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Daniel Boone
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Simon Kenton
Simon Girty
Audubon's Day
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by Daniel Carter Beard

This book is written for all boys.  It is neither required nor expected that every one of its readers will belong to the Society of the Sons of Daniel Boone, but one use of the Society has been to afford occasion and opportunity for working out an original scheme for boys' clubs, recreation, and achievement, which is here put in the compact and convenient form of a new boys' book for the use of the readers.

Daniel Boone is, as doubtless he will always remain, the American boy's chosen hero.

The great West nursed him on her rugged knees, The strength of virgin forests braced his mind, The hush of spacious prairies stilled his soul.

He certainly deserves the place he occupies in the boy's estimation. He and Simon Kenton, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett, Appleseed Johnny (Jonathan Chapman), and the great Abraham Lincoln could be produced only by the strenuous frontier life. It may be truthfully said of any one of these men, as it was said of Lincoln:

The color of the ground was in him, the red earth, The smack and tang of elemental things: The rectitude and patience of the cliff; The good-will of the rain that falls for all.

Men of this description are not the product of an over-refined civilization.  At times they might be and, indeed, are called barbarians.  They are essentially boyish; like boys, they have restless minds and are noisy, energetic, fun-loving creatures, and, while ready at any time to prove their true manhood, it cannot be denied they often lack the stiff, artificial deportment that sometimes masquerades as real dignity.

But the author thinks that boys are all right; owns up that among his fellow-men he loves best those of his older friends who still retain most of their boyish traits, and after thirty years of experience with the boys he has no hesitancy in confessing that he thinks it a greater honor to possess the love and respect of the lads of this country than it would be to wear the button of the Legion of Honor, the Carnegie gold medal for heroism, or the stars and orders bestowed by the monarchs of Europe, or even to occupy the high office of President of the United States.

One of the principal purposes in forming and carrying on the Society of the Sons of Daniel Boone was to awaken in the boy of to-day admiration for the old-fashioned virtues of American Knights in Buckskin and a desire to emulate them, which is the more likely to succeed because the average boy has rough-and-ready virtues of his own somewhat similar in character.  We often hear of foot-races, base-ball games, and other athletic contests being sold out for money, but we never hear of boy athletes or their base-ball or foot-ball teams selling their games.

Another purpose the author had in view in getting up and promoting a society of this sort, besides furnishing entertainment for the boys, is the serious one of educating our lads early in life to an appreciation of the absolute necessity and value of our forests and natural resources, for we must all agree with President Roosevelt's message when it says:

If there is one duty which more than another we owe to our children and our children's children to perform at once, it is to save the forests of this country, for they constitute the first and most important element in the conservation of the natural resources of the country.

And is because this Society stands for just such sentiment that the founder received the personal endorsement for his Society of President Roosevelt, Admiral Dewey, Major-General Bell, Chief of Staff, U. S. A., John Muir, and other noted men.

The older generation of men, the ones with frosty locks or bald heads, had no practical boys' books to help them in their sports.  The antique "English Boys' Own Book," antique even in their day, was the only one in the field, and the other juvenile books of those days were filled with goody-goody talk about namby-pamby boys who, if they really existed, were fit for nothing outside of the nursery.

Everybody knows that adventure, daring, and skill appeal very forcibly to the juvenile mind and heart, but the only writers in our boyhood days who recognized this fact were the authors of the yellow Beadle Dime Novels and other similar literature.  Those books consisted of wild and lurid fiction, probably not the right sort to be given indiscriminately to the boys to read; yet, if I remember aright, their heroes were always brave and the heroines pure; they were at least clean books, and described and told of a life that is dear to every healthy boy's heart.

Captain Mayne Reid and Fenimore Cooper were also patronized to some extent by the lads of that period, but the dime novels were easier of access and found more readers than any of the books by the more respectable and cultured authors, with the possible exceptions of such books as "Robinson Crusoe" and "Swiss Family Robinson."

It was the recollection of these facts and the desire to furnish the youths with a healthy outlet for their surplus energy which prompted the writer, while he was editor of Recreation, to invent and found the Society of the Sons of Daniel Boone.  The result has more than justified the founder in the belief that such a society was needed, and would appeal with equal force to the boys, their parents, teachers, and all those who are interested in boys' clubs and the welfare of the American youth.

The success of the project is proved by the fact that there now exists in this country some twenty odd thousand boys wearing the button of the Sons of Daniel Boone' and the demand upon the founder's time has become so great that he has frequently written over fifty letters to the boys in one day; so, partly in self-defence, he is issuing this book, which tells all about the Society, how to form a Fort, how to build one, how to conduct the meetings, how to win the honors, and how to do innumerable things, besides how to have lots of out-door fun in a sane, common-sense, enjoyable way.

In this I have the support of such authority as Dr. Eliot, of Harvard, who in a speech recently advised the students that if they wanted to make education effective they must do the things themselves.

The working drawings of the tree-top house, a back-yard switchback, a paper balloon, a back-yard zoo, a back-yard fish-pond, a tailless kite, a log house, a house-boat, and many other similar devices appeared first in the articles written by the author for the boys of America, and, what is much better, the boys have justified the author's belief in their ability by building all these things unaided by the grown folks.

From the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, from Cobalt, in the far North, to old Mexico and tropical South America, the tree-top houses, switchback, and other pieces of engineering described in the Beard books, have been successfully accomplished by the boy readers.  Of course, this is a great source of satisfaction and pleasure to the author, but it was not an altogether unlooked-for result.

In late years, however, when the writer has met prominent naturalists, college professors, and men standing at the head of the movement for the preservation of our forests, and has been told by these distinguished and useful men that they first imbibed the love for the great out-doors and Mother Nature from his writings, he has felt a deep sense of gratitude that he has been able to exert such influence, which has stimulated and encouraged him to the belief that his books for boys have produced grander results than he himself dared hope for at the time that they were written.

The thanks of the author are due to Mr. Caspar Whitney, Mr. Arthur Vance, and the other editors for their promptness in returning original drawings used in their magazines.   A delay on their part would have delayed the publication of this book, as many of the originals were necessary as illustrations in this volume.

The Pictorial Review, at the present writing, is the official organ of the author's clubs for boys.

The Boy Pioneers

 

 

   

 

 


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Peer- Level Topic Links:
[ Foreword ] Daniel Boone ] Appleseed Johnny's Day ] Simon Kenton ] Simon Girty ] Audubon's Day ] Form a Boy's Club ] Initiation Boy Pioneers ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Boy Pioneers ] Outdoor Handy Book ] Scouting ] American Boys Handy Book ] Shelters, Shacks, Shanties ] Field & Forest Handy Book ]

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