Daniel Boone's Grave.

Daniel Boone's Grave

Field review by the editors.

Frankfort, Kentucky

Daniel Boone is not really a folk hero superstar -- in fact, a lot of people get him confused with Davy Crockett -- but he's been popular enough over the years to merit a Hollywood movie, a lunch box, and a postage stamp. And one thing is certain about folk heroes, even second-stringers: everyone wants their old bones.

Daniel Boone's Grave.

So, Daniel Boone appears to have ended up in two graves.

Everyone agrees that Boone died at his son's home near Defiance, Missouri, in 1820. Everyone also agrees that he was buried about 14 miles west in Marthasville, near the grave of his wife, Rebecca. But then the story gets muddled.

The folks in Frankfort, the state capital of Kentucky, would have you believe that Rebecca and Daniel were exhumed 25 years later and reinterred in Frankfort Cemetery. But for years Marthasville claimed that Frankfort had dug up the wrong body. They said that the grave next to Rebecca's was already occupied when Daniel died, so he was buried at her feet. And since Daniel's relatives were angry at Frankfort for digging up Daniel, they didn't tell them about his true burial plot. They let Frankfort cart away the body next to Rebecca's, the body of a stranger.

Daniel Boone's Grave.

Scientific scrutiny seemed to support Marthasville. A forensic anthropologist studied a plaster cast of the skull in Frankfort's grave in 1983 -- you can see it in a Frankfort Museum -- and said that it really belonged to a large African-American man. Frankfort, of course, dismissed the allegations. It had gone to a lot of trouble to bury Daniel beneath a much more accessible monument than the one in Missouri (that was, ostensibly, the reason for the move in the first place). It's in a fancy cemetery with directional signs to the Boone grave, which even has its own special parking spaces for visitors. The monument has a memorable marble plaque of Boone battling two Indians, and its own historical marker that insists the Boone really is buried there.

The bones battle continued, unresolved, until June 2010, when an official document filed by the Friends of Daniel Boone's Burial Site in Missouri conceded that some of Boone's bones were dug up and moved to Kentucky, but only the "large" ones. "His heart and brain," the document said, "remain where he was buried." It also stated that Boone left Kentucky in 1799 on bad terms, and that he swore he'd rather die than set foot there again.

Since both towns have Daniel Boone graves with worthy monuments, and since the monument is all that you get to see anyway, we say that Daniel Boone is buried in the spot easiest for you to get to.

Also see: The Other Daniel Boone Grave

Daniel Boone's Grave

Frankfort Cemetery

Address:
215 E. Main St., Frankfort, KY
Directions:
In Frankfort Cemetery, which sits on a cliff overlooking the east side of the Kentucky River, where US Hwy 60/E. Main St. intersects Glenns Creek Rd.
Hours:
M-Sa 8-dusk, Su 9-3:15. Gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
502-227-2403
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Kentucky Military History Museum: Hitler's PlaqueKentucky Military History Museum: Hitler's Plaque, Frankfort, KY - < 1 mi.
Capital City MuseumCapital City Museum, Frankfort, KY - < 1 mi.
Floral ClockFloral Clock, Frankfort, KY - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Parkette Drive-In Restaurant, Lexington, KY - 25 mi.

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