Robert T. Bray, "Boone's Lick Salt Works, 1805-33," THE MISSOURI ARCHAEOLOGIST 48 (1987) 1-66

1987

Robert T. Bray, "Boone's Lick Salt Works, 1805-33," THE MISSOURI ARCHAEOLOGIST 48 (1987) 1-66

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BOONESLICK lies in the narrow valley of Salt Creek, 3.3 km above its mouth on the Missouri River. Now Boone's Lick State Historic Site. Commercial productin between 1805-33, six furnaces in three groupings. DB did not visit the site until 1808, three years after salt making began [6S248]. Nathan said his father did not discover the lick, but took its name from the fact that he discovered it and he and DMB were the first to make salt there [6S244]. That took place while he was returning down the MO from a hunting trip in the vicinity of the Kansas River during the winter of 1804-05. But one of Nathan's associates, Jesse Morrison, told Draper that DB did discover the lick: "He informed us (this either in 1805 or 1806 -- probably the latter) that he had found a salt spring . . . and encouraged its working, and made no claim for royalty" [30C87]. Nathan went with two Frenchmen with 10 gallon kettles to test the waters; the sunk a well, and he returned to report that the brine was weak. But it was sufficiently salty to begin production because of the scarcity and price of salt. 12 kettles obtained from the Charles Gratiot salt works on the Meramec River near St. Louis, and 40 more from Nashville. James Mackay claimed to hold a Spanish grant to the lick; and Nathan paid him a yearly rent of $500 for several years, but on the advice of Edward Hempstead, discontinued it believing that he did not hold a title; in fact he did, but it was ot confirmed until 1833. Began commercially manufacturing salt in 1805 with 6-8 men tending 1 furnace and 40 kettles. Later they enlarged the furnace and built a second one, each accomodating 60 kettles. 16-20 men working, turning out 100-130 bushels of salt per day [6S244-45]. Gov. James Wilkinson of Louisiana Territory wrote to the Secretary of War, 12/10/1805: "I am informed the salt works of a son of old Dan Boone, about one hundred and fifty miles up the Missouri have been broken up. And I have also been informed that a party of bad men, have killed or carried away the cattle and destroyed the salt works of Boon." DMB was out of the business by 1810, Nathan by 1812. Robert T. Bray, "Boone's Lick Salt Works, 1805-33," THE MISSOURI ARCHAEOLOGIST 48 (1987):1-66.

File: BRAY.NT3



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