Remembering Daniel Boone in Bronze and Stone

DanielBoone

by Randell Jones

One of my favorite monuments in Forsyth County stands on a traffic island east of Hanes Park in Winston-Salem. The granite arrowhead has stood there for 90 years. It is part of Winston-Salem’s notable commemorative landscape, a monument with its own history worth preserving. Our community in Forsyth County takes special note of that monument among many others during National Preservation Month; and we do so regarding this monument most especially this year and next.

This arrowhead monument honors America’s pioneer hero Daniel Boone, who lived in North Carolina for 21 years before moving on to Kentucky. From his home on the Upper Yadkin River in May 1769, Daniel Boone rode off with five other men on his first excursion through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky — 250 years ago next spring. That portal through the barrier mountains became America’s first “gateway to the West.” Indeed, Daniel Boone enjoyed a legacy throughout northwest North Carolina of sufficient notoriety that 100 years ago his life and heritage were commemorated here by two groups—really, two competing groups—during the early 20th century. Together these earnest commemorators left us their own legacy—“in bronze and stone.”

Daughters of the American Revolution

Under the leadership of Lucy Patterson, one of the leading lights of Winston-Salem at the turn of the last century, the Daughters of the American Revolution marked “Daniel Boone’s Trail” from North Carolina through the Cumberland Gap and then north to Fort Boonesborough in Kentucky. The Daughters placed 50 cast iron markers between 1913 and 1915. Today, 30 of those markers remain in place.

Hampton Rich

Our arrowhead marker is the work of another Winston-Salem commemorator, Hampton Rich. More prolific is his efforts than the DAR, he placed 358 markers between 1917 and 1938 under the auspices of the Boone Trail Highway Memorial Association. But his reverence for historical accuracy was less than the Daughters’, by far.

The plaque on the arrowhead monument is known as the “Mother marker” because it was to be the first, placed right here in Winston-Salem at Grace Court. But 10 years later, it was finally placed where it stands now, affixed to the Mt. Airy granite arrowhead. And, yes, there is a story why.

Saturday, May 26, Historic Bethania

The account of these markers and the commemorative efforts by Forsyth Countians a century ago to honor Daniel Boone is the topic of a Preservation Month talk by Randell Jones hosted by Historic Bethania on Saturday, May 26. The presentation, “Remembering Daniel Boone in bronze and stone” will be at 11:00 a.m. in Alpha Chapel next to the Historic Bethania Visitors Center in Bethania. Randell is the author of In the Footsteps of Daniel Boone, and Trailing Daniel Boone—DAR marking Daniel Boone’s Trail, 1912-1915. Since 2007, he has served as an invited member of the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau of the North Carolina Humanities Council. His frequent history-based guest columns have appeared on the editorial pages of the Winston-Salem Journal during the last two decades. Randell will have copies of his several titles available for autographing. All titles are available from DanielBooneFootsteps.com.

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