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Boone , Daniel (b. c. Nov. 2, 1734, Berks County, Pa.--d. c. Sept. 26, 1820, St. Charles, Mo., U.S.) Early American frontiersman and legendary hero who helped blaze a trail through Cumberland Gap, a notch in the Appalachian Mountains near the juncture of Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Boone had little formal schooling but learned to read and write. As a youth he moved with his family to the North Carolina frontier. Most of his life was spent as a wandering hunter and trapper.

In 1775 Boone and 28 others were hired to blaze a trail through the Cumberland Gap. Despite Indian attacks, the party built the Wilderness Road, which ran from eastern Virginia into the interior of Kentucky and beyond and became the main route to the region then known as the West. It helped make possible the immediate opening of the first settlements in Kentucky.

A legendary hero even at the time of his death, his fame spread worldwide when in 1823 Lord Byron devoted seven stanzas to him in "Don Juan."

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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