Displayed in the Filson museum in Louisville, KY is a section of a beech tree trunk. An aged carving in the bark spells out ”D. Boon kilt a bar 1803.” The tree was discovered in 1912 in a park in Louisville and the section of the trunk was given to the museum around 1930.
Daniel Boone (1734-1820) was a folk hero even in his own time thanks to his autobiography published by John Filson (the museum’s namesake). Early frontiersman did indeed carve messages into trees but Boone’s whereabouts together with the fact that he was literate and spelled his surname with an “e” strongly suggest this carving is a forgery. “It is very doubtful that this was actually carved by Boone,” Filson Museum Curator of Special Collections, Jim Holmberg, says of the Boone Tree. “He is not known to have been in Kentucky in 1803. Everybody likes it and remembers it so we keep it and say that tradition states…”