Daniel Boone accused of treason!

The court-martial of Daniel Boone is a well authenticated but quite obscure incident in the life of the famed frontiersman. Allan W. Eckert’s first full-length novel, “The Court-Martial of Daniel Boone,” recreates the legendary Kentuckian’s severest test — the trial for his life at Boonesborough in 1778.

A captain during the Revolutionary War, Boone faces court-martial and hanging for such high crimes as betraying his command to the Indians, conspiring to surrender Boonesborough, consorting with the enemy, and accepting favors from the British. And Boone pleads guilty to all the actions detailed in the charges against him.

But he also pleads not guilty to the charge of treason, and to the amazement of the court, he insists on defending himself — disregarding the advice of experienced legal counsel in favor of a plan only he himself knows.

Strong, seemingly irrefutable evidence is added to the prosecution’s case with each witness.  To a man, they corroborate the capture of Boone and his company by Shawnee Indians, Boone’s preferential treatment in the Indian camp, his negotiations with the Shawnee chief and the British Commandant in Detroit to surrender Boonesborough, his suspicious conduct during the recent heavy siege of the village, and his adoption by the Shawnees.

Finally, confronted by almost certain conviction and an embittered hostile gallery of settlers who once trusted him, Boone mounts his defense.

Allan W. Eckert supports this rousing, highly suspenseful story of the famous frontier hero with a historian’s attention to the facts of the trial and a novelist’s sure feeling for the danger and adventure of the eighteenth-century American wilderness.  

Whether capturing the rough speech of a frightened settler or weighing the patience and hunter’s cunning of Daniel Boone, the author commands the same narrative power that distinguishes the six books in his “Winning of America” series.

Although this book is a novel, practically all of the characters described here were actual persons who were part of the incidents described. The author made considerable effort to portray them as they actually were — things they did, their manner of speech, their styles of dress, and their customs, habits, character, and individual intelligence.

This 309-page softcover book is designed for adult readers, although high school students could read it easily.   

“The Court-Martial of Daniel Boone” by Allan W. Eckert is available at the Jesse Stuart Foundation Bookstore & Appalachian Gift Shop at 4440 13th Street in Ashland.  For more information, call (606) 326-1667, email jsf@jsfbooks.com, or visit the website at jsfbooks.com.

DR. JAMES GIFFORD, Ph.D., is the CEO and Senior Editor at the Jesse Stuart Foundation.

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