Monday, November 16, 2009

Daniel Boone in Southwest Virginia

The Story as Told by Lyman Coleman Draper

Edited by James William Hagy

In the middle of the 19th century Lyman Copeland Draper hurried about the United States collecting manuscripts promising to use them in writing about frontier history. Draper collected a tremendous volume of documents but he could never give up the search and settle down to writing for any length of time. He was always searching for one more document, one more eyewitness account. The people who entrusted Draper with the documents were, of course, highly upset when the promised volumes never appeared - and the documents were not returned. Draper did succeed in writing his long "King's Mountain and Its Heroes" which was published in 1881. A second work which he never finished was his "Life of Boone." Consequently this work has never been published but has been invaluable in helping such writers as John Bakeless whose "Daniel Boone" is the most comprehensive account of the life of this frontiersman.

All of Draper's manuscripts ended up at the Wisconsin Historical Society where they have been of tremendous aid for research in frontier history. The manuscripts can be obtained on microfilm and though this medium is of great importance in making documents available to many people, microfilm is maddening to read for any length of time. Furthermore, one has to be at a library where there is a microfilm reader. Therefore the story of Boone in Southwest Virginia, which is certainly one of the most important periods of his life, is being presented here in order that a wider audience might appreciate the work of Draper who, had he finished his book, would have been the authority on Daniel Boone.

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