In 1800, the Spanish ceded the Louisiana Territory to France, and three years later the U.S. gained control of it with the Louisiana Purchase. Boone subsequently lost his land claims because he hadn’t followed the proper procedures to gain permanent title to the land. After the frontiersman petitioned Congress, President James Madison signed a bill into law in 1814 giving Boone his 850 acres; however, he soon had to sell the property to pay off Kentuckians who’d heard the news about the grant and traveled to Missouri to collect on old debts. Missouri became America’s 24th state in 1821, a year after Boone’s death.
An elaborate reinterment ceremony was held, featuring the governor of Kentucky and other dignitaries. However, charges eventually surfaced that Boone’s Missouri grave had been poorly marked and the wrong remains were dug up and reburied in Kentucky. In 1983, a forensic anthropologist examined a cast made of Boone’s supposed skull before the reburial and announced it was possibly that of an African-American man rather than a Caucasian one. When a second forensics expert later studied the cast of the skull, though, she decided it wasn’t in good enough condition to serve as the basis for any scientific conclusions.