Trailing Daniel Boone – D.A.R. Marking Daniel Boone’s Trail, 1912-1915
One hundred years ago, the Daughters of the American Revolution left for us all a legacy of patriotic commemoration—Daniel Boone’s Trail. During 1912-1915, the Daughters in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky erected 45 metal tablets across four hundred miles to honor the life of Daniel Boone and to mark for future generations his path through the Appalachian Mountain barrier, a path that enabled America’s Western Movement.
The idea for such a trail sprang from the creative mind of the industrious Mrs. Lindsay Patterson of Winston- Salem, North Carolina. A patriotic public gathered to dedicate each marker, and newspapers eagerly wrote accounts of local ceremonies including the joint ceremony at Cumberland Gap attended by thousands on June 30, 1915. But the world did not stand still during this project, and the effort of the DAR took place against a backdrop of the Progressive Era, including presidential elections, campaigns for equal suffrage and women’s right to vote, war in Europe, and the opening of the Panama Canal.
This is a story that has been too long forgotten, one resurrected now from the pages of century-old newspapers, the records of the DAR, and a diligent search across the countryside to find the 27 surviving markers and to discover what happened to the 18 which have disappeared.