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Simon Kenton


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Frontier scout and ‘‘long hunter’’ Simon Kenton (April 3, 1755-April 29, 1836) was born in Prince William County, Virginia. He left home at 16 after a fight in which he erroneously thought he had killed a neighbor, who had married the girl Kenton fancied. During his travels Kenton met and befriended Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, and Simon Girty, as well as the famous Shawnee Chief Logan.

Upon leaving home, Kenton first traveled north through present West Virginia to Pittsburgh and then explored, hunted, and trapped through much of the Ohio Valley. He spent several winters in the 1770s trapping game along the Ohio River between the Big Sandy and Kanawha rivers. The cane fields of Kentucky were where Kenton made a name for himself as a scout and woodsman.

In 1774, Kenton served as a frontier scout in the Muskingum War and later that same year in Lord Dunmore’s War. During the Revolution he served as a scout under George Rogers Clark. When he was not actively serving as a scout, early settlers grew to depend on Kenton as a guide, surveyor, and reliable hunter. Kenton saved the life of Boone and prevented the destruction of Boone’s borough during an Indian attack in 1777.

Kenton later founded his own station in what is now Mason County, Kentucky. After losing his wife to a fire in 1797 he moved to Ohio the following year. Kenton had spent more than a year in 1820–21 imprisoned for bad debts in Kentucky until being released upon the revocation of Kentucky’s debtor’s law. He died in Ohio at the age of 81.

Written by John E. Adkins

Sources

  1. Clark, Thomas D. Simon Kenton: Kentucky Scout. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1998.