A.G. Boone

Albert G. Boone (1806-1884)

Trader and Indian Agent Boone was strongly pro-slavery.
[Kansas State Historical Society]

Albert Gallatin Boone, grandson of Daniel Boone, was probably born in Greensburg, Kentucky but soon came with the Boone clan to the future St. Charles County, Missouri. At age 17 he joined the second Ashley-Henry trapping party out of St. Louis traveling to the Upper Missouri. He worked for a while for Lilburn Boggs at the Fort Osage trading post in western Missouri mastering the Osage language and learning several other native tongues. He later served as deputy county clerk of St. Charles County before moving to Callaway County where he worked in his brother-in-law's tobacco business. In 1838 he established his own trading business in Westport. [Bernard, Westport and the Santa Fe Trade, 565]

Boone obtained government licenses to trade with several Indian Territory tribes. In 1838, he was licensed to trade at Fort Leavenworth; in 1843 to trade with the Miamis; in 1847 at Council Grove and with the Pawnees on their "new reserve;" in 1848 with the Sacs & Foxes; and in 1851 with the Osages. [Barry, Annals, 350ff] In 1848 he entered a partnership with William Bernard with a store on Westport Avenue west of Penn Street. The partnership also had a warehouse on the river at the foot of Grand Avenue. The California gold rush took the partnership into outfitting the miners for their trip, a highly lucrative business conducted entirely in cash. Boone and Bernard also pursued the Santa Fe trade which had been going to Independence, arguing Westport was closer to the eastern terminus at New Santa Fe than Independence. [Bernard, Westport and the Santa Fe Trade, 556]

By now a man of substance, Boone built the largest residence in Westport. The house, with an entire city block of grounds, was at 39th and Penn and contained the first bath room in town. [Asbury, Boone, Hays and Berry Families, 538] Boone maintained trading contacts throughout the West. William Bent of Bent's Fort, now in Colorado, sent his children to Westport in Boone's care. Bent's daughter, Mary, caused Boone some concern when she fell in love with R. M. Moore, a Westport saloon keeper. Boone sent immediately for Bent, who softened to his daughter's wishes when her young man promised to give up the trade. [Spencer, A Sketch of the Boone-Bent Families. 99ff.]

Ewing-Boone Building (1850)

The oldest extant building in Kansas City, purchased by Boone in 1854. Now Kelly's Westport Inn, a popular tavern.
[Westport Historical Society]

Boone was a strong pro-slavery advocate and had many ties to Kansas Territory. He rode in the "Sack of Lawrence" in May 1856 [Monaghan, Civil War, 57]; he signed the August 1856 Manifesto calling upon the South to support pro-slavery forces in Kansas [Cutler, History, Part 40]; and he acted as the collecting agent for funds raised in the South for the Kansas cause. [Craik Southern Interest, 360] In 1859 it was evident the cause was lost and Boone sold his business and home and went to the Colorado Territory.

From 1859 to 1861 Boone served as Agent for the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Kiowa, Comanche and Plains Apache tribes, replacing William Bent in that post. With his brother, Van Daniel Boone, he bought a 1,400 acre ranch south of Pueblo, at a place now known as Boone, Colorado, where he opened a trading post. [Pueblo Chieftain & Star Journal, May22, 1994] In 1861 Boone negotiated the Fort Wise Treaty with the Arapahoes and Cheyennes ceding their lands in exchange for a reservation between the Arkansas River and Big Sandy Creek, entirely on the Great Plains. [Thoburn, Another Indian Book, 469]

Later in 1861 Boone was removed from government office. The stated reason was doubt about his loyalty to the Union, but the real reason may have been to make a political appointment to another. In 1868, Boone was made deputy to Colonel William B. Hazen, newly appointed agent for the Commaches and Kiowas at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Little headway had been made with these tribes and Boone was called upon to encourage them to live on the reservation established by the Medicine Lodge Peace Council in 1867. [Butler, Pioneer School Teaching, 484]

Boone was a tall and very large man, elegant in his dress. Although he had been a successful businessman, he was unable to accumulate a great deal. He was always a lavish entertainer with an open house for all travelers passing by. He died at his daughter's home in Denver in 1884. [Bernard, Westport and the Santa Fe Trade, 556]

Charles Clark