The solitude that for ages had rested like a protecting canopy over the great national park of the Red man was again about to be disturbed. The fame thereof had crossed the mountains and reached the fartherest limits of the colonies, now slowly but surely turning the tide of emigration this way.
A party of men knows as "Wallens Company," composed of WALLEN, SCAGGS, BLEVINS and COX, together with fifteen others whose names are unknown, came over in 1763. This company had been formed in Virginia two years before the purpose of exploration and trade, and had spent two winters thereafter in Kentucky and East Tennessee. This season they followed the route previously taken by Dr. WALKER and party in 1748. Passing through Cumberland Gap they hunted during the whole summer along the Cumberland River, later recrossing the mountains with an abundance of game.
In 1764 Daniel BOONE, the renowned hunter and explorer, who is popularly accredited with having led the vanguard of civilization into western wilds, came on a short expedition into the eastern portion of Middle Tennessee. BOONE was a typical pioneer, loving as he did the solitude of the forest and usually making his journeys alone. On this occasion, however, he had with him his kinsman, Samuel CALLAWAY, the ancestor of a distinguished family by that name, pioneers of Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. As they came in sight of the Cumberland Valley BOONE looked down from the summit of the mountain on the vast herd of buffalo grazing beneath and exclaimed: "I am richer then the man mentioned in the Scriptures who owned the cattle on thousand hills, for I own the wild beasts of more than a thousand valleys."At this time BOONE'S home was upon the Yadkin River in North Carolina, whither he had moved from Virginia many years before. He returned to the Cumberland in 1771, and later played an important part in the settlement of Kentucky. With the establishment of courts of justice at the admission of the latter State into the Union in 1792, BOONE lost possession of nearly all the lands he had secured in Kentucky, his titles thereto being contested and declared invalid. Disgusted at this treatment by the commonwealth he had done so much to found, he emigrated to Missouri and built his abode a cabin in the wilderness forty-five miles west of St. Louis. There he remained until his death in 1822. By order of the Legislature of Kentucky his remains were removed to Frankfort in 1845, and re-interred in the city cemetery on a beautiful site above the new capital building. Above this new grave a fitting monument was erected, on either of the four sides of which were scenes wrought in bas-relief, commemorating the heroic deeds of BOONE'S eventful life. This monument still stands, though now much defaced by the ravages of time and the hand of the vandal. Other monuments to the memory of BOONE have since been located at various placed throughout Kentucky, notable among these being a statue in Cherokee Park at Louisville, the latter a gift to the city by Mr. C. C. BICKEL.
Following BOONE and CALLAWAY came Henry SCRAGGINS, who explored the lower Cumberland in 1765, and for a while had a station near the present site of Goodlettsville in Davidson County. Of him but little is known save that he was a representative of Henderson & Company, of North Carolina, who were large dealers in western lands, and of whom we shall learn more later on. The explorations of SCRAGGINS were the most extensive yet undertaken west of the mountains. During the summer of 1766 Col. James SMITH, accompanied by Joshua HORTON, William BAKER, and URIAH STONE came hither for the purpose of exploring along the Cumberland and Tennessee. Some of this party were from the north, BAKER being from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They entered the region they proposed to traverse by way of East Tennessee, having first explored the Holston Valley. They brought with them a mulatto slave, a boy about eighteen years old, the property of HORTON, and the first slave ever seen in Middle Tennessee. Stones River, near Nashville, was explored, and named by this party, being so called in honor of Uriah STONE. They traversed a large portion of the section now included in Sumner and Davidson Counties, and then going west, followed the course of the Tennessee River to its mouth at Paducah, Kentucky. There they separated. SMITH, with the slave for company and protection, returned to North Carolina. The other members of the party went north into Illinois. Uriah STONE returned the following year, and in partnership with a Frenchman, spent the season trapping on Stones River. One day late in the spring when they were loading their boat with furs preparatory for a journey to market, the Frenchman, in the absence of his partner, stole off with the boat and cargo. STONE having thus lost the fruits of several months of labor returned empty-handed to his home in Virginia.
Next in order came Isaac LINDSAY and four others from
South Carolina. They crossed the Alleghanies westward and hunted along the Cumberland as far
as French Lick. Here they met Michael STONER and a companion named HARROD, both of
whom lived in Pittsburg, having come by way of Illinois on their way to the hunting ground.
These parties were hunting for pleasure, and met by accident. It is quite probable that each also
had an eye on valuable tracts of land upon which, in the future, they hoped to obtain concessions.
After remaining together for some time in the region about French Lick they separated and
returned to their respective homes. Later on LINDSAY was an important factor in the early
settlement at Nashville.