… first looked west from Cumberland Gap into what is now Kentucky on this date in 1769. The Kentucky Historical Society celebrates June 7 as “Boone Day.”
Boone was not the first person through Cumberland Gap; he wasn’t even the first European-American. He was, however, instrumental in blazing a trail, which became known as the Wilderness Road.
According to the National Park Service:
Immigration through the Gap began immediately, and by the end of the Revolutionary War some 12,000 persons had crossed into the new territory. By 1792 the population was over 100,000 and Kentucky was admitted to the Union.
During the 1790s traffic on the Wilderness Road increased. By 1800 almost 300,000 people had crossed the Gap going west. And each year as many head of livestock were driven east. As it had always been, the Gap was an important route of commerce and transportation.