Facts and Events
Benjamin Cuthbert was somewhat famous, not only for his friendship with Daniel Boone, but for several other reasons as well. In 1767, he and three other men (John Baker, James Word and John Stuart) were the first four white men to travel overland from the East to the Mississippi River. Also, Benjamin lived for a time in Boone's first settlement in Kentucky after helping Daniel Boone cut the Wilderness Trail.
The Daughters of the American Revolution include Benjamin Cuthbert in their Patriot Index. (The Texas Chapter of the DAR shows him in their Roster of Revolutionary Ancestors.) The DAR erected a monument in Kentucky to those who helped cut the Wilderness Trail. Among those named is Benjamin Cuthbert. The inscription reads: "In Testimony of the Gratitude of Posterity for the Historic Service of cutting... the Transylvania Trail, the first great pathway to the West...by the Gallant Band of Axeman, Pioneers and Indian Fighters who at the Risk of Loss of Life opened the Doors of Destiny to the White Race in Kentucky and the West." The following passages from Thwaites, 1902 and Skinner, 1921 give a good overview of his life.
He was described as a close companion to Daniel Boone in the book "Life of Daniel Boone", Source:Thwaites, 1902:66-67:
- At the close of the French and Indian War there arrived in the Boone settlement a Scotch-Irishman named Benjamin Cutbirth, aged about twenty-three years. He was a man of good character and a fine hunter. Marrying Elizabeth Wilcoxen, a niece of Daniel Boone, he and Boone went upon long hunts together, and attained that degree of comradeship which joint life in a wilderness camp is almost certain to produce.
- In 1766 several families from North Carolina went to Louisiana, apparently by sea to New Orleans, and founded an English settlement above Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River. The news of this event gave rise to a general desire for exploring the country between the mountains and the great river. The year following, Cutbirth, John Stuart, John Baker, and John Ward, all of them young married men on the Yadkin, and excellent hunters, resolved to perform this feat, and if possible to discover a region superior to their own valley. They crossed the mountain range and eventually saw the Mississippi, being, so far as we know from contemporary documents, the first party of white men to succeed in this overland enterprise. Possibly fur-traders may have done so before them, but they left no record to prove it.
- Cutbirth and his friends spent a year or two upon the river. In the autumn they ascended the stream for a considerable distance, also one of its tributaries, made a stationary camp for the winter, and in the spring descended to New Orleans, where they sold at good prices their skins, furs, bear bacon, bear's oil, buffalo "jerk" (dried meat), tallow, and dried venison hams. Their expedition down the river was performed at great risks, for they had many hairbreadth escapes from snags, river banks shelving in, whirlpools, wind-storms, and Indians. Their reward, says a chronicler of the day, was "quite a respectable property;" but while upon their return homeward, overland, they were set upon by Choctaws, who robbed them of their all.
Speaking of Boone's explorations of Kentucky, Source:Thwaites, 1902:101 writes
- Early in the following year [Boone] accompanied Benjamin Cutbirth and others as far as the present Jessamine County, Ky., and from this trip returned fired with quickened zeal for making a settlement in the new country.
- The silencing of the enemy's whisper in the Cherokee camps had opened the border forests once more to the nomadic rifleman. Boone was not alone in the desire to seek out what lay beyond. His brother-in- law, John Stewart, and a nephew by marriage, Benjamin Cutbirth, or Cutbird, with two other young men, John Baker and James Ward, in 1766 crossed the Appalachian Mountains, probably by stumbling upon the Indian trail winding from base to summit and from peak to base again over this part of the great hill barrier. They eventually reached the Mississippi River and, having taken a good quantity of peltry on the way, they launched upon the stream and came in time to New Orleans, where they made a satisfactory trade of their furs. Boone was fired anew by descriptions of this successful feat, in which two of his kinsmen had participated. He could no longer be held back. He must find the magic door that led through the vast mountain wall into Kentucky  — Kentucky, with its green prairies where the buffalo and deer were as "ten thousand thousand cattle feeding" in the wilds, and where the balmy air vibrated with the music of innumerable wings.
- Benjamin Cutbirth and Daniel Cutbirth, father and son, were born about 1740 and 1760, respectively. Benjamin was born in Augusta Co., VA, and Daniel was born in Rowan Co., NC. Although DAR records stated that Benjamin served in Virginia in the Revolution, by 1781 he was living about twentyfour miles northwest of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, on the north side of the South Fork of New River.
- [Source: http://www.ajlambert.com/history/hst_ltdr.pdf].
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Learning Company, Inc. World Family Tree Vol. 30 (Disk number 1), Ed. 1. (Release date: January 11, 1999), Tree #0969.
Date of Import: Jan 27, 2003
- ↑ Thwaites, Reuben Gold. Daniel Boone. (D. Appleton and Co., 1902), pp.66-67:.
"At the close of the French and Indian War there arrived in the Boone settlement [on the Yadkin River in North Carolina] a Scotch-Irishman named Benjamin Cutbirth, aged about twenty-three years." The F&I ended in 1763, which would place Benjamin's DOB at about 1740, or perhaps a bit later.
- ↑ Although the DAR states that Benjamin died in 1817, an 1816 Maury County tax list shows Daniel Cutbirth but not Benjamin. He apparently died between 1814 and 1816. Long Hunter. The 1814 date is probably based on the last time he appears in Maury County Tax Records. The 1816 date is probably based on the note that he doesn't appear in the 1816 tax records, but his son does. This may indicate that he was dead by 1816, but it also maybe that in his old age he was given a "bye" on paying his taxes, a common enough practice for the elderly at this time. Alternatively, he may have had no property to tax.
- ↑ This is a reference to the area where Daniel Boones parents settled on the Yadkin River in North Carolina
- ↑ Skinner's Note: Kentucky, from Ken-ta-ke. an Iroquois word meaning "the place of old fields."
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