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Evenings Upstairs – Jemima Boone: Life on the Frontier, 1762-1834



McCracken County Public Library presents an Evening Upstairs with Jemima Boone, portrayed by Betsy Smith!

Co-sponsored by the Kentucky Humanities & The Friends of the Library

Jemima Boone, the fourth child of Daniel and Rebecca Bryan Boone, was born in North Carolina, on October 4, 1762. Destined to live a life beyond the borders of civilization, she helped pioneer two American frontiers: Kentucky and Missouri. Typical of pioneers in the era, Boone endured heartbreak and suffering almost unimaginable to modern Americans, One of the most well-known stories to come out of Kentucky’s pioneer past involved 14-year-old Jemima. In July 1776, Boone (along with Betsy and Fanny Callaway) was kidnapped by a group of Indians when their canoe mistakenly drifted across the Kentucky River. Her father led a search party that caught up with the Indians and rescued the girls after three days in captivity. Curiously, Boone never spoke unkindly of her captors, seeming to share her father’s more respectful, open attitude toward Native Americans despite all the Boones endured.

In 1777, Boone married Flanders Callaway, a union that lasted nearly 50 years. Together with the other settlers at Boonesborough, they endured times of terrible suffering, facing starvation, cold, and the ever-present fear of attack. Boone survived the uncertain years of Kentucky’s early settlement only to join the westward migration to Missouri.

Presenter Betsy Smith is a Cynthiana, KY native and co-director of the Kentucky Educational Speech and Drama Association.


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