BOONE TRACE EXPEDITION – MARCH 2015

In March of 1775 Daniel Boone and 30 axe men left Long Island of the Holston to create a 200 mile road into the wilderness of Kentucky. This road, known as the Boone Trace, would carry pioneers to a remote settlement beyond the Appalachians.

In the next few years this settlement, known as Fort Boonesborough, was an outpost of hardship.  A revolutionary war battle and regular predation by indians left the pioneers struggling for basic necessities. My fifth great-grandfather, Joshua Penix, was one of those settlers. He was 19 in 1779 when he and others signed documents to seek relief from Virginia and to establish Boonesborough as a permanent town. The American dream was growing and Boone Trace was the path to get there.

I thought it would be interesting to travel the road my ancestor had traveled. Even though this road helped to carry 300,000 pioneers into the land we now know as Kentucky, it does not exist today as a singular route. Much of the old path has been paved over as residential streets or 2 lane highway. The portions which followed creeks were abandoned for wider roadways and left to grow over. Much has been tilled under for agriculture. Most of the original Boone Trace has been lost the way an artist would paint over the original painting on a canvas. In order to walk with Joshua, I need to peel back the layers of new paint to reveal the original masterpiece that Boone and his men created.

My intention is to walk this 200 mile path from Kingsport, TN to Fort Boonesborough, KY. My hike will begin on March 10th. Over the course of 16 days I’ll travel as close as possible to the actual route that Daniel Boone and his men created. Thanks to the work of Neal O. Hammon in the late 1960’s we now have a map detailing Boone Trace.

I’m hoping to get a taste of the hardships Joshua and the other pioneers experienced, minus the Indian attacks and smelly buckskin clothing. Unlike Joshua I won’t have the advantage of a horse and large groups of men to travel along side. However, my advantages are modern clothing, pack gear, prepackaged foods and a two way satellite communicator.

You can follow my journey via email, facebook, or twitter. Connect through the links at the right of this page.

67 Replies to “BOONE TRACE EXPEDITION – MARCH 2015”

  1. Nerissa Fortney Gregoire

    Good luck Curtis. Keep us posted on your journey. Such a wonderful experience to share in spirit with your g-g-g-g-g grandfather. My family has ties with Boone also. Have Fun!!!! Nerissa Gregoire

    Reply
  2. ed penix

    This is quite interesting. Joshua Penix is also my 5x great grandfather. I would love to follow your trip. You also share the same ne as my grandfather. My given name is Harold Edward Jr. Good luck sir. Well, good luck, cousin.

    Reply
    1. Curtis

      I do indeed share the same name as your grandfather because I was named after him. He is my grandfather also. I am your cousin, Curtis, my father is your Uncle Darrel. I’m glad you came across my website. I hope you contact your brothers and sister so they can follow along too!

      Reply
  3. Dale Minton

    Curtis,
    Good luck on your journey. I will follow your every step as Joshua Penix is my 4th great grandfather. Joshua’s daughter Sarah married John Easterling, their daughter Elizabeth married Harlan Stapleton and lived in Scott County, Virginia. Elizabeth’s son was George Washington Stapleton and his daughter was Lena Stapleton White, my grandmother. I still live in Scott County and pass through Moccasin Gap every day. I am so glad I saw this article. Again good luck with your travels and be safe.

    Reply
  4. Susan Kitchings

    I read the article about your proposed trip in today’s Kingsport Times-News and am looking forward to following your progress. Good luck, stay safe and God bless!

    Reply
  5. John Dayton

    Having been born and raised in Michigan and now living in Kingsport, Tn I look forward to following your journey from the Long Island of the Holston into Kentucky.
    I will try to be in attendance at your send off on the Boone Trace.
    My best wishes to you.

    Reply
  6. Curtis Penix

    Hi John, it would be great to see you at the Netherland Inn on the 10th if you can make it! I start my walk at 9 a.m.

    Reply
  7. Bradly Penix

    I just found out about my great grandfather Joshua Penix. My dad, Herbert, and I will be following your trek on the Boone Trace. Good luck and hopefully my dad, brother Lee, and myself can blaze the same trail someday soon!

    Bradly Penix

    Reply
  8. Marty Uhlik

    Well Curtis, what can I say. You have come along way from Mt. Manistee on the North Country Trail / Manistee River Loop. Remember, “Mt. Manistee is tough but you are tougher”. I know you have prepared for this once in a lifetime journey for close to a year. I have gotten to share in some of the excitement and am looking forward to following your journey. You will be in our thoughts and prayers, God speed my friend.
    Marty

    Reply
  9. Andy Watterson

    Looking forward to following your journey. The Tracker function you’ve added is going to be very cool. As a section hiker, with several hundred miles on the AT, I admit, I’m jealous! Wish I were joining you….well, I can online! Be safe! The Joy is in the Journey!

    “Clydesdale” (AT trail name)

    Reply
  10. John W. Mullen

    Have a safe and wonderful journey. I wish I could join you! I will be most interested in what you discover along the way and especially the route that you take starting at Long Island, Kingsport, TN.

    Reply
  11. Edgar Gifford

    Good luck. Wish I was going with for my 4th great grandfather, Joseph Barnett and his brother Alexander were likely mixed up in those episodes.

    Reply
  12. laura marcum

    Hey Curtis, My family and I are very excited to follow your hike. We live in Scott County, Virginia on the road that truly marks the original Daniel Boone trail. We are close to the original Block House monument off of Route 606. We would be thrilled to hear from you as we have heard of the shoals where the “exact” crossing was. Please email me if you want access to the property! We would be thrilled to know your route…I can’t see it quite possible without crossing our land! Happy trails! Look forward to hearing from you

    Reply
  13. Stacie (Taylor) Morin

    Pastor Curt, I think this is incredible. Good luck and God’s speed on your journeys… What an incredible journey for understanding, education, and self discovery. Enjoy every minute!

    Reply
  14. Laura Marcum

    I think that your travels will begin tomorrow, not sure what time but we would love to hear from you as you approach our area! I am so anxious to see where you cross the river! We are off route 606 and have been told of two places where the river was crossed. Would love to meet you and take some pics! Let you thru the gate or whatever! When we worked on the roadbed we found lots of artifacts and the builders spent every lunch hour collecting arrowheads! Please, email, text or phone if we can help you in anyway and especially to watch you ford the river! I have a ton of admiration for you and will be praying for you every step of your journey
    Laura Marcum
    423-686-2895
    My son Colton Marcum lives here as well
    423-676-6339

    Hope to hear from you

    Reply
    1. Penix

      Hi Laura! Curt isn’t going to be able to reply on this blog often now that he’s on the trail. Keep an eye on the map tracker and you’ll see as he approaches you. Hopefully you’ll run into him! That’s awesome that your land hold so many glimpses of the history.
      Kim Penix

      Reply
  15. Douglas Dade

    Curtis, Good luck on your journey. We live in Kingsport not too far from where you must be camping tonight. Daniel Boone was my 6th great uncle. His sister, Sarah who married John Wilcoxson, was my 5th gr grandmother. Their daughter’s son, Benjamin Cutbirh, Jr., was also among Boone’s ax men who help blaze the trail. We’ll be following you along the way.
    Doug Dade

    Reply
    1. Penix

      Hi Doug,
      It’s been great hearing all the connections people have to this trail and to Daniel Boone. It was such an important time in our nations history. Hopefully soon you’ll be able to walk this trail, or at least parts of it, as well!
      Kim

      Reply
  16. Gary Hodges

    Curtis,

    Great meeting you last June at the Boone family reunion and hearing you tell of your undertaking. I wish you luck and God Speed in your journey. I would love to accompany you but age and family commitments prevent me from taking this journey, one our ancestors took in the 1770s. Like Douglas Dade, I am a 5th great grandson of Sarah Boone and her husband John Wilcoxson. They made the journey to Fort Boonesborough from Rowan Co. NC on one of Sarah’s brother Daniels trips to settle The Kantucki. I know you will make your ancestor proud as you walk in his footsteps.

    Gary Hodges
    The Boone Society

    Reply
    1. Penix

      Gary,
      He enjoyed meeting everyone at the Boone Family Reunion last year as well. So much history and many connections to the Trace.
      Thanks,
      Kim

      Reply
  17. Harold Barker

    Curtis,

    I look foward to meeting you at Boonesborough later this month and will bring a copy of the Boone Trace map showing the route from the Cumberland Gap to Fort Boonesborough.

    Harold and Ann Barker

    Reply
  18. owen franklin

    Hi Curtis—-We have been keeping up with your trip and make it a game to drive the road looking for you. The next time we see you we will honk 2 times—-Have a safe journey——-God Bless—-Owen&Anna Franklin

    Reply
  19. Scott Hamilton

    We met last fall when you were scouting Kane Gap, looks like you will be coming over the Gap and into our valley sometime tomorrow. Good luck and be careful on the mountain, the rocks are very slick when wet and fallen limbs under the leaves are quite slippery too. I have fallen more than once up there when its wet. hope the weather gets better soon.

    Reply
  20. Mary Bohlen

    Curtis, members of the North Carolina Daniel Boone Heritage Trail, Inc are keeping up with you on your historic trek. Proud of you.

    In the spirit of your ancestor and his friend, Mr. Boone,

    Mary Bohlen

    Reply
  21. Marty Uhlik

    Well my friend, I have been following your expedition as closely as time allows. It’s a little after 8 PM on day three and it looks like you are still on the move. Likely some wild camping tonight, keep safe, hang that food bag high and away. Get some rest, I look forward to your daily reports and pictures.

    Marty

    Reply
  22. Sylvia

    Curtis,
    I just joined your journey and find it very fascinating. I originate from Kingsport and wish I could have been there to have met you. I look so forward to your writings and following you on your map. Good Luck and God’s speed to you!!
    Waiting and Watching.
    Sylvia

    Reply
  23. Joyce

    I am enjoying your journey and look forward to your narrative each day, AND your pictures. Do not consider having to check into a hotel as a failure. You did the right thing.

    Reply
  24. Glinda Gilliam

    Hi Curt or Kim, am so enjoying following your path! I was born in Harrogate, Tennessee, and lived on the Powell River until moving to Michigan. In the 1800’s my Grandmother Mary Hensley traveled to the Hensley Settlement near Cumberland Gap. She married John Henry Giles, and there are now many of my relatives still in that area! May God bless you both in this endeavor !

    Reply
  25. Michael Orr

    Spoke with you 3-16-2015 at the Cumberland Gap National Park. Enjoyed the brief conversation. Giving you and your friend the best. Such a great way to experience life.

    Good Luck

    Reply
  26. Theone Abbott

    My 5th great grandfathers, Michael Shirley and Nicholas Proctor, with their families, were at Boonesboro during the same time. I am very pleased you are making this trip and wish you well. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Best of luck! Theone Abbott.

    Reply
  27. Diane Keathley

    Wow what a wonderful trip you are doing, and the Keathley’s are happy you got the chance to do it— stay safe

    Reply
  28. Glenn Daughenbaugh

    Curtis is coming up on Sheltowee Trace Trail on the map. What is the history of this trail and does it relate to the Boone trail?

    Reply
  29. Bobby Covert

    My wife and I just read your article today in The Lexington Herald Leader. We love to hike and ancestry too. It seems the two fit together perfectly. Glad to see The State of Kentucky here. It’s our home!

    Reply
  30. mickey McKamey

    Curtis,. I am wondering if you will post the complete route that you hiked when you finish? I’ve enjoyed following you in this adventure. I would like to drive the route as close as possible to the actual route. I live in Kingsport, TN and have always had an interest in the trail. Thanks and way to go! Mickey McKamey

    Reply
    1. Penix

      Part of the goal of this trip is to make routes available for others to enjoy. I believe a driving route and hiking trail maps will be worked on after this trip is complete. I hope you’re able to drive it some day!

      Reply
  31. Winona allen

    So glad to read of ur trek in the Lexington Herald-leader today. Envy ur commitment to travel in ur great grandfathers tracks. World would be better place if we would all take some time to retrace our history. Good weather – fair winds and soft trails to u.

    Reply
  32. Jim Todd

    Looks like a fascinating journey. My ancestors, Peter Todd & family left the Jersey Settlement in NC and followed the same path at about the same time settling in Boonesboro where many of my ancestors are buried. I look forward to following the journey!

    Reply
  33. Linda Osborne

    We were happy to have you spend last night at Wildie Christian Church in Rockcastle County. My son met you. Good luck as you journey on!

    Reply
  34. Jennifer Riley

    Good luck. My ancestors, Allen’s and Bakers, were awarded 5,000 acres in Clay County for their service in the. American Revolution.

    Reply
  35. Marty Uhlik

    Well my friend, you have done well and I am probably as proud of you as I am jealous of your journey. I can hardly wait to get together with you when you get acclimated to society once again. Interpretation: Back to work and the daily grind

    Reply
  36. Maggie

    Congratulations on your awesome journey! It has been such a pleasure to follow your blogs everyday, and ponder on all the rich history, stories and thought provoking insights you have shared. You have made a contribution for generations to come, thank you so much! I hope you write a book of some sorts about this wander. It has been appreciated !!!

    Reply
  37. Daena

    Just read about your journey in our local paper in Pennsylvania and couldn’t believe my eyes…Joshua Penix is also my 5th great-grandfather. It’s so wonderful to know that such a journey is still possible! Maybe one day I’ll be able to trace some of the footsteps of our family, too. Well done, cousin!

    Reply

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