The first time I remember hearing this term is when I was 35 years old, I purchased a DVD of Fess Parker playing Daniel Boone Season 1 Episode 1. I had watched all the Daniel Boone episodes when I was a child but I do not remember this term, anyway, it has intrigued me ever since and I love referring to Kentucky as The Dark and Bloody Ground. There are a lot of people, even my mom, who do not know to what it is I am referring, which of course, is why I use the term, besides it fun to say! My little way of teaching people a little something about history.
Since learning the term, the land and its history has intrigued me and I try to visit every year for some new learning of history. I did find a book written by John Filson called: The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucky written in 1784 that I enjoyed thoroughly you can get it on Amazon here. A great read if you are interested in some of the history of Kentucky. It is not a lot of pages, it is photo copied of the original book so the English is the old English where the "f" has the "s" sound so it makes it an even more interesting read.
Mr. Filson talks about sepulchers full of human skeletons buried in a manner that is not in the manner of the American Indian. There was also found hundreds of dinosaur bones, bones of large humans. The belief was that there were ancient Welsh civilizations in America long before Columbus and before the Indians. Very interesting as to why this is not taught today.
I will quote him, " There are several ancient remains in Kentucky which seem to prove, that this country was formerly inhabited by a nation farther advanced in the arts of life than the Indians. These are there usually attributed to the Welsh, who are supposed to have formerly inhabited here; but having been expelled by the natives, were forced to take refuge near the sources of the Missouri. It is well known, that no Indian nation has ever practiced the method of defending themselves by entrenchments; and such a work would even be no easy one, while these nations were unacquainted with the use of iron. In the neighborhood of Lexington, the remains of two ancient fortifications are to be seen, furnished with ditches and bastions." He tells us that these remains appear to be at least 150 years old.
On one of our trips to The Dark and Bloody Ground we visited The Blue Licks State Park and as we were driving through The Dark and Bloody Ground in our modern car we thought and talked of what would Daniel Boone think of our modern trails through the woods? We thought of how we just zip over the rivers without giving it a moment's thought when not that long ago crossing these rivers was a major undertaking! It might take weeks to get everybody across the river. The planning of the trip would take the crossing of these rivers into account but we do not give the crossing of these rivers any kind of thought, which in a certain way, we miss out on the the wonder of the trip and the beauty of the wilderness.
Back to the story of The Battle of Blue Licks, the British and Indians had sacked a couple forts and the Americans were chasing them through the woods. Daniel Boone and others warned the other leaders that the trail was too easy to follow and warned of an ambush. The Americans crossed at the ford and were ambushed as they made their way up the ridges after crossing The Licking River. There is a book written from the British Point of View that tells of the battle that is available and my absolute favorite book about Daniel Boone Master of The Wilderness written in 1939 tells us about Daniel Boone from his earliest days and does cover the Battle of Blue Licks. Some say it was the last battle of the Revolutionary War. Great books and great history!
Another great book on Kentucky is by Allen Eckert called The Frontiersmen. I was going to provide a link to it on Amazon but the prices were outrageous! So here is a link to Thrift Books for The Frontiersmen. He also has other good books about early American history. Early on in The Frontiersmen he tells of an interesting story and since I have already mentioned Chief Blackfish I will mention this as well, Eckert tells us that Chief Black Fish and a man named Bullit, representing the King of England, had a conversation about the land of Kentucky and that Bullit wanted to negotiate a purchase but Blackfish said that the land was not the Shawnees’ to give because it did not belong to them. Eckert quotes Blackfish saying, “The Shawnees cannot tell you that you are allowed to settle in the Can-tuc-kee lands. We have never owned that land. It belongs to the murdered ghosts of the murdered Azgens —a white people from the eastern sea. Their bones and their ghosts own and occupy every hill and valley of the country. Long ago our fathers and our grandfathers killed off the Azgens, but we now fear the spirits of these people more than our fathers and grandfathers feared them when they were flesh.”
At the Blue Licks State Park we hiked the trails and found the Lick, the Lick is where the salt used to pour out of the ground and the animals would come to the Lick the salt. The Lick, as of this writing, is on private property and we could not get close to it or close to the ford where the crossing of The Licking River took place. We were disappointed about the Lick and the Ford and made a polite complaint to the park manager, he explained to us that they were in the middle of litigation to purchase the land. They are sure there are still more dinosaur bones to be unearthed at this lick. There is also another Lick in Kentucky called Big Bone Lick. At this lick there were, at one time, hundreds of dinosaur bones just sitting on top of the ground. We did visit this park as well, not a lot to see anymore but at one time in America's history this was a hot spot!
Ever since I was a child and first saw Fess Parker as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett I have been intrigued with the wilderness, adventure, hunting and all things outdoors.
As I grew older and had children of my own I introduced them to Fess Parker’s Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett in hopes to pass on to them my love for the great outdoors and wilderness adventure. If you haven’t watched any of the Daniel Boone TV episodes from the 1960’s you really are missing out on some great shows. I have included some links below for you to get each season. Enjoy!
(There was also the Davy Crockett movies of the 1950s.) The shows, of course, take great liberty with the adventures and characters, but we didn't really care we enjoyed them all. They talked of the Cumberland Gap, Fort Boonesborough and adventures in the Kentucky wilderness.
Fess Parker as Daniel Boone: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6
Fess Parker as Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier River Pirates
We loved to imagine our adventures in the wilderness as, at the time, we had access to a lot of woods for discovering. When my oldest two children were 8 and 9 we built a “fort” that we named Boonesborough in the woods at our home in Pinconning, MI a long way from the Dark and Bloody Ground for sure but it was our fort.
There is a series of books by Joseph Altsheler called The Young Trailers. These were written as historical fiction books about adventures on the American Frontier. The hero of the books is Henry Ware, he has four friends who are from Kentucky and they travel the frontier meeting historical characters and taking part in historical events. These are great adventure books and you will also learn history! The author took great pains to make sure the accounts were as accurate as possible (with the exception of his fictional characters of course). I found these books to be very fascinating and enjoyable. If you are interested in these books they have been resurrected and republished and you can get your copies by clicking the links below.
Volume 1 Contains 3 books: The Young Trailers, The Forest Runners & The Keepers of The Trail
Volume 2 Contains 3 Books: The Eyes of The Woods, The Free Rangers & The Riflemen of The Ohio
Volume 3 Contains 2 Books: The Scouts of The Valley & The Border Watch
If you enjoy a good book I would highly recommend these, they planted the seeds of adventure in my soul and the love of The Wilderness grew in me and I hope to pass this love of adventure on to the next generation.
In 2005 we planned a vacation to Kentucky (The Dark and Bloody Ground). Joshua was 3 and Jayden was 5. You can see in the pictures below of the differences in the years and age of our children. In 2009 we planned another trip and this time we coordinated it with an event at Fort Boonesborough. They were having a reenactment of the siege of Boonesborough that took place in 1778. The fort would be filled with blacksmiths, soap makers, candle makers, trappers and animals. Months before we went we bought all the Daniel Boone episodes on DVD and, with our children, had a Daniel Boone marathon. When we finally set out for The Dark and Bloody Ground the children were as excited as we were! We went to Fort Boonesborough, which is near modern Lexington, Kentucky. What a great time we had! The children we very familiar with Daniel Boone, Rebecca Boone, Jemima and Israel.
Fess Parker played a larger than life role in these shows and surely impressed me as a child.
Since these trips when our children were little Jayden and I have made several trips back to The Dark and Bloody Ground visiting different areas but always making time to hike the Cumberland Gap. If you have never hiked The Cumberland Gap I would recommend it, it is moderate hiking and does not take very long. As you are walking through The Gap think of all the people who used it as a passage to get beyond the mountains for thousands of years! Incredible to think about!
Spring of 2023 Jayden and I set out for The Dark and Bloody Ground once more, we headed first to The Cumberland Gap for another hike of our favorite spot. We spent the afternoon hiking and exploring our favorite spots. The cave, the river and the Daniel Boone Trail marker. After the hike we followed the Wilderness Road making our way to Fort Boonesborough! We arrived late in the afternoon and set up our tent in the campground within walking distance of the original site of the fort. Our camp was primitive as we slept in a tent and cooked our dinner over the fire, just like when Jayden was little. One item that we took with us proved to be very helpful, we did some research about an LED Light and found one that we really liked, very bright, dimmable and rechargeable. It worked great for the campsite and to have in the tent.
I walked to the original site of the fort to sit in the dark and think of all the things that happened there and all the people who must have trod that ground. I pictured in my minds eye Chief Blackfish standing outside the fort wanting to talk to Daniel Boone. I pictured the fort and could see the Indians besieging the fort. I could see Jemima Boone floating down the river in the boat with her friends and getting grabbed by the Indians and all the settlers running after them to rescue the girls. I saw all the trading that went on, the trappers coming and going, the herds of buffalo! What a wonderful thing to behold!!
I have put a slideshow of all the pics we took with captions. Enjoy!
Great family fun!!
Imagine finding yourself lost deep in the woods, far away from any sign of civilization. Panic may ensue, but it is crucial to keep calm and focus on survival. The ability to navigate and endure the challenges of the wilderness is essential in such a situation. Here are some key tips to help you survive in the woods.
Have a pack that is ready to take when you take any hiking trip with some essentials - fire starters, compass, tablets to purify water, a whistle and a Buck knife. Get my favorite Buck knife Here.
First and foremost, it is essential to maintain a positive mindset. Staying calm and collected will allow you to think clearly and make informed decisions. Panic can cloud your judgment, leading to potentially dangerous mistakes. Remember, survival is all about adapting and utilizing the resources available to you.
One of the most critical aspects of wilderness survival is understanding navigation. Without proper direction, you may find yourself going in circles, wasting valuable energy and resources. If you have a compass or map, use them to identify your location and head towards a known landmark, like a river or a mountain ridge. Additionally, observing the position of the sun or stars can help you determine direction during the day or night.
While navigating, it is crucial to keep track of your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with natural landmarks, such as distinctive trees, large boulders, or unique rock formations. These can serve as reliable points of reference, aiding in your journey and helping you avoid backtracking.
One of the most basic needs in any survival situation is access to clean water. The importance of staying hydrated cannot be overstated. Look for natural water sources such as rivers, streams, or springs. Consume water only after filtering it through clothing or a makeshift filter to remove impurities and minimize the risk of waterborne illnesses. Hopefully you have your filter with you in your pack, here is one Water Filter if you want one for your pack. If necessary, you can also collect rainwater using improvised containers like leaves or bark.
Food is another crucial aspect of wilderness survival. While it is best to have an understanding of edible plants and hunting techniques in advance, do not consume anything unless you can identify it with certainty. In the absence of such knowledge, focus on foraging for nuts, berries, or fruits that are visibly safe for consumption.
Shelter is paramount to keep you protected from the elements and predators. Look for natural features such as caves or sturdy trees. If necessary, construct a simple lean-to using fallen branches and foliage as insulation. It will provide temporary protection from the rain, wind, or harsh sunlight.
Lastly, signaling for help is vital if you find yourself lost for an extended period. Use three loud whistle blasts, shouts, or a brightly colored cloth to attract attention. Building a fire will not only keep you warm, a visual indicator to potential rescuers and a fire has a calming nature about it.
Remember, survival in the woods is all about preparedness and maintaining a calm demeanor. By practicing these essential skills, understanding navigation techniques, finding clean water, foraging for food, building shelter, and signaling for help, you increase your chances of making it through the ordeal and returning home safely.
One final thought - Believe your compass! You don't need an expensive one Get Your Compass Here
I'm a cofounder of BearTraxLLC and I'm very passionate about everything we're going to accomplish.