Prisoner of the Shawnee King
IN January of 1778, Boonesborough's salt supply began to run short. Salt was one of the most pressing needs of the pioneers. They had to have it for curing meat and hides, and they enjoyed it as one of the few condiments that added flavor to their monotonous diet. To be left in the wilderness without bread or salt was one of the few hardships of which they ever complained, and Boonesborough at the moment had eastern militia wintering there who were probably complaining very loudly indeed.
Daniel Boone took a party of some thirty men, lashed the station's salt-kettles, which had been especially sent out as a gift from the Virginia government, on pack-horses, and set out for the Blue Licks. These salt springs were a central point on the forest traces on the Licking River, a tributary flowing north into the Ohio River in northeastern Kentucky.
Boone's salt-makers were to camp at the Licks for about a month and were then to be relieved by a new party. These reliefs were to continue until a year's supply of salt had been sent to the station on pack-horses, which were the only kind of transport that could negotiate the narrow wilderness paths. But Captain Boone did not keep his fellow-settlers at Boonesborough waiting till a pack train could get through. A special messenger rushed back with the first small sack of salt his men could make.