David Stern Crockett
|Also Known As:||"'Davy' - hated by Crockett during his lifetime", "Davy Crockett", "Davy"|
|Birthplace:||Near the Nolichucky River, (Present Limestone), Washington County (Present Greene County), Free Republic of Franklin (Present Tennessee), United States|
|Death:||Died in San Antonio, (Present Bexar County), Republic of Texas, (Present USA)|
|Cause of death:||Fighting for Freedom|
|Place of Burial:||Dyersburg, Dyer County, Tennessee, United States|
Son of John Wesley Crockett and Rebecca Sullivan Crockett
|Occupation:||American folk hero, Scout, frontiersman, soldier and politician, Congressman, Frontiersman/ Indian Fighter/ US Senator/ Folk hero, Frontiersman, state representative, hero, Pioneer, Soldier, Trapper, Explorer, State Assemblyman, Legend|
|Managed by:||Michael Dean Crockett (adopted a...|
Historical records matching Davy Crockett
About Davy Crockett
David Stern "Davy" Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836)
- Birth: August 17, 1786 Near Nolichucky River in Free Republic of Franklin (in what is now Limestone, Greene County, Tennessee)
- Death: March 6, 1836 (49) San Antonio-Alamo Mission, Republic of Texas
- Place of Burial: Fairview Cem, Dyersburg, Dyer Co., TN
Married (2) a widow named Elizabeth Patton' in 1815, three children:
David Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was a celebrated 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is referred to in popular culture as Davy Crockett and after the 1950s by the epithet “King of the Wild Frontier.” He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the Battle of the Alamo.
Crockett grew up in East Tennessee, where he gained a reputation for hunting and storytelling. After being elected to the rank of colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1826, Crockett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Crockett vehemently opposed many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, most notably the Indian Removal Act. Crockett's opposition to Jackson's policies led to his defeat in the 1834 elections, prompting his angry departure to Texas shortly thereafter. In early 1836, Crockett took part in the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March.
Crockett became famous in his own lifetime for larger-than-life exploits popularized by stage plays and almanacs. After his death, he continued to be credited with brazen acts of mythical proportion. These led in the 20th century to television and movie portrayals, and he became one of the best-known American folk heroes.
Ancestry and birth
David Crockett was born near the Nolichucky River in what is now Greene County, Tennessee, and was of Scots-Irish, Anglo-Irish, French Huguenot and English descent. A replica of his birthplace cabin stands in Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park on the Nolichucky River near Limestone, Tennessee. The Crockett family derived their name from Monsieur de la Croquetagne, a captain in the Royal Guard of French King Louis XIV. The family converted to Protestantism and as Huguenots fled France in the 17th century, settling in the north of Ireland. Family tradition says that David Crockett's father was born on the voyage to America from Ireland, though in fact Crockett's great-grandfather, William David Crockett, was registered as having been born in New Rochelle, New York in 1709.
David Crockett was the fifth of nine children of John and Rebecca (Hawkins) Crockett. He was named after his paternal grandfather, who was killed in 1777 at his home near today's Rogersville, Tennessee, by Indians led by Dragging Canoe. Crockett's father was one of the Overmountain Men who fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolutionary War. The Crocketts moved to Morristown, Tennessee, in the 1790s and built a tavern there. A museum stands on the site and is housed in a reconstruction of the tavern.
In his autobiography, Crockett told that his early years were filled with adventure, hardship, and travel. When he was 8 years old, he told his father he wanted to hunt with a rifle. His father said he could not afford to waste ammunition on "a boy's missed shots". Crockett promised to make every shot count, and began hunting with his older brothers. After being sent to school, he dropped out to run away from home to avoid a beating at the hands of his father when he was 13. Crockett said he had "whupped the tar" out of a school bully who had embarrassed him on his first day in school and began skipping school to avoid a whipping from the teacher. The teacher eventually wrote to Crockett's father to ask why his son did not attend class. Crockett told his father the truth. Angry that family trade goods exchanged for his son's education had gone to waste, he refused to listen. Crockett ran away from home and spent three years roaming from town to town. He claimed he visited most of the towns and villages in Tennessee and learned his skills as a backwoodsman, hunter and trapper.
Near his 16th birthday, David Crockett returned home unannounced. During the years he was away, his father had opened a tavern and Crockett stopped in for a meal. His older sister, Betsy, recognized him and cried, "Here is my lost brother! Look! He is home!" The family was delighted and he was welcomed back. His father owed money, so he hired Davy out to John Kennedy, a farmer.
Shortly afterwards, Crockett became engaged to Margaret Elder and, although the marriage never took place, the contract of marriage (dated October 21, 1805) has been preserved by the Dandridge, Tennessee, courthouse. It is well documented that Crockett's bride-to-be changed her mind and married someone else. Heartbroken at age 19, Crockett decided he was "only born for hardships, misery, and disappointment".
On August 16, 1806, one day before his 20th birthday, Crockett married Mary (Polly) Finley in Jefferson County, Tennessee. They had two sons: John Wesley Crockett was born July 10, 1807, followed by William Finley Crockett (born 1809). They also had a daughter, Margaret Finley (Polly) Crockett in 1812. After his wife Polly's death, Crockett married a widow named Elizabeth Patton in 1815; they had three children: Robert, Rebecca and Matilda.
On September 24, 1813, Crockett joined the Second Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Riflemen for an initial term of sixty days and served under Colonel John Coffee in the Creek War, marching south into present day Alabama and taking an active part in the fighting. He was eventually discharged from service on March 27, 1814. Crockett was elected Lieutenant Colonel of the Fifty-seventh Regiment of Tennessee Militia on March 27, 1818.
On September 17, 1821, Crockett was elected to the Committee of Propositions and Grievances. He lost his first run for Congress in 1824, but ran again in the next election. In 1826 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Jacksonian. As a Congressman, Crockett supported the rights of squatters, who were barred from buying land in the West without already owning property. He also joined the Anti-Jacksonians in opposing President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act, and his opposition to Jackson caused his defeat when he ran for re-election in 1830; however, he won when he ran again in 1832. As he explained, "I bark at no man's bid. I will never come and go, and fetch and carry, at the whistle of the great man in the White House no matter who he is."
Under the date of November 26, 1833, John Quincy Adams records in his diary an encounter with Crockett, whom he quotes as saying that he (Crockett) "had taken for lodgings two rooms on the first floor of a boarding-house, where he expected to pass the winter and to have for a fellow-lodger Major Jack Downing, the only person in whom he had any confidence for information of what the Government was doing."
In an 1884 book written by dime novelist and non-fiction author Edward S. Ellis, Crockett is recorded as giving a speech (the "Not Yours to Give" speech) critical of his Congressional colleagues who were willing to spend taxpayer dollars to help a widow of a US Navy man who had lived beyond his naval service, but would not contribute their own salary for a week to the cause. Ellis describes how the once popular proposal died in the Congress largely as a result of the speech. It was said that a man from Crockett's district, Horatio Bunce, converted Crockett to such a course of action by explaining that the Constitution did not allow Congress to give charity. The authenticity of this speech is questioned, however, since the Register of Debates and the Congressional Globe do not contain transcripts of speeches made on the House floor. Crockett is on record opposing a similar bill and offering personal support to the family of a General Brown in April 1828, but Crockett considered applications for relief on a case by case basis and sometimes voted in favor of the applicant. An article by Crockett biographer James R. Boylston debunking the "Not Yours to Give" speech was published in the November 2004 issue of The Crockett Chronicle.
In 1834, his autobiography titled A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett. Written by Himself was published. Crockett went east to promote the book and was narrowly defeated for re-election. He said, "I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not ... you may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas." Following his defeat, he did just that.
By December, 1834, Crockett was writing to friends about moving to Texas if Van Buren were elected President. The next year he discussed with his friend Benjamin McCulloch raising a company of volunteers to take to Texas in the expectation that a revolution was imminent. After the election results became known in August, his departure to Texas was delayed by a court appearance in the last week of October as co-executor of his deceased father-in-law’s estate, and he finally left his home near Rutherford in West Tennessee on Nov. 1, 1835, with three other men to explore Texas. His youngest child, Matilda, later wrote that she distinctly remembered the last time she saw her father: "He was dressed in his hunting suit, wearing a coonskin cap, and carried a fine rifle presented to him by friends in Philadelphia . . . He seemed very confident the morning he went away that he would soon have us all to join him in Texas."
From his home he traveled to Jackson, arriving there with 30 well-armed men, where he gave a speech from the steps of the Madison County courthouse, and then rode southwest to Bolivar, where he spent the night at residence of Dr. Calvin Jones, once again drawing crowds who sent him off the next morning. He arrived in Memphis in the second week of November with a much-diminished company, and ferried over the Mississippi River the next day and continued his journey on horseback through Arkansas.
On Nov. 12, 1835, Crockett and his entourage arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas. The local newspapers reported that hundreds of people swarmed into town to get a look at Crockett, and a group of leading citizens put on a dinner in his honor that night at the Jeffries Hotel. Crockett spoke “mainly to the subject of Texan independence,” as well as Washington politics.
He arrived in Nacogdoches, Texas, in early January 1836. On January 14, 1836, Crockett and 65 other men signed an oath before Judge John Forbes to the Provisional Government of Texas for six months: "I have taken the oath of government and have enrolled my name as a volunteer and will set out for the Rio Grande in a few days with the volunteers from the United States." Each man was promised about 4,600 acres (19 km²) of land as payment. He also sold two rifles to Colonel O'Neal for $60. (After his death there was a claim for his heirs for $57.50. In 1854 his widow received a payment certificate for $24.00 from Texas.) On February 6, Crockett and about five other men rode into San Antonio de Bexar and camped just outside the town. They were later greeted by James Bowie and Antonio Menchaca, and taken to the home of Don Erasmo Seguin.
Crockett arrived at the Alamo on February 8. To the surprise of the men garrisoned in the Alamo, on February 23, a Mexican army, led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, arrived. The Mexican soldiers immediately initiated a siege. Santa Anna ordered his artillery to keep up a near-constant bombardment. The guns were moved closer to the Alamo each day, increasing their effectiveness. On February 25, 200–300 Mexican soldiers crossed the San Antonio River and took cover in abandoned shacks approximately 90 yards (82 m) to 100 yards (91 m) from the Alamo walls. The soldiers intended to use the huts as cover to establish another artillery position, although many Texians assumed that they actually were launching an assault on the fort. Several men volunteered to burn the huts. To provide cover, the Alamo cannons fired grapeshot at the Mexican soldiers, and Crockett and his men fired rifles, while other defenders reloaded extra weapons for them to use in maintaining a steady fire. Within two hours, the battle was over, and the Mexican soldiers retreated. Inside the Alamo, the stores of powder and shot were limited. On February 26, Travis ordered the artillery to stop returning fire so as to conserve precious ammunition. Crockett and his men were encouraged to keep shooting, as they were unusually effective.
As the siege progressed, Alamo commander William Barret Travis sent many messages asking for reinforcements. Several messengers were sent to James Fannin, who commanded the only other official group of Texian soldiers. Fannin and several hundred Texians occupied Presidio La Bahia at Goliad. Although Fannin ultimately decided it was too risky to attempt to reinforce the Alamo, historian Thomas Ricks Lindley concludes that up to 50 of Fannin's men left his command to go to Bexar. These men would have reached Cibolo Creek, 35 miles (56 km) from the Alamo, on the afternoon of March 3. There they joined another group of men who also planned to join the garrison.
That same night, outside the Alamo, there was a skirmish between Mexican and Texian troops. Several historians, including Walter Lord, speculated that the Texians were creating a diversion to allow their last courier, John Smith, to evade Mexican pickets. However, in 1876, Alamo survivor Susannah Dickinson said that Travis sent three men out shortly after dark on March 3, probably a response to the arrival of Mexican reinforcements. The three men, who included Crockett, were sent to find Fannin. Lindley stated that just before midnight, Crockett and one of the other men found the force of Texians waiting along Cibolo Creek, who had advanced to within 20 miles (32 km) of the Alamo. Just before daylight on March 4, part of the Texian force managed to break through the Mexican lines and enter the Alamo. A second group was driven across the prairie by Mexican cavalry.
The Fall of the Alamo by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk depicts Davy Crockett swinging his rifle at Mexican troops who have breached the south gate of the mission. The siege ended on March 6, when the Mexican army attacked just before dawn while the defenders were sleeping. The daily bombardment by artillery had been suspended, perhaps a ploy to encourage the natural human reaction to a cessation of constant strain. But the garrison awakened and the final fight began. Most of the noncombatants gathered in the church sacristy for safety. According to Dickinson, before running to his post, Crockett paused briefly in the chapel to say a prayer. When the Mexican soldiers breached the north outer walls of the Alamo complex, most of the Texians fell back to the barracks and the chapel, as previously planned. Crockett and his men were too far from the barracks to take shelter. and were the last remaining group in the mission to be in the open. The men defended the low wall in front of the church, using their rifles as clubs and relying on knives, as the action was too furious to allow reloading. After a volley and a charge with bayonets, Mexican soldiers pushed the few remaining defenders back toward the church. The Battle of the Alamo lasted almost 90 minutes.
Once all of the defenders had been killed, Santa Anna ordered his men to take the bodies to a nearby stand of trees where they were stacked together and wood piled on top. That evening, a fire was lighted and the bodies of the defenders were burned to ashes.
A coffin in the San Fernando Cathedral purports to hold the ashes of the Alamo defenders. However, historians believe it more probable that the ashes were buried near the Alamo.The ashes were left undisturbed until February 1837, when Juan Seguin and his cavalry returned to Bexar to examine the remains. A local carpenter created a simple coffin, and ashes from the funeral pyres were placed inside. The names of Travis, Crockett, and Bowie were inscribed on the lid. The coffin is thought to have been buried in a peach tree grove, but the spot was not marked and can no longer be identified.
Death and controversy
All that is certain about the fate of David Crockett is that he died at the Alamo on March 6. According to many accounts of the battle, between five and seven Texians surrendered during the battle, possibly to General Castrillon. Incensed that his orders had been ignored, Santa Anna demanded the immediate execution of the survivors. Although Castrillon and several other officers refused to do so, staff officers who had not participated in the fighting drew their swords and killed the unarmed Texians. Weeks after the battle, stories began to circulate that Crockett was among those who surrendered and were executed. However, Ben, a former American slave who acted as cook for one of Santa Anna's officers, maintained that Crockett's body was found in the barracks surrounded by "no less than sixteen Mexican corpses", with Crockett's knife buried in one of them. Historians disagree on which story is accurate. According to Petite, "every account of the Crockett surrender-execution story comes from an avowed antagonist (either on political or military grounds) of Santa Anna's. It is believed that many stories, such as the surrender and execution of Crockett, were created and spread in order to discredit Santa Anna and add to his role as villain."
In 1955 Jesús Sánchez Garza self-published a book called La Rebelión de Texas—Manuscrito Inédito de 1836 por un Ofical de Santa Anna purporting to be memoirs of José Enrique de la Peña, a Mexican officer present at the Battle of the Alamo. In 1975 the Texas A&M University Press published an English translation of the book, called With Santa Anna in Texas: A Personal Narrative of the Revolution. The English publication caused a scandal within the United States as it asserted that Crockett did not die in battle. Historians disagree on whether any or all of the book has been faked. Because the original book was self-published, no editor or publisher ever vetted its authenticity. Garza never explained how he gained custody of the documents or where they were stored after de la Peña's death.
Some historians, including Bill Groneman, found it suspicious that Garza's compilation was published in 1955, at the height of interest in Crockett and the Alamo caused by Walt Disney's television miniseries about Crockett's life, Davy Crockett. Groneman also points out that the journals are made up of several different types of paper from several different paper manufacturers, all cut down to fit. Historian Joseph Musso also questions the validity, also basing his suspicions on the timing of the diaries' release. However, James Crisp, a history professor from North Carolina State University, has studied the papers and is convinced they are genuine.
In de la Peña's narrative, he adds a footnote which may align both versions. He states that "All of the enemy perished, there remaining alive only an elderly lady and a Negro slave, whom the soldiers spared out of mercy and because we had established that only force had kept them in danger." (Perry 1975) This implies that the summary execution of the survivors may have occurred prior to the releasing of Dickinson and Joe, so that they observed Crockett as dead, lending credence to their testimony. De la Peña describes the disposal of the dead and wounded as an ongoing process that took some time.
However, critics now tend to discount this on three key points. First, no other accounts of Crockett surviving the Alamo have surfaced besides de la Peña's diary. No documentation in the archives of the Mexican government, nor any of the personal records of others present at the Battle of the Alamo, give any hint of survivors amongst the defenders, much less any claiming Crockett as a survivor. Secondly, there is some speculation[by whom?] that de la Peña's account may have been a deliberate fabrication, with the intention of presenting Santa Anna in a far more diabolical light than American (and especially Texan) historians have given him since the fall of the Alamo. Finally, it is highly dubious that the Mexican soldiers – ripped and torn as they were in breaching the walls of the Alamo, filled with the blood-lust that battle generates, furious at seeing their friends killed or wounded beside them – and with explicit orders to give "no quarter" would have had the slightest intention to spare the lives of any obvious Texan combatants.[
The written account by de la Peña, even if a legitimate writing, has also been questioned in that many doubt his abilities to identify any of the Alamo defenders by name. It is a popular belief by many historians that de la Peña may have witnessed or been told about executions of some Alamo survivors, but in fact neither he nor his comrades would have known who these men were. Part of the reason that de la Peña's memoirs are questioned comes from his detailed account of Col. William Travis' death in "With Santa Anna in Texas". In that account, he describes with detail how Travis was heroic in his final moments, turning straight into the Mexican soldiers and facing his death with honor. The problem with this is: how would de la Peña have been able to distinguish Travis from any of the other defenders of the Alamo? The freed former slave to Travis, Joe, claimed Travis died early on in the battle, on the north wall. In addition to this, the Mexican Army had not breached the walls of the Alamo when Travis was killed, therefore they would have been seeing him from an area below the walls, while being fired down upon by the defenders. To add to this, Travis was killed before daybreak, meaning it was still dark. Therefore, it is believed that de la Peña either created the scenario of Travis' death, or he saw another of the defenders after breaching the walls, and took him to be Travis.
One tale tells how Crockett greeted a crowd on his way to Congress. He bragged, "I'm that same David Crockett, fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without a scratch down a honey locust [tree]."
"Who-Who-Whoop — Bow-Wow-Wow-Yough. I say, Mr. Speaker; I ve had a speech in soak this six months, and it has swelled me like a drowned horse; if I don’t deliver it I shall burst and smash the windows. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Everett] talks of summing up the merits of the question, but I’ll sum up my own. In one word I’m a screamer, and have got the roughest racking horse, the prettiest sister, the surest rifle and the ugliest dog in the district. I’m a leetle the savagest crittur you ever did see. My father can whip any man in Kentucky, and I can lick my father. I can outspeak any man on this floor, and give him two hours start. I can run faster, dive deeper, stay longer under, and come out drier, than any chap this side the big Swamp. I can outlook a panther and outstare a flash of lightning, tote a steamboat on my back and play at rough and tumble with a lion, and an occasional kick from a zebra.
"To sum up all in one word I’m a horse. Goliah was a pretty hard colt but I could choke him. I can take the rag off-frighten the old folks-astonish the natives-and beat the Dutch all to smash-make nothing of sleeping under a blanket of snow and don’t mind being frozen more than a rotten apple.
"Congress allows lemonade to the members and has it charged under the head of stationery-I move also that whiskey be allowed under the item of fuel. For bitters I can suck away at a noggin of aquafortis, sweetened with brimstone, stirred with a lightning rod, and skimmed with a hurricane. I’ve soaked my head and shoulders in Salt River, so much that I’m always corned. I can walk like an ox, run like a fox, swim like an eel, yell like an Indian, fight like a devil, spout like an earthquake, make love like a mad bull, and swallow a Mexican whole without choking if you butter his head and pin his ears back."
One of Crockett's sayings, which were published in almanacs between 1835 and 1856 (along with those of Daniel Boone and Kit Carson), was:
“ Always be sure you are right, then go ahead ”
In 1838, Robert Patton Crockett went to Texas to administer his father's land claim. In 1854, Elizabeth Crockett finally came to Texas to live, dying in 1860. Crockett's son John Wesley Crockett was a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee, serving two terms between 1837 and 1841.
A section of U.S. Route 64 between Winchester, Tennessee and Lawrenceburg, Tennessee is signed as David Crockett Memorial Highway.
By the late 19th century, Crockett was largely forgotten. His legend was reborn in a 1950s TV show by Walt Disney, which also introduced his legendary coonskin cap. In 1948, Disney told columnist Hedda Hopper that it was "time to get acquainted, or renew acquaintance with, the robust, cheerful, energetic and representative folk heroes". As part of a deal that allowed him to build a theme park, Disneyland, Disney would produce weekly one-hour television programs for ABC. Disney wished to highlight historical figures and his company developed three episodes on Crockett—Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter, Davy Crockett Goes to Congress, and Davy Crockett at the Alamo— starring Fess Parker as Crockett. According to historians Randy Roberts and James Olson, "by the end of the three shows, Fess Parker would be very well known, the power of television would be fully recognized, and Davy Crockett would be the most famous frontiersman in American history." The shows sparked heated debate, with many questioning whether Crockett was really deserving of the amount of attention he was now receiving. Letter writers also questioned the series' historical accuracy. Nevertheless, the shows proved very popular. They were combined into a feature-length movie in the summer of 1955, and Parker and his co-star Buddy Ebsen toured the United States, Europe, and Japan. By the end of 1955, Americans had purchased over $300 million worth of Davy Crockett merchandise ($2 billion by 2001). The television series also introduced a new song, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett". Four different versions of the song hit the Billboard Best Sellers pop chart in 1955. The versions by Bill Hayes, TV series star Fess Parker, and Tennessee Ernie Ford charted in the Top 10 simultaneously, with Hayes' version hitting #1.
The shows were repeated on NBC in the 1960s after Disney had moved his program to that network. The 1960 repeats marked the first time that the programs had actually been shown in color on TV. Davy Crockett made a return with Disney in two further adventures: Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. In these two episodes Crockett faced off against Mike Fink, another early American legend. A three-episode 1988-89 revival was made entitled The New Adventures of Davy Crockett, in which Tim Dunigan took over Fess Parker's famous role. Johnny Cash played an older Davy in a few scenes set before he went to Texas.
The fad eventually waned, but Crockett was often a prominent role in movies about the Alamo. In the 1960 film The Alamo, John Wayne portrayed Crockett. More recently was the John Lee Hancock version of The Alamo (2004). This Crockett, played by Billy Bob Thornton, is portrayed as a man trying to downplay his legend, but in the end unable to escape it. This is epitomized in a scene where Crockett, speaking to Bowie says, "If it was just me, simple old David from Tennessee, I might drop over that wall some night, take my chances. But that Davy Crockett feller...they're all watchin' him."
A seventh-season episode of the Discovery Channel series MythBusters explored a story of Crockett's backwoods exploits: that he could stick an axe into a tree trunk, fire his musket from 40 yards away, and hit the edge so precisely that the bullet would split in two. After some practice, Tory Belleci was able to duplicate the feat from 20 yards with the gun resting on sandbags and declared the myth "Confirmed," reasoning that Crockett could have consistently made the 40-yard shot with enough experience.
Crockett in films
In films, Crockett has been played by:
- Charles K. French (Davy Crockett - In Hearts United, 1909, silent)
- Dustin Farnum (Davy Crockett, 1916, silent)
- Cullen Landis (Davy Crockett at the Fall of the Alamo, 1926, silent)
- Jack Perrin (The Painted Stallion, 1937)
- Lane Chandler (Heroes of the Alamo, 1937)
- Robert Barrat (Man of Conquest, 1939)
- George Montgomery (Davy Crockett, Indian Scout, 1950) [a different person, cousin of the famous Davy Crockett]
- Trevor Bardette (The Man from the Alamo, 1953)
- Arthur Hunnicutt (The Last Command, 1955)
- Fess Parker (co-starring with Buddy Ebsen as Georgie Russel in King of the Wild Frontier, 1955, and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, 1956, both on ABC's Walt Disney Presents)
- James Griffith (The First Texan, 1956)
- John Wayne (The Alamo, 1960)
- Brian Keith (The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory, 1987)
- Merrill Connally (Alamo: The Price of Freedom, 1988)
- Johnny Cash (Davy Crockett: Rainbow in the Thunder, 1988)
- Tim Dunigan (Davy Crockett: Rainbow in the Thunder, Davy Crockett: A Natural Man, Davy Crockett: Guardian Spirit, Davy Crockett: Letter to Polly, 1988–1989)
- David Zucker (The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, 1991 [a very small cameo role])
- John Schneider (Texas, 1994)
- Scott Wickware (Dear America: A Line in the Sand, 2000)
- Justin Howard (The Anarchist Cookbook, 2002)
- Billy Bob Thornton (The Alamo, 2004)
- ^ Michael Lofaro, "David Crockett." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 300-301.
- ^ Michael Lofaro, "David "Davy" Crockett." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 22 May 2008.
- ^ Crockett (1834), 17.
- ^ Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park
- ^ Jean-Baptiste Nadeau, Julie Barlow, The Story of French, p.106, ISBN 0-312-34183-0.
- ^ RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Sharrow, Charron, Sharon, Carveth, Abbott, Armstrong, Miarecki and other Ancestors
- ^ Pat Alderman, The Overmountain Men, 1970:38.
- ^ Crockett Tavern Museum
- ^ Program #1001. Antiques Roadshow. PBS. Tampa Convention Center. Original broadcast 2006-01-09. and Lofaro, Michael A. "Crockett, David". Handbook of Texas Online. URL accessed 2006-05-30.
- ^ TN Secretary of State announces 2010 return of document to Dandridge courthouse
- ^ Crockett News
- ^ Pioneers, Passionate Ladies, and Private Eyes: Dime Novels, Series Books.
- ^ Diary (New York: Longmans, Green, 1929), p. 445.
- ^ "Ellis, Edward Sylvester." Beadle and Adams Dime Novel Digitization Project. Northern Illinois University. By Larry E. Sullivan, Lydia Cushman. pg 73. 1996 Haworth Press. ISBN 0789000164
- ^ Special Collections in Children's Literature: An International Directory, By Dolores Blythe Jones, pg 50.
- ^ a b Ellis, Edward S., The Life of Colonel David Crockett; Porter & Coates, 1884
- ^ A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875. The Library of Congress, URL accessed 2007-08-01.
- ^ James R. Boylston and Allen J. Wiener, David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend, pg. 87, note 18, 2009 Bright Sky Press, ISBN 1933979518
- ^ Jim Boylston, "Crockett and Bunce: A Fable Examined," The Crockett Chronicle, #6, November, 2004, revised at http://crockettincongress.blogspot.com/2009/10/not-yours-to-give-fable-re-examined.html, further commentary at http://www.constitution.org/cons/ann_toplovich_crockett.htm
- ^ Hubbell, Jay B. The South in American Literature: 1607-1900. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1954: 664.
- ^ Cobias, 21-22.
- ^ Derr, 225-26.
- ^ Cobias, 25
- ^ Cobias, 28-29
- ^ Cobias, 29, 36
- ^ Cobias, 40-44
- ^ Hardin (1994), p. 117.
- ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 299.
- ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 40.
- ^ <Todish et al. (1998), pp. 42–3.
- ^ Tinkle (1985), p. 118.
- ^ a b Tinkle (1985), p. 119.
- ^ Lord (1961), p. 109.
- ^ Nofi (1992), p. 83.
- ^ Hardin (1994), p. 132.
- ^ Lindley (2003), p. 137.
- ^ Lindley (2003), p. 138.
- ^ Lindley (2003), p. 143.
- ^ Lord (1960), p. 143.
- ^ Lindley (2003), p. 140.
- ^ Lindley (2003), p. 142.
- ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 363.
- ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 53.
- ^ Lord (1961), p. 162.
- ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 368.
- ^ Petite (1998), p. 114.
- ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 374.
- ^ Petite (1998), p. 139.
- ^ Petite (1998), p. 131.
- ^ Petite (1998), p. 132.
- ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 373.
- ^ a b Petite (1998), p. 123.
- ^ Hardin (1994), p. 148.
- ^ Tikle (1985), p. 214.
- ^ Petite (1998), p. 124.
- ^ a b Todish et al. (1998), p. 120.
- ^ Groneman (1999), p. 133.
- ^ Groneman (1999), p. 128.
- ^ a b Groneman (1999), p. 136.
- ^ Michael Lind's, The Death of David Crockett
- ^ Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 238.
- ^ Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 239.
- ^ Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 240.
- ^ Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 252–3.
- ^ Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 245.
- Cobia, Manley F., Jr. (2003), Journey into the Land of Trials: The Story of Davy Crockett’s Expedition to the Alamo., Franklin, TN: Hillsboro Press, ISBN 1577362683.
- Crisp, James E. (2005), Sleuthing the Alamo: Davy Crockett’s Last Stand and Other Mysteries of the Texas Revolution, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195163508.
- Crockett, David (1834), A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett (6th ed.), Philadelphia: E. L. Carey and A. Hart.
- Edmondson, J.R. (2000), The Alamo Story-From History to Current Conflicts, Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1-55622-678-0
- Groneman, Bill (1999), Death of a Legend: The Myth and Mystery Surrounding the Death of Davy Crockett, Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 9781556226885
- Hardin, Stephen L. (1994), Texian Iliad, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, ISBN 0-292-73086-1
- Jones, Randell (2006), In the Footsteps of Davy Crockett, Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, ISBN 0895873249
- Kilgore, Dan (1978), How Did Davy Die?, College Station and London: Texas A&M University Press, ISBN 0890960496.
- Lindley, Thomas Ricks (2003), Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions, Lanham, MD: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1556229836
- Lofaro, Michael A., ed. (1985), Davy Crocket: The Man, The Legend, The Legacy, 1786-1986, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, ISBN 0870494597.
- Lord, Walter (1961), A Time to Stand, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, ISBN 0803279027
- Nofi, Albert A. (1992), The Alamo and the Texas War of Independence, September 30, 1835 to April 21, 1836: Heroes, Myths, and History, Conshohocken, PA: Combined Books, Inc., ISBN 0938289101
- Petite, Mary Deborah (1999), 1836 Facts about the Alamo and the Texas War for Independence, Mason City, IA: Savas Publishing Company, ISBN 188281035X
- Roberts, Randy; Olson, James S. (2001), A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory, The Free Press, ISBN 0684835444
- Scott, Robert (2000), After the Alamo, Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 9781556226915
- Shackford, James A. (1956), David Crockett: The Man and the Legend, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
- Tinkle, Lon (1985), 13 Days to Glory: The Siege of the Alamo, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, ISBN 0890962383. Reprint. Originally published: New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958
- Todish, Timothy J.; Todish, Terry; Spring, Ted (1998), Alamo Sourcebook, 1836: A Comprehensive Guide to the Battle of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution, Austin, TX: Eakin Press, ISBN 9781571681522
- Further reading
- Boylston, James R. and Allen J. Weiner, David Crockett in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Poor Man's Friend; Bright Sky Press; ISBN 1-933-97951-8
- Crockett, David, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee; University of Nebraska Press; ISBN 0-8032-6325-2
- Derr, Mark The Frontiersman. Davy Crockett William Morrow and Co. ISBN 0-688-09656-5
- Davis, William C., Lone Star Rising-The Revolutionary Birth of the Texas Republic; Free Press; ISBN 0-684-86510-6
- Davis, William C., Three Roads to the Alamo; Harper Collins; ISBN 0-06-017334-3
- Levy, Buddy, The Real Life Adventures of David Crockett; Putnam Press; ISBN 0-399-15278-4
- David Crockett at Project Gutenberg ; written by John S. C. Abbott
- Michael A. Lofaro, "CROCKETT, DAVID," Handbook of Texas Online [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcr24 link), accessed April 23, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
This audio file was created from a revision of Davy Crockett dated 2005-09-23, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help) More spoken articles Official site of the descendants of David Crockett Davy Crockett at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress David Crockett from the Handbook of Texas Online An account of Col. Crockett's tour to the North and down East, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four. . . written by David Crockett, and published 1835, hosted by the Portal to Texas History. First Hand Alamo Accounts
Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Crockett, David". Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Crockett quote, "...they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas" from April 9, 1836 Niles Weekly Register newspaper.
David Crockett (1786-1836), American frontiersman and politician, became during his own lifetime a celebrity and folk hero, particularly to Americans living in the newly settled midwestern regions of the country. Davy Crockett grew to manhood in a backwoods area. He experienced the crudeness and poverty of the frontier squatter and later used this knowledge in his political campaigns. A master storyteller, the semiliterate Crockett proved a formidable political campaigner, as well as the personification of the characters in the frontiersmen's "tall tales" of that day. Although he is known chiefly for his exploits as a hunter and soldier, Crockett's major contributions included political efforts to get free land for frontier settlers, relief for debtors, and an expanded state banking system for Tennessee.
Davy Crockett, the son of John and Rebecca Crockett, was born on Aug. 17, 1786, in Hawkings County, East Tennessee. John Crockett failed as a farmer, mill operator, and storekeeper. In fact, he remained in debt, as did Davy, all his life. Because of continuing poverty, Davy's father put him to work driving cattle to Virginia when he was 12 years old. Returning to Tennessee in the winter of 1798, Davy spent 5 days in school. After a fight there, he played hookey until his father found out and then, to escape punishment, ran away.
Crockett worked and traveled throughout Virginia and did not return home for nearly 3 years. Several years later he decided that his lack of education limited his marriage possibilities, and he arranged to work 6 months for a nearby Quaker teacher. In return Crockett received 4 days a week of instruction. He learned to read, to write a little, and to "cypher some in the first three rules of figures."
In 1806 Crockett married Mary Finely; the young couple began their life together on a rented farm with two cows, two calves, and a loan of $15. Frontier farming proved difficult and unrewarding to Crockett, who enjoyed hunting more than work. After five years he decided to move farther west. By 1813 he had located his family in Franklin Country, Tenn.
Life on the Frontier
Shortly afterward the so-called Creek War began. During the summer of 1813 a party of frontiersmen ambushed a band of Creek Indian warriors in southern Alabama. Settlers in the area gathered at a stockade called Ft. Mims. The Native Americans attacked on Aug. 30, 1813, found the garrison undefended, and killed over 500 people. Within 2 weeks frontier militia units gathered for revenge, and Crockett volunteered for 3 months' duty that year. In September and October he served as a scout. During the famous mutiny against Andrew Jackson in December, Crockett was on leave, and reports that he deserted the militia during the Creek War are unfounded. He served again from September 1814 to February 1815. During this campaign Crockett was a mounted scout and hunter; apparently his unit encountered little fighting.
In 1815 Mary Crockett died. Within a year Crockett remarried. While traveling with neighbors in Alabama to examine the newly opened Creek lands during 1816, he contracted malaria and was left along the road to die. But he recovered and returned to Tennessee, pale and sickly, much to the surprise of his family and neighbors who thought he was dead. He has been quoted as remarking about his reported death, "I know'd this was a whopper of a lie, as soon as I heard it."
Local and State Politics
In 1817 Crockett was a justice of the peace and the next year was serving also as a county court referee. In 1818 his neighbors elected him lieutenant colonel of the local militia regiment, and that same year he became one of the Lawrenceburg town commissioners. He held this position until 1821, when he resigned to campaign for a seat in the state legislature. During the campaign Crockett first displayed his shrewd ability to judge the needs of the frontiersmen. He realized that their isolation and need for recreation outweighed other desires. Therefore, he gave short speeches laced with stories, followed by a trip to the ever present liquor stand - a tactic well received by his audience, who elected him. Crockett appears to have been a quiet legislator, but his first-term actions demonstrate the areas of his future legislative interest. Having grown to manhood among the debt-ridden and often propertyless squatters, Crockett served as their spokesman. He proposed bills to reduce taxes, to settle land claim disputes, and in general to protect the economic interests of the western settlers.
When the legislative session ended in 1821, Davy went west again, this time to Gibson County, Tenn., where he built a cabin near the Obion River. Two years later he was elected to the Tennessee Legislature. This victory demonstrates his improved campaign techniques and his realization that antiaristocratic rhetoric was popular. Again he worked for debtor relief and equitable land laws.
During 1825 Crockett ran for Congress; he campaigned as an antitariff man, however, and the incumbent easily defeated him. Two years later Crockett won the election. Throughout his congressional terms he worked for the Tennessee Vacant Land Bill, which he introduced during his first term. This proposal would have offered free land to frontier settlers in return for the increase in value which they would bring about because of their improvements.
In 1829, although he opposed several of President Andrew Jackson's measures, Crockett's campaign for reelection as a Jacksonian was successful. But during his second term in Congress, Crockett grew increasingly hostile to Jackson. He opposed the President on the issues of Native American removal, land policy, and the Second National Bank. In the election of 1831 Crockett was defeated. Two years later he regained his congressional seat by a narrow margin. By 1834 he had become such an outspoken critic of Jackson that Whig party leaders used Crockett as a popular symbol in their anti-Jackson campaigns. It was during these activities that several purported biographies and autobiographies of Crockett appeared. Their purpose was to popularize him and to show that not all frontiersmen supported the Jackson administration. These literary efforts failed to sway most of the voters, and Crockett was defeated in 1835, ending his congressional career.
During his three terms in Washington, Crockett tried to represent the interests of his frontier district. In doing so, he became enmeshed in a dispute with the Tennessee Jackson forces. The continuing fight with this group not only prevented him from making any lasting legislative contributions but also ended his political career.
Death at the Alamo
In 1835 Crockett and four neighbors headed into Texas looking for new land. By January 1836 he had joined the Texas Volunteers, and within a month he reached San Antonio. In the first week of March he and the other defenders of the Alamo died during the siege and capture of that fort. Popular tradition places Crockett as one of the last defenders who died protecting the bedridden Col. William Travis during the final assault. The fact is, however, that Crockett was one of the first defenders to die, alone and unarmed.
Crockett's death at the Alamo engendered a notoriety and a lasting fame which his political activities would never have earned him. Through the newspaper accounts and other writings - fact and fiction - Crockett came to represent the typical westerner of that day. With the passage of time, tales and legends concerning his exploits grew. As a result, the popular image bears less relationship to the actual person than may be said about almost any other prominent figure.
Descriptions of Crockett are varied, but it is generally conceded that he was about 5 feet 8 inches tall, of medium weight, and with brown hair, blue eyes, and rosy cheeks. He was noted for a fine sense of humor, honesty, and ability as an entertaining public speaker. Those who knew him realized that he was a man of ability and character.
A lack of source material has limited the scholarly studies of Crockett but has not prevented numerous popular accounts. Beginning with Matthew St. Clair Clarke's anonymously published Life and Adventures of Col. David Crockett of West Tennessee (1833), such accounts have continued to appear. Of the 19th-century books only A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, of the State of Tennessee (1834), written by Crockett himself, is at all reliable.
The best work on Crockett is James A. Shackford, David Crockett: The Man and the Legend (1956), which separates the myths surrounding him from the historical person. Crockett's position in folklore is examined in Franklin J. Meine, ed., Tall Tales of the Southwest: An Anthology of Southern and Southwestern Humor, 1830-1860 (1930), and Richard M. Dorson, ed., Davy Crockett: American Comic Legend (1939). For an understanding of politics in the Old Southwest see Thomas P. Abernethy, From Frontier to Plantation in Tennessee: A Study in Frontier Democracy (1932); Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (1945); and Charles G. Sellers, James K. Polk, Jacksonian: 1795-1843 (1957).
This is one of many historical summaries of Davy Crockett;s life:
GIBSON COUNTY, TN - BIOGRAPHIES - David "Davy" Crockett
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David Crockett, Tennessean (1786-1836)
David Crockett, Pioneer, Patriot, Soldier, Trapper, Explorer, State Legislator, Congressman, Martyr, was born in a small cabin near the junction of Limestone Creek and the Nolichucky River in upper East Tennessee, August 17, 1786. He was the fifth son, of nine children, born to John and Rebecca Hawkins Crockett.
John Crockett, his father, was born in Maryland, in 1754, and was a descendant of Huguenot ancestors who had immigrated from France to England, Ireland, and America. In America, their migration continued from Maryland to Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The name originally was Crocketagne, and the progenitor of the American Crocketts had been the second in command of the Home Guard for Louis, King of France. Line of descent follows: Gabriel Gustave De Crocketagne, Antoine De Sauss Crocketagne, Joseph Louis Crockett, William Crockett, David Crockett, John Crockett, and David Davy Crockett. The senior David Crockett married Elizabeth Hedge in Maryland. Their sons were John, William, Robert, Joseph, and James. The Crocketts migrated to the East Tennessee area while it was still a part of North Carolina and settled in, what was then, the Watauga area.
On July 5, 1776, a Petition was sent to the Honorable, the Provisional Council of North Carolina from the settlers in the Watauga area. This petition explained the situation that the settlers found themselves in at the time, and ask recognition of their efforts toward establishing a form of government for the area. Their type of government, and military establishments were explained in full and submitted to the Council for their candid and impartial judgment in annexing them to the state of North Carolina. David Crockett, Sr., and William Crockett signed the petition.
John, William, and Robert Crockett fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain during the Revolutionary War. During their sons’ absence, David Crockett, Sr., and his wife, Elizabeth, were killed by an Indian attack. All of their children were killed, except for two sons, Joseph and James, and one daughter, who was scalped but survived. Joseph and James were taken captive by the Indians.
John Crockett had married Rebecca Hawkins in Maryland and immigrated, with the rest of the family, to the East Tennessee area. Rebecca Hawkins Crockett was to move many times, including the relocation during her marriage, and as she followed her son, David through his moves to several locations in Middle Tennessee, before moving to live near him in Gibson County, Tennessee. Rebecca Crockett is buried in the Memorial Plot near the reconstructed log cabin of David Crockett in Rutherford, Gibson County, Tennessee.
John Crockett served under Colonel Isaac Shelby in the Battle of King’s Mountain, and was presiding magistrate when Andrew Jackson received his license to practice law. He was a commissioner for building roads and, in 1783, a Frontier Ranger. His name appears on the 1783 Tax List of Greene County, North Carolina. John Crockett lived on Limestone Creek in Greene County when David Davy Crockett was born, and a few years later moved to a place in the same county ten miles north of Greenville. The next move was to Cove Creek, where he built a mill in partnership with Thomas Galbraith. In 1794, his milland house were destroyed by a flood. John Crockett moved his family to Jefferson County (now Hamblen County), built a log cabin-tavern on the road from Abingdon, Virginia to Knoxville, Tennessee, and continued to live there until his death. David Crockett was eight years old when the family located here.
David Crockett remained with his family until he was the age of twelve. By this time he had grown in size and he was given a job driving cattle to Front Royal, Virginia. After arriving at Front Royal, he worked for farmers, wagoners, and a hatmaker. He was offered a job driving cattle to Baltimore, and he lived there until he reached the age of fifteen. Whether remnants of the Crockett and Hawkins family were still living in the area had not been documented, but we can assume that he had relatives there.
David Crockett returned to his families’ home to find his father in debt. Davy was six feet tall, by this time, and well able to do the work of a man. He obligated himself for a year to Col. Daniel Kennedy, his father’s creditor. Daniel Kennedy was the son of John Kennedy, Esq. who has been called, "The Father of Greene County". The Kennedy family were Quakers, and held in high esteem throughout the eastern part of Tennessee.
David Crockett often borrowed the rifle of his employer and became an excellent marksman. From wages earned, he bought new clothes, a rifle of his own and a horse. He began to take part in the local shooting contests. At these contest, the prize was often quarters of beef. A contestant would pay twenty cents for a single shot at the target, and the best shot won the quarter of beef. Davy Crockett’s aim was so good that more than once, he won all four quarters of beef.
The son of his employer conducted a school nearby, and an arrangement was worked out for a period of six months for David to attend school for four days and work for two days. Excepting the four days he had when he was twelve years old, this was the only schooling David Crockett had.
On August 12, 1806, David Crockett and Mary Polly Finley were married. Davy and his new wife moved into the Duck and Elk River area of Lincoln County, Tennessee. They located near the head of Mulberry Fork, where he began to distinguish himself as a hunter. They lived there during the years of 1809- 1810. His two sons, John Wesley and William Finley, were born there.
The Crockett family moved, in 1811, to he south side of Mulberry Creek, near Lynchburg, where David build a log house where his family lived till 1813. He hunted and cleared a field three miles northwest of his homestead on Hungry Hill. When bear and other game became scarce, he moved to better hunting grounds in Franklin County where he settled on Beans Creek and built a homestead which he called "Kentuck" This was the Crockett home until the close of the War of 1812. This homestead is marked by a well standing in a field 3 1/2 miles south and to the east of U.S. Highway 64 in Franklin County.
When the Creek Indians opened hostilities and attacked Fort Mimms, August 30, 1812, the Militia was called for the purpose of raising volunteers. Davy Crockett volunteered and was assigned to Captain Jones’ Mounted Vols. He went to Beatty Springs, where he went with Major Gibson across the Tennessee River into the Creek nation as a spy. He chose George Russell, son of Major Russell, as a partner. They returned safely and reported to General Coffee, who was in command. Davy Crockett , and 800 volunteers of General Coffee’s command, crossed the Tennessee river through Huntsville, Alabama. Davy ask permission of General Coffee to go hunting, and on the river to Muscle Shoals and Melton’s Bluff, he killed a bear. David Crockett fought in the Battles of Fort Strother and Talledega, took part in the Florida Expedition, and rejoined General Russell to do battle with the British. Upon his return home to Franklin County, in 1815, he found his wife, Polly, dying. Polly Finley Crockett is buried in an old cemetery overlooking Bean’s Creek.
In 1816, David Crockett married Elizabeth Patton, a widow, with two small children. She was the widow of George Patton. David and Elizabeth Patton lived in "Kentuck" till 1817, when he moved to Lawrence County, Tennessee.
Lawrence County was created, October 21, 1817, by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly from mostly Indian Territory as a result of the Treaty of 1816, with the Chicasaw Indians. Local government was established in 1818. David Crockett was instrumental in helping to lay out the county, and selecting the county seat, Lawrenceburg, in 1819. The site was chosen because of its proximity to the center of the county, and the fact that Jackson’s Military Road ran on the eastern edge of the town. In April, 1821, the road was changed to go through the center of the town. This road was a major thoroughfare from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi, and played a significant role in the development of the county.
David Crockett was one of the first commissioners and justices of the peace in Lawrence County. He ran a water-powered grist mill, powder mill and distillery in the area of the county that is now David Crockett State Park. He was elected Colonel of a regiment and, from that time, was known as Colonel Crockett. He was elected to the Legislature in 1821. After his term in office, he returned home and shortly thereafter a flood destroyed his installation and bankrupted him. He decided to move further west and removed to Gibson County, Tennessee. He left the remains of his property to his creditors.
In the spring of 1822, David Crockett arrived in Gibson County, and built, what was to be his last home, in Tennessee. He chose land about four and one half miles east of Rutherford and built his cabin. Using some of the logs from this cabin, a replica has been constructed in the town of Rutherford where it houses a museum. The mother of David Crockett, Rebecca Hawkins Crockett, is buried on the grounds.
David Crockett ran for the Legislature, in 1823, and his keen and quick wit earned him the respect of the frontiersmen in the area. He used his backwoodsman persona to entertain his audiences wherever he spoke. His opponent was Dr. W. E. Butler, who was married to the niece of Mrs. Andrew Jackson. However, the new settlers liked the man that they called their own and elected him. It was David Crockett who introduced the bill to form Gibson County, in 1823.
During a trip to Philadelphia, in 1823, David Crockett was presented his famous long rifle "Betsy" which contained the following inscription; "Presented to the Honorable David Crockett of Tennessee by the young men of Philadelphia." This inscription is on the barrel in gold, and near the sight is the motto, "Go Ahead" in letters in silver.
In 1826, David Crockett ran against Colonel Adam Rankin Alexander and Major General William Arnold, both of Jackson. His opponents ran a joint campaign and chose not to mention David Crockett in their speeches. The people did not ignore him, but reelected him by a majority of 2,748. He was their advocate for their "squatters rights" in the district. Davy preferred to call them settlers.
In 1829, the popularity of David Crockett was at such a peak, that his opposition looked for a man that they thought could beat him. Captain Joel Estes, of Haywood County and Colonel Adam Alexender were his opponents. The heated races received wide publicity over a wide region. The results at the polls were,Crockett, 8525; Alexander, 5000; and Estes, 132. David Crockett now felt that he was in a position the promote some his preferences. He broke with the administration on the Bank question, and the Cherokee relocation. His dislike of Andrew Jackson probably dated back to the Creek War and Jackson’s rigorous treatment of his Tennessee troops. However, the break was not received well back in his frontier country. The people of the area had a strong liking for Andrew Jackson, as well. When David Crockett returned home, he found that some strong feelings had developed against him for his stands.
When election day arrived, Davy Crockett found that he had lost the election, by a narrow majority, to his opponent, William Fitzgerald, of Dresden. The election had been called, by David Crockett, a campaign of "trickery". His opponents had announced that he was to speak at several places, and the candidate, not knowing of the arrangement, did not appear. This left the settlers displease and, it is believed, was the reason for his defeat.
When the 1833 elections came, supporters of Andrew Jackson, passed legislation that reconstructed the district in such a way as to give advantage to his opponent, William Fitzgerald. This gerrymandering was called by David Crockett, "the most unreasonable every laid off in the nation, or even to- total creation." The battle was hard fought, but David Crockett won the election. Once more in Congress, he boasted, "Look at my neck, and you will not find any collar with a label, ‘My Dog, Andrew Jackson."
When the tallied results of the, 1836, election were announced, David Crockett had lost by a narrow majority. He retired to his frontier home to contemplate his future. The "people’s friend" decided to answer the call from Texans for volunteers to help their fight for independence.
By 1830 more than 20,000 Americans had migrated to Texas seeking a place to settle and David Crockett, ever looking for new frontiers to conquer, was a prime candidate to assist in the settlement. "As the country no longer requires my services, I have made up my mind to go to Texas. I start anew upon my own hook, and God grant that it may be strong enough to support the weight that may be hung upon it." He left behind wife, children, mother and siblings to take his place in American history.
In 1718, at a native American village in a pleasant wooded area of spring fed streams at the southern edge of Texas Hill country, Spain established the Mission San Antonio de Verlero (later called "The Alamo"). A barracks called San Antonio de Bexar was built to protect this mission. This was more than half a century before the founding of the United States.
In December, 1835, San Antonio de Bexar was under the control of Mexican General Perfecto de Cos with about 1200 soldiers from Mexico. At daybreak, on the fifth, Texans who had been camped outside the fort, begin a siege of the fort. Against heavy odds both men and artillery skirmished for the next two days. On the seventh, the Texan leader, Ben Milam, was killed, and the Texans, inspired to avenge his death, engaged in house to house combat that continued for two more days. At daybreak, on the ninth, General Cos signaled a Mexican truce. The Texans gained all the public property, guns and ammunition.
Mexican General Santa Anna determined to retake San Antonio, and impress upon the settlers the futility of further resistance to Mexican rule. The vanguard of his army arrived in San Antonio, February 23, 1836. The 145 Texans in the area took refuge in the fortified grounds of the old mission known as "The Alamo." Their leaders were William B. Travis, for the regulars; and Jim Bowie, for the volunteers.
General Santa Anna’s army continued to grow over the following two week to about 2,000 troops. William Travis made an appeal for aid from the other Texans in the area. A few reinforcements arrived, making the final total of 189 men. David Crockett was probably among these last recruits.
After bombarding the mission, the Mexican stormed it's walls. At 6:30 a.m., March 6, 1836, The Alamo was taken. Losses in the battle have been placed at 189 Texans and 1600 Mexicans.
Several conflicting stories recount the final hours of the storming of The Alamo, but it is generally agreed that the remains, of the defenders, were piled in a pier and burned in the square. In November, 1836, Colonel Juan Sequin, of the army of the Republic of Texas, reoccupied San Antonio and, in February, 1837, he held a funeral for the defenders. He reported finding two small heaps and one large heap of ashes. Ashes from the small heaps were put in a coffin and used in a funeral procession to the church and back, Salutes were fired over each heap and a service was read at the large heap. A specific burial place has not been determined. Some cremated remains unearthed on the grounds of San Fernando Cathedral are entombed near the front entrance of the church.
Forty six days after the Siege of The Alamo, April 21, 1836, at the Battle of San Jacinto at Goliad, 783 men led by General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna’s 1,500 Mexican troops. The battle lasted only eighteen minutes. Nine Texans lost their lives. The loss for the Mexicans were 630 dead, and 730 prisoners. General Santa Anna, disguised as a peasant, was captured the following day.
The Battle of San Jacinto won the independence for the Texans and the settlement of the new republic began. All who had fought for independence were granted 640 acres by the new government. In 1853, Elizabeth Patton Crockett arrived in Texas to claim her grant. She was accompanied by her children: Robert Patton Crockett, and his family; George Patton, and his family; and Rebecca Halford, and her family. After the cost of the survey, the land grant had shrunk to 320 acres. Their grant was located about four miles north of a trading post, now called Acton, in what now Hood County. Elizabeth Crockett was sixty five years old, but continued to do her share of the frontier work. She died at the age of seventy two, and her remains, with several members of her family, are in Acton State Park and Monument, the smallest state park in Texas. The monument shows her looking to the west, eyes shaded.
Children of David Crockett and Polly Finley Crockett are: John Wesley Crockett, b. 1808; William Finley Crockett, b. 1809; and Margaret Finley (Polly) Crockett, b. 1812. Children of David Crockett and Elizabeth Patton Crockett are: Rebecca Elvira Crockett, b. 1815; Robert Patton Crockett, b. 1816; and Matilda Crockett, b. 1821.
After David Crockett left for Texas, John Wesley Crockett, won two terms in Congress, the seat his father had held.
Compiled by: Margaret Nolen Nichol Jacksonville, Florida
"King of the Wild Frontier"
Davy Crockett's Timeline
August 17, 1786
(Present Limestone), Washington County (Present Greene County), Free Republic of Franklin (Present Tennessee), United States
July 10, 1807
Jefferson County or State of Franklin, Tennessee, United States
November 5, 1808
Franklin or Jefferson, TN, USA
November 25, 1812
Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee, United States
September 24, 1813
- March 27, 1815
Tennessee, United States
March 27, 1815
Tennessee, United States
September 8, 1816
Franklin County, Tennessee, United States
December 25, 1818
Lawrence County, Tennessee, United States