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Daniel Boone Court-Martial: 1778

Boone "adopted" By The Shawnee

In February 1778, while Boone was out hunting to supply the salt expedition, a large Shawnee war party captured him. He recognized its leader as Chief Blackfish, whom he had met 20 years earlier while serving in General Braddock's army. Blackfish, although very friendly and hospitable towards Boone, told him that he intended to destroy Boonesborough to avenge the recent deaths of the Shawnee chiefs. Boone, who knew that the winter raid would catch Boonesborough by surprise, offered to go with the war party and order the settlement to surrender—if the Shawnee would wait until spring, when the whites would be able to march to the Shawnee lands to the North of the Ohio River. When Blackfish announced that he intended to kill everyone in the salt expedition, Boone offered to surrender all of those men immediately, and to let them go north with the Indians. The Shawnee agreed.

When Boone approached the salt licks, the men realized that he had Shawnee with him. As someone raised the alarm, Boone called out. "Don't fire!" he shouted. "If you do all will be massacred." He asked for his men to trust him, and he ordered them to stack arms and surrender, which they did. But a few men escaped and returned to warn Boonesborough.

Meanwhile Boone and the men marched north with their captors. At first the Shawnee debated whether or not to kill all the whites, but after an impassioned speech from Boone, they agreed to let them live, although they made Boone run the gauntlet. Afterward they complimented him on his skill as a warrior, and once they arrived at the Shawnee town of Chillicothe, they even adopted Boone and some of the others into the tribe, making Boone the son of Chief Blackfish himself.

Boone seemed content with his new life. Rumors later surfaced that he had taken a Shawnee wife, although he was already married to Rebecca Bryan. A month after Boone's capture, Blackfish took him to Detroit, where he met with Governor Hamilton. Boone reportedly showed Hamilton his captain's commission from Lord Dunmore, and Hamilton tried to ransom Boone from the Shawnee, but they refused.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832Daniel Boone Court-Martial: 1778 - Neither Patriot Nor Loyalist, Boone "adopted" By The Shawnee, Boone's Return Met With Suspicion