Lesson Learned (November 24)


West Virginians have been hunters and gatherers since our pioneer families climbed out of the Piedmont of Virginia into our wild and wonderful frontier. The fact is deer hunting as a family tradition continues. Our Upshur County Schools schedule a hunting week off including Thanksgiving each November as a nod to this legacy.

Daniel Boone represents our pioneer spirit, as I learned in West Virginia History, studying at Buckhannon-Upshur Junior High School in Coach Dick Young’s much appreciated class. Daniel Boone is one of the most famous frontiersmen in U.S. history. He was a skilled hunter, trapper, and trailblazer. During the early days of westward expansion, Boone’s explorations helped open the frontier to new settlements. This includes our Kanawha Valley and Charleston, our capital city.

In 1788, Boone and his family settled near the mouth of the Kanawha River. He represented Kanawha County in the Virginia General Assembly in 1791 and won a contract to supply militia companies in Western Virginia.

Our enthusiastic teacher Young encouraged us to visit Daniel Boone Park near where Campbell’s Creek enters the Great Kanawha River. There is a historic marker that reads:

“Across the Great Kanawha River lived Daniel Boone, the noted frontiersman from 1788 - 1795. Elected to Virginia Assembly; Lieutenant Colonel in Virginia Militia during Indian Wars.” —Historic Marker in Charleston, West Virginia.

Lessons learned from West Virginia History, when we had the academic opportunity to vie for the honor of being recognized as a Knight or Lady of the Golden Horseshoe, include two memorable hunting quotes by our esteemed pioneer hunter hero Daniel Boone:

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”

“All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.”

A footnote to history is that in our Upshur County Schools, among our best students is Joann Burr Samples, mother of Dr. Tammy Samples, our Upshur County Schools Board of Education President. Joann, indeed, is a Lady of the Golden Horseshoe.

I’m sure she has more Daniel Boone stories than I can fit in my column.

Another recollection from Teacher Young’s West Virginia History class was the wisdom of how to find our way out of the woods when hunting if we ever got confused. Our teacher told us wide eyed, would-be deer slayers to follow a stream downhill. Of course, that stream would join another larger stream continuing to a river, where a farmhouse or log cabin would be found. That always worked for me.

As a child, Daniel was responsible for taking the family’s cattle into the woods to graze each day. Daniel loved wandering the woods with the cows. The outdoors fascinated him, and he spent his days studying small birds and game. Tradition says Daniel became an expert marksman by age thirteen. My best wishes for our Upshur County School students are that your hunting season is bountiful this Thanksgiving harvest time. May your childhood reflect our Daniel Boone heritage.

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