A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 01, 2013
“All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife”

"All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife” is a famous line allegedly said by American pioneer Daniel Boone (1734-1820), but it’s uncertain if he ever said it. The earliest printed citation is from John Edwin Bakeless’s biography Daniel Boone (1939):

“As Daniel Boone himself used to say, all you needed for happiness was ‘a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.’”

“The greatest comforts of our life, Are a good horse—and a good wife” is from a poem printed in many newspapers and magazines in 1793-94. “I always laid down in my early youth these objects as necessary to my happiness — a good dog, a good horse, and a good wife” was cited in print in 1858.


Wikipedia: Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone (November 2, 1734 [O.S. October 22] – September 26, 1820) was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now Kentucky, which was then part of Virginia but on the other side of the mountains from the settled areas. Despite some resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, in 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first American settlements west of the Appalachians. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.

26 November 1793, Columbian Herald (Charleston, SC), pg. 4, col. 1:
CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF.
Whate’er philosopher may chatter,
Who know but little of the matter;
The greatest comforts of our life,
Are a good horse—and a good wife: ...
(Also printed in the Edinburgh Magazine for January 1794—ed.)

Google Books
May 1858, Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, “Colleges and Celibacy: A Dialogue,” pg. 567:
CELSUS. (...) For my part, I always laid down in my early youth these objects as necessary to my happiness — a good dog, a good horse, and a good wife.

Google Books
Daniel Boone
By John Edwin Bakeless
New York, NY: W. Morrow and Company
1939
Pg. 30:
As Daniel Boone himself used to say, all you needed for happiness was “a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.”
Pg. 408:
A good rifle. A good horse. A good wife. The good wife was gone now. He hadn’t much chance to use the rifle these last few years, nor much occasion to ride the good horse.

18 November 1948, Indian Journal (Eufaula, OK), “Sports Afield,” pg. 3, col. 7:
What was his (Daniel Boone’s—ed.) recipe for a happy life? “All you need,” he declared, “is a good gun, a good horse and a good wife.”

Google Books
Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer
By John Mack Faragher
New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC
1992
Pg. 316:
“A man needs only three things to be happy: a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.”

Google Books
The Gigantic Book of Horse Wisdom
Edited by Thomas Meagher
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2007
Pg. 174:
All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife. —Daniel Boone (1734-1820)

Google Books
Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America
By Meredith Mason Brown
Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press
2008
Pg. 21:
As an old man, Boone would say that a man needed only three things to be “perfectly happy: a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Friday, February 01, 2013 • Permalink