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Rebecca Boone.jpg

Rebecca Ann (Bryan) Boone (January 9, 1739March 18, 1813) was an American pioneer and the wife of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone. No contemporary portrait of her exists, but people who knew her said that when she met her future husband she was nearly as tall as he and very attractive with black hair and dark eyes.

In 1775 Daniel Boone brought his family to the Kentucky River where on behalf of the Transylvania Company he and Richard Henderson laid out Fort Boonesborough. Rebecca left Kentucky in May 1778 under a cloud of rumors that her husband, a captive of the Shawnee, had turned Tory. She returned to her parents' settlement in North Carolina with five of her children, leaving behind Jemima who by then was married to Flanders Callaway.

Daniel Boone came back to his family in North Carolina and finally convinced his wife to leave again for Kentucky - this time with nearly 100 of their kin and joined by the family of Abraham Lincoln (the president's grandfather). In September 1779, this emigration was the largest to date through the Cumberland Gap. By late October 1779, they reached Fort Boonesborough but conditions were so bad that they left on Christmas Day, during what Kentuckians later called the "Hard Winter," to found a new settlement, Boone's Station, with 15-20 families on Boone's Creek about six miles north-west (near what is now Athens, Kentucky). By spring Rebecca and her husband moved to a cabin several miles southwest on Marble Creek. In summer of 1780 at 40 years of age she became pregnant with 10th child (Nathan, born the following March). She lived in a double cabin with five of her children still living at home, the six children of her widowed uncle James Bryan, as well as her daughter Susy with her husband Will Hays with 2-3 children of their own: a household of 19-20 people.

She and her family moved in 1783 where for the next few years she helped Daniel create a landing site at the mouth of Limestone Creek for flatboats coming down the Ohio River from Fort Pitt (Simon Kenton's village was just a few miles inland). Daniel laid out the road to Lexington (soon to be known as the Maysville Road) starting in early 1783. They lived in a cabin built out of an old boat (on what is now Front Street in Maysville, Kentucky). Rebecca, now 46 years old, ran the tavern kitchen and oversaw the seven slaves they owned. By 1786 the town incorporated as Maysville.

After a brief illness, Rebecca died at the age of 74 on March 18, 1813, at her daughter Jemima Boone Callaway's home near the village of Charette (near present-day Marthasville, Missouri). She was buried at the Bryan family cemetery nearby overlooking the Missouri River. She and her husband's remains were reinterred and buried again in Frankfort, Kentucky in 1845.

In 1862 a monument was placed over her and her husband's graves in Frankfort.

The World War II Liberty ship SS Rebecca Boone was named in her honor.