Nathan Boone and the American Frontier

Overview

Celebrated as one of America's frontier heroes, Daniel Boone left a legacy that made the Boone name almost synonymous with frontier settlement. Nathan Boone, the youngest of Daniel's sons, played a vital role in American pioneering, following in much the same steps as his famous father. In Nathan Boone and the American Frontier, R. Douglas Hurt presents for the first time the life of this important frontiersman.

Based on primary collections, newspaper articles, government ...

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Overview

Celebrated as one of America's frontier heroes, Daniel Boone left a legacy that made the Boone name almost synonymous with frontier settlement. Nathan Boone, the youngest of Daniel's sons, played a vital role in American pioneering, following in much the same steps as his famous father. In Nathan Boone and the American Frontier, R. Douglas Hurt presents for the first time the life of this important frontiersman.

Based on primary collections, newspaper articles, government documents, and secondary sources, this well-crafted biography begins with Nathan's childhood in present-day Kentucky and Virginia and then follows his family's move to Missouri. Hurt traces Boone's early activities as a hunter, trapper, and surveyor, as well as his leadership of a company of rangers during the War of 1812. After the war, Boone returned to survey work. In 1831, he organized another company of rangers for the Black Hawk War and returned to military life, making it his career. The remainder of the book recounts Boone's activities with the army in Iowa and the Indian Territory, where he was the first Boone to gain notice outside Missouri or Kentucky. Even today his work is recognized in the form of state parks, buildings, and place-names.

Although Nathan Boone was an important figure, he lived much of his life in the shadow of his father. R. Douglas Hurt, however, makes a strong case for Nathan's contribution to the larger context of life in the American backcountry, especially the execution of military and Indian policy and the settlement of the frontier.

By recognizing the significant role that Nathan Boone played, Nathan Boone and the American Frontier also provides the recognition due the many unheralded frontiersmen who helped settle the West. Anyone with an interest in the history of Missouri, the frontier, or the Boone name will find this book informative and compelling.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Whether as guide, officer, interpreter, or negotiator with the Indians, Nathan proved invaluable to the government in promoting peaceful relations with several Indian tribes. . . . A compelling narrative that gives the reader a taste of life on the frontier in the early 19th century."—Library Journal

"This is an important book. It certainly will be useful to scholars and students of Missouri and southern history. It should be in every major library."—Journal of Southern History

"Nathan Boone and the American Frontier is an important contribution to the literature of Missouri history and, in a broader sense, to that of the American frontier and the kind of men who made its development possible."
Missouri Historical Review

"Nathan Boone contributed far more to state and national history than his more famous father ever did. He was highly respected in his time as wilderness guide, soldier, surveyor, land holder and businessman; he was among delegates to Missouri's first constitutional convention. His outstanding skill at communicating effectively with Indians was frequently used by government and the military. R. Douglas Hurt's book shows all this, and a few other things that change our perspective somewhat on a fabled family and an era we tend to romanticize."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Nathan Boone contributed far more to state and national history than his more famous father ever did. He was highly respected in his time as wilderness guide, soldier, surveyor, land holder and businessman; he was among delegates to Missouri's first constitutional convention. His outstanding skill at communicating effectively with Indians was frequently used by government and the military. R. Douglas Hurt's book shows all this, and a few other things that change our perspective somewhat on a fabled family and an era we tend to romanticize.
Missouri Historical Review
Nathan Boone and the American Frontier is an important contribution to the literature of Missouri history and, in a broader sense, to that of the American frontier and the kind of men who made its development possible.
Journal of Southern History
This is an important book. It certainly will be useful to scholars and students of Missouri and southern history. It should be in every major library.
Kirkus Reviews
A by-the-numbers biography of a minor figure in the history of the American West. Nathan Boone (17811856) lived his life in the shadow of his father, Daniel. According to Hurt (Agricultural History and Rural Studies/Iowa State Univ.), that shadow was long, indeed, but Boone apparently did not hanker for fame. He battled Indians on the Missouri frontier, kept slaves, raised a few crops—lived, in short, a fairly ordinary life for his times. Accidents of history did find him at a few crossroads; he was of incidental help, for one thing, to Lewis and Clark as they made their way across the territory of the Osage Indians (for which service, Hurt is careful to note, he was paid ), and he fought well in several engagements in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War. Later, Boone served as a career soldier, spending most of his service in Iowa and the Indian Territory. Hurt's recitation of the facts of Boone's life is efficient but dry; his deepest interests seem to lie in such matters as the economics of salt production and the effects of the Treaty of Ghent on US-Indian relations on the frontier, and he treats these matters carefully and with dispassion. Hurt doesn't make undue claims for the importance of his subject. But neither does he do much to make him especially interesting, and Nathan Boone remains little more than a hard-working soldier with a famous father, exhibiting the virtues and vices of his time. The result is a book of only modest interest to students of frontier and US military history. (20 illustrations, not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826213181
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2000
  • Series: Missouri biography Series , #1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

R. Douglas Hurt is Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Agricultural History and Rural Studies at Iowa State University in Ames. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including African American Life in the Rural South, 1900-1950 and Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie.

The Missouri Biography Series, edited by William E. Foley

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Table of Contents

Preface XI
1. The Early Years 1
2. Missouri 30
3. The Osage Expedition 52
4. War 78
5. Interlude 109
6. The Dragoon Expedition 140
7. Full Stride 172
8. The Final Years 194
Epilogue 217
Notes 225
Bibliography 241
Index 251
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