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He Survived a Shawnee Gauntlet Torture in 1778

Updated on April 4, 2020
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A dedicated history enthusiast from exploration to scandals ad current events. Devouring all research I can to learn.

Simon Kenton Saving Daniel Boone

Kenton Saving Boone
Kenton Saving Boone

Kenton at Boonesboro, Kentucky

Two famous frontiersmen, Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone in 1778 during a skirmish at Boonesboro, Kentucky. With the Indians attacking, Daniel Boone took a shot in the leg. Another Indian was about to scalp hm when Kenton, attacked and killed the Indian, scooped Boone up, carrying him to safety.

Simon Kenton 1755-1836

Simon Kenton
Simon Kenton

Early Life of Simon Kenton

Simon was born in 1755 to Mark Kenton, an immigrant from Ireland and Mary Miller. During his early teen years, he thought he had killed a man in a jealous rage over a girl he loved. Afraid he would be prosecutor, he fled into the wilderness He changed his name to Simon Butler. He would carry this guilt for eleven years before learning the man survived. Upon learning this, he took his surname back. He learned how to survive in the wilderness and became a trusted scout.

He worked as a scout in Dunmore's War for the settlers against the Shawnee Indians. It was at the battle at Boonesboro, Kentucky, that he saved Daniel Boone's life. During the struggle, Boone had taken a bullet in the leg. An Indian was set to kill Boone when Kenton killed the Indian, swooped Boone up, and carried him to safety. Never as famous as Boone, Kenton was just as crucial to opening the wilderness to settlers.

Kenton had little chance to have any schooling, and, as a result, he was illiterate throughout his life. He was able to finally learn to sign his name, but it was his skill as a frontiersman that he is remembered.

Running the Gauntlet

In 1778, Simon Kenton was captured by the Shawnee Indians and made to run their gauntlet. Kenton was a large man, but even so, after running gauntlet six times and suffering a broken collarbone and arm, he collapsed after receiving an ax blow to his head. The Shawnee next tied him to a wild colt and ran the horse through the forest, hoping to dislodge Kenton. But Kenton survived this torture, also prompting the Shawnees to name him Cut-ta-ho-tha, meaning, "the condemned man." They decided to take him fifty miles to Detroit. Kenton managed to escape and found his way back to the settlement.

A painting, Mazeppa Ride" depicts a man tied to a horse for torture.

Later, Kenton served as a scout under George Rogers Clark on an expedition to capture Ft. Sackville during the American Revolution. Kenton was famous for the ability to fire and reload his flintlock while still running. Because of his knowledge of the forests and his skill as a soldier, he was valuable to the country.

Serving in the War of 1812 and the Battle of Thames, he was requested to identify the body of Chief Tecumseh, who had been killed. Kenton knew the soldiers would dismember the chief's body, so he misidentified him purposely.

A Mazeppa Ride

A Mazeppa Ride
A Mazeppa Ride | Source
A Mazeppa Ride
A Mazeppa Ride | Source

Simon as a Scout and Soldier

Kenton served as a scout in 1778 under George Rogers Clark's expedition to capture Ft. Sackville during the American Revolution. He was able to run while reloading his flintlock at the same time. With his knowledge of the wilderness and his skill with his rifle, that made him valuable as a frontierman and soldier. It was in 1784 when he built a station as a defense against Indian attacks. Here, he settled Maysville opening the area for settlers.

In 1793, he fought with "Mad" Anthony Wayne and started exploring the Mad River Valley. He and his partner, Colonel William Ward, led pioneers from Mason County, Kentucky, to Springfield and Urbana, Ohio. He and his family moved there in 1810, and he became brigadier general of the state militia.

Simon Kenton Bridge Across the Ohio River

Simon Kenton Bridge
Simon Kenton Bridge

Maysville, Kentucky Annual Festival

Each year, Maysville, Kentucky, holds its annual festival. The festival is a history buff's love. There is music, parade, carriage rides, a farmer's market, crafts, food vendors, and face paintings. For information, call 1-606-564-9419, ext#308, for further information.

Simon Kenton Museum

Powell's Flintlock
Powell's Flintlock

Simon Kenton Museum

They are located in Washington, Kentucky honoring Simon Kenton's life and accomplishments. Schools in Springfield and Bellefontaine, Ohio, are named in his honor. At the Grove City Welcome Center, there is a display about Simon Kenton.


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    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      2 months ago

      It was good to know about Simon Kenton. His role as a scout and soldier and his survival against Shawnee Gauntlet torture is simply remarkable. Thanks for such a superb hub, Fran.

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      2 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      He was certainly an asset to the pioneers and helped build America. Thanks for tour comment

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      Simon Kenton certainly sounds like a very tough character.


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