Arnoldsburg resident Dave Cottrell, whose family roots
rest in the Bear Fork wilderness with the Cottrell clan, visits Jacob Boone
Cemetery on a wooded hillside above Spruce in 2015

By Bob Weaver

The myths and legends about frontiersman Daniel Boone (1734-1820) far exceed historical accounts about his life, including a family legend that he was the illegitimate father of early Bear Fork wilderness settler Jacob Boone.

That speculation has been voiced by Boone family descendants.

Jacob Boone was the son of Catherine Cogar, born in Franklin County, Virginia in 1805, Boone planting himself in the remote Bear Fork wilderness (Calhoun, Gilmer and Braxton counties) about 1820 as one of several "squatters" to spend lifetimes there.

"Squatters" didn't own the land on which they lived, and in Bear Fork, some families resided as squatters for three generations.

The expansive Bear Fork wilderness once exceeded 25,000 acres and was partially owned by the Arnold family from Lewis County, and then owned for a century by the Bennett heirs until it was sold to a timber company.

The Jacob Boone Cemetery appears to have about 15
graves, a few with designed markers their engravings
faded, and a number of sandstone rock markers

Jacob Boone married Martha Sands before coming to Bear Fork. They had at least 14 children, meaning that virtually everyone bearing the Boone name in central West Virginia are descendants.

He named one of his sons after Daniel Boone.

Daniel and Jacob Boone were certainly acquaintances of early Calhoun settlers Peter McCune, Adam O'Brien, and Peter Cogar.

Daniel Boone came through the area many times after the Revolutionary War.

Jacob Boone, his wife and some of his children are buried in a small cemetery on a knoll deep the the Bear Fork woods, their graves marked by field stones.

Daniel Boone remains an iconic figure in American history, although his status as an early American folk hero and later as a subject of fiction have tended to obscure the actual details of his life.

In 1788, Boone and his family settled near the mouth of the Kanawha River and lived there for about five years.

Daniel Boone's actual connection to Jacob Boone may never be known, but the fact that Boone's acquaintances settled in Bear Fork and Calhoun's Washington District will continue to lead to speculation, including the fact that Jacob Boone's mother was a Cogar.

See SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Daniel Boone Slept In Calhoun?

Read more "Tales of Bear Fork" under People, Humor and History