In the early 1970s, our founder and president had a dream of opening a cave attraction for the public to enjoy. He and his brother were exploring and excavating to make the caverns accessible when they discovered human remains. This discovery led to researching the history of the land, which ultimately led to the Boone family. Working with the Boones and historians, it was determined that the remains belonged to Squire Boone, and that the surrounding area had belonged to this historical pioneer. Realizing the cultural and archival significance of their discovery, Squire Boone Caverns was born.
About Squire Boone
Squire Boone is one of the most prominent pioneers in Kentucky and Indiana history. He gained fame as an explorer, hunter, gunsmith, statesman, and minister. He helped clear the Wilderness Road and, in his later years, was honored by Congress for his service during the Revolutionary War. Squire Boone fought in many hand-to-hand battles, including the Battle of Fort Boonesborough. Eleven times he was wounded, taking him close to death on several occasions.
It was Squire Boone and his brother, Daniel, who discovered these caverns in 1790. Squire later escaped enemy capture by hiding in the caverns. From that day on, he considered the beautiful hills and valleys surrounding the caverns to be holy ground. He eventually settled here with his wife, four sons and their families, and worked to establish the first capital of Indiana (Corydon).
Onto one of the foundation stones of his mill, he carved this inscription: “My God my life hath much befriended, I’ll praise Him till my days are ended.” Upon his death in 1815, Squire Boone was laid to rest within his beloved cave, as he had requested.
Historic Boone’s Mill
Built by Squire Boone in the early 1800s, the restored mill still grinds grain just as it did two centuries ago. The 18-foot mill wheel, powered by water flowing from the caverns, turns the 1,000-pound grinding stones. Watch as the miller demonstrates how corn is ground into cornmeal and grits.
Some of the mill’s original foundation stones, into which Squire Boone carved designs and verses, are on display in the mill.
One stone bears this inscription: “My God my life hath much befriended, I’ll praise Him till my days are ended.” Boone’s Mill is listed on the Indiana State Register of Historic Sites and Structures.
Squire Boone was laid to rest in the cave he believed to be his sanctuary, and his story and final resting place are commemorated in the cave tour.
Sometime in 2004, the government-supplied headstone that marks Squire Boone’s grave became cracked. Because it was made of marble, a fairly soft stone, it could not stand up to the elements within the cave. The staff at Squire Boone Village repaired it the best they could, but the break was still visible.
In 2011, Bill Scott, of Scott Funeral Homes in southern Indiana, visited the caverns and noticed the damage. He felt Squire Boone should have a gravestone befitting his status as a war hero and an important figure in our nation’s history, and worked diligently to create a headstone that would withstand the elements.
His perseverance was finally rewarded when the Veterans Administration provided a new, more durable stone made of granite. The headstone was installed in April 2012, followed by a public memorial service on June 9. Our thanks to Bill Scott for his kindness and generosity.