Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KENTON, Simon, pioneer, born in Fauquier county, Virginia, 3 April, 1755; died in Logan county, Ohio, 29 April, 1836. He was of obscure parentage, his father was Irish and his mother Scotch, and owing to their poverty his education was neglected. At the age of sixteen he had an affray with William Veach, arising from a love-affair, and believing that he had killed his adversary he fled beyond the Alleghanies, where he changed his name for a while to Simon Butler. Here he formed friendships with traders and hunters, among whom were Simon Girty and George Yeager, who gave him descriptions of the " caneland," called by the Indians " Kaintuckee." He spent the winter of 1773-'4 on Big Sandy river with a hunting-party, but retreated to Fort Pitt when the troubles with the Indians arose. He volunteered and was engaged as a spy in the expedition of Lord Dunmore, British governor of Virginia, against the Indians, displaying remarkable courage, sagacity, and endurance throughout the campaign. He performed many daring feats as the friend and companion of Daniel Boone, whose life he saved in a conflict with the Indians. He ranged the country as a spy till 1778, when he joined General George Rogers Clark at the Falls of the Ohio, and was with him at the surprise of Kaskaskia. He was soon captured by the Indians and saved from death at their hands by Simon Girty, notwithstanding whose influence he was again condemned to the stake. Logan, the Mingo chief, prevailed upon Druyer, a Canadian trader, to obtain Kenton from the Indians, and he was taken as a prisoner of war to the British commander at Detroit, where he worked for the garrison on half pay till he was aided by a trader's wife to escape in July, 1779. During the invasion of Kentucky by the British and Indians in that year, he led a company from Harrod's Station, and aided in driving out the invaders. In 1782 he again commanded a company under General Clark. On learning that the man he supposed he had killed was yet alive he went to Virginia in 1782, but soon returned with his father's family to Kentucky, and in 1784 settled at his old camp near Maysville. He commanded a battalion of Kentucky volunteers as major under General Anthony Wayne in 1793-'4, became brigadier-general of Ohio militia in 1805, and fought at the battle of the Thames in 1813. He was reduced to great poverty, for the immense tracts of land which he possessed were lost through the invasion of settlers and his ignorance of law. In 1824 he appeared in Frankfort in tattered garments to petition the legislature of Kentucky to release the claim of the state upon some mountain hind owned by him. His appearance excited ridicule, but, on being recognized by General Thomas Fletcher, he was taken to the capitol, seated in the speaker's chair, and introduced to a large assembly as the second great adventurer of the west. His lands were released and a pension of $240 was procured for him from congress. He died near the spot where, fifty-eight years previous, he had escaped death at the hands of the Indians. Kenton county, Kentucky, was named in his honor.
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