Simon Kenton

Simon Kenton

Kenton, Simon, 1755-1836, American frontiersman, b. probably Fauquier co., Va. In 1771, believing he had killed a man, he fled westward, assuming the name Simon Butler. He settled in Boonesboro, Ky., in 1775 and defended the settlement against frequent Native American attacks; in one of these encounters he saved Daniel Boone's life. During the American Revolution he accompanied (1778) George Rogers Clark on his expedition to Kaskaskia and Vincennes and helped Boone in the raid on Chillicothe. He was later captured by the Native Americans, who brought him to the British in Detroit, but he escaped (1779) and again joined Clark as a scout. Learning that the man he thought he had killed was alive, he resumed his original name, and eventually settled (1799) in Ohio. Kenton was elected a brigadier general of militia in 1804 and served in the War of 1812 at the battle of the Thames.

See biography by E. Kenton (1930, repr. 1971); P. Jahns, The Violent Years: Simon Kenton and the Ohio-Kentucky Frontier (1962).

Simon Kenton (April 3, 1755 - April 29, 1836) was a famous United States frontiersman and friend of the renowned Daniel Boone, the infamous Simon Girty, and the valiant Spencer Records.

Family and early life

Simon Kenton was born in the Bull Run Mountains, Prince William County, Virginia to Mark Kenton Sr. (an immigrant from Ireland) and Mary Miller Kenton. In 1771, at the age of 16, thinking he had killed a man in a jealous rage, he fled into the wilderness of Kentucky and Ohio, and for years went by the name "Simon Butler." In 1782, he returned to Virginia found out the victim had lived and readopted his original name. Now buried at N 40° 22.688 W 083° 39.399.

Noted activities

Kenton served as a scout against the Shawnee in 1774 in the conflict between Native Americans and European settlers later labeled Dunmore's War. In 1777, he saved the life of his friend and fellow frontiersman, Daniel Boone, at Boonesborough, Kentucky. The following year, Kenton was in turn rescued from torture and death by Simon Girty.

Kenton served on the famous 1778 George Rogers Clark expedition to capture Fort Sackville and also fought with "Mad" Anthony Wayne in the Northwest Indian War in 1793-94. Kenton moved to Urbana, Ohio in 1810, and achieved the rank of brigadier general of the Ohio militia. He served in the War of 1812 as both a scout and as leader of a militia group in the Battle of the Thames in 1813.

Simon Kenton had 6 children in his second marriage. Kenton died in New Jerusalem, Ohio (in Logan County) and was first buried there. His body was later moved to Urbana, Ohio.


Kenton, Ohio, seat of Hardin County, in northwest Ohio was named in honor of Simon Kenton. A local school for the developmentally disabled in Hardin County is named Simon Kenton.

Kenton County, Kentucky is named for him, as is Simon Kenton High School in Independence, Kentucky, the county seat. A statue honoring him is along Covington, Kentucky's Riverside Drive Historic District, overlooking the Ohio River.

There is also a Simon Kenton Elementary School in Greene County, Ohio, in the city of Xenia.

The Simon Kenton Council is the name of a geographical division of the Boy Scouts of America, spanning from Central Ohio to northern Kentucky.

In the Frontiersman Camping Fellowship of the Royal Rangers Ohio is designated the Simon Kenton Chapter.

The Simon Kenton Pub in Bath County, Virginia is named after this notable frontiersman.


  • Eckert, Allan W. The Frontiersmen: A Narrative; Originally published 1967; 2001 paperback reprint edition, Jesse Stuart Foundation; ISBN 0-945084-91-9. Popular history in novelized form; usually considered to be fiction by academic historians. {Example: The Frontiersman, there is a story that Kenton and a companion killed four guards and stole a British Cannon during Captain Henry Bird's 1780 Invasion of Kentucky: what he did with help from another man was upset a canoe with a three pounder in it along with ammunition. Marking the spot for later retrieval. The men were killed fighting in the water. However this report is Folklore for the following reasons:
    • See Bird's Invasion of Kentucky Link to 1951 article: The British had to abandon their 6 lb. and 3 lb. cannon;
    • Footnotes in above 1951 account regarding Kenton do not mention capturing any cannon;
    • In link to George Rogers Clark on Battle of Piqua, Clark mentioned having captured British cannon-from Vincennes capture; likewise Clark's official 1780 report on Battle of Piqua does not mention receiving any cannon from Kenton. He instead returned to Kentucky to get help retrieving the cannon and ammunition.}
  • Kenton, Edna. Simon Kenton: His Life and Period, 1755-1836. Originally published 1930; reprinted Salem, NH: Ayer, 1993.
  • Crain, Ray. Simon Kenton: The Great Frontiersman. Available in either hardback or paper back; Published June 1, 1992; ISBN 0-9641149-5-X
  • Clark, Thomas D. Simon Kenton: Kentucky Scout; Originally published 1943; 1971 paperback reprint edition, Jesse Stuart Foundation; ISBN 0-945084-39-9.

External links

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