Kentucky has a long, rich history that begins before it became a state. Before the region was populated by white settlers, it was home to Native Americans and other early residents of North America, who left behind numerous artifacts and burial mounds. Kentucky’s first known settlers were the Paleo-Indians who traveled across the land bridge from Asia to North America more than 16,000 years ago. They hunted the animals that lived in the area and fished in its many lakes and rivers. The next group of people to settle in Kentucky were the Archaic people, who began to inhabit the region around 9,500 BC. They created new tools from stone and wood, including stone blades and spear points, which they used for hunting as well as for fishing. They also grew beans and squash in fields along with tobacco plants. Their civilization lasted until about 2,000 BC when they disappeared for unknown reasons.
The Woodland period followed the Archaic period between 2,000 BC and 1 AD. The Woodland people were hunter-gatherers who lived in small villages near streams or springs; they built wooden houses that they covered with bark or saplings. They hunted deer and other wild animals, but also
Kentucky was first settled in the 1750s when Daniel Boone, a “pioneer” of the American frontier, and his family traveled south from Pennsylvania and joined a group of other settlers at the mouth of Salt River. These men were looking for new land to farm. The Kentucky territory was attractive in part because of its wooded hills and rocky terrain, which offered protection from Indian attacks.
WHAT YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT DANIEL BOONE
Daniel Boone is not an easy guy to write about. He’s kind of a dud. But he also has a lot going for him—he’s an American pioneer, for one thing, and he’s also the namesake of our state capital, which is a nice honor, even if he won’t be remembered well in history. Boone’s life story is interesting but not particularly exciting—he was born in Pennsylvania; his dad was a Quaker who had been jailed by the British during the French and Indian War; as a young man, he moved to North Carolina; he fought Native Americans and the British; he built his home in what is now Boone County; he married three times; and then he died at age 85. But his fame comes from his role in the exploration and settlement of the western United States. When we think about those early days of establishing our country’s borderlands, we usually picture Lewis & Clark or other more famous figures, but Daniel Boone played an equally important role in exploring lands that didn’t yet belong to us.
In 1769, Boone left North Carolina with a group of men to look for new settlements. They began their journey from eastern Kentucky and followed the Ohio River all the way to southern Illinois before turning back south toward Kentucky.
Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania on November 2, 1734. His family moved to Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1736, where his father operated a tannery. Boone received his education through the settlement school run by Reverend Enoch White in Rowan Berkeley County, North Carolina.