DAR rededicates Daniel Boone Trail marker
by Kellen Short
One hundred years ago, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the community "packed the courthouse to the dome" in Boone to witness the placement of a marker honoring Daniel Boone's historic trek.
On Friday, a crowd almost as numerous gathered outside the Watauga County Courthouse to rededicate the marker and celebrate the history it represents.
"May it help to keep alive an appreciation of our heritage," said Bana Caskey, historian general for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
The N.C. Daughters originally placed 13 of the cast iron tablets at key locations across the state, including Boone's Cave near Salisbury and up the Blue Ridge where Daniel Boone hunted in the 1760s, according to historian Randell Jones, author of "Trailing Daniel Boone."
Under the leadership of Lucy Patterson of Winston-Salem, North Carolina was the first of four states to place a tablet marking Boone's trail from North Carolina to Kentucky, which eventually included 50 markers, Jones said.
Development, vandalism and natural disasters destroyed many of the markers, and today only six remain in North Carolina -- including the one outside the Watauga County Courthouse. The marker, now more weather-worn than at its placement on Oct. 23, 1913, was originally affixed to a massive granite boulder and now sits tucked by the steps to the right of the courthouse's King Street entrance.
The rededication Friday was attended by 78 members of the DAR from across the nation, who visited Boone on their tour across the southeast visiting five schools supported by the DAR. Their tour bus left Friday morning with eyes on The Crossnore School in Avery County.
Lynn Young, president general of the NSDAR, helped to lay a wreath by the marker Friday and remarked at how gratifying it had been to visit the schools.
"The more we can do to help the children receive a quality education, the better America will be as a country," Young said.
The rededication also included greetings from Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson and Watauga County Commissioners Chairman Nathan Miller and remarks from Jones on the history of the occasion.
He praised the vision of those early DAR members who embarked on the trail project and the current members who continue to honor the heritage.
The society, which now has 177,000 members across the world, including in its Boone-based Daniel Boone chapter, also celebrated its 123 anniversary of its founding on Friday.
"My heartiest congratulations to the Daughters of the American Revolution on a job well done," Jones said.