YMCA group called the Tribe of Woodcraft Indians, to form the foundation for the Boy Scouts of America.
The many counties, creeks, streets, towns, and other locations across America weren't created in the image of Walt Disney's Daniel Boone TV show, they were created many years earlier based on a respect for the legendary Daniel Boone, in who's example and image many Americans continue to accept life's challenges.
[The plaque on the right farther into the memorial]
Copyright © November 2002
The Daniel Boone-American Frontier Trail (1799)
this is the trail used by Daniel Boone and his family, and almost all other frontier families as they crossed the Mississippi River, into what is now Missouri. From the 1700's to nearly Missouri statehood in 1820, there were no other routes for white settlers to go west of the Mississippi River other than in present Missouri, and the trail use by the vast majority of these settlers was this trail. Coming west, all of the settlers with their families, animal stock, and belongings, who settled north of the Missouri River (which was the vast majority in the early years), chose a route north of the mouth of the Missouri River. This route crossed the Mississippi River at one of the two places, either just above the mouth of the Missouri River or just west of present Alton, Illinois. By choosing such a crossing of the Mississippi, the Boone family and all other settlers were able to cross the Mississippi above the added water of the Missouri River, and they avoided the need to cross the Missouri River all together. Once on the west side of the Mississippi, traveling past the village of Portage des Sioux, and on down to and through the village of St. Charles. From St. Charles the trail went south along what is now Highway 94, jobbed off to present Cottleville, and then south to the Femme Osage valley region. It is strange to say the least, that such an important trail has been lost from modern record. There are no trail markers to identify this trail or to let the public know of its importance.
The Boone Trace (to the Boone Salt Lick) (1800)
This way the earliest American blazed trail west into the interior. It was the trail used by Nathan and Daniel Boone and James and Jesse Morrison to get to their Salt LIck 140 miles west of here, north of present day Boonville and just across the Missouri River from Arrow Rock. The Boones and Morrisons in partnership manufactured salt there, starting in 1805, by boiling the salty water, that came to the surface in the form of springs. The Boone Salt Works produced most of the salt for the American settlements and for the village of St. Louis. The salt for the Boone Settlement was sent down river in boats that landed just to the east of here on Daniel Boone's Spanish Land Grant. The Boone Salt Lick is now a Missouri State Historic Site Park, however the Boone Trace, the first American trail west of the Mississippi River has been lost from modern record and is unidentified as a Boone trail. It ran from Daniel Boone's Spanish Land Grant through the properties of his sons Daniel Morgan Boone and Nathan Boone through the Femme Osage valley, and on west to where present Marthasville is located. From there it followed generally along present Highway 94 to past present Jefferson City, on along the river to present Rocheport, and then west to the Salt Lick. It was the only trail used to go westward until after the War of 1812, and it was along this trail that the first of the earliest settlements took place, Loutre Island Settlement (1807), Cote sans Dessient (1800); until the Booneslick Country (1910). The Boone Trace has nowt been identified by trail markers, and instead in places in identified as the Lewis and Clark Trail, a it parallels the travels of Lewis and Clark who went up the Missouri River.
The Nathan Boone - William Clark Trail (1808)
After the return of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Meriwether Lewis became the Governor of the Louisiana Territory and Clark was appointed the General in charge of the Louisiana Territory militia as well as in charge of Indian Affairs. In 1808 Clark sought out Nathan Boone, Daniel and Rebecca's youngest son, to be his guide for leading Clark and his company of Dragoons (soldiers) in the site of Fort Osage. Once there the soldiers built the fort, while Nathan Boone went to the Osage Indian villages to request that the Osages come to the fort to sign a treaty. This be accomplished with some difficulty. The fort was for the protection of the Osage Indians who were constantly under attack from the Indians, mainly the Sac and Fox, to the the north in Iowa and Illinois. The fort became the main trading post for the Indians.
The Boone's Lick Trail (1816)
Following the War of 1812, the Nathan Boone-William Clark trail became the only trail west for migration, and became known as the Boone's Lick Trail. The migration became a major event in American history and should be recorded as such, however the importance of the earliest migration west of the Mississippi River, not unlike the trails, has been lost from history recognition. This was the only route for years traveled by a vast amount of Americans as they uprooted in the east and settled by leaps and bounds westward through the Missouri River valley, reaching the present Kansas City area in the early 1820s. In the 1840s this trail became the first leg o the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails (1822-1850's).
The American Liberty Tree Planted on this Site
The elm sapling planted here in 1969 is special, not only for the history that it represents, but because it is from a strain of registered, disease-resistant American elms developed by the Elm Research Institute in Westmoreland, New Hampshire. The American Liberty Elms are cloned from a parent tree which has natural immunity to Dutch Elm disease.
The Daniel Boone Judgment Tree Memorial Committee members are especially grateful to Richard Ash of the St. Charles City Parks Department for assistance, and to Forest ReLeaf of St. Louis for guidance, for classes in the Tree Keeper program, and also for hardwood mulch from the Forest ReLeaf nursery in St. Louis County.
It is believed there were two Judgment Trees. The first one (above) was near the town of Missouriton, which was started in 1818 by Daniel Boone and his oldest living son, Daniel Morgan Boone. (The town was washed away in the 1800s by the Missouri River.) The second one is believed to have been on property owned by his youngest son, Nathan Boone, after 1804, when Daniel Boone lived there and held an appointment as an American judge. The Nathaniel Boone home is now the Historic Daniel Boone Home, Inc.
The site of the Judgment Tree at present-day Matson was located for historian Ken Kamper in 1987 by Mrs. Hilda Steizer. The tree, which had a massive girth, was still living in 1926, when the Steizers moved into a limestone house, visible to the east-northwest of this site. Mrs. Steizer recalled that a few years later, lighting struck and killed the Judgment Tree. In 1951, the tree was blown over by a storm. Mrs. Barbara Koenig also remembered the tree, which was on family property. Her husband sawed the tree up to remove it from their field, where it had been lying for a number of years. On this board is a copy of a photograph from the files of the State Historical Society of Missouri.
A Boone Sign Tree, with the name "D.Boon" carved into it, stood on bluff property owned by Daniel Morgan Boone, near the present-day location of Sugar Creek Winery. Wilfred Wissmann recalls that the tree was cut up.
The precedent for Boone holding court under an elm tree was set at the settling of Boonesborough in 1775, south of present-day Lexington, Kentucky. The branches of a huge elm — so large the settlers feared the toil of cutting it down — sheltered the first church service and the first American legislative meeting west of the Allegheny mountains. The settlers of Boonesborough nicknamed it The Divine Elm.
Richard Henderson, one of the original settlers, wrote "Thank God! The tree is mine... This same tree is to be our church, state-house, council-chamber, and etc... Hope by Sunday sennight to perform divine service for the first time in a publick manner, and that to a set of scoundrels who scarecely believe in God or fear a devil, if we were to judge from most of their looks, words and actions.
"If you want to be recalled for something that you do, you will be well-advised to do it under an Elm — a great Elm, for such a tree outlives the generations of men; the burning issues of today are the ashes of tomorrow, but a noble Elm is a verity does not change with time. And though they are mortal, great ones are remembered long after they are gone, as are great men."
By Donald Culross Peattie, from
A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America
General George Washington is reputed to have taken command of the Continental Army beneath an elm in 1775.
Boston's original Liberty Tree was a magnificent elm which was chopped down and burned by the British the following year.
William Penn, for whom Pennsylvania is named, signed an unusual, fair-dealing treaty with Indians beneath a giant elm.
The Osage Indians of Oklahoma sold the oil leases on their reservation beneath a tree dubbed the Million-Dollar Elm.
The Scientist's Council Tree in Chicago is an elm tree beneath which physicians at the University of Chicago met to discuss experiments in 1943, which led to the building of the atomic bomb.
"Thoreau considered elms superior to people; Walt Whitman, walking under elms, was inpspired to larger and melodious thoughts."
Paraphrasing quotes from:
Red Oaks and Black Birches, by Rebecca Rupp.
Long before homesteaders in Conestoga wagons trekked to what modern people think of as the western frontier of America, herds of buffalo roamed east of the Mississippi River into Pennsylvania, and Kentucky and Tennessee were considered to be the Far West. Thousands of Native Americans hunted and traded across the continent, where whites as well as each other.
In those days, England still had the upper hand. Heavy-handed, sometimes cruel rule by British locals too often deprived American colonists of money, property, even life. For relief, some men turned to courts, to new laws, and finally war, to gain freedom.
Others, like Daniel Boone, took to the woods, hunting and trapping, and settling even farther from government interference.
Hunting was a way to get rich. A Colonial farmer often scrabbled for a living all year long, his family sometimes close to starvation. But a hunter could make enough money in a single season to buy land and support his family in style.
In the era before the Revolutionary War, such men were called long hunters, not only for the long rifles they hunted with, but for the many months spent on a typical hunt. Daniel Boone's most famous long hunt lasted two years.
Despite the money to be made, fear kept most men from becoming long hunters. The Indians considered the white to be poachers, and would rob unwary or unlucky hunters: a best-case scenario.
Hunters needed the skills to anticipate the track their prey, to avoid Indians, and to find their way in the wilderness, living off the forest. Horses were used as pack animals rather than transportation. Dress was distinctive: leather breech cloets and moccasins, such as the Indians wore, plus leggings that went from ankle to thigh. Layers of linen or leather hunting shirts were worn all year long. Hair was often worn long. Daniel Boone wore his hair plaited, or braided, and "clubbed up," the braid tied close to his head.
"Long hunters were the freest Anglo-Americans to live before the Revolution," wrote Ted Franklin Belue in his book, The Long Hunt: Death of the Buffalo East of the Mississippi, published in 1996 by Stackpole Books. (Belue, who teaches history at Murray State University in Kentucky, was also an extra in the 1992 remake of "Last of the Mohicans," directed by Michael Mann.
"The stark edge of life and death inured the rough, individualistic frontier folk and toil, hardship, heat, cold, rain, snow, ice... Such men were skilled in hunting, trapping, stalking, hiding, reading sign, building shelter, surviving. They were their own doctors, veterinarians, boat builders, coopers, militiamen, cooks, cord wainers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, skinners, and tanners. And more."
Belue added, "Most were plain, poor men seeking land, relief from debt, a way to feed hungry mouths."
Daniel Boone was different from some notorious long hunters, in that he respected Native Americans, relying far more on wits and diplomacy than a gun. Although he loved the wilderness, he also loved his family, giving away land to relatives, and taking his sons hunting with him. When he explored, he kept track of stands of timber, water, and fertile farmland, for future settlement.
He was a rare man who thrived in the wilderness and on solitude, yet, he was a sociable, compassionate, calm man, a leader who served his fellows by holding a succession of political and military offices, some nearly to the end of his days.
Topics and series. This historical marker memorial is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Exploration • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers • War, French and Indian • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #26 Theodore Roosevelt, the Historic Trees 🌲, and the Lewis & Clark Expedition series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is September 26, 1999.
Location. 38° 36.534′ N, 90° 47.65′ W. Marker is in Matson, Missouri, in St. Charles County. Marker is on State Highway 94 north of Lucille Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3512 Alice Avenue, Defiance MO 63341, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Daniel Boone's Missouri Golden Years (within shouting distance of this marker); Matson to Weldon Spring (within shouting distance of this marker); Matson to Augusta (within shouting distance of this marker); The Boone Trace (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Defiant Tale (approx. 1.7 miles away); School Days In Defiance (approx. 1.7 miles away); Baseball in Defiance (approx. 2.1 miles away); Head's Store (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Matson.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 30, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 2,046 times since then and 286 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 30, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3. submitted on May 1, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.