Daniel Boone? Baptist Preacher? Methodist Preacher? Edward Stanly? Lewis Craig? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: The U.S. state of Kentucky is well-known for its beautiful scenery. According to legend when the frontiersman Daniel Boone first encountered the land he compared it to paradise. Here are three versions of the saying:
- Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.
- Heaven is a real Kentuck sort of a place.
- Heaven is a perfect Kaintuck of a place.
Would you please explore the provenance of this expression?
Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence located by QI appeared in an 1828 book by a travelling preacher named Isaac Reed who visited Paint Lick, Kentucky and wrote down his thoughts in a letter dated February 10, 1818. A resident told Reed about a memorable remark delivered during a sermon by a previous religious speaker. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
The preacher was descanting upon heaven, and the heavenly state. He wished his hearers to get a just idea of that place, and he attempted to give it by comparison: it was in the meeting-house, not half a mile from where I now write, where the preacher said to his hearers, “O my dear honeys, heaven is a Kentucky of a place.” I tell the tale as it was told to me, and leave it without comment.
QI has found no substantive evidence that Daniel Boone crafted this saying. The words were attributed to him in 1967 many decades after his death in 1820.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1828, The Christian Traveller: In Five Parts by Isaac Reed, Letter XI, Date of letter: February 10, 1818, Letter sent to: My dear C____, Location of letter: Lancaster, Start Page 47, Quote Page 47 and 48, (Facsimile from University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1973) Printed by J & J Harper, New York. (Google Books Full View) link ↩