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The Siege of
Fort Boonesborough 1778

A Re-Enactment 2005

Photos by Jim & Kathy Cummings


When Blackfish arrived at the fort he sent a messenger to Boone that they should parley. Boone met with Blackfish and persuaded him that he was no longer in command at the fort since he had been gone so many months. He must council with the other leaders he told Blackfish

The Indians had been joined by French mercenaries under the command of Captain DeQuindre who was employed by the British.


Daily life at Boonesborough was interupted when a runner brought the news of approaching Indians.

Daniel Boone had been captured by Shawnee Indians near the lower Blue Licks in February of 1778. He revealed the whereabouts of the other saltmakers to the Shawnee in order to spare Boonseborough from Indian attack. The Shawnee agreed not to attack the fort and to take the salt makers to the British in Detroit.

While captured Boone was adopted by the Indian Chief named Blackfish. Boone remained a captive for almost six months. He was given the Indian name Sheltowee (Big Turtle) and given much favor by the Shawnee.

In June when he heard of plans to attack Fort Boonesborough, Boone made his escape. He traveled 160 miles in only 4 days to warn the settlers. But his escape delayed the Shawnees from attacking and the impending attack did not occur until September.


From the narrative of Daniel Trabue

...Preveuosly to their going out Col. Calliway told the people in the fort that they must be Redy with their guns, if the indians used any Violence to fire on them, etc.

He also told them for the Women to put on hats and hunting shirts and to appear as men and git up on the top of the walls and as they might appear as a great many men. And the women did so and the men in the fort did also git on the walls and Cabins and showd to a good advantage... 


Boone agrees to meet with Blackfish


Parley Dialogue

(Blackfish approaches and calls for Boone by his Shawnee name (Sheltowee) to come out, that his father wishes to speak to him. Blackfish and Boone meet at treaty site.)


Blackfish: Well. Howdy-do, Sheltowee.

Boone: Howdy-do, Chiungalla.

Blackfish: Sheltowee, my son, what made you run away?

Boone: Well, father, I missed my family so bad, I had to come back to see them.

Blackfish: If you had asked me, I’d have let you come.

Boone: That may be. But, if this is so, why has my father brought the white men of the British governor with him? These men are now the enemies of my people, here.

Blackfish: Sheltowee, we have come to take your fort. I agreed with the Redcoat Chief, Hamilton, that if you surrender, I will take you all to Chalawcotha, or Detroit, and you will be treated well. If not... (he makes a gesture suggesting violence, or war.)

Boone: Father, I have been among my Shawnee brothers for so long, that there are new leaders here that I must council with. They do not trust the British officers.

Blackfish: (nods in understanding) Then, you may bring these men out, that we may all hold council together.

Boone: To treat for peace would sound grateful to their ears.

Boone signals for the white negotiators to come out. Blackfish signals for his men and the British advisors to come forward. Several warriors spread blankets to sit on. One warrior near Blackfish holds a calumet. Lt. DeQuindre of the Detroit, British militia, with a British standard, is also near Blackfish.

Blackfish: (takes a letter from DeQuindre and hands it to Boone.) The Redcoat chief, Hamilton, send this letter to the men of Fort Boone. (Boone looks at letter and passes it on.) He says, the great, white father, King George, does not want us to kill white men, women and children, but you are bad children who will not obey him. If you do not surrender, I cannot answer for what my young warriors will do if bloodshed begins.

(Boone holds a quick, whispered council with the other Boonesborough men.)

Boone: My white brothers, here, are proud warriors. Their hearts wish for peace with the Shawanese, but they do not trust the words of the Redcoat governor, who buys the scalps of their women and children. They are prepared to defend our fort as long as one of us lives.

(DeQuindre steps up and consults with Blackfish.)

Blackfish:(turning back to Boone) By what right have you white people taken possession of this country?

Boone: My people lawfully purchased this region of Kanta-ke from the Cherokee peoples at the Sycamore Shoals with our white chief, Henderson.

Blackfish:(turning to Cherokee ambassador) Did the Cherokee people sell this country to these whites?

(The Cherokee chief nods affirmatively. The British officers step in and they, Blackfish and the other Indians hold a quick, huddled council. Blackfish steps back to the Boonesborough men.)

Blackfish: If your claim is true, as I am told, then this changes much. I and my British brothers propose that we make a treaty of peace with your people. May the river, Ohio, be the boundary between us, After a time of council, perhaps our people may cross again to hunt and trade together, freely.

Boone: (checks with his men, then says:) To this peace with our Shawanese brothers, we are willing to agree, if we do not have to give our homes and families over to the Redcoat governor.

Blackfish: Brothers, this is well. We sha1l make a long and lasting treaty. But, first, we must shake 1ong hands, your men with mine, to make our treaty, binding.

(The Indians, two of them to each of the Boonesborough men, step forward to grasp hands. The Boonesborough men, reluctant, but looking at each other, quickly, they agree. They are on their guard. As the “binding” handshake begins, Calloway, begins to shy away. Blackfish, then, gives a loud command to the warriors in Shawnee, the warriors seize the Boonesborough men to try and take them prisoners, and the parley fight breaks out.)

sob55 the Indians sayed “Two indians must shake hands with one white man to make a Double or sure peace.”

Col. Caleway objected to this, but the other Indeans laid hold or tryed to lay hold of the other hand, but Col. Calleway was the first that jirked away... but while the men and the Indians was a scuffling the men from the fort agreeable to Col. Calleway’s Orders fired on them. They had a dredfull scuffle but our men all got into the fort safe. And the fire continued on boath sides after that.

                 .............from the narative of Daniel Ttrabu


And the battle began like claps of thunder....

Click here to see the Battle

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