Excerpt from Simon Kenton, The Great Frontiersman by Ray Crain
When Simon Kenton was 15 years old, the "love bug" bit him. He fell "head over apple carts" for a young lady named Ellen Cummins. To Simon, there was no other girl quite like Ellen. He had placed his brand on her and she was to be the future Mrs. Kenton.
What a fateful day it was, when Simon learned that the love of his life was to marry another. The winning suitor was a young man by the name of Leachman.
On the day of the wedding, Simon, full of anger, his pride crushed, arrived at the church just prior to the ceremony. He called for Leachman to step outside where he could whip him. Leachman, along with several friends was willing to oblige. They beat Simon nearly senseless.
Anger over being publicly humiliated smouldered within Simon for a year. He decided not to let this embarrassment go unanswered.
Simon found Leachman working in some nearby woods. This time Leachman's friends weren't around to help.
Leachman was thrashed to within an inch of his life. In fact, Simon believed he had killed the young man.
Knowing the penalty for murder was death by hanging. Simon headed for the wilderness beyond the mountains.
From childhood, Simon had heard the stories told by his uncle, Thomas Kenton. Simon's uncle was a trader with the Indians. His tales of great buffalo herds, salt springs, beautiful prairies and fertile earth had left a lasting impression on the young man. He vowed someday that he would see that far off land that his uncle called Kentucky. There was no better time than now to fulfill that yearning. Yes, this was the incident that changed Kenton's life.
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Photos taken May 1997
By Yvonne James-Henderson with permission from Claude Schoch
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