Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Daniel Boone Was Here
Oftentimes, I've run into beginning genealogical researchers who get jazzed at the thought their ancestors might be related to someone famous. Kings come to mind here, but also generals or explorers. Once the possibility enters their mind of a connection to greatness, it unfortunately seems to nudge the research work in the wrong direction.
Perhaps as a counter-move in the hope of avoiding such weakness, I've automatically been dismissing any notion of a connection to well-known names of American history. You might have noticed that I glossed over some references, in links last week, to folk hero Daniel Boone.
The more I delve into the history of the Wilderness Road and the land in southwestern Virginia where my Tilson ancestors decided to settle, I can't help but acknowledge that that very place was one in which Daniel Boone used to roam.
In the region around the three forks of the Holston River in Virginia—the place where William and Mary Marcie Tilson settled and where all of their children were born—the way was made possible by adventurers, explorers and land surveyors who passed that way before the Tilsons arrived in 1762 or 1763.
Since this is such a new area of research for me, I've been absorbing an immense amount of material to get up to speed on the necessary background details. Swamped with information overload, perhaps that's why I gravitated to a website with the kind of simple terms best suited for younger students. Sometimes, it's just easier to learn new material by reverting to the simple, concise explanations presented in books intended for grade school students.
In reading one entry at a website called Tennessee4Me, after getting the lay of the land, information-wise, I scanned the article for names of people and geographic locations to help provide keywords for further searching.
That's where I saw the mention of Daniel Boone. Only one year after William and Mary Marcie Tilson's oldest child was born in 1763, Daniel Boone was somewhere in the same area, exploring the Holston valley for a land speculator.
Of course, by the time Daniel Boone was covering the area, the Tilsons had already settled there. Though the name introduces that bright-shiny aspect to the research, what I really needed was a clue as to how land was being distributed before Daniel Boone got there to check it all out.
The same article gave me a few more leads from earlier years. The one name which caught my eye was that of Virginia "adventurer" Thomas Walker, who arrived in the region in 1748 and returned again in 1750. He was key in an entity known as the Loyal Company—a detail I thought might be worth following up on.