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June 13, 2014

Daniel Boone descendants dedicate Boone Trace

BARBOURVILLE — A family reunion took over the city streets of Barbourville Thursday afternoon when more than 100 descendants of Daniel Boone arrived in two charter buses as part of their trip to the dedication ceremony of the Boone Trace.

According to the society’s website boonesociety.org, The Boone Trace is a tourism corridor from The Cumberland Gap to Fort Boonesborough — 120 miles. It follows the pathway that Daniel Boone made in 1775 to bring the first settlers in the wilderness that was to become part of Kentucky.

According to the website, the route consists of three runs. One is the original Trace as located by The University of Kentucky with the research of Neal Hammon, author from Shelbyville. Hammon used the land surveys from the late 1700s that used the Boone Trace as a reference point.

The next routes are the series of secondary roads that allow access to the historical site on the trace. The last route is U.S. 25E and Highway 25 which run parallel to the original trace. This is also referred as the Boone Trace bypass.

The first phase of this project will be dedicated today and Saturday at the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.

On Thursday, a pair of tents were set up at Barbourville Tourism, Director Denise Wainscott said, and volunteers were on hand “to make it more authentic” by dressing in period clothing and bringing period pieces to “work” with.

Once Daniel Boone’s descendants arrived, members of The Daniel Boone Festival committee and several other welcomed the group, many in period clothes.

Thelma’s Place restaurant catered the lunch for the group, which included descendants from all age groups and backgrounds. The group was able to see cross-stitch, spinning wheels for wool and other fibers, and listen to the music of The Porch Pickers, who played dulcimers during the event.

Several of the tour group then walked toward Court Square so they could see and photograph the statue of Boone on the square. Several of the folks touring were filled with praise that the statue did not include Boone wearing a ‘coon skin cap, as was made popular by the Fess Parker television series.

The tour group didn’t stay long in the city, as they were heading for today’s festivities.

The Boone Society took on the project of identifying, restoring and preserving the trail Boone blazed in 1775, which was then used by hundreds and thousands of settlers moving to the west.

According to the society’s website, “This project belongs to the Boone families, the citizens of Kentucky and the people of this great nation. It can only be accomplished by the aid of the state agencies, the county and city governments, the business and chambers of Commerce along the route.

“If everyone shows an interest and gives support in some way, we can succeed in this endeavor. Hands of many make it an obtainable goal. The Boone Trace has been overlooked and left behind to be lost forever, except for the few historians and family tales,” states the website. “That would be a loss for the state and the future generations, (who) need to know who they are and the struggles to build an environment that we enjoy today.”

The website also states that “Without this, we become a confused society as to who we are and one without pride. Through the centuries, the experiences of ancestors struggles gives appreciation and pride to build character in the following generations. We have a chance to build on the rich history of the state and leave behind a legacy for all to appreciate. In addition to that, as we educate persons to the importance of this historical movement, we also create tourism along the route from the Cumberland Gap on to Boonesborough on the northern terminus — it will become a living classroom (from which) generations will benefit.”

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