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100 Years Ago

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Simon Kenton

Simon Kenton, a well-known frontiersman in Kentucky and Ohio, was born in Virginia in 1755 to an immigrant father from Ireland and a mother of Scotch-Welsh ancestry. At the age of 15 he was involved in a fight, almost killing another man, that caused him to flee to the wilds of Kain-tuck-ee (Kentucky) where he developed a life-long friendship with Daniel Boone. Seeking adventure, he joined the army and eventually attained the rank of general where he became a close friend of General George Rogers Clark. His valiant deeds defending settlers in Kentucky, and his spy activities against the British in the Ohio territory, are legendary.

In 1778, he was captured by the Shawnee, and with his hands tied to a wild horse, the animal galloped through the forest with Kenton in tow. He suffered the blows and cruelty of the Indian gauntlet on nine occasions, surviving an ordeal that had inflicted death on thousands of whites before him. A hole was hammered into his skull, his arm/collarbone were broken and the Shawnee tried to burn him at the stake three times.

He loved Kentucky, but, in 1801, Kenton moved with his family to Urbana, Ohio, where he continued to support the activities of white settlers against the Indians. He died in 1836, and now lies buried in Oak Dale Cemetery, Urbana, where, during 1998, a full-size bronze statue will be erected to his memory. The statue at right was created by an artist from Lebanon, Ohio. in 1988, and can be seen at the George Rogers Clark Park. "Only a few white men were ever as good as the Indians at the Indian game. Boone and Kenton were..." Frederick Palmer Clark of the Ohio (1929).

'Indian' segment written in December, 1997 by David Lodge


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Simon Kenton
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