Men and older boys walked, driving the livestock from Boonesborough, Ky., over land. Animals swam across water barriers when necessary. Most women and children and a few essential home items came in long, handmade dugout canoes. My grandmother’s relatives, the Bryans and Logans, were among the people who moved with the Boones. One of the relatives carried a three-week-old baby in her arms on that trip, on horseback.
Later Milton Bryan, a young adult, and 20 other fellows drove wagons packed with salable American "trinkets" to trade to the Mexicans. Santa Fe, Mexico, was about 700 miles from their homes near Independence. It was a long, hazardous trip, but they arrived and traded cheap American goods for enough Mexican silver to load their wagons. They took their payment in wild horses and expected fortunes for the silver they received.
They left Santa Fe with some of the men riding horses, some herding - 150 loose horses and mules, walking behind the four wagons. The men knew it would be about 700 treacherous miles back to Independence. The weight of the silver in their wagons almost caused their deaths. Things went fairly well at first, but Indians appeared from nowhere and harassed them. After five days and nights, Bryan and the other traders were hungry, exhausted and making very little progress. One of the Americans shot and killed a "painted demon," and the other warriors stampeded the traders’ horses and killed the fellow who fired the fatal shot. With horses gone forever, Bryan and his remaining partners packed up what little silver they could carry on a 500-mile walk to Independence! They buried the remaining silver where even they would not likely be able to return and find it!
Bryan wrote: "Bidding our wagons and our hard-earned wealth a reluctant farewell, we stepped out into the darkness like specters and hurried away from the scene of tragedy and death." They changed their route and tried to conceal it because they were certain the Indians would be searching for them. Starvation was their fear when their only remaining food was the fruit of prickly pear cactus plants. At the Arkansas River, they risked their lives by making one shot - to kill a buffalo. They carved out some choice parts and feasted on the meat. Following a river, they had help from strangers, and the fellows survived to tell their stories.
A note at the end of Bryan’s article was: "Milton Bryan was Mrs. Daniel Boone’s nephew." Rebecca Bryan Boone was my ancestor, seven generations ago.