A Friend of Boone
Michael Stoner, whose
real name was George Michael Holsteiner, along with Isaac Bledsoe, Gasper
Mansker, John Montgomery and Joseph Drake were on the Cumberland River
in western Tennessee in 1767, and are said to have had a Station Camp in
1768 on what is now Station Camp Creek, north of Cumberland, in middle
Tennessee. Stoner's Lick on Stone's River was named for Michael Stoner.
This is the very
same Michael Stoner who was at Castlewood and who went with Daniel Boone
into Kentucky to warn the land surveyors of Indian danger just before the
outbreak of Dunmore's War, and without proof there is every indication
that Stoner's was much better acquainted with Kentucky than was Daniel
Boone, for Stoner had been in Kentucky on several hunting trips long before
this date. Boone's first trip through Cumberland Gap was in 1769, and after
having missed finding the Gap on two previous trips, he was at this time
led through Cumberland Gap by John Findley, another Long Hunter, and later
a settler on the Cumberland River in Tennessee.
While trying to
find someone to send to Kentucky to warn the surveying parties, on June
22, 1774, Colonel William Christian wrote to Colonel William Preston that
he was thinking of sending out a certain Crabtree to search for the surveyors
having him do this as a sort of atonement for his late achievement in murdering
some friendly Cherokee. Having some doubt about the ethics of this, however,
he next thought of sending out Joseph Drake, who, as one of the Long Hunters
was tolerably well acquainted with Kentucky; recalling, however, that Drake
had to remain to be a witness at Crabtree's trial.
wrote to Captain William Russell of Castlewood concerning this matter,
and Russell on the 26th of June, 1774, answered Preston, ,saying: "I have
engaged to start immediately, on the occasion, two of the best hands I
could think of, Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner, who have engaged to search
the country as low as the Falls (Louisville) and to return by Gasper's
Lick on Cumberland and through Cumberland Gap." Boone's orders on this
trip were to go through Pound Gap and hit the Kentucky River low down.
There is little
doubt but that Michael Stoner was in Daniel Boone's party in their attempt
to settle in Kentucky in 1773, and when part of the party were massacred
by Indians on the head of Wallen's Creek he returned to Castlewood with
the Boones and probably lived in their home. When Boone left Castlewood
in April 1775, to make his settlement at Boonesboro, Michael Stoner was
again a member of the party. He was still alive in 1801 when he made a
deposition before the court of Wayne County, Kentucky.