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Historically Speaking: Folk Hero, Congressman and Revolutionary

By Tom Morrow

David “Davy” Crockett, born Aug. 17, 1786, was a 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture as “King of the Wild Frontier.”
Crockett has gone down in American history in almost mythical terms. In his frontier Tennessee, he was a noted leader and hunter – and probably did kill a bear, but no doubt was older than 3. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the Battle of the Alamo.
He 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 acts of mythical proportion. Over the year, TV and movies have made Crockett one of the best-known American folk heroes of all time.
Crockett grew up in eastern Tennessee where he gained a reputation for hunting and storytelling. After being made a colonel in the Lawrence County militia, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1825, Crockett was elected, defeated, reelected and then defeated again to the U.S. Congress. He vehemently opposed many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, most notably the Indian Removal Act. Crockett’s opposition to Jackson’s policies. When he lost again in 1835, prompting his famous angry outburst on the floor of the House: “You can all go to hell – I’ll go to Texas!”
david_crockett
There has been much written about Crockett’s life, especially his short-lived time in Texas – some true, some fiction. All that is certain about the fate of David Crockett is he died fighting at the Alamo on the morning of March 6, 1836, at age 49.
Crockett arrived in Nacogdoches, Texas in early January 1836. On Jan. 14, 1836, Crockett and 65 other men from the United States signed an oath to the Provisional Government of Texas for a six-month period. Each man was promised about 4,600 acres of land as payment. It is unclear whether Crockett went to Texas for adventure or for a new start for his family. On Feb. 6, Crockett rode into San Antonio de Bexar and camped just outside the town. They were later greeted by James Bowie.
Crockett arrived at the Alamo mission on Feb. 8. On Feb. 23, a large Mexican army led by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna arrived outside the gates of the old mission. 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.
Crockett and many of the men he arrived with were armed with Kentucky long rifles, which were highly effective at long distances. These were extremely helpful in keeping the Mexican troops at a distance. Weeks after the battle, stories began to circulate that Crockett was among those who surrendered and were executed. However, a former American slave who was a cook for one of Santa Anna’s officers, maintained Crockett’s body was found in the barracks surrounded by “no less than 16 dead Mexican soldiers,” with Crockett’s knife buried in one of them.
Historians disagree on which story is accurate. It is believed many stories, such as the surrender and execution of Crockett, were created and spread in order to discredit Santa Anna and add to the Mexican leader’s role as villain.”
There were stories of Crockett surviving the Alamo, but nothing in the archives of the Mexican or Texas governments, nor any of the personal records among the non-combatant survivors validate that claim.
Ask any Texan with knowledge of their state’s history and the answer will probably be that Davy Crockett died a fighting hero defending the Alamo. Whether he was executed as a prisoner or died in battle is of no matter – he definitely was a true hero.


Purchase Tom’s new book; Nuggets of History- for the Slightly Interested or Easily Bored-in Small Doses on Amazon.com or any of Tom’s books at GetMorrowsNovels.com All books are on sale and make great Christmas gifts.

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Historically Speaking: Folk Hero, Congressman and Revolutionary